Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Drowned in Typo's

I didn't do so well on the proof-reading front this month, but here it is all the same: My long-overdue Drowned In Sound column about SXSW, our US road trip and 1000 true fans.

And having just re-read the article, memories of our stunning little pimped-up badboy of a car have come flooding back. Oh how I miss thee

Monday, 27 April 2009

Winnermute

A short blog covering two stories...

Wintermute's debut album, 'Robot Works', is out today. It's available in shops across the UK and of course via www.bsmrocks.com/shop. Keep an eye on the bands Myspace page for a bunch of review quotes later on...

And secondly: I'm pleased to announce that the band Phantom Theory have won our 3rd Awesome Badges competition, netting themselves 500 free stickers. Thanks to all who entered, it was our most popular one yet although I was disappointed by the number of people who got the question wrong. The wrestler battling it out with Hulk Hogan was of course Andre The Giant. Know your wrestling, people! We'll be running another competition next month.

PS. Free sampler CDs are going out today. I've spent the past three days burning and packaging them up, hope everyone enjoys the new music

Friday, 24 April 2009

Free sampler CD

I haven't had a hangover like this since I woke up in Houston. Went to see Wintermute play in Oxford last night. The guys were on typically brilliant form and it was good to catch up with Tim and Jamie from This Town Needs Guns, full of tales of drummer Chris and his drunken solo trip home from their last night on tour in Europe. As per usual on these difficult days, I'm working on the laptop from the comfort of my own bed. Sometimes only fried chicken and a lazy day will sort my head, unfortunately for me, this can't be one of those days...

I've got the unenviable task of burning 100 CDs right now. Eight tracks, two each from The Tupolev Ghost, Shapes, Mutiny On The Bounty and Wintermute. Want one? All you need to do is email your address to bsmrocks@googlemail.com and I'll whack one in the post for you. Easy as.

Lets make this quick though, yeah? I want to get this done by 1 so I can hit KFC before my head falls off my shoulders

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Nu-metal

Ok, so it doesn't take a genius/long-time reader to know that I used to love my nu-metal. Fred and his little red cap, Occup@tional Hazzard and their technology-embracing name, local heroes JOR and their giant riffs, calling Jacoby Shaddix 'Coby Dick' (cos I'm nasty, with a voice that's raspy), the first time I ever heard Lostprophets and felt the eyebrows lift clean off my face as they simultaneously lept into the air and burst into 'Shinobivsdragonninja'... The list of bands was as long as my over-sized t-shirts. Well guess what? It's back!

Download Festival has really stepped up this year, producing a lineup boasting the likes of Limp Bizkit, Korn, Staind, Papa Roach, Slipknot and even Faith No More, whose influence played its part in the creation of this much-maligned genre, it must be said. Thankfully - and I do mean thankfully - I've managed to secure myself a couple of guest tickets which means I'll be rollin' and "jumping da fuck up" with the rest of the mid-twenty regressers at Donnington come June 12th.

A couple of days ago I was asked to compile a list of my all-time top 10 nu-metal songs for Clash Magazine, as part of their build-up to the festival. How hard can that be?

Turns out, it's very hard.

Right now I'm listening to Mudvayne on Spotify and trying to whittle down a lengthy list to just 10 absolute winners. 'Shinobi' is an early favourite for the top spot, Fred has 2, possibly 3 contenders, Deftones will surely get a nod, and then there's the more underground stuff. Autonomy's S/K/N/S was an anthem (as well as featuring on the first ever BSM release, fact fans), Kilkus were weak on record but had one hell of a live show, Number One Son could also hold their own. Controversially, one or two heavyweights, potentially including Korn, could miss out on a seat at the table, as will Spineshank who never quite grabbed me.

We haven't asked any of the bands to put together a video mix-tape for a while so I'm going to jump on in here and offer up a few suitable hits. Mostly massive tunes, although I'll start a bit of a stinker which, for many, helped knock the final nail into the coffin as we all grew up and discovered guitar tapping.

Sit back and enjoy, and feel free to suggest your own favourite songs, video links and top 10 lists...



Mushroomhead - Solitaire Unraveling (above)
Papa Roach - Last Resort
Korn - Blind
Mudvayne - Dig (live)
Linkin Park - Papercut
Lostprophets - Shinobi (live)
Soulfly - Prophecy
Deftones - My Own Summer (live)
Slipknot - Wait and Bleed
Taproot - Again and Again (live)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Mutiny!

Just a quick one because I'm itching to get outside and soak up some sun with my notepad to nurse my brain, currently overflowing with ridiculous ideas.

