Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 15

A true guerilla takeover this week as legendary Northampton broadcaster Tony Lowe grills Calories on matters including their upcoming UK tour (which begins this Tuesday in Brighton), their superb debut album Adventuring (out March 2nd from Smalltown America Records) and the band's favourite American horror fiction writer.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 15
28 minutes 54 seconds
Recorded 30/12/08

00.34 Hot Snakes - Braintrust (from Audit In Progress album - Swami Records)
03.58 Trumans Water - Lyrical Nozzle (from Fragments Of A Lucky Break album - Emperor Jones Records)
07.51 Copy Haho - Pulling Push Ups (from forthcoming Bred For Skills & Magic EP - Big Scary Monsters)
12.08 Beestung Lips - Slick History (from Songs To And From An Iron Gut EP - Capsule Records)
16.36 Heavy Vegetable - Going Steady With The Limes (from Frisbie album - Headhunter Records)
24.32 Calories - Forests of Varg (from forthcoming Adventuring album - Smalltown America)

If you have any feedback or want to get a track played, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk

Friday, 26 December 2008

Space Year 2008

I am currently sitting in my mother's kitchen. The cat is eating some kind of meat, it smells pretty bad. I am being very productive, possibly because I've either been ill or hungover for most of the last two weeks.

I was recently asked to contribute to a poll regarding my favourite album of the year. Below are my choices. I was told off for the Los Campesinos! choice, as it's not an album. Which it isn't. But I still want to include it, so I will here.

Be Your Own Pet - Get Awkward (XL)
Blood Red Shoes - Box of Secrets (Mercury)
Cadence Weapon - Afterparty Babies (Big Dada)
Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs (Atlantic)
Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing (ATP)
Johnny Foreigner - Waited Up Till It Was Light (Best Before)
Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed (Wichita)
Marnie Stern - This Is It And I Am It And You Are It And So Is That And He Is It And She Is It And It Is It And That Is That (Kill Rock Stars)
Ponytail - Ice Cream Spiritual (We*Are*Free)
Thank You - Terrible Two (Thrill Jockey)

I'd rather people not look on this as a "best of the year" list, but as an "albums that make me grin like a loon" list.

My aims for next year include putting out a whole bunch of kickass records and putting on more shows. The latter has had a good kick start, as The Thermals are coming over again - we've got them on February 9th, at the Lexington. If you don't know the venue, it's on Pentonville Road about midway between Angel and King's Cross tubes. Rough Trade do a pop quiz there every Monday night, we came second a few weeks ago and won a round of shots and a bottle of wine. We drank the wine from the shot glasses, which is something I do not recommend you do at all.

A quarter of the tickets are already gone, if it doesn't sell out I'll be very surprised indeed. Happy days.

Goodbye, 2008 - you were fun.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 14

Get past my flu-ridden intro and enjoy Andrew taking a look back at a pretty darned momentous year in the life of a Derry-based independent record label and playing some of the best submissions we've received this year.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 14
36 minutes 40 seconds
Recorded 20/12/08

00.40 Fanfarlo - Secret Codes And Letters (from self-titled EP - self released)
04.59 Robert Holmes - Amazing Grace (from Hazard Hill EP - Shanty Tramp Records)
08.06 Cutaways - Weapon Of Choice (from Start Stop! Start Stop! EP - self released)
12.28 Dan Against The World - Oh Emily (from OK In Tokyo EP - Stop Motion Records)
17.17 Mayors Of Miyazaki - Your Goose Is Cooked (from Buffalo! album - Tooting Bizarre Records)
19.38 Juta - Where (from Untwined album - self released)
24.42 Skibunny - Up Down
29.11 Here Comes The Landed Gentry - Leadbelly (from self titled EP - self released)
32.19 The Young Playthings - Whadaya Want For Christmas (from The Best Kids Christmas Album In The World Ever Ever Ever!!! compilation - Kids Records)

If you have any feedback or want to get a track played, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 13

The 3rd blogcast takeover comes courtesy of US math-rockers We Versus The Shark. They first caught our attention by blowing us away with thier debut album, from which a track appeared on the PSB7 comp, so when we heard the demos of thier even better follow-up we snapped them up for the UK. That album is Dirty Versions which is out now on Smalltown America and once they got the obligatory bad English accents out of thier system Luke and Geoff plus friend/producer Joel Hatstat get all VH1 Behind The Music about the new record and the band’s influences.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 13
28 minutes 41 seconds
Recorded 13/12/08
07.50 We Versus The Shark - Hello Blood (from Dirty Versions album - Smalltown America)
15.43 We Versus The Shark - Mountaineering (from Dirty Versions album - Smalltown America)
21.44 We Versus The Shark - Suddenly It's A Folk Song (Future Of The Left cover) (from Murmurmur album - free download from Quote Unquote Records)
24.36 We Versus The Shark - Right Away (Pattern Is Movement cover) (from Murmurmur album - free download from Quote Unquote Records)

All of the songs discussed can be heard on the STA jukebox but of course you want a Dirty Versions of your own to hold in your own hands – the album can be purchased right here.

WVtS strike Europe taking in the UK supporting Pulled Apart By Horses between 17th - 30th March before hooking up with Blakfish in France on April 1st for 3 weeks of European shows.

Keep it wolf, kids!

If you have any feedback or want to get a track played, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk


More details here and here.

I'm currently on a train to Leeds. Anyone up that way should come to Jingle All The Dayer today, as it's going to be SUPER FUN. I'm DJing at the aftershow off my laptop, I've never done this before. THAT SHOULD BE FUN HUH

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 12

We're mere days away from the 2008 STA Xmas party and this week's blogcast includes two convincing arguments for why you should bypass the hell of Oxford Street and come down to King's College London on Sunday afternoon - Gentle Friendly who are going to be a big deal in 2009 and one of America's finest bands, the Thermals, playing thier first UK show in too damn long. Tickets are still on sale for just £10 and it's all in aid of homeless charity Shelter who need funds now more than ever given the economic circumstances. For the full line-up head to the Shows page of STA Central.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 12
28 minutes 36 seconds
Recorded 07/12/08

00.29 Gentle Friendly - Ride Around Shining (download only here)
03.42 The Thermals - I Let It Go (Demo) (from forthcoming album Now We Can See – Kill Rock Stars)
07.48 Fuck Dress - Suburban Nietzsche Freak (from Suburban Nietzsche Freak single - NROne Records)
11.14 Swanton Bombs - Shock (from Mammoth Skull EP - Quiff Records)
14.17 Lemonade - Sunchips (from s/t debut album - True Panther Records)
20.25 Royal Treatment Plant - Hope Is Not Enough (from Hope Is Not Enough album - Universal)
25.04 Tape The Radio - Save A Life (from self-released limited single)

If you have any feedback or want to get a track played, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk

Monday, 1 December 2008

Max Tundra Spins AMX on Resonance FM

29th November 2008

Chris Isaak: Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing
Skeletons: The Things
TRS-80: Don't Mess With Illinois
Snowy Red: Don't Lose Control
Jib Kidder: Small Fish
Mastodon: Bladecatcher
Embryo: The Music Of Today
Alan MX: Warpsichord
Flying Lotus: Parisian Goldfish
Kleenex Girl Wonder: Sexual Harassment
William D Drake: Ziegler
Cosmic Dennis Greenidge: Satellite Beach
Kahimi Karie: One Thousand 20th Century Chairs
Raymond Scott: Lightworks (Slow)
XTC: Ballet For A Rainy Day
XTC: 1000 Umbrellas
Sebastien Tellier: Wonderafrica
Niobe: Cool Alpine

