Friday, 20 February 2015


Plans are underway for the music magazine NME to drop its cover price and instead be given away for free, wrapped around portions of fish and chips. The NME’s owners hope to increase the publication’s dwindling readership because fish and chips remain generally more popular than fold-out posters of Johnny Marr.

High in starch, greasy and often battered, Kasabian’s Tom Meighan appears regularly in the NME.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Must-See Rock Operas 2015

Courtney Love has just received her warmest reviews in about 15 years for her role in the experimental opera Kansas City Choir Boy. The New York Times praised Love’s “bewitching presence”, Rolling Stone deemed the opera “slyly punk rock” and Billboard Magazine called it “much better than you would expect”. As a consequence, every other washed-up pop-star of yesteryear is now jumping on the operatic bandwagon. Here are Spinal Bap’s pick of the many other operas currently in production: (they mainly involve prostitutes and death but that’s high-art for you)

Madama Butterflea
While on vacation from rap-funk group the Red Hot Chili Peppers, bassist Flea moves to Japan, finding temporary work as a male geisha. During this time, he falls madly in love with naval officer Lieutenant Pinkerton, played by Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. Pinkerton sets sail again, returning three years later with the demo tapes for the new Chilis album. They sound so bad that Flea pierces his own neck with the nearest drumstick, bleeding to death as the backing chorus sings a poignant rendition of Suck My Kiss.

Carmen Chameleon
Boy George plays a gypsy prostitute who enchants the local soldiers with his garish make-up and big hat. After a passionate affair with a Spanish military drummer named Don Moss, the Carmen Chameleon decides a career change is in order, becoming a DJ and then a bullfighter. “Do you really want to hurt me?” George sings to the furious, snorting bull. The bull does really want to hurt him after all. It charges, killing Boy George and sending his big hat tumbling to the ground. The bull is cheered by Morrissey.

La Travis-ata
Fran Healy falls in love with a Parisian prostitute. She ignores his warnings that it’s always raining on him, gets drenched when they embrace, contracts a severe case of the indie-sniffles and sadly dies. Unable to bear the pain, Healy beats himself to death with a soggy piece of drift wood.

Escaping the clutches of the evil Hawkwind, Lemmy attempts to begin a new life as a prostitute, finding little work on account of his body odour and facial warts. He is offered the chance to sell his own hair but as that would impede head-banging he instead forms Motorhead. During one European tour, Lemmy considers aiding a group of young, idealistic revolutionaries in overthrowing the French government, resolving that his time would be far better spent drinking, snorting, gambling, fornicating and amassing a dubiously large collection of Nazi memorabilia. No tragic ending this time as Lemmy is indestructible.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


The Gwar on Drugs - Lost in the Dream 
On this third album, Adam Granduciel finally managed to make his miserable Dire Straits-ish textured roots-rock into something actually entertaining by dressing up as an extra-terrestrial barbarian warrior and singing about meat sandwiches.

Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Soused
A renowned artsy singer-songwriter teamed up with a notoriously loud heavy metal band to collaborate on an opus that was so out-there it would take literally centuries for the world to fully comprehend their ground-breaking compositions. But that’s enough about Loutallica, let’s talk about Scott O))). The robe-clad drone duo did their claustrophobic rumble shtick while Scott “tunes are for numpties” Walker crooned words like “Behold. The hidden dance. Of the tree babies. Hi-ho. She goes. Upon heaving bump quilt. Contorted leper trim. Higgledy-baa-baa-never.” A thousand musos stroked their chins so hard that their faces actually started to flop out of themselves like Javier Bardem’s jaw in Skyfall.

Warpaint - Warpaint 
Remember 2013? Remember how excited you were about the prospect of a second Warpaint album? What happened next? Warpaint? More like Bore-paint! Listening to Warpaint’s second album was like staring in jaded futility at one of those magic eye pictures, waiting for something to happen, waiting for something interesting to emerge out of that impenetrable, shapeless pattern. Nearly 12 months later, still nothing has materialized. Warpaint? More like Yawn-paint! One newspaper feature on the band screamed Warpaint on their new album: “Sexy was an adjective we’d use”. The only logical conclusion is that sex with Warpaint must be intolerably dull. Warpaint? More like Wartchingpaintdry!

