Friday, 27 June 2008

Party time

It's been raining here for much of the day today, I hope for the festival goers sake it's a dryer in Glastonbury!

Tonight Jack Alcopop (of guest blogging, meat hat fame - below), myself and our lady friends are having a CD burning party. Exactly as the name suggests really, it involves the four of us sitting around eating, drinking and burning 300 promo CDs. As if that wasn't enough fun on its own we also need to try and top up the ink in my printer using one of those cartridge refill things. This task will no doubt take place whilst drunk and almost certainly result in a badly stained carpet, just 6 weeks before we're due to move out of this house and plead for a full return of our deposit. The costs of this party lifestyle are sometimes unbearable.

On Sunday we're DJing at the Boring By The Sea festival aftershow party in Weymouth. I'm yet to decide what I'll be playing but anyone going should expect to hear a bit of Oasis, a little Will Smith, maybe some 90's dance, a touch of Bear vs Shark, Rival Schools and Andrew WK and, of course, a whole heap of BSM.

Listen to 'Spoils Of War' by Pavilion. Tune!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Hey! Housebrick

"Hey! Housebrick are you sitting in a building? Are you rested in a hand? Are you heading for a windscreen? Hey! Housebrick..." - I heard this song (by Hot Club de Paris) some 20 hours ago and it's still stuck in my head. When pop becomes pain, a difficult exploration of music.

So Aarhus was very nice. Myself and Gemma spent exactly 48 hours in Denmark's second biggest city, a lot of the time wondering how a place so small could actually boast such a sizeable title, and the rest of the time wandering, hanging out with the lovely Mimas boys, playing table football (ever seen someone perform a stepover at the table? It happens) and enjoying Danish meatballs, not to be mistaken with their scandinavian rivals in Sweden.

Since returning home I've won £20 in a poker tournament, enjoyed the fact that I have bets on the remaining three teams in Euro 2008 to each win the competition, all at nice long odds guarunteeing at least a £40 win, and stared long and hard at my bloated inbox trying to find the courage to tackle it.

The Secondsmile press machine is in full flow now. There's an awesome KKKK live review in this weeks Kerrang which says some very nice things about last weeks London show, with an album review to follow next week and an Introducing feature in August. Unfortunately balancing out the pleasure/pain spectrum is a very ill-informed 5/10 album review in NME. It's not ill-informed because the writers opinion of the music is clearly wrong (although that is annoying, I must admit), I'm saying that because she managed to shoehorn Foals' name in, exactly as we'd predicted, and picked on some lyrics which don't even exist! But in happier news, every other review for the record we've seen so far has picked up 4/5 or 9/10, including this one from Punktastic and this one from Alt Sounds.

I'm also pleased to report that Blakfish have an absolutely storming 5/5 review for their forthcoming mini-album 'See You In Another City' on the Rock Midgets website. Here are the guys performing as their slightly disturbing alter-ego:





Worrying

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

In the Middle of our Street…

See what I’ve done there (see the last blog post title for hilarious prank) – It’s Jack here, of Alcopop infamy, popping by, while the big man is battling Vikings on the Nordic coast to save us all from rape and pillage, to lay down a quick guest blog, to let you all know what’s going down in Alcopop towers.

Far from sifting through the crap bringing you MySpace fruit of the week (an admittedly genius feature), we’re having to content ourselves with the pop/alt/rock cream instead, and have a whole host of exciting releases a-coming over the summer.

Remember Sam Isaac, who released a gorgeous 2 track single on BSM/Alcopop back in December and had Jo Whiley vigorously doing diabolical things to herself under her mixing desk? Well, he’s taking a little time out of his hectic summer touring schedule to come back with a 5 track EP ‘Sticker Star and Tape’ in August – which has excited us all lots.

Plus we are very proud to announce that Brighton rockers This City, fresh from a tour with Rival Schools, have agreed to release their next limited edition single with us. Complete with a quite frankly awesome video (coming soon), and fresh from releases with Fierce Panda and Smalltown Records, we’re seriously stoked about this one too.

