Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 54

video

This episode is a takeover from the mysterious and sickeningly inventive Lemonade Kangeroo, one of the best new electronic musicians unearthed in the blogcast series. In his own words - A kangaroo jumping up and down on a Midi Keyboard (actually USB), while kicking a computer stuffed with samples and, on the track Rowan, Tim (who I hope doesn't mind me using just his first name - it could be considered a bit forward as we haven't actually met) who has allowed me to use one of his amazing (bit brown nosey so far? am trying not to) poems in one of my mediocre songs! You may have seen Tim on the TV in Charlie Brooker's Screen/Newswipe or in Cowards - a BBC sketch show that was also a Radio 4 series (which I still haven't heard)

Public Service Blogcast Episode 54
39 minutes 42 seconds
Recorded 02/08/09
Tracklisting
00.01 Lemonade Kangaroo - LK's Intro
02.31 Lemonade Kangaroo - Rowan ft. Tim Key
05.21 Lemonade Kangaroo - Missing Words
09.16 Sunken Foal - Can't Fuck The Moonlight (from Fallen Arches album - Planet Mu)
12.03 Dabrye - My Life (from Two/Three album - Ghostly International)
15.15 Lemonade Kangaroo - Clank
19.29 The Stranglers - Sweden (All Quiet On The Eastern Front) (from Black & White album - EMI)
22.17 Tiga - Shoes (from Ciao! album - 3201937 Canada Inc)
27.20 Lemonade Kangaroo - The Human
30.16 Exile - The Sound Is God (from Radio album - Plug Research)
33.20 Flying Lotus - Testament ft. Gonja Sufi (from Los Angeles album - Warp Records)
35.41 Aphex Twin - Logon Rock Witch (from Richard D James album - Warp Records)

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

Sunday, 27 September 2009

And So I Watch You From Afar: September Tour Diary

Early on Wednesday 16th September the band, myself (Graham) and Brian met up in Belfast, fresh faced, bags full of crisp clean clothes, and a sparkling new tour bus. A rather sexy red bus with bunks to comfortably sleep 7 people (or 11 people in cramped conditions), two tvs, xbox, dvd player and, the ultimate, mirrors on the roof. We are incredibly proud of our new investment.

We have a problem though. The van does not yet have a name. I think you will agree a band van without a name is almost as horrific as never giving your child a name. In fact some may say it is worse. This is where you, our lovely lovely friends, can help us out.

Name our van for us please. We will go through all your suggestions and whichever name we choose will get guestlist to any gig you choose, a free t-shirt and maybe even a beer from our rider (depending on how many beers we have on the night / how many Johnny decides to drink).

So, after making a short detour to pick up a huge order of new shirts we drove to the Ferry and headed over to England. We then should have an uneventful journey to Exeter but our Sat Nav decided that it would be a good idea to take us through the middle of the Snowdonia Mountains. In the pitch black. In a new and quite large van. I am sure the scenery is stunning during daylight, but at night it just made for a rather horrible trip with several cases of travel sickness (no puking in the new bus, fear not). Eventually we arrived at our destination and bedded down into our fresh smelling bunks for the night.

Our first date of the tour was The Cavern in Exeter. The first show of a tour is often riddled with problems but this did not seem evident at all and the band and crowd seemed to enjoy the show.

The day after the Exeter show was a day off. That's right people, we did one show and then decided we needed a little holiday. This consisted of a short drive to sunny Bournemouth where we went to the house of the Uncle and Aunt of Chris the powerhouse of a drummer in ASIWYFA. To say we were well looked after would be a gross understatement. Steaks, BBQ, wine, Jack Daniels, beers, cigars, comfortable beds…followed by a fine breakfast in their beautiful back garden. We could get used to this. But we are on tour for a reason and that reason is not to be pampered. On no no no. That reason is to ROCK / RAWK.

