Sunday, 30 August 2009

Calories Online Car Boot Sale Part 2


Pete Calories is back with more hard-to-resist bargains

We've been busy recording new tracks over the summer for our forthcoming EP with Big Scary Monsters (more details on that to follow) so we thought it was time for a bit of "in with the new and out with the old" style action.

SALE>>>

You, dearest and beloved reader can have a piece of said action in the form of cut price merchendise, we've dashed our prices to £6 a t-shirt and £6 an album or £10 for both, they're both nearly sold out so if want 'em you'd best act fast.

ALBUM STREAMING>>>

We've uploaded the whole of Adventuring for you to stream whilst you browse our store, try before you buy you know? we won't have these tracks up forever as we'll no doubt be adding tracks from the new album in the coming months.

Lots of love

Pete "This time next year we'll be millionaires" Dixon

Ice Sea Dead People on Poor Girl Noise compilation


Ahead of the release of their debut album on Smalltown America early next year Ice Sea Dead People feature on a impressive CDR compilation released by Oxford promoters, Poor Girl Noise who the trio hope to play for soon...

Full tracklist:
1. Young Pioneers’ Club by Elapse-O
2. Bottle Rocket by Chickenhawk
3. Deux Brouettes by Pneu
4. Hence:Elvis by Ice Sea Dead People
5. Electric Mayhem by Don Vito
6. Engines Play Chords by Shield Your Eyes
7. Keanu Reef by That Fucking Tank
8. Thank You Very Much by Bilge Pump
9. She's Working That Meat Draw by Balls Deep
10. Restless Empire by Papier Tigre
11. Burn by Action Beat
12. New Pastures by Hreda

This CD is of epic scale of quality so please check it out, it's only £2. Mad.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 50

video

The musical event of the Bank Holiday weekend is of course This Ain't No Picnic Derry - 10 acts including The Dangerfields, Panama Kings, LaFaro, Black Bear Saloon and - with offers of suitcases of Mean Fiddler money falling on deaf ears - now headlined by what I'm going to call Fighting With Ferris as Andrew Ferris takes to the stage with Fighting With Wire for a full live set of Jetplane Landing classics and over-ambitious covers for just £8 at St Columb's Hall. Andrew and Fighting With Wire's Cahir O'Doherty took time out from the TANP'D propaganda whirlwind of interviews and PR to showcase some of the bands playing on Saturday and also rocking the STA office with 2 exclusive acoustic Backlash Cop favourites.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 50
26 minutes 9 seconds
Recorded 27/08/09
Tracklisting
00.26 Spectator - On Deaf Ears
04.31 LaFaro - Tuppeny Nudger (from self-titled EP - Field Records)
09.25 Black Bear Saloon - First Against The Wall (from forthcoming debut album)
14.54 Stereo War Favourites - Sleeping Rooms
20.58 Andrew Ferris/Cahir O'Doherty - Sam Cooke (live acoustic version)
23.17 Andrew Ferris/Cahir O'Doherty - Song For Sonia Sanchez (live acoustic version)

If you have any suggestions for future takeovers or want to submit your demo for our forthcoming podcast series, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk

Thursday, 27 August 2009

SMALLTOWN AMERICA ALL DAYER 'THIS AINT NO PICNIC' - SATURDAY 29TH AUGUST 2009

Future Of The Left have had to cancel their Irish tour because of a late selection for Reading/Leeds Festival. We heard about this yesterday - and our apologies to those who have purchased tickets in advance. No problem with refunds at the point of purchase or at the door on production of your WGT confirmation number. As I'M IN CHARGE of the label I've promoted our set to the HEADLINERS... 10 acts £8... looking forward to seeing you all at St. Columb's its going to be an awesome night. Thanks to all the bands for helping to make this happen!

SMALLTOWN AMERICA ALL DAYER 'THIS AINT NO PICNIC'

DATE:
SATURDAY 29TH AUGUST 2009

VENUE:
ST COLUMBS HALL DERRY

ADDRESS:
ORCHARD STREET BT48 6EG

LINEUP: ANDREW FERRIS (JETPLANE LANDING) / LAFARO / THE PANAMA KINGS / BLACK
BEAR SALOON / THE DANGERFIELDS / SPECTATOR / STEREO WAR FAVOURITES / A.E.R / EVE's IPOD DISCO

DOORS: 3PM

MATINEE SHOW: 3:00 – 7:00 (+14)

EVENING SHOW: 7:00 – 01:30 (18+)

IPOD DJ SET - EVE – 3:15 – 3:55
Local sensation Eve kicks off the matinee party with her interactive, thumping indie, electro, hardcore and pop -

A.E.R 4:00 – 4:30

Gorgeous melodies and front-man star-in-the-making, A.E.R. have consistently impressed throughout 2009 - this is their biggest local show so far and deservedly so.

STEREO WAR FAVOURITES 4:45 – 5:15
See below

THE DANGERFIELDS 5:30 – 6:00
The Dangerfields play two types of music: rock AND roll. DIY heroes and touring junkies The Dangerfields' brand of no-bullshit, Ramones-pop is as infectious as it is legendary. This is their first live performance after extended hiatus.

LAFARO 6:15 – 7:00

DOORS CLOSE 7:00

DOORS RE-OPEN 7:15 (18+)

STEREO WAR FAVOURITES 7:45 – 8:15
Co. Derry contenders, SWF have impressed NI's taste-makers with their brand of ATD-I tinged emo-pop. Youthful swagger and scissor-kicking stage antics kick off our evening showcase.

