Thursday, 31 January 2008

Footy footy footy!

The transfer window closes at midnight tonight making this one of the best days of the season without featuring any actual football. Rumours have been flying around for hours now. "My hairdresser's cousin saw so and so getting a taxi to dot dot dot", "I was cutting the grass at blah blah blah and saw Mr X shaking the chairman's hand", they're all amazing and never an ounce of truth in any of them. I've fought hard with my working schedule today with Sky Sports News playing in the background and now, at 6pm, it's time to give in and wave the white flag. Bring it on Murdoch, keep the footy news flowing!

I've found my way onto the guestlist for New Found Glory in Oxford tonight (the first of three guestlisted trips to the Zodiac in the next four days - they're going to love me!) so look forward to spending the evening singing along like I'm 17 all over again!

Come to this gig. It's free for all, not just dirty blaggers:
(it says This Town Needs Guns, Tubelord, Colour and Pennines at Barden's Boudoir in London - 12th Feb, by the way)

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

"Tubelord are an awesome foursome"

At exactly 17:05 on Wednesday 30th January 2008 Kevin Douch's sense of humour passed away. Cause of death: Natural causes.
There was simply no return from the depths of describing a band in rhyming, factually incorrect, words and then laughing uncontrollably out loud, in an otherwise empty room.

R.I.P.

Apples

I've got REALLY into drinking apple juice lately. I bought some Tesco Value stuff last night and I can't decide what is the most piss-like thing about it: the look or the taste. Perhaps a combination of the two? It's good either way. Does that make me weird?

I've managed to shake off my cruel homecoming virus and now feel back to full strength, or weakness, I should really say. Strength isn't a world often associated with my physique. Looking back I'm in two minds as to where my bug came from. Part of me says I was missing New York more than my body could handle, the other part thinks it's something to do with the girl who was puking in the seat in front of me on the plane. It had been more than 10 years since I was last sick. 10 years!

It's a busy time round here at the BSMpire. Meet Me In St Louis are, of course, on tour right now (I wonder if they even remember what their own beds feel like any more?), This Town Needs Guns are off out with I Was A Cub Scout and Rolo Tomassi this weekend, Secondsmile jet off to New York to start work on their album next week and Anathallo arrive for their tour with Manchester Orchestra on Feb 9th, which is only about 10 days away now. Pretty cool, Millhouse. Looking past that we have Tubelord's single and tour in March, House of Brothers plays a bunch of shows with Jonquil, TTNG hitting the studio to record their album that same month, Secondsmile touring the UK and hopefully Eastern Europe with Colour in April and MMISL trying out some possible replacement vocalists. Holy-overloaded-schedule, Batman.

Tonight I have some friends coming round. We're going to drink, eat chicken from a bucket, watch football and then the Royal Rumble. Pretty much the most manly fun you can have without involving alternative sexualities.




Monday, 28 January 2008

Short stories from the Big Apple



So, I'm home. I would like to say it's good to be back, but that wouldn't be true - sorry! New York was typically awesome and, to compound my misery, I picked up some sort of bug on the plane home which has left me bed-ridden for the past few days. But with the worry of a rarely updated blog disappearing down the web 2.0 toilet, I've made a determined effort to drag myself onto the computer and write this, a few quick New York tales.


The lad playing his pots and pans


The video explains it much better than I can put into words, so check it out and marvel at this guy's clever use of everyday objects, spotted at Times Square subway station one afternoon, whilst I was eating Nerds (remember them? Of course you do. Bloody brilliant they were, too) and wandering aimlessly.




Dinner with WK

Gemma and I were lucky enough to have dinner with the one and only Andrew WK last Tuesday evening. Visiting a local diner we spent a fine couple of hours chatting about cheese (and how I only like to eat it "on my terms"), Mr Bean (and his surprisingly worldwide popularity), the mainstream media's obsession with forcing 'the next big thing' down your throat and a whole host of other subjects. As well as this, we attended Andrew's low-key solo piano show at the aptly named Piano's bar in downtown Manhattan. The proggy supports and cross-dressing comedian were not to my taste, and my UK body clock telling me it was 6am when Andrew finally hit the stage didn't help at all, but a superb, if a little surprising set followed. Leaving the party inspired anthems to one side, the packed out tiny venue attendees were treated to a number of songs, laying somewhere between David Bowie and Tom Waits, pieced together with a number of dark interludes. I have no idea when Andrew plans to bring this music to a wider audience, but expect the unexpected...





