Sunday, 28 June 2009

Time flies when you're...

...travelling all over the country, visiting cities you've never been with no maps, directions or a clue, selling merch, setting up interviews, watching acoustic sessions being filmed by train lines, trying to catch up with old friends, making new ones, organising street team flyering, sleeping in student houses, dreaming of showering, hoping to catch a bit of Wimbledon, never managing to catch any of Wimbledon, trying to find Vitamin Water, arranging mid-tour CD deliveries and sweating your face off in amongst 2000+ people singing along with Brand New every night. Seriously no idea where the past week has gone but right now I'm at home after the longest (and most needed) of all sleeps. Kevin Devine headline show at the Barfly in London tomorrow - if you haven't got a ticket, buy one now. This will sell out - then it's all over for 2 weeks until he's back again with Manchester Orchestra. There's also the little matter of another (that's right, another) new BSM band to be announced as well as a new split release from a couple of your favourites. Oh and my inbox is packed to the rafters, but that's a problem with "Monday" written all over it. Today, I plan on doing absolutely nothing.

See you tomorrow, World.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Tour - Day One

I'm on tour. It's not a band tour, as I'm sans artists, equipment or talent, and it's not a ladz tour, as I'm just one lad. There's no plural here. Right now I'm in Coventry on a rickety old Megabus. The notion of scanning for wireless seems as hopeful as that of finding a pot of gold at the end of the trip, so I'm going to save us all the embarassment and go all 90's, staying offline and disconnected from the world. Glancing out my window to the right I can see the trio of hate, B-Wise, Wilkinson and Iceland. Lynchpins of the British highstreet shopping industry. I don't think I like Coventry.

In a couple more hours I'll be in Manchester. I don't know the city very well and need to find my way from the bus stop to the Parcelforce depot to collect 5000 flyers (as if I wasn't already struggling under the weight of 5 days worth of clothes, toileteries, CDs, this laptop and assorted wires), to my friends house, to the venue. And only when I reach my final destination does the fun really begin.

Tonight is the first night of Kevin Devine's tour with Brand New. As the label AND press agent, I'll be locating and organising journalists to conduct their interviews, fielding last minute phonecalls about guestlist places and making sure all's ok with the merch table, in which lies a whole series of 'bonus' stress...

Kevin's album comes packaged in lovely die-cut gatefold digipak sleeves. They look incredible, or at least they would, if they were here! Due to the lavish nature of the packaging, and our Tesco Value budget for such things, it worked out cheaper to have the sleeves printed in New York - where a stencil for the cut-outs already existed - and source the CDs and booklets via our usual suppliers in Europe. The inner components arrived last Thursday. The CDs sound great, the booklets read just fine, but where are the sleeves? "They'll be with you Friday" disappeared into radio silence over the weekend, before turning into "we'll send them overnight to reach you in Manchester Tuesday" to the most heart-breaking phonecall in BSM history: "As far as I know, they haven't gone into production yet"

Lies, confusion, whatever, the fact of the matter is that the dagger was plunged into my chest at roughly 11pm last night, exactly 12 hours before my coach was due to depart north for day one of the tour. What am I supposed to do now?

A fairly sleepless night saw me up at 7am this morning, burning and printing 32 CD-Rs (the most my limited time would afford), printing paper slips, sending frantic emails, packing my bag and just about avoiding the temptation to beat the living shit out of the would-be beatiful butterfly elergently swirling above my head. I'm not a fan of ironic symolism.

So, to cut a long story short, here I am, loaded with 32 musical receipts (AKA CDs full of 6 unreleased tracks), along with 32 pieces of paper asking people to pledge their money, fill in their details and put their faith in the postal service, with the promise of a CD to come as soon as the New Yorkers pull their fingers out. Far from ideal, and with a sell out capacity of well over 2000 passing through the venue tonight, I'll be the guy stood sheepishly drunk in the corner. Escapism is never going to taste so good.

Next stop Glasgow, and the slim hope of a delivery of CD sleeves awaiting us at the venue.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

New Kids On The Blog

I lost my way a little with blog features this year.

The football betting proved more difficult than expected and left me a whopping £5 in the hole, thanks to some frankly poor advice! (sorry, scapegoats)

My 'one day off a week' plan has pretty much stuck, although more often than not seen my time away from the computer spread across 5 days, enjoying an episode of The Shield here or there whilst scribbling ideas in my notebook, leaving nothing of real note to tell you about on here. Unless you're into gang bangers and foot-chopping Armenian's, that is.

