Thursday, 28 May 2009
TRUCK STAGE: SATURDAY
Red Light Company
Vieux Farka Touré
Detroit Social Club
TRUCK STAGE SUNDAY: 'OXFORD DAY'
The Long Insiders
Jali Fily Cissokho
BARN SATURDAY: Y!M!D! PRESENTS
A Place To Bury Strangers
We Were Promised Jet Packs
Data Select Party
White Belt Yellow Tag
BARN SUNDAY: ROCK SOUND PRESENTS
The Ghost Of A Thousand
Pulled Apart By Horses
The Joy Formidable
And So I Watch You From Afar
Gabriel Prokofiev (DJ)
The Elysian Quartet
John Matthias & Nick Ryan
John Kameel Farah
BARN SATURDAY NIGHT: FRESH OUT THE BOX PRESENTS the Cowshed Rave
DJ FOOD & DK (Ninja Tune) 4 Deck DJ/AV set
Lee Mortimer & Foamo (Wearhouse/Dubsided) Back to Back DJ set
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
Total Science (C.I.A) 15 Years Of Drum n Bass DJ Set
MARKET STAGE: SATURDAY
Sad Day For Puppets
House Of Brothers
Holton's Opulent Oog
Linda Rose Moody
Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou
MARKET STAGE: SUNDAY - BOB HARRIS PRESENTS…
Gary Louris & Mark Olson (The Jayhawks)
Mike Heron & Georgia Seddon
Danny the champ
Eliza Gilkyson & Band
Two Door Cinema Club
Heloise & the Savoir Faire
We Are Enfant Terrible
BBC INTRODUCING with BETHAN ELFYN:
Truckers of Husk
Fredrick Stanley Starr
The Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band
This Town Needs Guns
Jason Sebastian Russo
Tickets are priced £70, available from local shops, Rough Trade East,
www.wegottickets.com / www.gigantic.com / www.seetickets.com
This will also be repeated at various intervals throughout the next week.
Spread the word!
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Well, here we are at the end of an epic months touring, we've had more people at the shows this time round than we've ever had before, we've had 7 sold out nights, we've sold almost all our merch and we haven't killed each other. these all add up to make this a very positive time in camp ASIWYFA. Check out Tony's tour diaries for full reports.
Anyway then, no time to be hanging around, here's whats coming up in our ever busier diary -
Clutch Tour - June (UK & EU)
First off.... AWESOME!!! WE'RE GOING ON TOUR WITH CLUTCH!!!!! These guys know how to rock, and we're honored to be joining them on their UK and European leg of this tour. If you're near by please come down and give us hand wrecking the joint. If you're in Europe and are coming down to the show please come and say hello on the night, we've had so much amazing response from mainland Europe to our music and we'd love to meet you all and thank you for the kind words and support.
AU Mag Tour - July (IRE)
Once we're back from Europe we have 3 days off then back to business, AU Mag Irish tour with the mighty Adebisi Shank, both bands have been threatening to tour together for a while now, and a lot of people have been asking if it would ever happen, so here it is. Big shout out to AU mag who are really stepping up to the plate on this one, boarder shmoarder, this tour will melt faces, full stop.
ASIWYFA Headline Tour - Sept/Oct (UK)
We will be heading out for another long one in the UK in Sept and Oct, we're still to announce details on this, so watch this space. Needless to say we'll be playing as many places as we can, bring your hard hat.
This Will Destroy You Tour - Oct (UK)
We're also over the moon to announce we'll be heading off on tour with Texas noise merchants This Will Destroy You in October. Have a nosey on our myspace dates to see where we're playing, and get your tickets now as we hear some of the shows have sold out already.
Oxegen: We'll be playing this year's Oxegen festival on the IMRO stage, we're on around 11pm, I think theres some band called Kings of ... something playing on another stage but we ain't heard of them so come see us....ok.
Pukklepop: We jet to Belgium on 21st August to join with the likes of The Jesus Lizard, Faith No More, Placebo, Squarepusher, My Bloody Valentine and a heap more at this years Pukklepop Festival. We get to share the same stage as The Jesus Lizard, nuff said, you know how we feel about this one.
Nova Rock: We do this bad boy during the Clutch tour next month, great slot on the big outdoor stage a few slots below Machine Head! If our teenage selves could see us now. Though we do get to drive from Leeds to Vienna for this one, 2000km, yey, but we get to play with Metalica, Slipknot and Mastadon so it kinda evens out. RAWK.
Truck: We're playing the Sunday at Truck this year, we can't wait, it's top to tail awesome bands, and we get to hang out with a lot of the good folks we've met on tour over the past year, awwww.
Aeon: We headline the Saturday night at this year's Aeon Festival in Devon, it's up for Best Small Festival, Best Grassroots Festival, Best Line Up and Best Loos in this year's UK festival awards. It's 100% independent, it's awesome and this years theme is Sci-Fi.... brilliant.
Glasgowbury: The greatest festival on earth, if you've never been, go. If you have you know what I'm talking about.
Forfey Farm: This will be our last NI appearance for a while, every year this festival is amazing, the vibe is unbeatable, the people are incredible, and it's cheap as chips. We're gonna be doing a day time slot this year, it's gonna be great.
EP and Single - SOLD OUT
We're both happy and sad to announce that we're all sold out of our debut EP "This is Our Machine and Nothing Can Stop it", we had 2,500 pressed up and they're all gone now. We've no plans to re-press this anytime soon, so if you have a copy hold on to it.... or get it up on ebay. We've also sold out of our debut vinyl pressing of double A side single "Set Guitars to Kill/A Little Solidarity Goes A Long Way".
We're taking a week off after this tour to head to a little house in Sligo, literally in the middle of no where, to get down to some of what we love most, writing some new music. It'll be our second time down there in the past few months and it's such a great place to relax and be away from any distractions. After our last jaunt we came back with 6 new tracks, one of which we've been playing on this tour called "S is for Salamander". We hope it will be a productive and relaxing time, tea cups and cigarettes at the ready boys.
