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Mahjongg, Menomena, Runners, Cissy, Hookworm

by mattcissy | Print the article

Saturday 4 December
Brudenell Social Club
Door time tbc
The Brudenell Social Club & Petit Machins present….

MAHJONGG (Chicago / K Records)
MENOMENA (Portland / Drag City / Barsuk Records)
CISSY (Leeds)

MAHJONGG formed in Columbia, soon moving to Chicago. Their debut EP Machinegong (Cold Crush Recs) was released in 2004, followed by Raydoncong (Cold Crush) in 2005, Kontpab (K Recs) in 2008 and The Long Shadow Of The Paper Tiger (K Recs – described by Slant magazine as “Like a kid’s birthday party without the damper of adult supervision”) in July 2010.

Mahjongg occupy a world of frenetic beat-heavy agitation and jittery dance-punk, fuelled by wonky, aggressive analog synth tones, tempo and time-shifting dance beats both acoustic and electronic, heavily manipulated rallying calls and clattering hypersonic percussion. Pitchfork said recently “It’s hard to find a dance party as distinctive as Mahjongg” and I’d have to agree with that. It’s basically not like any other dance music you’ve ever heard, except to say specifically that lovers of Shangaan Electro and Brian Eno-era Talking Heads may feel instant warmth. Either way, anyone with an ounce of fun in their hearts should experience an overpowering urge to dance and an instant grin forming on their faces. If you missed their set at Chinchillafest a while back then shame on you! I’d put it in my top ten gigs EVER.

Mahjongg has been compared to everything from Fela Kuti’s Africa 70 to Gang Of Four. All I can say is that you should definitely see them and as this is one of only two shows they’re doing in the UK this year it’s one you shouldn’t miss.

MENOMENA is an experimental Indie rock band from Portland (‘The City of Roses’), the most environmentally friendly city in the state of Oregon and second most in the entire world!

The band formed in 2000, initially as a side project of Danny Seim’s solo project Lackthereof, but became a full band when Brent Knopf and Justin Harris joined. For their first tour in 2004 they drove a 1977 Dodge Sportsman RV, which died several times but was resurrected regularly during the tour.

Menomena’s live act is an attempt to replicate the dense instrumentation found on their records, via the use of triggered MIDI samples, backing tracks, a foot synthesizer, guitars, saxophones, drums and glockenspiel. Phew! The band’s song writing process involves a computer program called the Digital Looping Recorder, or Deeler for short, which, in Seim’s words “helps keep the process democratic”. Their new album Mines (City Slang) was released in July this year, being both their fourth long player to date and their most eagerly anticipated. This gig is one of only five UK shows in 2010, so catch them while they’re hot!


CISSY is a band from Leeds. I played a Cissy song to a couple of 14-year old school kids at a school where I teach drums. One said “I like it ‘cos it sounds like my Gameboy” and the other said “I cant tell what’s going on but I really like it”.

Employing drums, guitar, bass, a Mikrokorg, a MIDI controller, cowbells and claves, Cissy make a swirling Afrobeat / Post-punk noise. Their mission is to make fun, wonky pop songs with a playful heart, using an unlikely synthesis of South African rhythms like the Bikutsi (literal meaning ‘let’s beat the earth’), guitar that evokes the spirit of D. Boon, synth melodies that jab and push and pull at you and bouncing Afropop bass lines.

They began their recent July tour (scheduled to coincide with the release of their ‘Tour EP’ on Bandcamp) as backing for Damo Suzuki in London. They followed that with shows around England, the vast majority of which were as hot and sweaty as hell. That didn’t stop people dancing though. Their homecoming final gig of the tour in Leeds was a triumph of fun over fuck-over! If you want to know what that means ask them.

RUNNERS is four friends from Leeds. They seem pretty darn hot right now, especially since their set at Field Day back in July. They share a collective love affair with both the analog synthesizer and the rolling rhythms of Krautrock. Their debut set at Chinchillafest earlier this year was widely thought to be one of the highlights and since then they’ve been enthusiastically developing the Runners concept, from the songs themselves to their blog and excellent ‘Monthly Marathon’ download mix.

In keeping with recent LS6 music traditions Runners are all about the pursuit of fun and a damn good time. Their songs are brimming with a playful intent and a keen understanding of simple, hella catchy melodies and the fundamental joy of repetition. And we all know that’s exactly what good dance music is about, right kids?


HOOKWORMS is a band from Leeds, I think. Little help here? I have to confess I know nothing about them, other than their blog, which has a song, a weird pic and a cool logo, but doesn’t give much else away! Then there’s a forum post, which says “for fans of Comets On Fire and Spacemen 3”.

The song itself (‘Hours Of The Guilty’) is cavernous and expansive, with thick, effects-drenched guitars making the kinds of noises you might expect to hear in an iron ore smelting plant. The drums and bass weave a forward / backward spell on the brain, which creates a tide you want to give in to. Aside from that, I’ve seen the words ‘progressive’, ‘underwater’ and ‘psychedelic’ used in relation to them, so they sound pretty interesting I reckon.

They’ve played some pretty sweet shows so far by the looks of it, supporting Mi Ami, Brilliant Colours, and Wooden Shjips. They’re also playing with Sun Araw and Zun Zun Egui at the Brudenell on Nov 23rd, so I’m there!

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