Friday, 29 February 2008
Thursday, 28 February 2008
Are you Irish? Do you hate it when everyone else pretends to be on St Patrick's Day? Sickened by the idiots in Guinness hats? If so, you probably won't want to come to this...
...But then again, it is a freaking awesome lineup, isn't it?
Click the flyer to buy tickets, to be sure.
In other news: I went into Oxford city centre earlier for a BLT and a hangover battling powerful stroll when I encountered two bizarre, completely unrelated old men. The first looked about 50 and walked towards me with a real look of desire somewhere near to HMV. Fearing he was going to try and sell me something/mug me/talk my ear off about the power of our lord Jesus Christ, I smiled and said no thanks, slightly increasing my walking speed. Between my pounding hearbeats I heard him mutter "dude, you look like you need a second chance." Do I? What is it about me that says I need a second chance? Could he tell that my hangover really was that bad? The second crazy meeting came about 200 yards down the road. My pace has slowed back to normal yet my mind was filled with questions of second chances when a bespectacled old man, 40-ish, wearing a funny elf-like hat jumped out of nowhere and screamed the name "John Aldridge!" (he's an ex-professional footballer, girls). I glanced around and he repeated his shout, this time with a brilliant addition: "John Aldridge! He's the ghost of Paul Gascoigne and he lives at Wembley! I've seen him"
Gotta love the man men
The man with a brilliant face (left, not Jack, his is average at best) in the Star Cafe:
And best of all was the lad who fell asleep with his face on his newspaper, although I unfortunately didn't have time to snap that shot as his friend quickly came over to rescue him before trying to catch some z's himself.
Finally we arrived at The Wilmington Arms in Farringdon to catch Hush The Many's brilliant, slightly stripped down set. I'm not really sure how to describe the band but I guess Arcade Fire's quieter, more thoughtful moments, meet Radiohead, but with more of a nod towards the acoustic side of things. More drinks, shots and questions of how much trouble I'd be in if I stole a London night bus, assualting the driver in the process, technically kidnapping all of the passengers and driving it home to Oxford, without a licence, insurance or any other necessart doccumentation or qualifications, whilst somewhere in the region of 10 times over the alcohol limit. The night ended with a rousing rendition of 'hail to bus driver, the bus driver's drunk' and it was 4am before you could say "this has been another rubbish self-indulgent blog post." Sorry!
Wednesday, 27 February 2008
I got home around 1am quite drunk and felt the house move. I put it down to the booze and the fact that I'd watched about 7 hours of Lost the night before, leaving paranoid thoughts of 'others' and huge magnetic forces rife in mind, until I read this.
Also upon my return home I discovered that Gem had taken it upon herself to move the office upstairs around. My computer desk has revolved 90 degrees and I now find myself with my back to the TV and shoulder to the burning sun coming through the window. I don't know much about Feng Sui but today has been my most pro-active morning for a while and I'm feeling relaxed. My aura is pure.
Off to London again in a bit to meet some friends, 'enjoy' a meal at Wetherspoons, go for a meeting and watch Hush The Many play the final night of their residency at the Wilmington Arms. Good times all round. Same time tomorrow, Bat fans.
Tuesday, 26 February 2008
The Sun are currently running a promotion giving away European holidays for £19.50 per person, including ferry crossing and accomodation. With my last holiday now a whopping one month and two days gone-by it's time to plan another break-I-can't-afford-but-dearly-want-all-the-same. I have to collect 7 or 8 tokens printed in the paper over the next 10 days so have been making the short walk to the shop to pick it up each morning. Yesterdays front page was dominated with the words "99% of you want the death penalty back." Now I don't get involved in newspaper politics, or even opinions for that matter, but that's quite a stat. I'm yet to open the paper.
Today we start our trawl through the 6 Machine compilation submissions. At last count there was 121 of them so based upon an average of four minutes per track brings us upto around the 8 hour mark of musical enjoyment. Please God let it be enjoyment. Don't let me down, unsigned bands of the United Kingdon! Your musical output is set to shape by day and ensure the continued quality of the BSM release catalogue.
