Thursday, 30 April 2009

The Final Throwdown...

No comment needed really, although I will say I'd be bricking it if I was a member of FWW!

This Saturday, 2nd May, CQAF Marquee, Custom House Square, Belfast - Be There!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Calories Play For Truck This Bank Holiday Weekend

From the latest This Is Truck missive. Calories on stage at 8.45pm in Oxford on Sunday night!

Braker!Braker! This is You!Me!Dancing! come in please TRUCK...What's your twenty? Oxford's own small-but-perfectly-formed summer festival (that's us) have joined forces with You! Me! Dancing! Oxford's own small- but- perfectly- formed promoters to present an amazing series of gigs over the May bank holiday weekend, giving you all the taste for Truck, so when July comes round you'll all be begging for another hit.

We will be taking over the venues, and as Sarah Beaney would say 'bringing the outdoors indoors' so expect hay bales, bunting and plenty more surprises, and TRUCKING treats for anyone that comes wearing wellies.
The weekend shapes up a little bit likes this:

THE XCERTS + TIRED IRIE + DUSTY & THE DREAMING SPIRES + UTE
Saturday 2 May 2009, The Jericho Tavern – 18+ £6 adv

THE TRUCK STOP BBQ
Sunday 3 May 2009 from 1pm, The Jericho Tavern Garden
feat. Burgers + Beers + Sunshine & Acoustic Loveliness till 7pm. Artists TBC.

THE JOY FORMIDABLE + DARTZ!+ CALORIES
Sunday 3 May 2009, The Jericho Tavern – 18+ £6 adv


ROLO TOMASSI + GRAMMATICS + PULLED APART BY HORSES
Monday 4 May 2009, O2 Academy Oxford, All Ages £7 adv

We'll be starting the weekend early tomorrow night at our local pub, The Rusty Bicycle on Magdalen Road, with a night of free music from Dusty & the Dreaming Spires, Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou, and more special guests, from 8pm til late, so come on and join our Convoy for 5 days!

Summer loving from Y!M!D! & Truck

Tickets are available now from youmedancing
Limited vintage Truck 'Weekender' wristbands priced at £15 are available.

Monday, 27 April 2009

And Watch This Now As Well!

More bare-chested boasting from Fighting With Wire's blog...

THE SEQUEL! The battle for the density of truth rages on amid scenes of carnage and despair! Only one shall survive!!! Find out who on Saturday 2nd May 2009 at The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival - Custom House Square BELFAST!!!

8PM START!!!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 36

video

This episode: The Young Playthings successfully better last week's takeover for unpredictability as they present some tracks from their upcoming sophomore album Back To The Future - pre-order for an exclusive limited bonus disc soon - alongside some of their favourite songs.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 36
33 minutes 29 seconds
Recorded 19/04/09
Tracklisting
00.53 Che'Nelle - I Fell In Love With The DJ (from Things Happen For A Reason album - Virgin)
05.02 The Young Playthings - All About Urgyan Mueller (from forthcoming Back To The Future album - Smalltown America)
10.41 The Replacements - Left Of The Dial (from Tim album)
14.54 The Young Playthings - Kiss Yr Voice (from forthcoming Back To The Future album - Smalltown America)
20.33 Lucinda Williams - Minneapolis (from World Without Tears album - Mercury)
25.06 The Young Playthings - Some Badness Goes On (from forthcoming Back To The Future album - Smalltown America)
29.16 H two O featuring Platinum - What We Gonna Do (from What's It Gonna Be album - Hard2Beat)

If you have any suggestions for future takeovers or want to get a track played on a regular show, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk.
Currently watching: The Colbert Report

Thursday, 23 April 2009

And So I Watch You From Afar Tour Poster

ASIWYFA head out on another round of dates next week, this time with Maybeshewill, and here's a simple but effective poster for the tour.

Click poster to biggify.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Breaking Kayfabe


So, it seems that the FWW vs ASIWYFA DEATH MATCH is getting to be a rumble of similar proportions to The Mega Powers vs André the Giant & Ted DiBiase.

News flooded in this morning that even the BBC ATL blog has picked up on it. WARNING: CONTAINS WARNINGS ABOUT SWEARING AND CAHIR IN SUPERMAN PANTS.

I am, (un)fortunately, not going to 'stoke the fire' like Mr Ferris seems to insist on doing, except to say that I've seen Craig FWW handle a Texas-large shot of jägermeister as it were no more than water.

So my money is probably on him.

JUST SAYIN, IS ALL.

The rumble goes down Saturday May 2nd, within the Festival Marquee on Belfast's Custom House Square. Tickets available here.

We Versus The Shark Tour Diary - The End

Fin (21/04/09)

If you've been keeping up with all of these posts, I extend my thanks for putting up with their sporadic nature and sorta light content. I have pictures to post and stories that are better told in person. We wake up at 5:30 tomorrow morning to fly out of Gatwick Airport; tour is over. I'm a little fried (see #18) and am unsure of how to wrap all this up. So instead of trying to write another neat, tidy piece, I'm going to end with something sort of special, and not all that tidy: an entry from my personal journal. Re-reading it, I feel a little trepidation about posting it online, and only note the caveat that the listing of accomplishments is more to get it on paper and remember it than to give myself a big pat on the back. And I guess when you're as self-doubting as I am, sometimes pride isn't always the worst thing in the world. Anyway. What the hell, here you go:

We are in London, Neil and Luke and Dawnie and Kat went out drinking, I still feel sick and am saving my energies for tomorrow. Scott and I are surfing the internet and scheming. Learning, researching, reading, listening to music. I hope I can follow through. I think the fact that we've been aching to get back to work on fucking around with musical instruments speaks well of all that.

Sitting on the internet for hours is weird, because talking w/ Spencer Seim sorta put me on this "I need to get the fuck off the internet" tip. Dude totally alienated himself (unintentionally) from rock world and just did his own thing, full speed ahead. And I don't wanna become a tumblr/twitter/blog cow, just taking in memes and information and farting them out, needing to stay up on things. But sitting here and reading Doseone interviews and listening to a Chris Cohen mixtape and watching movie trailers is so good, it's really nourishing, I have to admit. I have to admit it. I like it. Maybe in-between is the way to go.

Anyway I've been tripping out on my 25th year as a living person, I think it started around the time when Wiz and Rich from Blakfish were having their birthdays, and I started thinking about how this year has treated me. And then, setting up onstage for our last show in Luxembourg, Q and Not U's "No Kill No Beep Beep" came on the PA and it got me thinking about ALL of my 25 years as a living person. About listening to "No Kill No Beep Beep" in the cafeteria in high school with Garrett Wakefield, and Fugazi, too. (Fugazi wasn't there, we were listening to Fugazi.) And how weird it is to fast-forward from being seventeen and listening to Q and Not U and going, "oh, this is really cool, this is really interesting" through meeting Luke and Sam and noticing that they thought the same thing, and then tuning my bass guitar on a stage in Luxembourg at twenty-five, that's uh eight years later.

