CD Reviews
alongtrip100
A Long Trip CD Drowned in Sound
A Long Trip CD Raw Nerve
16bit100
16 Bit CD Rocksound
16 Bit CD Raw Nerve
16 Bit CD Kerrang
16 bit CD – UKBase Zine
littlebitsofsky
Various – Little Pieces Of Sky CD Bleed Music
small_milliepeed cover
Various – These Things Happen Vol I CD Popkid
Various – These Things Happen Vol I CD Hardcore-News
Various – These Things Happen Vol I CD Maximum Rocknroll
seismic
For A Long Life CD collective
lookingatme
Demo CDR – Unfit For Consumption Zine
Live Reviews
live
Lapsus linguae + others the Lamplighters, Leicster. 17 joolie 2002 (review by Andrew Jadowski) collective
Econoline, Jason Sheppard, Twinkie & Ann Arbor – Lamplighters, Leicester
Misc Reviews
misc
Freedom from excessive noise ZINE column, November 2002
Blacktop Stories
CD Reviews
A Long Trip CD Drowned in Sound

There’s fuckin’ bodies everywhere – against the walls, on the floor, hanging limp from the ceiling fans, guts strewn all over the place like a spaghetti fight gone hardcore, blood splattered liberally. The pulse rate is off the scale; the little red needle making whoopie with the right-hand side of the dial like never before. Fuckin’ intense. Creak… creak… a door swings open. Fire at fuckin’ will, soldiers.

DEMONS! DEATH! BULLETS! BLOOD! FUCK!

Y’see, Ann Arbor do this to a person – they make them see beyond the mundane reality of the daily grind and into some parallel Doom 3 universe where the tunnels of the Victoria Line morph into expressways straight to Hell itself (insert your own comment about Brixton, here). Well, mostly – some of this instrumental punk-a-rock-a could be misconstrued as some kind of Match of the Day ‘Goal Of The Month’ backing track nonsense. Indeed, some of it could almost pass as such – ‘Tortilla’, for instance – but so much more is ruddy terrifying. See: ‘Creep Diet’. Sweat: blood.

Think Shellac getting their low-slung groove on with Justin Broderick, or 65daysofstatic ditching the glitch for some heavy-duty punk workouts. This music is utterly menacing, but completely engrossing. It skullfucks your emptied eyeholes like a randy buffalo after first digging into your synapses with a clawhammer. It tricks newcomers into false senses of security, into fleeting comfort zones, with brief segments of tuneful song, only to crash them into a wall of industrial squall seconds later. Masochistic bastards.

I just hope the train turns tail come the end of the line or none of us are surviving this trip.

Drowned in Sound

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A Long Trip CD Raw Nerve

I relished this new release from Ann Arbor due to thoroughly enjoying their previous recording ‘16-bit’.

It opens with some nice drifting notes over slight atmospheric humming in the background during the opener ‘Filter’, before stripped down jangling guitar, fizzing bass and machine drums deliver rather warp sounds akin to Jesus Lizard, John Spencer Blues Explosion, Foe and are produced within a Shellac style sound, and because of the drum programming there is a tiny element of industrial crunch, maybe a hint of Godflesh in the repetition. Certainly this is evident in ‘Recursive’ which could easily have been an Albini work.

Ann Arbor show off skills that do them proud as a guitar based band and also an ambient electric project as ‘Book tour’ would prove with its tiny echoes and blips of sound and eerie deliberations. The stunning ‘The greatest plan’ also has great fragments of synthetic noise at the start, before the early Pitchshifter dark grooves weld with Jesus Lizard style raucousness.

Another interesting collection of songs from Field Records band Ann Arbor.

Raw Nerve

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16 Bit CD Rock Sound

8/10

Too many people scoff at the thought of a drum machine-propelled band. Well, the Sisters of Mercy made their career with Dr Avalanch handling the beats, and Godflesh might not have been quiet the titanic trendsetters had they not stepped out onto early stages with their trusty Boss Dr Rhythm tucked discreetly on top of an amp. Well, here’s another outfit to add to the list of enterprising outfits: Ann Arbor, and with their post-rock, post-hardcore, post-spazz, post-Godflesh – hell! – post-fuckin-everything blen of suprisingly ambient sonics, they’re not an outfit you’re likely to forget in a hurry. Check out the the heartbeat-like procession of ‘Rhythm’, where reverb-laden axes splay out over time-bomb like hi-hats. Then there’s the trance like ‘Decimate’ and ‘Kill the Cool Cat’, where jagged bass grooves are spliced with a wild scribble of guitar. In a league of their own. Nice.