We will be doing a bit of recording in July, we haven't decided exactly what form these songs will come out as but watch this space, we'll have new music for you very soon, and it's really good.
Album 2 - the plans
We will be recording the new album after the summer at some point, we will announce all the details of this soon, but we have a bunch of tracks we already think out-do anything on the last record, and we can't wait to get them out and to you guys.
We've just heard news from Japan that the record is doing really well over there, if this continues we hope to get out for a tour some time before Xmas, fingers and toes crossed.
Before we go we just want to say a massive thank you to everybody who's making this possible, to all the people who are coming to our shows, to all the people who are buying our music, to anyone who is spreading the word about our band, to our label for be so supportive and believing in us, to our families and friends who never get to see us any more and still tirelessly support us, to all the promoters, writers, photographers etc who push this band, to the amazing people we meet everyday who give us beds, food and generally treat us with kindness, you are what makes all this possible and we're forever grateful.
Let Our Enemies Beware; in the build-up to the release of their incendiary and epic post-rock/metal hybrid of a debut album Against Karate later in 2009, each week for the next 10 weeks the STA blog will host a series of downloads.
Here's the 2nd download in the headfucking Fibonacci series. Which means that, the link for the LOEB track hosted below will expire after 55 downloads...55 being the 9th number in the Fibonacci sequence (the sum of the 8th and 7th numbers)...
F10 = 89 (last week)
F9 = 55 (this week)
F8 = 34 (next week)
F7 = 21
F6 = 13
F5 = 8
F4 = 5
F3 = 3
F2 = 2
F1 = 1
By the time we hit the final download at the end of July, the debut album can be pre-ordered from the STA store. As always, pre-order customers receive an exclusive limited edition hand finished bonus disc.
Is it easier to understand this week?
Over to Sha (guitar/vocals)...
Although I will try my darndest to avoid giving away lyrics and their meaning, I do have to explain ‘I Am Lono’. This one is about an incident that our guitarist Boast told me about that involved the late and great Hunter S Thompson. Toward the end of his life he was unfortunately wheelchair bound and unable to ascend a staircase that led to a party (and buffet) that was being held in his honour. I don’t normally scream about sandwiches, if you were wondering..
Download 'I Am Lono' by Let Our Enemies Beware
Leonardo of Pisa (c. 1170 – c. 1250), also known as Leonardo Pisano, Leonardo Bonacci, Leonardo Fibonacci, or, most commonly, simply Fibonacci, was an Italian mathematician, considered by some "the most talented mathematician of the Middle Ages"
The next time you see us, things will probably be different: we might have a different name or a different line-up. Scott will have his degree from UGA and we will be well-rested from not touring four months out of the year. And hopefully we will have a really great new album to share with you.
Those who attend our "last show for a very long time" at Athfest can expect a set list that reaches all the way back to the beginning, and so it's only appropriate that we will be joined onstage by founding member Samantha Paulsen. Thanks and hope to see you assholes there.
I should be collating a bunch of songs for a bonus cd to be sold with the album when bought directly through my label, and I could do that easily from Warpsichord offcuts, but nothing is ever EVER good enough so I'm busy reproducing things, re singing re writing.
It's excellent to visit some things I hadn't heard in a while and it gives me little thrills to hear things I did that I had forgotten, but here's where the problem is. THERE'S TOO BLOODY MUCH OF IT. My hard drive is clogged with nearly 60GB of recorded bits and bobs, which would be amazing if they were all tremendously well executed pieces of musical literature. But a lot of it are recordings of "the time my voice cracked at the top note and I laughed and it sounded cool so I kept it to use later" and the like. I'm gonna have to pack some of it away before I can do new things. Onto a hard drive. Or two. To be honest its been a long time coming. I have gradually become so freakishly patient that if a pitch bend takes five minutes to load I shall wait. But that's not really good enough.
I don't have a great short term memory and things fall out of my head almost instantaneously so I have to be able to work quickly. I wonder if my short term memory is actually an inability to pay attention. Some sort of attention defecit. I once told someone I had Attention Defecit Disorder, and then completely forgot to tell them it was a joke. But they were convinced for a few years that this was indeed true. Its not that i can't pay attention really, but just that i try to pay attention to lots of things at once. I have the TV on when I read. I listen to music while I watch a movie. I draw while I make music. And I beatbox when trying to sleep.
That's the worst one really the drumming at sleepytime. I'm terrible for drumming my fingers and hands. I walk in drum rhythms and have to keep them constant. I can't keep my fingers still and this all comes most violently at bedtime. I suddenly realise I have an amazing beat clattering around my head and I tap it out on my head/on the bed head. And it's not just any old beat, but TRULY THE MOST INCREDIBLE FUSION OF DISRYHTMIA EVER BEFORE WITNESSED. This can keep me up for a long time. I'm kind of used to it, so I can still drift close to the edge of slumber paddle in the wake even and keep doing my beats without much hassle. But then a kind of anxiety starts to form and I wish I had a dictaphone to transcribe this magical clunking. But NO! Not a dictaphone. That, by morning would sound like a spittled fart from my tired lips pressed rudely into an insufficient mic or a mindless contextless clatter of nonsense beat on a dirty bed.
I need you to be able to hear all the villagers pounding these beats on the floors of my medicine mans hut, to hear the subtle cracklings of electricity flying between the poles of my fingers. And what's this?! Over these thumps and splutters comes a growing sine wave. Louder and louder, changing key fighting against a angry flute! Staccato notes spiralling against the steady advance of the synthline! A harpsichord is sexually plucked with soiled plectrums making a tinny sharp oscillating etch against the lush and airy flutes. And I can see the notes I'm going to sing, the voice I'm going to use, the look on my face as I spit the words.
I can hear the colours flying around me at night. If I could see my own head at that point I bet there would be little glimmers floating around it. But by morning it's gone. I'll remember a word or a note, but mostly, my great concerto, my tribal aria is gone.
