Friday, 28 November 2008

Numb

Yesterday I had an email from a band called N.U.M.B. which apparently stands for Never Underestimate Musical Belief.

Deep.

I've just been flicking through the new issue of Rock Sound. Not sure when it's in the shops but you'll notice Pulled Apart By Horses gracing the covermount CD and indeed being featured in their Ones To Watch In 2009 feature. I love the magazine, it's probably my favourite, but I wish they'd stop putting Green Day in that section every year!

We're having a bit of an issue with damp at BSM HQ (AKA my flat) right now. Since moving in back in August a black mouldly looking mess has started to spread across the bathroom ceiling. I've seen it before at one of my old houses (AKA the terrible studenty pit I shared with three friends) but unfortunately here we have no bathroom window to help relieve the situation. An extractor fan kicks in everytime you turn the light on and the door is always left open, but the problem only seems to worsen as time goes on. Me and my limited knowledge of anything DIY is stumped, so the estate agents are sending a man round to look at it in a bit. I recently played The Facebook Game (you know, where you type in the name of a stranger to see if their face matches the image you had in your head) on one of the women from the agentcy and her profile picture appears to be her naked. She came round the next day for a house inspection. Awkward.

I'm having a real go at getting the website updated and running as well as possible at the moment. I've been working on it one and off - mostly on behind the scenes things - over the past few days and have some more ideas of changes to make, not the least with the shop which will be completely revamped to make ordering easier and my job - thank God - a lot easier. I also quite like the notion of making the band pages wiki's (something which anyone can update) so that users can share photos, opinions, rate releases, that kind of thing. Not sure how easy it would be to do, or how well it would be used, but I do like the word wiki. If anyone has any website ideas, or more examples of good words, please do share. I'm a HTMLing machine at the moment.

Here's a video of Copy Haho messing around in the studio whilst recording their EP, 'Bred For Skills And Magic'. As you can see, they're keeping busy...

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Podcast episode 10

Episode 10 of the BSM podcast is up online now. As I mentioned yesterday it was recorded on the day of the Presidential election and uploaded on Thanksgiving so we jumped on those little bandwaggons (accidently, I must admit) and dedicated this one to the U S of A! The tracklisting is below, and you'll also hear a couple of little recorded messages from Andrew WK in amongst those. 3 points to anyone who can spot the odd ones out in this list:

1. This Town Needs Guns - Lemur
2. Maps and Atlases - Witch (followed by an interview with the band)
3. Native - Ride The Tide
4. Anathallo - The River
5. The Campaign For Real Time - Something Is Wrong
6. Look Mexico - You're Not Afraid Of The Dark
7. We Vs The Shark - Hello Blood
8. Blakfish - Economics


Download: iTunes / MP3

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

PC vs Mac

Gem has a new Mac which is sitting on the desk in place of my old computer (I'm on another PC, about a foot to the right) and it keeps staring at me with its big, dumb, white, "oh look at me, I'm so bloody great, I just plug in and play and am tougher than viruses" trendy bullshit face. It's everything my darling old computer wasn't and for that reason I can never accept it. Although it'll probably go on to save my life or earn my respect in some other character building, romanticised Hollywood fashion and we'll end up being best buds. Despite the distractions of pondering such unlikely events, today has been fairly productive.

Right now I'm uploading the new episode of the BSM podcast. This one was recorded on the day of the US Presidential election and tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Never ones to miss a trick, the show is dedicated to the music of the United States Of America, or at least, music with an association to the US! I'll post a link and possibly some sort of tracklisting tomorrow.

As well as this feast of FTP fun I'm also brainstorming ideas for our forthcoming releases. In stark contrast to the popular opinion of those negative kids on internet forums who love nothing more than a good old fashioned "no new music interests me" rant, I can't stop finding amazing new acts and the first half of 2009 will see no less than SIX brand new bands releasing music on BSM. Two of them (Copy Haho - who are in the studio right now, by the way - and Shoes And Socks Off) were announced last week and I'll be telling you all about one more before Santa squeezes down your chimney, but you're gonna have to wait until next year to discover the others. I'm excited and a little bit scared about having so many newbies coming up, but I'm confident you're all gonna like em and they'll quickly fit into our tight-nit little family analogy. And that's what I'm thinking about right now. Dreaming up ways to break them in and make sure that you, our lovely fans, get a chance to meet them all without anyone getting lost at the back of the pack. We'll look back at this in 6 months and see how well I've done, shall we?

