Sunday, 30 December 2007

Stop the carvery

So that's the festivities over for another year then, did everyone have fun? My Christmas day was slightly reminiscent of Dawn French's, waking up at home to eat leftover Chinese from the night before, legging it to my parents house for a big meal at 1pm before making the 2 hour drive up to Peterborough to enjoy a second one with Gem's family at 3.30. I would've been asleep by 6 had it not been for back to back to back action films and late night poker on TV. Worst present of the year award goes to my little sister who bought me some washing up gloves.

I'm off to New York in just over 2 weeks and have no money. Seriously, I'm fresh out. Starting to worry about my impending time spent sleeping on the cold streets of Manhattan. Something will come up, I'm sure.

For the first time in about as long as I can remember I'm going to try and avoid making new year resolutions. There's just no point. I'll have forgotten about them by January 10th, probably not remembering again until next December by which time I've failed on 9 out of 10 counts and be too busy/lazy to try and do anything about it. I am, however, going to set myself a few vague goals for BSM, therefore giving myself a nice get-out clause in that I can shift the blame onto others if any of them don't happen. Off the top of my head, early targets will include...

- Improve mailorder turnaround time
- Increase distribution outside of the UK
- Double blog readership in Peru (see earlier post)
- Release an album which at least one person (not including myself or the artists) proclaims to be the best record of 2008
- Get a band to tour Europe again (I want a cheap holiday)
- Release something on an unconventional format
- Single-handedly save the UK music industry


Enjoy the final hours of 2007 and have a safe trip into 2008

Take it sleazy
x

Saturday, 22 December 2007

House of Brothers blog

The second of our guest blogs from bands, this time from Andrew Jackson, AKA House of Brothers:


"It happens that the stage-sets collapse. Rising, tram, four hours in the office or factory, meal, tram, fours of work, meal, sleep and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, according to the same rhythm - this path is easily followed most of the time. But one day the 'why' arises and everything begins in that weariness tinged with amazement. 'Begins' - this is important. Weariness comes at the end of the acts of a mechanical life, but at the same time it inaugerates the impulse of consciousness. It awakens consciousness and provides what follows. What follows is the gradual return into the chain or it is the definitive awakening. At the end of the awakening comes, in time, the consequence: suicide or recovery. In itself weariness has something sickening about it. Here, I must conclude that it is good. For everything begins with consciousness and nothing is worth anything except through it."

- The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus.

Tonight I'll go to sleep late. Tomorrow I'll wake up early. I've got a lot of writing to do tonight. I've got a lot of buying to do tomorrow. I've got compromises to make as I'm sure you do too. Christmas is nearly here, and with it comes the end of yet another year. I was trying to think of all the memories I can clearly remember between the date of my birth and becoming a teenager. The list was far from extensive. I tries to musture all the memories I can partially remember between the same dates; the list was even shorter. Memory is a funny thing. What with all these toils, accomplishments, journey's, bargains, good deeds and regrets that fill our everyday lives, it seems the memory cannot keep up. Our brains may work faster than we can walk, but we will walk further than our minds can imagine. And so is revealed the perpetual dichotomy between body and soul. Must they be forever be shackled to one another in such a way?

Treat yourself or a loved one this Christmas to the 'DEADMAN' EP which is now available.


LOVE.
Andy
x





Watch the latest episode of Cnet TV's Encoded show, which includes a nice little mention for House of Brothers. Click here to stream

Friday, 21 December 2007

Tan Zhizhou

Doesn't it just piss you right off when you keep getting stopped in the streets of China and asked if you are Rowan Atkinson AKA Mr Bean? Well thankfully it doesn't offend the resourceful Tan Zhizhou. So used to the numerous autopgraph requests he receives, Tan plans to open a restaurant to capitalise on his fortunate, and may I add, uncanny, looks.



You can read more about Tan by clicking here or if you like, you can check out another Mr Bean lookalike at the impressively titled website: mrbeanlookalike.com

Oasish

What are you doing on 20th December 2008? WRONG! You're coming to The Limelight in Crewe to see Oasish and The Stereotonics

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Class of 2007

So many of you enjoyed the Class of 2006 promotion we ran last year it seemed only right to bring it back for a second term, suitably updated, of course...




