Friday, 27 November 2009

Big Scary Radio Special

I'll keep this brief as I have a date with a mug of Lemsip and a to-do list which is making me quake in my boots ahead of Monday's tour kick-off.

A lovely chap by the name of Ben Forrester recently dedicated the whole of his uni radio show to make a hour long BSM special! He then very kindly ripped it as an MP3 and has agreed to let me post the link for you all to enjoy. Unless you go to university in Chester and regularly listen to The Cat 1251 station, you won't have heard this. I might be biased, but I think it's a pretty awesome show. Here's the tracklisting...

1. Shapes - Trampled By A Horse
2. This Town Needs Guns - Pig
3. Colour - Dinosaurs
4. Meet Me In St Louis - Well You Damn Well Should
5. Copy Haho - Cutting Out The Bad
6. Kevin Devine - I Could Be With Anyone
7. Shoes And Socks Off - Butterfingers ('Melitzer' version)
8. Pulled Apart By Horses - Meat Balloon
9. Talons - Bethlehem
10. And So I Watch You From Afar - D Is For Django The Bastard
11. Mutiny On The Bounty - 1, 2, 3, 4, I Declare A Thumb War
12. Secondsmile - Stars Away
13. Calories - Expect The Language
14. Blakfish - Rollerskates

Download it here.

If you like, you can play the BSM radio show drinking game. Rules are simple: Down a bottle of vodka every time you hear the label's name.

Try it. I'll see you on the other side.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

You're the star at the top of my tree

Having suffered a strange, 24 hour bug and missed a gig I was very much looking forward to already this week, you can imagine my delight as I totted up the number of bullet points on my to-do list to be rudely reminded once again that there simply aren't enough hours in the day. FML, as they say on the internet. If anyone would like to call round and giftwrap 200 Kevin Devine CDs before Monday, that would be awesome. Equally great would be a hand with finishing the Talons/ASIWYFA CDs and posting them all out, selecting and deleting all of my inbox, ordering t-shirts ready for the Christmas tour and - as is becoming a little too frequent a task for my liking - chase up a couple of delivery companies to find out why it is they're incapable of both ringing a doorbell and leaving a note to say they've been. I'm almost reaching the point of not believing their "you weren't home" responses, as I sit here. At home. Quietly waiting.

Before I disappear into a world of dark, brooding negativity, here's a bit of Christmas joy for you. It's a video for the aforementioned Kevin Devine single, put together by my brother. Below it I've posted links to some of his other work for us. Youtube mashup haters, look away now!

Adebisi Shank - Snakehips
Shapes - Trampled By A Horse
This Town Needs Guns - Limp Bizkit
Wintermute - Bad Company In A Sauna

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Rockin' all over the world

This is something I've been wanting to write about on here for over 6 months now, yet on Friday 20th November 2009, the day I finally decide to go ahead with it, I can't even think about how to start. I guess the beginning would make sense. Sit tight folks, this is gonna be a big one...

Basically, we're starting a US "division" of BSM. I use the quote marks because division typically implies something a little bigger and more professional than the setup we have here, as I imagine many of you are well aware. Here's how it all came about, along with a bit of information on our new "team" (must stop using quote marks)...

At SXSW in March of this year, somewhere in the midst of a hazy drinking session, scorched by the Texan sun and with ears pounding under the weight of hundreds of live bands, I spent some time hanging out with Chase, a man I'd met through his time working for our friends at Sargent House, and someone who boasted better knowledge of my own record label than even I did (seriously, test him). Chase wanted to start a label to work with some friends bands and I was in Austin to chat with people about how we might be able to raise the profile of BSM Stateside. A somewhat blinding realisation hit us. From that day on we've been chatting, planning, signing and planning some more. We didn't want to launch into anything above and beyond our means, so we're starting slowly and naturally, with a perfect little team ready to bust their balls to try and finally bring some of our wonderful music to a larger American audience.

The team

Chase is working as our US label manager. He has been hard at it already, working on the distribution side of things, as well as helping out the first two of our American signings, whose records will be released both there and in the UK simultaneously early next year (more on those below). In 2010 we'll begin work with some of our current British bands, helping them find their feet the other side of the pond, building towards taking some of them over to tour later in the year. Promoters, bands, well-wishers and everyone else can reach Chase via email at

The next person to welcome to Team BSM USA is Chuck at Beartrap PR. With arguably the best underground punk roster in PR, including the likes of Polar Bear Club, Look Mexico, Bridge And Tunnel and Slingshot Dakota, Chuck will be handling press for our two new signings, as well as some of our other "crop" (there I go again) next year. Having spent eight years working at Deep Elm and citing 'Little Lights' by Spy vs Spy as possibly his all-time favourite record, we couldn't think of a more perfect man to have on our side. Journalists, blog writers and radio DJs/promoters can contact Chuck via

We'll be introducing you to the third part ("the distribution department") of our new team very soon. This one will give us an outlet to make BSM releases available in select US stores, whilst we're also working on revamping our mailorder system, meaning that it'll be easier and cheaper than ever before for the good people of America to get hold of the good music of BSM. Good times all round, really. In the mean time, any shops wishing to stock our releases should contact Chase to discuss.