Also today I get my first airing of the new Secondsmile record. The band are in an East London studio all day recording violin and trumpet parts to be sent back to New York for the final mix. I always like this part of the album process. It's the part where the non-musical amongst us (ie me) are allowed to get involved and months of anticipation are broken with a series of listens, admiring the work, choosing a single and dreaming up promotional and video plans. There's also a chance it'll become a day of head-in-hands weeping and the realisation that you've agreed to release a piece of shit. Thankfully I'm yet to have one of those days and there's not a first time for everything!
We're about to announce a new release on Alcopop. It's not up on the website or Myspace yet but I'll give you a sneak peak right here. Shhh!
Friday, 22 February 2008
House of Brothers is also in on the new music game, posting a clip of forthcoming 7" single a-side 'Oh Please Let Me Sleep'. The new track features female vocals and there will be two b-sides and lovely artwork. A release date is yet to be confirmed but I'll be crowing about it on here when it's ready.
And to finish off this sterling round-up of new music, here's something non-Scary Monsters. It's an excellent band from Newcastle called Ever Since The Lake Caught Fire. I've been a fan of these for a while and forthcoming single 'A Fire Born In Dallas' is a stone-cold hit. The band have just finished a brand new recording which they have submitted for 6 Machine compilation consideration. Have you sent yours?
Thursday, 21 February 2008
If you're in a band and you fancy getting a track onto what is likely to be one of the best new bands compilations of the year, send an MP3 to firstname.lastname@example.org before midnight on the 24th Feb (please remember to include your band name, at least! It's concerning how many haven't thought to do this) and we'll add your name into the hat.
On Tuesday myself, Ivano and a crack team made up of members of Secondsmile, Tubelord, This Town Needs Guns, ex-Meet Me In St Louis, Rock Sound magazine and Xtra Mile Recordings staff will be sitting in a Shoreditch studio rehearsal room eating chicken, drinking cheap vodka and booming your music through a loud PA system until we have chosen our 12 favourites. Those 12 will then be uploaded for the world to hear and cast their opinion on, with the 6 most loved finding their way onto the lovely slab of vinyl.
PS. Sam Isaac was on Jo Whiley's Radio One show again yesterday and TTNG received 1300 Myspace plays in just one day. Good times.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
One bus, one train, four hours, 3 pages of scribbled notes, about 20 emails, a long musical conversation with Ivano and 4 phonecalls later I arrived. It was 4pm, I'd worked all the way there.
We headed straight to the pier, forgetting it was half-term and being confronted with a million and one small children, it was frightful. I lost my money in a machine whilst an ugly chav watched on, did some coated sun bathing with a drug-addled looking youth, we drank too much and were beaten by a tiny arcade goal keeper.
We admired the aesthetically pleasing City and then went for a meal with our good friend Harry Ramsden, the un-crowned King of Fish and Chips.
After this it was time for a few drinks with Pictures in an up-turned boat, catching up with James from Yndi Halda and the guys from The Crowns On The Rats Orchestra, and then this happened:
Anathallo. The best live band I've seen this year. Three times over. Simply stunning.
A dash for the last train ending in the wrong part of London eating Nik-Nak's and the day was done. Not exactly a restful day off enjoying the February sunshine but hey, at least I helped save this faceless man from drowning.
Friday, 15 February 2008
Yesterday I had very little money so by way of a romantic gesture I decided to bake a cake. Doesn't sound that romantic in writing, didn't look that romantic in practice. Being the master chef I am didn't pay enough attention to what I was doing and used plain flour instead of self raising flour. The result?
You can't tell from that photo, but it was no more than 1cm thick and tasted like toast. Some thoughts don't count.
Here are two tracks recorded live by This Town Needs Guns for Channel M last week, during their tour with I Was A Cub Scout. It was on proper TV and everything.
Thursday, 14 February 2008
Anathallo, where do I start? They were bloody brilliant! A nice mix of old and new material, with audience banter gained only after many, many shows. The stageshow itself was choreographed perfectly with somewhere in the region of 30 different instruments making an appearance during the half an hour set. If you're yet to see them there are still a few dates left on their tour before America steals them back from us. Don't miss out. Seriously.
Yesterday was cool although I'm torn between three lows in my decision over which was the worst: 1) Is the all day hangover I endured thanks to Tuesday nights cheap vodka, 2) is the drink I 'enjoyed' on my own, amongst hundreds of travellers, tramps and idiots at the Victoria train station branch of Wetherspoons during rush hour, and 3) is the chicken "deluxe" from McDonalds I desparately grabbed on my way back home, having not eaten all day. The food itself wasn't actually so bad, the stinking old bag-woman who came and sat next to me, coughing up a lung and spluttering it all over me on a park bench, was. I need to choose my eating locations more carefully in the future.