Royal Blood - Royal Blood
Generic chuggy stoner riffs. A singer who sounds like Freddie Mercury. And an English drummer in a baseball cap. Dave Grohl is a big fan.

Lenny Kravitz - Strut
“Baby baby / STRUT! / Let me see you walk / STRUT! / Baby / Let your body talk / STRUT! / Talky-talky-talky / STRUT! / Walky-walky-walky / STRUT! / Something something move / STRUT! / Something something prove / Baby baby baby”

Perhaps he lost his real lyrics somewhere in that preposterous scarf.

Beck - Fawning Maze
MOJO magazine’s favourite album of 2002.

Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Joust
An ambitious concept album based on the old codes of chivalry in medieval jousting tournaments. Over Sunn O)))’s signature guitar rumblings, Walker crooned tuneless phrases about knights, armour, horses and King Henry II of France. For extra authenticity, Walker held onto a jousting stick for the entire recording session and now has quite a poorly arm.

Swans - To Be Kind
What do we want?
The same loud dirging chords played over and over again while a misanthropist moans about lambs and lungs and shit and then actually pretends to be leader of the 1791 Haitian slave rebellion Toussaint L’Ouverture.
When do we want it?
For the next three hours or so.

Aphex Twin - Sigh-woe
Wire magazine’s favourite album of 1996.

Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Doused
An ambitious concept album based on the cultural history of fire. Over Sunn O)))’s signature guitar rumblings, Walker crooned tuneless phrases about flint, gas, the sun, Satan, Prometheus and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. For extra authenticity, Walker doused himself in lighter fluid, set himself on fire and experienced third-degree burns. Still suffered less pain than his listeners.

Sleaford Mods - Divide and Exit
“Fuckin’ rantin’ / I’m fuckin’ fuckin’ rantin’ / I’m fuckin’ ‘avin’ a rant here, yeah? / I stepped in a fuckin’ shit and it smelt a bit like a fuckin’ piss and there’s fuckin’ sick on the crotch of me fuckin’ jeans and fuckin’ snot all over me fuckin’ shitty shirt sleeve / fuck it / I’m fuckin’ ‘avin’ a rant here, yeah? / Fuckin’ fuckin’ observational reference to something from off of culture and shit / Spongebob Squarepants has got a nutrigrain bar stuck up his yellow arse, mate / fuck off John Cooper fuckin’ Clarke, you look like you’ve borrowed Paul McCartney’s bottle of fuckin’ hair dye, you frazzled old fucker / off me head I mistook the piss-bowl for a sink and now someone’s done a fuckin’ youtube of me washin’ me hands with pissy urinal cake, you c***”

Taylor Swift -1984
Swift’s 1984 was an ambitious concept album on which the Nashville country star reinvented herself as an anti-totalitarian socialist intellectual taking satirical dystopian pot-shots at nationalism, censorship and government surveillance. Set in the bleak near future, the dark electro-clash of opening track ‘Welcome to New York’ painted the Big Apple as a grim metropolis where citizens are indoctrinated into dancing forever, thus permanently prevented from using their individual brainpower or physical energy to enact social or political reform, with Swift’s robotic vocals serving to extenuate the dehumanising effects of urbanity. ‘This Love’, meanwhile, was a haunting minimalist ballad influenced by the likes Grouper and Christina Carter that dealt with the psychological after-effects of having your noggin shoved into a cage full of rats. 1984 proved such a powerful record that it single-handedly influenced Russell Brand’s decision to transform himself from a shoddy TV presenter, shoddy film star and shoddy jester into the horniest political activist since Martin Luther King Jr.

Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Aroused
An ambitious attempt to create a post-millennial equivalent of Marvin Gaye’s sexually-charged masterpiece Let’s Get It On. Over Sunn O)))’s signature guitar rumblings, Walker crooned the kind of unrepeatable filth that would make even Prince blush. About as erotic as being trapped in Francis Bacon’s meat freezer while Edwina Currie from TV’s celebrity jungle gives you a detailed description of John Major’s grey discharge.

Future Islands - Singles
Did you see it? Did you see it on the telly? (Of course not, but did you see it on the internet after it was on telly?) Did you see him? Did you see what he did? He did a dance. A dance! While singing! Dancing and singing! Imagine that! This was Elvis’ Ed Sullivan performance for the WhatsApp generation. Wonderfully or depressingly so, it was literally the best thing that happened in the whole stupid year.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


Multi-membered Staten Island rap crew the Wu-Tang Clan have revealed details of their forthcoming album, A Better Tupperware. Capitalizing on the success of Inspectah Deck’s game-changing 8 Diagrams line about how “Wu-Tang keep it fresh like Tupperware”, the Wu have formulated an entire concept record based around the long-thriving manufacturer of plastic food containers.

“You think I’m kidding? That’s where I keep my sandwiches / One I filled with tuna and the other’s got ham in it”, spits Deck on the album’s centrepiece, ‘Pioneer the Tupperware’. Ghostface Killah follows this with four verses narrating the biography of innovative Tupperware sales representative Brownie Wise (1913-1992). Ghostface’s moving tribute concludes with the heroic lines, “Wise by name, wise by nature / Her Tupperware parties sure took the lead / Truth be told, her food don’t get old / Only Brownie I ever loved that wasn’t full of weed”.

Other highlights of the album include Method Man blessing the Clan with his presence by briefly popping his head through the studio door between shooting scenes for some TV cop drama. Admittedly going slightly off the food preservation topic, Meth’s verse is still a remarkable 20-second tour de force during which he manages to compare himself to a wolf, a horse, a serial killer, another wolf, Muhammed Ali, Barack Obama, a werewolf (that by day is a wolf), all four of The Beatles, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Gillespie, several Al Pacino characters (not the Cruising one), a couple of superheroes, Genghis Khan, Mahatma Gandhi and Shan-Yu from Disney’s Mulan.

Musically, A Better Tupperware sees RZA utilizing classic Wu tropes while also evolving the aesthetics of the crew’s backing tracks. His compositions use field recordings taken from large Tupperware factories, samples of Tupperware lids popping on and off and back on again and, having now exhausted dialogue from every vintage kung fu movie ever made, several soundbites from Chris Farley’s 1997 martial arts comedy flop Beverly Hills Ninja.

Unfortunately, the RZA could not find any archive recordings of deceased Wu member Ol’ Dirty Bastard rapping specifically about Tupperware. Nevertheless, he still felt it necessary to shoehorn in a few scrapings of poorly-recorded ODB vocals retrieved from his increasingly bare barrel of demos. “Dirty, dirty, dirty”, announces a gruff voice virtually obscured by the static fuzz of a cheap phone-line, “dirty, dirty, dirty...” It’s the ODB reduced to single-word, two-syllable, single-minded monotony. “Dirty, dirty, dirty,” continues Ol’ Dirty, “dirty, dirty dirty / Here comes Dirty / He’s dirty, dirty, dirty / You’d better watch out / Fo’ dirty, dirty Dirty...” This goes on for about four minutes before Raekwon interrupts with, “That’s enough, son / I think yo’ dead, son / But truth be told, son / I think we’re all done”.

A limited edition pressing of the album will come sealed in an authentic ‘Wu-ware’ Tupperware container retailing at 3000 times the price of a standard storage tub.

Monday, 27 October 2014


BBC Radio 1 have revealed a stunning new project for which DJ Zane Lowe has commissioned his favourite artists to reinterpret the musical score of classic children’s television series Brum.