No room in my head to keep it all in.
So I wonder if anyone can lend me a hard drive for my computer and one for my brain?
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Suplex Cassettes started to release small runs of tapes for bands that I really liked, regardless of whether it is a new album, an EP, a live set or noisy demos, as long as I like it! An Emergency was a starting point as I was in a band with Dan from An Emergency and thought that this would be a killer start to the label.
It took a long time to get it started for various reasons but now we have great releases lined up for The Light Sleepers (Faux Discx/Smalltown America), Spectrals (Captured Tracks), Thee Fair Ohs (Sex Is Disgusting/Knife or Die) and The Teen Sheikhs (Captured Tracks/Sex Is Disgusting), and loads more in the pipeline.
It's also great as its easy to make your money back and put into the next release straight away, and as they are small runs I can re-press them easily if they sell fast and if they don't sell then it's only 50 tapes, not 400 7"s under my bed! Plus they are great for making special handmade covers with crazy coloured tapes, so people will have a little package to own.
Thumbs up all round from STA!
Friday, 22 May 2009
Date: 16th June: Time 8.30am – 1.30pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre MF231, University of Ulster, Magee Campus, Derry
Date: 17th June: Time 8.30am – 1.30pm
At these free of charge seminars you will hear from experts specialising in IP protection in the creative and digital industry sectors. You will find out how your mental and creative outputs are tangible commodities that you can licence, sell, or trade and how to retain your rights. You will also hear real life stories of those who are working in the industry and developing products and applications. There will be the opportunity for some short 1 to 1’s with the speakers during and after lunch. These include:
Malcolm Barclay is a pioneer in the fast growing ‘App Economy’ and has created Tube Deluxe, which helps Londoners find their way across the capital’s underground system. He built this paid application after starting with a free app, Tube Status, which has been downloaded more than 100,000 times. Right now, he’s getting around 11,000 downloads a month for Tube Deluxe, earning him about £4,000. Malcolm is a freelance software developer who usually works for major corporations but has taken a couple of months out to see if he can make it as an iphone app developer. He’s put many hours into building his application in the kitchen of his London flat, which has become a temporary development studio.
Andrew Ferris, founder of Smalltown America, an independent record label based in Derry and London. Their aim is to cultivate a self-sustainable business model through which artists can release the best records they can possibly produce. Andrew recently secured a long form album deal with Atlantic Records for Derry band Fighting with Wire.
Other speakers are Marice Cumber – Director and Founder of Own-IT, Matthew Forde – Media and IP lawyer, Forde Campbell LLP, Davy Sims - former BBC producer and Stuart Worthington (Derry only) – Leading Authority on Music Management. You will also hear how Invest Northern Ireland can help you in this area.
This event is being held in conjunction with the University of Ulster.
Register online at www.investni.com/registration or phone Morrow Communications
at 028 9039 3837
Thursday, 21 May 2009
HOORAY FOR HUMANS
H4H have a Dublin gig at The Once A Month Club at Academy 2 on 11th June. This is a new club on the second Thursday of every month in Academy 2 with all proceeds going to charidee.
Humans are also doing a few dates with Heathers in August too:
13th Aug - Roisin Dubh, Galway
14th Aug - The Quad, Cork
15th Aug - Whelans (upstairs), Dublin
There'll be a few more dates added in coming weeks, and there’ll be another UK tour for the end of October, so if anyone wants to get in contact to help out, email the band
Rest headline a new monthly weirdo club night called Black Sun. The inaugural one takes place this Saturday night, May 23rd at The Granary Theatre, Cork.
The line up is:
Safe (featuring former Waiting Room drummer Wayne Dunlea and Paul Condon)
Vomit Nest + Wölflinge
First Blood Part II
+Black Sun DJs Wölflinge + Paul Hegarty
Black Sun will encompass music, a mail art exhibition, several independent distros, and cake of the vegan variety. Doors 8pm and admission is €10.
Meanwhile Rest have about 3/4 of their new record written. Expect it on your stereo sometime around 2015.
Crayonsmith have a few dates in August with more dates to come soon.
2nd August – Plaza Stage (Solo), Spraoi Festival, Waterford (4pm)
7th August – Whelan’s Upstairs, Dublin w/ Pikelet + Extreme Wheeze
Last weekend was spent in The Great Escape finding new artists we adore (like Mothlite), eating ice-cream on the beach, perving on the locals and watching Banjo or Freakout - the buzz band of the weekend. And we've got them this Sat too! Kinda hot line up, don't you think? Specially given we've got Gyratory System opening.
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Let Our Enemies Beware; in the build-up to the release of their incendiary and epic post-rock/metal hybrid of a debut album Against Karate later in 2009, each week for the next 10 weeks the STA blog will host a series of downloads.
And the catch is? The availability of the downloads will be informed by the Fibonacci sequence, whereby the nth number is the sum of the previous two numbers. Which means that, going in reverse order starting with the 10th F number, the link for the first LOEB track hosted here tonight will expire after 89 downloads, the next song will expire after 55 downloads, the third after 34, the fourth after 21, the fifth after 13 - ending with track 10 being online for just 1 download. After which, said debut album can be pre-ordered from the STA store.
Fiendish? A little.
Over to Sha (guitar/vocals)...
'Fools, Philistines, Heretics and Whores' was the first track from our earliest DIY release 'Dhu Rakina' and was featured on STA's Public Service Broadcast (not sure which number). The opening line is from a drunken tramp I bumped into on the way home from university. He grabbed my shoulder and said unto me: "Let's get drunk and take over the state!"
I regetfully declined his offer.
Download 'Fools, Philistines, Heretics and Whores' by Let Our Enemies Beware
Leonardo of Pisa (c. 1170 – c. 1250), also known as Leonardo Pisano, Leonardo Bonacci, Leonardo Fibonacci, or, most commonly, simply Fibonacci, was an Italian mathematician, considered by some "the most talented mathematician of the Middle Ages"
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Now that he's got 80s Madonna off his chest*, Bateman Plaything's returned to business -
We're releasing a new record, the originally titled Back To The Future, on 8 June on Smalltown America. We're very happy with it.
