Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Today is interesting too - actually had an Jesus Jones interview! It's for the NME, part of a piece they're doing about bands from our era who are still going (eep!) First time we've done an interview for the music press in many, many years. Was great to get all of us in one place again (minus Al, of course) and we actually seriously discussed the possibility of recording an album next year too. Again, i'll keep you posted.
Tonight sees me heading down to Brighton, as i'm getting jabs for the forthcoming holiday done tomorrow morning.
Have I told you all about the holiday? Ah, ok. I'm going to be here:
For two weeks, starting boxing day.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Here's a video of Blue Train (who had just changed their name from Go! Service) performing their single "Land Of Gold" in London's docklands in 1985. Jo and Danny from the band found fame several years later as It's Jo And Danny.
So why is this bringing back so many memories? Because I was there, that sunny day. I was standing behind the camera as this video was being filmed. I'd stayed at Dan Treacy's place after a TVP's gig, and we popped over to check how the filming was going. I've not seen this clip for 23 years, and I can feel the ghost of my young self, dressed in anorak and stripey T-shirt, sitting on my shoulder. It's odd, but somehow, deeply reassuring.
Tonight is all about relaxation: a little bit of telly, some wine, and lots of sleep.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Then off to The Paradise, which was RAMMED :( Not sure why, might have been something to do with Comedy night going on upstairs, but it was full as I've ever seen it. So, after a swifty, it was off to the William The IV (or the Wiv, as it's obviously known) round the corner. Much more room to stretch out and enjoy. Hurrah!
Looks like being quite a busy weekend, kicking off tonight with an Xmas party over in Chelsea. Bring it on!
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
You can walk all the way around the tower, watching planes drift overhead on their slow descent into Heathrow, see snaking lines of buses crawl along Oxford Street, see the spoke-like roads of Seven Dials bursting out into Covent Garden. It made me proud to live here, happy to recognise so many wonderful places, wistful at the memories that the views brought to mind.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
A day off school is simply one of the best days ever, you're free to lounge around in your pyjamas, watch unsuitable telly (don't forget, this is the mid-70's, so that actually means "Pebble Mill At One"), eat what you like (endless glasses of Lemon Squash and as many Rich Tea Biscuits as I could scoff) and the glorious, lazy hours of absolute inactivity. I would lie on the sofa, doing nothing. Sit on my bed, doing not much. Lie spread-eagled on the bedroom carpet, doing bugger all. Bliss.
But the thing which really sealed the deal for me was my dad's hi-fi. I was now its Master. I could turn the huge Sony amp (a TA 1150!!) up as far as I dared, and play whatever I wanted. My Dad had put all of his Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel onto Reel-to Reel tapes at the start of the 70's so that would always be a starting point, but from 1976 onwards, the best thing to play on a day off was always "New Rose"; with the empty house reverberating to those opening voodoo drums, whilst I sat at the foot of the stripped pine stairs (very 70's) and marvelled at the power, and the naughtiness of it all.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
There's a line in The Lover Speak's "No More I Love You's" (no, NOT the Lennox version, that was a cover!) where David Freeman talks of a language leaving him, and I can most definitely empathise: it's a slow, lingering death, a gradual erosion of something which once was precious, now reduced to a ghost of what it was.
If there's one thing it's taught me though, it's that I don't want that language to leave me forever. I don't want to forget how to feel. I want to find that language, and start speaking again. Part of this will be me finding my blogging voice again, after this enforced hiatus, so i'll be doing my best to post as much as I can over the coming weeks.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
The actual gigs? Well, I saw......fragments of bands, as I was somewhat occupied in clebrating the end of a truly successfull week at NME Radio. Here's to many, many more. However, I would say: turn it up a bit. Fatboy Slim was WAY too quiet. Pah.
Last night saw the completely welcome return of Lowgold to London, for another Islington show. They dedicated "Let Me Into Yours" to me, which flabbergasted me; though not as much as the actual song itself, which was the best i've ever seen them play it. I was left, just like last time, with a tear in my eye. They're still the best band of the last 10 years for me, and in an ideal world, they'd be much bigger than they currently are.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Apart from that, I've been massively busy with my friendfeed page, so if you're wondering what happened to the long stream of links and videos I normally post, well, they're on friendfeed. It's turned into one of those services I simply can't live without: I can't recommend it highly enough. If you have any interest whatsoever in Social Media, you need to sign up.