“Enough enough” I hear you cry – “we’re going to run out of cash!” – well save another few quid, because not only do we have the debut single from Wakefield pop-stars Pavilion, but also an awesome EP from Portsmouth’s hottest property since the HMS Victory, Cut the Blue Wire. With the latter currently stacking up summer tours and busting up veues like there’s no tomorrow – the boys have been described as “Sentiments of At The Drive-In, the soul of Enter Shikari and the twister ambience of Bloc Party" by The Fly. Throw a little Glassjaw in and you’re pretty much there. Oh and their video for digital only single Everest features wrestling semi-naked girls… Get over to the MySpace now!

Pavilion meanwhile recorded their single in Edwyn Collins’ studio, only to have it produced by Ryan Jarman of the Cribs – and after tours with Glasvegas, The Hoosiers and those aforementioned Cribs lads – things are looking good. Imagine Mull Historical society at their very best, awash with harmony and melody galore.

What’s more, we have various free downloads coming up over the summer, an awesome sampler (with a very dubious lobster themed cover) ‘AQA does not much care for Alcopop, Pimms is delicious’ out almost immediately. It’ll be available for 1 week’s free download, or ltd edition release CD (with loads of extra bonus tracks). Also, there will be brutal T-Shirts featuring new mascot Alcocroc, and a big gig happening in July (to be announced in but days… shhhhh).

So, there we have it! Keep an eye out on the POP blog for all the latest, and ta for reading! Here’s to BSM – and let’s hope Kev remembered his axe. In honour of him, here’s a picture of a man wearing a hat made solely of meat.

Sayonara.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Århus

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. In September Big Scary Monsters Records will be releasing the new album from Denmark's finest, Mimas. Sounding sort of like Jeniferever crossed with Arcade Fire, the 9 track record is already finished and sounds amazing. If you caught them on their short UK tour back in May, or indeed any of their previous visits, you'll already know they're better than sliced bread. I haven't announced the release on the BSM website, Myspace or anywhere else just yet, and probably won't for another few weeks yet, so this is just between me and you, ok?

Not so long ago the band and their manager, Martin, invited me over to visit them in their hometown of Århus, and upon discovering Ryanair flights for just £10 including tax, who was I to say no? So on Monday morning - at roughly 4am, some 3.5 hours before I even want to consider opening my eyes - I begin my trek north, bound for the land of Peter Schmeichel and vikings, very much looking forward to three days of meeting new friends and exploring Denmark's second largest city.

Unfortunately I couldn't afford to stay in Hotel Philip, the establishment owned by former West Ham and Celtic defender Marc Rieper. Although having read the opening paragraph from it's website it's clear to see his priorities still lay with his previous profession: "The hotel is owned by Marc Rieper, a former player of the Danish national football team, who headed the ball at the crossbar in the crucial moment against Brazil during the World Championship in 1998" - Marc! It was 10 years ago, let it go, man! Tell us about your luxury suites and evening menu!

I'll try to update the blog whilst I'm away but having just read that Århus is considered to be the main hub for basketball in Denmark, with the most successful team in the sport, the Brakken Bears, being based within the city, my time may be spent elsewhere. Your time should be spent at www.myspace.com/mimas



Thursday, 19 June 2008

Myspace Fruit of The Week: The Zico's

It's been a while since I last wrote one of these but now, despite being half cut on lovely lovely Pimms and filled with the joys of summer, I find myself seething with rage. The reason?

The Zico's - Myspace Fruit of The Week Part Four

The Zico's are a 6 piece shit band from Glasgow. Their Myspace page says of the fool who produced their track 'Green Screen': "Jamie Duffin has an excellent musical pedigree and his father Graeme Duffin was guitarist with Wet Wet Wet" - How this man's father being in one of the biggest crimes in the history of music gives him a "good musical pedigree" I don't know. Come to think of it, I don't even know what a "good musical pedigree" entails.