Click here to purchase or here to peruse the shop... And then purchase, obviously :-)


Last night, after my delve into the forthcoming live music events of New York, I moved onto sports and tried to purchase tickets for the Knicks v Celtics basketball game at Madison Square Garden. The $10, 5 tier high, bearly-visible-but-remember-the-cheap-as-chips-price-so-can't-complain seats immediately jumped at me and I tried to purchase a couple. Refused. Ok, I'll upgrade, it's still only about £12. Nope. An hour later and I'm still having no joy. Two hours later and I'm on the phone to Ticketmaster in NY, furiously answering their stupid questions whilst angrily clicking through website after website of touts who have bought up all of my $10 seats and are now selling on for 5 times the price! Those damn pirates, I was livid!

Well, Knicks, I can now let you know you and your morrally-inificient tickets have officially lost my support as I have discovered that the St John's Red Storm (a local college side) are also playing during my trip and have tickets, a whole tier lower for only an extra £2.50, still available for me to purchase. That's one in your eye, stupid touts! And not only that, but the Red Storm appear to have the single greatest sports logo I have ever seen.



Go Storm! Wooh!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Decisions decisions

So I'm off to New York for a much needed holiday in January. It seemed rude not to check out the gig listings and I'm delighted to say that on my 2nd night there I have a choice between the following, in amongst hundreds more...

Blonde Redhead
The Karma Police (Radiohead tribute, obv)
Isaac Hayes
The Queers
Kevin Devine
Mission of Burma
A Doo-Wop night
Not Waving But Drowning
Some jazz guys 75th birthday party
Judas Rising (Judas Priest tribute, omg)


What a night. What a decision. Any help?

Monday, 17 December 2007

Mess

What a disgraceful weekend that was. It all started Thursday night in London where we had tears, fights, blood, stitches, dancing, road accidents, a kebab shop argument and, of course, way too much alcohol. The tour then moved to Oxford Friday, seeing us all beating our hangovers by going for much of the same, but this time with the addition of being thrown out of a club for sleeping in the toilets, a musical tramp and basically no other memories. And just when you think it couldn't get any worse, the tour moves up north to Middlesborough whilst I decide to stay in Oxford to join Gemma's brother and friends for a night out drinking. After 7 hours in expensive bars, mixing all manner of wine, cocktails and spirits I find myself watching breakdancing and invisible skipping ropes in the back room of a club, in much the same mental state as the nights before, yet somehow only £5 poorer than at the beginning of the evening! Sunday, I'm pleased to report, was spent in front of the football slipping in and out of consciousness.

Focussing on the music for a moment, it was a fantastic couple of nights with all of the bands at their brilliant best. Dartz, Secondsmile and This Town Needs Guns all debuted new tracks, as did Frank Turner in London and Pennines, who were playing only their third ever show, in Oxford. Both gigs were sold out/absolutely packed so thanks to everyone who came along and I hope you're enjoying the free CD.

Sam Isaac's 'Sideways' debuted at number 18 in the indie charts yesterday and number 112 in the physical only singles chart. Not too bad for a week packed out with re-hashed Christmas "classics" and dubious new entries.

Christmas is getting ever closer. I've now bought a few presents but, being the busy shop-hating scrooge I am, decided to purchase everything online this year and so far not a single gift has shown up. I'm planning a very quick visit to the city centre one morning this week to pick up wrapping paper and the final couple of presents, with my ipod set to the play most tranquil music I own, without which I don't think I'll survive what is surely set to be one of the most frustrating days of the year.




Wednesday, 12 December 2007

The history of Christmas

We're getting closer and closer to Christmas but I'm not really feeling it yet. Perhaps it's because I don't have any decorations up? Perhaps it's because I haven't bought any presents yet? Maybe it's because I'm getting old and Scrooge-like? Even the couple knocking on my door to tell me about the wonder of Jesus Christ a few minutes ago did nothing for me.
I plan to launch myself head first into the spirit of the season tomorrow with the first date of the BSM / Xtra Mile Christmas Tour (with Dartz, Secondsmile and This Town Needs Guns). It's at The Luminaire and sold out sometime over a week ago. Our huge guestlist on top means that the place will be cosy to say the least, and I fear Santa may have his work cut out for him trying to make his way through the crowds. If years gone by are anything to judge it on he won't mind though.

