Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Can't Lib With Dem, Can't Lib Without Dem

I really want to tell you all about my trip to Blackpool (seriously, get out of the 90's! If ever a town - and group of people - needed a major update...) and Gretna (No marriage, just a 600 mile round trip to watch non-league Scottish football and hang out at a social club) but it would end up being a post simply littered with in-jokes, tales of drunken nonsense and a boy named Cod. Instead, I'm going to give you something much more worthwhile... A little press update on Walter Schreifels album.

Its wonderful to see the media enjoying this record as much as I'm sure the rest of you all will as soon as you hear it. I'm going to post a second update soon which will include some of the forthcoming bits such as his Kerrang feature (along with a photo I play an integral role in, not that you'll see me) and album review, as well as a feature from Big Cheese, and no doubt a bunch more reviews and videos. Right now, here are some of my favourite press clippings to have run thus far...



Walter reviews the singles in Rock Sound. You'll have to buy the magazine to read his views on Foals, Biffy Clyro, Attack! Attack!, Cerebal Ballzy, Pendulum and more but I had to post the photo. Seriously, have a look at that! What a thing of splendour. On the way to the RS offices I told him all about the wonderful TV show that is Booze Britain, as well as our finest drinking chain, Wetherspoons. With his mind freshly blown, see how many times he manages to mention these things in his short, consistently scored summaries! It's in the issue with Deftones on the cover, out now.

Also in this months Rock Sound is a review of the new album, 'An Open Letter To The Scene', which you can read just here (scoring a nice 8/10) and a 9/10 live review from his recent gig in Sheffield. A night which, from the sounds of it, saw the reviewer fell head over heels in love with the man's sackful of charm.

And completing the Rock Sound trident of Walter love is this little piece about the UK election, including an incredible catchphrase, more recently seen as the title of this post.

In the online world, Punktastic (4/5), Alter The Press (4.5/5) and Rock Midgets (4/5) have all weighed in with some serious praise, with PT also giving us this little live video for 'She Is To Me' and ATP offering this interview. Manchester Screenwipe also have a live video online.

From the US side, there's a great in the studio video doing the rounds on a few online magazine/blog websites, and now AOL and Spinner are both streaming the album in its entirety. Have a listen here.

Completing this first round-up is a clip of an interview from a documentary I'll be telling you a lot more about over the coming weeks. Enjoy.

Friday, 23 April 2010

And I would drive 600 miles

Day three of my week off. Yesterday's London trip to see Chris Conley of Saves The Day fame was cancelled (thanks, volcano!) but ended up a blissful affair full of beer gardens, political debates and online gambling. I doubled down on 13, convinced it was a lesson I learnt in Swingers. I was wrong, but thankfully the cards weren't. Blackjack!

This afternoon I'm starting a 600 mile round trip to watch Scottish non-league football.

This line shouldn't really be a new paragraph but I felt the dramatic pause was necessary. Tomorrow at 2.30pm Alcopop Records will be sponsoring what is arguably the game of the weekend... Gretna 2008 vs Vale of Leithen! In front of an expected crowd of 150, Jack and I will be handling the daunting responsibility of picking man of the match before celebrating a glorious home win in the neighbouring Social Club. Come on you Black and Whites!

But, first things first... A night out in Blackpool. This is gonna be horrible.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Oblivion

I'm taking a few days off over the next week to enjoy a bit of down-time and hang out with friends. It started yesterday with a mates birthday celebrations at Alton Towers. I'd never previously been on a rollercoaster and it took my body a while to adapt, to say the least. Ever been on Oblivion? Don't. A 90ft vertical drop into a black hole in the ground says it all, really. Just stupid. Thankfully the log flume proved to be a little easier. Nonchalance is definitely a better look on me.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Surf Wax America #1

Forget about volcanoes and politics for one minute and ask yourself this... If Carlsberg ran clubnights, would they be as good as this?



It's highly unlikely, right?