We've finally announced the signing of Luxembourg's finest, Mutiny On The Bounty! Their amazing debut album, 'Danger Mouth' (I'm still not sure if that's a clever play on the popular cartoon of the early 90's title, must remember to ask) will be released here in the UK on June 1st. The band are playing a small handful of UK shows in May and will be back for a full tour in August.

Because we're such bloody nice people we've gone and made THREE tracks from the album available to download for free from our Friend of The Family website. So stop dilly dallying and go and do that, alright?

Monday, 20 April 2009

Web 2.1

It's sunny - really sunny - I'm listening to The Beach Boys and balancing daydreams. Tomorrow we're announcing a new signing (the good people of Twitter have already enjoyed a sneaky peak, perhaps Facebook will get a sniff today?) and after a beautiful couple of years together, I've decided to separate from the current BSM website design.

We've had some fine times together. Laughter and tears, bad spelling and server failiures, I don't think I'm alone when I say that I'm going to miss that weird looking little alien thing ripping up New York City, but all good things must eventually come to an end and just like at that dodgy little massage parlour on Albert Square Peggy Mitchell keeps kicking off about, I'm bringing you a happy one...

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the site and how we can improve it. The list is surprisingly long and Squeak, our devoted designer, probably doesn't know just what he's let himself in for this time. After the incredible feedback to my recent posts asking for help, I once again turn to you, dear faithful...

What do you want from our website?

The whole basis of the new site is you. Every new feature, function, page and image is being carved out with you in mind. I'm not going to post them all here just yet (prying eyes) but before we put the wheels into motion, I'd love to know what you guys think. No idea is too crazy, "pie in the sky thinking," as some horrible marketing people would say, is fine. We like a challenge.

To help get you started I'll tell you that the site will be wider, finally giving some important content a chance to enjoy a higher page placement, the online store will be ripped out, gutted and completely revamped, the Friend of The Family website login box will hopefully be available from anywhere on the website, and we'll be extending our 'recommended if you like...' tips beyond our own bands. That is, until everyone stops buying our releases and goes elsewhere! Right now I'm on a bit of a new band trip and feel as though a lot of you out there would also enjoy them, so will stop being selfish and share some of the love. For example, if you're checking out The Tupolev Ghost, the site may also tell you to give Papier Tigre, Thousandaires and perhaps Castevet a listen.

So, over to you. What do you want? What don't you want? Is there anything on the current site you particularly like? Would you appreciate less blogs which talk about Peggy Mitchell and self-loving? ...Or would you like more of those? You dirty dogs

The Get Up Kids

Anyone who knows me will know how much I love The Get Up Kids. All-time favourite band, I'd probably say. So imagine my absolute glee when I found this!

Shamelessly stolen from the Hobbledehoy Records blog, I present a Japanese tribute album for TGUK...

01. Slime Ball - Don’t Hate Me
02. Enie Meenie - All that I Know
03. Unlimits - Action & Action
04. Mars Eurythmics - Holiday
05. Calendars - Out of Reach
06. Fine Lines - Fall From Grace
07. Tribal Chair - Walking On a Wire
08. Wooran - Anne Arbour
09. Pinkloop - Ten Minutes
10. Local Sound Style - I’m a Loner Dottie, a Rebel
11. Nature Living - Red Letter Day
12. 藤井めぐみ&THE MOON - Better Half
13. Bulimia - Mass Pike
14. Puli - Stay Gone

Each of the above links are to samples of the tracks and I cannot recommend 'Don't Hate Me' and 'Holiday' highly enough.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Awesome competition #3

No sooner has our Last.fm competition ended, we're starting another. Hoorah! It's the third installment of our monthly offering in conjunction with the lovely Awesome Badges, and this is the most valuable prize yet... 500 full colour stickers for your band/label/club night/whatever! Imagine the possibilities.

Question: In the below Shapes video, what is the name of the wrestler battling it out with Hulk Hogan?



All you need to do is email your answer to us by 12pm on Friday April 24th. The winner be chosen at random.

Good luck, sports fans!


Thursday, 16 April 2009

Do you trust anyone?

Following on from last weeks post about street teams I wanted to open up a new discussion. Indulge me, if you will.

From the brilliant responses I received via the comments, email and Facebook I think the first, alarmingly obvious, conclusion to be drawn is that whether or not the model can still work, the term "street team" needs to die. So many people appear to have negative, often juvenile associations with the title and seems to be putting people off like the metaphorical vocalist who can't hold a note stops people hearing the potentially wonderful music behind him.