So, we left our lovely hosts behind and headed to Portsmouth for the Southsea Festival. As we were headlining one of the stages it meant a long day of waiting around but luckily the sun was out and their were plenty of good bands to see. Showtime arrived and we entered what is possibly the warmest venue this side of hell. It was a great show but the heat did leave us all feeling incredibly drained.

And then, we had another day off. Because we are lazy.

Monday was the Barfly in London and boy it was a good one! A large appreciative crowd left laden with new t-shirts and CDs. Tuesday was Norwich where we played to a smaller crowd but we all enjoyed the show a lot... most importantly we resisted the urge to quote Alan Partridge. It was incredibly difficult to resist this, due to the fact Partridge DVDs have been playing in the bus constantly since we left Belfast.

Touring is a series of ups and downs, swings and roundabouts. A few good shows, a few not so good shows - not necessarily terrible but not the best either. This was the case for our gig the following night in Oxford. The band played an average show. Not terrible but not great either and for a band like ASIWYFA, perfectionists, average is just not good enough. Their were various small reasons behind this (guitar problems being one of them) but the main reason was that we have discovered a fault in our otherwise perfect new van; the damn petrol gauge is hugely inaccurate.

We ran out of fuel in the middle of a motorway. What followed was an almost 4 hour break, the details of which are incredibly dull so I will not bore you too much. The point is we arrived too late to soundcheck.

A soundcheck is just as the name suggests - it is a period of time several hours before the doors open to the public where the sound is checked to see that all instruments can be heard clearly by audience and band members alike. Even the best soundman and most professional band will struggle to play a good show without a soundcheck. This was the case in Oxford. So, what followed was an average show.

The Barfly in Cardiff on Thursday was where we really picked up again. It was agreed that it was up there with one of the finest ASIWYFA shows ever. The band and the crowd were firing on full cylinders and after a lengthy encore the band spent a long time at the merch table meeting the fans, old and new.

At the beginning of next week we will be putting up a short video from the tour so far and by the middle of next week their will be the first of the band blog entries, written by Mr Tony Wright. We will also post a blog soon with answers to your many questions to the band - email us with any other questions you may have.

Keep any youtube clips, photos, questions for the band or blog suggestions coming in.

Graham

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Ice Sea Dead People - New Bass Player


Here's a update from Craig on changes to the Ice Sea Dead People board of directors:

So Eddy's in America, and David and I aren't. We're all cool to continue so I'm picking up the six strings and passing on the bass to Jamie.

His first gig with us is in Brighton today at the Hobgoblin, which is FREE. Playing with us are 5 other bands including chums Rodeo Death Burger and a secret act opening the night...

Thursday, 24 September 2009

STA Newsletter - September 2009


I type from a very hot store cupboard where STA Autumn/Winter CD Samplers are being burnt and printed crisply ahead of tonight's (24th Sep) Club: STA launch in Belfast, you want news… we got news! >>

1. [LIVE] And So I Watch You From Afar, 4 Or 5 Magicians, Calories, The Moi Non Plus, Club:STA (Belfast & London) and City Of Song Festival (Derry)

2. [ONLINE] STA On Spotify

3. [ORDER] Let Our Enemies Beware – ‘Against Karate’ – Debut Album Launch Gig Special Offer!

4. [GOSSIP] ASIWYFA New EP and STA Speaks @ In The City…

(This month's photograph: ASIWYFA @ AU Party, Belfast – Courtesy AU Mag)

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1. [LIVE] And So I Watch You From Afar, 4 Or 5 Magicians, Calories, The Moi Non Plus, Club:STA (Belfast) and City Of Song Festival (Derry)

ASIWYFA back on the road this month ahead of their support tour with This Will Destroy You in October ----- 4 Or 5 Magicians are gearing up for their debut album tour with Times New Viking, Japandroids and Johnny Foreigner support slots ----- fresh from the studio Calories announce a Youves co-headline run of shows ----- new STA signings The Moi Non Plus hit the UK to take on In The City amongst others ----- Winnebago Deal come to our side of the water to launch Club:STA in Belfast ----- Club:STA in London hosts Shapes and Ice Sea Dead People @ The Good Ship ----- STA’s City Of Song Festival kicks off this weekend in Derry >>