The video mix-tapes are still running, if a little slowly, and there'll be a batch of those coming soon, same with our Awesome competitions, and the Spamarama posts will return as soon the rich African Doctor's and bizarre celebrity haters can battle their way through the sea of boring old Viagra salesmen.

But perhaps most disappointingly of all, thanks to my self-enforced once-a-month, bulk friend request approval system, the much-loved (at least by me) 'Myspace Fruit Of The Week' feature has dried up. The good news there, however, is that it will hopefully be returning soon, perhaps even in print format! Wowsers.

But, never one to know when to cut his losses, I've decided to start yet another new feature...

New Kids On The Blog

Like all of the best ideas (this blog included) it started as a name which I thought was kinda funny and has since been forced into an idea which may or may not work. Here's the 411...

Every now and again (I'm putting no strict timeframe on this one, for the reasons laid out above!) I'll be writing a few words and linking through to some awesome new bands. It'll be a mix of ones I see live, ones who get in touch, ones who win the 'demo of the month' award on our podcast, and most of all, ones you tell me about.

If you think there's a band I should hear, tell me. You can post comments here, email me, "Tweet" me, Facebook me, Myspace me, heck you can even stop me in the street. I love hearing new music, and recommendations from people who know and love our bands are always the best.

I'm away next week but will try to find a glimpse of wireless internet to post the first up here asap. In the mean time, let the tipping commence...


Thursday, 18 June 2009

Summer 09

It's been a long time coming but better late than never, here's the tracklisting for the BSM Summer 09 Collection CD...

01. Mutiny On The Bounty - 1, 2, 3, 4, I Declare A Thumb War
02. Adebisi Shank - Shunk
03. Shapes - You Butcher
04. Kevin Devine - Another Bag of Bones
05. Mimas - SMOM (demo)
06. Talons - Comiserations Buff Orpington
07. Shoes And Socks Off - I'm A World Class Assassin
08. Colour - Unicorns (acoustic)
09. Pennines - Billie Jeans
10. Wintermute - Disco Loadout
11. Tubelord - I Punched A Lion In The Face (PABH cover)
12. Standish Smithwick - Finders Keepers
13. Blakfish - Economics
14. The Tupolev Ghost - Autodidact
15. Pulled Apart By Horses - E=MC Hammer (Richmanu Remix)

Videos

16. Copy Haho - This Retro Decade (Live Beastcast video)
17. Mimas - Cats On Fire live (promo video)
18. Shapes - Trampled By A Horse (bootleg promo video)


Not bad, eh? Personally I think it's quite a nice mix of our current crop of EP/album hits alongside many amazing unreleased gems. To say that there's something on here for everyone is a cliche, but ya know, there kinda is...

The CD is released on 13th July but anyone who has already subscribed to the 09 Collection, your CD will be with you before then, along with the limited edition tins, for those who missed out the first time around. If you haven't yet subscribed, you can do so right here. It costs £15 and you'll receive four CDs (including the above and the previously released Spring compilation) through the course of the year. Alternatively you can buy each CD separately for £5.

All four parts of the collection are limited to just 365 induvidually date-stamped copies, making every single one of them unique. You probably can't put a price on those kind of scene points, but if you could, I reckon it'd be way more than 15 quid.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The day Punktastic saved my life

I was recently interviewed by Punktastic. We talked about the history of the label, defining moments, the future of music, the overheads involved in running a record label and lots of other things.

A very nice man - who'll remain un-named for security reasons - read said article, came to the BSM website, bought a t-shirt and subscribed to our 2009 Collection series of compilation CDs. He then followed this up with a charming email, referencing said interview, and mentioning that through his work in the lost property department of a very large company, he might be able to help me out. 2 days later, over £100 worth of 1st class stamps dropped through my door.

The power of the internet, hey? My new friend has just opened himself up to a free lifetime subscription of BSM merchandise and won the the starring role in my new favourite record label story.

Fin.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Devine

This morning has been all about updating the website to announce our newest signing, the one and only, Mr Kevin Devine. If you've ever stopped by and read this blog before, there's a fair chance you'll know how excited I am about this, and to save repeating myself with all of this information again, read about his new album and tour dates here.


On a completely different note: I believe that our generation being subjected to Home Alone (1 and 2, 3's not great and don't get me started on 4) at a young, impressionable age has turned us all into violence-loving psycho's, the only difference is some people hide it better than others. However, an appetite for destruction isn't necessarily required to know that this is amazing...