Over the past few days I've started to draw a few conclusions from the feedback and have started to assemble a plan. Well, three plans, actually. It's very early stages right now but I feel as though my head is filled with lots of good idea dots, I just need to find a way to connect them. One of the biggest things currently halting this process, however, is a big question. So big, in fact, I hoped you might be able to lend me a hand with it...

How do YOU find new music?
This is something which I'm expecting to throw up a whole manner of different answers, most of which are likely to pinpoint how things have changed over the past few years. If I'd have asked you this question 1, 5 or 10 years ago, imagine how you would've answered and compare it with today.

The internet, for all its wonder, is killing printed media. Magazine sales are declining as our expectations increase and waiting until the following day/week/month to find the latest news can no longer be tolerated. Myspace, podcasts, Last.fm and more recently, Spotify, have hammered nails into the coffin of the radio, which more so than ever before boasts a listenership of casual consumers, losing many of yesteryear's niche genre fans. MTV no longer show music, so that's a nonstarter. Myspace, as I've ranted about before, is a dead scene waiting to happen and the other social media platforms are becoming increasingly filled with junk. The weeds are hiding the flowers.

So who do you turn to? Does your faith still lie with the conventional printed or aural media? Do you use internet forums and trust in the opinions of strangers? Do you exchange recommendations, MP3s or maybe CDs with your closest friends? Do you need a combination of all of these elements to fall into place before you've heard a bands name enough times to prick your curiosity? Or do you not trust anyone, instead choosing the lonely path of self-discovery, endlessly trawling through the clutter of disappointing music with the lure of finding Your New Favourite Band just enough to keep you going?

As ever, I'd love to hear your thoughts and preferences in the comments or via email. Feedback is always appreciated and extremely useful too. If it stops raining tomorrow I'm planning a day out with my old pal, the laptop, to have a read through and see if I can construct something which might just help us all out. No pressure then.


Just another dream

They're getting more vivid by the day. They're also getting closer to home and, happily, potentially more lucrative (although co-promoting with Warren from Hollyoaks would certainly bring in a crowd, I'm just not sure I could trust him with the accounts). Anyway, here's hoping the trend continues and I get the winning Lottery numbers tonight.

I'm not going to go into too many details about last nights little escape from reality but it did involve an amazing title, 'Shapes Do Europe', and an even more amazing tour vehicle:



Imagine that! Sheeeeet

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Bad spell

I'm still not sleeping properly and am finding myself wide awake at 5am every morning, with a cluttered mess of dreams swimming around my head each time. I don't know if this is the lingering effects of the post-US timezone change or if it's just my subconscious leaking out. Last nights dream involved a new Mimas album. I played the record through once, twice, three times, then called my friend and proudly told him it was the best thing I'd ever heard. Ever. No pressure there then, lads.

Somebody posted this link on Twitter yesterday which I found quite interesting, being a geek whose engine is revved by marketing and analogies. There are some interesting other articles on the blog so worth a poke around if you have the time. It also reminded me that I should watch Fight Club again sometime. And that Taking Back Sunday video I used to love so.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Warren

How was everyone's long weekend? Good? Good. I'm working from bed today, currently sitting here wrapped in a blanket, typing away on the laptop whilst surrounded by Easter Egg debris, nursing unexpected sunburn and a hangover which has, inexplicably, manifested itself in my right arm. Feels like I've been sleeping on it. Actually, it feels like I hibernated on it, such is the dull, annoying pain. Strange.

On the subject of weird, a couple of nights ago I dreamt that myself and Warren from Hollyoaks started putting on gigs together. Here's my artists (Paint) reconstruction of how our nights looked:



Less weird is the fact that I'm listening to Native's EP and falling in love with it all over again. The guys just finished recording their debut album with Chris Common (the lad who worked on Blakfish's record, remember?) this weekend. From all accounts it sounds bostin', or whatever word the cool kids use to describe something positive these days.

Wintermute's CDs arrived this morning and they look lovely. Collecting them from the door and warming up some leftover KFC chicken in the microwave are the only two things to have dragged my carcass out of bed so far today and are therefore currently tied for highlight of the morning. It's going to take something pretty special to top those. Perhaps Warren dropping round to aggressively play me some new demos would do it?

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Street teams?

I'm back. Since my previous post I've managed to wrestle a couple of fat guys free, half-wrote my next Drowned In Sound column, realised it was completely irrelevelant, scrapped it, started again, realised it was still irrelevant. The fat men, heads hung low, neatly filed back into the room. Square one, here we go again.

I have a question. Hope you can help.

Street teams - What role do they play (if any) in the music industry in 2009?