M&M World


Seriously, how do you take one average-at-best candy product and turn it into a three-story, 25,000 square foot empire of merchandise? You name it, they've produced it. Ridiculous!





News

Four things really dominated the news during our trip: 1) The current election campaign, 2) The NY Giants reaching the Superbowl, 3) Heath Ledger and 4) The "artic blast."

Although my knowdledge of everything political is very limited I found myself quite intrigued by what was going on. With Hillary Clinton pushing to be the first female president and Barack Obama hoping to become the countries first black president, I can only imagine the turmoil some of the middle-state hillbillies are in right now as they try to weigh up the lesser of two evils.

My knowledge of American football, I must admit, is also fairly slim, but again this subject sparked a fair amount of interest in my sport-loving brain. Much like when any footballing tournament rolls around (assuming a certain Mr McLaren hasn't been allowed to get his grubby paws on the coaching title) and everyone in England suddenly becomes a super fan, New York was buzzing about this game. The Giants, from what I could gather, had pretty much fluked their way through to the playoffs and were now only one game away from reaching the Superbowl. I armed myself with a bottle of cheap vodka and as much Mountain Dew as I could get my hands on and settled down in front of the TV to watch the third coldest game in NFL history (true story, fact fans), and boy did I get my moneys worth! A match which I naively presumed would be over within an hour stretched itself out to THREE HOURS (with an advert break coming roughly every 2 minutes throughout), and that's before you take into consideration over-time. Still, The Giants, or "Big Blue" as they're otherwise known, battled through and won the game, much to the surprise of everyone watching, seemingly.

The whole Heath Ledger thing was a bit strange. I don't know how big the news was here but it was huge over there. It became the first subject of every news report on every channel for the following four days as everyone tried to figure out how it happened and reminded us all of some of the actor's finest moments. Oh and E! managed to get their hands on some footage which showed him talking about dying, which they then played to death. No pun intended. I can only imagine what kind of reaction will follow when the autopsy results come back, but a sad end to a promising young actor's career, nonetheless.

And finally, the "artic blast." Having been warned by many sources that New York is freezing this time of year, I felt a real tough cookie when stepping off of the plane to find it no worse than the current UK climate. And just as I was starting to think that New Yorkers are obviously much more delicate than we give them credit for, the blast set in. Sweeping over from the West was the coldest spell of weather I have ever endured. Temperatures of zero were greatly worsened by the windchill factor of -27, forcing everyone to layer up their clothes and wonder why Mother Nature hated us so.

Also in the news during our stay were two shootings and a stabbing. From the amount of coverage these received I fear they're not exactly rare.

The flight

We flew with Virgin for the first time and found the whole experience greatly enjoyable, right through from the quality of the food and service to the fact that Die Hard 4.0 and Ross Kemp On Gangs were on the TV. Coming home was a little tricky as the plane filled up with more 6th form girls than you could ever expect to find in a common room over the course of a full year. There were hundreds of them! All giggling excitedly, talking over all of the announcements and purchasing every piece of duty free merch offered to them. I had a quick count as we borded the plane and discovered that I was one of only 4 men on board. FOUR! There were more snakes on the plane in Samuel L's film.


Juno

I'm not sure if it's out in the UK yet or not, but I whole hearily recommend seeing Juno. Nominated for four oscars during our stay, I challenge any of you (male or female) to see that film and not come away with at least a small crush on the sharp-witted, if a little pregnant, lead character.



Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Head splitting

This morning I'm about as hungover as hungover can be. I'm such a dick. Last night I lost two poker tournaments, watched Liverpool tear Luton apart, tried to do some Alcopop work (pretty much incapable of writing) and then crashed at around about 4am, just 24 hours before I need to get up tomorrow morning. What horrible, head-crushing irony. I'm trying to combat my ill feelings by listening to Fang Island over and over. It makes me want to high five people.

There's a nice little review of the House of Brothers EP in the latest issue of The Fly and also one up on Drowned In Sound. Check them out.