This will be the 5th BSM Christmas Party and they've never failed to disappoint:

2003 - The Verge in Kentish Town, with My Awesome Compilation and some other bands I can't even remember now! All I do remember is that two of them had to pull out because they were snowed in, I got drunk and arrived 10 minutes after the doors (which I was supposed to be manning) had opened, my friend ate a badge and the MAC bassist accidently kicked a hole in a wall before we were all chased out of the building.

2004 - The Metro on Tottenham Court Road, with Secondsmile, Sparks Lights & Flames, Boom In The Diamond Industry, Kneehigh and a little known lad from Southend called Get Cape Wear Cape Fly opening the bill, playing his first ever London show. The place was packed, some kid bought a Christmas log cake and left it on the bar for everyone, a friend of mine had his trousers pulled down in front of a girl he fancied and it turned out to be Secondsmile's last show with their singer, Olly, as he left the band after the show, having got drunk, naked and a few other things!

2005 - The Barfly in Camden with Secondsmile, Jairus, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly and Itch. One year on and Secondsmile return to headline, this time with a new sound and one less member. The show was part of the first BSM Christmas tour, sponsored by Rock Sound, and saw a wall in my house nearly pulled to the ground, us all being denied entry to clubs in three different cities and Sam Get Cape lose a different item each night. In Manchester the venue doors had to be locked because he thought his laptop had been stolen, Coventry he couldn't find his guitar case, London he misplaced his trousers, Southend he, along the rest of, lost his mind after a midweek all-dayer which ran into the early hours with way too much booze, and Oxford he lost everything, and for real this time, as a thief made away with his bag containing laptop, wallet and many other posessions. A bizzare end to a day which also saw him record his first ever Radio One session. A real roller coaster of emotions!

2006 - Back to The Barfly in Camden, again with Secondsmile, this time joined by Meet Me In St Louis, Yndi Halda and the winner of our unsigned band contest, which, after 200+ entries and thousands of votes, was Haemostatic Picnic Races. This was another Rock Sound sponsored tour and a whole lot of fun, with Get Cape ending up playing an impromptu acoustic set whilst Yndi were setting up. We all then got drunk and danced a lot. I can't remember anything else so I guess it was good fun?

2007 - Watch this space...






Monday, 10 December 2007

The Big Day

So today's the big day. Sam Isaac's 'Sideways' single is finally out. We've worked our butts off on this one over the past couple of months and it's been a lot of fun! 15 Radio One plays, a bunch from Radio Two and 6 Music, playlisted on Xfm and Virgin, artist of the week on Myspace and so much more. To celebrate the release we're giving away free posters to the first 10 people to order it, as part of our ongoing Advent Calendar promotion. Also, if you have a spare 79p and fancy helping a brother our, 'Sideways' is available now on itunes and we're looking to shift as many as we can this week. Just click here to purchase it. Christmas number one looks a bit above us, but I've got my eye on the number 200 spot!


The video for 'Lose Yourself' by House of Brothers is up online now. I really like it. See what you think:




The BSM/Xtra Mile Records Christmas tour (featuring Dartz, Secondsmile and This Town Needs Guns) starts on Thursday in London, before moving onto Oxford, Middlesborough, Birmingham and Sheffield. Both the London and Middlesborough dates are now sold out. Unfortunately there's nothing I can do about 'Boro but I've managed to keep two tickets aside for London and, in the true spirit of Friend of The Family, have decided to run another competition! If you want to win them head over to www.bsmrocks.com/friend right now. You'll also find competitions to win a copy of everything we've released in 2007 and to win a bunch of rare promo CDs and DVDs. Be quick, deadline for the tickets is lunchtime Wednesday 12th Dec.

Final thought: Reading > Liverpool. 3-1 says so.

Friday, 7 December 2007

You know you're Billy Big Balls when...

...NME write this about a show you put on: “Hadouken, The Subways and The Rakes could all be found crushed into Camden's Enterprise for Meet Me In St Louis' last show with their current singer. Anyone looking to apply for said role should apply in writing on their Myspace site”

You also know you're Billy when Sam Isaac is the main featured artist on Myspace this week, clocking up literally thousands of hits within the first few hours alone.