Thanks to those who have responded in the comments and sent emails in response to yesterdays question, by the way. Keep em coming!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

You're hired... again... not that I ever sacked you anyway

I'm turning to you again.

After the incredible response I received a few weeks ago when I threw open the doors and screamed "what the crap would make you buy a compilation CD in these days of modern wonders?" I have another query and was hoping you guys might be able to spare a couple of moments to reprise your helpful roles.

I've been asked if I'd write a column for Drowned In Sound, much like the one here from fellow record label boss, John Brainlove. Sean (Mr DiS) has suggested that I use the piece to tip new bands who are taking my fancy and perhaps discuss a few label tasks I've recently encountered and hopefully conquered. It sounds like a good idea to me, not too dis-similar to Blog Scary Monsters (although a little more focussed and a little less Wire inspired!), but perhaps needs a slightly tighter brief or a different spin putting on it. This is where you come in...

What would you like to read about? Do you want random new musical tips? Would an orderly list of, for example, 5 per month be better? If yes to either of those two questions, would an explanation on how I came to find them be of any use? Or do you find it easy enough to discover your own new music and care little for other peoples taste? Are there any subjects related to record label management or new music as a whole which you would be interested in reading about? What if I just made Myspace Fruit Of The Week a permanent feature on their website?!

Thanks in advance for your time, y'all

Changing times

Yesterday afternoon I posed an important question on the Alcopop blog and asked where everyone thinks myself and Jack should head for our annual staff Christmas party. The only responses I've received thus far have been fairly disappointing so time to step up lads, lets show em how the BSM badboys roll! Have a read and share your ideas either in the comments or via email. Post em here if you'd rather. My Wire obsession is starting to make me view everything like an East vs West divide.

My workload has really shifted lately and I'm struggling to adapt. Gone are the days of posting hundreds of forthcoming release promo CDs and sitting here biting my nails hoping to hell that our records arrive on time to hit their release date. At this very moment we don't even have anyone touring the UK, with both Secondsmile and This Town Needs Guns doing their 'thang' in Europe, heck I almost feel lonely sitting here in my cold, little flat. The focus of the forthcoming weeks is on planning for next year as we look set to have what is shaping up to be our biggest year to date with the label. We've already told you there's not one but two Shoes And Socks Off albums coming. And a Copy Haho EP in February. And a Pulled Apart By Horses one sometime after that. Those few things alone should be enough to raise a smile but when I tell you we have another FOUR albums pencilled in to follow, well you should be up and dancing on the table, raising the roof like it's, well, 2009.

Here's a clip from my favourite episode of Booze Britain. Check out Roy The Tank's tumourous trouser area.

Monday, 24 November 2008

New week - new start

I made 'the big computer move' over the weekend. It took ages to back up my files and literally hours to shift all of my emails across. Thousands of the buggers, mostly pointless now, but I'm a all about the nostalgia. So here I am, writing from the new machine. It's ok, doesn't quite feel like home yet though. My old computer is still sitting next to me, all quiet and alone, kinda dead looking. If computers had real emotions I thing a single tear would be running out of the CD drive and down the side of the tower right now.

Here's an amazing photo:



Bosh!

I watched a ridiculous amount of The Wire yesterday. Seriously ridiculous. Like, getting in the way of real life, ridiculous.

This week I need to step up the promotion for the Christmas Tour, get the slightly updated BSM shop online, send my next huge batch of mailorders, help the podcast guys put the next episode together and avoid having my face turned inside-out by Ricky Hatton. The last of these tasks should be the easiest. Sean at Drowned In Sound has asked if I'd like to write some sort of column for the website so need to have a think about that. Oh and I've got the new un-mastered Pulled Apart By Horses single recordings, so that should keep my ears satisfied for a day or two.

It's go time.