Monday, 15 June 2009

I forgot Cursive

I'm home. Download was messy, real messy. Infact, it was too messy, and I ended up going home early. Limp Bizkit were everything and more, that's all you need to know.

It's Monday morning which means back to reality and a fun-filled day of work. Lots of exciting things going on this week, not least the Adebisi Shank/Shield Your Eyes/The Tupolev Ghost/Brontide show in London tomorrow night. But before you all rush off to buy your £5 advance tickets for that, check this...

Myself and Ben 'Potato Grits' Patashnik have put together a combined BSM vs NME.com Notes From The Underground Spotify playlist for you all. I pick the even songs, Ben the odd ones. They're all hits, although I'm listening to 'The Ugly Organ' right now and just thinking I should've put a Cursive track in really. Oh well, can't win em all.

Here's a picture of me and Ben in bed together in New Orleans, look how happy he is, that's the kind of joy only independent music can bring.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

METAL

I thought a heading like that deserved - nay, demanded - capital letters. Tomorrow morning I'm off to Download festival, fetching pink guest writsband, box o' wine, cheap vodka, breakfast in a can and Tesco value noodles at the ready. I toyed with, and later dismissed, my first ever contemplation of wellies and have instead opted to wear astroturf football boots to try and combat the mud. Almost certainly a massive error in judgement...

I don't think I need to tell too many of you that I'm excited about the idea of seeing Limp Bizkit play tomorrow night, and to celebrate I wrote a list of my top 10 nu-metal anthems for Clash magazine. Check it out and see if you agree.

And not only that, I also put together a Spotify playlist! Listen to it, love it and add to it here.

Here's a terrible video...

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

One down, one to go

Thanks so much to everyone who braved the buses of London last night to come out and enjoy the gig at the Buffalo Bar. Copy Haho (who record a Radio One session today and play at Pure Groove, 1.15pm tomorrow - go!), The Tupolev Ghost and Wintermute were all brilliant and a great time was had by all. Thankfully my horrible dream of being the only person there didn't come true! Best of luck to anyone in the city today who is currently facing up to a day without tubes.

So, as one gig disappears, another quickly appears on the horizon... Taking place at the Barfly next Tuesday (16th June), we've got an amazing four band bill featuring Adebisi Shank, Shield Your Eyes, The Tupolev Ghost and Brontide. I know, right? Shit hot. Add yourself to the Facebook event and buy tickets for just £5 in advance. Here's a lovely flyer...



Tuesday, 9 June 2009

My favourite thing about Tobias Hayes...

...has to be his timing.

On September 24th 2008, AKA Meet Me In St Louis Day, Toby was completely unaware of any celebrations going on, worshiping his former bands one and only album, as he was sat on a chest of drawers in his flat above a motorbike shop, recording his debut Shoes And Socks Off record, mostly in one take. His accidental ignorance towards the event was as fitting as the new solo material was honest and heartfelt. The album, 'From The Muddy Banks Of Melitzer', went on to soundtrack my winter and provided many fellow fans with a new obsession to start filling the MMISL shaped hole left in their lives. And not just that; it potentially saved this little record label. With distributors dropping like flies and a constant battle for attention turning into an uphill struggle, for the first time since day one, I contemplated packing everything in. A few excited plans for the SASO album later and the sun put his back on. Neither of us were in the mood for the bullshit. We didn't care about sales figures, we didn't give a toss what any journalists thought, we weren't going to bust our balls trying to book a tour. This was about having fun. The CDs were burnt to order right here in my flat whilst the artwork was designed by Toby and printed by a friend. You won't find the album in any shops and you'd be hard pushed to find it in any magazines either. It existed simply because we wanted it to, and was available for anyone who wanted to find it. For everyone else, who cares?

On June 8th 2009, AKA a really fucking stressful day, Toby finished his second album. This time it was my turn to be ignorant, losing track of the studio dates, blissfully unaware of what was going on as I sat here pulling my hair out and stressing over unrelated things well outside of my control. A tube strike on the day of a BSM showcase gig in London, logistical issues over tour planning and album delivery dates, artwork problems at the printers and financial woes. It was past being 'just another bloody Monday' and had slipped into the realm of 'a really crappy start to the week'. Just as the day was drawing to an end, as I was daring to think about packing up and going to bed, my inbox lit up. The new album was here. My day just got a little bit better.

'Hand Reared Suburban Piglet' features the same 10 tracks as it's predecessor, only fleshed out and full of new and exciting instruments. Glitchy electronics, discordant violins... I think I just heard some banjo, too! Toby has gone all Thom Yorke on us and has not just produced a brilliant follow-up record, but a perfectly timed reminder of why I love this job.