Monday, June 09, 2008
The real advantage of staying indoors, is that the stereo is there. Which means I can play this whilst looking at the sun:
Colourbox "Baby I Love You So"
It was the lyrics of "Ambition" that supplied with the material for my first real piece of graffiti - in large letters on a development of flats round the corner from my house in Hatch End:
"Am I guided, or is life free?
'Cos nothing ever seems to happen to me"
Here's footage of The Subway Sect, live in Glasgow last year, performing it:
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The entire staff of the Rough Trade shop took the day off to go and see the Camden Palace show, the only time the shop's ever been shut on a weekday! It's a measure of the esteem in which they held Husker Du, and was very evident when I worked there - that's where I learned to love the band, as the albums were always on constant rotation in the shop.
Last night's show was especially wonderful as it gave me a chance to get back in touch with an old friend, Jason Narducey (ex of Verbow), who was a great friend from Jesus Jones days, and who I've not seen in 17 years (eeep!). He's now playing bass in Bob's band, and was absolutely rocking last night. The entire show had so much power it nearly took my breath away, and the fact that they attacked "New Day Rising" at the end of their show with as much energy as Husker Du started theirs, 23 years ago is testament to how good it was...
Tonight? more booze, I'm afraid - there'a Twitter meet-up in Soho! Better go get ready....
Monday, May 19, 2008
Anyway, what's been going on? Plenty over at Shadowglobe, but I'll keep you posted on that over the next week or so. Apart from that, it was The Great Escape this weekend, Brighton's answer to SXSW. Lots of great bands, most of which seemed to have been played on Shadowglobe at some point, which left me feeling rather proud. Highlights? Well, you won't really be surprised; they're the bands I've plugged on this site already- Bon Iver, Wintersleep.....
But the real highlight was AA Bondy, at the Pavilion Theatre on the Thursday night. He has this laconic charm, which if you look superficially, seems to be a scratchy, lo-fi dylan-esque pastiche. But he's so much more than that: the songs have this bruised beauty which takes them into a whole new space. I genuinely think he's a major talent; with any luck, so will a whole lot of others. Here's a Youtube clip (which is actually a few months old) which is similar to the performance he put in last Thursday:
AA Bondy - "There's A Reason"
Buy the album here
Friday, May 09, 2008
Sunday, May 04, 2008
A gentle Sunday morning needs some gentle musical brilliance, to illuminate its beauty still further....
I'm not sure if the album is available over here yet (I'm going shopping on Tuesday, I'll let you know) but it looks essential to me. There's plenty more on their myspace .
Friday, May 02, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Seems like I'm not the only one who's getting evangelical about it, either.
This time next year, it'll be as ubiquitous as Facebook.
But here's what I predicted: Xfm's audience collapsing.
The station is now in serious trouble, and I wouldn't put it past their new owners to be thinking long and hard about some fairly drastic measures (rebrand? close it down? wholesale redundancies?) when they finally take over. It's coming up to noon, which means the staff at 30 Leicester Square will be gathering for a RAJAR debriefing. There will be some long faces, a lot of shuffling feet, and some VERY frightened people in that meeting- oh, to be a fly on the wall!
My hope, is as ever, that the good people there can be given time to show their true potential, and that the morons responsible for the sorry decline of a once-proud station are summarily despatched to the Job Centre.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Today I've mostly been sorting out my laptop, tidying and tweaking some of the programs I've got installed. If you're running Windows, this list from Lifehacker could help simplify your life- give it a go!
As far as music goes: it's all about this for me today- "Emergency! Emergency!" by The Promise Ring. Now that's what I call emo ;)
Monday, April 28, 2008
I wonder if Lowgold have a tag on my blog? If they don't, they will, soon.
Right, off we go...