SEPTEMBER 2009

24 And So I Watch You From Afar - Cardiff , Barfly

24 4 Or 5 Magicians – Brighton, The Freebutt

24 (CLUB:STA) Winnebago Deal & LaFaro – The Menagerie, Belfast

(FIRST FIFTY IN GET FREE STA 10 TRACK EXCLUSIVE SAMPLER)

25 And So I Watch You From Afar - Liverpool, The Masque

26 And So I Watch You From Afar – Birmingham, The Flapper

26 Let Our Enemies Beware – Lewisham, Fox & Firkin

26 Ice, Sea, Dead People - Brighton, The Hobgoblin

27 And So I Watch You From Afar – Sheffield, The Corporation

28 And So I Watch You From Afar – York, Fibbers

29 And So I Watch You From Afar – Manchester, Moho Live

30 And So I Watch You From Afar – Dundee, Fat Sams

OCTOBER 2009

01 And So I Watch You From Afar – Aberdeen, Tunnels

02 And So I Watch You From Afar – Glasgow, The Twisted Wheel

03 And So I Watch You From Afar – Edinburgh, GRV

03 (CLUB:STA) Shapes, Ice Sea Dead People, Instruments & Illness - London, The Good Ship

03 Ice, Sea, Dead People – London, The Good Ship

07 And So I Watch You From Afar – Preston, The Mad Ferrit

08 And So I Watch You From Afar – Newcastle, WHQ

09 Ice, Sea, Dead People London - Unit 3XXX

10 4 Or 5 Magicians – London, The Garage

11 And So I Watch You From Afar – Dublin, Whelans

12 4 Or 5 Magicians, Brighton - Hectors House

16 And So I Watch You From Afar – Plymouth, White Rabbit

16 The Moi Non Plus – London, White Heat @ the Lexington

17 And So I Watch You From Afar - Milton Keynes, Pitz Club

18 And So I Watch You From Afar - Brighton, Audio

18 The Moi Non Plus - Manchester, In The City

19 And So I Watch You From Afar - Birmingham, Academy

19 4 Or 5 Magicians - Brighton, Oxjam @ Hanbury Club

20 And So I Watch You From Afar - Leicester, Firebug

20 The Moi Non Plus - New York , Cakeshop / Subbacultcha! CMJ Showcase

20 Ice, Sea, Dead People - London Tom Robinson's, 'Fresh On The Net' Festival @ Riverside Studios

21 And So I Watch You From Afar - London, Camden Underworld

21 The Moi Non Plus - New York, Piano's CMJ Dayparty

22 And So I Watch You From Afar - Nottingham, Rock City

23 And So I Watch You From Afar - Glasgow, Ivory Blacks

23 Illness - Southampton, The Hobbit

24 And So I Watch You From Afar - Leeds, Damnation Festival @ University Of Leeds

26 The Moi Non Plus - New York, WFMU Radio / Beastin' The Airwaves CMJ Showcase

27 4 Or 5 Magicians - London, White Heat @ Madame JoJos

27 Calories - London, Scala

28 Calories - Brighton, Audio

29 Illness - Brighton, Caroline Of Brunswick

31 4 Or 5 Magicians - Barnstaple, Inn On The Square

City Of Song Festival 24-26 September – Various Venues, Derry

Lineup includes: Valerie Francis, Pocket Promise, Clown Parlour, Daveit Ferris, Gentry Morris, Jackson Cage, Johanna Fagan, John Shelly & The Creatures, Johnny Black, Kitty & The Can Openers, Matt McGinn, Mel Wiggins, Pixie Saytar, Rachel Austin, Ray Dunn, Shauna Tohill & Tom McShane

Myself and Stephen McCauley (Radio Ulster – Electric Mainline) will be spinning discs at the launch night at The Bound For Boston – Thursday, 24th September - Visuals by F21. Holy Shit Batman! That’s tonight!