We've never really had a proper BSM street team, despite offers from some very nice people in the past, as it's something I've never felt completely comfortable with. In theory they're brilliant. Passionate fans going out and turning their friends into fellow-passionate fans. It'll be like a cult, with generations of musical slaves - for lack of a better word - enthusiastically obeying your every whim (remind me why I haven't done this before) and spreading the good word further afield, into regions out of your personal reach.

My problem, however, is like everyone reading this, I'm sure, have previously been bothered by pushy, snotty nosed little brats wanting me to give my email address to a band I've never heard of whilst patiently minding my own business waiting in a venue queue. I've also been on internet forums and witnessed people be torn to shreds for shamelessly plugging their acts to an unwilling audience. It ain't pretty.

So where's the middle ground? Is there one? Obviously a certain amount of common sense needs to factor, as does tact. Flyers are relatively inoffensive, especially if said leaflet offers, for example, a free download of money off from a webstore, but would these things be the difference between you immediately dropping it on the floor or placing it in your pocket for later consideration? And what about online? Friends occasionally sharing links via social networks surely can't bother anyone too much, but how effective can that be on a realitisically achievable scale?

Does anyone have any stories of really positive experiences with street teams? Have you discovered an amazing new band or maybe even made a friend through this avenue? What about bad experiences?

Over the next 12 months we're looking to expand BSM into a couple of big, scary, new territories but as ever we're confined by limited resources, a Tesco Value budget and a team of one working on the label. It's a big world out there and much like The Beatles, I'll get by with a little help from my friends, I just need to figure out how.

Suggestions are welcomed in the comments or via email. Thanks in advance, team!


Slow day

Do you ever have those days where you have so much to do, you end up doing nothing at all? It's an analogy I often use but picture a bunch of fat men (they have beards, string vests and incredible amounts of sweat, if it helps the image) running towards a small doorway, their vast combined weight blocking it off meaning that nobody can escape. Now switch those fat lads for thoughts and the door for my brain. My sweaty brain and it's of no use to me today.

Last night Jack Alcopop came round. This, as ever, resulted in us drinking cider, listening to Huw Stephens and spending money we can ill afford on Ebay. You know those nights when you end up buying 'Living The Dream', the official Gretna FC song from the Scottish FA Cup final 2006 by the Hugh Trowsers Band on CD single? Yeah it was one of those. Thankfully, the song's a hit.

I'm a little envious of all our bands being on tour right now. Classic post-holiday blues, I guess. This Town Needs Guns are in Germany, Blakfish in Poland, Wintermute Scotland, The Tupolev Ghost just arrived home from two weeks away including a couple of days of partying in Ireland, Pulled Apart By Horses about to head out with Rolo Tomassi, Shapes are off at the start of May and Copy Haho have just been confirmed for a bunch of shows with Johnny Foreigner, Tubelord and Calories. This Easter weekend will see me visit Peterborough and Wantage. Hardly the glamour capitals of the country. Ho hum

Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions about the Summer and Autumn Collection CDs, below. A lot of good ideas, both in the comments and via email. Keep em coming...

We have two new releases to announce over the next few weeks. One is a new band whose record has already cemented a place in my top 5 albums of the year, the other is a new compilation. Soon we'll also have some exciting news for slightly further afield fans, a potentially ridiculous release and a lot more gigs and tours. I nervously looked at the release schedule this morning and I'll be pleased to make it through 2009 alive.

I'm off to try and drag some fat men through doors

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Summer

The past couple of days I've been chasing up and collating tracks for the second in our four-part 2009 Collection series of compilation CDs (which you can subscribe to here, FYI). Following on from 'Spring', this one is cleverly titled 'Summer' and will be available from mid-May, featuring another beautiful lineup of weird and wonderful tracks from our labels finest. I'll be announcing the full tracklisting in a few weeks time, but hopefully you'll all find this one as pleasing as the first.

Soon enough it'll be time to begin the third CD ('Autumn', of course) and thought I should take the opportunity to ask what YOU would like on it? Are there any of our bands you'd like to hear covering others? Or perhaps playing different versions of their own songs? Anyone or anything you would like to see in video? (lets keep this clean please, people!). Whatever you'd like, leave a comment here or contact me via email, Myspace, Twitter, Facebook or whatever crazy 21st century medium takes your fancy.

These CDs are for you so the creativity ball is firmly resting in your court. Go wild!


Wanna win some BSM CDs?

Obvz.

Do it here, Last.fm style

Good luck!

Monday, 6 April 2009

I don't like Monday's

I'm still struggling with my sleep since returning from the US. This happens everytime. I really should've just drawn a big line through the next two weeks in my diary and writen it off as 'recovery time'.