Friday, 21 November 2008

R.I.P. Computer

After 6 years of gruelling hard work, obeying my every command (well, nearly) and struggling with my difficult multi-tasking schedules, my poor little computer takes its final, desperate breath this weekend. Although times have been hard of late, with viruses ripping through its fragile little system, I'll keep many fond memories of our time together. The hundreds of thousands of emails we've shared, the incredible Wikipedia discoveries we've made, the romantic nights in enjoying one anothers company and the day I signed up to Myspace. Dear computer, I will miss you so.

As of tomorrow morning I will be upgraded to a new machine. Windows XP becomes Vista. My 17" screen turns 21. My frankly piss-poor 30GB hard drive is trebled. I'll rediscover the wonder of a CD drive which will open when I press the button and not only when it chooses. A system which doesn't restart at will, most commonly when I'm busily working on an unsaved document, and a fan which doesn't whir all day, everyday, at a volume such that you need to shout over it to be heard. The delights of modern technology will be mine to revel in once more. I think I can see the 21st century appearing on the horizon

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Spamarama

I'm once again looking at my spam folder and wondering why I bother? For every 500 pieces of junk one half-important email will fall into here and I now have this un-stoppable compulsion to check on a daily basis, you know, just incase an African Prince wants me to look after his $7billion fortune in my bank account or something.

Here are a selection of todays best subject titles:

Grow giant snake in pants (extreme gardening?!)

Viagra for a trifle! (drugs for cake - an interesting solution)

Doctor Boniface (if I was a doctor that's the kind of brilliant name I'd want too)

Bon Jovi lyrics roulette (a game I wouldn't actually mind playing)

Why study hard? Dip1oma/Bacheelor can be yours (because if I don't study hard I'll end up speeling l1ke yoooou)


In other news: I'm having a massive mailorder binge today, even avoiding the temptation to join friends for a pub lunch so I can focus, and 'Pulling Push Ups' by Copy Haho is lifting my spirits to Rocky-esque levels. Have you downloaded it yet?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Pulling Push Ups

What's up, pussycat?

I keep meaning to write things on here and then either forgetting to do so, getting sidetracked or just giving up. And now, like an old school friend I've just bumped into in the streets who has posed the question "so, what have you been upto over the past 8 years?" all I can think to say is "yeah you know, not much."

In February we're going to be releasing the new Copy Haho EP. I'm so stoked about this release. Long-time readers will remember me banging on about these guys much earlier this year and I'm so happy we've got a release confirmed. The CD will be 5 tracks long and from the 4 I've heard so far, it promises to be a stormer. Next week I'm going to post this MP3 on the main website but I don't want to sit on it any longer. So, with no further ado, sit comfortably and wrap your listening holes around this little pop hit: Pulling Push Ups. Feel free to pass it onto all of your friends but be sure to give them a high-five and a "fuck yeah" as you do so.

I've discovered a new favourite band. Well, they're not new, and quite how or why I haven't listened to these before I don't know, but Papier Tigre and bloody brilliant.

Jack Alcopop is in New York at the moment (probably in search of brilliant festivals as detailed below - he's a horribly jealous man sometimes!) so I'll also be posting nonsense over at http://www.ilovealcopop.co.uk/ for the next few days. Speaking of Alcopop, our latest release, the debut single from Stars And Sons, is out this week and Mike's playing a solo gig at Puregroove in London tomorrow. You should go. Also on the Alcofront, did anyone hear goFASTER on Hollyoaks last Monday? They were the band played during the typically cheesy opening scene. Good times, although that little goth girl who looks a bit like a spider filled up most of the screen time, which wasn't overly flattering.

I'm off to do some real work. Stupid distracting blog. Here's a video of Toby recording a song from the Shoes And Socks Off album. The video shows the one and only take from the session. What you see is what you hear on the record. DIY til I die.

Monday, 17 November 2008

'tis the season

The annual Big Scary Monsters Christmas Tour is back! Bigger, better and more exciting than ever before

An indie institution, the last 5 years have seen more festive joy than Miracle On 34th Street and more carnage than a Home Alone film. The first two only, of course. This years tour sees a revolving cast of treats from the BSM roster, ensuring that every single night will be different to the last. So alongside label stalwarts such as Secondsmile and This Town Needs Guns, some of our new friends from 2008, such as Blakfish, Pulled Apart By Horses and Tubelord, will be making their debut appearances, as well as a handful of our very exciting 2009 favourites-to-be, including the wonderful Copy Haho.