The new bands

So, that's the "team", now is probably a good time to tell you about our two new awesome bands. Note, no quote marks needed here, these really are awesome bands.

The first band Chase mentioned to me back in March, and a regular on the stereo ever since. Castevet will release a 12", 6 track EP (with free MP3 downloads) in the US and UK on February 23rd entitled 'Summer Fences'. Fans of Hot Water Music, Small Brown Bike and the like are going to love these guys.

Our second new band, and one I talked up on here a couple of months back, is Grown Ups. The band from Michigan will be recording their debut full-length with Brian Southall of Boys Night Out/Fordirelifesake fame at the end of this month. Expect a release date to be confirmed for Spring 2010. In the meantime, check out their latest demo track, 'Are you Kitten Me?', featuring guest vocals from Motion City Soundtrack's Justin Pierre.

Castevet and Grown Ups will be touring the East Coast together this holiday season. Check the dates on their Myspace pages.

So that's it. BSM USA. I'm going to be asking Chase to contribute to this blog from time to time, updating everyone on his work with the label as well as recommending new bands for us all to check out. We'll also be posting free MP3 downloads from the new bands and announcing a couple more American signings closer to the end of the year.

The final thing to say is that we're looking for a bit of help in a few US cities next year. Nothing particularly thrilling, just help with promoting the bands and label. If this is something you might be interested in getting involved with, get in touch with either Chase or myself, and we'll give you more info.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Good jeans

Following on from the first piece for his uni project a few weeks back, Thom has come up with some wonderful denim flyer pouches to promote the new Calories EP. Check out the pictures below and the info on his blog. You may also notice a bit of info about his forthcoming third concept, to promote our Christmas tour.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Pete Wentz

I didn't see this coming. Top 10 most underrated lyricists by Pete Wentz

Sock The Press!

Shoes And Socks Off is probably the most anti-music industry thing I've ever been involved in since beginning this dirty little job nearly a decade ago. The albums are recorded quickly and cheaply, with the emphasis placed squarely on honesty rather than studio fix-ups. A friend designs the sleeves, another one prints them, I cut and fold them, burn the CDs to order, and post them out. Despite releasing two albums we've not sent a single copy of either to press, given any to our distributor to sell in shops and, until now, haven't even sold any at Toby's own shows. It's a secret society possibly bordering on elitism but too laid back to give a crap. An album and three singles campaign, it certainly ain't.

That said, with the Christmas tour (featuring Shoes And Socks Off supporting Kevin Devine on all dates) fast approaching, I find us starting to claw our way up towards the sunlight. Yesterday Toby told me that for the first time ever he gave some thought to his setlist prior to setting up on stage. I ordered some more t-shirts so we'll have enough to cover the whole tour. The third album is recorded and artwork is being printed right now, with extra stock being made available to cover demand on the road. And most surprisingly of all, a few little bits of press are starting to surface. Not through us chasing, of course, but that's not the point.

The latest edition of The National Student newspaper features Toby's bearded face on page 5 (read online here) as part of their new music for the new year special, and they've also included 'I'm A World Class Assassin' (the full band, 'Piglet' album version) on their free MP3 sampler, here. As if that wasn't enough, a huge interview, discussing everything from the old days of 150 people crammed into 80 capacity venues in the South East, setting your alarm for 2am to get up and flyer outside of your local rock club at closing time, the downfall of Meet Me In St Louis, a new band coming together, and so much more in between will be posted up online towards the end of the month, in issue one of a brand new magazine. Having read it yesterday, I think it's perhaps the very first opportunity for anyone who doesn't already know Mr Hayes to get a real insight into his world, along with a glimpse into our plans for Shoes And Socks Off in 2010. Let's just say, the anti-music industry approach has legs.

'To Where The Skyline Is Fortified With Windows And Doors', the third album, is released in December and will be available to pre-order online next week, along with three free MP3 downloads from the BSM Friend of The Family website. In the meantime, dear blog readers, here's a free song. It's called 'Smash And Grab' and you may recognise it from this summer's shows. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Monday, 9 November 2009

Home sweet home

I'm baaack

What a fine few days away that was. Watching The Get Up Kids and Kevin Devine in New York, Washington and Philadelphia was an absolute joy and we met some wonderful people along the way. I won't bore you with the details (those of you who read the Twitter updates will already know what went on anyway) but will post a couple of videos and some photos over the next few days. Today is dedicated to 'screw this, I'm going away again' thoughts, jetlag recovery, email catchup - or at least part one of it - and Sky Plus unclogging, as the little box has racked up a fair amount of TV love for me during my stint abroad.

Whilst I was away the new issue of Record Collector magazine came out, including a lovely little interview with yours truly. I'll hopefully have a scan to post soon but if you're not one of the frankly ludicrous number of people who buy the thing ever month, here's a link to a blog post from my interviewer, Stephen Eddie, with some of my answers.

Coming later this week: An interview with Andrew from Smalltown America Records, more info on our Christmas tour, and the aforementioned USA shots, including my favourite video I've ever filmed. That's high praise when you consider the back catalogue includes beauties such as this and this.