Live Review: DICE’s Best of 2017

In November I began working at DICE – one of the most forward-thinking outfits in the game when it comes to live ticketing. Here’s my quick review of what got me bouncing in 2017, which featured in DICE’s Best of 2017 round-up 👇

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Radio: Mob Rules #2

Over the past few months I’ve been hosting an occasional radio show on Wick Radio with Kevin Gras – the heaviest Frenchman since Gérard Depardieu. Kevin and I met whilst working at Thrill Jockey Records, and bonded over all things rock, metal and psychedelic… with a few picklebacks thrown in for good measure. Here’s the second instalment of our new show Mob Rules, featuring music from Sun Kil Moon, Follakzoid, Sleep, Can, The Black Angels and more.


Feature: Independent Venues In Crisis

Having had a right hoot researching Strongroom Studios for a recent feature, I’m liking the idea of complementing my reviews with more longform pieces.

After hearing of Tower Hamlets Council’s decision to introduce the Late Night Levy to licensed premises operating after midnight, I decided to do my research into the effects this could have upon the borough’s nightlife. It was an interesting path that got me chatting with Mark Davyd, head of the Music Venue Trust, who’s created a strong movement that’s helping some of Britain’s most loved venues keep afloat. Many thanks to the good folks at Drowned In Sound, who were kind enough to publish my findings.

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Feature: Strongroom Studios

Was recently lucky enough to interview a long-time hero of mine, producer Gareth Jones (Wire, Depeche Mode, Einsturzende Neubauten) for this feature on the electronic temple that is Strongroom Studios. Everyone from The Prodigy to the Spice Girls cut records in this freaky fun spot ⚡️🎹💪

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Live Review: Peaking Lights – Moth Club, London


MOTH CLUB, LONDON | June 26, 2017

The stoic DJ and the wide-eyed songstress: it’s a scene straight out of karaoke. Gazing out from Moth Club’s gold-spangled stage, Peaking Lights’ vocalist Indra Dunis surveys the assembling audience with doe-eyed apprehension. To her right, husband Aaron Coyes looms intent behind a stack of plundered electronics. There’s a lot riding on this tour for the Wisconsin-cum-California duo.

Having worked with indie imprints such as Mexican Summer and Domino, Peaking Lights’ sweet-toothed take on psychedelic dub has steadily become trademark over the past decade. Earlier this year, they finally decided to go it alone. Their newly-minted label Two Flowers Records kicked off with February’s Little Flower / Conga Blue 12”, ahead of the band’s sixth studio album release The Fifth State of Consciousness on June 16th. With two young kids in tow, the decision to record, fund and tour the record themselves is bold by anyone’s standard. But as so many of their loose-limbed verses prove, Peaking Lights have a strong track record of slickly navigating the maelstrom.

The nervy opening to ‘Conga Blue’ suggests that Peaking Lights are all too aware of the risks at play. Coyes’ juiced-up bass loop initially overwhelms Dunis’ hushed vocals, but as he laces in waves of sparkling analogue oscillations a magnetic sample-driven crescendo slowly builds. A passive confidence emerges in Dunis’ swirling ruminations as she dips through Coyes’ swelling loops, and within minutes what began as cabaret transforms into an absolute four-on-the-floor belter.

It’s a similar story with The Fifth State of Consciousness’ opening track ‘Dreaming Outside’. Performed a fraction slower than on record, its sluggish plod eventually flourishes under shimmering glockenspiels, subterranean vocals, and a host of other melodic and textural interjections. Transforming eighth grade synth lines into chintz-fuelled charms, it’s at moments like these where Peaking Lights are at their very best.

Echoing a sun-kissed Talking Heads, the duo strike far more directly with ‘Every Time I See the Light’. Here Dunis’ valium-dazed verses take free reign over Coyes’ rampant slurs, proving that when the vocals are allowed centre stage, Peaking Lights can expertly pull off a twinkle pop banger. This dynamic is taken a step too far on ‘I’ll Be The Sky’, whose saccharine synthpop veers towards gloopy in the summer evening heat. Still, after a few forgettable verses, the duo’s marshmallow sequences multiply into an 8-bit celestial concord that could joyously soundtrack any number of N64 glories.

Oozing pheromones, Peaking Lights’ acid-laced pop is the perfect endorphin shot for balmy festival afternoons. At the same time, their pulsating cerebral collages would bubble just as ecstatically across laser-spiked dance floors. Occasionally the pendulum swings too far from one side to the other, but on the occasions where Dunis and Coyes straddle this confluence effectively, it’s nothing short of paradise.

Feature: This guy has probably been to more gigs than you

I recently linked up with the good folks at DICE, who are making exciting leaps forward in the fight against ticket touts. After reaching out to me with the starting statistic that I was their most prolific user over the past year, DICE invited me to put together a guest post for their resident blog. Check it! 👊🎲

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