Wednesday, 13 February 2008
The gig was brilliant. This Town Needs Guns, Tubelord, Colour and Pennines all "kicked it" as the kids might say in trendy East London, and my DJing was excellent, even if I do say so myself. I dropped some massive bombs and only wandered off forgetting to put another record on twice, which isn't bad for me. The singer from We Are Scientists and some of the Mystery Jets were there, that's pretty cool, right? Highlight of the evening was probably the guy who found out about all of the bands and the gig thanks to the BSM podcast, or scoping out Thom Yorke's house on the way back into Oxford.
We've decided that we're going to get Chloe from Hollyoaks to dress like Stu, the singer from This Town Needs Guns in the band's next video. Here's an artists impression:
It's all go again tonight as Anathallo support Manchester Orchestra at the Scala. Really looking forward to this one. This week I've read nothing but good reports. Half the people have said "I love Anathallo and they didn't disappoint" and the other half have said "wasn't that into them on record but live they blew me away", so either way I think it's going to be a stone cold winner. I now have three hours to beat the hangover and start my trip back into London. I'm going to have another crack at mobile phone gig recording tonight. Keep em crossed.
Sunday, 10 February 2008
Secondsmile's album recording is ticking along nicely. They're feeling at home now, working and sleeping within the Brooklyn based studio, and half-way through laying down the drums which, from all accounts, sound huge already.
If you're in or around London on Tuesday night you should come to Barden's Boudoir up in "Stoke Newy". It's a free show with This Town Needs Guns, Tubelord, Colour and Pennines playing. Yours truly will be dropping some block rocking beats too.
Gemma's currently sitting opposite me working away on the St Patrick's Day gig flyer, to be sure.
Not a lot else to say right now. Lots of things going on this week and next so expect to see stories of gigs, many bus rides, drinking excessively and TV shows you've probably been watching for a very long time already.
Thursday, 7 February 2008
I'm off to a recording studio in London this afternoon to meet a bands manager, press guy and booking agent. Hob-nobbing, as ever, but it's all in the name of the next Alcopop release. Speaking of which, Jack (my partner in Alcopopping crime) has legged it off to Latvia for a week of drinking leaving me holding the blogging fort. Keep me company.
We've had loads of entries for the 6 Machine contest over the past 48 hours, including a few really good ones I've never previously heard, which is always a nice surprise. Keep em coming in. I've got a date with a bucket of chicken, bottle of vodka and all of your tracks in 2 weeks time.
This Town Needs Guns are on TV tonight, Sky channel 203 (can't remember the Virgin number, sorry Branson) and http://www.channelm.co.uk/ - Check it out. I think Justice are on too. The French dance duo, that is, not the hardcore band. Or Sly Stallone AKA Judge Dredd.
The new Get Cape Wear Cape Fly single is out soon and I just saw the video for the first time yesterday. It's pretty cool. A simple concept but has enough going on to keep you watching. See what you think:
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Meet Me In St Louis transparent, black splattered 12" vinyl and Yndi Halda 2x12" vinyl are both now available from www.bsmrocks.com/shop - Everyone should listen to Marvin's Revolt - Last night I ate one too many pancakes, lucky it only happens once a year - Anathallo flew to Dublin this morning to begin their tour - Passing them in the skies were Secondsmile, en route to New York to record their new album - This Town Needs Guns are on Channel M Thursday night, playing two songs live. You can tune in at channel 203 (Sky), 878 (Virgin) or online - The entrants for 6 Machine are flying in thick and fast. If you're in a band and want to throw your musical hat into our metephorical ring, lob it here - Following up with last weeks play on Huw Stephens show, Colin Murray gave Anathallo a spin Monday night and a very interesting review of their single can be read, or rather, looked at, here
Now, here are your hosts for this post, Anathallo...
Let me set the scene. In twenty hours and eight minutes, myself and the rest of my bandmates in Anathallo will be getting on a plane to begin our trip overseas. I'm currently sitting on a train in Chicago (the red line, just passing the Addison stop now) and I promised Kevin weeks ago that I would write a hello-of-sorts for his Blog Scary Monsters internet outpost.