Links: maxtundra.com | myspace.com/maxtundra

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 11

The Hampshire town of Basingstoke hasn't enjoyed the best of reputations in recent times, it's image tarnished by it's high placing in the Crap Towns survey and being the birthplace of Carl Barat. However one man could go some way to restore the town's fortunes - Alan MX whose excellent debut album Warpsichord is released by STA in early 2009. Alan kindly gave up his Saturday afternoon to tell us about his record along with some interesting song selections.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 11
41 minutes 28 seconds
Recorded 29/11/08

02.10 Alan MX - Warpsichord (from forthcoming Warpsichord album - Smalltown America)
10.13 Blevin Blectum - Cygnet (from Gular Flutter album - Aagoo Records)
14.36 Frankmusik - 3 Little Words (from 3 Little Words single - Apparent Records)
24.10 The Gadsdens - Lent (previously unreleased)
27.36 Anat Ben-David - Dyke Rider (from Virtual Lesiure album - Chicks On Speed Records)
34.15 Alan MX - Dangerous Sadness (previously unreleased)
38.00 Edward J. Hicks - Skelletonhand (previously unreleased)

There's more blogcast takeovers coming soon from We Versus The Shark and a Clive James/Angus Deayton style look back at 2008 with Andrew Ferris. If you have any feedback or want to get a track played, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 10

Ten portions of new noise plus word of the upcoming uber-exciting STA Christmas fundraiser for Shelter starring the Thermals! This year the STA advent calender's big window is marked Sunday 14th December and shows a picture of King's College London Student Union. And a bit of chocolate.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 10
36 minutes 57 seconds
Recorded 18/11/08

00.35 Bodies Of Work - Flyers (from forthcoming debut album)
03.36 Wet Paint - Hug It Out (from Hug It Out single - Trial & Error Recordings)
07.09 The American Dollar - Bump (from A Memory Stream album - self released)
10.26 Malpais - Sleep Come Lately (from Luka Is Leaving New York album - IBR Records)
15.08 I Am Alaska - Ghost (from A Day In A Life EP - No Sleep Records)
18.03 These Are Powers - Cockles (from Taro Tarot EP - Dead Oceans Records)
22.31 History - Blue Khaki Dance Party (from Ghosts in the City album - 24 Hr. Service Station Records)
26.08 Bear Hands - Long Lean Queen (from Golden EP - Guerilla Music)
29.56 Maths - Statue of Her (from Maths + Throats split mini-album - Holy Roar Records)
33.20 Cacaw - So Many Bags (from Get A Brain - Permanent Records)

If you have any feedback or want to get a track played, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk

Monday, 17 November 2008

Out On A Limb 5th Birthday Celebrations

One of Ireland's finest independent labels Out On A Limb - has announced their fifth birthday party celebration.

Quite how Giveamanakick are going to play acoustically beggars belief and worth the admission itself:


Live: Crayonsmith, Giveamanakick (acoustic), Hooray For Humans, Rest, Ten Past Seven, Windings. OOAL DJS

Free wine for early arrivals, and limited edition individually-numbered OOAL CD/DVD compendiums will be available on the night.

Tickets: €10 from Dolan's

State Magazine are running a competition on their site later this week whereby you can win every album ever released on Out On A Limb. That would be a very pleasing nine in total...

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 9

9 fresh new gems plus the lowdown on yet another festival - A Little Solidarity takes place across Belfast between Thursday 13th and Saturday 15th November with an astounding line-up including STA's own Fighting With Wire and newbies-slash-Solidarity curators And So I Watch You From Afar. With weekend passes costing a mere £12 how can you refuse? Press Play for more info.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 9
38 minutes 42 seconds
Recorded 13/11/08

00.29 Small Leaks Sink Ships - Gutter Of Disneyland (from Until The World Is Happy; Wake Up You Sleepyhead Sun album - No Sleep Records)
07.55 Fighting With Wire - Photographs (B-side from Sugar single - Smalltown America)
11.38 Adebisi Shank - Snakehips (from forthcoming self-titled album - The Richter Collective Records)
14.30 Ponytail - Beg Waves (from Ice Cream Spiritual album - We Are Free Records)
18.33 I Hate Kate - Bed of Black Roses (from Embrace The Curse album - Glassnote Records)
22.35 The Limousines - New Year's Resolution (previously unreleased)
27.46 Anopechi - We Flew From Boats (from Killing A Snake In A Dream EP - Allhollowmass Records)
31.30 Cut The Blue Wire - Get Out Of The Road (from Revert, Restart, Reset mini-album - Alcopop! Records)
33.53 Cossacks!! - We Gotta Power, OK!! (previously unreleased)

If you have any feedback or want to get a track played, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

And So We Welcome Them From Afar...

We are pleased as proverbial punch to announce the addition of Belfast post-rockers And So I Watch You From Afar to the roster.

The eponymous full-length debut album will be released on Monday 23rd March 2009. The album will be preceded by the double-A sided single 'Set Guitars to Kill / A Little Solidarity Goes A Long Way' on Monday 9th March 2009.

And So I Watch You From Afar
sprung onto the scene in 2007 with debut mini-album ‘This Is Our Machine And Nothing Can Stop It’. This year has seen the band steadily build their fan base, most recently joining Maybeshewill on a co-headlining, Rocksound-sponsored UK tour.

We are delighted to welcome ASIWYFA to the Smalltown America family. Their music is some of the most exciting that Northern Ireland has produced in the last five years, their commitment to the local scene is something we wholeheartedly applaud. This new record will melt faces.

ASIWYFA guitarist, Tony Wright said, “We are delighted to be working with a label that shares our enthusiasm for innovative and exciting music. With this alliance solidly forged, a debut album waiting to be unleashed and our unbreakable will to make the most tantalizing, new music out there - the world may yet spin backwards due to our uncompromising sound.”

The full track-listing for 'And So I Watch You From Afar':

1. Set Guitars To Kill
2. A Little Bit Of Solidarity Goes a Long Way
3. Clench Fists, Grit Teeth...GO!
4. I Capture Castles
5. Start A Band
6. Tip Of The Hat, Punch In The Face
7. If It Ain't Broke, Break it
9. Don't Waste Time Doing Things You Hate
10. The Voiceless
11. Eat The City, Eat It Whole

For further information please contact Brian at HQ

And So I Watch You From Afar Myspace

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 8

In the first of an occasional series of blogcast takeovers, this episode is co-hosted by friend of STA Dan Ormsby from Brighton power-pop outfit 4 Or 5 Magicians. Thanks to Dan for the excellent song suggestions. Fist-shakes at Dan for the idea of trudging through torrential rain to tape the show at the Fly in London...during that night's soundcheck (hence the not-great sound quality).

Public Service Blogcast Episode 8
52 minutes 53 seconds
Recorded 01/11/08

00.29 Copycat Vigilante - Seconds Out (previously unreleased)
03.24 Shrag - Long Term Monster (previously unreleased)
07.04 4 Or 5 Magicians - Behind Each Others Backs (from forthcoming Behind Each Others Backs single - This Is Fake DIY)
15.36 Dutch Husband - Fractures (from Fantasy Blanket And The Fall Chorus album - self released)
18.34 Popular Workshop - Reptilians (from We're Alive And We're Not Alone album - This Is Fake DIY)
24.15 Devon Sproule - Plea For A Good Night's Rest (from Upstate Songs album - City Salvage)
29.09 Laura Hocking - Strongmen And Acrobats (from Ossophone - self released)
33.46 The Stapler - To The Trees (from Metaphysical Haircut limited album - Columbus Discount)
42.12 4 Or 5 Magicians - The Switch That Turned Off The Sun (previously unreleased)
48.45 Thieves In Suits - To The Bone (from self titled self released EP)

If you have any feedback or want to get a track played, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk

Thursday, 30 October 2008

A Little Solidarity...

Festival season is long gone, right? - Wrong! Those Lovely chaps from Belfast-based Post-Rockers And So I Watch You From Afar, are curating perhaps the biggest and best show the country has seen since the triumphant Glasgowbury festival way back in July. Featuring a host of Northern Ireland's top bands, "A Little Solidarity" is sure to warm the cockles of any heart in this particularly harsh weather.