I initially discovered this band after they emailed both the BSM and Alcopop Myspace accounts, with the exact same message, of course, declaring themselves as the next big thing. Nothing new there, I have about 10 equally deluded showers of bastards contacting me with the exact same bold, always aggressively incorrect, statement every single day. What sets these apart is the evidence which can be found over at www.myspace.com/bigscarymonsters right at the top of the comments list. That's right, not content with just emailing me (twice) with their lies, they left the exact same message on my page for the whole world to see. I guess when you have good musical pedigree you can get away with such acts of public annoyance.

If you care to take a look at the aforementioned comment you might notice a little dig they take at arguably one of the most important bands in the history of the UK music industry. Love them or hate them, you can't deny Oasis have played a huge part in shaping a whole generation of us. Well, that's not something The Zico's would agree with. "When Oasis were discovered the music scene was shit and now it is worse than it has ever been" they mutter our of their arses. CD sales are dropping, sure. Many genres are now awash with shit, yeah. A lot of bands are terrible wannabe's trying to make their name with countless Myspace messages, case in point. I don't, however, think it's fair to blame the brothers Gallagher and co for the state of the scene.

So, if you have a moment and fancy listening to some sub-Madchester bollocks from Scotland, get yourself over to www.myspace.com/thezicos and kiss goodbye to 5 minutes of your life you're never going to get back. Trust me, I've tried.

I'm off to try and raise my musical pedigree and see if I can figure out what exactly it is about the BSM back catalogue which makes so many inappropriate (and I don't mean that in a Big Scary Monsters sense, I mean that in a worldwide, history of time, why did you ever bother sense) bands attempt to ruin my day.

Canine conspiracy

A passing dog just stopped in the street outside to bark loudly at a nearby cat, busy minding its own business licking itself. I started thinking how rubbish society would be if humans acted like that, but then I remembered the nights out in my old home town of Wantage and the regular rugby club fight squad with their pint-kebab-brawl routine, and realised we're not so different. My mind continued to wander and I struck upon an interesting thought: What if cats are not the lovable, attention seeking darlings we think they are, but in fact they're secretly evil beings plotting to take over the world, and only the dogs know about it? Consider it, next time you make eye contact with a local feline. It might be the last thing you ever do.

On a completely different note, the Secondsmile album is now available to pre-order for £8 from this link right here.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

My weekend in pictures

Sunday. Somewhere deep in Essex at the TNA Impact show:



This is me and Kurt Angle, as you can see he's filling his pants with fear. Moments later I suplexed him through a table onto a bed of burning nails.



This is what happens when you go to wrestling events dressed like a cunt.


Monday. On a train somewhere between Oxford and Manchester:



Sam was busy composing new, and awesome sounding, Get Cape demos and answering emails from a number of Hollyoaks cast members. Meanwhile I opted to keep it real by drinking 7-Up and studying Rock Sound looking for and pointing out grammatical errors. You tell me who's the most rock n roll!



That night we went to see Rival Schools and Secondsmile at the Academy 3 in Manchester. It was awesome. The night ended in a bar called Big Hands where Walter did his best impression of Wallace And Grommit, after which we went back to the hotel and composed massive drum n bass hits on a laptop until the daylight was too much to ignore.


Tuesday. A service station in Walsall:



The long drive and roughly three hours of sleep combo hit me hard as I started to lose my mind. G's a sex trickster. Traffic is whack.



Trying, but failing, to see the football, we all hit the Dublin Castle in Camden for Secondsmile and Tupolev Ghost. A brilliant, loud gig which you'll be able to read all about in next weeks Kerrang and the following issue of Rock Sound. Above is a picture of me and my shoe buddy. His name's Ben and he showed fantastic dedication to the footwear cause last night.

Today I arrived home and completed the process of losing my mind thanks to a million emails and too much stuff needing to be done.

Coming soon: less photos, more nonsense, an equal amount of crap

Friday, 13 June 2008

Friday the 13th

A man has left a voicemail on my phone calling himself "Dad" and telling me not to worry about the "strange number" he's calling from. This man is not my father. If anyone is missing a confused parent please let me know, I have a strange number you can reach him on.

Check out the new issue of Clash magazine (the one with Coldplay on the front cover) for a nice double page spread on independent labels, including an interview with myself along with a series of images. They asked for a picture of me to print but unfortunately I could only offer them drunk, tourist or group shots. They went with the Brooklyn Bridge. A fine choice.