If I had been near a computer, this would have been written much earlier. As it is, here I am on the aforementioned red line typing this out on my phone. Please forgive any misspellings, new friends!
But yes, let me introduce ourselves. We are Anathallo, a seven piece indie outfit from Midwest America. How can I explain us? This question, I feel, trips up artists all the time. This "who are we?" and subsequently "how can I make you feel like you know us by the end of this post?"
We play indie rock. That sentence pretty much tells you nothing about us. We have guitars, bass, drums, harmonies aplenty, trombones, more drums, trumpets, xylophones, and a piano. We have been playing as Anathallo for seven years now... having grown up in Michigan and recently relocated to Chicago, Illinois. Stages such as Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and Coachella have all held our music. We've shared bills with Joanna Newsome, Sufjan Stevens, and Broken Social Scene. But never ever have we been able to play past the Atlantic. It's been a dream of ours, well, since our very first practice. And now in a day, we will be on that plane and on our way over. An incredible feeling.
A million and one thanks to Kevin and Big Scary Monsters. Our two song vinyl is just being released on BSM and that's another dream in it's own right. Kevin couldn't have been more helpful with our planning for this trip, for our first release, and any thank you I type out will feel inadequate. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
So. Hello. We can't wait to meet all of you. I'd try and explain our music a little more but both our Myspace and blog of our own have enough of our sounds that you can make your own judgement. The blog, too, sort of (perhaps abstractly?) chronicled the making of our new full length record that ought to be coming out sometime in the late spring/early summer. We're very excited for that. I'll try to post a little bit of our trip there, too, in the upcoming weeks!
We'll also be travelling with a fantastic band (and even better friends) Manchester Orchestra. I probably don't have to tell you how great they are... but let me just say we couldn't be happier to be sharing this trip with them. It really is going to be the best time.
I think that's it! Perfect timing, too, as I just reached my stop. See you soon.
Bret and Anathallo
Tuesday, 5 February 2008
I sat down at my desk, wiped my white board clean and began to make a list of everything I needed to complete over the following 12 hours. Post mailorders, finalise Anathallo tour guestlists, update the website, chase for responses to a few emails, send a couple of Myspace bulletins and update this very blog with news of the 6 Machine project (below). A fairly tedious, non-descript day on paper but all of those things were pushed firmly down the agenda as a I read a number of similar posts on two different forums, all with the same worrying tales of Meet Me In St Louis' somewhat strange performance last night. The day had hardly begun but the rumour mill looked to have been churning for hours. From all accounts, the band looked far from their usual selves on stage. Moody, emotional, smashing equipment and to round it off, delivering the chilling line "this might be your last ever chance to sing along."
When my phone rang at 11.30 I wasn't even surprised to see Oli MMISL's name on the screen.
It's weird. Much like a relationship break up, the news takes a while to set in. After spending so many hundreds of consecutive days speaking to, thinking about and spending time with someone, it's almost easier to distract yourself with other things and bury your head in the proverbial sand.
I'm off to down my final packet of Nerds and start on my earlier list of tasks, 6 hours and one disappointing piece of news later than originally planned.
April 2008 will see the release of 'The 6 Machine', a 6-way split 10" record featuring bands picked by a public A&R community. With so many up and coming artists out there, this is your chance to help bring the cream of the crop to the surface and ensure that your opinion is heard.
Big Scary Monsters (the label which has previously brought you records from Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Meet Me In St Louis, Yndi Halda, Jeniferever, This Town Needs Guns and many more) are currently asking unsigned bands from all over the world to submit tracks. The best 12 will be chosen and a list will be published online asking anyone with an opinion and a decent taste in music to have a listen and let us know what they think. The 6 with the most votes come 7th March will make up the tracklisting of the vinyl, currently scheduled for release on 21st April.
Each person will only be allowed one vote so to help you pick your favourite we'll be running profiles of the 12 candidates over at Blog Scary Monsters throughout the voting period, as well as publishing a special, one-off episode of the BSM podcast (available via www.bsmrocks.com/friend or itunes) featuring all of the bands.
All bands/artists wishing to submit a track are asked to do so by emailing an MP3 to email@example.com - the deadline is 24th Feb and the 12 shortlisted bands will be notified via email that week.
For more information see www.bsmrocks.com/the6machine