But the age of 25, this past calendar year, I:

Toured more than I ever have before (something like four months)

Travelled to foreign countries for the first time

Worked, so hard, on this big polished pop record (Psychic Entourage)

Got my heart broken (brutally, like high school)

Fell in love (with a friend)

Survived an injury and physical therapy (the wrist)

And other stuff. Still not a very good service industry employee, still not a very good writer. Getting better all the time, though. I think I've gotten better at saxophone. It feels good to go home to...well, let's see: shitty economic situation, but a girlfriend I am crazy for, and some musicians I wanna play with. It's pretty similar to the last few years, but with some alteration. I'm just getting better. I hope I'm getting better.


Jeff Tobias, We Versus The Shark. Blog courtesy of Flagpole Magazine: Colorbearer of Athens, GA Star Power!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The Weather Underground - Episode One


The Weather Underground 001 - Part One from Smalltown America on Vimeo.


The Weather Underground 001 - Part Two from Smalltown America on Vimeo.

Ice, Free, Dead People

Re: the title - I'm really sorry.


Anyway, fresh from 'do'ing Croatia (see below) Ice, Sea, Dead People are giving away some freeeeee mp3s. Says vocalist/gtr/bass noisemaker Craig on a thread on Drownedinsound...

Yeahhh, if you want them they're here. We're nice like that.

Our first single, 'Hence:Elvis'

'Justin Klein'

More info:
http://www.iceseadeadpeople.com


We've got a few London gigs coming up and are seeking more gigs elsewhere in May so feel free to contact us if you like what you hear. We're also working on our album which will be finished in a few months.

PEACES
x


ISDP 'do': Croatia from isdp on Vimeo.
All of Team STA heartily endorse ISDP, because they're great. Also, Craig and Eddie are oldschool Jetplane Landing fans. Isn't that nice? You should all download these ANYWAY and go see them when they play near you.

Expect to see them on some STA bills over the next few months as well. Yay!

Monday, 20 April 2009

We Versus The Shark Tour Diary Part 20

Twentieth Installment: You give me problem? (20/04/09)

Leaving Schlanders (!) early on Friday morning, I quickly came to the realization that I had a cold. My weird chest thing had vacated the premises and an aches-and-pains/snotty nose thing quickly took up residence. No problem, though: I knew I'd be spending at least the next eight hours in the safe, sterile confines of a van with eight disgusting people.

Luckily, we had an hour-long pit stop courtesy of a trio of Italian narcotics officers. A random checkpoint on our way out of Schlanders (population: 5928) was positioned perfectly to intercept our very suspect, very drug-free tour van. A bizarre sort of maypole dance wherein the members of We Versus the Shark and Blakfish were paraded in a circle while a drug dog was walked past us was followed by the evacuation of our entire van, equipment included.

Furthermore, passersby at the town square where the "shakedown" was being conducted were treated to a piece-by-piece evaluation of every article of clothing in my bag. The cops didn't speak English very well, which was for the best considering Sam from Blakfish couldn't help but moan, "We've got places to be, motherfucker..." around the 45-minute mark. The cops found the nothing that we didn't have, we snapped a photo, and made it to our next show a mere five hours late for sound check. They can't all be zingers!

Jeff Tobias, We Versus The Shark. Blog courtesy of Flagpole Magazine: Colorbearer of Athens, GA Star Power!

We Versus The Shark Tour Diary Part 19

Ninteenth Installment: The Hedgehog (20/04/09)

Touring anywhere, you're bound to encounter others bands' trajectories, past or future. It might be flyers promoting a friends' band that you are inadvertently criss-crossing paths with (on this tour: Brooklyn earth-punks USA is a Monster). Or it might be in the form of stickers or backstage scrawl. Entire histories, however crude, are etched into the walls of most of the world's choicest shitty dives.

We discovered a pretty excellent example of this at AZ Conni in Dresden. AZ Conni itself is extremely noteworthy: a government-supplemented punk club/leftist library/kindergarten, it was one of the most inspiring spaces we played on this tour. The summer camp-style bunks upstairs from the club sported an entire comic strip illustrated by none other than Al Burian. Al Burian is the definition of a punk lifer: through bands such as Milemarker, Challenger, and Canadian Rifle, or his own personalized zine Burn Collector, he has exemplified the willfully marginalized lifestyle. Burn Collector is full of a sort of glorified-loser vibe that skirts the edge of Henry Rollins-style self-flaggelation but the writing is always winningly cool.

Burian's comic strip, rendered pretty huge on the wall, depicts the author in his element: drunk. The basic storyline is as follows: he is drunk, he sees a hedgehog, the end. The hedgehog bears no positive or negative effect other than, wow, that's odd. A hedgehog. Nature!

So tonight, we are in Schlanders, Italy. Schlanders (which sounds better when punctuated by an exclamation point--Schlanders!) is part of the northern Italian countryside where most folks speak German in addition to Italian. This was one of the handful of shows that was a complete bust in terms of attendance, but it's Wiz (the drummer of Blakfish)'s birthday, so there's a small cake and novelty party hats and lots of beer. The club closes, the owner kicks everyone out, and we continue to drink in earnest.

After a while, I decide to take a shower, so I run to the van to grab my towel. The door locks behind me, because why wouldn't something like that happen? The light drizzle is gradually becoming full-on rain. Everyone is on the second floor. I start throwing a Coke can at the windows. No one has any idea that I am locked out. I start to feel sort of ridiculous: middle of the night in Italy, half drunk, throwing a Coke can at a window, trying to not get my towel wet.

And then, like a hairball coughed up by an angel: a hedgehog emerges from the brush.

I stare at it as it scurries across the street.

If that's not some low-rent Zen, I don't know what is.

Jeff Tobias, We Versus The Shark. Blog courtesy of Flagpole Magazine: Colorbearer of Athens, GA Star Power!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Bateman Blog 001: American Sky Sharks Vs French Sky Sharks

Ferris - As a pre-cursor to the landing of their second album 'Back To The Future' we've invited one of STA's finest wordsmiths Bateman of The Young Playthings to contribute some of his life episodes to the blog. The brief is open-ended and editorial control out the window, - we hope you find his insights contentious, illuminating, scintillating and titillating!

I got a cheap deal to New York over the long Easter weekend, which involved flying the American carrier Northwest Airlines to NYC via Detroit and Air France back to London, via Paris. Northwest and Air France are part of the same air alliance which is why I could get a return trip on two different airlines; however, one is distinctly American and the other the French airline and, unlike global capitalism, which, in theory, knows no prejudices because profit is the global language of love, I wear mine noticeably on my sleeves – and they read thus: I’m a self-confessed English Yankophile and this means I doubly hate the French. I love super-sized junk food meals and, to paraphrase Henry Ford, tend to think modern philosophy is bunk. That said, I’m educated and open-minded enough to give respect where respect is due and, likewise, to criticise those that I love. These are my notes.

My outbound flight is very early morning. The plane’s a piece of shit and we’re delayed two hours on the runway by a faulty computer. Finally – shakily – in the air I’m served orange juice and a tiny bag of mini pretzels which I eat because on a plane you eat whatever you’re given (no one likes pretzels – the only people that eat pretzels are tourists in Central Park and those travelling peasant class on American air carriers). This is followed by a vile, processed breakfast and watery coffee. Americans drink tons of coffee and work very long, hard hours – coffee is not to be enjoyed; rather, it’s fuel for the day. An ex-(American) girlfriend of mine’s father once complained that, on domestic American flights, all the stewardesses were old and useless. I’ve noticed in recent years that this trend has been extended to include all stewardesses on all American air carriers. All of this barely edible shit is served by ancient crones who could never have been apple pie American girls with perfect white teeth – I’m thinking, are they fucking French birds who’ve improbably mastered the American accent?! As is the case on most aeroplanes with personal TVs in the back of the seat in front of you, the safety demonstration has been outsourced to an onscreen jingle. I’m treated to an incredible piece of politically-correct barf, where a black stewardess with a demented grin woodenly tells a white male passenger and his south-east Asian wife, both with equally demented grins, that in the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure they will need to pull the airmasks tight over their own faces before applying it to the face of their Indian child.