Todays showbiz gossip: Old BSM flame Get Cape Wear Cape Fly filmed an episode of Never Mind The Buzzcocks last week. Not sure when it'll be aired. Hey, I didn't say it was good gossip!

Today I have many little bits of work which need tidying up before I go away, but I don't really feel capable of doing any right now. Instead I'm going to go into town, make a b-line straight for Kfc and just roll with the punches after that.

See you in New York!


Monday, 14 January 2008

Lunch

Lunchtime today at BSM Towers involved Ivano and myself sitting in front of the snooker eating fishcake sandwiches. Never a dull moment.

Free Tubelord MP3



Want to download a FREE MP3 from Tubelord? Obvz. Then click here and get it. You'll need to sign up but that costs nothing and it also gives you access to the BSM podcast and loads more free music, gifts etc etc.

The track, 'Half Man, Half Amazing', is a brand new recording, not taken from the forthcoming 7" single and it'll rock your socks and sandals off.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

The guy all the bad girls want

Another weekend over with, I hope yours was filled with fun. I did nothing and it was blissful.

I've only just noticed that my hastily posted Anathallo tour flyer below is completely blurred beyond recognition. How disappointing. If you want to know what it says, go here

Is anyone else receiving a silly amount of spam friend adds on Myspace right now? All of them have hot, bikini-clad, profile pictures and 200 million+ friends. Maybe it's not spam, maybe BSM has become really cool and improved my social standing to the point that every popular pretty girl in the world wants a piece? I think the spam idea's a touch more likely but a heap less exciting.

So, New York on Thursday, can't wait! It's List Central round here right now. I've got a white-board filled with things I need to do before I leave and I have a page of a notebook covered with things I mustn't forget to pack. Both of them fill me with fear but for quite opposite reasons.

A cheque for £2.91 from an Ebay winner is sitting next to me. A return to the city centre (and the nearest Lloyds bank) on the bus costs £2.70 and will take an hour of my time including travel there and back, plus time walking around. This does not take into consideration a) old people who walk really slowly right in front of me, b) bumping into someone I know, c) getting distracted by shops or d) going for a cheeky Kfc. After deducting my expenses, the 21p profit just doesn't seem that worthwhile and far far less than the hourly wage such work would usually demand. Somewhat ironically, it's 1p more profit than I made after placing £15 on a number of bets on this weekends football fixtures. Financial irony is a cruel bitch.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Good moods and Fantasy Football

Despite the sound of the rain pissing down from the very first moment I awoke, and the fact that I'm sitting here in my coat because I'm too lazy to go and turn the heating up, I'm in a good mood today.

I think I've only really listened to two bands all week: Tubelord and Anathallo. Having been excitedly awaiting the new Anathallo record for many, many weeks now I was delighted to find the MP3s sitting in my inbox yesterday. 4 or 5 listens later and I was ecstatic. As a record label owner I'm not sure there's a better feeling than absolutely loving the bands you work with and being so into their new recordings you just can't wait for others to hear them too.

I finally scraped together enough money to pay for my accomodation in New York, just one week before we travel. We'll be staying in a hotel in the, apparently sort-after area, of Upper Westside of Manhattan. The reviews I read online were mixed to say the least, and I can't bring myself to repeat what some of the negative ones said, but hey, it's cheap, there's a bed (I hope!) and cable TV. So expect me to return home with many tales of late night American sport watching!

I'm in two minds about whether to bring Giles Barnes, the Derby midfielder, into my Fantasy Football team. On one hand, it could be one of those daring moves which pays dividends because no one else has him. On the other hand, it could be really fucking stupid. I'm going to toss a coin. I hope that's how Alex Ferguson picks his side on a Saturday morning too.


Wednesday, 9 January 2008

We're bigger than Memphis

Things I have been doing lately:

1) Working my way through this list of 90's dance music videos

2) Listening to the forthcoming Tubelord single. Again and again and...

