Friday, 30 July 2010

Busking

In January 2008 I went to New York and filmed a short video of a man playing his pots and pans in the 42nd Street subway. Since then the video has received 333,501 views and counting, as well as hundreds of comments and 1449 'likes'. This is all to be expected as the guy is clearly very talented.



In July 2010 I went to Barcelona and filmed an unlikely bunch playing near Port Vell one evening. Uploaded only minutes ago so no figures are yet available, the only stats I can give you are as follows: Yes, that's a didgeridoo. Yes, he's wearing pink trousers and has a big gong (wahey) next to him. Yes, that's a man standing, holding CDs aloft. No, nobody is watching. And you're right, it really is hard to pick just one single, favourite thing about that 'drummer'.



Well, there you have it. The tale of two buskers.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Throwing Opinions At Walls

Last night I was fortunate enough to see the first ever Shoes And Socks Off London headline show, as part of this weeks full band tour. It was quite a spectacle and a joy to see so many people there, watching these stripped down acoustic songs we've all come to know and love be brought to life by an array of very talented musicians.

Me and my Flipcam managed to capture three videos which will be up online over the next few weeks, but in the meantime, enjoy this version of 'Throwing Opinions At Walls' featuring Toby on guitar accompanied by Sam and Reuben from Talons, recorded upstairs at The Barfly before the gig for This Is Fake DIY magazine.


Tapes

I've had a small pile of cassettes sitting next to me on my desk ever since we moved into this place exactly two years ago. Here's a photo of the full collection. This is every cassette tape I own in the world, also known as, the reason I cannot use Last.fm. "Guilty pleasures" doesn't even begin to tell the story...



Just to confirm, the tapes are...

Rednex - Cotton Eye Joe
V/A - Crocodile Dundee OST
The Manchester United Football Squad - Come On You Reds
The Cat (from Red Dwarf) - Tongue Tied
MC Hammer - Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em
Loop Da Loop - Hazel
Collapsed Lung - Eat My Goal
Badiel And Skinner w/ The Lightning Seeds - Three Lions (original)
Bernard Butler - The Garage Tapes (free with NME)

I'll get my coat.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

GoldFlakePaint

I was recently interviewed by GoldFlakePaint online magazine and managed to somehow mention the Fresh Prince twice, in two different contexts, which was pretty exciting! They also wrote some really nice things about the label and posted some free MP3 downloads. If you have a couple of minutes, I'd love for you to read it.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Century

Our 100th release is so very near. Perhaps nearer than you may realise, infact. Next month sees the release is of 96 (Shoes And Socks Off - 'Robin Hood Waiter Champion Have Not' album), 97 (Dad Rocks! - 'Digital Age' EP) and 98 (Hold Your Horse Is - 'Rammin' It Home' EP), which means we head into September just one short. Nail biting.

I've kept my cards very close to my chest with BSM100, partly because I like it that way, but mostly because I've changed my mind roughly every 3.4 seconds about the concept I feel best reflects the body of work we've churned out thus far. I've toyed with the idea of a 7" compilation featuring 10 bands each contributing 30 second songs, I've considered the logistical nightmare of getting as many bodies together in a recording studio to knock out a massive, combined song, I've even mulled over releasing something which isn't actually music. Our 50th release, '50 Not Out', the 50 track MP3 compilation a few years back was - and still is - perfect to me. It captured exactly where we were both in terms of the bands I was working with as well as the shift to digital music we were somewhere in the middle of making. The only problem with it now, looking back, is how do you top something you're totally, 100% happy with?

A few weeks ago I finally settled on an idea for our centenary. I haven't told many people (not even all of the bands yet know the details), and it won't be announced anywhere for a few more weeks yet, but here's a teeny tiny little bit of info for you, dear blog...

BSM100 will be entitled 'Partied Hard', which works on a few levels for me. The original inspiration for the phrase shouldn't be too difficult to guess, we've all sang along in the rock clubs enough times, but the past tense twist is what really seems appropriate. The release rounds up a lot of what we've achieved over the past few years, drawing a line under some things, summing it up and showcasing some of the many highlights, as well as opening the door to the next generation. It'll feature a lot of content - some you'll be aware of, some you won't - too many in-jokes and a lot of amazing artwork. The package will only be available for a very short time, our shortest ever, infact, and then gone forever. All of the little puzzle pieces are coming together here and I hope to have an end product within the next 2 weeks, at which point I'll tell you a lot more.

Around the release there'll be little bits and pieces of press. A few interviews with myself, some new content going online, that kind of thing. I've been asked this morning by one magazine if I'll make a playlist of my all time top 10 BSM songs, which is as exciting as it is daunting. Never before have I attempted to rate these pieces of work. It feels like choosing between my children.

Whilst writing this blog I've written, scrapped, re-written and scrapped again my thank you list for 'Partied Hard'. It's difficult summing up the best part of a decade in such a small amount of space. Time to do something mind numbing for a while and come back to that one later, I feel. It must be mailorder time.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Dad Rocks

Have I posted this before? Who knows? Who cares? I'm doing it anyway. We've just signed the guy and I'm in a defiant mood, so I'll do what I want.



The 'Digital Age' EP finally gets a UK release via BSM on August 16th. There's a bonus track on the end and the CD looks wonderful in this very nice, childlike popup digipak sleeve...



For those of you who don't know/haven't just realised after watching the above video (seriously, watch it), Dad Rocks! is the solo project from Mimas frontman Snævar Njáll Albertsson, featuring his typically unique lyrical stylings and an array of instruments. We've confirmed the first of what will hopefully be three awesome UK shows in October, so look out for info on that.