To celebrate, we're having a release party on Monday 8 June at Catch on Kingsland Road, Shoreditch. We're currently begging a few other bands to come along and help make the occasion a fun one and, to put the icing on the cake, we're going to play BTTF from start to finish. Don't worry, it's only 40 minutes long.
All are welcome, so if there's anyone out there reading this, please come down!
*was that a late 90's Bis lyric?
...Last time we got as far Newcastle if I remember correctly, the Head Of Steam. We had a blast, here's a link to a review, just to prove I'm not lying...
Next up we had a day off, in the Steel City, Sheffield. Our good friends Oisin and Glynn put us up and let us get a much needed clothes wash on ("ROCK n' ROLL" I hear you shout in glorious unison).
Being a total sci-fi geek, I persuaded Rory, Johnny and Chris to accompany me to see the new Star Trek movie. I managed this by telling them they had ripped off our song/phrase..."Set Guitars to Kill". Good shit.
The gig the next night in Sheffield SU was great. Great line-up, great crowd, great times. Although we did feel bad for the excellent worriedaboutsatan having to cut their set so short due to technical problems. I implore you to check out their electronic madness.
Leeds was the next destination and a return to Royal Park Cellars. We'd played here a few times previously and always enjoyed it. We started the set with me literally swinging from the rafters and powered our way through a hectic set, the audience were fuckin' great. The only thing that marred this gig was the bar manager kicking us out into the diabolically pissing rain outside to load the van and risk our amps getting fucking wrecked. We appreciate he was only doing his job, but there was absolutely no need for him to adopt a mock "Oirish" accent, and not even a good one! I soon set the prick straight. He really needs to practice his impersonation skills if he's ever gonna truly offend people.
The Great Escape festival in Brighton was the next port of call (excuse the terrible, terrible, awful, disgraceful pun). Maybeshewill's chief percussion ace Jim joined us for the jaunt. We registered at some fancy dan hotel, and bumped into our good buddy Chris Wareing from Liverpool Barfly, what a treat. We then dumped the gear at the venue then wandered up to the food tent to, well, eat. Obviously. Then we hooked up with our good friends, Panama Kings, albeit briefly as Rory and I had to race back for a RockSoundTV interview. Don't think its online yet but we'll let you know as soon as it is so you can have a good laugh at our expense.
We made some new friends in an awesome band from Devon called The Computers, you really have to check these guys out they are fucking amazing. After our set, which was one of our tour highlights, we linked up with our mates Ruth and Lynn from home and went to catch the end of Panama Kings set, which was lethal. Niall Panama introduced us to an awesome character, Pockets, who used to live with one Mr. John Mellor, aka Joe Strummer. FUCK!
The night descended into sambuca feulled debauchery, culminating in Rory having a dance off with one of the guys from Computers, who was in pole position to walk/dance off with the crown, that was until Friers pulled out the secret weapon of the table parade dancing. I managed after a good bit of negotiations with the affable if slighty pissed off door staff to give him a reprieve and not throw his jiving ass to the street. How? I have no idea. However, no matter how much pleading I did, my begging fell on deaf ears when he got back up to tread the tables for the third time in 15 minutes. As our good friend John Helps would say, Fail.
The next gig took place in the geographically absurd (in relation to the previous nights' shows), Lincoln. A nice small intimate venue, with an absolutely nuts crowd. Good times were had in Lincoln. Even if we all felt like hell due to the previous nights excesses.
Nottingham Rock City was the newest venue to get an ASIWYFA debut, I had been here once before years ago whilst stage managing ( Stage managing : elaborate term for "roadie" ) two American metal bands on a European tour. I saw things on that night that shall never leave me. I chose to tell the audience these, they sounded as disgusted as I felt having witnessed said events. Great show though! Plus we randomly bumped into Panama Kings, they seemed as disturbed as us by the goings on in Brighton previously.
Afterwards we got blocked in by some idiot in a Punto, there was a big red tour bus out there too that belonged to Stratavarious, or something like that anyway. We got the cool as fuck German drum tech to help us bump the car outta the way, until the burly door staff warned us against it. Way to kill the buzz!
Next a return to Derby, where we were greeted by smiles, free cake, and an eighties jukebox selection that was so scratched it leapt from early, to mid, to late eighties with a frequency only comparable to Doc Browns time travelling DeLorean.
Maybeshewill played an absolute stormer of a show that pumped us up to go and tear the place a new one. Yay. Good times.
Kilburn in London tomorrow, and with it, a video tour diary. Ye Gads!
Over and trout.
Calories kicked TGE off with a packed early evening show on the Thursday - a typically tight set boosted by the sing-along front row. This was followed by some hot footing down Pavilion Parade to catch And So I Watch You From Afar play probably their only gig this year in a drum and bass club next to a Sealife centre. Aquarium-rattling ensued. Thanks to all at both Hector's House and Volks for hosting these sets.
Nods also to yes-it-is-Dan-from-Redjetson scary guitar n drum duo Friendship, on-stage cottage pie flingers 4 Or 5 Magicians, very scary Dutch guitar n drum duo The Moi Non Plus, Andy Duckett's fantastic new project Tin Can Telephone (like early Seafood but fun!) as well as It Hugs Back, Pulled Apart By Horses, Marnie Stern, Dinosaur Pile-up, The Joy Formidable and the afternoon Artrocker shows at the Hope.
Tuts go out to Mr TGE for forgetting to display the venue that hot-ticket-for-the-over-30s The Leisure Society were playing on the map in the programme but remembering to list the venue's address...except the address was completely wrong and Day 2's frankly unecessary gale force winds. That said you'd be hard pressed to find a better festival - TGE represents excellent value for money (a 3 day wristband clocks in at around £40 I believe) and is always well-executed by the main organisers and the various venues. The city embraces the festival with open arms but there's none of the price-hiking exploitation associated with camping-based festivals. Inevitably with so many venues plus factoring in the short walking distances involved there are plenty of clashes but such a rich line-up means that while you might not get to see everything you wanted to, you'll come away having seen loads of great bands.