Rock Sound

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16 Bit CD Raw Nerve

“Bored” starts off anything but, with old Therapy? style scuzziness and harder edged rhythms, with a thrashing, dissonant riff beating its way over the top, shortly after replaced by something a little janglier, but still rather dark. Very promising start, and I am praying that, after 75 seconds, the vocals won’t come in and ruin this good start, that is heavily Shellac, Jesus Lizard, ?, and Fudge Tunnel inspired in style, sound and dramatic delivery. In fact, its entire three minute existence is instrumental, and very good indeed.

“Rhythms” continues the Shellac theme, but goes off almost into Man.. or Astro Man? territory in parts, being very 50’s rockabilly in flavour, maybe a touch Eastern as well, swapping places with scuzzy, noisy guitars every so often. “Decimate” has some wonderful ambient soundscapes and “Five by five” darkens things with some sweat-inducingly mood crammed rhythms, before the fantastically groovy and jangly “Kill the cool cat” takes over, definitely out of the Jesus Lizard fighting with Godflesh of old chapter.

Ann Arbor are odd. They mix together sounds unexpected, they mash together styles bizarre, but overall, their instrumental ramblings are radically different to most bands I could think of, and with every track having its own identity, this album stays captivating throughout.

“Turning to the ground” is more than a hats off to Steve Albini, whereas “Get yourself happy for a while” haunts around Massive Attack and Verve of early releases. “It can’t be wrong” has classic Aphex Twin ambient moments to finish us off.

The only thing I can complain about is that this is way too short. We need more.

raw nerve promotions

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16 Bit CD Kerrang!

TWO MEN ONE DRUM MACHINE, NO VOCALS. RESULT,

KKKK

THE LOWDOWN: Ann Arbor may travel light – Tim Waterfield and Matt Jones have forsworn their right to a singer or drummer- but when it comes to music they pile on the force with black hole intensity. 16 Bit is a devastating maelstrom of post-rock discordance and ferocity, starting in its invention. Here, Slint-style guitar abrasions are twisted into dubbed-out depth charges, electronic blackouts and corrosive attacks far greater than the sum of their minimal parts. Dark and unnervingly addictive

Kerrang

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Ann Arbor 16 bit CD – UKBase Zine

(11 Tracks CD) Ann Arbor are from Leicester a guitarist and a bass player and a black box, instrumental stuff, very similar to the Shellac, Big Black stuff with a little Distorted Pony in there as well. Got to say I’ve never made it a secret of my dislike for this band live, for a start there’s a serious lack of dynamics on stage there only being the 2 of them. but you know I like this CD I think it’s the type of music that is better suited to in the comfort of your own home/car etc. There’s some excellent riffage going on here, there most have similar effects to Big Black as it sounds like their playing heavy duty crane cable rather than guitar strings, a very metallic sound (not the style of music, the material). I was also surprised my the ease I got through the CD, without a vocalist I thought it would be hard work well it wasn’t. If you a fan of the Steve Albini school of driving rock then check these guys out. I think this CD will finally see the light of day in Siesmic Records in the next month or so.

Summary : Cool Shellac riffage.

UKBase

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Various – Little Pieces Of Sky(cd)

Sometimes that something comes along with a little bit of heart and soul. It delicately removes the stench of mediocrity that seems to infect most indie-music. It reaches for the same stars as S Club 7 and comes out swooning. “Little Pieces Of Sky” is an understated little diamond. It starts off quietly with Jet Johnson and ends quietly with Winter Olympics. In the middle there is a little bit of loudness, but nothing too disturbing.

In fact the songs in the middle are the ones that really stand out. The Transmission Trio jazz-rock is post-Tortoise -rock. “Hoover Dam” busts a gut for nine minutes of art-rock mayhem. It’s loud, cocky and possibly made by people wearing glasses. Ann Arbor play it relatively straight with the hard rocking “Untitled”. It comes and goes in a flash leaving you wanting more of this noble sound. If they are named in honour of the Stooges’ hometown then well done.