Now you should go and pre-order the EP.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Kite

That last post was my 600th. WOW! Doesn't time fly when you're blogging?

Sitting in my hotel room in Barcelona after a very weird night involving a bar called Obama's, getting lost, dancing with some Serbian's and a strange old Spannish man. Sightseeing day today, but haven't got a clue where to start. An open top bus might make sense. Drink by the harbour tonight is a must.

Check this video out, it's the latest in our series of Shoes And Socks Off series and features the highest budget of all; £5 for a kite, a roll of gaffa tape and a couple of Twix's. We filmed it on my old Nokia N95 phone, strapped to said kite and flown over White Horse Hill in Oxford one windy day back in April. DIY to the max.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Ole

What a crazy 24 hours. Right now I’m sitting on the sunny balcony of our over the top hotel suite in Pamplona. Two skinny little English boys in a 2 bedroom place bigger than my own flat, with beds large enough to sleep across in any direction, a big, flatscreen TV, full kitchen and a bidet in the bathroom. We arrived yesterday afternoon to a sea of red and white. San Fermin festival is in full swing and the streets are lined with thousands of people in the traditional all white clothing with red neckerchiefs and belts. First stop was to find a shop so we could join in, second was the square where we settled to watch Spain win their first ever World Cup final. Hours of fireworks, marching bands, singing, dancing and drinking later, there was the small matter of a bunch of idiots racing a herd of pissed off, confused bulls down a cobblestone road. No serious injuries today, thankfully, although if everyone elses head is throbbing like mine right now, you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

Today promises much of the same, again ending in the early hours of tomorrow with some bulls, then we head to Barcelona for a few days. I’ve had an image of sitting in a harbour side bar, drinking a cold beer and doing absolutely nothing for a few weeks now, and hope to make this idea of complete tranquillity a reality in 24 hours time. Wish me luck.

For now, it’s nose to the grindstone (or as close to as I can get right now). What a hard life. Download Hold Your Horse Is and Talons new, free, singles today. They're both absolute gold.

5 things I learnt in France

1. It’s too big
2.
Wild horses roam the streets
3.
After the age of 50, all men are fat, overly tanned and topless
4.
Football commentary is jibberish
5. Buffalo Grill


Friday, 9 July 2010

Viva La Espana

I'm off on my summer holidays early tomorrow morning. Really excited. Can't remember the last time I went away in July for something more than a few days in a little tent with a couple of tins of beans and some paracetemol. Myself and a friend are driving to Pamplona for the San Fermin festival (that thing where crazy people run with bulls through the street each morning) and then heading to Barcelona for a few days. Spain getting to the World Cup final - their first ever - on Sunday night is the biggest blessing we could've asked for, as the whole country is likely to reach new levels of partying should they win. Man, I hope they win. At the end of the week we make the daunting 12 hour drive back to the UK, heading straight to The Windmill in London to see Tall Ships, Tangled Hair, Hold Your Horse Is and loads of friends such as Stagecoach, Screaming Maldini and Cat Matador playing the annual Alcopopalooza all-dayer. It's also my 27th birthday. I think it's a very safe assumption that Sunday 18th July 2010 will be lost to my duvet.

Typically the week I dare to go away on holiday looks to be our busiest in a while with all manner of action going on. Some of this I'd been keeping under wraps but I trust you, dear blog. So here's the scoop...

- On Monday Talons will make a previously unreleased recording, 'Trevelyan' (yep, like Sean Bean's character in Goldeneye), available as a free download through Music Glue. This preceeds a tour only CD we'll be releasing in Septemer, featuring all of their recorded material to date. The anthology is currently lacking a title and my suggestion of 'The Electric Dwight Yorkestra' seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

- Sticking with the "free music Monday" theme, Hold Your Horse Is also have a new download going live. It's the first track from their forthcoming EP, 'Rammin' It Home', and is a damn catchy little number. It will be available from their website and coincides with the announcement of their mammoth, 28 date UK tour with Shoes And Socks Off. Which leads me nicely onto...

- A new week obviously means a new video. Number 7 of 10 from the new SASO record, 'Robin Hood Waiter Champion Have-Not' (number 6 is here, by the way). This was actually the highest budget of the series, clocking in at a whopping £5, mostly blown on a kite and gaffa tape, although a couple of Twix's were also involved. I love this video and it'll be made available exclusively via Punktastic, as part of a minisite alongside an interview with Toby, a bunch of free MP3 downloads and more. Be sure to check that out when it goes live on Monday morning.

- Also next week we have numerous mailouts and press releases set to auto send, detailing the above and a whole lot more, including the return of Adebisi Shank. The lovely Irish boys hit the UK in mid-August for a series of dates ahead of their new album release. I don't think you have to be the smartest Adebisi fan in the world to guess that it's called 'This Is The Second Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank'.

- Also in next weeks mailout is the rather tasty looking list of upcoming Tall Ships gigs. Yesterday the band were confirmed to support Maps And Atlases on their October tour of the UK, so add that to the dates with 65 Days of Static, Futureheads, Tubelord and Errors, and it's going to be pretty difficult to avoid this lot for the rest of the year. Their second EP is out in late September and the masters should be awaiting me upon my return from Spain. Expect much gloating.

That's all I'm gonna give away for the moment. There may be one or two other new and interesting pieces of info leaking out (along with lots of updates on hopefully not being gored by a bull) on Twitter and Facebook, so keep an eye on those and I'll see you in a week or so, tanned and tired. Ole.