The ambitious task sees the likes of Chvrches, Bastille and Foals providing an alternative soundtrack to famous Brum episodes such as ‘Brum and the Lost Kitten’, ‘Brum Goes Shopping’ and ‘Brum and the Implausible Getaway Driver Who Only Drives You For Five Minutes’.

Translated into several different languages, Brum is cherished throughout the world for its charming mechanical lead character, whimsical adventure plot-lines and scenes of needlessly gratuitous physical violence.

Lowe’s controversial project has come under fire from fans of the series, who insist that Kjartan Poskitt’s original theme tune and Daniel Jones’ incidental music cannot be bettered. Responding to the criticisms, Zane Lowe shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’m Zane Lowe, suckers.”

Lowe has presented Radio 1’s evening show since 2003, during which time he has expressed furious excitement for all the music he loves being told to play.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014


Pink Floyd have revealed the tracklisting and artwork for their new album, The Endless Guitar Solo, which will be released on November 10.

The Endless Guitar Solo tracklisting is:

1) Things Left Unsaid (Said)
2) It’s What We Do (Play Guitar Solos For Quite a Long Time)
3) The Ebb and Flow (Of My Frankly Quite Impressive Guitar Solos)
4) Sum (Royalties Plus Tour Profits Plus Merch Sales Plus Expenses Equals?)
5) Drumskins (Pounded Hard To Be Heard Over The Top Of The Loud Guitar Solos)
6) Unsung (Non-instrumental Version)
7) Sounds A Bit Like A Retro Radiohead This One
8) The Lost Art Of Conversation (Sorry, Couldn’t Hear You, I Was Busy Playing One Of My Signature Guitar Solos)
9) On Guitar Noodle Street
10) Night Light (For When I Need To Play Guitar Solos In The Dark)
11) Baloney pt. 1
12) Autumn’68, I Remember It Well, I Was Practising My Guitar Solos
13) Baloney pt. 2
14) Talkin’ ‘Bout Guitar Solos
15) Calling All Guitar Bores
16) Fingers To Guitar Strings
17) Resurfacing, Once Again, To Remind You Of My Unequalled Guitar Soloing Abilities
18) Louder Than Words (My Guitar Solos Are)

Tuesday, 2 September 2014


One consequence of the ascent of the information superhighway is that the ideal music review is no longer the best one but simply the first. With that in mind, what I’ve done may not be entirely legal but it at least means that SPINAL BAP has successfully bagged THE VERY FIRST REVIEW OF SYRO BY THE APHEX TWIN. Security around this release is tighter than Barry Hogan’s purse strings after a festival cancellation so how did I, a lowly hack with just 300 Twitter followers and a Tesco pay-as-you-go SIM card, snatch this exclusive scoop? Naturally, I broke into the roof of Warp Records’ headquarters in the dead of night, lowering myself down from the ceiling like a taller, prettier and less theologically misguided Tom Cruise. I tip-toed over and limboed under countless high-tech laser censors. I pacified the slavering guard dogs by feeding them Aldi bratwurst and swapping Battles for Eno on the office stereo. Searching high and low, I rifled through thousands of abstract artwork posters. I rummaged around in a gigantic pile of unsold Maximo Park CDs. Eventually, there it lay, concealed under sheets and sheets of sexually-explicit doodles scribbled by TV’s Christopher Morris. Yes, Warp Boss Steve Beckett’s personal laptop! I tried several passwords. “Gonjasufi”. “Nightmaresonwax”. “LFOremix”. After just a few hours I cracked it: “SonDEremawe”. Simple as that! I searched for SYRO, downloaded the files to my iPod, and got out of there quicker than you can say “Petiatil Cx Htdui”. So after great personal risk, may I present to you, dear readers, ahead of this weekend’s listening parties, the very first, track-by-track review of Aphex Twin’s long-awaited new album:

01. minipops 67 (source field mix)
An understated opener. There are no drumbeats. No synths. No samples. It’s basically just a 4-track recording of Richard James plucking the same ukulele note over and over again while an anonymous assistant rubs sandpaper across his greying beard. Existentially haunting.