Want to hear a track from the forthcoming This Town Needs Guns album? What if I said there was a short interview involved too? I thought so. Click here to listen back to Huw Stephens In New Music We Trust show from Wednesday evening and enjoy the aural delights of 'Panda'

You should probably watch the new Secondsmile video too:




Thursday, 12 June 2008

6 Machine - The Defeat

I feel like self-inflicted death today. Suicide, I guess. Too many nights out, too much work, not enough sleep, candle well and truly burnt at both ends. Rival Schools rocked my world last night.

Here's a guest blog entry from The Defeat, one of the 6 stars of the 6 Machine:

Good day to you all, BSM blog readers – and welcome to The Defeat guest blog. I often find that these things are quite a struggle to get started; much like writing an essay or something. Which direction do you take it in first and where do you begin? I suppose I’ll start with what The Defeat are actually doing right now as separate entities.

It’s 10:30 on Tuesday, I’ve just had a quick call round and I’m happy to announce that Tom is drinking Cranberry Juice with some friends in a dingy pub in Reading. Though they are currently unavailable, Joel is hard at work fighting fires in Maidenhead and I’d imagine Ian is watching an action film of sorts or playing Nintendo up at “Defeat HQ” – a house at which three quarters of our band live. I’m sat watching Big Brother with some friends, drinking Bulmers and secretly celebrating Sweden’s triumph over Greece in the European Championship. Well played lads. Sweden seemed like an obvious choice as a horse to back just because we like a lot of music that comes from there.

So back onto the music… the very reason I’m typing this blog entry. It’s not long now until the 6 Machine is officially released and while I have the chance I would like to express our thanks to everyone who helped, voted and supported our getting on the compilation. It really does feel great to have our song on that record. I’ve ordered my copy and am eagerly awaiting it’s arrival. Make sure you get yours soon too. Support all those bands. They’re all really good.

Our plans from here on in are simple. We are playing as many shows as we can around the country including some dates with our good friends Caesura. We’re hoping to head back into the studio at some point later this summer to record some more of the stuff we’ve been writing and to write some more stuff to record. Write, record, live show, repeat. We’re hoping to maybe go and see some new found friends in Copenhagen at some point also – though the cost of diesel sure does mean we’re feeling the pinch these days.

Lastly… in a similar vein to some kind of a social network profile, a few departing recommendations.

Make sure you listen to these bands: Caesura, IDRchitecture, The Arusha Accord, Chrik, Tesseract, Marvin’s Revolt and Rinoa.

And finally, use these promoters or go to their shows: Safetydance (Norwich, High Wycombe), In An Emergency Dial (Norwich), Carefully Planned (Manchester), The Bleep Test (Reading), Buk and Skit (Reading) Stay South (London) and Monkeysuit (Reading and London).

Thanks for reading.

Luke – The Defeat x

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Benefits

It turns out that being young and homelessly scruffy occasionally has its benefits, not least in offering the ability to casually cut through university grounds you have absolutely no fair right to be when ditching your working responsibilities for an afternoon of heavy drinking in a nearby Wetherspoons, park and a number of cocktail bars. God bless this wonderful gift. I'm so happy his giving didn't end with rock n roll.

I awoke this morning with the biggest hangover. The kind which makes you feel as though you'll projectile vomit all over the wall every time you so much as move a muscle. Unfortunately for me today brings a busy morning in front of the computer, followed by four meetings, including one underneath a giant Freddy Mercury statue, and a Rival Schools gig. Perhaps the latter isn't quite so unfortunate.