Intentionally, I’m flying with a decent hangover so that I won’t be tempted to drink on the flight and, as such, won’t spend a small fortune before I even get to the Big Apple. A few years ago, practically every American air carrier went practically bankrupt and each one had to seriously cut back on the ‘luxuries’ they provide to passengers ‘free of charge’. And so the irony is that flying American these days is like flying communist in the 80s before the Wall came down – an utterly miserable experience. I’m therefore shocked to discover that Northwest, unlike all the other American carriers, don’t charge for alcohol onboard; but I’m tired and hungover so I stick with the made-from-pure-concentrate orange juice. I’d also intended to get some shuteye on the flight but then I discover the movie channel and decide to stay awake the entire flight watching Yes Man, Frost/Nixon and Rock n Rolla. Ah, Hollywood – the differentiating factor between ruthless corporate efficiencies and communist asceticism.

Everyone onboard the flight is connecting to another flight in Detroit – to Florida, California, New York – anywhere but Detroit. No one goes to Detroit, except of course the blue-collar dude sitting next to me, who blue-eyes my blackberry suspiciously and tells me to turn it off as we’re taxiing out to the runway and who then decides to engage me in a little elbow-room war over the shared armrest between our cramped seats. I refuse to give in and he finally relents, leaning into me and murmuring, ‘hey bud, can you keep yr elbow on yr side of the fence – it was in my ribs a moment ago’. Which was absolute bullshit and so I turn to him and tell him it was never in his ribs as I’d have felt it in my elbow if it was digging into his ribs. I’m not sure if I’ve won the battle for armrest supremacy but thankfully for the rest of the flight we avoid each other, as far as two people who are confined to practically sitting on top of each other can.

Because of the delay in taking-off I’ve missed my connecting flight to NYC. Luckily, Americans are sensitive to inconveniencing people and, thankfully, they’re not afraid to massively pollute their skies in order to avoid doing so. Flights between major American cities are a constant throughout the day and, in Detroit, I’m whisked straight through to another flight where I’m delighted to find I’ve been upgraded to first class. This is also where I make two discoveries: the pretty American stewardesses work in domestic first class now! And free alcohol on international Northwest flights (a serious coup over their fellow American competitors) is now brought to you, in part, by a merger between Northwest and Delta which makes them the largest American air operator and for whom, the pilot announces, he is proudly flying. 15 minutes after this announcement I’m in the back of a taxi on the Triboro Bridge, still struck by the beauty of Manhattan from a distance after all these years, eating a slice of Sbarro pizza, which is the worst slice of pizza I’ll eat during my stay in NYC but still a fuckload better than any pizza I’ve ever eaten in the UK.

Pat once told me that on Air France they refuse to speak English to you which Damien, my French-speaking Swiss-Fijian-Irish-Jewish New Zealander friend subsequently told me was nonsense. As is usually the case, the truth lies somewhere between the two. Let me tell you, they speak English begrudgingly. However, compared to the threadbare sardine can I flew on to the US the Air France 747 is pure opulence. Even the peasants enjoyed the rich euphoria of the bountiful grape harvest in medieval France (or something) and, accordingly, I’m served champagne in my cramped quarters at the back of the vessel with the other European animals. It accompanies a decent meal of cherry tomatoes, spinach and a Portobello mushroom cooked in a light balsamic sauce, fruit and as many mini baguettes as I please.

The French stewardesses are serious Monets. From a distance they’re young and stunning, running the gamut from white Roman Catholic to café-au-lait-skinned Algerians. Unlike the wizened Americans they’re not mean and foul-tempered, just haughty and ever-so-slightly glamorous. That is, until they get up close and, well, actually, they’re pretty normal looking and don’t take too kindly to you calling ‘sham-pan-yeh’ ‘the bubbly stuff’. The film selection is nowhere near as good as on the Northwest flight and, though the majority of films are American films, all the titles are in French. I can see that the guy in front of me is watching Role Models, the hilarious-looking Seann William Scott and Paul Rudd recently released frat pack comedy and I’m excited to watch it myself. However, it takes me ten minutes of hunting through all the available films in all the different genres that are listed to find it, because it’s billed as ‘Les Grand Freres’. WTF?! The Big Brothers?!

After the film, everyone’s sleeping and it would seem the smart thing to do, to try and get a couple of hours sleep myself before my four hour wait in Paris before my connecting flight to London. Before I do though I want a drink of water to keep me hydrated so I ask the passing stewardess for a glass, who replies ‘there’s a free bar at the back of the plane’. Okay, uh, pause – WTF x 10?!?! It briefly passes through my mind ‘look Frenchie, I may be speaking English and I may only have paid £350 on Expedia for the privilege of flying with le grand Air France; and I know you may only work ten hours a week for an extraordinarily generous pay package, but surely, right now, you’re on duty and so surely you may deign to get me that tiny glass of water that I’ve requested?’ However, I just blink at her and she says ‘but this time I’ll get you one’ which, to be fair, she does very quickly. At this stage I’m too tired to pick a fight with the fat Italian pig next to me, so I ease my rib cage away from her elbow, tuck my own underneath hers and fall asleep.

Paris airport is very nice. Its elegant design makes it light, airy and yet somehow cosy. It’s filled with high-end fashion boutiques and you can play Playstation 2 for free (unfortunately I don’t game). I station myself in a comfy chair in a cafe and enjoy a breakfast of quiche and coffee. The quiche tastes a lot like the Sbarro pizza slice I enjoyed on my arrival in New York, but has probably a third of the calories. The coffee, as one expects from the French, is delicious. As noted above, the French work very little and so have plenty of free time to fill doing interesting things. Like the Americans, they consume a heck of a lot of the stuff, but in smaller portions with a lot more flavour. For them it’s not fuel, it’s a way of life. Fuelled by this delicious coffee I write all the above crap and finally board my flight back to London. Ah, civilisation.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 35


This episode: a unique takeover from the eloquent JP Reid AKA The Dragon (shown above on the right) who takes us on an unpredictable journey through his musical influences.