SPECTATOR 8:30– 9:00
Fugazi-inspired, progressive math-rock trio - and possessors of the most insanely complex drummer in NI; Spectator are a Derry three-piece that have just completed work on their debut album.

BLACK BEAR SALOON – 9:15 – 9:45
Leading the NI Hardcore revivial ex-members of Throat and Element combine to produce accessible Bronx-esque muscle-core. Straight up, 4/4 and no fucking about with riffs to burn. Bring it!

PANAMA KINGS 10:00 – 10:30
Fresh from the UK festival circuit and darlings of the mainstream radiowaves, The Panama Kings are Les Savy Fav if they decided to be pop stars for a year. Taut, wriggly, slinky and sexy - with riffs as tight as their jeans.

LAFARO 10:45 – 11:30
Officially, the most exciting band in Ireland right now. Jesus Lizard, Pixies-infused Garage-Core. LaFaro have just completed their debut album - set for release on STA in 2010, we've heard it and it slays - come and see them live.

ANDREW FERRIS (FULL BAND SET) 12:00 – 01:00
Andrew is joined onstage by his good friends Fighting With Wire for a set covering eight years of Jetplane Landing tunes and favorite cover versions - worth the ticket price alone to watch Cahir attempt the guitar solo from 'Know Your Enemy' and fuck it up - again...

Public Service Blogcast Episode 49

video

The penultimate submissions show before the series goes out with a triple whammy of a This Ain't No Picnic Derry preview from Andrew due online later today, the long-awaited - and probably controversial - Let Our Enemies Beware takeover ahead of next month's debut album and the final bumper non-takeover blogcast Episode 52 with a stupid amount of songs that upon uploading will probably tip Google's server over.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 49
34 minutes 53 seconds
Recorded 26/08/09
Tracklisting
00.01 Just Handshakes We're British - Paper Cranes (from Paper Cranes / Talking Picture Double A side – self-released)
04.15 Action Force - Bored Of Being
07.27 Ran - Nebauchadnezzer (from self-titled mini-album - Neck Deep Records)
11.52 Bomb The Music Industry! - 9/11 Fever!!! (from Scrambles album - Quote Unquote Records)
13.23 Alice{Musics} - The Handkerchief Drill
15.42 The B Of The Bang - Lung (from Beginning. Middle. End album - self-released)
20.19 Elephants - Alexander (from Lions EP - Vacuous Pop)
23.09 Green Man Says Go - Burning Owls
26.12 Itch - Here Comes The Cavalry (from An Illusion Of Grandeur From A One Trick Pony album - Tip Toe Records)
30.29 These Waves - Lights Out (from Painting By Units EP - self-released)

If you have any suggestions for future takeovers or want to submit your demo for our forthcoming podcast series, get in touch - email blogcast@smalltownamerica.co.uk

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Calories Online Car Boot Sale Part 1

Getting into the Bank Holiday spirit, Calories have opened the boot and have some fine musical wares on sale if any readers are in the market for guitar and amps. Over to Honest Pete for the patter...

Any of you that know me well enough will know that I really like talking about equipment and being a nerd generally, so this is a bit of a sad time for me, I've decided to let some of my equipment go, I'm selling all this stuff to buy a new bass that will hopefully fill the void left behing from this purging.

If you're interested in buying any of this stuff send us a message or a comment and we'll talk, I can put the item up on our BIG CARTEL page so you could have it in your mitts by the next day. Incase you don't know ono = or nearest offer.

Pete


FENDER TELECASTER (with soft case) £150 (ono)

FOR SALE: Mexican Fender Telecaster Serial Number: MN624710
It's a 1996 model, I've had it since I was at school so obviously there's a few dings and a wear mark at the top, I think it's kinda cool though, two of the saddles have been replaced. I'll take the sticker off and clean it up too obviously.

FENDER ULTIMATE CHORUS £200 (ono)

This amp is great, it's loud and clear with enough options to get the sound your after but not so much it'll give you a headache.
It's the best amp I've used in a band, but I play bass now so I don't really need it anymore.

Specs:2 x12 Fender speakers, Reverb,Stereo chorus,Switchable mid booost,FX send & Return. Stereo or Mono 130 watt RMS Mono or 65 Watt Stereo, Each channel has it's own volume, reverb and tone controls(treble,mid and bass) with the foot switch supplying the chorus effect and channel switching (clean-overdrive)

ASHDOWN MAG 600 £250 (ono)

I've barely used this amp since I bought it last year, I no longer have any use for it.

HERE'S WHAT SOMEONE ELSE SAID ABOUT IT:

Ashdown's MAG Series has been developed for the busy semi pro player who doesn't require all the sophisticated tone shaping and connectivity of Ashdown's flagship ABM range.

Two brand new additions to the MAG Series are being shown at NAMM 2005.
The MAG 600 head provides a massive 600 watts of power and offers a wealth of tonal variation through its simple but effective 5 band EQ section. Rotary Bass, Middle and Treble controls are supplemented by additional rotary controls centred on frequencies of 220Hz and 1.6kHz – each providing 15dB of cut and boost for complete signal contouring.

Further tonal possibilities are possible via front panel push switches for 'Deep' and 'Bright' modes. When engaged, 'Deep' mode provides a warm, rounded quality while 'Bright' mode gives extra bite and attack. Low frequency performance is further enhanced by the onboard sub harmonic generator, which delivers earth-shattering levels of bottom end response.