Walter Schreifels once came and played one of our Alcopop nights in London. He was a secret guest which we only announced a week ahead of time and, due to not owning a mobile phone, was completely uncontactable during the run-up to the show. On the night we're absolutely bricking it. Unable to reach him to check he knows the details for the gig it gets to 8pm and there's no sign of him. We make a handwritten apologetic sign and put it up, warning all disappointed punters as they enter the building that the great man won't be appearing. I'm on the brink of tears and then like a bolt from the heavens I hear "hey Kevin, how's it going?" I look up to see him standing over me, guitar in hand, cheeky smile on his face. I guess when you're one of the greatest living American rock legends you're more important than time itself. He took my requests, wrote up a setlist and hit the stage to play acoustic renditions of everyones favourite Rival Schools, Quicksand and Walking Concert songs, with a few solo ditties thrown in for good measure. It was brilliant. And now, a year later, I accidently come across a strangers video on Youtube completely by chance. This is the power of Alcopop. It unites fans and their heroes, it creates life-long memories, and it gives me wonderful and unknown cameo opportunities.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The rain in Spain

I'm writing this whilst my iPod struggles and strains under the mighty weight of my BSM computer files and folders. I figured it was time for another backing up session and as I'm currently out of blank DVDs Apple are having to carry the burden. A 10,867 file burden.

Secondsmile's 'Tell Me A Story' promo video is now available to watch exclusively via the Rock Sound website. It'll be up on Youtube by the end of the week, if anyone has some sort of beef with RS and are therefore missing out on watching the brilliantly summery video.

Last night I watched my first Euro 2008 action. France v Romania: what was that all about, hey? I think the BBC had it right when they described it as a bore draw. Holland v Italy was better, but by that point I'd eaten most of a roast chicken and was pretty drunk on food. I think I'm going to give my support to Spain in this tournament and they play their first game today so I'm heading down to the local Mediterranean cafe later to party with my adopted countrymen. Ola.

Hot Club de Paris were on Steve Lamacq's Radio One show last night and picked five of their favourite bands, which actually included two of mine: Maps and Atlases and Copy Haho. You need them in your life.

Sorry for the fairly lacklustre nature of this post. It's only just hit 9am. I peaked way too early this morning

Monday, 9 June 2008

Radio fought back. Video's dead

I don't think I've mentioned this on here yet but the June episode of the BSM podcast is now up online. It features the usual excellent banter along with new music from Blakfish, Pennines, The Defeat (taken from the 6 Machine compilation), Alcopop's Cut The Blue Wire, a couple of old classics from Itch and Yndi Halda and demo of the month from the brilliant Dinosaur Pile-Up. Get it from iTunes or download the MP3.

In other podcast news, check out the nicely named Frogcast The Podcast for a BSM special, including music from This Town Needs Guns, Secondsmile, House of Brothers, Tubelord and more, as well as a rather lengthy phone interview with yours truly. I definitely wasn't distracted by the football whilst answering their questions.

And as if that wasn't enough of my voice for you, Saturday afternoon I recorded a short interview with BBC Radio One for a feature on Huw Stephens Wednesday 9pm In New Music We Trust show, talking about the Oxford music scene. Whether or not any of my slightly drunken (see below) mid-afternoon, noisy background, babble will make it into the broadcast, it's anyones guess. I recommend tuning in anyway as you'll also hear a few words from Stu of This Town Needs Guns as well as an exclusive first play of a brand new album track.





Here's a Secondsmile flyer:

Friday, 6 June 2008

Summer lovin'

An hour after my post last night I was still sitting here, arguing with myself trying to decide where to take my one man impromptu party. I ended up listening to Three Trapped Tigers, spinning out slightly, doing four loads of washing up and then watching Big Brother. I can't believe they've put a blind guy in there. And don't get me started on the two Charlie-alikes. One was enough last year.

And with that, I've just lost any scene points I may once have had. Crumbs.

The Secondsmile video is almost finished and looks awesome! The whole thing has a brilliant Weezer video-esque summer vibe to it and perfectly symbolises the happy shift in the bands musical direction. You'll all see what I mean next week, but for now, here's the behind the scenes footage courtest of my mobile phone:

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Temptation

I'm stuck in some sort of drunken limbo. This afternoon I went to meet Blakfish in a local pub and had a drink. Came home, bouyed by the joys of the sunny weather and made myself another. That's two. Two's too many. I came upstairs to where I sit now, eye to eye with my computer trying to work out what my next move should be. The little red lad on my right shoulder is saying "screw it, work can wait and your Landlady isn't coming over to inspect the house until 11am, that's hours away, the sun won't last for long" whilst the glowing fella in a dress on my left is saying "listen to him, he makes a good arguement." I think it might be time to hire myself a new angel... But I'll do that in the morning when I've sobered up.