The Dragon is part of the enigmatic supergroup Marmaduke Duke who's middle chapter of a music trilogy, Duke Pandemonium, is out on May 11th while the week before sees the release of the excellent Pain Agency from Sucioperro in which JP Reid appears as JP Reid. Listen now before Billy Joel's people find out and shut the blogcast down!

video

Public Service Blogcast Episode 35
44 minutes 49 seconds
Recorded 10/04/09
Tracklisting
00.46 Billy Joel - Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) (from Songs In The Attic album - Sony Budget)
06.44 Shawn Colvin - Looking For (The Heart Of Saturday Night) (from Cover Girl album - Sony Budget)
11.49 King Crimson - Frame By Frame (from The Collectable King Crimson, Vol. 3: Live in London, Pts. 1-2 1996)
14.12 Oceansize - One Out Of None (from Music For Nurses EP - Beggars Banquet)
18.22 Reuben - Blood Bunny Larkhall (from In Nothing We Trust album - Hideous)
21.30 Sucioperro - Conception Territory (from forthcoming Pain Agency album released 4th May 2009 - Maybe Records)
26.26 Jetplane Landing - Brave Gravity (from Once Like A Spark album - Smalltown America)
29.33 Marmaduke Duke - Skin The Mofo (from forthcoming Duke Pandemonium album released 11th May 2009 - 14th Floor Records)
31.52 Missy Elliott - Get Ur Freak On (from Miss-E...So Addictive album - Elektra)
36.07 Frank Zappa - Keep It Greasey (from Joe's Garage: Acts I,II and III album - Rykodisc)
41.28 Jackson Browne - Somebody's Baby (from The Very Best Of Jackson Browne album - Elektra)

If you have any suggestions for future takeovers or want to get a track played on a regular show, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk.
Currently watching: Lost

Saturday, 18 April 2009

FWW Bring More Serious Beef Back To ASIWYFA

So it's come to this, ASIWYFA bad-mouthing the mighty FWW all over town. Unfortunately they have unleashed a beast, a beast that we had kept hidden away from the world for it's own safety! Ladies and gentlemen, be afraid...

We Versus The Shark Tour Diary Part 18


Eighteenth Installment: My Brain (16/04/09)

A month and a half has gone by, and my brain has left the building.

Last night we played in Bolzano, Italy with Capillary Action, a band lead by Jonathan Pfeffer, a 22-year-old from Philly who falls into the "force of nature" category of young people with endless amounts of creative energy and self-promotional propulsion (i.e. Allison Weiss). Once a "spazz-out" band with metal tendencies, his quintet line-up of NY jazz-hobos currently sports a more Latin American flavor; it still sounds like a radio dial being flipped every five seconds, except this time it's a radio in Brazil.

It was nice to play with some people we knew, see some familiar faces. Capillary Action have been on tour for two months, and they will continue to tour, Europe and Stateside, until mid-July. They are insane. But the accordion player is also Jonathan's girlfriend, so maybe not.

Looking back, it's frankly pretty blurry. It's hard to quantify the experience. There's very little opportunity for anything other than driving into a town, playing, sleeping, and repeating the experience. You can walk around a little, but exploring beyond the immediate area surrounding the venue is usually out of the question. I have little scraps of paper from funny pamphlets and local papers' descriptions of our band which I can't read. You walk around, you take pictures, you don't buy anything because anything you buy will be destroyed in the van. You see things you never thought you would see in your life. You think about coming back to see all this with your girlfriend, as opposed to, say, eight sentient farts. You go to Europe for five weeks. My brain has left the building.

Jeff Tobias, We Versus The Shark. Blog courtesy of Flagpole Magazine: Colorbearer of Athens, GA Star Power!

Friday, 17 April 2009

We Versus The Shark Tour Diary Part 17

Seventeenth Installment: Before and After (16/04/09)

This blog entry is presented in two parts. The first part was written around 1 a.m. immediately following our show in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The second part was written a few days later.

Part 1: Before

"There's nothing in the United States that isn't owned by somebody."

When I said that to some kids in Poland, the words struck me as soon as they left my mouth. Ownership is, I guess, a hallmark of America's legacy. And capitalism has, for better or for worse, been a constant companion for us. Countries whose economic policies are torn asunder every couple of decades are sort of like people who go through rough relationships. The weird lifestyle whiplash can cause interesting cultural ripples (hello, China!).

And so now we're in Slovenia. I intentionally came to Slovenia knowing absolutely nothing about it. I knew I'd be going to strange, new places on a daily basis on this tour, but a country that I'd never thought twice about? I willfully blinkered myself. Here's one thing I have learned about Slovenia: it was one of the first countries to break away from Yugoslavia as the Communist bloc collapsed. That was in 1991.


Today I sit and write this from a squat in Slovenia called Tovarna Rog. Rog was a bike company that went under a few years back, and Tovarna Rog literally means "Rog Factory." For whatever economic reasons, Tovarna Rog remained empty for years. This gigantic building was eventually taken over and completely transformed: the main, hangar-sized area is a venue space. Upstairs is "Cafe Trotsky," which is a sort of Eastern European music dance club run by a member of the band Gogol Bordello. The entire thing is festooned with graffiti. Plenty of people live there. No one pays rent.

I haven't gotten the whole story of Tovarna Rog down, but basically it seems like they have a similar storyline to most European squats: they went to the local government and said "Hey, no one is using this huge deserted area. May we?" And the government said: "Sure." That's obviously an understatement but think about that for a second, and think about how that would work in America.

The whole conceit is a little too mind-blowing for me right at the moment, frankly.

Part 2: After

Around five in the morning, I found myself in Cafe Trotsky with a very, very drunk Luke Fields. I was trying to figure out how I could find the van keys, which had been lost by the very, very drunk members of Blakfish. Dimly tired, I got about half a sentence out when every light in the building went out. The locals laughed: the generator for the squat, which ran on diesel gasoline, had exhausted itself. The entire place was pitch dark. I navigated my way to "The Jazz Place," a jam room which was doubling as our sleeping quarters, and laid down to go to sleep. Some things, I guess, are too punk to be true.

Jeff Tobias, We Versus The Shark. Blog courtesy of Flagpole Magazine: Colorbearer of Athens, GA Star Power!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

And So I TOUR TOUR TOUR Diary

So I finally saw And So I Watch You From Afar last night, as their Barfly tour pulled into Camden Town (also my hood, y'know). Yes yes, they played at This Ain't No Picnic last year, but the thing about running a festival is that you don't actually get to watch any bands... Anyway, they slayed serious face and I had a super fun night. Go see them, they're on tour for the rest of time pretty much.

Anyway, on to some real content, here's their latest tour diary...

Greetings and Salutations, and huge apologies for our lack of online activity and keeping y'all up to date with the life and times of us ASIWYFA bums. My laptop is decidedly awful and refuses to connect to any of the wifi in the venues, instrumental punk rock doesn't pay for such luxuries as reliable silicon hardware!

Enough of that, on the second night of the tour we descended upon Liverpool with the sun shining and an un-flinching eagerness to resume some serious RAWK action. The turn-out was amazing, and they were totally up for the afore mentioned, "RAWK action". Chris, the promoter, and all round legend, took us out for a few ales. The less said about this the better...

Day 3 took us to Birmingham, and we were looking to build on our last show in the Second City (which was also our first there), we hoped we could increase the crowd that showed up that time, 6 people. SUCCESS! There was way more people there, and a fuckin' awesome lot they were too. After the set, we had to load out in double quick time to make way for the Techno night that was due to begin 10 minutes after we finished. Unfortunately we had a long drive ahead and Brian (our very sexy tour manager) wouldn't let us hang about, so we gave up our whistles, white gloves and glow sticks and thanked Brian for being the sensible one. Birmingham...we shall return!

Next we had a day off, which is really quite a rare thing for this band, we'd rather be playing a show or rehearsing or something...anything! Although we did really enjoy this one. Massive props to David and Cherry Marsh for putting us all up and treating us so amazingly. We took today to clear out the van properly as we hadn't cleaned it in four tours! So needless to say it was getting pretty nasty in there but now its as clean as an operating theatre, well, it was as clean as an operating theatre, business as usual again now!