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
More on their myspace.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
I spent Monday night at the Islington Academy, watching Lowgold. It's been almost 8 years since I first saw them play (at the garage, supporting Wheat) and two years since their last show (it's in the archives!) I can vividly remember the sense of wonder when I first saw Lowgold, and that sense of wonder has never dimmed; if anything, it's become stronger and more resolute with every passing year. I've said this before, but they are, without doubt, my favourite British band of the last 10 years, and it would seem I'm not alone in my opinions. The crowd was larger than two years ago, and even more appreciative. The set they played on Monday was nothing short of jaw-dropping, and, bizarrely, could have been drawn up in response to someone asking me: "tell me, which songs would you MOST like Lowgold to play?" It consisted of all my favourite tunes they've ever done, with the possible exception of "Back Here Again" and "Can't Say No". I'm not ashamed to say I had tears in my eyes on a number of occasions (notably on "Let Me Into Yours")
What was especially pleasing to see, was the positive reception given to tracks off the new CD "Promise Lands". "Burning Embers" in particular, sounded immense, and left me slightly dumb-struck.
For all of you who fancy a trip down memory lane, here's the video to "Beauty Dies Young":
I'm off to listen to the new CD....again :)
Monday, March 31, 2008
Xfm returns DJ's to its daytime schedule.
So, the "revolutionary experiment" is over. And for those of you out there who bought Xfm's excuse that it was all about giving power back to the listener, finding a new and exciting way to engage with the audience, all of that claptrap.....let me just tell you this: I can tell you, for a fact, that it was only done to save money. They did all of that, they destroyed the sound and the credibility of the station I loved so much, just to cut corners and save cash. May they rot in hell!
Actually, 2 of the people responsible for the disastrous XU have already found themselves redundant, so once the remaining culprits go as well....then I'll finally open that bottle of champagne and toast their departure. So long, suckers.
And the culprit, I eventually worked out, was a tiny little accelerator programme I'd downloaded for use with my mobile broadband. For all you T-Mobile customers, it's on this page , but I strongly suggest you don't bother with it.
Apart from that, it's been another week of activity on Shadowglobe, most notable for finding one of my favourite new bands in the world right now. They are The Muslims , and they ROCK.
What else? Well, I've been keeping myself fit, seeing as I was looking a little portly after all the fun'n'frolics of the Xmas/New Year festivities. So, I've started jogging. Sheez, has it come to this? It's not very rock'n'roll is it? Well, it has meant I'm looking a little more svelte, and I'm loving the fact it means I can clear my head first thing in the morning, and approach the coming day with a greater sense of purpose. I'm no disciple, let's get that straight, but it's doing me good.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Well, it's time for another obsession.
Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Bon Iver. This is just wonderful, chilling, uplifting, haunting, exciting, thrilling and visceral genius. I defy anyone out there not to be moved by this.
Here's the video for "Wolves (Act I & II)"
The album is called "For Emma, Forever Ago" and would appear to be the first essential purchase of this year.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
At the present time, we seem to be in the eye of the storm, and there's a strangely serene, calm feeling to the day. As the drops of rain run down the window over my shoulder, and a small patch of blue sky peeks through the clouds, this song popped up onto the ipod: it seems rather fitting, despite it's seasonal references.
The Durutti Column "A Sketch For Summer"
FYI: the album from which this track came: "The Return Of The Durutti Column", originally came in a sleeve made of Sandpaper. It was a typical Factory Wheeze, supposedly to reflect the clash of textural sounds within the grooves, but more than likely Tony Wilson's astute ability to be able to mix marketing and style. Also typical of Tony Wilson was his penchant for saving the pennies here and there: he couldn't find anyone brave enough to fold up the abrasive sleeves, so asked one of his other Factory bands if they'd like to earn a few quid by assembling some sleeves. Reluctantly, they agreed. The band in question? Joy Division. Legend has it then, that as all the sleeves were hand-folded by Joy Division, some of their skin was left on the sandpaper, and thus all the sleeves contain tiny fragments of Joy Division DNA. it's probably wishful thinking, but it's a cute tale, nonetheless.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
The Criminal Minds: "Baptised By Dub"
(the sample "Can't beat the system, go with the flow!" is from an old MC Duke tune "I'm Riffin" which also provided most of the breaks for the early 2 Bad Mice tunes....)
But what else have I been up to? Well, trying to emerge from the depression of a long and difficult February. I'm getting there.
Monday, March 03, 2008
1) Buy EVERYTHING
2) Get all the railways
3) Get the Orange set
4) Sod Park Lane and Mayfair
5) Likewise, Old Kent Road
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Seeing as the weather is making me feel like this, there can be only one course of action: give in.
It's time for some Thursday Afternoon.