Drink > Tidying

4-5-1 just wouldn't work

It's a great time of year for football. Only a couple of weeks ago we saw the dramatic end to the domestic season, two English sides battling out the Champions League final and a couple of unlikely finalists come head to head in the FA Cup final. Apart from Reading's relegation, it was pretty good fun. Now with Euro 2008 right upon us, not to mention the second annual BSM 5-a-side tournament set to take place in July, it's time to turn our attentions away from Steve McClaren's attempts to ruin our summer and start celebrating once again as we bring back the 4-4-2 deal!

Not just a basic footballing formation, 4-4-2 is exactly as it sounds: Four BSM releases for the price of two. Back of the net, etc etc. This year we've decided to give it a European flavour and have 16 different bundles to choose from, each named after a respective Euro 2008 contender. Just head over to the Sale page to begin the difficult decision making process. Happy shopping.

PS. All of the offers come with a free copy of 50 Not Out

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Blakfish MPFree

Last night I went to This Town Needs Guns house, making my second walk around the ring road in four days, to discuss plans and ideas for their album, due out in October. Incase I didn't mention before the masters are here and sound incredible. They've opted for a nice, simple production this time, really bringing out the clever musicianship and songwriting ability. No special effects needed. The record is to be titled 'Animals' and the 13 tracks are to retain their previous creature names, which I for one am pleased about. I can't quite put my finger on it, it just seems to me to be a nice theme. 'Chinchilla' will be the first airing, going live on www.myspace.com/thistownneedsguns in a couple of weeks time and will be followed by a second new track in July and then a split 7" with the wonderful Pennines in August. As I type this I have slightly bizarre images of Animals of Farthing Wood inspired promo videos floating around my head. The mind boggles when you consider the brilliant possibilities, if only BSM had a budget bigger than that of a small child's pocket money.

Anyway, onto things in the here and now... We've just posted a brand new Blakfish free MP3 download, taken from the bands forthcoming mini-album. It's called 'Jeremy Kyle Is A Marked Man' and you can get your ears on it via this link. Or this link, if you're a Myspacer. A superhero themed video will be here in a few weeks time and the CD is due out on July 28th.

Yesterday I placed a couple of bets on Euro 2008. £2 on Torres to be top scorer and Germany to win the tournament will net me a fantastic £110. You never know...

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Running Man

Sorry for my absence, dear blog. It's Tuesday 3rd June (not that you'd believe it from looking at the rain streaming down my window) and I'm only now recovering from the weekend. Thursday night, as reported below, was filled with meetings, Alcopop work and designing ridiculous CD sleeves. Friday saw me attend a house party with a load of strangers dressed as flowers, getting thrown out of a taxi at 4am for having no money and walking around the Oxford ring road marvelling at the quiet, early morning sun. And then there was this:




As if you didn't guess from the video (and in all honesty, why should you?) a bunch of us hit the quaint little seaside town of Bridport, Dorset, for a couple of days of fun with our friends in Secondsmile and for the filming of their new promo video. Hangover hell is surprisingly eased by fresh sea air and multiple walks up and down a cliff with a pantomime cow. I'll be posting a 'behind the scenes' video in the next day or two and the actual promo will be up here in two weeks time. It promises to be pretty amazing, not wanting to build the anticipation or anything. I think the mention of a pantomime cow did enough of that on its own!

In other news, Tubelord ("disco pop brilliance") and Blakfish ("if you glued Mastodon to Glassjaw and made them fight over the last amp in the world") both get some big love from NME this week. Tubelord also get a glowing little mention from Sam Get Cape in his Rock Sound website takeover.

The next installment in our 6 Machine blog entries will be here sometime this week, as will the 6th episode of the BSM podcast. And look out for a Blakfish free MP3 single coming tomorrow. Busy busy busy.