All events are FREE – programme details can be found on the official City Of Song Website – hosted by our festival partners Music 55-7.

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2. [ONLINE] STA On Spotify

You can now stream a large portion of the STA catalogue via Spotify – as well as releases from our peers, friends and influences (Holy Roar, Big Scary Monsters, Ecstatic Peace!, Woodsist, Paw Tracks, Monotreme, Anticon…). A good day indeed for independent listening.

Elsewhere on the interweb this month>>

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3. [ORDER] Let Our Enemies Beware – ‘Against Karate’ – Debut Album Launch Details

Awesome, spine-tingling math-darkcore by Medway quartet LOEB, several years in gestation – the album is finally unleashed on an unsuspecting public. You need this record in your life – it is absolutely fantastic, trust us.

THE ALBUM LAUNCH is tomorrow (Saturday 26th September) at The Fox’n’Firkin in Lewisham. You should be there. If travel is a problem there will be a coach from Medway. Contact STA for the deets:

Album Tracklisting:

1. I Am Lono

2. Pow! Right In The Kisser!

3. Personal Space Invaders

4. Fools! Philistines! Heretics And Whores!

5. Between Us And The Sun

6. Noise Equals Death

7. I'm Not Laughing I'm Choking

8. Inhale: Sleep

9. Momento Mori

All album orders for the next seven days (until October 1st inclusive) will get a free copy of Daniel’s lovingly handmade, ‘Pow! Right In The Kisser!’ single.

4. [GOSSIP] ASIWYFA New EP and STA Speaks @ In The City…

And So I Watch You From Afar have finished mixing their next release – entitled ‘The Letters EP’ – you will not be disappointed ----- Fighting With Wire have decamped to Nashville to begin work on second album, song titles include ‘Erase’, ‘Graduate’ and ‘Fire Away’ ----- Alan MX has been working with New Yorker Brad Walsh on some new collaborative material ----- Ice, Sea Dead People's debut album is back from Chicago and sounds INCREDIBLE ----- LaFaro are putting finishing touches to their debut album in Bangor, Northern Ireland ----- Calories have recorded a second bunch of songs to conclude their ‘Habitations’ set, according to Tom Calories "it's amazing" ---- Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, you can hear me talk about running a record label at Oh Yeah – Belfast (25/09/09), Hot Press Music Show – Dublin (04/10/09), BarCamp – Derry (10/10/09) and In The City – Manchester (20/10/09) – please come and say hi!

Thanks for reading,

Andrew, Ash, Daniel, Brian & Charlene

Twitter Blog Myspace Facebook LastFM

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Moi Non Plus Remixed - Free Download

Influential club music blog Discobelle is giving away an mp3 of the Brenmar (These Are Powers drummer) remix of Sudden Impact by The Moi Non Plus. Click on the image to the right to download.

Said remix along with other re-workings by the likes of About and The No can be found on The Moi Non Plus Remixed. How do you get it? You pre-order the Moi Non Plus album!

Monday, 21 September 2009

And So I Watch You From Afar Photoblog

A new written blog episode from ASIWYFA will be coming in the next 2 days and a new video blog will be online by the end of the week, but until then here are a few images from the past few days taken by Graham Smith...














Sunday, 20 September 2009

The Moi Non Plus - Free Download

The good people at Neu Magazine and The 405, fine musical outlets both, are offering a free mp3 of Ha Ha Ha, one of the 12 tracks on the Moi Non Plus album out Oct 12th from well, us.