Passive and Active instrument inputs are standard, along with an effects send and return, tuner/line output and a balanced DI output for direct patching to a mixing console.

The front panel line up is completed by Ashdown's trademark retro style illuminated VU meter, which monitors input level.

Anyone for t... shirts?

Did you come to our This Ain't No Picnic festival in London last year? If so, you might be interested in this:

Matt Littler, artist extraordinaire, has started selling t-shirts featuring the distinctive bear/mermaid-interaction design that graced the festival artwork.



WANT

There's a catch, though! He needs 30 orders within the next two weeks to go into production. GO FOR IT!

In other news, I am currently on a day off work so I can finish off these Let Our Enemies Beware singles I've been hand-making, and so I can list loads of a bit rubbish REALLY REALLY GREAT CD singles that I no longer have room for on eBay. Anyone want to buy some? Go on, help me out. I clearly have no shame and thus need whatever I can get.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Northern Ireland Music Industry Meetup, September 15th

From Nick@ Penny Distribution:

A summer break does everyone some good - and the NIMIM is no different. June's meetup kicked boo-tay (more details on what went down here) and now we're back with a vengeance - September's meetup will consist of, as usual: 30 minutes of focused discussion on a distinct subject, then 2 hours to say hi to a stranger. Don't be shy now.

Wed., Sept. 15th at Lavery's in Belfast - 6-9pm.

This month we'll chat about:

FREE: It's the new black. Despite the use of free as a music tool for YEARS before the MP3, FREE has taken on a whole new lease of life on the internet, and it isn't going away. Why should you give away your music for free? How can you take advantage of free MP3s or online giveaways to grow your reach and fanbase? How do you make some money by giving away stuff for free? And before you just give everything away, what factors should you consider to really help your band or music business benefit from FREE? We'll have a few special guests to announce for this one so save the date!

------------------------------------------------------------

UnConvention Swansea:

UnConvention rolls on with the 3rd UnCon of 2009, this time in the Welsh town of Swansea on Sept. 4, 5 & 6. Happy to see the UnConvention train roll through another station, check out all the amazing events lined up for the weekend over at www.unconventionswansea.com

2010 looks like another busy year for UnConvention - Gronnigen (Netherlands), Brisbane, New Delhi and Chicago are all set to host an UnConvention. Should we have another Irish one? Would you go to it? Answers on a postcard (or, like, an email).

This is the UnConvention Belfast & NIMIM Mailing List - If You Want Offa This Train Ride, Reply with UnSubscribe in the body or subject of an email. Mwa.

Total Ellipse Of The Heart

Imogen Heap’s new album ‘Ellipse’ was released on August 24th, a pivotal date in music history - not so much for the music itself (needy, introspective, alt-pop) - but for the way in which the record has been marketed. It is not an understatement to say that every note, nuance and rhyming couplet created by Heap has been painstakingly documented online for the last four and a half years.

Imogen currently has 932,252 followers on Twitter, making her one of the social network’s superpowers. The making of ‘Ellipse’ has been a regular vLog on YouTube. Her fans created the album’s artwork by submission to a Flickr group. Famously, Heap crushed the sale of a leaked album master on eBay by having her fans bombard the site with ‘take down’ messages.

On its release, the record has been a huge hit, but at what cost? Imogen freely admits that she spends “5% of her time creating music and 95% of the time marketing it”. Unquestionably she is at the top of her digital game – capturing the hearts and minds of her fans. But do we really want artists to be slaves to their laptops – or do we want them to be free to express themselves in purely musical terms?

As record sales continue to decline this method of selling music is certainly the shape of things to come. I can’t help feeling that it’s an awful lot of effort for little reward.

Cargo Collective September 2009

Monday, 24 August 2009

ASIWYFA @ Pukkelpop '09

Just back from a fantastic weekend. Pukkelpop was mind blowing. Faith No More and The Jesus Lizard both killed it. Check out the video below. Thanks to our lovely sound guy Andy Coles for making such a fantastic video blog, and a hundred million thank yous to everyone who came out (All 4,000+ of you!) to see us on Friday.


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Night Before The Picnic

A great poster has hit the interwebs for the Future Of The Left/LaFaro show at Auntie Annies on Friday 28th August, the day before both bands take their rock to This Ain't No Picnic Derry the following night.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 48

video

Public Service Blogcast Episode 48
31 minutes 56 seconds
Recorded 18/08/09
Tracklisting
00.01 Battle For Paris - Baby, You Are My Ammunition Dump (from With A Gun Between Your Teeth, You Speak Only In Vowels EP)
04.16 We're Only Afraid Of NYC - Superpop Allstars.....GO!! (from self-titled EP)
06.43 We Love Turbulence - F.Y.J.K.
11.57 Swimmers - It's Time They Knew (from Fighting Trees album - Mad Dragon Records)
15.45 Sky Lark - Colossus_The_Bear
18.56 Hold Your Horse Is - Christopher Walken (from Everyone Runs Faster With a Knife EP - self-released)
22.04 World Before Wireless - Ask (from Transistor:Resistor EP - self-released)
25.22 The Black Alley Screens - Class A Anecdote (from Mark Freeguard recordings)
28.19 The Bear - Our Peg Your Peg (from forthcoming debut album The Bear Vs The Computer)