Tickets for TGE 2010 will go on sale soon at a discounted early bird rate.
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Years ago I bought this book called ‘The Madonna Companion’. It’s a collection of reviews, interviews, articles and academic essays about her. It’s not very good, but possibly as was intended and as the title suggests, I’ve kept it around and every so often, when I’m eating lunch on a Sunday or taking a crap, I pick it up and read a few pages.
It’s funny reading the ‘serious’ press articles about Madonna in the 80s. 1985 was a particularly weird year. It was a key time, because it was before the world realised that she would be with us forever (even in death, like Mao or Hitler) but it was clear by the mid 80s that she was so much more than a piece of pop fluff who’d disappear into the thin air of which she was believed to be made, leaving ‘real’ artists like Cyndi Lauper (who?) to carry the torch for progressive pop cultural feminism. Music journalism, considering it’s about the most pointless thing in the world, is incredibly pompous. It also dates really quickly. All these articles from 1985 can’t work out what to make of Madonna. They don’t know whether to revile her or admire her (music journalism is too clinical for anything as passionate as love or hate). All the male writers are stuck on the apparent contradiction in her ability to move so unconflictedly between Rolling Stones-like raunch and early Beatles-esque innocence and all the female writers can’t work out if she’s a whore erasing the advancements made by feminism from popular memory or if she’s a modern day saint, sent from heaven to stick it to chauvinism with a conical strap-on dildo.
Funnily enough, I love all these conservative articles. The only thing more tedious than the fact that Madonna keeps reinventing herself is the press that keeps telling us this. The world seems like a more exciting place when you remember how Madonna once truly offended. All the ‘boy toy’ stuff and the ‘Madonna wannabes’ phenomenon (such a patronising and quaintly uninventive term!). I love Madonna - well, I particularly love old skool Madonna. I think Vogue was the last truly brilliant thing she did and that was nearly twenty years ago, but since then she’s always popped out a decent tune here and there and justifed our love for her. I even liked Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, and I’m not gay. I was too young to be a Madonna wannabe but not too young to turn my younger brother onto her - I remember him being about 6 years old and taking his portable tape player to the toilet so he could listen to Like A Virgin while he took a baby crap. So, as a salute to the exciting Madonna times I’ve indulged in some good old-fashioned music journalism and taken a trip down memory lane with Madge’s four albums of the 80s.
On her first record it really seemed like Madonna wouldn’t be around for very long. Not because the music was throwaway but because the front cover looks like a photo from the portrait gallery of a serial killer’s victim list. You know how when you see photos of a serial killer’s victims they look vaguely deformed, or rubbed out, not quite real? It’s like they were always just photos - you can't imagine them as real people. Of course, most serial killers were pre DNA testing, pre mass CCTV coverage, pre the internet - and pre digital cameras, so the thumbnails of these young women are actually real life passport photos, wrecked by light and too much photocopying for print reproduction. But in the poor quality there’s a latent qualification that these were lives not lived to the full, that burnt out in a climax of unimaginable horror. Forgotten except by creepy serial killer buffs and the odd film or magazine article about what is now a fairly antiquated phenomenon - the square-bespectacled, moustachioed, redneck-genius white serial killer.
I don't think the first Madonna record is throwaway. ‘Holiday’ and ‘Lucky Star’ are great pop songs and ‘Borderline’, ‘Burning Up’ and ‘Everybody’ are all pretty good. Her voice is only as rubbish as Bob Dylan’s or Liam Gallagher’s are; technically crap but, in their rawest form, much better than when they try to sound more practiced. Of course, if Madonna had been killed by a serial killer after making this record, musos would probably herald this as the greatest pop album of all time. Which it isn't.
Like A Virgin
The ‘greatest pop album of all time’ could possibly be bestowed on Like A Virgin. At least, it’s my favourite Madonna album. It has this Nightmare Before Christmas quality to it - talking about adult things (that adults can never bring themselves to talk about) in a format for children. If she weren’t so fit and cutely cartoonish the front cover would be horrific - more Linda Blair in the Exorcist than Sally Skellington. That sultry sepia tone is very well calculated - and the supreme art of calculation is what we’ve come to expect from her. There’s no point in talking about the songs - it does them a disservice. Just go and listen to it.
Does anyone remember Shellac? Thought not. Shellac were the shit brainchild of king shithead Steve Albini. An outlet for his moronic pomposity, he envisioned them as sounding ‘machinelike’ - probably as a statement against manufactured pop music. The brilliant thing about True Blue is that it sounds more machinelike than anything Shellac ever did. More menacing; more punk rock. True Blue is the audio epitome of what academix call ‘postmodernism’ - shiny surfaces, smoke and mirrors, narcissism, no true self. The bass does not sound like bass is supposed to sound; rather, it sounds like some metallic snake weaving through the songs, emitting a vile, clinking low frequency. You could poke eyes out with the crystalline guitar stabs. Mash someone’s head into nothingness like two giant slabs of ice (like in Saw V) with the ‘drums’. Strangle and part decapitate someone with the wire that is the keyboard lines. The only thing heart warming about the record is Madonna’s voice, strengthened but still something of an adolescent whine (though she was 30 when she made it). In terms of songs I rate it a shade off Like A Virgin - up there, but not quite as good. The cover, however, is by far her best ever.
Like A Prayer
It took me a long time to work out what part of M’s body the cover to Like A Prayer shows - her neck and breast area or her belly. This confusion extends to the music. While it features her best ever song (‘Like A Prayer’), two of her other best ever songs (‘Cherish’ and ‘Dear Jessie’) and the tour de force ‘Express Yourself’, in amongst these gems there are some serious weeds. The Prince collaboration, ‘Love Song’ does admittedly get better with more listens, but not that much better (Prince started collaborating when he ran out of his own good ideas). I can’t even remember half of the other songs. At the time of its release it was heralded as Madonna ‘growing up’ – no longer playing dress up and wearing her heart well and truly on her sleeve. Shows what the press knows.