Neu Magazine
The Moi Non Plus are having a right laugh with this track from their new album. Rolling their R's and havin' a good belly laugh over typically staggering rumble-riffs, we're punch drunk for Ha Ha Ha

The 405
These guys are damn good

Public Service Blogcast Episode 53

video

Recorded in the office of their Subbacultcha! magazine, Leon and Bas aka Dutch underground beat-skronkers The Moi Non Plus present tracks from their self-titled debut album - out October 12th on STA - the accompanying remix album that quick-fingered STA customers will be rewarded with for pre-ordering the album from us over the next couple of weeks, as well as songs from quite possibly the best new bands to have emerged over the last couple of years such as Women and Fuck Buttons.

The Moi Non Plus play a White Heat night at the Lexington in London on October 16th and Manchester In The City two days later on October 18th before jetting off to New York for the annual CMJ event between October 19th - 25th. There'll then be a 2 week MNP UK tour in November.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 53
34 minutes 59 seconds
Recorded 18/07/09
Tracklisting
00.20 Gang Gang Dance - First Communion (from Saint Dymphna album - Warp Records)
03.25 Women - Lawncare (from self-titled album - Jagjaguwar)
08.26 The Moi Non Plus - I Lie (from self-titled album - Smalltown America)
11.26 Holy Fuck - Milkshake (from LP album - Young Turks)
15.58 The Moi Non Plus - Sudden Impact (Brenmar Remix) (from The Moi Non Plus Remixed album - Smalltown America)
20.50 Fuck Buttons - Ribs Out (from Street Horrrsing album - ATP Recordings)
24.48 The Moi Non Plus - Jill Sander Makes Your Eyes Black (from self titled album - Smalltown America)
28.48 Sonic Youth - Tunic (Song For Karen) (from Goo album - Geffen)

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

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

And Here We Go Again From Afar!


Hello everyone, my name is Graham Smith and I work with ASIWYFA, you may remember me from posts from their European tour earlier this Summer.

Tomorrow we all re-group again, pile everything into our sexy new red bus and hit the road for what should be a very interesting few months of touring.

Throughout the coming months there will be blog entries 2 or 3 times a week and a short video once a week. Everyone will be helping to write these entries and compile the videos.

The first proper blog entry will come later this week and will include information about the music and clothing which will be available on the upcoming tour.

Don't forget you can follow us on Twitter for more up to date news and nonsense.

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

We are very keen for fans of ASIWYFA to get more involved with blogging. If you have any questions for the band, get in touch and we will do our best to answer them through these blogs. It could be questions about their equipment, upcoming releases, plans for the future or anything else you would like to know.

If you photograph or film the band on the upcoming dates and are ok with your material being used on these blogs then please send youtube links or photos to the below address.

We also welcome any ideas you may have regarding the written or video blogs, please feel free to get in contact at anytime.

The email address for the above material is asiwyfablog@hotmail.com

Monday, 14 September 2009

Friday, 11 September 2009

Alan MX: The Origin of the Howl

"When you close your eyes is it hell that you see?"
("Ghost" from Ginger Snaps Unleashed)


In The Dark Half by Stephen King, Thad Beaumont; an author, keeps a stock of two fully complete but unpublished manuscripts in a vault, so that in the event of writers block a publishing deadline can be met. It's a book I enjoyed to a point, but donated to a friend twenty pages before the end. I just didn't care anymore, I had suffered with it for a long time and my heart just wasn't in it. But the concept of a secret cache of material to be called upon in an emergency is really interesting.

I went through a lot of my old files on my main computer tonight. sifting through for fragments that weren't all THAT bad, and maybe weren't finished as a result of poor timekeeping or a more polished idea being born.

When I am working on a new piece I very rarely come up with it's title at the inception point. Its usually much later when the libretto is skeletoned that the title raises its head. As such, most of these files were given nonsense names. Messes of consonants; achieved by mashing the keyboard in a hurry, not fully formed enough to even earn an epithet. I'd mourn for these abortions, but as I learned tonight, some of them deserved better.

I'm resurrecting a few pieces that lacked vocals in their neoteny. I've found pieces of processed trumpet blown by my own small lips, and scars of untrained violin reverbed into significance. Splattering beats chopped and arranged salad style around thudding guitar. I'm quite pleasantly surprised by the songs my mind condemned.