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

Monday, 17 August 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 47

video

This week's dive into the ball pit of submissions unearths Google-resistant Scottish post-rock, a band named after my favourite fruit and possibly Fawcett's favourite new twee pop idols.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 47
22 minutes 3 seconds
Recorded 17/08/09
Tracklisting
00.01 The Walking Continent - E.T's Big Adventure Part I
04.21 Pomegranates - Corriander (from Everybody Come Outside album - Lujo Records)
07.35 Moustache Of Insanity - The Ultimate Uno Championship Song (from self-titled EP - WeePOP! Records)
09.03 O Titus! - The Lecturer (from Analogue Demos 2009)
12.33 Favours For Sailors - 50s
15.48 Kidnapper Bell - What Arthur Said (from The Great Outdoors mini-album - Stressed Sumo Records)
19.09 The Adventures Of Loki - Dance Like A Maniac (from self-titled album - self-released)

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

Sunday, 9 August 2009

STA Newsletter - August 2009

I'm going on my summer holidays tomorrow - I hope the 
weather will be nice for the week. 

I couldn't leave though without telling you about all the ACE PUNK ROCK we have going on at STA in August>>

1. [LIVE] Future Of The Left Headline 'This Ain't No Picnic' in Derry - Tickets Now On Sale
2. [ONLINE] The Joy Formidable Takeover STA Blogcast
3. [PRE-ORDER] Let Our Enemies Beware - Pow! Right In The Kisser - Handmade Limited Edition CDR
4. [GOSSIP] ASIWYFA New Material & Own A Slice Of Math-Rock History

(This month's photograph contributed by Ben Jamie)

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1. [LIVE] Future Of The Left Headline 'This Ain't No Picnic' in Derry - Tickets Now On Sale

ASIWYFA back on the festival circuit this month including a debut slot at Pukklepop; Ice See Dead People hitting London hard again; 4 Or 5 Magicians curating their Azzerad-themed Brixton Weekender; two All-Ages gigs in Derry and Dublin and details of This Ain't No Picnic in Derry with headliners Future Of The Left>>

AUGUST LISTINGS IN FULL>>
01  Calories & LaFaro - Warrenpoint - The Square Peg
01  Fighting With Wire - Knebworth - Sonisphere Festival
08  4 Or 5 Magicians - Brixton - Our Band Could BBQ Your Life @ The Windmill, Brixton
08  And So I Watch You From Afar - Enniskillen - Forfey Farm Festival 
09  Ice, Sea, Dead People - Brixton - Our Band Could BBQ Your Life @ The Windmill, Brixton
09  4 Or 5 Magicians - Brixton - Our Band Could BBQ Your Life @ The Windmill, Brixton 
12  Ice, Sea, Dead People - London - Catch
19  Ice, Sea, Dead People - Camden - Tommy Flynns
21  And So I Watch You From Afar - Hasslet - Pukklepop Festival
23  And So I Watch You From Afar - Edinburgh Fringe Festival - Sneaky Petes
28  4 Or 5 Magicians - Brighton - Beachdown Festival
29  And So I Watch You From Afar - Devon - Aeon Festival
29  LaFaro + Panama Kings + Support - Derry - St. Columbs Hall [ALL AGES - Doors 3pm - £5 at the Door]
29  THIS AIN'T NO PICNIC: Future Of The Left + LaFaro + Panama Kings + Black Bear Saloon + The Dangerfields + Andrew Ferris + Spectator + Stereo War Favourites + AER + Beat Poets - Derry - St. Columbs Hall [Doors 6:30pm]
30  And So I Watch You From Afar - Dublin - Academy 2 [ALL AGES - Doors 3pm]

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2. [ONLINE] The Joy Formidable Takeover STA Blogcast

This month enjoy STA Blogcast Takeovers from The Joy Formidable and 4 Or 5 Magicians and sup the cup of brand new music by: Apple iiis; Arcs, Super Extra Bonus Party; White Circle Crime Club; The Yell; Zoos Of Berlin and Sports


Elsewhere on this month on the interweb>>
Bateman from the The Young Playthings extols an inspiring paen to DIY legends J Church
Alan MX contributes another short story from his 'Warpsichord' series entitled 'The Box'
surprising set of musical influences
Full release details of 'Against Karate' by Let Our Enemies Beware

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First single taken from Let Our Enemies Beware's debut album, 'Against Karate'. Thoroughly handmade - a CDR in a handstamped envelope - and featuring three exclusive b-sides PLUS the video to Pow! Limited to 100 copies, costing £4 and only available on the STA store

Pre-orders will be despatched on August 24th, 2009.

1. Pow! Right In The Kisser 
2. This Channel Is Hag-Ridden With Echoes 
3. Thunderbolt Peer 
4. Negative, Ghostrider 
5. Pow! Right In The Kisser [VIDEO]

Please note: a limited number copies of this single will also be bundled with 'Against Karate' when that goes up for pre-order next month.

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4. [GOSSIP] ASIWYFA New Material & Own A Slice Of Math-Rock History

And So I Watch You From Afar have been recording new tracks this month ahead of their Autumn touring schedule: tracks include live favourites 'D Is For Django The Bastard' and 'S Is For Salamander'. Fighting With Wire have also been hard at work on album two - the bits that we've heard are MASSIVE! 4 Or 5 Magicians' debut 'Empty Derivative Pop Songs' is done and dusted with an October release scheduled. Ice, Sea Dead People's debut offering is currently being mastered in Chicago by Bob Weston. On the live front, This Ain't No Picnic will cross the water to London in October and Club:STA will expand to Belfast in September. Those wishing to own an authentic piece of math-rock history may be interested to know that John Calories is selling his guitar amp on eBay. Now if that isn't news - I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS.