Expect to find mince pies, free things and some form of drunken St Nick at the following shows...


04.12 - Glasgow, Sneaky Pete's (Copy Haho)

06.12 - Leeds, Brudenell Social Club (Bone Fest - Tubelord + Secondsmile + Blakfish + Copy Haho + Shapes + Dananananaykroyd and more)

07.12 - Nottingham, Chameleons Art Cafe (Tubelord + Secondsmile + Shoes And Socks Off)

09.12 - Brighton, The Hope (This Town Needs Guns + Secondsmile)

10.12 - London, The Windmill (This Town Needs Guns + Blakfish + Shapes + Shoes And Socks Off)

11.12 - Oxford, The Cellar (This Town Needs Guns + Secondsmile + House of Brothers)

12.12 - Sheffield, House Party (Pulled Apart By Horses + Blakfish + Shoes And Socks Off)

13.12 - Birmingham, The Flapper (Blakfish + Shapes and more)

Mullet tossing and machine gun shooting

I've read a lot about the Surface Unsigned battle of the bands competition over the past few months and am still yet to find a positive spin on it. A lot of the bad things are linked to, or at least mentioned, on this forum thread. My favourite part is where the guy who is clearly involved with the organisation of the offending event steps in and pretends to be a local band member, defending the organisation. Internet lies are always the best.

I'm really caught in two - well, actually about 27 - minds over what to do with my time in the US next year. All I know for sure is that I'll be in Austin, Texas, between the 18th and 22nd March, apart from that, well the States are my oyster! Flights are cheap right now so the idea of jetting into New York for a few days, heading on to Texas, perhaps making the short bus ride to Dallas, moving on to LA and then home from there is within the budget and very tempting. I also quite fancy checking out Chicago, or Florida, or maybe catching up with friends in Boston. And then there's the West Coast. Las Vegas would be amazing, if a little pricey for this easily persuaded gambler. But what about a Greyhound or Amtrak pass? I could travel overnight, foregoing the need for a hotel room, and spend every day in a new city. There's a lot of country to see in just two weeks of travelling. Oh decisions, decisions.

To try and help aid my thought process I decided to see what events are happening across the country in March and April and boy is my luck in. Here are a few of my favourites:

The World's Largest Machine Gun Shoot

The World's Largest Rattlesnake Roundup

SPAMARAMA

Interstate Mullet Toss

Running Of The Rodents

The World's Smallest St Patrick's Day Parade

Big Mountain Furniture Race

Emmett Kelly Clown Festival


So many amazing festivals, so little money. Time to start playing the Lottery I think.


Friday, 14 November 2008

Pete Doherty

Here's something I've been debating in my head for a while and thought I would bring it out to the real world...

If Pete Doherty died tomorrow, apart from the dancing in the streets and a number of London based crack dealers losing their income, how do you think the man would be remembered?

Would he be held in the esteem of some kind of Kurt Cobain-esque figure? Would sixth form girls everywhere be shedding a tear as they scribble lyrics onto the back of their exercise books? Would your mum finally realise he's a musician and not just some messed up little guy who's famous for taking too many drugs? Would anyone really care?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Chest pains

What a day. Having a quick scan through my deleted items reveals that I've read and replied to well over 100 emails already today. My sent folder makes for even uglier reading. I'd been looking forward to the final 6 weeks of the year for ages with some sort of hopeful daydream of an empty release schedule and the longest Christmas holiday since Russell Brand bumped nasties with Manuel's grand-daughter and decided to brag about it on air. How wrong was I?