On tuesday ASIWYFA had there very first foray into Wales. Cardiff, to be precise, so we were a little nervous about what the turnout would be like but the awesome people of Wales didn't let us down and turned out en force. I did a phone interview with Mr Zane Lowe and we are totally stoked at the backing he has been given us the past few weeks. The Gig was a blast, we'll definitely back in Cardiff and Wales soon, next month in fact!

Last night (phew, nearly up to date!) we were in London for our Camden Barfly show, and we'd be lying if we said we hadn't been looking forward to this one.Our last two London shows have been among our favourites, so we were salivating about another. Salivating isn't an exaggeration either, it was fucking roasting! The turnout was immense and so was the support bill, Sharks, Swound and The X-Certs were all amazing and really cool people. Afterwards our great friend and hero of ours Kiri took us to an Art Gallery afterhours for some drinks and banter. I took this opportunity to practice my breakdancing skills which, I'm sure, Rory, Chris and Johnny will all agree are questionable at best. Great night all round.

Thats us up to speed then! Again apologies about the lack of online activity. Tonight we're at Fibbers in York, the penultimate gig of the tour, we're all a little gutted as we're not used to such short tours, but fuck it, there's plenty more gigs coming up and most importantly...WE'VE GOT ONE TONIGHT! YEEEOOO!

Over and Out.
Tony

ASIWYFA
NICE.

PS: if you ordered one of the album bundle deals over the easter weekend, it's currently winging it's way to you. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

We Versus The Shark Tour Diary Part 16

Sixteenth Installment: CRK (14/04/09)

For anyone who laps me in worldliness many times over and finds these entries sort of redundant or obvious, I half-apologize, but I'm learning all kinds of new things over here, and I think we're all in the favor of demystification, right? Guys?

Personally, I know that my previously conceived notions of what a punk squat can be have been totally smashed upon reaching Europe. For the uninitiated, Professor Wikipedia says: "Squatting is a term for inhabiting an abandoned or unused building or plot of land without owning or holding a formal lease on it; a person squatting is known as a squatter, and the house or building occupied by squatters is known as a squat." The concept is inseparable from the punk world, and therefore can summon images of empty 40 bottles and compost piles gone horribly awry. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a squat in Wraclaw, Poland called CRK.



Jeff Tobias, We Versus The Shark. Blog courtesy of Flagpole Magazine: Colorbearer of Athens, GA Star Power!

Monday, 13 April 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 34

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This episode: Andrew Ferris looks back at the STA curated aftershow for the recent Do You Remember The First Time event at Belfast's Ulster Hall. Plus a competition to win a ASIWYFA 7" vinyl.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 34
41 minutes 13 seconds
Recorded 13/04/09
Tracklisting
00.29 Decimals - Retreat
04.40 Future Islands - Old Friend (from Wave Like Home album - Upset the Rhythm)
09.16 Halves - Blood Branches (from split 7" with Subplots - Hate Is The Enemy)
12.59 Not Squares - Vita Sackville-West (from WroK free download mini-album from Last FM)
17.02 Clone Quartet - That's What's Going Down (from Broken Spectre demos)
22.38 The USA Is A Monster - Cocaine Wedding (from Space Programs album - Load Records)
26.51 Chin Up Chin Up - We Should Have Never Lived Like Skyscrapers (from We Should Have Never Lived Like Skyscrapers album - Suicide Squeeze)
32.03 Pure Reason Revolution - The Gloaming (from Amor Vincit Omnia album - Superball Music)

If you have any suggestions for future takeovers or want to get a track played on a regular show, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk.

Currently watching: 24

Support Record Store Day - Sat 18th April


A reminder to get out and buy a record or few on Saturday which is Record Store Day, a worldwide incentive in which specialist music shops simultaneously link and act as one with the purpose of celebrating the culture and unique place they occupy both nationally and most importantly in their local communities.

Having worked in the industry for several years, I've seen the physical sales base for music ebb away but I was quite shocked when I read the below extract from a Guardian article

Over a quarter of the UK's independent music stores went out of business last year, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association. In the record store heyday of the 1980s there were 2,200 stores; by 1994 there were 1,200. Today only 305 remain. The shops, and their dwindling number of committed owners, are, however, refusing to go quietly. This Saturday, more than 50 independent record shops from across the UK, and thousands more worldwide, will team up with top independent labels for Record Store Day.


Even if your local store isn't participating in RSD, go out and lay down a few coins on one of the abundance of quality releases that have come out this year. Downloads may be practical but nothing beats the satisfaction of removing the shrinkwrap from the CD case of an eagerly-anticipated purchase on the way home or the crackle of the needle when it hits the vinyl.

And here's a link to Rough Trade who are leading the charge in the UK with free in-store performances, signing sessions and exclusive buy-it-now-or-regret-it-later compilations and singles from bands such as the Smiths, Sonic Youth, Beck and Franz Ferdinand, it is a music junkie's dream come true.

Currently watching: The Colbert Report weeknights on FX

We Versus The Shark Tour Diary Part 15

Fifteenth Installment: The Writing Is on the Wall (13/04/09)

It will strike you very occasionally when you're traversing the post-antebellum South: there was a war here. The remnants exist in more psychic tones than anything else; the de facto world of separatism and privilege that permeate every stretch of American soil, North or South. The wounds in Europe, it's safe to say, are fresher.

Our first night in Germany, I talked with a kid who is the singer of a "beat-down" hardcore band. He brought it up before I even thought of doing so. In broken English, he basically expressed the following: he feels terrible for his country's history ("How could you not?" he said), but it had nothing to do with him. And walking through the halls of the DIY spaces and squats we've played in Germany and Poland, there's a clear sense of a rejection of history, and a determination to set a record straight: it's a youth culture saying, "this had nothing to do with us."

All the clubs, all of them, are strewn with anti-Nazi stickers. Anti-sexism and homophobia, too. It reminds me, really, of going to punk shows when I was in middle school. It reminds me of American punk rock before politics fell into the realm of the unfashionable. Going from country to country, day by day, it's hard for me to piece it all together cohesively, how it feels to be here – how it feels to walk around a former ghetto in Krakow, or being bowled over by the punk space/political library/kindergarten in Dresden that is almost entirely subsidized by the government. My camera keeps dying. There's no time to reflect. I am going to have to come back.

Jeff Tobias, We Versus The Shark. Blog courtesy of Flagpole Magazine: Colorbearer of Athens, GA Star Power!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

4 Or 5 Magicians On NME Radar

Occasionally the NME do get it right. STA favourites 4 Or 5 Magicians have caught the attention of the NME blog where Is This Your Ideal Man? can be downloaded.


Currently listening: Richard Bacon's Secret Podcast from BBC Radio 5 Live

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Alan MX Donked!

The mysterious DonkDJ has applied his, and I quote, secret bangin' remix formula to Warpsichord - listen here
Currently listening: Fantasies by Metric Release date: 2009-04-27

ASIWYFA Album Launch Tour Diary Part 1

First day down. We got the ferry from Larne at quarter past ridiculous and rolled into Troon shortly after that, and the weather was on our side. We hooked up with my brother while he was at work to get keys for his place so we could catch up on some sleep, you gotta take it where you can when on the road!