Thanks for reading,
Andrew, Ash, Daniel, Brian & Charlene

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Bateman Blog 006: Looking For A Non-Existent Feeling

In light of the ‘Our Band Could BBQ Your Life’ all-(two)-dayer at Brixton Windmill this weekend I decided that now would be the perfect opportunity to indulge in a little ‘this is why I love the greatest band that no one’s ever heard of’ piece. If someone ever gets round to writing ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life 2: The 90s’ they should call it ‘Looking For A Non-Existent Feeling’ and make the first band in it J-Church. Michael Azzerad also wrote the ‘official’ Nirvana biography, and if Nirvana were the apotheosis of American indie rock’s inevitable ascent to the mainstream and beyond, then J-Church were the working band (well, one of the many, it’s true) who stayed the earthly course; who, ironically, kept the indie rock flag flying by virtue of their general lack of success. They jammed econo right to the very end. Nirvana is Hindu for enlightened state of mind with mystical/philosophical connotations; J-Church is public transport - a San Francisco light rail line. I think that says it all.

Lance Hahn was J-Church, even though they were a 3-piece (and, in their final line-up, briefly a 4-piece). Lance was also Cringer and Cilantro. He wrote an e-newsletter called 'It's not a living, it's a life' about the records he was listening to (and selling), and the books he was reading, and the films he'd watched. It was boring and frequently pretentious. He was from Hawaii, lived in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the 90s and moved to Austin, Texas at the beginning of the 21st Century, where he died in October 2007 of kidney failure. He was quite fat.

J-Church peaked with their first album, Quetzalcoatl (named after the ‘feathered snake’, the Mexican god) and the song Good Judge of Character, about a whore (about a voyeur flirting with and fantasising about the dark side), when John Peel once heralded it on his radio show sometime in the early 90s. That was the closest they got to mainstream success. That said, Lance, though only in his early 40s when he died, made music (J-Church, Honeybear Records – his label that mainly existed to release obscure J-Church records – and selling 7-inches by other obscure bands) his living and his life.

It's pretty much impossible to count how many records J-Church released, never mind the number of songs they recorded and the personal anecdotes and books Lance read that inspired them. They're the only band I've ever heard of who included suggested reading lists in their record sleeves – a pompous self-indulgence maybe, but also an example of how making physical records was once a way for people who embraced a certain view of the world (or at least pop culture) to communicate with one another. In my mind there's no doubt that Lance Hahn wrote some of the greatest songs ever about solitude and futility in life that expressed a warmth and sense of community (in loneliness or ennui) rather than anger or depression.

I respected Hahn most for the fact that he literally wrote a soundtrack to his own life. It may not be a great canon of work; it may be quantity over quality (in comparison, Ryan Adams is a perfectionist) but you truly get a sense of who he was from his songs. The lack of theatricality or adventure added to its charm. Watching Michael Jackson's memorial service on TV it was jarring to see my generation's finest performer's 11 year old daughter speak of her grief at losing her father. I'd come to imagine his children as masked figurines in MJ's very own atrocity exhibition. The very real grief she displayed hammered home the reality of the rather uncomfortable voyeurism we, the great unwashed, indulge in over our garishly glittering stars of print and screen. He was a faded pop star but he was also a father who did fatherly (weirdly fatherly) things with his children. J-Church do not compare in brilliance to Michael Jackson. But they had something he never had - normality - and Lance Hahn fashioned his own averageness into an almost constant stream of lo-fi consciousness, via a series of bedroom-operated 'record labels' from the US to the UK, Germany, Italy, Australia and Japan. People didn't buy J-Church records because they were captivated by their unique talent but because they were a peculiar type of record collector who liked the songs, the song titles, the humour and pathos, the record sleeves - the whole imperfect package.

Music’s never been escapism for me; rather, it’s been a way of engaging with the world and articulating how I feel about my experiences. Songs are a bit like constellations I think, in that if you look at a writer’s body of work you can trace an outline of who they are/were from it. The smaller the canon the more brilliant certain stars may shine but the vaguer the constellation. There were quite a few dull stars in Hahn’s constellation (and a few that were dead the moment they burst into existence) but there were also some that really shone in the tiny, alternative galaxy in which (and for whom) they were written. The list below is by no means exhaustive, merely a mix tape of my favourite J Church moments, all part of a very clear constellation the majority of us know all too well – the small victories, the minor letdowns, the flush times and the lean times, the nostalgia and the aging pains (physical and mental), the way we’re fashioned by family, friends, work and not knowing what tomorrow has in store for us.

November (from Camels, Spilled Coronas and the Sound of Mariachi Bands) – ‘As the rain falls hard it falls on the people waiting for the bus home / No matter who you are, you feel the same when you're wet, cold and alone’.