Kicking off on the evening of Thursday 13th November at the Oh Yeah! Centre in Belfast, A Little Solidarity spans 3 days, 3 venues and 4 shows - Hot Damn!

The following acts will be showing a little solidarity (sorry) over the 3 day event;

Thursday 13th November

Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast, 7pm - 11pm

Ed Zealous

The Lowly Knights

A Plastic Rose

G Sessions Slot

Friday 14th November

QUB Speakeasy, Belfast, 7pm - 10pm


Desert Hearts

Pocket Billiards

Axis Of

Saturday 15th November

QUB Speakeasy, Belfast, Matinee Show! 1pm - 6pm

Mojo Fury

Two Door Cinema Club

Team Fresh

Bruised Fruit Slot*

QUB Mandela Hall, Belfast, 7pm - Late

Fighting With Wire

And So I Watch You From Afar

General Fiasco

Panama Kings

We Are Knives

QUB Bunatee, Belfast, 7pm - Late

AU Room Featuring DJs

Jonny Tiernan


plus more TBC

In addition to all of this great music, you will have the chance to submit your demo, win a slot on the show, win studio time @ Studio 5, and check out a photography exhibition by our good friend Graham Smith.

There will also be a Speed networking session with 10 industry panellists - The networking session will be taking place between 1-2pm on Saturday 15th November in Queen's University Student's Union. If you are in a band and would like to attend, please contact the good folk at Bruised Fruit by emailing Jen - jen[at]bruisedfruitpromotions[dot]com

Oh, and of course your good old pals from Smalltown America will be there as well!

Tickets will be cheap and on sale soon!

For more details - please point your mouse at the following link - http://www.myspace.com/andsoiwatchyoufromafar

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 7

On this week's PS-Bl show Brian files his post-Rage Against The Joyriders report; ace new tunes from Plus/Minus, Situationists, Collapsing Cities and O'Death; plus an especially poor Jackie Gleason impression (thanks Sunset Cinema Club!)

Public Service Blogcast Episode 7
39 minutes no seconds
Recorded 29/10/08

00.29 Rabbit Transit - This Ain't No Marley Raggae (from self released debut album)
04.06 Plus/Minus - Subdued (from Xs On Your Eyes album - Absolutely Kosher Records)
08.16 Panda Kopanda - Spirals (from forthcoming Hope album)
Rage Against The Joyriders update
15.42 Pope Joan - Pocket Of Change (from Hot Water, Lines and Rickety Machines album - OIB Records)
20.07 Situationists - Onwards And Upwards (from Onwards And Upwards EP - Tough Love Records)
23.48 Nephu Huzzband - Clockwork (from Should Have Used An Abacus single - Deep Recording Company)
27.03 Foundlings - Function Creep (previously unreleased)
29.26 Sunset Cinema Club - Reflex DJ (from Homina Homina Homina album - Knew Noise Recordings JP)
33.30 Collapsing Cities - So I Said Last Weekend (from Disguised As A Mall album)
37.08 O'Death - Lean-To (from Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin album - City Slang)

If you have any feedback or want to get a track played, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk
Next week we plumb greater depths of host-ineptness as Dan Ormsby of 4 Or 5 Magicians fame shares the blogcast mike with me. We'll be playing some recommendations from Dan, catching up on all things Magicians and No Doubt, there'll be ample waffle inbetween and no doubt there'll be ample waffle inbetween.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 6

The strongest set of submissions yet plus some classic/posthumous Fickle Public - ruined by a lackadaisical voiceover (I really shouldn't blogcast on a Monday).

Public Service Blogcast Episode 6
36 minutes 31 seconds
Recorded 20/10/08

00.29 The Jane Bradfords - Hide From The Cold (from self-titled album - Simple Tapestry Records)
03.31 Le Tetsuo - Chicken Shack (from Your Elbow limited 10” - Parlour Records)
05.53 Haemostatic Picnic Races - I'd Wear A Hat Like That If I Was From Yorkshire (from Helios! These Are Instructions album - Small Town Records, no relation)
09.48 Minnaars - Busy Hands (from forthcoming self-titled EP - Airbag Recordings)
13.13 Pulled Apart By Horses - High Five Swan Dive Nose Dive (previously unreleased - Big Scary Monsters)
16.51 We Are Trapped In Kansas - Our Bodies On Fire (from forthcoming debut EP When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be - self-released)
21.26 In The Annexe - Galleries (previously unreleased)
25.47 De Jour - Run This City (previously unreleased)
30.04 My Tiger My Timing - This Is Not The Fire (previously unreleased)
34.03 Fickle Public - Revel Revel (previously unreleased)

If you have any feedback or want to get a track played, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk
Meet back here at the weekend for what went down at Rage Against The Joyriders plus another dose of the best new music taking up residence on the STA hardrive.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Weekend Fun

In London this weekend and lacking some way to occupy your Saturday afternoon?

Check it out:

On top of three great bands you also get me DJing, the quality of which (Kev BSM really has no idea what he's letting himself in for) will depend on how much cider I have beforehand. YUM YUM.

I'm off on holiday to New York on Sunday (nicely coinciding with CMJ), and there's no better way to do an early morning transatlantic flight than with a hangover... right? Should be a blast though, on top of there being about six shows a day I want to go to Fighting With Wire, Hooray For Humans and We Versus The Shark are all going to be there as well. STA 4 NYC 4 LYFE.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

More interactive content

I've mentioned on here before how friend-of-STA Aaron Connolly has been making a documentary about us. Here's his latest video diary, shot at This Ain't No Picnic and featuring live footage of both Alan MX and The Young Playthings. Thankfully there's also no footage of me, probably because every time he pointed the camera at me I shouted "STOP POINTING THAT [expletive deleted] CAMERA AT ME!". High strung, me? NEVER. Sorry Aaron.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 5

Three quarters of an hour of the best new songs to drop into the Smalltown America inbox not just this week but possibly this year plus we have Brian checking in from STA HQ to tell us about about next weekend's Rage Against The Joyriders benefit. It takes place Friday 17th October 2008 @ The Nerve Centre, Derry. Doors are at 8pm and it's just £10 in with all proceeds going to the LaFaro equipment fund. The huge line-up includes special appearences from Fighting With Wire among others; if you're in that part of the world, please take part - it will definitely be a night to remember!

Public Service Blogcast Episode 5
45 minutes 24 seconds
Recorded 11/10/08

00.29 Dartz - The End, Moving On (from The Sad History Of The Village Of Alnerique mini-album - Xtra Mile Recordings)
03.12 Gentleman Auction House - ABCDEFGraveyard (from Alphabet Graveyard album - Emergency Umbrella Records)
07.03 The Shame - Cosmic Love (from current single - Dual Records)
09.49 Former Friends Of Young Americans - All Time Low (previously unreleased)
15.03 Yes Cadets - Fashionista Art Party (previously unreleased)
21.57 LaFaro - Tuppenny Nudger (from self-titled EP - Field Records)
25.30 Lonely Ghosts - So Young, So Beautiful (from Don't Get Lost Or Hurt album - OIB Records)
29.24 Man Flu - Egghead Stole My Shoe (previously unreleased)
32.33 Witches - Josef’s Lament (from Heart Of Stone album - Within The Woods Records)
This Ain't No Picnic Video Blogcast Part 1
36.07 Susan George Booth - Death Slacks (from 4 Track Demo CD - self-released)
41.36 I Am Not Left Handed - Rushing (from The Least Of Our Worries album - Letterbox Records)

If you have any feedback or want to get a track played, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk
Listen til the end of this episode for the outtakes. Next week’s blogcast will come with an audio commentary.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 4