Disoma have the loudest moment on this compilation. It is the climax to their Slint -like odyssey “Sent Ending”. Guitars are wanked off while drums crash and bass strings are shredded. It has widdly-widdly moments that are as evil and twisted as the Joker’s smile. Econoline on the other hand are the emo Sonic Youth. “Anschuluss Kasten (Space Rock Version)” is a space-rock epic (which Econoline are keen to point out themselves). It drifts through the ether slowly like a balloon floating in a sea of mercury. Difficult and interesting, Thurston Moore would be proud.

The left-field sounds of Araucaria Araucana and Mordant Music are edgy electronic slabs that become surprisingly comforting after repeated listening. The soul just can’t help seeping out of their gently synthesised meanderings. Jet Johnson make a nice folky kind of sound that is as chilled out, as Disoma are mental. A soothing female vocal rides along the gentle instrumentation. It swishes and sways like Nick Drake’s handkerchief being blown across the Serengeti. Nice, romantic music for smelly unromantic people. In fact this pretty sums up the mood of the whole album. Ain’t that sweet!

Bleed Music

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V/A- ‘These Things Happen- Vol. 1′(cd)

One of the best comps I’ve heard in ages. Features a load of bands (not just from the UK) including two tracks from Popkid’s own Horace Goes Skiing (one unreleased) plus Travis Cut, Southpaw, Ann Arbor, Million Dead, The Scaries, Annalise, Fire Apple Red, Alli With An I & San Quentin. 2 tracks from each band – 23 tracks.

Popkid

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V/A- ‘These Things Happen- Vol. 1′(cd)

A compilation out of the UK of bands I don’t really know. First band up is Travis Cut, don’t really know how to describe them, but the vocalist is amazing, one of those you could listen to all day on repeat all day, he can actually sing. Indie-punk? Whatever it is I really like these guys. Southpaw, play some dual vocal middle of the road punk, pretty good. Fire Apple Red, post hardcore with some good vocals, and some nice fast parts. Alli With An I, a punky hardcore band with a Cali-punk vocal style, nice one. Horace Goes Skiing (what a name!), some nice vocals, and catchy melodic punk. Million Dead, some very laid back music, mostly spoken word, mixed with sped up music and vocals, to go with great lyrics. Ann Arbor, 54 seconds of instrumental heavy hardcore. San Quentin, a kinda laid back one this. Annalise, the first band I’ve heard of so far on this, Annalise play easy listening UK melodic punk. The Scaries, some good emo punk. From here we have the same bands again, another nice one from Travis Cut, but not as good as their first track on here. Fire Apple Red, come up with a rather heavier hardcore track, I like this one. Ann Arbor bring us another good heavy hardcore track with some techno put in! Annalise’s second track is a rather upbeat catchy number. A better one from The Scaries this time round. A bonus track from Niffer with ”Headfuck” with some nice female vocals, and an acoustic guitar, a nice end to a pretty good CD.

A CD of unusually named bands, and songs where you can actually hear the lyrics. Top Tracks: Travis Cut ”In Transit”, Annalise, Ann Arbor.

Hardcore-times

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V/A- ‘These Things Happen- Vol. 1′(cd)

A new label with the obligatory comp, including the likes of Travis Cut, Southpaw, The Scaries, Annalise and other UK and US bands. Good line-up for starters. (RAY LUJAN)

Maximum Rocknroll

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Ann Arbor – For A Long Life (cd)

I apologise to the lovely Tim for taking a whole eon to review this. I really do. But now that I have, I am thinking maybe he will review the stuff I sent him to review for the C. So it’s a bit of a tradeoff. That’s how this reviewing business works – a backhander here, maybe a sexual favour there, and then a little creative accountancy.

Ok, Ann Arbor is a Leicester based band playing instrumental stuffage, and they have a drum machine. I think? That’s what I was told a while back and it sounds like a machine! I can’t tell for sure, I got a CDR. They are ex-members of the rather good Half Seas Over, and this is their first release. And it’s pretty decent stuff, clocking in at around 30 minutes, which is just about right. Musically it fits in with some of the Gringo Records output, so I guess the influences are the same aswhoever influenced early Reynolds and Hirameka Hi Fi and all that jazz. Not that it’s jazz. Do you see? I presume you see, because you are reading this. Unless you have one of those super clever PC’s that actually reads out text to you. Nice! Hello if you are a person with this type of PC! Anyways, lets talk about music. Some of their stuff is beats based electronica, and I would have to admit that I really don’t like much beats in my electronica, I can handle Cex but mostly I just like the melodic stuff. Luckily Ann Arbor don’t go overboard on this and spazz my brain out. Appreciated! When Ann Arbor don’t do electronica they are doing their instrumental rock that is apparently sorta like Shellac. Being an emo kid I don’t listen to Shellac. Sorry. So I have not many points of reference. I can only say it sounds like mathy-rock with complex guitars that still have melodic elements and a bit of a groove. It’s rather fine when all is said and done. And all is said and done, I don’t really know this type of music enough to witter on for hours like a muso.
So, well, sorry again Tim for being shit and taking a thousand jahre to review your record. It is good! I hope to meet you again some day! Thank you for sending me this!
– andy malcolm

collective

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Ann Arbor Demo cdr – Unfit For Consumption Zine