Favorite Phrase (from Camels, Spilled Coronas and the Sound of Mariachi Bands) – ‘You're telling me that you're leaving… / …And then I feel the hem of your dress / And the warmth of your breath on the back of my neck / So come to bed, turn out the light / And let's fuck just one last time’

Tide of Fate (from Nostalgic for Nothing) – ‘Nothing's moving, Nothing's breathing, Nothing's changing, It's sorrow / Nothing's ever gonna make me plan tomorrow / I could sleep under open skies if I'm back at work by Monday / Swim against the tide of fate if I'm back at work by Monday’

Sleep (from Nostalgic for Nothing) – ‘Someone is sleeping on my street, I step over them because I need my coffee / Someone is playing in the hall, I hope they don't grow up at all and burn my house down’

Why I Liked Bikini Kill (from Prophylaxis and The Precession of Simulacra, The Map Preceeds the Territory) – ‘This song is in defence of and in tribute to a great band’

To The Moon (from Travels in Hyper-Reality) – ‘I've never wanted to go to the moon or grow too old too soon / Now you're talking like it's something special to do’

New York Times Book Review (from One Mississippi) – ‘I wish I was an international sensation, I'd blame these words on a bad translation / …The sky is full of lots of things,Evil dreams and the coming rain / Rain must be true, I read it in a New York Times book review’

Leni Riefenstahl’s Tinderbox (from One Mississippi) – ‘There is no time to redefine Leni Riefenstahl / Ignorance may be her only crime / Forget the Führer, Forget the images / Art for art's sake is a lie’

Simple Gesture (from The Drama of Alienation and Whorehouse: Songs and Stories) – ‘I've had three apartments since I last saw you / I kept your letters, Your hate mail, I kept too / …I saw hail for the first time late last night, / All I can say is I'm glad I was inside / re-read your letters so I could feel sad / For the first time they didn't make me think of times we had’


Waiting on the Ground (from Arbor Vitae) - Everyone's singing the white boy blues, Haven't they heard the news? / You can't get away with that attitude until you've paid your dues / Playing in basements and playing in clubs, Playing wherever you can / Touring the States eight hours a day in a shitty, fucked up, rental van / Feeling like crap and eating shit, Living on next to nothing / Go back home to your shitty job, I don't feel that I owe you anything’

Faye Wong (from Altamont '99) – ‘I harboured the usual expectations of Hong Kong as a glamorous and exciting place. I found it to be no big deal. I wasn’t very happy because I didn’t speak Cantonese and had no friends’.

Panama (from Nostalgic for Nothing) – ‘Did you ever think that Cripple Creek could be still at night? / A million broken stereos are stars in the sky / The one thing I will always hear is the constant ringing that's in my ears / It reminds me of the stars in your eyes’

Tricky (from Palestine) – ‘I want a cheese and mushroom omelette / I want a microwave oven’

Friday, 7 August 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 46

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For this takeover of the blogcast STA's Andrew Ferris caught up with BBC Radio Ulster's Stephen McCauley to discuss probably the best Northern Irish event in the summer festival calendar the small but massive Glasgowbury which took place last month and was headlined by ASIWYFA.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 46
25 minutes 19 seconds
Recorded 16/07/09
Tracklisting
00.29 Black Bear Saloon - Face The Future (from forthcoming debut album)
07.11 LaFaro - Mr Heskey (from EP 2 - self-released)
12.32 Cashier No. 9 - To The Death Of Fun
17.54 And So I Watch You From Afar - Clench Fists, Grit Teeth... GO! (from self-titled album - Smalltown America)

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

Public Service Blogcast Episode 45

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This episode: unquestionably one of THE bands of 2009, Ritzy, Rhydian and Matt aka The Joy Formidable present tracks from both their record collection and their A Balloon Called Moaning album. If you've failed to catch them live this summer then we ask 'How?' as they've played every festival going with the Festival Republic Stage at Reading/Leeds still to come and in the autumn they support Editors and Passion Pit. Plus they have pioneered use of the innovative Music Glue website as a means to promote their self-released album; if you don't own it here's how you can.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 45
34 minutes 17 seconds
Recorded 03/08/09
Tracklisting
01.38 Patti Smith - Free Money (from Horses album - RCA/Jive)
06.46 The Twilight Sad - Walking For Two Hours (from Killed My Parents And Hit The Road album - Fat Cat)
12.15 Passion Pit - Seaweed Song (from Manners album - French Kiss)
17.28 Type-o-Negative - Love You To Death (from October Rust album - The All Blacks BV)
25.33 The Joy Formidable - The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade (from A Balloon Called Moaning album - self-released)
31.23 The Joy Formidable - Austere (from A Balloon Called Moaning album - self-released)

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

STA All Ages Bank Holiday August

We've got two all ages gigs happening on Bank Holiday August Weekend - WOOT!

This Ain't No Picnic - Matinee
St. Columb's Hall, Derry - Saturday 29th August
Doors: 3pm-6pm
Door Tax: 5 Lids
Bands: LaFaro plus support

Then - And So I Watch You From Afar plus support (in conjunction with MCD)
Academy 2, Dublin - Sunday 30th August
Doors: 3pm
Loot Required: €11.80
Buy Tickets Now

Bus leaving from Belfast to Dublin for the ASI show being announced soon.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Future Of The Left to Headline This Ain't No Picnic - Derry Version

The last time I saw FOTL was in a Mexican restaurant in Texas - even more oblique will seeing them play at St. Columb's Hall in Orchard Street in Derry at the end of the month (August 29th to be precise) - regional press release here. St. Columb's Hall is where little kids go to perform Irish Dances and sing Gregorian Chants in a competion called The Feis every Easter in Derry. The irony of FOTL ripping seven shades of shit out of such a pastoral setting is not lost on me.