A week later and still exhausted from This Ain't No Picnic, Ash resumes command of the good ship Blogcast.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 4
39 minutes 44 seconds
Recorded 04/10/08

00.29 Baddies - Battleships (from forthcoming single released 27th Oct - self released)
04.46 The Young Playthings - Y Don't You Like Me (from This Ain't No Picnic 2008 compilation - Smalltown America)
08.26 Disco Drive - Things To Do Today (from Things To Do Today album - Unhip Records)
12.16 Great Eskimo Hoax - I Was An Englishman (from Of Many Victories album)
15.20 The Joy Formidable - Austere (from current single - self released)
18.31 Innercity Pirates - Eat The Paint (from Cockney Sparra single - Superdark)
21.11 Let's Go Sailing - Sideways (from The Chaos In Order album - Gr2 Classics)
25.44 Sharks - Museum (previously unreleased)
28.03 Sucioperro - You Can't Lose (What You Don't Have) (from Pain Agency album - self released)
31.51 Mia Vigar - Lost Cause (from Lost Cause EP - self released)
35.36 Combinations - Let's Build Our Kingdom (previously unreleased)

If you have any feedback or want to get a track played, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk
In the coming weeks we'll be hearing from some of the STA bands themselves with thier own talking* and track selections.

*Inside voices please.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 3: This Ain't No Picnic Special

A special show this week presented by DIY festival wunderkind Daniel all about the upcoming This Ain't No Picnic event. On September 27th and 28th, STA take over King's College London Student's Union for one of the best line-ups of the summer; among the 34 bands playing are headliners Future Of The Left and Polysics plus some acts that you may not be so familiar with but you're hopefully listening to as you read this. Both day and weekend tickets are still available, and all proceeds from this event will be donated to charity, split between Cancer Research UK and The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields. Those of you that have experienced the previous STA All-Dayers know how good the last weekend of the month is going to be.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 3
31 minutes 33 seconds
Recorded 18/09/08

00.03 Let Our Enemies Beware - I Am Lono (from forthcoming Against Karate album released 12th Jan - Smalltown America)
03.43 Laura Wolf - White Light Collision Course (from Wolf Goes Pop! EP - self released)
05.58 The Retro Spankees - Pickin' Flies (from I Know You Are But What Am I? album - Kooky)
09.54 Tubelord - Dun Dun Dun Scissor Rocks And Tonne (from I Am Azzerad 7" - Big Scary Monsters)
14.12 4 or 5 Magicians - Ideal Man (from Change The Record / Ideal Man 7" - This Is Fake DIY)
17.29 This Town Needs Guns - Lemur (from forthcoming Animals album released October - Big Scary Monsters)
21.04 Jam on Bread - It's Always Sunny Inside (previously unreleased)
24.00 Brontosaurus Chorus - The Myth of Love(from split 7" with And What Will Be Left Of Them? - Popart Records)
28.03 Superman Revenge Squad - I'm Gonna Go To Bed... (from This Is My Own Personal Way Of Dealing With It album - self released)

If you have any questions about (what the kids are calling) 'Tanp' this is the link you need. If you want to get a track played on a future episode please get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk
See you at the front!

Public Service Blogcast Episode 2

Yeah, I know, it's 2 weeks late. You'll get used to it. On this instalment even more new music worthy of your attention and hard-earned plus we have former ambassador of emo (1st generation) Andrew Ferris providing the need-to-know on Derry's City Of Song festival.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 2
40 minutes 58 seconds
Recorded 09/09/08

00.29 We Versus The Shark - Hello Blood (from forthcoming Dirty Versions album released 10th Nov - Smalltown America)
03.15 The Light Sleepers - Champion Of The Rights Of Sleepers (from forthcoming We Are Gathering Dust album released Oct 27th - Smalltown America)
07.45 The Lemurs - My Definition (from self-titled EP)
10.25 The Half Rabbits - Man Down (from forthcoming Public Service Broadcast 10 compilation album released 2009 - Smalltown America)
14.49 The Kabeedies - Petits Filous (from forthcoming Public Service Broadcast 10 compilation album released 2009 - Smalltown America)
17.40 Paper Rival - Are We Brothers? (from Dialog album)
21.39 Applicants - Pocket Dictionary (from Life In The Bus Lane album – Tigertrap Records)
23.54 Mock Orange - Captain Love (from Captain Love album - Tigertrap Records)
29.38 Daveit Ferris - Someone Like You (from Los Angeles album – self-released)
33.14 Oxford Collapse - Young Love Delivers (from Bits album – Sub Pop)
37.57 Tin Can Telephone - Spak Attack (previously unreleased)

If you have any feedback, want to get a track played or want to sponsor the blogcast in exchange for giving me things I like for free please get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk
In just a few days ago Daniel Fawcett will be here with a This Ain't No Picnic festival special, telling us about his attempts to break the record for the most number of bands playing a London venue in the same weekend. Anyone got Norris McWhirter's email address?

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Blog posts are like buses...

Big, red and smelly?

So this blog has been fairly neglected in recent months. FOR SHAME. What've we been up to during this time? Enjoying festival season for one - the STA crew have been "spotted" at two ATPs, Latitude, Truck, Indietracks, an almost-staff-day-out to the first day of Reading and Offset. Speaking from a personal point of view, Latitude is the best Big Festival I've ever been to and Indietracks the best Small Festival. Who knew that dancing to Beat Happening and Helen Love in a train shed in the middle of the Derbyshire countryside could be so amazing?

We've also been hard at work on our own festival, This Ain't No Picnic. There've been looooads of updates to the lineup since we last posted, so go check out the website. Only 3 weeks to go! I'm not nervous, really.

Aside from all of this though, we've been sorting out a lot of new releases. There are currently four new albums up for preorder on the STA store. The front covers look a bit like this:

Left to right that's Wrecked Angles by An Emergency (razor sharp art punk), Safekeeping by Hooray For Humans (more brazen Irish electro-pop), We Are Gathering Dust by The Light Sleepers (fuzzy, lo fi Moore / Malkmus / Tengo guitar jams) and Dirty Versions by We Versus The Shark (ballsy, mathy post-hardcore from the Deep South - our first ever release from an American band!).

If you do preorder any of them you'll get them early. Around two weeks before release date, to be specific. Isn't that nice? AREN'T WE NICE?

There's still loads more new stuff to come as well, including some more lovely vinyl.

I promise to update this more often. Now, go listen to Pocock's new podcast. I think I'm going to be in #3, fear it.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Public Service Blogcast Episode 1

PSB gets an online little brother in the form of the PUBLIC SERVICE BLOGCAST. Each week there'll be a new episode compiling the best album tracks, demo submissions and anything else floating STA boats plus all the latest activity from the ever-expanding Smalltown roster. It's like a fresh PSB compilation every week but with some talky bits trying to sell you stuff.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 1
30 minutes 5 seconds
Recorded 02/09/08

00.29 Ice, Sea, Dead People - I'm Cat (previously unreleased)
02.52 Alan MX - The Captain America Video (forthcoming single released Nov 24th - Smalltown America)
06.25 Plastic Constellations - Stay That Way (album track from We Appreciate You - French Kiss)
10.25 Calories - Adventuring (forthcoming single released Feb 9th - Smalltown America)
13.26 The Chiara Ls - Eyelashes (from Ghost Town EP)
16.19 Telegraphs - Forever Is A Long Time, Never Is A Strong Word (from forthcoming Forever Never album)
20.29 Hooray For Humans - Signature (from forthcoming Safekeeping album released Oct 13th - Smalltown America)
23.32 Lovvers - Human Hair (from forthcoming Think album - Wichita Recordings)
26.40 Koufax - What I'm Saying (from forthcoming Strugglers album - Doghouse Records)

If you have any feedback, want to get a track played or can help me use Audacity properly please get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk
Episode 2 will be online w/c Sep 8th with more quality sounds plus news about STA's involvement with the City Of Song festival in Derry.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Exclusive Premier of 'Sugar' by FWW

Just thought we would let you all know that the Sugar video is going to be premiered - along with 6-7 other short films / music videos - at a Brighton based film night called Final Cut this coming Sunday (17th). It's being held at a venue called Komedia which is in the North Laines, 44-47 Gardner St (not far from Brighton station). Here's the link to Komedias website for more in depth directions

Things usually get going about 8pm and it's £4 to get in but you get free popcorn! It's a bit of an ask for the non-Brightoner's among you but it would be great if you could make it down.