Right now I'm uploading a little bootleg promo video for 'Bad Company In A Sauna' by Wintermute. It was edited by my brother (also responsible for this Shapes video) and features a fairly well known pop video, can you name it? You should be able to, it's a classic after all. As per usual I'm using blog writing as a form of keeping myself company whilst the Youtube status bar dallies along. I don't think I have the mental capacity to handle too much multi-tasking today.

In related Wintermute news: You can (and should) pre-order their forthcoming debut album, 'Robot Works', from www.bsmrocks.com/shop. Native's 'We Delete; Erase' EP is also now available for the bargain price of just £4.

Listen to Talons. One of my favourite unsigned bands around.

Both This Town Needs Guns and Blakfish are in Europe right now, the lucky sods. The former are on their way from Oslo to Vänersborg (Sweden) right now, whilst the latter are living it up in Berlin. I'm thinking of going to a European music festival this summer but can't decide which. A couple of years back we went to Dour in Belgium which was awesome, despite being the hottest 5 days of my life, rendering us unable to move between the hours of 6am and 6pm each day, and the fact that everyone's tents were robbed on a dairly basis. Thinking about it, perhaps it wasn't that awesome. I'll cross Dour off of this years list.

It's done. Enjoy:

Friday, 3 April 2009

Video Mix-Tape #4 - Wintermute

With the 27th April release of their debut album, 'Robot Works', fast approaching, a robot themed video mix-tape from Wintermute just made too much sense. Enjoy...



1. Daft Punk - Robot Rock (above)
2. Beastie Boys - Intergalactic
3. Kraftwerk - The Robots
4. Flight of The Conchords - The Humans Are Dead
5. Bjork - All Is Full Of Love

Download a Wintermute album sampler right here.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

You know you've made it when...

Andrew WK has a 4 page interview in Front and one of the highlighted quotes (bottom left, next to the bloody shirt) is discussing puking after a vindaloo you bought him...



Read more details about his pile of sick here.

Good times.

The thick of things

I've been home for just over 48 hours and already need another holiday. This is always the problem with going away.

My brother has put together a little video for 'Trampled By A Horse', the first track from Shapes forthcoming EP, 'The Pasture, The Oil'. You should watch it right now, before you get distracted by TV, Facebook and the other pitfalls of 21st century living...




That was good, wasn't it? Look out for more bootleg promo videos coming soon. I'm just waiting for Wintermute to approve an idea for a track from their 'Robot Works' album and then I'll post it on here, hopefully sometime next week.

Whilst I was away my second column for the lovely The Line of Best Fit magazine went live online. It's all about my top 5 Swedish bands and also features a lovely little TV interview I did whilst in Sweden a couple of years ago, which you might mistake for a popular Fast Show sketch, but trust me, it's real. The thing was aired at 6pm on their equivalent of BBC2 and, much to my dismay, spelt my name wrong. Still, could be worse, they may have spelt it like the Duty Free people at Newark airport. Check the angry photo, snapped alongside a rather disturbing fetish ad found in the Village Voice newspaper...


Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Home sweet home

I'm back at my trusty computer. It's good to be home. A solid 12 hour sleep last night and my body, for the moment at least, feels pretty much back into the swing of all things GMT.

The past two weeks have been amazing. The intense fun of SXSW and the bizarre madness of the rodeo in Austin, dancing on a bar in Houston, soaking up the European atmosphere and taking a swamp tour of New Orleans, the ghost town that is Birmingham, Alabama, getting drunk in a shopping centre in Atlanta, hanging with Andrew WK and remembering why I love New York so much. A million and one in-jokes along the way and the group unconciously falling into two groups divided by sleeping arrangements (I'm sure Bed Buddy Ben is enjoying not having me stealing the cover anymore), nothing has felt normal since I left home some 16 days ago. If you haven't already read through the adventures you can do so below. I'll post links to photos when everyone gets around to sorting them out. Boy do I miss our pimped up little car, though.

Today is my first day back in the 'office'. I'm trying to ease back into everything but now have the unnerving task of responding to a few hundred emails, along with the much more exciting job of putting a few new plans into action. And to think I considered the release schedule busy before I left!

My brother has knocked up a brilliant little video for Shapes, which I'll be posting online today or tomorrow. It's the first in a series he's working on for us and they'll all be finding their way onto the internet over the coming weeks.

The Tupolev Ghost are still out on tour and will be heading to Ireland today. From all reports they're having a great time so if you can make it to one of the remaining dates (check them here) please do go and say hi. They're a friendly bunch.

I better crack on with the emails and catch-up fun. I'm also counting down the minutes until 12pm and the close of the April Fool's window. I'm too gullible for days like this and have a tendency to fall for ridiculous news stories and pranks way too often.