3) Reading endless ridiculous football transfer gossip, none of which will ever happen but excites me nonetheless

4) Looking forward to next weeks holiday and the fact that Andrew WK is playing an instrumental piano show in a tiny Manhattan bar whilst I'm there

5) Discovering I love Copy Haho

6) Planning releases, tours and crazy guerrilla marketing ideas

7) Eating food pre-fixed with the words "Tesco" and "Value"

8) Announcing the Anathallo single and Manchester Orchestra tour dates

9) Rhyming words with cheers (big ears) when giving thanks

10) Making pointless lists

If ending world pollution isn't part of your solution

Then I don't want to hear your stories told

Monday, 7 January 2008

Podcast shmodcast

We've just put the second episode of our should-be award winning podcast up online for y'all to enjoy. You can find it on itunes or download the MP3 via the Friend of The Family website. Sign up for free, if you haven't already.

The podcast features awesome music from Anathallo, Itch, Meet Me In St Louis, Tubelord, Jeniferever, Family Machine (Alcopop) and demo of the month from Caesura. It also comes endorsed by Dave Benson Phillips, who apparently rates Arcade Fire's 'Neon Bible' and 'Flying Cub Cup' by Beirut in his albums of 2007. Fo' real.

Speaking of DBP, here are some highlights from the FAQ section of his website:

Do you present Ready Steady Cook?
No, that's Ainsley Harriot


Are you married to Dawn French?
No, that's Lenny Henry. People get me confused with him quite a lot.


Check it out

Friday, 4 January 2008

FA Cup 3rd Round

Tomorrow is one of the highlights of the English football season. It's with fond and frosty memories I remember numerous freezing cold trips to see Reading playing in the FA Cup 3rd round, including one extra special year when Manchester United came to visit our rusty, old ground. Eric Cantona never looked so majestic.

Tomorrow I have £5 across 3 separate bets, each one slightly more outrageous than the last. If Wolves, Brighton, Spurs, Bristol City, Everton, Southampton, West Ham, Norwich, Chelsea, Blackburn, Swindon, Southend, Swansea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Leeds all win, the pressing of the next BSM release will be paid for, right there.

Wish me luck!




Ups and downs

I think my least favourite thing about January is everything. You're completely skint after Christmas, the weather is rubbish, it's dark all the time, you're still months away from summer and you feel down for all of these reasons. Then you turn on the radio and you hear, in amongst the stories of war, crime and hate, that this really is the most depressing time of the year, officially. Just in case you hadn't worked it out for yourself some clever so-and-so employed a bunch of scientists to do some research and prove it. Thanks lads, much appreciated. January is bleak, through and through.

Yesterday I had a particularly low day. I spent most of it sitting around trying to force my tired eyes to look at the screen and get motivated enough to concentrate on what I needed to do, with work piling up around me quicker than I could say "Man, what happened to the holidays?" It wasn't easy. Financial worries and the wind whipping around the house made me think that maybe the bears have it right with their crazy hibernation plans. Yesterday was a true January day.

Today, things are different. I overslept but woke up thinking "who cares?" I went to the fridge and found it full of food. I checked my emails and there were loads, every single one of them bringing good things and nice ideas. I've drawn the shutters over the windows, refusing to believe it's anything other than summers peak outside and things are disappearing from my to do list in a pleasing correlation with friendly emails dropping into my inbox.

Next week will bring an announcement of a new band and an exciting tour, a couple of interesting meetings, seeing friends I haven't seen since last year and my final full week in the UK before I head off to New York the following Thursday. Obviously nobody cares about any of these things except possibly the first one, but when did I ever say this blog was anything more than self-indulgent ramblings?

Currently listening to: Manchester Orchestra

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Paddyrasta!



You might think it sounds like something a superhero would shout when unleashing his powers but you would be wrong. Dead wrong. Paddyrasta is in fact an Irish-Rasta musical super-hybrid, the likes of which you could only previously dream of.



Shut the fuck up and come see them play on 23rd May in London. And download 'Fair Trade Bananas' here. See you down the front.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

I'm the motherflippin'

Back to work today. Been quite quiet so far as nobody else seems to have returned to their jobs just yet, but it's given me a bit of time to work through the email backlog and get a few emails sent out ready and waiting for people to get into their offices, stuffed full of turkey. The people, I mean, not the offices. Imagine walking into a room filled with poultry? Bizarre

My latest in a long line of television obsessions is Flight of The Conchords. You should watch it.




"Yes, sometimes my lyrics are sexist
But you lovely bitches and hoes should know I'm trying to correct this"