Speaking of videos - here be 'All For Nothing'!

Saturday, 14 June 2008


We're at the Notting Hill Arts Club in London again this afternoon for some MORE LIVE MUSIC JAPERY. Hitting the stage this time:

EPIDEME - myspace - onstage 7pm
>>> The Wire sez "Two guitars, one drum, much yelling, and a boil of fuzz and stutter that will not be denied", and we think this is pretty spot on. New 7" out now on Jonson Family.

CALORIES - myspace - onstage 6pm
>>> First ever London show from this new stripped-back rock trio from ex-members of noise pop heroes Distophia! Expect plenty of Rock, in the twisted style of Hot Snakes, Liars and Deerhoof.

THE LIGHT SLEEPERS - myspace - onstage 5pm
>>> Brighton-via-Exeter purveyors of lo fi guitar pop. Debut album "We Are Gathering Dust", out through Faux Discx / Smalltown America in September, showcases their fuzzy Moore / Tengo / Malkmus-style ditties superbly.

Doors are at 4pm and it's TOTALLY FREE. Plus, it's my birthday tomorrow so I'm going to get like totally crunk WOAH and play records in between the bands. I'm going to play Jimmy Eat World. YEAH!

Facebook event? Last FM event? Sweet.

Monday, 9 June 2008


Here's an exclusive for readers of our little blog - we're putting out the new record by Let Our Enemies Beware. Don't know them? Imagine twisted avant-metal, shards of feedback and haunting moments of stillness. Then imagine it being played by four nutjobs from Kent. I'm awful with musical comparisons but for me they bring to mind Tomahawk quite a lot - heavy as fuck but quite playful with it.

If this still doesn't put you in the right frame of mind to imagine them, the front cover might help:

Take that, Peter Rabbit.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Pure Tense

Just been checking out Nicholas Bentley's website - wonderful, fun, creative promos. Just shows you what is possible when you put LOTS of love into something:

On a completely different tangent - here are FWW playing Nemesis on BBC at double speed - good drum fills from the Big Man - are you watching this Jools or are you polishing your ivories?:

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Your english is good.

So the cat is, one might say, very much out of the bag: we are running a festival!

We're all (obviously!) very excited about this, as you may have been able to tell if you'd heard Ferris and I talking about it on Radio 1 the other night. We've been beavering away on this for a while now (pretty much since the last alldayer died) and it's already had a fair number of emotional ups and downs, so it's a huge relief to make it public. Hopefully you approve, and hopefully you'll snap up the earlybird tickets pretty quickly!

Thinly-veiled sales pitch over.

Today, I will mostly be burning CDRs of An Emergency's forthcoming album so I can do a promo run. This would be a lot easier if my burner (only about three weeks old) would let me burn more than one at a time, but it isn't. I don't know why. It burns the first CD, yet when it comes to the second it keeps telling me there's an "invalid block address". Still, it's marginally better than my old burner, which doesn't work at all. Glamorous life etc. I may head to Oxford later, as my friend Steve aka Jam On Bread (vetern of PSB Club #2) is playing with the wonderful Foxes!, and I fancy a night away from London. Plus, there are few better ways to go from drunk to hungover than on Oxford Tube somewhere on the motorway at 2am.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

The Town I Loved So Well

Holla atcha STA kids! I am now firmly ensconced in Derry City/Londonderry - this place is mad as fuck, but I'm into it. I thought moving from London Town to Ireland would have meant that the pace would have reduced but hell no! We've opened our new office and already new projects are flying through the door. So many that The Cake has been recruited to weather the storm - he needn't think that he's gonna get paid.

STA FACT: Phil Coulter (Author of The Town I Loved So Well and general Carnegie Hall botherer) - wants to collaborate with Cahir Fighting With Wire on some tracks. This is a real fact.

The most interesting thing about the last six weeks has been the fact that I'm actually working in a real record label office as opposed to mine and LC's back bedroom at Casterbridge Towers; it's a strange experience. Feels a bit dirty, where are those DIY credentials now Ferris?

So, FWW at Number 1 in the MTV2 chart - good news people, keep those votes flying in - Alan MX's record is finished and we've just signed a new band that I'm probably not allowed to talk about yet, lest Daniel beat me with a stick. Needless to say THEY ARE INCREDIBLY BRILLIANT.

Check this out it's Brad Junk Mag's exclusive re-mix (work in progress) of Captain America Video by Alan MX - how four to the floor-tastic is that?

Anyone hear the Huw Stephens BBC Session last night? We are DIY label of the week - it was awesome; replay details when we get them.

Somehow I can't see this idea taking off

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Box of Secrets

Again this poor blog is neglected. For shame!

Lots going on at STA towers at the moment. Received the final mixed and mastered copy of An Emergency's forthcoming Wrecked Angles LP, and it sounds incredible - really leaps out of the speakers, presumably so it can beat up their previous releases using just the power of TOTAL ROCK. It's going to come wrapped in an awesome digipack, with more artwork courtesy of the multitalented Dan Reeves. This is going to be the first release in the new alliance of Faux Discx and Smalltown America, which is also going to give birth to the debut album by The Light Sleepers later on in the year. That's also a really good record, and will appeal to anyone out there into Moore / Tengo / Malkmus fuzzy guitar pop. What do they put in the water down in Brighton?

Anyway: we have big news, yes we do. Who remembers the old STA Alldayers? Who was sad there wasn't one last year? Yeah, we were as well. However, we're bouncing back with a vengence, and we're going to be announcing how on Friday morning. Keep your eyes on the STA website, and join our mailing list as something may be going out on that as well...

Monday, 12 May 2008

No Gimmicks

Ah sweet Craig McKean - how much do I love thee; let me count the ways; whilst Cahir struggles to keep his vocalzone in his mouth for the duration of FWW's interview with Zane at last weekend's One Big Weekend - Half Man Half Climbing Wall McKean; delivers FWW's USP is a single bound.

He's also a dab hand with circular saw:

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Public Service Broadcast Club #2

Aaaaaaand... that was Public Service Broadcast Club 2! Thanks to everyone who came down and a special thanks to all of the bands for being... well, fucking brilliant, if I'm going to be honest. How good was Jam On Bread's cover of At Your Funeral? A LOT BRILLIANT, that's how. Plus, Aaron Connolly finally cornered me for this documentary he's making about us, and it went far better than I ever expected it to. I probably talked a load of rubbish, but you can blame the Arts Club's rotten cider for that. The evening went hilariously off-the-radar after we left Notting Hill, and ended up with my friend Chris and I drinking cheap Strongbow whilst making keyboard loops and guitar feedback in my tiny, tiny flat until about 4am. I think my neighbours probably hate me now.

Oh well! Public Service Broadcast Club 3 is set for June 14th, which is also my birthday weekend! Most, most excellent.

So tomorrow, we're off to Radio 1. I'm really excited! I've only been to Maida Vale once, when I saw the Super Furry Animals do a session about seven years ago. I've also been up since before 7am working on some sampler CDs, we have the intention of thrusting them into the hands of anyone important looking we see while there...

You may also notice the presence of a Faux Discx logo on there - for those who don't know them, they're a great little label based down in Brighton, and we'll be co-releasing and handling distribution on a number of release with them this year. This is also really exciting! Have a look at their website, there's a bunch of free download releases that are all worthy of your time.