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Monday, 11 May 2009
That's correct people, we're gonna join the Youtube age and should have video evidence of the insanity that is currently being carved out the length and breadth of Ireland, Scotland and England (our one Welsh show was cancelled, sorry guys). So lets hope he makes it back with one and doesn't exchange it for a load of magic beans. Like last time. Curse you magic beans.
I'm getting ahead of myself, things kicked off in Limerick on Thursday 30th of April back on our home island. We hooked up with Maybeshewill and the promoters from Livewire, the irrepressable Mitch and Dave, and made our journey to Bakers Place. The Gig was an absolute blast, crowdsurfing, I got my guitar stuck on some guys dreads mid thrash, pints getting smashed everywhere, a circle pit, just sheer bedlam, the way we like it.
Afterwards we hightailed it to Cork and Mitch's amazing girlfriend, Karen, let the ASIWYFA crew set up camp at her amazing house on the coast at Fountainville. Which is basically the exact opposite end of Ireland we're from. Portstewart/Portrush to Fountainville is quite a trek.
The gig at the Quad in Cork was equally as chaotic and therefore just as much fun, the audience were right in our faces and went totally fucking bananas. Good work.
Then we had the long, long, long drive back to Belfast. Rory and Chris took the drive in shifts and I nominated my self to stay awake and talk complete shit to keep them awake, albeit through a mix of bewilderment and confusion, but hey, it worked.
We got back to Belfast about half 8 in the morning. Tried to get a couple of hours sleep and then business as usual. I got approximately two hours and then went down to the Oh Yeah! Centre, to help give a workshop in conjunction with the grand opening of the new Strummerville Rehearsal rooms. We all hooked up at Custom House Square to get set up and sound checked for our big ASIWYFA vs FWW showdown.
Everybody played an absolute stormer, Maybeshewill, A Plastic Rose and Fighting With Wire all were amazing. The highpoint had to be the finale for us though, FWW, clad in the finest wrestling apparrel available, rushed the stage and we joined up to play Territorial Pissings by Nirvana, we had one rehearsal earlier in the day, but fuck it, its three chords! Craig "The Machine" McKean threw Rory into the crowd like a piece of paper. AND it sold out! Lethal.
Dublin up next, upstairs in Whelans, the place was rammed out and the crowd themselves were amazing and really enthusiastic. After this we had the drive BACK to Belfast to get the ferry at 7am and drive to Aberdeen. Good job we had plenty of Red Bull left over from the Belfast show. Although we were starting to worry about Johnnys burgeoning caffeine addiction. We're here for you buddy.
Aberdeen was completely unchartered territory for us so there was a little trepidation about whether or not anyone would be there! Thaknfully, our fears were duly sedated and a great crowd turned up. the first of a lot of nights sleeping in the van beckoned.
Once more into the breach with Dundee, another place we hadn't played before, and once more fears about lack of crowd were put to bed and the turn out was superb. Cal, let us go use his house as a tea station and a place for showers. Cal, we salute you.
Edinburgh up next, Sneaky Petes, which is owned by a childhood buddy of mine, the immaculately coiffured Nick Stewart. Bruce and John of Firestorm events always promote the christ outta shows so we knew the crowds were gonna be good and we were spot on, Sell Out!
Afterwards our good buddy Rick put us up, and way too much was imbibed, I'm sure the photos and videos from that night will come back to bite us all on the balls. That is if they haven't been seized by the authorities already.
Glasgow next and again another Sell Out, whoohoo! Actually more than a sell out, the capacity was 108 and they squeezed in 132 PLUS they had to turn a few away at the door (sorry guys but we'll be back!). This gig was fucking awesome. Full stop.
Stirling the next day, and although the crowd was a little more subdued, the turn out was great and it was another new town conquered. Amazing veggie curry on the rider to, kudos!
The Celtic leg of the tour was over as made our way to Durham in England, another new town! We really had no clue as to how this would go but it was great, small intimate venue with a great crowd that were totally into it.
Which brings us neatly up to last night, at The Head of Steam in Newcastle, we love playing Newcastle so it was good to be back. Awesome, as always. Massive thanks to Graeme The Harbinator Harbinson for putting us up. Huge thanks to the barman who got Rory so pissed, he's looking fantastic today.
Thas us up to speed, finally! So hopefully we will have some video evidence of the rest of tour...if only Rory can avoid the magic beans...again.
OVER AND OUT
Sunday, 10 May 2009
I'm watching the X-Men Animated Series today. I've had two glasses of red wine today and read four books this week, which is something of a record for me.
Band practices are going really well. What's really cool about it is remaking songs from scratch, some you wouldn't recognize from the album versions. Me and Matt were talking about it last night on the way to see Wolverine, how cool it is that the versions of the tracks that appear on Warpsichord are by no means the definitive versions. The bare bones of the tracks remain the same, but everything else can change and should change. I like the idea that this release will mark a point in history of these songs and this idea. Like a single frame in a roll of film.
When I was finishing off the production of this album I really liked the idea of releasing it as a double sided disc, one side containing the main mixes and the other side the tracks completely reimagined or remixed. The idea being that you wouldn't necessarily know which was which, it would be down to the listener to decide which version was the definitive one for them. I shied away from this idea eventually, partially because of the difficulties that would arise for a DJ from a double sided disc, but also because I want this album to be as accessible as possible from the jump. No gimmicks if possible. But there is no reason not to investigate things in a live setting. Its also going to be really beneficial for the other musicians playing with me to be able to improvise themselves, and that without the rigidity of a backing track I can begin to experiment vocally.