Kudos to Brian and Charlene for pulling this lineup together - it's so good that I told them that I wanted to play as well. I can do things like that because I'M IN CHARGE. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Spectator, Black Bear Saloon and LaFaro - who are leading the current NIHXC revival. This really is a cheap ticket and it would be great if you could all buy in advance from WeGotTickets - Kelson's rider alone is costing a bomb.

If you don't have 'Curses' or 'Travels With Myself And Another' yet - then you're missing something integral in your musical life. Records so strong in fact that Brian Magill bought real ACTUAL COPIES WITH PAPER INSERTS AND EVERYTHING. If MCPS got hold of this man's computer they'd take him to the cleaners. Perhaps he's fearful of the wrath of Falco and rightly so, so irate was he over the leakage of the new record - "'Buy' such a dirty word...perhaps I should come to an arrangement with my landlord, through the musician-rent-waiver programme" - the man is a legend.

Full lineup is: LaFaro (Main Support), Panama Kings, Black Bear Saloon, Andrew Ferris, Dangerfields, Stereo War Favourites, Spectator, AER and The Beat Poets.

Our show kicks of at 3pm on Saturday August 29th at St Columb's Hall in Derry and admission is a bargain £8.

Tickets are available in advance from We Got Tickets - Right Now!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Alan MX: The Box

Warpsichord is a love story, but with robots, zombies, monsters and dark rooms at every turn.

....one of the Anterooms was dressed in darkness. If there had been a door it would have closed behind me I suppose, but in it's absence the air thickened and my ears popped against the pressure.

I slid on my knees nervous of the darkness and began to crawl forward. Until I hit a barrier.

It was a struggle to pull myself to my feet and as I grasped at the monolith before me a layer became soft and like fabric. It peeled like skin and released leaving me crumpled again on my knees.

The flesh removed I could begin to see the edges on the structure, glimmers from an unknown light source. My eyes were straining to see, burning in the effort so the light may have emitted from them.

To touch, it felt solid. Hard and immovable metal, still as bone. But visually it appeared to be moving. Undulating. It rose and fell slowly like the shallow breath of a recent sleep. I felt a strange comfort in our symmetry.

Now on my feet; the box came navel high and its relief top shifted slightly under my touch.

I opened the lid with a palmful of blood and placed my wet hands inside.

There within were millions of taught strings. I ran my hands across them, harplike, to find that they were irregular and unparallel. Some thick and metallic, others seemingly made of tightly rolled paper. There was a halo trailing after my wandering strumming fingers, a hum, but blunt and sharp simultaneously. Almost silent but piercing in the surrounding vacuum.

The hum grew into a rumble. The rumble to a roar, and as my bones began to shatter and my skin tore back, the blackness morphed to sickening colour.....

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 44

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Ahead of this weekend's marathon of bands playing the 4 Or 5 Magicians curated Our Band Could BBQ Your Life at the Brixton Windmill, all paying tribute to the influential 80s American underground pioneers documented in Michael Azzerad's must-read Our Band Could Be Your Life, Dan Ormsby presents a selection of tracks from both coverers and coverees.

There are a few tickets left, grab them here.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 44
38 minutes 34 seconds
Recorded 04/08/09
Tracklisting
01.07 Wonderswan - Cut It
04.11 The Muscle Club - Be Glad You're Neurotic (from Fragmented Ideas From Young Lungs album - Small Town Records)
07.26 Everyone To The Anderson - Harpoon Flesh Wound (from Doodlebug EP - Toy Soldier Records)
12.29 Ice, Sea, Dead People - My Twin Brother's A Brother (from forthcoming Teeth Union album - Smalltown America)
15.44 Winnebago Deal - Manhunt (from Plato O Plomo album - Fierce Panda)
20.19 Black Flag - TV Party (from Damaged album - SST Records)
24.40 The Replacements - Color Me Impressed (from The Best Of The Replacements: Don't You Know Who I Think I Was album - Rhino)
27.37 Minutemen - I Felt like A Gringo (from Buzz Or Howl Under The Influence album - SST Records)
30.09 4 Or 5 Magicians - Nice Little Earner (from forthcming Empty Derivative Pop Songs album - Smalltown America)
34.24 Dinosaur Jr - The Lung (from You're Living All Over Me album - Sweet Nothing 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

4 Or 5 Magicians' BBQ Could Be Your Weekend


This weekend sees the 4 Or 5 Magicians curated weekender in honour of Michael Azzerad's biography of the 13 pioneers of the American alt-rock scene, Our Band Could Be Your Life which you are strongly recommended to attend - great music, great burgers, scary dog on the roof all a few minutes walk up the hill from Brixton tube. Over to Dan Ormsby...

In my most bold gig organising venture to date, I have arranged a wonderful weekend of music, both regressive and original at the same time - a bit like Back To The Future I suppose, just with bands more punk rock than Huey Lewis and The News.

I've done a couple of more general nights at The Windmill in the past under the name 'There's Nothing Wrong With Covers' where I've picked some awesome bands we've had the privelege to watch, meet, play with, or all three, around the country, where they came and did a split set between their own songs, and the songs of a classic alt-rock band. After the last one, an attendee suggested basing the next night around Michael Azzerad's biography of the 13 pioneers of the American alt-rock scene, Our Band Could Be Your Life, surely one of the best music books in existence. As it contained at least 10 of my favourite bands of all time (and 13 I admire, and highly respect), I pounced on the idea.