Anybody in London tonight, I'll be the one cruising around on a multitude of tube replacing buses, notebook in hand, big grin on my face and a million and one ideas bubbling through my brain about the next Shoes And Socks Off anti-release.


Monday, 8 June 2009

Agassi Shank

Another day another dollar. I'm finally getting around to writing my top 10 list of nu-metal songs for Clash magazine this week, in the run-up to Download and the biggest festival lineup this side of the Millenium. It's a real tricky one and I expect the afternoon to be written off by deliberation and many wonderful Youtube videos. I'll post the link to the finished article here when it's ready and will give you guys a REAL insight into the influences behind this little record label of mine!

Thanks to everyone who has read my Punktastic interview and commented on it so far. I'm not going to answer the embarrassing release question, but if you want to have a stab at it, go right ahead.

I've just posted a couple of Adebisi Shank MP3s to download on our Friend of The Family website. I fully recommend you strap on your dancing shoes and give them a listen. Oh and buy the 10" too, they arrived on Friday and look amazing!

Exciting news coming this week. Look out on Wednesday for something non-BSM but absolutely huge, and then hopefully on Friday we'll be following it with a little, unrelated, announcement of our own. Good times ahead, people. Good times.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Punktastic

Here's a quickie but a goodie... There's a fairly lengthy interview with me up on Punktastic.com right now. It covers all sorts of topics from how the label got started to the future of the music industry. I especially recommend it to any office workers looking to kill a few boring Monday morning minutes.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Roll up, roll up

I've just had a call confirming that 85kg of Adebisi Shank vinyl will be here at 9am tomorrow. That's about 13 stone. It'll be the equivelant of one and a third me's standing in the same small area of floor in my little flat, for day after day after day. Any bored, 13 stone students reading this today: fancy doing a little floor safety experiment for me? It's in the comfort of your own home and the only required skill is patience. You in?

One of my favourite Oxford bands, Jonquil, have just posted a brilliant new song on their Myspace. They have a few shows coming up and I thoroughly recommend you go and check them out. You're probably gonna want to learn the words to 'Lions' first though. Wouldn't want to be the only one not singing along.

All sorts of logistical stresses are driving me crazy today. I can't talk about it, as it all revolves around a new release which won't be announced until next week at the earliest, but it'll all make sense shortly. What I will say is it involves lots of last minute (very exciting) gig booking, CD sleeves being produced on one continent, booklets being printed on another, travelling a combined few thousand miles between them, with a day of packing looming for me, throwing my planned trip to the opening day at Wimbledon into jeopardy. I guess I could just take them with me and set up a mini-production line on Henman Hill? Maybe I could even shift a few copies whilst there? I wonder if tennis enthusiasts will appreciate the music of our new secret signing? Perhaps free strawberries and Robinson's Orange will help sway their decision? Oh the possibilities.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

A barrage of nonsense

When Blakfish played the recent BSM Great Escape showcase, they were drunk. Real drunk. Sam, the singer, had polished off two bottles of vodka before hitting the stage and the liquor coursing through his veins only seemed to spur on the punk rock spirit of the room as all sorts of chaos broke out. However, before any of that happened, this happened...


I don't think The Fly knew what they'd let themselves in for when they agreed to this idea!

Check this link out for a second live video.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Hugo Boos

My wallet has a "Hugo Boos" logo on it. It cost a couple of Euro's from a little shop in Spain and is falling apart everywhere. Yesterday all of my change fell out and scattered across the floor. It was more annoying than embarrassing, but only just.

On a slightly related note, my girlfriend has submitted a couple of awesome designs to a Hugo (the Boss, not Boos) advertising competition. If you have a moment, check them out and vote for them to win here. Gemma has previously produced lots of flyers for BSM as well as our latest t-shirt design.


Monday, 1 June 2009

Lunch

It's nearly 3pm and I'm finally starting to think about lunch. This week has kicked off in relentless fashion and I don't see it slowing up. So much stuff going on (both behind the scenes and 'up front') and it's a pretty sure sign of how this summer is going to roll. If I have any hair left come October I'll be a lucky little man. Same with money and energy.

We've signed a new band and will be re-releasing their recent debut album on lovely 10" vinyl this month. I haven't yet written a news piece or press release about it but if you head over to www.bsmrocks.com right now you can find all of the info you'll need. Expect another signing announcement - perhaps as early as next week - along with lots of lovely free music. I'll also try and write a better blog entry than this lacklustre little effort. Weird little s smiley face.