To give you the background to this night, it turned out that both myself and the guys at The 405 had the idea of starting something up in London where we could basically play a few great records for our friends once a month. As far as I'm aware, there's nowhere else in town you would hear Meet Me In St Louis mixed into Renegade Master followed by Blink 182 and then Phoenix. Equally, there's very few places you get to see awesome bands forgoing their own material for an evening to cover some huge hits from others. So with Grown Ups doing Saves The Day and Into It. Over It having a bash at Texas Is The Reason, I feel this night is going to tick many boxes for many people, and we're all gonna have a damn good time along the way!

Another important factor in the coming together of Surf Wax America was the financial side of things. We hoped to make it free entry for all, but as with most things, overheads need to be covered and as such we had to set a door price. We've kept this as low as possible, and after a small number of advance tickets for just £2 selling out in 15 minutes on Friday, they're available for £3, which will stay that price right the way up until 11pm on the night, when it jumps to £5.

I'll no doubt be posting more about this night over the next month, but in the meantime, here are some useful links for you... Buy tickets. Facebook event. Last.fm event.

Monday, 19 April 2010

My week

As now so often seems to be the way, I'm writing a long-overdue catchup blog post whilst sitting here editing myself in my head, trying to filter out the 'absolute nonsense' and just leave the 'pretty much nonsense' news for you to read about.

Since my last update my knowledge of the UK political system has quadrupled. I guess the TV debate really did have the desired effect as I've come away for the for the first time in my life feeling as though I have a vague idea about what's going on, who I'm going to vote for and even enjoyed a conversation about it with friends over the weekend. I must be growing up.

Sticking with the theme of current affairs, the gsgn'sgseggnjfg volcano (did I mash the keyboard correctly there?) in Iceland continues to cause all sorts of problems for many people, with air traffic entering its 5th day of standstill. Pool old Walter Schreifels has been caught up in the middle of it all. Having flown to Japan - via Moscow - after finishing up his UK tour, his return plans hit a rather large stumbling block which saw him grounded in a Dharma Initiative style camp in Russia for the past three days. Right now he's in Barcelona and hopes to finally return to London and then NYC on Thursday. Meanwhile This Town Needs Guns are nervously keeping an eye on the news, ahead of their tour of Japan which is due to begin next week. Closer to home, I have two trips planned myself this week, but thankfully no dust clouds will be stopping me from hitting Alton Towers or Gretna Social Club. More on those later in the week...

We've upgraded our web server this week to a bigger and better service. It turns out that the old one was a little out-dated which meant it was not only slow and limited in capabilities, but also more than three times the price I should've been paying. Nice! The switch to the new server - touch wood - seems to have been made seamlessly, but if you do experience any problems, keep an eye on our Twitter feed for updates, and you can access our webstore directly at any time. The letters MySQL, SSL, FTP and many more have been floating around my head for days now and still mean absolutely nothing!

Talons begin their tour with Three Trapped Tigers (who are this week's '10 Collection band) on Thursday and I heartily recommend you check them out. The split single with Noumenon is getting close to selling out so you should try and pick up a copy of that soon or risk the chance of missing out completely.

And last but by no means least, I've started making plans for this years BSM 5-a-side football tournament. As ever, 16 teams will make up four groups of 4 battling it out over a hot summers afternoon, before we can crown the champions of the underground music scene. Look out for a run-down of the competitors coming soon...

Now I need to get on with my usual Monday morning tasks of beating the tiredness and uploading the latest '10 Collection track. Subscribers, brace yourselves.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The new guy

I get a few emails every day from people asking for a job - be it paid or unpaid - but due to being a one-man operation based in a small flat, it's not exactly the ideal setup to have someone here working with me. From time to time I ask 'applicants' to handle a bit of work for the label from the comfort of their own home, in return for free CDs, gig tickets, etc, so when one of my friends emailed saying he needed a few days of work experience in order to pass his creative writing module at uni, it all fell nicely into place... It's my responsibility to the educational system of the United Kingdom to make him work for it!