I can't wait to get going with this now. I think Ireland will be first. I've been thinking a lot about my next project recently. I think its going to be pretty fun to work on. I'd like to bring in other musicians for this one I think. I'm so used to working alone, but have found these past few weeks enlightening.
I wonder if I might have a little sleep now. That episode of X-Men where the Morlocks first appear is on and it's one of my favourites.
Would anyone be interested in reading a blog which is less about music and more about my favourite X-Men? Well you might get one anyway.
Saturday, 9 May 2009
Unfamiliar with Wood? Just ask the The Telegraph...
The line up for the 3 days, in no particular order, shapes up a little something like this...
Spiers & Boden, Po' girl, Karine Polwart, Little Sister, Meic Stevens, Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou, Tandara Mandara, Blind Pilot, Stornoway, Co Pilgrim, Dodgy, Gabriel Minnikin, Jim Moray, Jali Fily Cisshoko, Sam Isaac, Nick Holton, Neil Halstead, Brakes, Jonquil, The Week that was, Will Phipps, Nick Davis, Rachael Dadd, Gokart Mozart, John Herguth, Josh Bray, Band of Hope, Theo Altieri
Thursday 7th May
Eminem - 'We Made You' (Universal)
The Blackout - 'Children Of The Night' (Epitah)
Single of the Week
Jack Penate - 'Be The One' (XL)
Deadmau5 - 'I Remember' (Caspa Remix) (Mau5trap)
The Gaslight Anthem - 'The 59 Sound' (Side One Dummy)
Danny Byrd - 'Red Mist' (VIP) (Hosiptal Records)
Album of the Week
Gallows - 'Grey Britain' (Warners)
Track 10: 'Graves'
Hottest Record In The World
Passion Pit - 'Little Secrets' (Columbia)
The Streets - 'A Blip On A Screen'
Graham Coxon - 'Sorrow's Army' (Transgressive)
DC Breaks - 'Pickett Line' (Relentless)
4 Hero - 'Les Fleur' (Talkin' Loud)
Zane vs Edith Bowman
Round 1: Tune you come out fighting to at a boxing ring!
EB: We Are Scientists - 'Nobody Move Nobody Gets Hurt'
ZL: And So I Watch You Form Afar - 'Set Guitars To Kill'
Round 2 - To get you out of bed
EB: Kasabian - 'Klub Foot'
ZL: Friendly Fires - 'Jump In The Pool' (Thin White Duke Remix)
Round 3:A track from a new exciting artist you love at the moment.
EB: Mobius Band - 'Friends Like These'
ZL: The phenomenal Hand Clap Band - '15 to 20'
Round 4: Reminds you of home
EB: Bob Dylan - 'Don't Think Twice'
ZL: Arctic Monkeys - 'From Ritz To The Rubble'
Round 5: Anger Management
EB: Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs - 'Date With The Night'
ZL: Deftones - 'My Own Summer (Shove It)'
Round 6: Track from a Movie
EB: John Farnum - 'The Voice' (from Hot Rod)
ZL: Chris Thomas - 'Hard Time Killing Floor Blues' (O'Brother Where Art Thou)
Round 7:Classic Rave track
EB: SL2 - 'On a Ragga Tip'
ZL: LFO - 'LFO'
Round 8:Old School Classic of Any Genre
EB: Pixies - 'Where Is My Mind'
Friday, 8 May 2009
Taking place over all three days of Oxegen 2009, the IMRO New Sound Stage will be playing host to over 30 artists over the weekend of July 10-12, catering for both breaking new talent and some of the more established homegrown artists. In 2008, the stage played host to nascent Irish artists such as New Amusement, Codes, Halves and Fighting With Wire and from further afield, Blood Red Shoes, The Golden Silvers and Team Waterpolo.
Mogwai and the Saturdays on the same bill? Line-up of the summer, I'm in! Buy tickets here
Tue 16 Jun 2009 UK PORTSMOUTH WEDGEWOOD ROOMS
Wed 17 Jun 2009 UK NEWPORT TJ'S
Thu 18 Jun 2009 UK LEEDS COCKPIT
Fri 19 Jun 2009 SCOTLAND GLASGOW KING TUTS
Sun 21 Jun 2009 HOLLAND UTRECHT HELLING
Mon 22 Jun 2009 LUXEMBOURG KULTURFABRIK
Tue 23 Jun 2009 GERMANY COLOGNE UNDERGROUND
Wed 24 Jun 2009 GERMANY HAMBURG MOLOTOW
Thu 25 Jun 2009 GERMANY BERLIN KNAACK
Thursday, 7 May 2009
Glasgow PodcART post weekly podcasts playing music from both signed and unsigned artists and lots, lots more. The main idea behind the podcast being that we don’t want to create some pretentious ‘Indie’ site and would rather expose as much Scottish talent as possible. No matter what style, what size or how established, we believe everyone deserves a platform to showcase their work.
Monday, 4 May 2009
‘The flu has pig material in it and we are not pigs, we are humans’. So says a Mexican woman in the tiny village where the swine flu pandemic supposedly began - and she may be right that it really started with the pigs on the giant multinational pork farm and that she and her fellow villagers are not pigs but decent human beings.
Moments before reading this I was standing in front of two Dutch men with American accents about to board an aeroplane. They’d been talking about women in general, and they’d just spied the pilot of the plane through the cockpit window.
‘Oh my gawd dude, the driver’s a woman’.
‘Fuck, do those tyres look a little soft to you?’
‘Maybe she’s a transvestite – she’ll come over the intercom with a really deep voice’.
Ten years ago I’d’ve been disgusted by this, blush, appallingly sexist chatter, tossed off banally to hurry up the boarding process. Today, I’d’ve told my younger self to stop being such a prim fag and joined in with a manly laugh. Are we not humans? How did I - no, wait, how do men in general become so vulgar?