6 Tracks of Oxes, Big Black and Shellac influenced rock here from this UK duo utilising guitar, bass, programming and bass synth (whatever that may be). It all arrived in some sparse white packaging which gave it an extra bit of intrigue when I spotted it each time in the review box amongst the over produced “indie” label releases. And yep I dig it, which is hardly suprising considering the hours of entertainment I have received listening to the aforementioned three bands I’ve compared them too. Nice stuff and I’d sure love to hear some more soon. (TM)

Live Reviews
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Lapsus linguae + others the lamplighter, leicster. 17 joolie 2002 (review by Andrew Jadowski)

But! Ann Arbor’s cocks were defiantly bigger! Oh yes. I heard a lot of bad shit about these guys ‘they cant play’ ‘ I thought they were warming up’ ‘they sound a bit like Big Black’. They were amazing. So fuckin noisey. And they didn’t even have a drummer. Nope no drummer. Just a little black box. And that box contained some of the funniest drum beats ive ever heard. The guitar was so loud that my mate ben’s tits exploded! Next time I hear anyone dis these boys im gonna creep into their house and bugger them cos AnnArbor rokk you sour emo asses!!!!!!!

collective

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Econoline, Jason Sheppard, Twinkie & Ann Arbor – Lamplighters, Leicester

The lamplighters in Leicester, known these days primarily as a Rock Bar, hosted a superb collection of bands on a drab October Thursday.
First up were Ann Arbor, an instumental two piece comprising of Matt Jones (bass) and Tim Waterfield (guitar). Backed by a powerfully programmed drum machine, the duo bludgeoned the audience with a brand of noise which is as compelling as it is unusual in today’s musical climate. Only 15 or so minutes – but breathless stuff. At times Ann Arbor appear almost determined to blow the venue up such is the power of what they do.

Misc Reviews
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Freedom from excessive noise ZINE column, November 2002

What we said about them: ‘Starting off like the theme from the advert for Smash instant mashed potato (the one with all those pre-Metal Mickey look-at-us-we’re-covered-in-tin-foil-aren’t we futuristic tin Steven Hawkingseses), Leicester’s Ann Arbor hereafter turn their hand to the genre known henceforth as GRAAAAAARGHcore. Take away the fact that the main riff to ‘Tensed Up’ sounds more than a little bit like ‘Selling Jesus’ by Skunk Anansie, and you’ve got a Big Black-fuelled noise party for all the family. It’s stripped down the bare essentials (there are only two members: guitar, programming and bass), and loud enough and good enough to make you honestly expect Steve Albini to pop up shouting about crows or squirrels any minute. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Ann Arbor perform live, and it took my ears two days to recover from their atomizing songs about fucking then. I’m looking forward to many more happy hours of deafness from this ‘ere demo.’ Freedom from excessive noise ZINE column, November 2002)

diskant

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Blacktop Stories

Ann Arbor seem like really nice guys. But they’d probably deny that! Matt, whose chosen subjects are bass and knocking over audience beverages, dropped me some answers. They play a tight, Touch n’ Go influenced metallic instrumental rock and kick up a storm. Just don’t ask them about the drum machine! Crazily (on that subject) I found this post on their website:

“you play too loud, cant hear the notes for the noise, real drummer would improve things, and a singer too.”

Listen foolio, loud is good and what’s all this about ‘real drums’ and ‘singer’? Do you say the same when you listen to your Aphex Twin records? Why do people demand things of ‘rock’ bands that they don’t of jazz or electronic music (for instance)? Rock can aspire to greatness without lyrics. Not having a singer demands that a band play more interesting music. Having a singer can be an excuse for music that is otherwise totally bland – see any of the current brit rock bores. Without a ‘nice’ voice their songs would be utterly redundant and indistinct. Huff.

Blacktop Stories

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