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Black Marble and Discovery Zone @ The MOTH (Live Review)

  • Published in Live



I wake suddenly, soaking, from a vivid dream where a giant ice-cream cone is holding me by the legs and licking two fun-filled scoops of Captain Stavros to death, only to realize it’s just Poppy, the miniature Dachshund I’m looking after, licking my face. I must’ve passed out on the couch again after a rousing bout of tug of war. A minute later my alarm goes off, doors at the MOTH in 15 minutes. It's our first time back under the golden speckled dazzling Christmas ornament arches in over a year, and fuck ya, if it doesn’t feel good to be getting festive again. Missed this place.


20:45 Discovery Zone (@DicoveryZ0ne) takes to the veiled stage. An unassuming human who could just as easily be sitting in the train car, across from you even, destination unknown. Maybe they’re ordering a coffee in front of you, or perhaps even walking out the Tesco shooting a quick smile of acknowledgment your way, DZ is a ubiquitous person of interest but when they’re on-stage, attention is attributed rather than demanded. Their set starts off with ‘Dance II’, a cover, followed by ‘Nu Moon’, ‘Blissful Morning Dream Interpretation Melody’ and by track four, ‘Remote Control’ the audience had gone quite mad. Discovery Zone’s sound comes together with elements of Computer Love meets a remake of the Heathers soundtrack driving wildly out of control into Chromeo, in the ‘80s, on a theremin. Don’t ask questions, feel for a pulse (it’s there and then some, especially when DZ’s cutting shapes on and off stage throughout their set!), call for emergency services, take some pictures, and slowly slip into the night knowing the sounds and images can never be unseen and you’ve been forever changed. We were lucky to enough to be treated to a TON of new material too, you’re in for a treat. Never skip the opening act, kids.


21:30 Black Marble (@BlackMarbleNYC) take the stage. Soundcheck took forever and a day. 21:45, Black Marble actually take the stage. Worth the wait? I dunno, I can’t hear your over the ROARING BASS, liquidous aquatics of the keys and strings, such weavery would put Daisy Taugelchee to shame. We’re definitely getting a Wild Nothing vibe here and, to be fair, both shows were sold out and both played to packed audiences. Not only that but, both Jack and Chris have a similar band structure of revolving members. Fast and loose is the key to their success but it’s anything but sloppy.


Everyone and everything on the stage is sooooo New York and looks the part, nonchalant-chalantness at its best. Sure, with short cuffed trousers, high Adidas socks and matching trainers, it’s norm core on steroids, but the music is sound and all is forgiven. Although Black Marble might look like a bunch of suburban dads, I don't care because those vibes are easy to shake off. Visual stigma aside, you’re going to enjoy the clean sounding wavy tunes, the crowd certainly did. They’re up in arms, literally, claps everywhere the 'woooooooo' factor is defo there.


Slinking out after some crowd negotiations, I miss the encore on my way to the less than crowded loo, who’s having a midlife crisis off-stage now? Out the door I run into Tigercub’s drummer James Allix looking like a cool AF Billy Idol in his heyday. He tells me about an ‘80s ballad night he’s waiting to check out after the gig and I talk about B.M.’s bassist slapping like there’s no tomorrow the whole way through, haunting me like the riff off ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’. He smiles and listens politely like only someone stuck waiting in a queue can.

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Black Marble - Fast Idol (Album Review)

  • Published in Albums



Toss on Black Marble’s Fast Idol and you’ll be whisked away to a bygone era of when people used to dance themselves clean and beyond. This far-reaching LP, at times nostalgic, reaches back beyond the dance electro days of the ‘00s and tugs at the synth strings of the New York ‘80s club scene. Black Marble, a.k.a. Chris Stewart explains the album’s sound in his own words as:


sort of a return to barbarism, reclamation by nature over the state and the protagonists are observers of this going on and narrating it from an anthropological point of view...So anything that hints at these motifs but in your own way.


Released on Sacred Bones Records, hosts to the likes of John Carpenter and David Lynch, you know that at the very least you’ll get something interesting from an album worth at least a listen to satisfy your curiosity. This time, like a Pizza Hut Ice Cream buffet, you’ll be going back until something inside you ruptures.


‘Somewhere’ is an excellent inauguration to the album. It’s sample menu of sounds more than an introduction and an all-round great tune. It sets the tone for Fast Idol, those who enjoy looking over a menu before heading out for a nosh will appreciate. The song folds together all the elements Chris uses to create his signature sound. It’s soft, pleasing and with a hook that nudges you off balance while Chris’ vocals reach out to steady you.


Buried in the middle is lyrical beaut, a ballad with a pulse, ‘Ceiling’. Here you’ll find Chris reaching back to the ‘80s and drawing inspiration from the bands like New Order, ‘Ceiling’s elemental structure is fused together by distilling the essence of tunes like ‘Temptation’ and ‘True Faith’. ‘Royal Walls’ opening is almost indistinguishable from ‘80s legend Madonna’s ‘Into The Groove’. They sync up better than Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz. ‘Say it Forward’ definitely has that ‘00s feeling, you’d expect to find Sofia Coppola having trouble choosing between Phoenix’s ‘Too Young’ and this for the Lost in Translation soundtrack. We’ve compared inspired sounds but there are stand-alone tracks too. ‘Streetlight’ is a Frankensong. The Monster just wanted a friend but this song wanted friends, it’s got so many funky moving pieces it’ll get your funky pieces moving.


 ‘Brighter and Bigger, is a warbly wave goodbye, complementing ‘Somewhere’s handshake greeting at the start of the album. The song spins like a softly lit carousel at an empty theme park, a final ride before the sendoff. You might, at this point, have a preoccupation with ‘what is on the way?’ thinking to yourself, is this it? No, it’s not over yet, this track, although a timely farewell, will give you enough opportunity to see that Black Marble is on the horizon and sailing across the pond playing a whole string of shows around the UK this month and next. No doubt Chris will draw from a rich back catalogue of his four previous albums.






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