02. XMAS_EVET10 (thanaton3 mix)
Here we go, SYRO’s first proper banger! It’s like a ‘Mt Saint Michel + Saint Michaels Mount’ for the nihilistically apathetic post-Only God Forgives cultural milieu. Imagine taking drum & bass, halving it, multiplying it by Flying Lotus, and then adding three-fifths of an ex-Napalm Death member who now dabbles in techno. The track’s only drawback is the gobbledegook chorus sung by Charli XCX wearing black lipstick and torn Topshop fishnets.

03. produk 29
A bit like trying to destroy an early twentieth-century washboard using only your teeth and one pipette-drop of hydrochloric acid. Best on headphones. Unless you’ve got shit headphones, of course.

04. 4 bit 9d api+e+6
A radical departure for the ‘Twin. This is a jaunty brass-backed summertime ditty that nods to likes of Mumford & Sons, Jake Bugg, Elbow, Bon Iver, and Fatman Scoop’s early material. ‘4 bit 9d api+e+6’ could’ve been Aphex’s biggest crossover hit to date, had the repeated vocal samples not been quite so openly anti-Quaker.

05. 180db_ 
An ear-shatteringly abrasive pastiche of hyperspeed quasi-gonzo hedgerow funk. Comes with a free sticker-book and set of six mauve pencils.

06. CIRCLONT6A (syrobonkus mix)
This one is kinda like waking up in an abandoned laboratory to find you’re the middle section of a human centipede with Wolfgang Voigt sewed to your arsehole and Kevin Drumm up the front. It turns out that William Bennett off of Cut Hands is the mad scientist behind this spliced atrocity and he keeps feeding Drumm with Jamie Oliver’s peppered courgette fritters while screaming, “I’m not a bloody racist, all right?!!!”

07. fz pseudotimestretch+e+3
You know that second track on Autechre’s third EP? The one you pretended to like as a student? This is basically its sequel, with a more foreboding subtext of strained aquatic grief. Oh, and there’s a pretty nifty Rubiks solo to boot.

08. CIRCLONT14 (shrymoming mix)
If you enjoy the sensation of having your ears coated in custard skin while Squarepusher milks an albino platypus with a faulty purple dustbuster, then this is the twelve-minute Bhangra symphony for you!

09. Informer (Radio Mix)
A surprisingly faithful rendition of Canadian reggae star Snow’s 1992 chart smash.

10. PAPAT4 (pineal mix)
An unlistenable cacophonic fusion of glo-fi synths, jungle beats, Afro-Luxembourgian timpani, 2-step sellotapewave, harsh Seoul-soul, bubblegum krunk, post-Calpol don’t-wop, emo fingerjazz, lowercase lounging thug-bop, Mafiosi minibilly, disembodied voices that sound like floating Cornish satsumas, and a sample of something you heard while browsing the chinos section of Urban Outfitters. Skippable filler.

11. s950tx16wasr10 (earth portal mix)
Harks back to Selected Ambient Works Volume II, if you were to replace the words “Ambient Works Volume” with “Out Of Hell” and “Selected” with “Bat”. Now older and fatter, Richard James embraces operatic soft rock, singing about Harley Davidsons, dashboards, fast women, Frankensteins and lemons. Doesn’t really work in context with the rest of the album.

12. aisatsana
Originally titled ‘stsn’ in tribute to Bobby Gillespie who once took so much Sudafed that he thought the vowels were going to crawl off the front of an album cover and eat his top two layers of skin, a trauma which inspired the cautiously-named XTRMNTR by ‘PRML SCRM’. However, James reinstalled his vowels after realising that ‘stsn’ was an utterly unpronounceable and frankly silly title for an Aphex Twin song. A poignant closer, full to the brim with jangling ketchup clicks and swelling humpback Klimt-core viola. Leaves you thinking, “yeah, that’ll do, see you in another thirteen years, mate.”