Johnny, Chris, Brian (our tour manager and all round legend) and the enigma that is Mr Ben Goddard got settled for a nap (rock n roll!) but there was no time for sleep for Friers and myself, Rory had an ill amp that required immediate attention, time was running out before sound check.

We drove into Glasgow centre, parked up and two very kind ladies offered us their pay and display ticket as they were leaving, score! That was random act of kindness number one, then we got the amp to the two awesome women who own StrungOutGuitars (apparently Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai and, most awesomely, SNOOP DOGGs band are all customers!) who went about resurrecting Rorys twin reverb from the dead, and as if that wasn't enough (random act of kindness number two coming up), they did it for FREE. WE LOVE YOU GLASGOW!

Then to the gig, Ivory Blacks, thank you everybody who came down, you guys were fucking great, a lot of familiar faces from the last time we were in town and a lot of new ones, which is what it's all about really. We had a blast, and props must be given to Mike, one of the drunkest and loveliest guys we've ever encountered, he even managed to fall over the crowd barrier whilst burping his approval, respect! Kudos also to Phil for his encouraging heckling, and thanks so much to Halina from Glasgows counterpart to NI PodCast.

We'll see y'all in Glasgow next month, now, the guys are telling me to get to the van, Liverpool awaits...

Tony And So I Watch You From Afar

Currently listening: Hope for Men by Pissed Jeans Release date: 2007-06-11

Friday, 10 April 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 33

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This episode: former guitarist/shouter of Help She Can't Swim and current bedroom avant-pop wonder Tom Denney aka Lonely Ghosts takes over for the first of this Easter weekend's blogcasts, presenting fantastic new LG tracks and choice cuts from his One Inch Badge Records labelmates.

If you've missed Lonely Ghosts at recent STA shows be sure to check out one of the following upcoming dates...

21 Apr - Buffalo Bar w/ Cutaways - London
1 May - Tropical Hotdog @ Island Bar w/ Sunset Cinema Club, 4 Or 5 Magicians - Birmingham
2 May 2009 - Major/Minor @ The Flying Duck w/ Peter Parker - Glasgow
3 May 2009 - Head of Steam - Newcastle
14 May 2009 - Great Escape Festival - Brighton
15 May 2009 - 90 Free Friday @ 93 Feet East (FREE SHOW) - London
23 May 2009 - Dark Party @ Manhatan’s - Luton

Public Service Blogcast Episode 33
31 minutes 40 seconds
Recorded 07/04/09
Tracklisting
00.11 Lonely Ghosts - Ghosts Of Mice (from Return From The Search Party album - OIB Records)
03.16 Pseudo Nippon - Constellation Jebubu (from Edamame Freakout EP - OIB Records)
06.48 Nullifier - Convectors
12.14 Shield Your Eyes - Sound The Alarm (from Shield Your Eyes album - Run For Your Life)
15.52 Mewgatz - Photocopy (from Love Songs & Car Boot Electronica album - OIB Records)
20.34 Transfere Project - Let's Not Cut Those Lines
23.13 Pope Joan - Centurion (from Centurion/Volumes single - OIB Records)
28.07 Lonely Ghosts - Come Down From The Mountain (from Return From The Search Party album - OIB Records)

If you have any suggestions for future takeovers or want to get a track played on a regular show, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk.

Very Good Friday

Loads of you bought stuff in our Grand Slam sale a few weeks ago, so we've decided to have another one over this long weekend.

Rather than doing a straight up sale as before, we're offering a number of bundle deals, for albums, CD singles, 7" singles and Public Service Broadcasts. This runs until Easter Monday.

In other Very Good Friday news, Calories are confirmed to support Johnny Foreigner on a bunch of shows next month, And So I Watch You From Afar's album is out in just three days and they're everywhere right now, and I've got three episodes of The Wire to watch. Dear The BBC: thanks for showing it, but does it really have to be so late?

We Versus The Shark Tour Diary Part 14

Fourteenth Installment: Let Me Here You, Berlin!(09/04/09)

Listen, I like Blakfish. Blakfish are really nice guys. They also happen to be sadists. They are the drivers, so they are the iPod DJs. For the last few days, our drives have been graced by Metallica's complete discography...in reverse chronological order. After listening to so much, I mean so much of this crap (Load? Fucking "Reload"?) that by the time you get to the good stuff, it's like being shown a picture of Hitler as a baby. "Cute baby, right?" No way, man. Worst baby ever. The only upside? James Hetfield's call-and-response exhortations on the live album S&M:

Hetfield: "Let me hear you, San Francisco!"

Crowd: "FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS!"

Hetfield: "You betcha!"

Today we played in Berlin. Scott's language in high school was German. So he took every opportunity he could to hop out from behind the drum set to attempt to engage the audience. Pretty much every time, Scott would say something and the expectant pause would be filled with the overwhelming sound of a few dozen Germans staring in complete silence. Afterwards, he somewhat dejectedly remarked to the bartender: "Was my German any good? Everyone was just staring at me." Bartender, blase: "No, we understood fine." As for me, I've made very few attempts to shatter the language barrier, but tonight I kept asking the audience if we should play some Rammstein covers. Who doesn't love a good Rammstein joke? Everyone who came to our show. Good times!

Jeff Tobias, We Versus The Shark. Blog courtesy of Flagpole Magazine: Colorbearer of Athens, GA Star Power!

We Versus The Shark Tour Diary Part 13


Thirteenth Installment: Go To Sleep (09/04/09)

I'm sure anyone who reads these blogs, or any blogs, or actively blogs themselves, is familiar with the '90s collegesploitation film "PCU," so I'll skip straight to the analogy: remember when Jeremy Piven jumped onto David Spade's bed and screamed "GO TO SLEEP!" at the top of his lungs over and over again? Thus was my mantra on our drive from Vanersborg, Sweden to Hannover, Germany. Our nine-seater van affords very little room to stretch out, much less put the seats in a reclining position. So I swaddled myself in the amazing down jacket my uncle gave me, donned some sunglasses, and had to sort of mentally bludgeon myself into unconsciousness. Twelve hours and two ferry rides later, we arrived at Cafe Glocksee.

Marathon highway navigation is nothing new for anyone on tour. But there are big differences so far between club shows in strange cities on American tours and those of European tours.

-American Version: Pull up the club (let's call it Club X) to find employees who generally greet you with an attitude that lands somewhere between polite ambivalence and jaded hostility. Load up and wander around aimlessly to find some sort of food. It's a Tuesday, and the promoters didn't bother to book any local bands, so you play to the few people who actually are aware of your band. You ask one of the kids in attendance if you can stay at their house, and crash on his floor. Drink cry sleep.

-European Version: Pull up to the ridiculous youth center thing (Hannover's Cafe Glocksee acting as our example) that is covered with amazing, city-ordained graffiti; don't forget about the gigantic skate ramp. (I hadn't been aware that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film was shot in Germany). Walk in to find a fucking cheese-and-meats spread, coffee and beer; the employees seriously couldn't tell us from Adam but they're friendly. It's a Tuesday, and Tuesdays at Cafe Glocksee means free admittance, cheap beer, and apparently bands of consistent enough quality that while there are no local bands, the place is absolutely packed from wall to wall. The promoter has arranged for us to stay at a friend's apartment around the block. Beds for all. Drink, high-five, sleep.