So there you have it! Record labels: pretty exciting.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Be Awkward

Oh, poor little blog, how neglected you are... However, fear no more, because here is some VERY EXCITING NEWS!

Next week, on Wednesday April 23rd to be exact, STA will be taking over Radio 1! Sort of. Both Fighting With Wire and Alan MX have been invited to record live sessions for Huw Stephen's In New Music We Trust show.

This is, obviously Proper Cool.

As I've just posted over at the STA site, we've also got some spare guestlist places. Click on this if you want more details on that.

The best thing to remember is this, though: Radio 1 (like all of the BBC) are able to give labels such as us airtime like this because they're a public service broadcaster. This means that, essentially, they work for you. If they play something you like, you should tell them that you like it and that they should play it again. If they're not playing anything you like and you want them to, you should tell them this as well. As a great example - Let Our Enemies Beware (as seen on Public Service Broadcast 9) recently got a couple of plays from good old Zane Lowe, and all because someone who liked them emailed him and told him to play them.

That, dear readers, is the power of non-corporate public broadcasting. Treasure it, because, as anyone who's been subjected to North American radio will tell you, we're very lucky to have it.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Chris T-T - Capital

I'm absolutely in love with the new Chris T-T album. It's called Capital, and came out via the wonderful folks over at Xtra Mile a few weeks ago. I suppose it's his first 'proper' album since 2003's London Is Sinking, although that only really works if you count 2005's 9 Red Songs as not a 'proper album', and I'm not sure why you would do that, 'cause it's great.

Errr, moving on. I've had a softspot for Mr T-T since I caught him playing a set on Leap Day 2004. I've always liked the way he's managed to combine wit with a level of insight about "things" that few songwriters ever seem to reach. Essentially, I really like how honest he's always been - I mean, how many people would release a single that contained the line "or if you’re fat like me"? Exactly.

He's always had a political bent to his songwriting, as shown most prominently (and deliberately) on 9 Red Songs, but this new LP manages to take this to a whole new level. Largely avoiding the issues-based songwriting of the previous LP, it instead takes a totally brutal "THIS IS YOUR FUTURE, IT'S KNOCKING ON YOUR DOOR, AND IT ISN'T GOOD" line. Suddenly, you're catpulted into a nightmare Children of Men-esque world where London is pinned down by terrorists blowing stuff up and tanks occupying the streets.

But you know what? Mr T-T is quite, quite happy to stick two fingers up to it all. The man who, seven years ago, scored a minor indie hit with a song about using alcohol to boost ones flagging self-esteem, is now singing "so if you want us, come and get us" and giving songs titles like "None Of Them Give A Fuck About The Future", and aiming it all squarely at the liars and cheaters who manipulate us for their own gain.

The end result is a strange mixture, because in a way it's vintage T-T - a record of angry, eloquant pop music - and yet it's so much more of a statement, of a complete experience than his previous records. It's a really brave, really honest album. I was expecting something good, but not this good. Go buy this record, I'm confident that you won't regret it.

Isn't music great?

Friday, 28 March 2008

SXSW Part III: Italian Beetroots & The Los Camp Megamix

The final day at SXSW and truth be told I'm pretty fucked - I've been giving those Belfast boys I'm with (Rigsy ATL, Johnny AU and Joe Stiff Kitten) loads of shit about being lightweight; but this morning I'm suffering.

It might be something to do with the fact that I went to bed last night at half three and was woken up at half past seven by a malfunctioning hotel alarm clock - the bastard thing wouldn't turn off! None of the buttons worked at all - what's that about - even when I unplug it from the wall it's still going?!


I have to get dressed go downstairs and throw the clock at the over-friendly concierge - 'We'll have another one brought straight up to you sir!'. No you fucking well will not. [Excuse my language in this blog by the way - disgraceful.]

Needless to say I couldn't get back to sleep.

That is until we go to see Ting Tings at The Bat Bar; I'm dead on my feet and it's only five pm; this isn't going well. After an excruciatingly ill-advised acoustic set, they play 'That's Not My Name' for about four hours. It's all really safe, poppy and dead boring. I don't give a fuck what your name is.

We go to 'Damn Good Tacos' (this is a shop not a band - just in case you were wondering) for some of the aforementioned, to try to revive the flagging feet and spirits - some life returns... part of SXSW I realise is like the Endurance Test on the Krypton Factor and this last evening is the A-Frame rope wall.

Sons & Daughters are pleasantly obtuse; I've never seen them before - they're one of the more distinctive British guitar bands on display, the best compliment that you can pay them is that they really don't sound like anyone else. They probably need another album under their belts before the whole set is engaging as the singles.

Oppenheimer ring the changes for the evening opening up at Emo's - after this show they have to drive 20 hours straight to LA for another gig on their never-ending US tour. It's a welcome relief to hear something rough around the edges. They are more confident and dissonant than I've ever seen them before - leaning heavily on new album 'Take The Whole Mid-Range And Boost It' the set is raucous and grungy. A new song 'Before And After The Earthquake' rivals 'Breakfast In NYC' for the best thing they've ever written. With this new found swagger and growing industry momentum; 2008 could be a big year for the band.

Okerville River need no description to this readership but if you haven't seen them live you simply must (this is my first time); they are wonderfully charismatic and musical without ever descending into muso territory. The fans are in rapture - the impartial observers are silent during the quiet songs. They have a classic sound not dissimilar to the E-Street Band, Afghan Whigs, Mercury Rev or American Music Club.This is a special band - I understand now why Daniel stalks them.

We're back on form now - let's keep this up; the queue for Nada Surf stretches all the way back to Houston Space Station - fuck! Luckily we run into The Whip in a sweet shop and they tell us about an Italian band they know called The Bloody Beetroots who are playing in the neighboring Vice Bar; never trust a Manc I reckon, but Johnny convinces me otherwise - and what a call. This is earth shuddering, four to the floor techno chaos.

It's the first time in a week that I've felt scared at a gig: it's the only bar that we don't get ID'd in - and you get the feeling that it could kick off at any minute - the whole place is pilled up to the teeth and I can't tell you HOW GOOD these guys are. Genuinely, thunderously mind-blowing and technically staggering. They have a hot Italian girl in a gold skin-tight dress dancing the changes and a mate who spits beer over everyone at the apex of each breakdown. We really don't mind him doing this - for some central European reason.

Trembling, we decide to go see Neon Neon Gruff SFA's new side project, how industry of us - checking out the supergroup... but supergroups being supergroups they have decided to play an hour earlier that it says in the programme.

It probably worked out for the best as if we had left getting into The Arts & Crafts Showcase any later it would never have happened. Los Campesinos are effortlessly wonderful - Gareth LC steers the pace of the set beautifully and even has time to give his label bosses some (self deprecating) grief "Look - you guys asked us to come over here and play and you're telling me we've got five minutes left - these people came for the hits, they didn't want to hear all that album shit"...

Needless to say the appropriate person gives them the nod to play everything they want to thereafter - 'You, Me Dancing' is amped to the max as a result. They even manage a version of 'Box Elder' in the closing "Megamix" - fifty seven bonus scene points. I love them.

Chromeo are the only way to round off a week like I've had - the club they play in is suitably Miami Vice - the place is bouncing; it all goes a bit blurry after that... I seem to remember a Texan woman trying to get me to buy her a drink - I think I bought her one if she promised to leave me alone, then we went to see The Gza's festival closing set - he does most of 'Liquid Swords' in between checking his text messages - he might have been good, but I can't honestly remember.

So, I'm back in London now - typing at 09:14AM and my body thinks that it's 1AM in Texas. It's probably going to take me a month to recover from this, it was a great trip - the label got loads out of it for all our bands, it really is a great way to meet people - but the best thing I can say about SXSW '08 is that it was massively inspiring artistically. Nowhere else could you have the night I've just have, you can genre hop all night - and it's all about brand new music - even from the established artists.

Track Of The Week - 'Hey Boy' by The Blow
Performance Of The Week - Los Campesinos
Punk-Rock Award - Har Mar Superstar - you can't deny the funk
Best Attack On A Member Of The Stage Crew Award - Raife Burchell on behalf of Ed Harcourt
Worst Idea Of The Week - Doing tequila slammers As N.E.R.D. walked onto the stage
Best Idea Of The Week - Listening to those Mancs - they're not wrong all the time
Best Possible New Name For A Band - Damn Good Tacos

I'm going to bed - x -

Thursday, 27 March 2008

New Alan MX blog

Check it out, "Young Alan" (as he's known at STA Towers, he goes by Alan MX in the real world) has gone and got himself a blog! Go read some stuff about his forthcoming Warpsichord LP and about the creative process behind it - what inspired it, how he made it and stuff. It's now finally mixed (by the golden hands of Harvey "Backlash Cop" Birrell), artwork is being prepared (by the gold hands of Matthew "Public Service Broadcast 9" Barnes), and it's going to be out sometime in the next few months. It's pretty exciting. I know it's natural that one should be excited about artists you're releasing and suchlike, but I really do feel this is going to be a special record to (hopefully!) a lot of people.

More soon. Over and out. Etc etc.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Macmillan 'Cancer Rubbish' Charity Project

Good friend of Jetplane Landing (remember those guys); Peter Young has put together a compilation CD all profits from which will be donated to Macmillan - the cancer care nursing charity. Costing a paltry £7 the CD can be ordered via Big Cartel. Meet Me In St. Louis, Yndi Haldi and some old blokes shouting about revolutions being the particular highlights.

If nothing else you should buy this CD from Peter because he lives in Sheerness in Kent - which I've played in and is scary - and I come from Derry.

Tracklist me up:
  1. Bout To Get Fruit Punched - The Wonder Years
  2. Serious - Crash Romeo
  3. Delta - The Filaments *previously unreleased*
  4. Rude Boy - Babylon Whackers *previously unreleased*
  5. Ship Ahoy - Pickled Dick
  6. Im High - Fandangle
  7. Sound of a revolution - Sonic Boom Six
  8. Doves With Hawk Heads - Suicide Bid *previously unreleased*
  9. We Are the Ordinary - Over It (acoustic version)
  10. Fan the Flames - Luke Leighfield
  11. Dash and Blast - Yndi Haldi
  12. Fix Up - Johnny One Lung *previously unreleased*
  13. This Is not revolution Rock - Jetplane Landing
  14. All We need Is a Little Energon, And A Lot of Luck - Meet Me In St Louis
  15. Skeleton Crew - The Ruined
  16. Infected - This is Hell
  17. Another Sinking Ship - Sikth
There will also be a gig to launch the CD on April 19th - the headliners being My Awesome Compilation. Details for all that can be found here.

Good on ya Peter.

SXSW Part II: I'm rhyming on the top of a cop car

Hey - I'm back, this time with a monstrousmotherfunking hangover - take my oil, Day III at SXSW was worth it...

The temperature is up in the hundreds (sorry DF) and it's time to get to grips with this thing - no fucking about today lads - let's go!

First up is The Cribs at The Village Voice Party - noone told me that they don't tune their guitars - EVER; I'm surprised that they're so loose, speeding up, slowing down - generally fucking about with the songs. They're more The Jam than The Sex Pistols - once I get used to the vernacular the songs shine. I'm sorry to see them leave the stage - they could have played for another half hour, easily.

We high-tail across town for the Photo Finish Records party and Paper Rivals are onstage; they're american post-emo (I think we can say post-emo now), this guy can sing - Johnny T. asks why bands would ever need three guitarists - I'm inclined to agree. I suppose it didn't do Radiohead any damage.

It's hot as hell now - so lunch in the shade and home for zzz...

Back in action with Make Model at the NME showcase - I'm absotively certain no-one from the NME is here - that being said the small crowd are certainly enjoying the pretense. Make Model as you know are post-Fickle Public's Lewis and JC. Simon Sweeping The Nation put it brilliantly in last year - that there are 'industrial sized record company driers keeping this powder dry'. The secret is most certainly out now, Lewis tells me that their album is finished, finally after a year. They'll be on tour all over UK in April and May. You would do well to see them now - this is Pop with complexity, to say a brighter Broken Social Scene wouldn't be too far away, but there are acres of influence under that veneer. Fantastic players - my fingers are crossed for them and there is more than a touch of parental pride when I see them play. It's kinda emotional kids...

Aptly, therefore it's over to Emo's for Crystal Castles - damn that girl is hot (I suppose he isn't bad either) - but they are mediocre. You could bang these backing tracks out in half an hour on Garageband whilst making yourself a nice sandwich - very disappointing. The strobe lighting doesn't cover a multitude of sins.

JT reckons that we'll get into MGMT tonight - I'm not so certain, but he bounces the queue at Stubbs and we're in the front row. These boys need another album under their belts before they can command the attention they are currently attracting. It's basically Steely Dan mixed with bits of Journey, Pink Floyd and Bowie - don't get me wrong; I think they're good - just that the singles are too much of a high point; and I hate Pink Floyd so the drugged out instrumental sections bore me to death.

We bump into Rocky Oppenheimer who is on a mission to 'get bombed' - inspired by this single mindedness, we head to Be Your Own Pet @ Mowhawk - she's fiesty this girl. I wonder why XL signed BYOP - I know they look great and have got a cool name, but in a grumpy fit I wonder if they traded on their music alone how much we'd really know about them? In comparison to Tokyo Sex Destruction last night, this brand of punk is pretty un-evolved. Maybe I'm too old. By track three though I'm into it - her energy is infectious and the crowd are loving it - then THE PA BLOWS UP! WTF is going on with all this dodgy PA gear in Austin - I'm disappointed for our intrepid pets; they deserve better. Oh well.

The Whip are fucking chancers to be honest, I feel that they're taking the piss out of us - but their brand of Manc-Happy-Hardcore is typically British and thoroughly feel good; so what it's basically a bloke pressing the spacebar on his laptop and three others punching the air; they get the most movement out of a crowd so far tonight. Cool no - Mad Fer It - definitely. Good luck to them.

Damn the choices, the choices! Do we finish at the Kill Rock Stars night or the Polyvinyl night - in the end the beer does the talking and we end up at Shy Child (that boy is lethal on his keetar - I'll bet he would be pissed off if he lost it, where are you going to get a backup keetar in Texas?). They're a less complex Deerhoof or a more complex Jean Michel Jarre depending on which way you want to look at it.

N.E.R.D are the biggest 'rockstars' playing SXSW - as suspected, this is a masterclass of the Urban session musician variety. This is the first properly funky drumming we've heard in a week - and we're relieved - hands in the air, everyone is bouncing, Lap Dance is lethal and I'm shocked at how up for it Pharrell is - I thought he'd be much more up his own arse being The Biggest Rap Star In The World TM - but he engages his band and the crowd for a full hour. This is what makes America great - the rest of it is oversized and too damn salty!

Friday, 14 March 2008

Mission: Impossible VII

"No Culture Icons" by The Thermals is an absolutely perfect song.

Behold, the STA demo pile!

Actually, there's probably a lot more than this, but the really terrible ones tend to get filtered out before stuff comes to me. Small mercies etc.

It is my aim to listen to every single one of these CDs this weekend. Let's see how that one goes, buh? NB: I am in no way focusing on a menial task because Andrew is at SXSW and I'm stuck in drizzling London. PERISH THE THOUGHT.

SXSW - Half Time Report

I've been in Texas for almost three days now, and I've hung out with a man called Bill who drives a hearse for fun; rubbed beer into Har Mar Superstars thighs and seen Jonny Tiernan from AU Magazine stripped to his ballhuggers.

God Bless America.

For those that don't know anything about SXSW or to give it it's full title - The South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Conferences and Festivals - essentially this is a mass convening of the music industry for five days of panels, workshops, showcases and bands playing in the most unlikely of bars along a single stretch of anarchic, alcohol-soaked tarmac in Austin, Texas. It is very unique.

Getting here from London is very straightforward - two flights, cost me about $400; the music delegate pass (get one of these) is $400 if you book it early enough and if you stay on a Craig's Listed appartment (everyone rents out rooms to the festival go-ers) you are probably looking at about another $100/night. So essentially on a budget you can do this thing for about £800. That might sound like a lot, but honestly - this is probably the best festival you could go to in terms of the volume of bands that you can see. There are literally thousands of gigs that you could go to - it's mental.

DAY 1: It kicks off with The Kills at The Fader Party - not for me it has to be said, I thought the drum machine needed turning up; Saul Williams looked very dapper and spat his verses in an equally elegant manner; Ra Ra Riot are Vanessa Mae mud-wrestling with Death Cab For Cutie - go electro cello!; Ed Harcourt is wondering why JPL Raife (his drummer) is going to punch fuck out of the stage manager whilst he's playing his set (no mean feat)?; Johnny Foreigner are revalatory in front of eight people and remain my tip for world domination; The Lemonheads play 'It's A Shame About Ray' from start to finish - that lad is a good singer, he should think about doing it professionally; The Blow are the experience of the night - sexy, provocative, funky and in your face 'Thanks for dancing, that's really nice - can you just do it down there, you're in my personal space' is the perfectly polite put down one over eager stage invader gets -

I leave thinking that Human Robotic Dancing should be on the National Cirriculum; The Black Keys wrap up Day 1 for me - they sound like Led Zeppelin still - without a bass player and a singer, anti-climatic after The Blow TBH - bad call Ferris!

DAY 2: I go to the Mall! I get an aforementioned Massage! I go out of town and eat a BBQ! I listen to Johnny AU tell me about how tight his trousers are and that he needs to change his underwear because he is 'so chafed' - KIDS WEAR LOOSE FITTING PANTS - you're endangering future generations.

Oh yes the music - FM Belfast are party hardcore from Iceland I think - they have a song about going to 'The Caribbean' and give out Olympic style gold medals; we then get dragged to some singer song writer bloke that is signed to Kiefer Sutherland's record label, he's shite; we go to the NME party which is housed in a ridiculous surf-themed bar and watch Dan Le Sac - it's not going well we need a plan... we conspire to stand in a queue to get into MGMT, this is never happening - KIDS DON'T QUEUE FOR ANYTHING EVER - so we leave with tails between our non-guestlisted legs.

Diplo starts to pick things up for us dancehall styleee - but then the PA blows up FUCK!; Tokyo Sex Destruction at the Primevera stage are incredibly good on all levels, they're RFTC mixed with the good bits of The Hives - band of the night; Har Mar Superstar is the only person that can finish this thing - he's fantastic and plays a song that he wrote for a Disney series that never made it 'But you know - I'm glad because it's way creepier when I sing it' - quote of the night has to go to HMS - 'Here's another Har Mar Superstar song - and it's a fucking gem!'

I have to agree.

Head hurts - need to drink water - no... more... red meat....

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Fort Awesome

I proper love The Mathletes, the musical project of minor internet celebrity (he'd hate that description, but it's kinda true) Joe Mathlete. The combination of his wonky vocals and lo fi records and songs about unicorns and being jealous of Conor Oberst and having a time machine and the fact that he's released about 20 albums over the last decade just can't fail with me. The last release was an album of covers, the wonderfully arrogant The Mathletes Own Other Peoples Songs, which you can download for free here. One of those covers is of My Bloody Valentine's "Only Shallow", and I've just discovered a video for it. Take a look:

It's really, really special.

I also feel the need to point you in the direction of his Joe Mathlete Explains Today's Marmaduke blog. If you've never read it, I can't stress how much you really, really should do.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Sunday Afternoon Five

Bored? Hungover? Just avoiding the rain currently blanketing London? Ignoring the first one (I don't have time to be bored anymore), me too! Have some fun links:

* Sonic Youth - Kill Yr Idols (Live, Brighton Zapp Club 1985) >>> Sonic Youth are pretty much my favourite band in the history of ever. Things like this are why. Check out the 'Related Videos' section, there's a clip of them playing 'Making The Nature Scene' on Brighton Beach, it's one of the most horrible/incredible things I've ever heard.
* Diary Of The Dead trailer >>> ZOMBIES! ZOMBIES! ZOMBIES! I love Zombies.
* October All Over - Vital Signs CD album >>> Recorded at the start of last year and finally emerging through Unlabel last December, the band kinda fizzled out in the period between. Shame, as this album totally slays - imagine late-80s Sonic Youth filtered through the GUITAR POWER of Rival Schools recorded somewhere sweaty in a decaying urban area and you're halfway there.
* Wet Paint @ myspace >>> I saw this band last week. They covered two Neil Young songs and made them sound like The New Pornographers. I spent their entire set smiling like a loon.
* The new STA Flickr Account >>> No photos currently. Soon, though! Add us. Go on.

Oh yeah, and something called Man Vs Monster by some band called Fighting With Wire finally hits UK shops tomorrow. It's our first release of what is shaping up to be a monsterously busy year. Excellent.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

The Coast Guard is on strike.

The news is telling me this. Better not go for a swim, eh?

So, here is some news. Friend-of-STA Aaron Connolly (he used to run the Fighting With Wire website and was a regular on the old Jetplane Landing boards before they were destroyed by spammmmmmers) is making a documentary about us! It's been brewing for a while now, but last weekend he shot his first footage, interviewing Alan MX during his mixing sessions at Southern Studios.

He's also putting a video diary of production on his youtube account. Check out the latest one below:

But here's something else: this has been talked about for at least four months now, and I've always been in favour of it. So why has it only just dawned on me that I'm actually going to have to be in it? Eep.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

I can't think of a witty subject line because it's 12:15am.

If you only have enough cash to buy two recently-released albums this month, I recommend Hold On Now, Youngster... by Los Campesinos! and Meet The Eels by Eels. The former because it's one of the most thrilling, intelligent and downright fun pop records you're going to hear all year (and probably all decade), and the latter because Mark Oliver 'E' Everett is pretty much the biggest maverick currently signed to a major label. I saw him play live last week (third row at the Royal Festival hall, get UB) and in two hours he managed to both bring me to the brink of tears and laugh like a fiend. He's a genius, simply put.

Oh, and some record called Man Vs Monster by some band called Fighting With Wire, although considering how many of the copies of it I've shoved into jiffy bags and taken to the Camden Town post office in the last two weeks, you lot out there don't need my coaxing to do this!

So I spent the afternoon today in Southern Studios with STA newboy Alan MX, watching him work on the mixes for his forthcoming Warpsichord opus with one Harvey Birrell (who's recorded loads and loads of bands, but is mostly known in STA-circles for doing the last Jetplane record). Kid-in-a-toy-shop doesn't even begin to cover it, he was absolutely hyper. The tracks I heard sounded incredible - crisp, punchy, and batshit insane with a million things going on at once in places. I found out that one song ('Flesh Emergency') currently has 49 tracks on it. As you can imagine, I'm somewhat excited to hear the finished product.

I was also roped into helping with a few screen tests for his forthcoming video shoot (for 'The Captain America Video'), which involved Alan chasing me up Wood Green High Road. I wasn't told how far I was supposed to run, so I kept on going. Obviously, he kept on chasing after me. All of this was much to the amusement of Lulu, the director of and brains behind the video. Dead professional, us. As always.