If I was a betting man (a classic phrase us sarcastic gamblers like to throw around) I'd say that this is the week I'm most likely to suffer a heart attack. Incase the above wasn't sufficient evidence to support my claim, here are three short case studies to back it up:

(a) Monday night Pulled Apart By Horses played a Levi's Ones To Watch show in London. With a guestlist as long as my arm, the only thing higher than my excitement level was the price of a round of East London ciders. My buzz was short-lived, however, when I spoke to the band at 8pm to find they were 40 miles outside of a traffic-heavy London, with a strict stage time of 9.15pm looming ever closer. Thankfully they eventually arrived with 5 minutes to spare, after their driver hit peak speeds of 120mph, and I bought myself two drinks and waited for some colour to come back to my cheeks. 3 days later I'm still waiting. Time to give up Kev, you're pale, deal with it.

(b) I've eaten 9 sausages in the past 24 hours. I don't know if there's a recommended daily allowance of pork products but I can't be far off.

(c) Earlier today I was being chased to pay an outstanding invoice for a recent record pressing. Most of the stock had gone straight to the band to sell at gigs and it was that cash which was to pay off said statement. So when I sent a quick text asking if we could sort it out today, what would you think is the worst possible response I could receive? How's this one for you: "what money?"



PS. This was my 300th post on Blog Scary Monsters! Hurrah! I'm off to celebrate with another 50 or so emails, a couple of sausages and an expected cardiac arrest.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Myspace Fruit Of The Week - The Return!

Having returned from London very late last night and now with the un-nerving task of battling through a couple of hundred unread emails, I think it's time to take a well-earned break and bring back one of my personal favourite Blog Scary Monsters features, Myspace Fruit Of The Week...

Southern Kyd

Seven pages of new friend requests to approve and this one profile picture, somewhat unsurprisingly, jumped right out at me (see below).

Fearing the worst I clicked the link and sat back, muscles clenched, fingers poised ready to pounce at the little x in the top right hand corner of the screen. Here's the first piece of crap which bothered my fearful eyes:

"As he delivers musical blows with incomparable style and strength, like Mohammed Ali in the ring, music entrepreneur Southern Kyd is fresh and ready to generate heat on the map! Not allowing any musical boundaries to limit his creativity, Southern Kyd is clearly on a mission to hit the Industry from all angles!"

Where to begin with such lies? "Incomparable style and strength" is naive at best, although completely deluded is probably more accurate. For "Not allowing any musical boundaries to limit his creativity" read: "Completely musically inept", and "on a mission to hit the industry from all angles" could only be true if producing weak music, making yourself look like a prick and adding inappropriate Myspace friends in bulk were the only 'angles' available in this disgusting triangle of hate.

And now to the music: I'll keep this short and sweet. Every song is entitled 'New Shit' and all feature the same, terrible, repetitive, painful vocal loop. Less 'creative', more 'cretinous'. Leave well alone unless you're looking for a way out of life.

Myspace: www.myspace.com/southernkyd

Monday, 10 November 2008

08/09 season

I'm off to London later today with a daunting 48 hours of two gigs and about 10 meetings laying ahead. Tonight sees Pulled Apart By Horses play a Levi's Ones To Watch show at the Old Blue Last in trendy East London, with possibly the biggest guestlist I've seen in a while. Every industry bugger and his dog wants a piece of this band right now. Tomorrow will, quite unbelievably, be my first ever visit to Shepherd's Bush Empire as Alcopop's own Stars And Sons (another current industry fave, it would seem) support Okkervil River. It promises to be a fun - if a little stressful - couple of days in the big smoke and typically my inbox is responding accordingly by filling up with important mail after important mail, making the thought of leaving my warm computer seat a difficult one right now. I love the fact that I can justify pissing off to London to get drunk for a couple of nights as "work"

Over the past few days I've spent a lot of time working on next years release schedule. With 2008 all but done now it's all about planning ahead and ensuring we stay as busy as possible, unfortunately things now seem to have swung the other way and it's all pointing towards our busiest year yet. Not that there's anything unfortunate about that, as such, just the fear of sleepless nights and finding more grey hairs which scares me a little.

