Has anything as mind-blowingly cool, achingly unruffled as The Duke Spirit appeared from the darkest depths of North London in the last ten years? I seriously doubt it. Forget East-End wastrels such as The Paddingtons, The Others et al. The Duke Spirit have arrived Ladies and Gentlemen. Think scuzzed-up Spaceman 3 and New York (yes, I know) circa 67-79, briefly, just for a fleeting instant, savour the moment, cherish it – and then forget about it forever. For this is where it begins anew. The Duke Spirit simply ooze that special ingredient, that knowing all freshly unearthed wonders possess: raw, untouched talent. Lion Rip moves so effortlessly, so smoothly, it is quite sublime. It’s a wonderful mover, a single made all the more rousing by Leila Moss’s snarling lead vocals. It’s frenetic, fast and it’s sure to get those kids skulking in the corner all dressed up in black on to the dance-floor once and for all. If you miss this single then you’re missing out full-stop.
Lee Rourke © 2005.
One wonders why anyone who lives outside of certain East and Westend pockets of inner-city London should ever have heard of Banksy - but they do. And is it any wonder? With artistic stunts and pranks such as hanging his own works in the Tate Britain and Natural History Museum respectively without the authorities knowledge the elusive Banksy has made quite a name for himself. Or maybe it was the unveiling of his brass statue mocking the British Justice System in Clerkenwell Square that caught everyone's eye, er, the stencilling of cows and other assorted livestock, the Acid-House smiling riot police peering down from a bridge in Shoreditch (although this didn't seem to go down too well in America of all places if the following email - one of many printed in the back of the book for our amusement - is anything to go buy: "Bansky: Respect pigs motherfucker. Would you like i paint your fucking english milky face? xxxxxx". Wow, someone actually knows what Banksy looks like then?). Cut It Out is Banksy's most recent collection. It is a quirky, humorous gathering of his varied street art. Banksy is obviously politically aware and his astute perception is ostensible throughout this savvy little book. His anti-war sentiments, for example, are highly admirable and commendable. Cut It Out is worth owning solely because of the ephemeral nature of Banksy's work, most are stolen, wiped clean or destroyed - maybe if you look hard enough in deepest, darkest Hoxton, Clerkenwell, a gable end in Hackney or under an overpass in Paddington or Ladbroke Grove you'll find a decent smattering but, rather sadly, it looks like the authorities are ahead as I write. Most I notice are gone within a day or two. So if you want to know what Banksy is up to, dip into his manifesto and capture his ephemeral stencilling, then buy the book - or the rats will get there first.
Lee Rourke © 2005.
It's official - The Kills are the undisputed king and queen of sleaze rock. Just picture a sweaty room filled with Hotel's snarling fuzzbox guitar, a random drum machine and VV's mordant sex-ridden strung-out vocals. And guess what? It works. Considering all this scuzzy mayhem is created by just two perfectly formed and achingly serious people just helps to intensify the moment - the whole room was literally awash with their uber-cool wasted dirge. Fried My Little Brains poured down upon everyone present with added vitriolic verve and studied desperation, storming along with a guitar riff from planet New York underground (think Velvets meet Hendrix) as VV does her best to imitate a beautiful shaman twisting and contorting across the stage, bouncing from giant speaker-stack to another in perfect symmetry with each electronic beat. Current single The Good Ones sounds even better live - capturing a unique energy whilst not sounding as repetitive as it does on record. This was an occasion of sleazy-cool and the energy and feeling created by this most pretentious duet (and I mean that as a compliment) is well worth a second visit. Keep your ears close to the ground folks as The Kills will be coming your way soon.
Lee Rourke © 2005.
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