In the grand scheme of things, these comments are not really indecent. In fact, they’re generally funny and women like rolling their eyes when men make comments like this, and men like the feelings they get when a woman pays them this bizarre, kind of backhanded attention. The reason I draw attention to it is because of the slowly evolving change I've noticed in myself; and that I’m aware of because it’s supposedly quite normal. For example, I remember when Belle & Sebastian refused to do interviews with the NME because the NME used to wind them up because of their reputation for being so precious, famously spending hours tuning their instruments while the audience waited in silence for them to play one of their soft little folk songs. Their reputation for playing twee music was unfair – their early records, though austere in their delivery and gentle in their approach, displayed Stuart Murdoch’s keen and rather cutting wit throughout, and the general air of seriousness on record was always lightened by Stuart David’s spoken fantasies about building space rockets and seeing Elvis about town. But they got this reputation because they seemed to take everything so seriously, demonstrated most apparently by their refusal to engage with the media. Then, on their later records, their playfulness becomes more apparent; they’re more confident in their delivery and not afraid to be light-hearted or tell stories of overt sexuality. Stuart M’s obsession with female naughtiness, only whispered about on the first few records and hinted at in the underexposed, slightly unintelligible sleeve art, comes to the fore on their last (and best) album The Life Pursuit - and the artwork, of three Catholic schoolgirls in short skirts, is positively fetishistic (and their best ever artwork). On tour with The Young Playthings we once stayed with a girl in Glasgow whose ex-boyfriend had written a recently-published book about them. She told us about how they’d gone from being the darlings of the Glasgow effete soft-indie rock scene to being perceived as slightly perverted older men, evidenced most graphically by a story of her friend catching Stevie Jackson getting a blowjob from a drunken teenager in a club toilet. ‘Brilliant’, I thought at the time, but didn’t say anything for fear of being outed as a swine myself. The book, incidentally, chalks Stuart M’s evolution from passive-aggressive poet to an outwardly aggressive sports and pussy fanatic, to his volatile relationship and eventual break-up with Isobel Campbell, who left the band just after they started having fun.
Speaking of which, women aren’t so virtuous themselves. I read a book called ‘Female Chauvinist Pigs’ and then wrote a song called The Beauty Myth, about how I find foul-mouthed, cigarette-smoking, hard-drinking corporate bitches attractive. In the book, the author laments the loss of demure, modest femininity amongst young American women, laying blame at the door of the omnipotent, omnipresent and omnimedium media, who have emblazoned on our brains an expectation that all women should be eternally youthful with figures, in the words of Tom Wolfe, ‘like 12 year old boys’, their physical femininity defined by huge fake tits, collagen-injected butts and lashings of makeup; and with attitudes as no-holds-barred, take-no-bullshit as the next Mr Testosterone. So are we all dirty little swine, turned on by filth and muck?
I wonder if all this has got something to do with the fact that all humans get testosteroneier with age. Ask any red-blooded man and he’ll tell you that the object of his most lustful fantasies is a barely legal teen girl, perfectly, physically mature but ever so girly. Ask any red-blooded female and she’ll tell you that the object of hers’ is an older, experienced man who’ll take her out for dinner without making a show of how gallant he is and who’ll throw her about the bedroom sans inhibitions after a couple of bottles of the bubbly stuff. Skinny little boy teens with their faggy emo guitars don’t even get a look in. The fact is, men get sexier as their skin becomes evermore lived-in and they get grumpier and more stuck-in-their-ways; and women become more manly and insecure that they’ve lost that youthful femininity. Femininity is youth; masculinity is power, influence and experience.
Of course, like who gave the flu to who, it’s not that black and white. A spokesperson for Smithfield Farms, the multinational that owns the pig farm near La Gloria, the village where the flu was originally discovered in humans, said ‘pigs cannot transmit viral infections to humans but it is a scientific fact that swine can pick up the flu virus from humans’. This might not strictly be true, but ‘flu itself probably got into pigs from humans during the big pandemic in 1918. So it’s possible this epidemic is the pigs’ revenge’. Churchill famously said ‘a cat will look down to a man. A dog will look up to a man. But a pig will look you straight in the eye and see his equal’. And when apportioning blame it’s distasteful to lay it at the door of a subordinate, foolish to accuse a superior, but potentially a savvy move to suggest it’s the fault of an equal. Oh, and you know, pigs aren’t really that dirty. But we all know who started that rumour, right?
Friday, 1 May 2009
The intra-band feud has been simmering for two weeks now and tomorrow night, the matter will be settled once and for all. STA's globe-trotting ultimate warriors Fighting With Wire are threatening to "Whip some ginger boys to within an inch of their lives", Belfast's legion of doom, And So I Watch You From Afar's erudite response "We are coming to Custom House Square on Saturday night for two reasons, to chew bubble gum and kick some ass and we're all out of bubble gum..."
It's unfortunate that it's had to end this way as a label we've always prided ourselves on the community spirit that exists between our artists. Apparently, the spark that ignited the flame was Cahir's verbal abuse of an audience member at Glasgowbury Festival 2008 that threw a can of cider at him. It turns out that the girl in question was 12 and only passed the beverage in question skyward because her hero 'looked very thirsty'.
Or listen to a live altercation via the BBC's iPlayer on Across The Line (listen from about 12"30')
Tickets remain for the Battle Royale priced at a wonderful £5.00 or are available in advance from the Belfast Welcome Centre 028 9024 6609. Doors are at 8pm.
In conjunction with the show we are offering a very special May Bank Holiday Fighting With Wire vs And So I Watch You From Afar bundle. For £15 you can purchase all of the following:
- Fighting With Wire - Man Vs Monster (CD Album)
- And So I Watch You From Afar - And So I Watch You From Afar (CD Album)
- Fighting With Wire - Sugar (CD Single)
- And So I Watch You From Afar - Set Guitars To Kill (7 inch vinyl)
- Fighting With Wire - All For Nothing (7 inch vinyl)
A £10 saving on normal store prices and a great way to remember the gig! The first five orders will receive the last remaining ASIWYFA bonus discs instore containing 8 exclusive tracks.
Buy Tickets Now