I keep thinking back to the start of this year and trying to remember exactly where we were at the time. Meet Me In St Louis had lost Toby but were about to embark on a tour as an instrumental act, going out with a band I'd vaguely heard of called Blakfish. Everyone seemed positive, lots of people were offering to take over the vocal duties and the band were excited about writing new material. Jairus's long awaited new album was due out in March and from the demos we'd head, sounded like a great record. Secondsmile were putting the finishing touches to their new songs and were booked to record their currently untitled forthcoming album in New York, sometime in February. The buzz around This Town Needs Guns was starting to grow and we were celebrating the fact that they were receiving an average of 400 Myspace plays a day, a band and label best. '26 Is Dancier Than 4' was starting to appear on more and more blogs and the guys were halfway through writing their album, which at the time they hoped to record in Chicago, although the worry was that they'd run out of time and it would end up being an EP. Anathallo's new single - which was actually a 2 year old song with a 3 year old b-side - was due out in early January and the band were to come here in support of Manchester Orchestra for what would be their first ever UK tour. I had an un-mastered copy of their forthcoming album and it rarely left my stereo. Tubelord were a band who'd played the previous years BSM 5-a-side football tournament (covered in leaves, may I add) and had some incredible demos under their belts. They were difficult to track down and as excited as we were about the possibility of working with them, we feared nobody else would give a damn and we'd lose a lot of money trying to put a single out. All in all, an exciting year was looming.

Over the following 11 or so months: MMISL split up, not even making it one month into this year, we fell in love with Blakfish and released their EP, with an album set to follow. Jairus called it a day and decided they couldn't be bothered to finish their album, Secondsmile's album was recorded, titled 'Years' and released in July, This Town Needs Guns finished writing and opted to record in Northampton instead of Chicago, a decision which would make no sense whatsoever in answer to any other question except 'where would you least like to visit?' It was named 'Animals' and released in October. They now average around 1500 Myspace plays a day, close to four times as many as a year ago. Anathallo loved their tour with Manchester Orchestra, and we all loved them. The single went down a storm and they ended up signing to the Anticon label. Their new album is due out any day now and they're back over here next week. Tubelord mastered the art of emails and went on to record two brilliant singles for us. They played a bunch of festivals, had a full page feature in NME and are expected to be big news in 2010. Along the way Pulled Apart By Horses formed, signed and delivered their brilliant debut single, Toby (ex-MMISL) started up his Shoes And Socks Off solo project and recorded - in the space of one afternoon - his first album, we hit our milestone 50th release (50 Not Out), put out a 10" compilation called The 6 Machine and signed our first Danish band, the lovely Mimas.

I'm sure it's the same for everyone but looking back there were a lot of unexpected bumps and bruises and highs and lows in 2008. This makes me wonder what's in store for the next 12 months. Who'll split up? Which bands which haven't even formed yet will steal our hearts? Who will be our biggest band come the start of 2010? What I wouldn't do for a time machine right now. Curiosity is gonna kill this cat.

Friday, 7 November 2008

I'm still losing my battle

El Scorcho

I've just booked a trip to Barcelona completely on a whim. For absolutely no logical reason whatsoever, I just did it. Two nights at the start of February. I don't know anything about the city, the location of the hotel, how far the airport is from there, anything at all really. The only thing I checked was to see if there was a football game scheduled to coincide with the trip, which there isn't. Gutted. Oh well, you can't win em all.

As you might be able to tell from the above and my spontaneous holiday booking, I'm suffering my usual Friday afternoon battle with productivity. It's one I rarely win.

The annual BSM Christmas Tour is nearly booked up, just waiting on confirmation of the final couple of nights now and then everything will be unveiled sometime next week. This year I thought it would be fun to break from the normal system of the same three bands driving up and down the country and have mixed it up a little. So, across 10 cities in 10 chilly December nights, 10 BSM bands will sing their little hearts out and bring to you, dear fan, a plate of mince pies and a bucketload of festive cheer. Every night features a different lineup and there'll be a full cast of brilliant supporting bands as well. It's going to be like having 10 Christmas days, basically. Keep an eye on the main website for the listings and info...

Thursday, 6 November 2008

PABH killed the radio star

Pulled Apart By Horses are all about the radio this week. Check em out in Steve Lamacq's Top 60 Songs Of The Year and listen to their Huw Stephens live session online right now. If the printed press is more your bag, you might notice how 'Meat Balloon' was Artrocker's single of the week last week and how NME also bloody loved it. And that's before we even get started on this weeks live review. Good times.