I set him a series of small tasks ranging from some fairly dull band biog updates and spellchecking to the more difficult of challenges, beginning with the below. An introductory blog post and essay on why Big Scary Monsters is the best record label in the world.
Hello gang!

Thom Rogers here! Most of you won’t know me so let me fill you in on why I have hijacked the Blog Scary Monsters today. Well the short answer is because I’m actually doing a few odd jobs to help Kev – Big Boss, as I will call him this week - in exchange for “work experience” for University. I got an email with a list of duties I had to fulfil, one being an introduction on who I am via the blog and an essay on why Big Scary Monsters is best indie record label ever!

However, the long answer to why you are reading me today instead of Big Boss (Kev, just in case you weren’t reading earlier… keep up!) is a series of events that fumbled together that will also reveal why, in my opinion, Big Scary Monsters is the best indie record label ever.

I first stumbled across BSM when the label discovered a hot bed music in the Dorset area, with two awesome bands – Secondsmile and Sparks, Lights And Flames – being picked up about five or six years ago. It just so happened that these guys were my gang of friend from home. However, these would not become the only friends I would make because of Big Scary Monsters.

The reason for this is that BSM is the one record label I can think of where a community has developed, with Kev as den mother, introducing us all to new bands constantly. Six Years ago it was Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. through to Itch, The Campaign For Real Time, Cats And Cats And Cats and its still going on now, as I discover Grown Ups this week.

The sense of community is felt throughout the year, with Christmas tours, summer showcases and of course everyone’s favourite, the BSM 5-a-side football tournament, unless you were a ref.

This is a truly wonderful and eclectic music label, just by looking at the 50 Not Out compilation CD, you can see that BSM have proved that quantity and quality can co-exist. The label has consistently released some of the world’s best underground music, be it Sweden’s Audrey, the mid-land’s Blakfish, Boston’s The Campaign For Real Time or Michigan’s Anathello.

So there it is, the reason why I believe Big Scary Monsters to be the best indie record label ever. I have met so many wonderful people throughout the years due to this label and listened to even more wonderful bands. With their 100th release on the way, going intercontinental and starting to get some seriously big names like Andrew W.K, the future bright, the future is BSM.
Look out for more from Thom over the next couple of weeks. If you have any ideas of paces he needs to be put through (or hoops he should be jumping through, more like) then let me know. The man's education is in our hands here, people.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Wally

Last night I awoke at 4am and struggled to get back to sleep amidst thoughts and fears of work backlogs and problems. I hadn't felt stressed before going to bed, but I sure as hell felt it whilst there. It was very strange, made even more so when I found out earlier on today that our webstore is down, with no explanation or resolution in sight. As far as I can tell - and that isn't very far at all, considering my total lack of technical knowledge - the providers servers have failed, making this a problem I can do little about. My girlfriend tells me that I spend so much time on the computer, it and my mind are now one, hence the twin-like feelings of worry late last night. Unlikely stories aside, my afternoon quickly developed into a race against time to shift as many of our products as possible over onto a new webstore platform and get it integrated with the website layout, without looking like the preverial sore thumb. At 1am, 7 hours after I began with no more than a 10 minute break in that time, I am 50% finished. And that's before the bugs are ironed out. It almost seems pointless bothering trying to sleep tonight.

Walter Schreifels ends his UK tour in London tomorrow night. Unfortunately the planned gig in Southampton on Thursday has had to be cancelled at short notice, with Walter heading straight from London to Japan for some last-minute Rival Schools bits and pieces. Life in the fast lane, and all that. I'll be joining him early tomorrow lunchtime for a final 24 hours of press work in the UK, including a Kerrang photoshoot, some fun in the Rock Sound office, a number of interviews, acoustic performances and a farewell drink or two.

I'll post a bunch of the above videos, interviews, reviews and so on as and when they filter through, starting with this lovely little video from our good friends at Beatcast, filmed last week in Kingston.

Apologies for the tired nature of this post. Brain's shutting down. See you next week.