Jesus Christ. I can see why Maserati spends half their time over here.

Jeff Tobias, We Versus The Shark. Blog courtesy of Flagpole Magazine: Colorbearer of Athens, GA Star Power!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Good Friday Gig Tip

If you're looking for something to do in London this Good Friday why not check out STA All-Dayer alumni Scanners and Public Service Broadcast favourites The Half Rabbits at a Filter Magazine sponsored event at the Camden Barfly.

ASIWYFA Got Serious Beef With FWW

Rory ASIWYFA has been working out big time - whatcya gonna do FWW?






ASIWYFA Got Beef With FWW from Smalltown America on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Class Of 2009

Photos from the recent and far-too-loud So I Watch You From Afar / Let Our Enemies Beware / LaFaro show at London's Bull & Gate are now online.

Now We Can See New Thermals UK Dates

My thinking is if we blog about them enough times they will sign to STA. We'll see.

STA live show veterans The Thermals' 4th album
Now We Can See came out on Monday and the band will be playing the following newly announced UK dates in June.

14 - Bristol, UK @ Thekla
15 - Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
16 - Edinburgh, UK @ Sneaky Petes
17 - Glasgow, UK @ Stereo
18 - Belfast, Ireland @ Auntie Annies
19 - Dublin, Ireland @ Academy 2
21 - Manchester, UK @ Ruby Lounge
22 - Birmingham, UK @ Academy 3
23 - London, UK @ Cargo
24 - Brighton, UK @ Freebutt

Thermal mainstays Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster recorded Now We Can See as a duo, as they did on 2006's The Body, The Blood, The Machine. Foster performed all drums and bass (and sang for the first time on a Thermals record), while Harris sang lead and played guitar. They returned to Oregon City's Supernatural Sound (where TBTBTM was tracked), with John Congleton (Explosions In The Sky, Polyphonic Spree) producing. The result is the widest, loudest piece of alternative/indie/punk rock The Thermals have yet unleashed. Lyrically, The Thermals have managed to move past religion and politics (having just about over-done them on TBTBTM), yet remain joyously obsessed with love and death. Though the subject matter may be dark at times, the lyrics, as well as the melodies, remain as catchy and uplifting as ever.

Do You Remember The First Time? Review

As a precursor to Andrew's feature on Public Service Blogcast Episode 34 which will be online over the Easter weekend, here's Alternative Ulster's morning after the night before on last month's celebration of Northern Irish music.

So, last night was Do You Remember The First Time?, the huge gig at the Ulster Hall in Belfast, organised by trans and BBC Across The Line. And it was something special. The old hall looks magnificent following its refurbishment, all buffed-up, modernised and showing off every inch of its Victorian splendour, and it says something for music fans here that the place was utterly packed out from 7.30 until the whole thing drew to a close four hours later. 14 acts played, all from Northern Ireland and including five unsigned acts - Lowly Knights, Kowalski, Cashier No.9, Panama Kings and LaFaro - next to Ash, the Divine Comedy, headliners Therapy? and a guest appearance by Gary Lightbody and Nathan Connelly from Snow Patrol.

Each band got a chance to play one of their own songs and a cover of a band they saw play the Hall, which threw up some treats. As much as it was great to hear the newer bands play their stuff to over a thousand people in a packed hall (Cashier No.9 gave a storming version of ‘When Jackie Shone’, looking like they were born to play to big crowds, while a brand new Foy Vance song stunned the hall into awed silence), the fun was in the cover versions. Some played it pretty straight - Duke Special, whose band includes a member of The Waterboys, played a great version of their ‘Fisherman’s Blues’, LaFaro tore through The Strokes‘ ‘Juicebox’ and Fighting With Wire did the same for ‘You Really Got Me’ by the Kinks (apparently bassist Jamie saw a reformed version in 1994) - while a notable few put their own spin on things. Panama Kings turned Ash’s ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ into a fantastic cosmic disco track, Neil Hannon rattled through ‘Gigantic’ by the Pixies, just him and his piano, and The Lowly Knights paid tribute to the Divine Comedy with a gloriously huge arrangement of ‘Something For The Weekend’.

And there were surprises. Ash’s decision to play acoustic and without drums was disappointing, while we could probably have done without ‘Chasing Cars’, but it seems churlish to complain when the whole thing was done in such good spirits. Fighting With Wire were joined by Jetplane Landing’s Andrew Ferris for storming versions of Jetplane’s ‘Calculate The Risk’ and ‘Know Your Enemy’ by Rage Against The Machine, which seemed to bemuse as many people as it thrilled.

Finally, Therapy? came on and gave the people what they wanted. Andy Cairns looked like he was having the time of his life on stage as they rattled through a 100mph version of ‘Screamager’ (bless them for wheeling out their biggest hit), followed by (yes!) Stiff Little Fingers’ ‘Alternative Ulster’, then being joined by every band on the bill (and some that weren’t) for a mass ‘Teenage Kicks’. No bullshit, just dozens of artists and hundreds of people together in a glorious venue, paying tribute to the music and memories that have shaped their lives. A total celebration of Northern Irish music that must rank alongside the recent A Little Solidarity event.

After the party, the afterparty, as we adjourned upstairs to see Andy Henry from Clone Quartet play a solo laptop set before Not Squares embarked on a delirious assault on our ears with their schizoid punk-funk. And all this on a school night. Incredible.

Memories... SXSW


I just thought that this was a lovely picture to post on the blog, you don't often see a Fawcett in repose, he is accompanied by Jonny Tiernan from AU - Photo Credit Graham Smith - Location Maggie Mae's Rooftop - Austin, Texas - 2009.

This more or less sums up my SXSW '09 - talking to FWW about eight million times about the next show. I like Craig's hat in this shot - don't know what happened to those sunglasses of mine. They went for a burden on my birthday soon after this shot was taken. Location - Pure Volume House - Austin.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

And So I Watch You From Afar - N.I Podcast Special

More great ASIWYFA coverage; The guys recently popped into the N.I Podcast / Panic Dots studios to record a little bit about their past present and future. You'll also hear me gushing over the band and the album.

Head over to the N.I Podcast / Panic Dots Myspace to download the episode, or if you're lazy and impatient like me, you can click here to listen to a direct stream of the broadcast.

Lethal!

Also, the guys are taking over the NIMIC blog this week. Tony has just posted up a bit about Saturday night's triumphant album launch at the Mandela Hall (note: 780 people showed up, not 750!). Click here to check it out. Keep your eyes fixed upon the NIMIC website this week, as Rory, Chris and Johnny will all be contributing their musings!

And So I Watch You From Afar - Pre-order News

If you've already pre-ordered the And So I Watch You From Afar album, you've also probably noticed that you haven't received it yet. Unfortunately, due to manufacturing issues beyond our control, the dispatching of the album was delayed by a week. All orders will begin shipping tomorrow, with the last of them going out on Thursday.

Apologies for the inconvenience and thanks for being so patient!

Team STA x

P.S If you haven't ordered already, please hit up the store to secure your copy! - no further delays, we promise!