(and BTW, it's available on DVD at last!)
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
In other news, I have a cold. How long has it been since I was properly under the weather? Well, quite some time, but that isn't much comfort to me right now.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Panic! At The Disco "Nine In The Afternoon"
And, as if all that wasn't enough, they appear to have morphed into the Monkees in "Head". This, as you can imagine, is a good thing.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Well, let's look on the bright side..all of this means that Gcap are running scared, trying to shed ballast from their rapidly-sinking balloon, as it drifts down to the welcoming arms of the Global group, who must surely fancy their chances of a successful takeover bid.
I'd say that would end the careers of those, whose malicious and spectacularly inept tinkering has sent Xfm London into a spiral, losing it's voice, it's passion for music, and it's reputation in the process. If a takeover would mean there was an outside chance of the station being run by people who actually understood ONE IOTA of the music it played, and the listeners it represented, then I for one, would welcome our new radio overlords. Global, (or anyone else for that matter) it's over to you.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Monday, January 07, 2008
Went to the record fair in Brighton yesterday; there's truly no more restful and cathartic way to spend your Sunday morning than flicking through piles of old vinyl....
So what did I buy? Well, a trio of singles for a pound a pop. Firstly, the true punk/pop GENIUS that is "Animal World" by The Last Words. Australia's first real slice of Independent Punk, it came out on a small label in Oz in 1978, and was re-released on Rough Trade here in 1979. Check the video, this is one of those lost Punk classics that EVERYONE should own.....
If you need a copy on CD, it's on this compilation, which has loads more Aussie Punk and Post-Punk gems on it......
But for me, it's the joy of getting old Rough Trade singles that puts the icing on the cake: as a record collector, they're just....amazing. I love the light green labels, the over sized grooves, the "Porky's" scrawl in the run-out...and the actual vinyl always seemed to be somehow more substantial than other indie labels...
With Rough Trade as well, you were buying things from a label which continually confused and amazed you, with it's breadth of styles and statements. Within just a year or so of releasing "Animal World", Rough Trade were releasing the next one of the singles which i bought yesterday: "Are You Glad To Be In America?" by James "Blood" Ulmer. From DIY garage punk to...well, to a slice of No-wave industrial alt-jazz - there's change for you.
I can just imagine Nigel in the Rough Trade Shop, back in 1981, slipping copies of this into customer's bags, with a cheery recommendation of "you'll love this, it's great!" and then when they got home, those self-same customers would have one of those "WTF?" moments, and send the single off to the Record+Tape...
Well, the joke's on them; because, you know what? It turns out Nigel was right all along- it is a great record. Ulmers vocals have this ghost-like, haunting bluesy wail, that suits the dense concrete-jazz stew behind him perfectly...it's a record that could only have emerged at the turn of the 80's when the experimental approach of people like The Red Crayola's Mayo Thompson (who produced the single) was at it's peak. It's a record that is defiantly of its time, and all the better for it.
Last of the three singles was a copy of "Life's A Gamble" by Penetration. I know I've blogged about my love for this record in the past, and it seems my love affair with it continues unabated, as this was a "double"....I've already got it on 5 separate compilation Cd's, the CD of "Moving Targets" , FOUR copies of it on the Luminous vinyl album issue of "Moving Targets", and I've already got a copy on 7". But this one had a Picture sleeve, so it was time for yet another copy. Will I ever learn? I sincerely hope not.
The rest of my haul? A bunch of cheap 12"s, Baby Ford "Oochy Koochy (because it was the Remix), some old Woodentops stuff, a Blancmange single (no, i'm not sure why either) and a picture disc of "So Hot" by the Haines Gang.
I'll say it again, I LOVE record fairs :)
Friday, January 04, 2008
First up, "Weighty Ghost" by Wintersleep:
This is something I've learned to love via Shadowglobe , where it totally crept up on me. One moment it was just a song on the playlist, next moment I was lost in it. there's a certain mainstream sound running through it, but that poppy sensibility adds an edge to the confusion at the song's core. Great stuff.
Next up is "Comfy In Nautica" by Panda Bear, an offshoot from The Animal Collective. How can you not love something that sounds like the Beta Band channelling the spirit of Brian Wilson? Plus, there's a skating video to accompany it, Rah!
So, I'm back, and blogging again. How was your festive break?