I set about doing it in early spring, and finally, a few weeks ago, I formed a finalised lineup of 13 of the best alternative bands in the UK to take part. With the best punk rock venue in London, The Windmill in Brixton on board, and the promise of a free-for-all BBQ on both days, this can only be all kinds of win.

There are still a few advance tickets available (links below) I advise either buying in advance (there will be a slight markup on the door), or getting down early to avoid disappointment, as there has been a lot of interest in this event, and The Windmill is only small!

Below are the full details. If you can possibly get to this, and don't come along, you are quite simply a fucking bellend.

Dan x

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OUR BAND COULD BBQ YOUR LIFE
@ THE WINDMILL, BRIXTON
Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th August 2009

A two-day weekend spectacular featuring the cream of British alternative talent taking on all 13 bands profiled in Michael Azzerad's much lauded American underground rock biography 'Our Band Could Be Your Life'.

SATURDAY 8th AUGUST :

WINNEBAGO DEAL as BLACK FLAG - 10:50 to 11:30pm
4 or 5 MAGICIANS as THE REPLACEMENTS - 9:55 to 10:35pm
WONDERSWAN as MUDHONEY - 9:10 to 9:40pm
INTERNET FOREVER as BEAT HAPPENING - 8:25 to 8:55pm
NOT COOL as MINUTEMEN - 7:40 to 8:10pm
DUTCH HUSBAND as SONIC YOUTH - 6:55 to 7:25pm
THE JELAS as MISSION OF BURMA - 6:10pm to 6:40pm
DAN ORMSBY as PAUL WESTERBERG - 5:45 to 6:05pm

Saturday Doors 5:00pm. FREE BBQ at 5:30pm. Bands 5:45pm to 11:30pm. Late night alternative disco after 'til late!

SUNDAY 9th August :

The XCERTS as HUSKER DU - 10:00 to 10:40pm
4 or 5 MAGICIANS as DINOSAUR JR - 9:05 to 9:45pm
THE MUSCLE CLUB as FUGAZI - 8:15 to 8:50pm
ICE SEA DEAD PEOPLE as MINOR THREAT - 7:30 to 8:00pm
EVERYONE TO THE ANDERSON as BIG BLACK - 6:45 to 7:15pm
AMY BLUE as BUTTHOLE SURFERS - 6:00 to 6:30pm

Sunday Doors 5:00pm. FREE BBQ at 5:30pm. Bands 6:00pm to 10:40pm.

SATURDAY DAY TICKET : £6

SUNDAY DAY TICKET : £5.50

WEEKEND TICKET : £10

Videos and further info here!

Facebook event: add yourself, and invite anyone you think may be interested!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Smalltown Feature on 'An Sceal Nua' - Beware Foreign Language Alert!

Rare glimpse of STA Towers - thanks to Chrissie McGlinchey and the team for coming to talk to us

Sunday Papers Vs ASIWYFA


Flicking through the supplements had STA spitting croissant all over the duvet: ASIWFYA - awful name, brilliant music - so say the Observer in their glowing Truck review.

And So I Watch You From Afar - Live @ Oxegen 2009

This is what went on, on the other stage at Oxegen 2009 - take that KOL.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 43

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The first of the final 10 sort-of weekly shows before the caterpillar-like blogcast mutates into a beautiful audio butterfly – so get your submissions into the electromail in-tray quick - including forthcoming headliners of the This Ain't No Picnic August Bank Holiday all-dayer in Derry (St Columbs Hall to be exact) Future Of The Left. Follow this blog for the latest on the full line-up and tickets.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 43
33 minutes 12 seconds
Recorded 02/08/09
Tracklisting
00.01 Future Of The Left - Stand By Your Manatee (from Travels With Myself And Another album - Too Pure)
02.37 Apple iiis - Lost Between The Lines
06.07 Arcs - Surprises In Different Sizes (from Surprises EP - self-released)
10.00 Super Extra Bonus Party - Comets (featuring Heathers) (from Night Horses album)
13.08 White Circle Crime Club - The Islanders (from Pictures Of Stares album - Crime Club Recordings)
17.16 The Yell - Party Lounge (from Down With The Yell album - Marquis Cha Cha)
20.48 Zoos Of Berlin - Below The Old House (from Zoos Of Berlin EP - self-released)
24.17 Sports - Vegetables (from I'm Hungry mix album - self-released)

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

Truck 2009

Last weekend was an STA-heavy one for the lucky 5,000 Truckers on lovely Hill Farm in Steventon on the outskirts of Oxford. Much doffing of caps go to Darren, Tim and the rest of the team at Rock Sound for curating the immense barn of rock on the Sunday which saw shred from Calories and also - one of only a couple of bands who aren't called Sky Larkin or who included members of Supergrass in the line-up that still had folks queuing up outside to get in the oversubscribed barn - ASIWYFA, both of whom played new material that went down predictably well, alongside powerhouse sets from Pulled Apart By Horses (at last new songs! one of 'em sounds like Nirvana!) and The Joy Formidable.

Swerving off roster for a moment, anyone who hasn't seen Glasweigan post-electro glitchgroovers Errors on Mogwai's Rock Action imprint are strongly advised to check them out; incredible!

And let's not forget a too-brief Backlash Cop heavy laprock set from Andrew Ferris. Check out the video if it's on YouTube yet to see why a few hundred people left the Village Pub stage wondering if they'd really just witnessed what they thought they had.

A bit late I know but here's the pre-Truck feature that ran in the August issue of Rock Sound.