Topical

Idea: 'Berocca Bomber' - An enhanced product from the makers of the popular cold relief tablets.



This is gonna make me dirty, stinking rich! Get me the phone

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Peaches

After trying my best, but eventually failing, to stay awake until a new President of The USA (moving to the country, gonna eat me a lot of peaches) was crowned, it was a typically difficult start to the day. That said, I seem to begin every blog post with the words "man I'm knackered" or words to that effect.

Toby and I made some great plans yesterday. Doing this job every now and again you find yourself getting a little bogged down with worries of distribution, breaking even, press and accounting so it's refreshing - not to mention vital - that every now and again you remind yourself exactly what it is you love about this somewhat stupid career choice. The joy of working on the Shoes And Socks Off album is that the two of us both share the same attitude with it. A shrug and a carefree call of "fuck it" pretty much seems to sum up every aspect of the release. The 10 tracks were recorded, mostly in one take, on a tape recording in a bedroom using a battered old acoustic guitar. The artwork will be handmade by a small production line of friends, cheap wine and fried chicken. It'll be limited to as many copies as we can be bothered to make and if we don't sell any, well we don't really care. Everything is casual. No stresses, no pressure, just fun. A nice bonus is that it's one of my favourite albums of the year so far. Look out for a couple of free MP3s coming next week, maybe a video or two as well.

BeatCast.tv have posted an awesome live video of Blakfish from their recent Kingston show. Check out three songs, including a new one, right here...


Not the presidential election

Sorry for my recent blog-shy nature. It's nothing personal.

Right now I'm sitting here next to a heavily bearded Toby (ex-Meet Me In St Louis, current-Shield Your Eyes/Shoes And Socks Off), watching the US election drama, drinking homebrew pear cider and playing each other our favourite songs on Youtube. We've already watched this.

We've had a busy day of brainstorming and whatnot, but I'll leave Mr Hayes to tell you more about the fruits of our labour...

spent the day in oxford with neville. nice chap. been planning the shoes and socks off album. very exciting. must maintain the flippancy. there will be two versions of the record. the first one is acoustic, as the songs were written. recorded on the 24th september 2008 by stef from chicks on tap recordings whilst i was sitting on a chest of drawers in his bedroom. great. really great. it is called 'from the muddy banks of melitzer'. long live matt cargill. this will be out in december on the biggest and scariest of the monsters. i will be touring this for the first two weeks of december. dan from lebatol will be coming. he is a kool guy. lock up your sisters. then in march-ish we will release the next record. its the same songs, but not acoustic. they will be will be full-on orchestrations, drums, guitars, strings, mellotrons, programming and walk-on parts. many collaborations with some fine, fine people. rhys baker, who is known across the globe as 'the singer from our own devices' will also be held responsible for this full length, which will be titled'hand-reared suburban piglet'. shut up. around the same time, both CDs will be available as a double album. nev types so quickly. i like seagulls.

Yeah so that's your lot. Piss off. Here's an MP3 taken from 'From The Muddy Banks Of Melitzer'. It's called 'Epic Sweet Proportions'. Listen to it. We're not announcing this release for a week or two yet, you're only getting this cos I'm drunk.

I'm off. There's an election to watch.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Happy Halloween!

A hectic weekend of four parties in two nights has left me feeling pretty devestated and far from ready for the busy week this one promises to be. My lack of fancy dress ambition saw me spending the two nights dressed as Mr Andrew WK, followed by a couple of difficult mornings trudging around Tesco with blood stains still smeared across my face. As per usual, Sunday was a write-off.



So Pulled Apart By Horses debut single 'Meat Balloon' came out last week. We've had some really nice reviews and the delightful news that it'll be included in this weeks 'On The Stereo' feature in NME and in Steve Lamacq's 'Top 60 Songs Of The Year' list on Radio One. Their debut live radio session goes out on Huw Stephens show this Wednesday, so keep your ears peeled for that.

Secondsmile are out on tour with The Attika State now (dates here), warming up towards a couple of weeks in Europe. As you'd probably expect, their debut album 'Years' is one of my favourites of the year and an unfortunately under-appreciated piece of work. The video for 'Stars Away' has just been uploaded and is worth giving a few minutes of your time to: