Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year!

This year was the busiest and most rewarding yet for me at Smalltown America. We released 16 titles in 2009 making it the most hectic in our catalogue as well. 

I've always enjoyed Christmas holidays as it gives me time to think and make plans for the label - I get to change things up, which I love doing. 2010 will be our ninth year in the game and by the end of it I would love for us to have reached catalogue number STA100 - that would double our physical CD/Vinyl output and push us to thirty releases plus per year. It wouldn't be Smalltown America unless their were some mishaps along the way - so it's with a mixture of excitement and queasiness that I set this ambitious stall out for the next twelve months! 

Record labels come and go - lots have disappeared this year along with many independent and chain stores; to analysts our industry is one in crisis. I'm not going to disagree with the facts, it's harder than ever to sell records - but why should it be easy? When Jamie and I began the label at the turn of the decade we always thought that if a record or an idea was good enough it would reach its audience eventually. Marketing and advertising helps of course, but it's not the way to build a real audience. And So I Watch You From Afar proved this year that being honest, steel-hard in the face of adversity and generally awesome live is the correct path to win hearts all over the world.

I've always thought that we've released great records and that we have a warm, independent and appreciative audience. I'm genuinely thankful to all people who buy our stuff and to all the bands that trust us with their master recordings.

Expect new records from all of the roster in 2010 and lots of new STA signings, we'll be launching our new webstore in January which will make it really easy to get hold of what you want - fast. 

Huge thanks to everyone that has helped me out this year promoting our bands: Brian, Charlene, Daniel, Ash, Jeff, Ben, Tim, Matt and Chris principally and many, many others besides.

Lots of love to you all and good luck for 2010! Let's go!


Thursday, 24 December 2009

Alan MX: It comes this once a year...

Merry Christmas my friends.

This has been a really good year really in summation.

I'm spending Christmas Eve reading 1984 and wrapping presents, while occasionally running to the computer to organize a beat or two.

I am so excited about the music thats coming at the moment, and very excited also to be mixing it where I'm going to mix it. Also terribly excited about who I'm going to be working with on this record. It's dark though, guys. But I think it has to be. Warpsichord was such a colourful camp little record, the next one has to be a marauding monochrome.

I hope you all get everything you want from Santee Clause.

Much Love to everyone.



4 Or 5 Magicians on Sweeping The Nation's Best Albums of 2009

Few records better typify Sweeping The Nations' It may be white lower middle class schmindie hipster shit, but hey, it's British mantra than 4 Or 5 Magicians' debut album so no suprise that it has placed on Sweeping's Best Of 2009 list. The list is being counted down day-by-day until the end of the month; here's the list so far.

50 MJ Hibbett & The Validators - Regardez, Ecoutez Et Repetez
49 Papercuts - You Can Have What You Want
48 Volcano Choir – Unmap
47 The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
46 Andrew Bird - Noble Beast
45 Piano Magic - Ovations
44 Au Revoir Simone - Still Night Still Light
43 Julian Plenti - Julian Plenti Is... Skyscraper
42 Arthur & Martha - Navigation
41 The Flaming Lips – Embryonic
40 Luke Haines – 21st Century Man
39 Projekt A-Ko - Yoyodyne
38 Why? - Eskimo Snow
37 Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
36 The Voluntary Butler Scheme - At Breakfast, Dinner, Tea
35 Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
34 The Low Anthem - Oh My God Charlie Darwin
33 Micachu & The Shapes - Jewellery
32 Lucas Renney - Strange Glory
31 Maybeshewill - Sing The Word Hope In Four Part Harmony
30 Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years
29 Mew - No More Stories...
28 Broken Records - Until The Earth Begins To Part
27 Pagan Wanderer Lu - Fight My Battles For Me
26 Mission Of Burma - The Sound The Speed The Light
25 Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
24 The Wave Pictures - If You Leave It Alone
23 Charlotte Hatherley - New Worlds
22 Graham Coxon - The Spinning Top
21 4 Or 5 Magicians - Empty, Derivative Pop Songs
20 Kill It Kid - Kill It Kid
19 Felix - You Are The One I Pick
18 Blue Roses - Blue Roses
17 The Victorian English Gentlemens Club - Love On An Oil Rig
16 Wake The President - You Can't Change That Boy
15 Fanfarlo - Reservoir
14 The Phantom Band - Checkmate Savage
13 Grammatics - Grammatics
12 Joe Gideon & The Shark - Harum Scarum
11 Animal Collective - Merriwether Post Pavilion
10 Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career
9 Sky Larkin - The Golden Spike
8 Slow Club - Yeah So
7 Emmy The Great - First Love

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Calories: Fuck Yule

We haven't made much of a big deal of this but we've made a Christmas disc and we're giving it away tonight at this gig>>>>
if you'reading this after the fact then here's the tracklisting that I forgot to put in with the cd

Fuck Yule: Vol 1
1. Fuck Yule
2. Xmas Marks The Spot
3.Christmas Keeps On Coming

Merry Crispmas


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

More XFM London for ASIWYFA

Just a quick one to let you know that John Kennedy played ‘S Is For Salamander’ on his X-Posure show on XFM Monday night (tracklisting below). The show goes out Mon – Thurs 22:00 - 02:00 on XFM London and XFM Manchester. This is the 3rd play on X-Posure for tracks taken from ‘The Letters EP

X-Posure Monday 21st December 2009
Christmas Guests: Curly Hair & The Hornblower Brothers
Interview Guests: Danger Mouse & James Mercer aka Broken Bells
X-Posure Hot One: I Blame Coco ‘Caesar’ (Island)
X-Posure Big One: The XX ‘VCR’ (Young Turks)

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip ‘Get Better’ (Sunday Best)
White Rabbits ‘Percussion Gun’ ()
Good Shoes ‘Under Control’ (Brille)
Airship ‘Kids’ (Love & Disaster)
Sennen ‘Destroy Us’ (Hungry Audio)
Lightspeed Champion ‘Marlene’ (Domino)
Hot Chip ‘One Life Stand’ (Parlophone)
Gnarls Barkley ‘Crazy’ ()
The Shins ‘New Slang’ (Sub Pop)
Interview w/ Brian Burton and James Mercer aka Broken Bells
Broken Bells ‘The High Road’ (Columbia)
Interview w/ Brian Burton and James Mercer aka Broken Bells
Broken Bells ‘Vaporize’ (Columbia)

11pm-Midnight (Deep)
Plan B ‘Stay Too Long’ (Atlantic)
Rage Against The Machine ‘Killing In The Name’ (Epic)
And So I Watch You From Afar ‘S Is For Salamander’ (Smalltown America)
Franz Ferdinand ‘Can’t Stop Feeling (Emperor Machine Remix)’ (Domino)
Nat Johnson & The Figureheads ‘Book Club’ (
Live Studio Guests: Interview w/ Curly Hair
Live Studio Guests, Session Track: Curly Hair ‘Pumpkin Eye’
Curly Hair ‘Blow The House Down’ (Toy Soldier)
The Hornblower Brothers ‘Android With A Heart’ (Bellboy)
Live Studio Guests: Interview w/ Curly Hair continued
Live Studio Guests, Session Track: Curly Hair ‘Silly Billy Yellow’
Lawrence Arabia ‘The Beautiful Young Crew’ (Bella Union)
Tristram ‘Someone Told Me A Poem’ ()
Rachael Dadd ‘Table’ ()
Live Studio Guests: Interview w/ The Hornblower Brothers
Live Studio Guests, Session Track: The Hornblower Brothers ‘The Christmas Song’
The Hornblower Brothers ‘Shooting Star’ (Bellboy)
Live Studio Guests: Interview w/ The Hornblower Brothers continued
Live Studio Guests, Session Track: The Hornblower Brothers ‘Give And Receive’

Midnight-1am (Deeper!)
Can ‘Silent Night’ (Spoon/Mute)
X-Posure Big One: The XX ‘VCR’ (Young Turks)
Errors ‘A Rumour In Africa’ (Rock Action)
Spoon ‘Written In Reverse’ (Anti-)
School Of Seven Bells ‘Half Asleep’ (Full Time Hobby)
Jesca Hoop ‘Four Dreams’ (Last Laugh)
Viv Albertine ‘Never Come’ (
Hotpants Romance ‘All I Want For Christmas’ ()
Fever Fever ‘Little Drummer Boy’ (Cherryade Music)
Eugene & The Lizards ‘Grogshop’ (Domino)
Lost Classic: Blue Cheer ‘Summertime Blues’ (Trikont)
Creatures Of Love ‘Creatures Of Love’ (
Gil Scott-Heron ‘Me And The Devil’ (XL)

1-2am (Deeper Still!)
Liars ‘Scissor’ (Mute)
Portishead ‘Chase The Tear’ (
Acid Washed ‘General Motors, Detroit, America’ (Record Maker)
Goldie ‘Timeless (SBTRKT Edit)’ (
These New Puritans ‘We Want War (SBTRKT Remix)’ (Domino)
TJR ‘Just Gets Better (SBTRKT Gutter Mix)’ (
X-Posure Long One: Hell feat. Bryan Ferry ‘U Can Dance (Simian Mobile Disco Remix)’ (Gigolo)
Salem ‘Babydaddy’ (Fader/SoCo 7” Series)
F’d Up ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ ()
Allo, Darlin’ ‘Space Christmas’ (Cherryade Music)
The Lovely Eggs ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex For Christmas’ (Cherryade Music)

Skibunny: It's A Wonderful Life

The snow is continuing to fall out there and we're about ready for a few days off beside a warm fire. We'll be back in the new year with news of a new release and lots more shows. In the meantime, click the link below to download Skibunny's Christmas song "It's a Wonderful Life", recorded a couple of years ago especially for BBC Radio Ulster's ATL show, and then later ended up on a Japanese label Second Royal's "Winter" compilation.

>>>It's a Wonderful Life<<<

Merry Christmas from Team Skibunny, and a Happy New Year!

Monday, 21 December 2009

ASIWYFA: Green & Live's 4th Best Album of 2009

Green & Live join the growing ranks of those rating ASIWYFA's self-titled debut album one of the year's best Irish records. Here's the playlist from the Friday 18th December show which goes out on Limerick's Live 95FM from 10pm.

Good to see placings for Elks, Cutaways and Panda Kopanda - all STA recommended albums!

1. Some Kind of Kick - The Things — (Some Kind Of Kick)
2. Saw Saw Hammer Hammer - Elk — (We Should Start Our Own Gang)
3. Witch Hunt - Twinkranes — (Spektrum Theatre Snakes)
4. A Little Bit Of Solidarity Goes A Long Way - And So I Watch You From Afar — (And So I Watch You From Afar)
5. Death Of A Songwriter - Groom — (At The Natural History Museum)
6. Talk Over Talking - Pocket Promise — (I've Been Here For Ages)
7. It's Yours - David Kitt — (The Nightsaver)
8. The Sweet Spot - The Duckworth Lewis Method — (The Duckworth Lewis Method)
9. You Know What You Want - Red Eskimo — (The Grey Death Billow)
10. Songbird - Iain Archer — (To The Pine Roots)
11. What's With All The Lights - Seven Summits — (Seven Summits)
12. Iceland - Van Cleef — (SuperVillainesque)
13. Nelligans Guts - The Mighty Stef — (100 Midnights)
14. Life's Nudge - Julie Feeney — (Pages)
15. Neon In Our Dreams - The Holy Roman Army — (How The Light Gets In)
16. Consume - Pearse McGloughlin — (Busy Whisper)
17. Year Of The Horse - Herm — (Monsters)
18. Milo Of Kroton - Cutaways (Earth And Earthly Things)
19. Astronaut - Alphastates — (Human Nature)
20. In A Bar - Huts On Stilts — (Lo-Fi Love Songs)
21. Watch Her Win - David Geraghty — (The Victory Dance)
22. Secret Places - Panda Kopanda — (This Hope Will Kill Us All)
23. Photograph - Craig Walker — (Siamese)
24. The Wishing Seat - Adrian Crowley — (Season of the Sparks)
25. The Men Who Saved The Face Of Football - Jinx Lennon — (GREEN AND LIVE BEST IRISH ALBUM OF 2009 — TRAUMA THEMES IDIOT TIMES)

LOEB on Kerrang Radio

Another - the 7th in fact! - spin for Let Our Enemies Beware's ‘Fools! Philistines! Heretics and Whores!’ on Johnny Doom’s Kerrang Radio show. Windows users can listen here: LOEB are towards the end of the show sandwiched between Japanese Voyeurs and Fightstar. Gulp.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

ASIWYFA Ulster Hall: First Report

First report on Friday's epic Ulster Hall show.

Alan MX: Spinning Webs

The first reviews are coming in for my debut album Warpsichord which came out last week.

Mostly they have been good
, one magazine did a nice bit on it, an Irish radio station and the Irish newspaper have been less kind, but still warm. I want to say that it's like sending your children out into the world but it's not like that at all. I have lived with these songs for a long time now, sometimes I forget bits of them or forget the meaning behind a lyric or how I made a certain arrangement and I have to go back and remind myself through the reopening of files or the rereading of diaries.

I'm really glad that it is out now because it has allowed me to divorce from it entirely now. This may sound a negative attitude, but I don't think it is really. As I said, Warpsichord took a long time to come to term, it's gestation stretching over nearly two years from initial writing to release and in that time I did come to feel shackled to it. Performing the same songs at shows, listening to them over and over during the mix and speaking to people about them, I think I had a version of post natal dysphoria. I needed a hefty dialysis and certain events towards the end of this year have allowed me to put it in the ground, not in burial but in the hopes that it might grow unattended. And actually, this funereal action has reinvigorated my interest in the project. I can talk about it with some distance now, listening to the songs from an outsiders viewpoint.

And I never want to hear the Captain America Video again. We listened to it about a million times when shooting the video and I have anxiety when I hear those chords now.

So, the next step in the marathon for this album is the release of the second official, but third unofficial single. This is going to be Green Tea, and I have some remixes in the works for this by some of my favourite people. There are to be some new songs for B-Sides as well. There will be a fourth, but I don't want to say what it is yet. Two videos are in the pipeline, made by some brilliant directors and I'm excited about them.

Work is underway on the new album too. It has about three different titles at the moment, two are strong possibilities. It may end up with a dual title in the Shakespearean fashion, and at the rate the songs are being born it may very well end up as a double album.

I'm reading my old favourite again, Mrs Carter, and I'm enjoying how her potency is bleeding through into my lyrics. Things have gone very dark for me recently, musically and lyrically speaking and I feel like much more of a narrator at this point than a protagonist. I think this time around the stories are going to be a little bit more magical and less reality-based. I'm revisiting old songs and turning them upside down to view them from underneath. It can be quite enlightening to analyze an old set of words and write an answer to them years down the line. I'm a much different person to who I was when I began writing, and while I'm not sure if this is a positive increment; it's certainly significant.

What I would like to do is take the first album and place it at the end of a long range telescope, far into the galaxy, spinning at a million miles an minute until an aureole forms, and then take parts of the halo and respin them. These new webs will form the second album, the darker echos from the edges of it's grandstanding older/younger brother. Pretentious, I know, but I also know that this is what I want.

If you haven't bought the first record, then I hope that you do. I want to make the next one as interesting as I can for you.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Last Call For 4 Or 5 Magicians In 2009

Sunday December 20th @ The Windmill, Brixton - your last chance to see 4 or 5 Magicians...

... well, sort of. It will certainly be your last chance to see 4 or 5 Magicians as you know us (or perhaps as you didn't know us!). Either way, 2010 is going to see some big changes, and we will be focusing prinicipally, perhaps exclusively on new stuff, so this may well be your final opportunity to hear some, most, or all of the old songs! So if you are a fan of the band, a friend of mine or of the other guys in the band, or if you have never seen us before and want to before it is too late, then this is the show to come to! See you there, ho ho ho etc.!

Details of the show are as follows ...

Sunday 20th December @ The Windmill Brixton
6:00pm to 11:00pm
£4 advance from / £5 on the door

4 OR 5 MAGICIANS - 10:15pm - 11:00pm
THE MUSCLE CLUB - 9:30pm - 10:00pm
STAGECOACH - 8:45pm to 9:15pm
LAURA HOCKING - 8:00pm to 8:30pm
EELECTRICITY AND LUST - 7:15pm to 7:45pm

Every band is playing a song by one of the other bands on the bill: 4 or 5 Magicians are Laura Hocking. The Muscle Club are Eelectricity and Lust. Stagecoach are 4 or 5 Magicians. Laura Hocking is Stagecoach. Eelectricity and Lust are The Muscle Club. Raymond Detritus has no idea what he's doing. Or at least I have no idea what he's doing!

Anyway yeah, see you there. Bring a friend. Bring an enemy. Bring whoever. Lets make it a big party time to finish the year!

Dan from 4 or 5 Magicians xx

PS. We are also playing (exxxtreme weather permitting!) in Norwich on Saturday, 19th December, at Norwich Arts Centre. That is also £5 and we are also on at 10:15pm.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

LaFaro New Christmas Song

Hey all, since it's Christmas we've decided to give you all presents!!

First of all, there's a new Xmas song on our Myspace profile! Check it the fuck out!

Secondly, we're playing the Ulster Hall on Friday (still tickets left for this show, it's gonna be the show of the year!) with our good buddies ASIWYFA and if that isn't enough of a gift, if you come to the show you will be presented with the opportunity to purchase not one brand new never...before-heard song but TWO!

Two brand new songs! Never been heard! And they won't be on the album either.........

Thirdly, if you don't want to buy our new songs you can buy a brand spanking new LaFaro tshirt!!!!!!!!


We're too good to you lot, we really are............

Happy Hannukka,

LaFaro x

Skibunny Christmas Party + New Remix Download

You may remember a few months ago we, Skibunny, remixed Paloma Faith's single "New York", well now you can download it here for free.... Reeeeemix!

It features the rap talents of our Chicago based pal, the amazing KID STATIC. If you haven't heard of him yet, you really need to check this shit out... Love this guy

Don't forget about the annual Skibunny Christmas party, taking place once again at Belfast's Spring & Airbrake, featuring a final headline set from our favourites OPPENHEIMER, plus SKIBUNNY, NAKATOMI TOWERS and Rigsy on the decks. Saturday 19th December, 9pm-3am.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Cargo Collective December 2009

Oppenheimer Split/Farewell Show

STA alumni Oppenheimer have announced that this Saturday's show at Belfast's Spring & Airbrake (with support from Skibunny) will be their last -

On December 19th at 11pm, Rocky and Shaun plan to take to the stage together as Oppenheimer for the last time.

There will be a farewell EP, a digital release at the start of 2010. A snapshot of where we had arrived at this point, as we have recently been working on new material.

Further ideas that have been worked on will accompany Rocky on his journey to a new band, which in some ways has already started, as the songs and plot lines are already underway, as anyone who has witnessed Oppenheimer recently can no doubt testify.

The reasons for this announcement are multiple yet highly intertwined. Ultimately, to be in any band you allow the band to consume you, becoming every particle of your existence, every aspect of your being, every thought that wakes you up early and every task that keeps you up late at night.

The reward for such dedication and commitment, not to mention the hardship that goes hand in hand with making music for a living is the unrivalled joy and honour that fills your mind, body and soul by getting to do all the things that you can.

The moment this joy falters, rocks or is jolted out of existence, the struggle is of no consequence or purpose.

After five years together, recording and releasing two albums, playing hundreds of shows and touring with some of the greatest bands in the world, the level of commitment, passion and drive that one of us can give to the band has changed.

It's an understandable occurrence and one that we're both delighted to address at this time.

Shaun has realized that in order to fulfill his hopes and dreams he needs to take a new and different path in his life.

Rocky's ideas, dreams and notions for writing, recording and touring are more alive and vibrant than ever.

Due to these changing circumstances, we have decided to part ways.

We have no idea if we will ever work together again, recording movie soundtracks, making ambient albums or even making indie pop songs. Who knows what tomorrow holds?

For now, Oppenheimer have no plans to write, record or play together again after December 19th 2009.

Our thanks and respect for every single person in the world who has done anything to help us is overwhelming, it always has been, it always will be.

Rocky O'Reilly & Shaun Robinson

ASIWYFA on God Is In The TV Best Of 2009 Shortlist

Another day, another Best Of 2009 shortlist placing for And So I Watch You From Afar, this time from the excellent God Is In The TV blog - see below then vote ASI.

09 was meant to be the year of the girl but while Florence and her Machine did her best to fly the flag for Britain after damp squibs from La Roux and Little Boots, Lady Gaga revealed her poker face and it was she and Beyonce that created most of the pop spectacles that mattered in 09. JLS proved you didn't need to win the Xfactor to really prevail, some bands shifted into the mainstream while others concentrated on their craft and all the while there was some great music being made and released just below the surface so lift up the stone look under and choose your TOP FIVE from our TOP short listed albums of 2009. A list that includes some highly commercial releases, some massively surprising comeback album triumphs, some cult releases, some barely known ones, plucked from a range of genres, from across the United Kingdom, North America and beyond, no focus groups or commercial pressures here, just a love of the long players that really moved our bodies and our souls in the past year. So get voting!

GIITTV’s Shortlisted albums of 2009.(In no particular order)

Grizzly Bear- ‘Veckatimest’
The Antlers – ‘Hospice’
Mumford and Sons – ‘Sigh No More’
The Mars Volta – ‘Octahedron’
Health – ‘Get Colour’
P.O.S –‘Never Better'
Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
The Decemberists – ‘The Hazards of Love’
Animal Collective – ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’
The Joy Formidable - ‘A Balloon Called Moaning’
Discovery – LP
Manic Street Preachers – ‘Journal For Plague Lovers'
The Maccabees – ‘Wall of Arms’
Dan Deacon – ‘Bromst’
Passion Pit – ‘Manners’
Noah And The Whale – ‘First Days Of Spring’
Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose
We Were Promised Jetpacks - S/T
Atlas Sound – ‘Logos’
Grammatics – S/T
The XX – S/T
Fuck Buttons – ‘Tarot Sport’
Arctic Monkeys – ‘Humbug’
There Will Be Fireworks – S/T
Wild Beasts - Two Dancers
Dananananaykroyd - Hey Everyone!
Ramona Falls – ‘Intuit’
Blakroc – S/T
Lovvers – ‘OCD Go Go Go Girls’
Slaraffenland – ‘We’re On Your Side’
Balmorhea – ‘All is Wild, All is Silent’
Former Ghosts – ‘Fleurs’
Florence and The Machine – ‘Lungs’
And So I Watch You From Afar – S/T
Raekwon – ‘Only Built For Cuban Linx 2’
The Cribs – ‘Ignore the Ignorant’
Future of The Left – Travels With Myself And Another
Blue October – ‘Approaching Normal’
M.Ward – ‘Hold Time’
Brand New – ‘Daisy’
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – S/T
Flaming Lips – ‘Embryonic’
Madness – ‘The liberation of Norton Folgate’
Bibio – ‘Ambivalence Avenue’
The Firekites – ‘The Bowery’
Orphans and Vandals- ‘I Am Alive You Are Dead’
Frank Turner – ‘Poetry of the Deed’
Dredg – ‘The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion’
The Twilight Sad – ‘Forget the Night Ahead’
The Horrors – ‘Primary Colours’
St. Vincent – ‘Actor’
Cymbals Eat Guitars – S/T
Russian Circles – ‘Geneva’

Can’t make up your mind? Then listen to the majority of the albums on GIITTV’s albums of the year spotify playlist (including some that just didn’t make it).

Vote for your TOP FIVE now, FIVE lucky entrants will win a stack of CDs from this year. Then the GIITTV’s Readers and Writer’s best fifty albums of 2009 lists will be published together, later this month. Like any list its subjective, do you disagree with the albums shortlisted? Do you think we missed your favourite out? Then what are you waiting for voice it!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 60

One of Northern Ireland's hottest properties are Belfast's The Jane Bradfords whose number while alternating between being as large as a seven piece and as small as just one guy in a studio (cursing at old keyboards that used to work perfectly well) averages out at 5. Their fusion of the nonchalant swagger of The National, the driving tight Peter Hook style bass and at times the euphoric hosannas of Arcade Fire has won plaudits from Huw Stephens and the readership of Alternative Ulster magazine who voted their 2008 debut album into the list of 50 best records of the 2000s. Look out for a new album from TJB in 2010, exclusive previews of which can be heard on this blogcast.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 60
29 minutes 32 seconds
Recorded 02/12/09
00.01 The Jane Bradfords - Judicial Duel (exclusive new track from forthcoming 2010 album)
04.52 Clown Parlour - Stark (from Introducing Clown Parlour album - White Mountain Music)
06.55 The Jane Bradfords - More Than This (exclusive new track from forthcoming 2010 album)
13.15 Robyn G Shiels - Drunk Myself A River (from unreleased new album - Dancing Records)
18.04 The National - Slow Show (acoustic recording for Bandwidth Films)
22.13 Three Tales - The Things That We Know (from The Hidden Possibilities In All Things EP - Furious Tradesmen)
26.33 The Jane Bradfords - Too Much Christmas (free download)

If you have any suggestions for future takeovers or want to submit your demo for our forthcoming Public Service Podcast series, get in touch - email

The Moi Non Plus Viva Radio Session

Check out The Moi Non Plus' session for Viva Radio.

Friday, 11 December 2009

ASIWYFA Voted Best Record Of The Decade: Alternative Ulster

Belfast-based AU Magazine polled thier readership for the best Irish albums of the decade and the results are out in the new issue. Thanks to everyone who voted ASIWYFA the best Irish record of the 2000s - the full list which includes 3 STA releases in the Top 10 and another 3 bringing the total to 6 is below.

It's also good to see friends of the label such as Bats, Adebisi Shank and the Jane Bradfords place high in the rundown. All told, NI music is in rude health!

AU Top 50 Irish albums of the Decade

1. And So I Watch You From Afar – And So I Watch You From Afar (2009)
2. Jape – Ritual (2008)
3. David Holmes – The Holy Pictures (2008)
4. Oppenheimer – Oppenheimer (2006)
5. Fight Like Apes – Fight Like Apes and the Mystery Of The Golden Medallion (2009)
6. Damien Rice – O (2002)
7. The Frames – For The Birds (2001)
8. Fighting With Wire – Man Vs. Monster (2008)
9. Snow Patrol – Final Straw (2003)
10. Jane Bradfords – Jane Bradfords (2008)
11. Adebisi Shank – This Is The Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank (2008)
12. The Immediate – In Towers and Clouds (2006)
13. Ash – Free All Angels (2001)
14. Snow Patrol – When It’s All Over We Still Have To Clear Up (2001)
15. David Holmes – Bow Down To The Exit Sign (2000)
16. BATS – Red In Tooth & Claw (2009)
17. Duke Special – Songs From The Deep Forest (2006)
18. Mumblin’ Deaf Ro – The Herring And The Brine (2007)
19. Simple Kid – 1 (2003)
20. David Kitt – The Big Romance (2001)
21. Clone Quartet – Well-Oiled Machine (2007)
22. The Redneck Manifesto – thirtysixstrings (2001)
23. The Redneck Manifesto – I Am Brazil (2004)
24. Desert Hearts – Hotsy Totsy Nagasaki (2006)
25. The Thrills – So Much For The City (2003)
26. Republic of Loose – Aaagh! (2006)
27. Fionn Regan – The End Of History (2006)
28. The Divine Comedy – Regeneration (2001)
29. Cathy Davey – Tales Of Silversleeve (2007)
30. Lisa Hannigan – Sea Sew (2008)
31. Jetplane Landing – Once Like A Spark (2003)
32. Bell XI – Music In Mouth (2003)
33. Delorentos – In Love With Detail (2007)
34. Oppenheimer – Take the Whole Midrange and Boost It (2008)
35. The Chalets – Check In (2005)
36. Three Tales – Three Tales (2008)
37. Bell X1 – Flock (2005)
38. The Divine Comedy – Absent Friends (2004)
39. JJ72 – JJ72 (2000)
40. Desert Hearts – Let’s Get Worse (2004)
41. Jetplane Landing – Zero For Conduct (2001)
42. Gemma Hayes – Night On My Side (2002)
43. Boxcutter – Glyphic (2007)
44. So Cow – These Truly Are End Times (2007)
45. Si Schroeder – Coping Mechanisms (2006)
46. Robyn G. Shiels – A Lifetime Of Midnights (2006)
47. Patrick Kelleher – You Look Cold (2009)
48. Alloy Mental – We Have Control (2007)
49. Damien Dempsey – Seize the Day (2003)
50. Boxcutter – Oneiric (2006)

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Vote STA for NME Awards

Voting has commenced for the public to pick the shortlisted nominees for the 2010 NME Awards and it's not a pre-set multiple-choice affair so you have more than merely Kings Of Leon or Muse to choose from, at this stage at least.

Shake things up with ASIWYFA for Best Live Band and Best Album!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

And So I Watch You From Afar Photography

Graham Smith works as the tour manager for And So I Watch You From Afar but he is also a photographer and has been snapping the band constantly since first seeing them in November 2006.

Graham joined the band full-time on the road in April 2009 and since then has documented the band everywhere from Eastern Europe to back home in Northern Ireland.

Graham is currently hard at work on a book of photographs of ASIWYFA, tentatively scheduled for release in the Autumn of 2010. A series of exhibitions will accompany the release. Details about this will be available next year.

2010 is already shaping up to be even more exciting than this year, with massive tours planned around the world. Graham will be there to snap it all as it happens.

A sneak preview of some of the images to be featured in this book can be found here. This gallery will be updated regularly.

Calories on MFM's Best Of 2009 List

Calories clock in at #36 in Music Fan Mic's Top 50 of 2009

A frantic, adolescent take on the highs of youth and life on the edge. “Adventuring is dangerous but danger can be fun” is the reckless motto of the title-track and the music behind is just scavenging and unafraid. Far from slick and professional but quite the start to a potentially fantastic career.

Calories play a hometown show at Birmingham's Island Bar on December 23.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Skibunny Touring Under The Influence Of Har Mar

Skibunny report in on their week with Har Mar Superstar...

Day one - Sunday - Oxford
We meet up at Heathrow, Nick and Mark having flown over from Belfast, and Tanya having driven the bad-ass tour mobile (a sweet Peugeout 406, no less!) down from Edinburgh. After a bite to eat, we head to a practice room in deepest Oxfordshire to reherse the two new songs we’re going to be playing on the tour. It’s the same room that, many years ago, Tanya and Mark stayed in whilst supporting Gorkys Zygotic Mynci, so its very funny to be back again. To the venue, and meeting team Har Mar. They’re all very great people-Sean (HMS to you), Denver (bass, tall, laconic) Jeff (Guitar, Catfish, funk), Will (drums, new york dolls lookalike) and T (best tour manager ever). As T’s the tour manager of Skibunny guest vocalist MAPS, there’s already much to chat about. The show that night in Oxford is great, and late that night we hit the road for London and the flat of Tanya’s sister Liana (a most convivial hostess).

Day two - Monday - London
A London show can be a thing to fear, and in order to guarantee that we’ll be cooking with gas, we decamp to a practice room to go over last minute tweaks to the new tracks (which have new Bandwidth videos to accompany them for the AV part of the set - AWESOME people!) Things are sounding good so we wrap up early and head for The Garage - the last time Tanya and Mark were here, one of our band ended up lending Stuart from Mogwai pyjamas (loooong story….) and its great to be back in an 800 capacity venue with so many good memories. Soundcheck done, and introductions made with New Zealand’s Bang Bang Eche (opening act, they did the Har Mar US tour, and are blistering live), we head to the pub to meet Liana, Nick, and everyone’s favourite Dandy - Jim “Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer” Burke. The show tonight is really perfect, and we’re happy to see Ash from Smalltown America, who has come down to see Skibunny for the first time. Har Mar rocks it, and the night ends in The Lexington with many many drinks and toasts to one and all. Phew, London DONE!

Day Three - Tuesday - Bristol
It's Bristol, so of course we’re playing on a boat! Having got up late and devoured some bacon sandwiches, we hit the road, and are soon loading into the bowels of the ship we’re playing on. A bracing walk round the town leads us into an amazing art bookshop in one of Bristol’s biggest galleries - anywhere with Yoshitoma Nara postcards will work for Tanya…..The show’s great, team Har Mar have taken delivery of their US merchandise (ladies and gentleman’s underwear included) and late at night we hit the road for the Southampton. This is where the sat nav throws a hissy fit, and starts driving us round sets for The Midsummer Murders for about an hour….tiny villages with thatched cottages, and wild-eyed locals. Not what you need at 2am. Finally we get to the damn hotel, where some of us head for bed, and some of us stay up and finish the Jagermeister :-)

Day four - Wednesday - Portsmouth
Yaaaarrr. Tis another sea-faring town, you salty dogs! Actually, it's only an hour down the road, and so there’s plenty of time in the afternoon to do some Christmas shopping and get our daily soaking from the shitty weather that’s been following us round all tour. Uugh. The Wedgewood rooms is a venue clearly run by people who love music, so everything’s very easy and comfy. Nice. The show’s great, and spirits are high as there’s a day off tomorrow for everyone apart fro Mark who has to fly home for 24 Hours. He’s deposited at his Heathrow hotel for a 6.40am flight, whilst Tanya and Nick head back to team Liana’s.

Day five - Thursday - Nottingham
Day off people! Whilst Mark is staggering around the streets of Belfast bleary-eyed, Tanya and Nick head up to Nottingham to join the Har Mars for a night on the tiles. And what a night! The Horrors are playing and Sean’s mates with Farris, so he ends up coming out for drinks and punk-rock Bingo, champagne and more Jagermeister...

Day six - Friday - Nottingham
We’re playing the Bodega Social tonight, and from the odd looks of the barstaff, its clear that somethings up. Ahhhh yes, various people were in the bar/kicked out of said bar last night! Nice! Nottingham’s looking very Christmassy, there’s an ice-rink and full Christmas market a happening in the town-centre. Mark heads to the Oxfam boutique shop to pick up a lovely scarf, and then it's another easy soundcheck and what is, by team Har Mar’s accounts, our best show of the tour so far! Many many friends are made in Nottingham. Sean is doing a DJ set so Nick and Mark hit the road for Doncaster whilst Tanya stays to Dance to 'Buffalo Stance' and 'No Scrubs' at the club, hitching a ride up to Doncaster with the Har Mars.

Day Seven - Saturday - Carlisle
Wooh! Where did the week go??!! Last show already - You serious?! Ok, we get to Carlisle and go off in search of presents for everyone. We end up choosing a selection of biographies for Team HMS including Chevy Chase, William Shatner and.. erm... Chantelle “Living the Dream”! We also get everyone snow spray for general mischief, bottle-openers, stickers (of a stupid variety) and festive snacks. As well as that, there’s a communal bottle of buckfast, so they can blend in with the Glasgow mob the following night. In return there’s Champagne in the dressing room, and before a really amazing Carlisle show, we toast what’s been an unforgettable week. Then it's up the road to Tanya’s flat in Edinburgh and our tour is officially over... or is it....

Day Eight? Sunday?! Glasgow??!!
You didn’t thing that was the end of the story did you?! Mark and Nick jump on a plane back to Belfast, that much is true. But who is this singing “I got next” with Har Mar Superstar in King Tuts?!

*warning, this video is not suitable for young 'uns!*

So, thanks again to Team Har Mar Superstar for an awesome week, and thanks to everybody who came out to say hello, we can't wait to get back on the road again early 2010!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Moi Non Plus Tipped For 2010

Influential Dutch music site ROAR E-Zine have included The Moi Non Plus in their ROAR Sound Of 2010 tip list.

This of course inspired by the famous BBC longlist, a list that gives a preview of the coming music year. Because our website is writing about new and fresh music, we also challenged ourselves to make a similar longlist. One of our expectancy is the band The Moi Non Plus. Twan Scheffers

Prizefighter Recommend Alan MX

Prizefighting blog give thumbs up to Alan MX's debut album - out digitally now and physically next Monday, December 14th

Saturday, 5 December 2009

4 or 5 Magicians Annual Christmas Party

4 Or 5 Magicians announce the line-up for their 3rd annual Yuletide shindig

The Windmill Brixton
22 Blenheim Gardens, Brixton, SW2 5BZ

The third annual 4 or 5 Magicians Christmas party at The Windmill in Brixton!

This year, the theme is Secret Santa, and every band will be covering at least one song by one of the other bands on the night!

I organised a show on our November tour at The Flowerpot in Camden, and it was so good (as I’m sure anyone who was there would agree!) that I have picked the same lineup (+1 more) for this show.


So we have :


Our final show of an eventful year - we released our debut album ‘Empty, Derivative Pop Songs’ in early November to a series of glowing reviews.

“Beyond the cracking choruses, it’s this acerbic wit that makes 4 or 5 Magicians an essential listen – Ormsby’s gift of the gab matches Alex Turner’s or Mike Skinner’s, but he delivers his lines without showiness and with a smile on his face”. BBC MUSIC

“Art Brut have finally found their soulmates, and you might well have discovered a new band that could be your life”. IRISH TIMES 9/10 review of Empty, Derivative Pop Songs

“his ability to alchemise crushing lyrical wit and infectious melody expertly conjures up the spirit of everyone from Pavement to Pixies, Idlewild and Cable”. ROCKSOUND 8/10 review of Empty, Derivative Pop Songs

GUESTS TBA (I don’t think I’m allowed to announce them just yet, but they are a Club, and Muscly)

“Spiky, pumped up riffage and sneering tunesmithery… Energy in abundance, [GUESTS TBA!] boast a rippling guitar pop sound… Potential to reach beyond their own back gardens, they could just be the next big thing from Cardiff to burst through the walls of the mainstream music scene” God is in the TV Zine


Superb tunesmithery from the depths of Surrey. Probably the loudest electro acoustic fronted band in the world.

“A sumptuous slice of Wilco-esque” THE FLY


A wonderful voice with lyrics and tunes to match. Imagine a young, female Jake Thackray and you’re along the right lines. The best singer songwriter in London. FACT!


Really promising young rookie band from Brixton in the vein of Pavement and Built To Spill.


The irreverent lofi musings of Jon Wood, the self styled ‘singer songwriter who can’t sing or write songs’. With backing band including members of Internet Forever and Tellison.


Doors are at 6:00pm and the gig finishes at 10:45pm. First band on at 6:20pm.

£4 on the door.

Come down and celebrate the birth of Santa Claus!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

ASIWYFA 16th Best Album of the 2000s: State

6th best of the year? Pah. And So I Watch You From Afar's debut album is the 16th best album of the whole darned decade! So say

When we asked for the collected wisdom of the State writers for their choices for the albums of the decade, little did we expect such a bewilderingly wide ranging response. In total, there were votes for around 250 albums – which says a lot for both that collected wisdom and the decade itself. There are many you’d expect, many you wouldn’t and the odd surprise...

16. And So I Watch You From Afar – And So I Watch You From Afar (2009)
The whispers were there in Belfast from early in the year, that And So I Watch You From Afar’s self titled debut was – in the words of one music industry name – a masterpiece. They weren’t far wrong. ASIWYFA took the concept of an all instrumental album and turned it on its head. They’re a rock band, a metal band, a post-rock band. they’re whatever the hell they want to be. The record’s greatest strength was that, amongst the noise and mayhem, were actual melodies that stuck in your consciousness. It didn’t hurt that they were the live band of the year too. (Phil Udell)

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

ASIWYFA 6th Best Album Of 2009: Rock Sound

Thanks to all of the staff at Rock Sound for voting And So I Watch You From Afar the 6th best album of the year in their Top 75 of 2009 in the new issue of the magazine, out this week, and also for their support of all of our releases this year.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Alan MX Reviewed On Phantom FM's Front Row

Friday lunchtime's edition of Front Row on Dublin's Phantom FM included Phil Udell of reviewing new albums from The Antlers, Alan MX and his verdict of Nirvana - Live At Reading. Listen to the review section below.

13.00 – Muse – ‘Sunburn’
13.04 – Death Cab For Cutie – ‘Meet Me at the Equinox’
13.14 – Radiohead – ‘Just’
13.18 – Ok Go – ‘I Want You So Bad I Can’t Breathe’
13.21 – White Lies – ‘Farewell To The Fairground’
13.25 – Florence and the Machine – ‘You Got The Love’
13.35 – Led Zeppelin – ‘Immigrant Song’
13.41 – Alan MX – ‘Flesh Emergency’
13.45 – The Antlers – ‘Sylvia’
13.58 – Editors – ‘All Sparks’
14.02 – Stone Temple Pilots – ‘Plush’
14.05 – Depeche Mode – ‘Fragile Tension’
14.14 – Kasabian – ‘Fire’
14.27 – Kasabian – ‘Underdog’ (live and acoustic in studio!)
14.38 – Marmaduke Duke – ‘Rubber Lover’
14.40 – Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Y Control’
14.43 – PJ Harvey – ‘This Is Love’
14.52 – 202s – ‘Shoot You Down’
14.53 – Grizzly Bear – ‘Two Weeks’
14.57 – Sid Vicious – ‘My Way’

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Huw Stephens Spins 4 Or 5 Magicians

Check out Thursday night's Huw Stephens Radio 1 show for a dose of 4 Or 5 Magicians toward the end of the first hour.

Hurts — Wonderful Life (Arthur Baker Remix) - Major Label Records
Poirier — Low Ceiling - Ninja Tune
Peggy Sue — Yo Mama - Chess Club
Soft Toy Emergency — Circles - Live at Maida Vale
Rogues - Merry Go Round - Friends Vs Records
Pyramid — Medicine - DDD
Rose Elinor Dougall — Fallen Over - Scarlett Records
Castrovalva — Triceratops - Brew Records
My Morning Jacket — Off The Record - Sony
Envy — On The Horizon - StopStart
Frankie & The Heartstrings — Fragile - Rough Trade
Gonzales — Take Me To Broadway Kitty-Yo
4 or 5 Magicians — Change The Record - Smalltown America
Soft Toy Emergency — Headline - Live at Maida Vale
Soft Toy Emergency — Here With You - Live at Maida Vale
The Crookes — Chorus Of Fools - White
Capac - Palindrome - White
Rain Machine — Give Blood - Anti
Sparrow and the Workshop — A Horse’s Grin - Distiller
Pulled Apart By Horses — I Punched A Lion In The Throat - Live in Belfast
Race Horses — Man In My Mind - Fantastic Plastic
Hold Your Horse Is — Christopher Walken - Big Scary Monsters
Party Horse — Lazer Beam - White
Ellie Goulding — Guns And Horses - Live At Maida Vale
Euros Childs — Horse Riding - National Elf
Tall Pony — I’m Your Boyfriend Now - Cherryade

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 59

Cutaways use two boys, one girl, two synths, one guitar, a drum kit and bags full of hooks and melodies to make their jagged and boisterous pop music. 2009 saw the NME hailing the Belfast trio as "your new favourite band" and Ireland's Hot Press and AU magazines both name Cutaways as one of the bands to watch. In March the band made their first TV appearance on ITV1’s 'Live at The Limelight' while the summer saw them play a number of key festivals including headlining Belfast Pride and also taking in Indie Week Ireland, Glasgowbury and Feile Festival.

Paul, Grace and Ryan take a break from recording album #2 - lierally as you will hear - to takeover this blogcast. Belfast residents take note of the Cutaways Xmas Party! Xposure @ Auntie Annies on December 16th!

Public Service Blogcast Episode 59
31 minutes 7 seconds
Recorded 16/11/09
00.01 Cutaways - Lovers Are Lunatics (from Earth And Earthly Things album - self-released)
03.57 Robotnik - I Found Jesus In The Year 2027 (from Pleasant Sqaure album - self released)
08.05 Cutaways - I Spilled Your Drink So You Broke My Heart (from Earth And Earthly Things album - self-released)
10.50 Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is the Move (from Bitte Orca album - Domino Records)
16.33 Before Machines - We Were Stayed
20.30 The Benjamins - Love Like Fire
23.57 Oppenheimer - Take the Whole Midrange and Boost It (from Take The Whole Midrange And Boost It - Bar/None Records)
27.29 Cutaways - A Better Paul (from Earth And Earthly Things album - self-released)

If you have any suggestions for future takeovers or want to submit your demo for our forthcoming Public Service Podcast series, get in touch - email

Let Our Enemies Beware Playlisted on XFM London

Ian Camfield has put Let Our Enemies Beware ‘Fools! Philistines! Heretics and Whores!’ in his XFM Rock Show Top 5 for w/c 23/11/09. Check out Ian's show this Saturday night.

The Rock Show – Ian Camfield – Sat 10pm to 2am

Where We Belong – Lost Prophets
Gunman – Them Crooked Vultures
Get Into The Spirit – Halford
Verses The Allegiance – Straight Lines
Fools! Philistines! Heretics And Whores – Let Our Enemies Beware

Looks like Ian's forgiven STA for organising the inadvertent crashing of the XFM switchboard when Jetplane Landing's Brave Gravity was up for a Music Response phone vote.

Phantom FM Poll: Best Of 2009

Vote for And So I Watch You From Afar as Phantom FM's Best Irish Record of 2009!!!

Calories EP Review

Check out this review of the recent Calories EP from Clicky Clicky plus news of future Calories releases.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 58

Surrey's smart jangle-popsters Stagecoach present a blogcast that will please the song-hungry listeners among you, with not minimal but rather optimal chat and importantly loads of quality tunes. The Alcopop! 5-piece release a limited to 100 units seasonal acoustic single - presented in signed Chrissy cards - in mid December before hitting the Christmas party circuit (see below) and then touring with Elephants from Jan 29th at London's Buffalo Bar.

14 Dec 2009 - The Social (Alcopop Christmas Party w/Tellison & My First Tooth) London
19 Dec 2009 - Westend Centre (Tag Team w/Hold Your Horse Is, Shoes & Socks Off) Aldershot
20 Dec 2009 - The Windmill (4 Or 5 Magicians Christmas party) London

Public Service Blogcast Episode 58
35 minutes 14 seconds
Recorded 21/11/09
00.19 Stagecoach - Break (from We Got Tazers! EP - Alcopop!)
03.33 Hold Your Horse Is - Broken Sound (from AA single - Apres Vous)
07.20 Pavement - Major Leagues (from Terror Twilight album - Domino Records)
10.36 Algernon Cadwallader - Some Kind Of Cadwallader (from Some Kind Of Cadwallader album - Be Happy/Sars Records)
13.15 Dinosaur Pile Up - Beach Bug (from The Most Powerful EP In The World EP - Friends Vs Records)
17.54 Kevin Devine - Another Bag Of Bones (from Brother's Blood album - Big Scary Monsters)
21.38 Favours For Sailors - Broke Back Futon (from Demos cassette – Tough Love Records)
25.38 Talons - The Tragic Decline Of Buff Orpington
29.06 My First Tooth - Sleet & Snow (from My First Tooth & The Rubies split EP - Big Scary Monsters)
32.40 Stagecoach - Broke Piano (from The Holy Spirit limited Christmas single - Alcopop!)

If you have any suggestions for future takeovers or want to submit your demo for our forthcoming Public Service Podcast series, get in touch - email

Skibunny On Tour With Har Mar Superstar + Album News

"Belfast's no.1 remixers and commotion causers" (NME) SKIBUNNY take their live show on tour next weekend for a string of dates, as special guests of one of the most talked-about men in pop music today - HAR MAR SUPERSTAR

Sunday 29th November - OXFORD, Academy
Monday 30th November - LONDON, The Garage
Tuesday 1st December - BRISTOL, Thekla
Wednesday 2nd December - PORTSMOUTH, Wedgewood Rooms
Friday 4th December - NOTTINGHAM, Bodega
Saturday 5th December - CARLISLE, Brickyard

2009 has already been an amazing year for SKIBUNNY. With a live showcase at CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK, DJ sets in Brooklyn, an impressive 6 shows at SXSW in Austin, Texas (plus a guest appearance with THE MAE SHI!) and a packed out show at THE CAMDEN CRAWL, Skibunny retreated into the studio to complete their debut album - released spring/summer 2010 - emerging only to play or DJ at a few key festivals, including T IN THE PARK and a main stage DJ slot at BESTIVAL. Skibunny also managed to fit in a few remixes here and there, including TILLY & THE WALL (Moshi Moshi), THEM:YOUTH (Dirty Boots), THE MAE SHI/YEAH BIG & KID STATIC (Moshi Moshi), DAG FOR DAG (Saddle Creek), PALOMA FAITH (Sony) and more.

The album boasts guest vocals by MAPS and Kaori Tsuchida from THE GO! TEAM. Skibunny have just returned from NYC where they played a series of live & DJ dates at the CMJ Music Marathon 2009, including a DJ slot alongside Bryan from The National and Japandroids.

And So I Watch You From Afar on Across The Line

Click here to check out ASI in the studio with Rigsy on Monday night's Across The Line on BBC Radio Ulster.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

LaFaro Jan/Feb Tour

We had a 'moment of clarity'/'epiphany' recently and realised that all good old fashioned rock-your-socks-off ear-raping rock bands need to tour.

Being the cocky little shits that we are, we like to belive that we are one of those bands.

And you, reading this, being a fan of our disgracefully kick-ass band probably believe the same thing.

So we booked some shows -

14th Jan- Edinburgh - Bannermans
15th Jan- Glasgow - 13th note
16th Jan- TBC - Help!
17th Jan- Durham w/ Knuckledragger
18th Jan- Sunderland w/ Knuckledragger
19th Jan- TBC - Help!
20th Jan- Leicester - Firebug
21st Jan- London - Bull & gate
22nd Jan- TBC - Help!
23rd Jan- TBC - Help!
24th Jan- TBC - Help!

25th Jan- Southampton - Hamptons w/Chew Lips
26th Jan- Portsmouth - TBC
27th Jan - TBC - Help!
28th Jan - TBC - Help!

29th Jan - Newcastle - World Headquarters

Once we've done those shows we're hoping we'll have a few more to bridge the gap (30th Jan - 11th Feb - If you think you can help, let us know!) before we do the following shows in February with a kick-ass band called Helsinki Seven -

12th – The Chimes, Salt City
13th – The Parish, Huddersfield
14th – The Junction, York
15th – City Bar, Chester
16th – The Retro Bar, Manchester
17th – Royal Park Cellars, Leeds
18th – The Pickwick, Scarborough
19th – 13th Note, Glasgow
20th - Henry's Cellar Bar, Edinburgh
21st – Harrys Bar, Stoke


It's going to be a busy year for us LaFaro boys. We're going to be playing as much as we possibly can so if you want to give us a gig somewhere or just want to see us, get in touch and let us know! We're nice boys really........................................

Did we mention our gig in Stiff Kitten on Friday 20th November? No? Well get your sexy self down and shake it for all it's worth!

Mucho amore,

LaFaro xx

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

And So I Watch You From Afar Say Hello From Budapest

At the time of writing, I am presently sitting in the foyer of the venue in Budapest, Hungary, eagerly awaiting soundcheck.

We've had the past two days off, one for travel purposes and one genuine day off, so we're gagging to play again tonight, as always. A brief round up of the tour so far is generally completely fucking mind blowing.

From the first show in Druisberg, Germany, through the Austrian shows in Graz, Vienna, and Innsbruck have been nothing short of phenomenal. We've been treated so amazingly by the promoters and punters alike and for this we salute every last one of you and thank you from the pits of our hearts and stomachs for the incredible journey you have contributed to thus far.

Obviously we had some Van problems that really tested ourselves, our Tour Manager Wunderkid Graham, and the fantastic Maybeshewill's mettle but we seem to have come come out of it tighter and more hungry (no pun intended) than ever. Tour videos (by the incomparable Captain Andrew Coles, Soundman extroadinaire) are linked below and you'll get a real sense of our saga so far! So, as I said before, Budapest tonight before moving on to the final stretch, of this tour, in Poland. Good fucking shit people.

When we get home for a little while its intensive rehearsals in prep for Album number two, before boosting off again for the Oceansize tour and a gig of our own in Belgium. We just had to get back there after the amazing time we had at Pukkelpop and see all you awesome people again!

As I'm sure you're all aware we have a new EP (The Letters EP) coming out soon (early 2010) and it's gonna get a sneaky early release at a gig in Belfast on the 18th of December in a venue you may have heard of, THE ULSTER HALL! Understandably we are all super extra mega hyper bonus excited about this show as we all grew up seeing some of our favourite bands there, as did all our (and your) parents. Hell, my parents actually met at a gig in the Ulster Hall!

We're really going to be pulling out all the stops for this show, the support line up is totally fucking stellar, Cashier No.9 (hell yeah!), Adebisi Shank (fuck yeah!) and Lafaro (fucking hell yeah!), not to mention the size of the soundsystem, lighting rig and huge stage we get to hurl ourselves about for however long we can.

We've got buses booked to bring you eager comrades from Derry, Draperstown and Coleraine (for booking details contact Charlene) and we're officially giving you awesome guys the opportunity to get involved in the show of our lives.

If you wanna take on the task of getting a bus organised from your town, whether it be Enniskillen, Omagh, Downpatrick or wherever, you'll be the recipient of two complimentary tickets for the gig and two EPs, gratis (kinda).

More news will follow shortly, check out all the links and email address below for further info, right now we gotta go and soundcheck...

All the best always



Vote for ASI's album as your favourite of 2009!


Watch this

Then this

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Zikotown Vs Niketown? Raccoonify Your Feet!

Matt Littler of Zikotown and album cover/gig poster/all-round-artwork fame has launched a range of designed shoes featuring some characters that will be familiar to longtime STA followers. The shoes come in sizes up to 11 and importantly cost pretty much the same price as your regular Cons/plimsols do in the shops...but they don't have raccoons on them, pah!

Music Managers Forum - Dublin Sat 28th November

"Record Companies & Agreements 2009" Saturday 28th November 2009 11.30am - 6.00pm

What does a record company do? What does a recording contract look like? What’s the future of the recorded music industry in the digital age?

In fact are record companies still really record companies at all?

Our 3rd training session is on Saturday 28th November and will answer these questions and many more. This session is not to be missed whether you’re a music manager, self-managed artist or industry watcher.

There will be expert discussion and advice from some of the industry’s most respected professionals. MMF’s training guru, STUART WORTHINGTON will be joined by a panel of four varied and experienced industry voices:

SAFTA JAFFERY AIM board member & MD of Taste Music and a veteran of the industry - from A&R at Decca and Magnet Records through producer management to artist development most notably with the worldwide success of MUSE.

ALAN COFFEY Head of Sales at UNIVERSAL IRELAND with over 18 years of experience in Ireland and the US at award winning record company Six Degrees Records, HMV New York, Warner Music Ireland and now Universal – the biggest record company in the world.

ANDREW FERRIS the tireless champion of Independent music in Northern Ireland – boss of SMALLTOWN AMERICA – an Indie label and management company synonymous with a truly modern approach to the industry and most notably a key player in the development of two of Northern Ireland’s hottest new acts, Fighting With Wire and …And So I Watch You From Afar.

RUPERT SPRAWSON a solicitor joining the panel for a second time to share a wealth of experience gathered over 10 years at UK ENTERTAINMENT LAW PRACTICE DAVENPORT LYONS. Rupert now runs his own outfit specialising in advice to a wide range of clients in the music, live, distribution, retail and games software sectors.

The record company has for decades been the driving force in the music industry and the cornerstone of most artists' career development – but the business reality for recorded music has changed more in the last ten years than anyone could have ever imagined. From the basic building blocks of this crucial part of the music industry - such as RECORD COMPANY STRUCTURES & DEPARTMENTS, INCOME STREAMS, RECORDING CONTRACTS, SETTING UP AND RUNNING A LABEL - to the burning questions facing the future of recorded music, the session is indispensable to artists, those wishing to release music independently, and of course those seeking record deals and collaborations with record companies big and small.


TICKETS FOR THIS EVENT ARE €32 FOR MEMBERS AND €70 FOR NON-MEMBERS – TICKETS ARE LIMITED SO REGISTER EARLY TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT... Venue: Offices of Irish Music Rights Organisation, Copyright House, Pembroke Row, Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2

Friday, 13 November 2009

Warpsichord : first sighting

The first copies of Alan MX's Warpsichord album came back from the printers this week. Check out the ace shots below of Alan getting his first look at them:

Warpsichord can be preorder NOW at - anyone who buys it from us will get an exclusive bonus EP. Alan has a lot of songs and we want to get as many out there as we can. Yeah? YEAH!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Things To Write To Guarantee Your Email Will Be Deleted #1

We receive a lot of emails from new and unsigned bands looking to work with STA or merely to get some advice and we encourage you if you're thinking of doing the same not to hesitate to get in touch. Some of the bands we've released have started their relationship with the label that way! However with the smooth also comes the rough and today we start an ongoing series that will share with you some of the less well thought-out communications we receive. Today we had an email that simply said with no band details whatsoever (drum roll please) -

Do you have any record deals on offer?

4 Or 5 Magicians on Journalism

We played a pretty standard, raucous show at the Hobgoblin in Brighton tonight, and having nipped out the back to get something from the van, I overheard this rather hilarious analysis from some hoorah henry with short blonde dreadlocks in a bandana that looked like his name was Nathaniel and his favourite album was Blood Sugar Sex Magick or Toots and The Maytals let rip a couple of absolute gems to his lah di dah sycophant friends :

"that band, you know, they had a couple of really good intros, but when the guy started singing, it sounded like they had handed the microphone to a member of the crowd"


"the guitarist was trying to do all these harmonics while he was playing and it just sounded ridiculous - just play the songs!"

It is quite possible he was talking about someone else. Maybe The Muscle Club. But I reckon having just played it was probably about us.

In other news we have received some rather good reviews from real journalists ...

The Irish Times, apparently the biggest broadsheet in Ireland, gave our album 9/10 and a glowing review; Rock Sound magazine gave our album 8/10, featured us on their cover CD, and hosted a brief interview / feature (with the words "dan ormsby" and "creative genius" without the word "not" in the same sentence), and listed us as the top band on their office stereo section, and BBC Music shared this rather awesome piece.

Expecting some more reviews to come in this week.

My dad, the biggest supporter of the band, suddenly died on Friday, and it is the biggest comfort to know that the "experts", if you will, are digging this album.

RIP Dad, I'm doing the business!

Dan xx

Thursday, 5 November 2009

4 Or 5 Magicians Tour Begins Today

Tour begins today!! I haven't been to bed yet but I'm going to hit the hay shortly, and get a good 9 hours in before we head off to Cardiff, the first time we have actually rented a van, and hit the road with another band for (almost) every show!

Once again, the tour calls at :

5th : Cardiff Buffalo Bar
6th : Bath Moles
7th : Coventry Taylor John's House (afternoon show - on at 3:40pm)
8th : Camden The Flowerpot
9th : Portsmouth Cellars
10th : Brighton Hobgoblin
11th : Southampton Hamptons
12th : Bristol Start The Bus
13th : Newport Le Pub
14th : Oxford The Cellar
15th : Reading Oakford Social Club

All shows are with The Muscle Club, except Coventry and Reading, and all shows are headlined by either us or The Muscle Club, apart from Coventry which is an all dayer, Bath which is headlined by Cold Cave who are an American electro band (gonna be a bit odd that one!), and Reading which is headlined by Violet Violet - a band whose drummer once screamed "AMERICAN HI-FI!!!" at me at a show we did in Norwich, quite unexpectedly.

I highly recommend the show at The Flowerpot in Camden, which is a free entry show, from 6:00pm to 10:30pm, featuring a brilliant bill I have myself curated - Us, The Muscle Club, Stagecoach, Lola And The Clic, and Eelectricity and Lust (their debut gig!).

I'm also putting on the Brighton show which is also free (though we are heavily suggesting a £2 donation to cover tour expenses) with the totally rocking Everyone To The Anderson, and the splendidly spooky Spacenoid.

Lets hope we make it round in one piece eh? I've got a Blue Roses gig to get back for on the 16th!

In other news, we have received some awesome coverage in Rock Sound magazine this month, which I believe came out today.

Not only are we the top band in editor Darren Taylor's 'Decks Of Death' (hehe!), there is also a little feature on us, with spliced bits of an interview I did, and 'Forever On The Edge' is featured on the covermount CD.

The main news though is that they awarded 'Empty, Derivative Pop Songs' a grand score of 8/10, and a nice write up. Hopefully the first of a string of good reports!

To read all this, go and buy a copy, or if you can't wait to see what they wrote, there are cuttings of the article hosted here on the smalltown america blog.

See you on tour,

Dan xx

ASIWYFA: Lowdown On New Records


Here it is then folks, some brand new ASIWYFA tunage. They had 4 days to do this in the studio between tours and here it is, "The Letters EP". Four tracks in under 20mins, that's a record for them they think?

We hope you enjoy it as much as we did making it for you. I hear the rumble of an album on the horizon...

1. S Is For Salamander
2. D Is For Django The Bastard
3. B Is For B-Side
4. K Is For Killing Spree (Ode To)
Release Date:
22/02/10 however it'll be available from the merch desk at the band's HUGE Xmas show at the Ulster Hall in Belfast.


To those who are yet to discover the 6 piece, Hereford based band, Talons have already started making some pretty big waves in the UK instrumental rock scene. Featuring two violins and crushing guitar riffs, their unashamed exploration of uplifting, joyous highs followed closely by dramatic, Apocalyptic lows shows a brave sense of willingness, not usually found in a band so shy of years. 'Bethlehem', a live favourite on their recent, debut UK tour, captures their energy and enthusiasm perfectly, leaving the listener excited and hungry for more.

The split single will be released on limited edition (of 100) 3" CDs via Big Scary Monsters Records on November 23rd.


4 Or 5 Magicians: Dan Goes To Shows Part 1

To mark the start of 4 Or Magicians' album tour, we present the first in an occasional series - Dan Goes To Shows - half blog, half review, all Ormsby.

October 3rd : The Hornblower Brothers / Aaron King / Curly Hair @ Prince Albert, Brighton

Curly Hair are friends of mine, in fact, they played their first ever show in my living room at my housewarming party on January 3rd of this year. Then a two piece, Jess on vocals and glockenspiel, and Ben on vocals and guitar, kind of reminiscent of a slightly more earnest Moldy Peaches, Jess was so nervous her hands were shaking too much to play the glockenspiel properly! Since then they have come a very long way. They have added drummer Michael, recorded and self-released a highly promising EP, 'Ivy League', recorded live sessions for Marc Riley and Jon Kennedy, and are main tour support to Malcolm Middleton this month. Not bad for a first year in action! Every time I see them play they get better, and this show continues that trend. The confidence issues of January seem a distant memory as they roll out jaunty melodic pop gem after jaunty melodic pop gem with an assured tone. Definitely one to look out for in 2010.

Aaron King is another friend of mine, he in fact was at one point very close to playing a show with 4 or 5 Magicians on keyboard a couple of years back, but pulled out at the last minute as we hadn't really rehearsed enough for it to be a sensible thing to do! He's been playing his songs around town for a couple of years, with various different guys in his band (bit like us I suppose!) and he's another one that has been getting better and better with every show I have seen, and this one, like Curly Hair, was also the best yet I have seen. The band he has in place right now is also, I think, the best lineup he has had, and he keeps on churning out really strong, melodic, jazzy, piano driven pop songs. Could well work out nicely for him in 2010, and if not, he could make a fortune playing hotel lobbies!

The Hornblower Brothers are not friends of mine. But that's not to say I don't think we'd get on. They have a refreshingly laissez-faire stage presence, and their endearingly shambolic set ends in of the most bizarre scenes I have ever witnessed. There had already been a stage invasion by a heap of their friends, dancing around to 'Android With A Heart', the bouncy lead track from their debut EP 'Adventures In National Geographic', which in itself created a somewhat chaotic scene, but halfway through the song, singer / guitarist stage right leans over to singer / guitarist stage centre, and says something calmly in his ear, both having stopped playing to do this. The rest of the band shortly follow suit halfway through a verse, and the room breaks out in a confused murmur. The singer then announces that he wants the crowd to sing along with them in the final chorus, and proceeds to try and teach them a long series of lines that they are never going to remember. Their set in a nutshell, I'm not sure whether to gleefully amazed at their incredible nonchalance, or simply bemused by their lack of professionalism, but either way, it certainly ends up being a show to remember, and there are a string of infectious melodies and hooks sewn into their polite but cheeky, cardigan wearing, twee-pop.

October 5th : Wild Beasts / Blue Roses @ The Hanbury Club

Around two years ago, an unremarkable promo CD dropped through my letter box, 'I Am Leaving', the debut single by a northen singer/songwriter called Laura Groves. I gave it a spin, and this stunning voice chirped out at me like a nightingale. Not hearing anything of her for a while, I assumed she had been swallowed up by the sea of singing Lauras taking over the UK, until May this year, when, ironically, another singing Laura, the wonderful Laura Hocking (now performing under the nom de plume Lola and The Clic) took me along to see an act called Blue Roses at the Great Escape festival. When she started singing, it clicked that this was Laura Groves, and she was absolutely stunning - the voice, the instrumentation, the arrangements... everything! I immediately tracked down the eponymous debut album, and was hooked - quite possibly my favourite of the year. Live it really shines, her voice free to do whatever seems right in the moment, flying off this way and that - it is unlikely Groves could expel a bum note if she tried. From the beautiful, sprawling 'Greatest Thoughts', through the playful jig of 'I Am Leaving', to the pulsating thump of 'Rebecca', this is a sensational set, in the perfect setting of the ornately decorated, domed, high ceilinged Hanbury Club, the sound ringing out round the venue, amplifying the stunned silence of the transfixed crowd. Kate Bush comparisons are easy to make, but Groves exists in a time not held back by recording and production conventions as Bush perhaps was in the 80s, and possessing a virtually unrivalled level of natural talent, she seems suitably grounded to really go from strength to strength and produce a second album worthy of classic status, as the all too short selection of her wonderful songs she chooses to showcase on this particular night demonstrates.

Headliners Wild Beasts are also very impressive, if in a totally different way. I'd met bass player / vocalist Tom totally at random in a kitchen in Leeds in April while on tour, and had a nice conversation with him, but had never actually got round to listening to them, as from what I'd read about them, they appeared to be a band who I'd appreciate more as a live act than recording artists. To this day I still haven't knowingly heard any recorded material by them, but the live show was spot on - brilliantly executed, and mesmerising from start to finish. I'm not entirely sure comparisons to anything or anyone would be justified or even necessary, but their highly original mix of booming tribal beats, spooky synths, jerky guitars, and split falsetto and tenor vocals was a hugely satisfying live experience, quite unlike anything I had witnessed before. Not something I can ever imagine listening to in the car or in my bedroom, but I hope our paths cross again in a live setting before too long!

October 7th : Fiery Furnaces / Pete Um / Esben and The Witch @ Audio, Brighton

Esben and The Witch are the buzz band in Brighton at the moment, they seem have been supporting everyone for the last year, but somehow I have ended up not getting to see them despite meaning to for a while. Like Wild Beasts, they were a band I had deliberately avoided listening to on record in anticipation of their live show, but this time, I was almost expecting to be disappointed, for them to be a kind of uber-pretentious, posturing, avant-garde pastiche. If I was indeed thinking this, I was very wrong. The hype it seems, is justified, and while their live set may not be fully there just yet - there are better songs to be written, and slightly weaker songs to be phased out for sure - there is plenty to get excited about during a highly original and intelligent half hour of music, and there is a definite x-factor about singer Rachel, an effortlessly enthralling performer. Another band with a bright 2010 ahead of them.

Middle act Pete Um is somewhat of a curiosity, "we met him in Cambridge and asked him along to play with us here. He's pretty nuts, huh?", insists Fiery Furnaces bass player Jason Loewenstein when I corner him later on. Treading an incredibly thin line between clever and amusing, and obnoxious and annoying, Um slurs his way through a flurry of breathlessly short tales of woe, accompanied by his trusty iPod. The lyrics contain the odd witty rhyme, or chortle-inducing image, but for the most part the crowd is left shaking their head, at what essentially appears to everyone to be a rambling madman in a wooly hat. Definitely more "Um" than "Ah!".

The Fiery Furnaces are a band who are renouned for pushing boundaries, conceptual performances, and generally being completely unpredictable. So I suppose in a way Pete Um was a natural choice of support, someone who was sure to polarise opinion, even deliberately antagonise some members of the crowd. And in the past, The FFs have been known to show up and play an incoherent, scattergun 45 minute stream of insanity with more bleeps than Beadle's About. Tonight though, the band are lined up in the classic rock and roll formation of guitar, bass, drums, and vocal. And it is brilliant. Matt Friedburger provides the riffs and hooks on guitar, while the marvellous rhythm section of ex-Sebadoh members Jason Lowenstein (bass) and Bob D'Amico (drums) keep things ticking along, and Matt's sister Eleanor is given free reign to strut around the stage bobbing her head to the beat and delivering an almost constant string of tongue twisting lines. For a band who can at times be so obtuse and overcomplicated, this is a welcome reminder that they simply possess a collection of superb tunes. Even 'Chris Michaels', the epic, almost symphonic centrepiece of their immensely difficult sophomore album 'Blueberry Boat', is stripped back to its basic elements, and it works so, so well. One of the best bands of the decade for sure. Just a shame Jason went to bed instead of meeting me and Sam for a drink in the pub after like he said he would. Boooo! I was going to ask him to record our second album - we had scheduled to record an EP together in summer 2008 but the dates didn't end up working out. Watch this space I guess!

Still to come -
9th : Johnny Foreigner / Tellison / Japanese Voyeurs @ Audio
12th : Stagecoach / Man Ray Sky / Duke Raoul @ Hectors House
18th : Themselves / Devil Man / Robert Stillman @ Freebutt
19th : Le Band Extraordinaire @ Hanbury Club

27th : Japandroids / William @ White Heat
29th : Johnny Foreigner / Super Tennis @ New Slang
30th : Everyone To The Anderson / Kid Pang / Crooked Mountain, Crooked Sea @ Hectors House