Fighting With Wire on ChannelBee

Channelbee is Tim (Soccer AM) Lovejoy's internet television channel which launched in July 2008 featuring a variety of content ranging from comic sketches to football shows to live music. The channel has new broadcast-quality content added every day and Saturday saw the addition of a video interview with Fighting With Wire which you can watch here.

We Versus The Shark Tour Diary Part 11


Eleventh Installment: Gavin Glove (06/04/09)

I'd like to speak of a phenomenon that we've encountered for the first time on this excursion, but is not localized to any particular region. I'm referring to the tour manager. To those unfamiliar with this player in the music world, here's his gig: he drives. He settles up with promoters. He locates food and shelter. And he wrangles: through coaxing and half-stern commands, he corrals us losers at the end of the night and gets everything loaded up and out. It's everything that an indie band does on tour, without any of the fun parts.

This was, with a few minor exceptions, the first tour We Versus the Shark has ever gone on that we didn't book ourselves. We're usually armed with a binder of phone numbers and directions, and after countless hours spent on the Internet dealing with venues and promoters, the itinerary is usually tattooed inside my skull. Not only did someone else book this tour, but the ins and outs of what the hell was going on at any given moment was completely in the hands of Gavin, the tour manager hired on by Pulled Apart By Horses' management for the UK leg of the tour.

Gavin is the definition of affable, with generally unflagging patience and a thick Scottish accent; probably a few years older than us; and very gradually, with Gavin telling us when to wake up, where we were staying, and where we were headed tomorrow, I sort of felt like my brain was...losing an idle portion. Gavin was handling all the dirty work--navigating alleys that were designed with horses in mind rather than cars, cracking the whip on load-out slackers, dealing with unforthcoming promoters -- and was being compensated for his work, so I couldn't feel too bad, but...it's just very unusual. We're not used to tour being about just...playing music.

It was nice, of course, but also felt a little infantilizing--when Gavin had to search for parking for a while, leaving us at the venue, and a question came up--"what time will the sound guy be here?," for example -- we all sort of looked at each other helplessly. Plus there was the lingering question of whether or not Gavin actually liked our music. He wasn't required to, of course, but as a professional, I figured he would probably assume the posture of a polite poker face. But I feel a little disingenuous describing Gavin in those terms, because more often than not, he generally felt like one of the gang, albeit the one who always had to be the designated driver. Furthermore, he did a bang-up job. The remaining dates of the tour are being managed only by ourselves, and by "managed," I guess I mean we "managed" to keep our van from getting towed until the fourth day. Like I said: it's good to be back on the circuit.

Jeff Tobias, We Versus The Shark. Blog courtesy of Flagpole Magazine: Colorbearer of Athens, GA Star Power!

We Versus The Shark Tour Diary Part 10

Tenth Installment: Flirting With Total Fucking Disaster (06/04/09)

The shows themselves? They've been really good! I'm not going to sit here and talk about my own performances; it's like doing a Jon Madden play-by-play, circling the fumbles. Anyway, We Versus the Shark is treating this as our final tour with this material, "this material" being the inward-looking "yuchhh" of Dirty Versions. It's a bunch of sweaty screaming, and as a means of giving Luke and myself a break while simultaneously alienating the audience even further, we've developed a fun new habit. This habit involves recruiting a drummer - any drummer will do - for a rendition of "The Greatest Gift," a golden classic from '80s Texas punk freaks Scratch Acid. Meanwhile, our percussionist, Mr. Scott Smith, he of the copious sheets of perspiration and hobbit/caveman stature/hairstyle, drops into the crowd as "lead singer;" very upsetting for everyone involved. My favorite move that Scott has executed so far this tour is stuffing his entire head under some poor kid's shirt for the entirety of the guitar solo.

And so it's very fun: until last night in Copenhagen, wherein "The Greatest Gift" was very nearly a stocking stuffer of sadness. As Thom Peckett, guitarist for Blakfish, settled behind the drums and we launched into the song's surf-punk lurch, I noticed a pint glass had shattered into a web of shrapnel to the left of a monitor, all over the floor. Scott was in the crowd, barefoot. My mind was immediately flush with images of bloody footprints and a very sad trip to the emergency room. And so on the downbeat, I jumped offstage and bum-rushed Scott deeper into the audience. Of course, he thinks I'm perpetrating some fun-time mosh move or something, and so he begins pushing back harder, totally oblivious to the glass very nearly underfoot. This battle of the peons continued for the duration of the song, with me screaming over the music "GLASS! BROKEN GLASS!" and Scott screaming back "YEAH!" and other rock and roll truisms.

After two minutes of pure, concentrated idiocy, the song ended and Scott returned to his kit unharmed. He then proceeded to perch on his throne and fall into the drum kit in the first thirty seconds of the next song. Thank you Copenhagen, goodnight!

Jeff Tobias, We Versus The Shark. Blog courtesy of Flagpole Magazine: Colorbearer of Athens, GA Star Power!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 32

video

This episode: Andrew Ferris recalls his highlights (bands that sound like Hall & Oates!) and lowlights (dental problems!) from STA's visit to last month's South By Southwest in Austin Texas.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 32
18 minutes 19 seconds
Recorded 05/04/09
Tracklisting
00.13 Fighting With Wire - Last Love Song (from All For Nothing single - Smalltown America)
04.03 Dananananaykroyd - Pink Sabbath (from Hey Everyone album - Best Before)
07.40 Tigercity - Are You Sensation? (from Pretend Not To Love mini-album - Strange Feeling Records)
11.39 Japanther - Um Like Yer Smile Is Totally Ruling Me Right Now (from Tut Tut Now Shake Yer Butt album - Menlo Park Recordings)
14.38 Monotonix - Ride

If you have any suggestions for future takeovers or want to get a track played on a regular show, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk.

We Versus The Shark Tour Diary Part 9

Ninth Installment: He doesn't speak the language, he holds no currency... (06/04/09)

We woke up early, like you're supposed to when you have an eight hour drive ahead of you. I accidentally poured yogurt over my cereal - I guess in retrospect, it was more plausible that time was out of wack and the milk was just traveling very slowly?

We trudged into the grey Netherlands morning to discover that our van ("Sanjay") had been, yes, towed. I felt very much like a foreigner: sure, there was some sort of sign, but how much use does a sign have to us when we can't read the language? Why can't every nation cater to US? The private company who hauled off our means of transportation was predictably dispassionate about the whole affair, and we despite our most benign cajoling, we were suddenly out two nights' worth of pay for us and Blakfish.

As we venture further from the British Isles, we've been exposed to more and more of the alien and unknown, for better or for worse. I've been striving to find local delicacies and weird customs, but globalism conquers all: our hosts in tonight's city of Copenhagen prepared curry and Pakora, and when Scott and I went looking for adventure, we mostly found commerce. Strange moments come more in more subtle forms: a non-QWERTY keyboard in France (talk about frustrating), being asked to remove our hats at a random coffeeshop in Holland.

A note about our new tourmates: Blakfish is a terrific tech metal band from Birmingham (SABBATH!) who has been a band for 10 years and whose members are all in their early 20s. Along with their hyperactive manager Kirk, they have the half-spoken, crass communication style of old, old friends, and they're good guys. And: they fucking love Paul Simon's Graceland. We'll be getting along just fine.

Jeff Tobias, We Versus The Shark. Blog courtesy of Flagpole Magazine: Colorbearer of Athens, GA Star Power!