And you really know, beyond any shaddow of doubt, that you are indeed Mr Big Balls when you receive an email from Rawle D. Lewis, AKA Junior Bevil in Cool Runnings, and he ends it with the line "Peace, Music Man"



Sheer bliss.

I'm now off to warm up some cold fish and chips from last night and to ready myself for dancing to goFASTER at Koko tonight.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Podcast love

So yesterday I received an email from Stu, the singer from This Town Needs Guns and it read "Anathallo are incredible!" having heard them on the new BSM podcast. "Yes" I said "you're right." A couple of hours pass and I receive another email, this time from Bret of Anathallo fame: "The podcast kept me entertained all afternoon. Who's that first band right at the start? That song's so good." What a coincidink. "Well Bret, that is This Town Needs Guns." Gotta love the way a podcast unites.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Bus Fare Home

Bus fare home. BFH. Bullseye was so ahead of its time. SMS was purely a miss-spelt ship back in those days, not the crazy vowel-hating text message language of the modern day.

Anyway, our recent competition is over and it's time to announce the winner is.. Drum roll please... Robert Hirst! Robert wins copies of the House of Brothers EP and Sam Isaac single by correctly answering Anathallo to the question which can be found below, if you want to.

However, do not dispair all you non-Robert Hirst's, as we've just started up a new competition, and it's a biggie! This time we're giving away a copy of everything we've released in 2007. Ev-er-y-thing!! That includes Meet Me In St Louis' album, EPs from House of Brothers and Richard Walters, splits from This Town Needs Guns/Cats And Cats And Cats and MMISL/Secondsmile, 7" singles from Sam Isaac and The New 1920 plus 2 compilation CDs! I know, I know. Wow doesn't cut it!

To stand a chance of winning, all you need to do is email and tell us where we found the very last track on the December podcast (which can be downloaded from here). Simple as that.

Deadline is 7th January and a winner will be chosen at random. There will be no BFH for losers. Good luck!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Kev 1 - Gravity 0

I've fixed my BSM storage unit/tired old wardrobe. Last week the thing cracked under the weight of good music but with the added support of some old books (including a palm reading guide, a cook book and a couple of old diaries) it's business as usual round these here parts.

I've had a bit of a podcast moment. Much of my morning has been spent learning how to upload a podcast to itunes (rss-what?) in preparation of the first BSM episode, and just as I conquer that challenge I learn that everyone's favourite daily rag, The Sun, will be featuring Mr Isaac in their podcast next week! That's on top of him being a featured artist on Myspace and having his video (you've seen that now, right? How good are those cakes?) featured on there the week after. A joyous Monday morning thus far.

New issue of Rock Sound comes out on Wednesday and between you and me they've got at least one of their tips for 2008 right. House of Brothers y'all. It's the future. And on the subject of HOB tips... Free MP3 to all Friend of The Family members today. You heard it here first.

Here's a video:


Sunday, 2 December 2007

D, I, S, C, O

Last night I went to a roller disco. A fricking roller disco! I spent two hours literally walking around rendering my 8 wheels effectively redundant except for the times some idiot would crash into me and they'd suddenly start spinning out of control, sending me hurtling towards the barrier, a group of people or the floor. Sometimes all three. The majority of skaters there were pretty good, despite the terrible retro clothing, there were a couple of complete novices like myself and there was a small group of afro and vest-clad show-offs zipping in and out of the crowds and spinning around like the Warriors turned gay. When my time clumping around on wheels was over I put my shoes back on and for the first time all night my feet started to try and slide. My brain works in funny directions sometimes.

Just updated the BSM advent calendar and I'm going to let you into a little secret: Behind door 2 is a free MP3 of Meet Me In St Louis' 'Eins Zwei Drei Hasslehoff'. FREE I tell ya. Go take advantage. This one's on Santa



Saturday, 1 December 2007

Pinch, punch

The BSM advent calendar begins today! Each day throughout December we'll be offering free MP3 downloads, gifts, special offers and more. All you have to do is sign up by entering a username, password and email address. It doesn't cost anything, and we'll even give you a £1 gift voucher when you do it, in the spirit of the season and all that