One piece though, innocuously named "fleer" was particularly pregnant. I opened it and not knowing what it was pressed play. What I heard was my voice carrying a moan that I cannot even parody now, and of which I have no memory. Under all the layers of delay and reverb flooding the base vocal, there was still a haunting, not entirely friendly sound.

It reminded me of the video they find aboard the Event Horizon.

About a year ago, I was on some pretty heavy duty medications which affected my concentration and more notably my memory. My creative fires were also doused and it was, all in all, a mostly grey time. A smudge. I think this recording must have been done during that time. It would be indulgent to try to forensically pick apart it's archeology, but the Howl was so alien I feel I need to play detective.

I'm not going to interpolate it into any future music, because it's too stupid and emotional to be walking. But it gets me thinking about how we make music. The initial melody comes and after that we blend and chop and simmer harmonies and dissonances and rhythms to complement or destroy that original fragment. But where does that initial idea come from? Whether you pick it out on a piano or scream it into a dictaphone, that collection of notes has come from somewhere. Although it would be nice, it's probably not a message from another dimension, beamed into our heads and spat out in tongues not our own. There is a possibility that it comes from something which mathematics cannot claim, some primal urge to raise the tone and lower it. Perhaps the vibrations that sound causes in out bodies leads us to change frequencies or quicken pace. Some of my favourite musical moments are the ones where music SHOULD be but isn't, and that sudden silence leaves me panting for the continuation. (Kim Hiorthoy's Melke album has plenty of evidence of this) Perhaps the way to music is to shut off the sense of society we have earned. Give into the mammalian urges to grunt and roar and see what happens. Cut the cord. Cut the Chord. Songs can come after, but for that instance of conception it may be that we have to get really dirty and uncivilized. Like sex. To create a life, first you must degrade yourself and become victim to your own urge.

So picture me, scratching the ground with my hoof, snarling and being the monster disregarding all the civility that life has impressed upon me. barking into the microphone, bellowing my Wampum prayer and giving myself over to the self inside.


Which is fine until I close my eyes......

Show THIS WEEEEEEKEND



Details over here on the real website.

As that says, this is going to be my penultimate show in London. If you've ever come down to one I've done, I thank you. For the most part, and despite the number of sleepless nights they've caused me, it's been a blast.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Alan MX: Jessica Drew

Jessica Drew, like Firestar and X-23, was created for television outside of the Marvel Universe proper. Apparently a rival company began developing a cartoon series called Spider-Woman, obviously derived from Spider-MAN. So Marvel rushed into action and created a Spider-Woman of their own, hastily copyrighting the moniker to put a halt to the rival. And so Jessica Drew, the first official Spider-Woman was born.

I've had a long standing affection for Jessica, and was beside myself when I began collecting again a few years ago to find that Bendis was steadily feeding her back to the world. She was big in the seventies and had her own series then which ran for about fifty issues I think, which is pretty good going. BMB brought her back to the forefront of the collective Marvel mind, much as he did with Ms. Marvel in House of M, and has made her one of the most intriguing characters in the MU today. It's so heartening to recognize this resurrection. Its one of the things that really excites me about comics and there rolling continuity. A character can seem throwaway and unimportant in their first incarnation, and all it takes is a talented writer to remember them and endorse their relevance with retroactive continuity. A fantastic example of this is the issue of The Sandman which deals with Element Girl. A female analogue of Metamorpho who I had never heard of before reading this series with the ability to transform her body into the various constituent elements of creation. Magnesium, hydrogen, she is an elective shapeshifter whose transmutable body can survive discorporation and dissection, and who is immune to poisons and radiation. Which is a wonderful power, virtual immortality. She comments that she fears she could even survive ground zero. If you want to die, however, you have a problem. This story by Gaiman brings Urania Blackwell out of the obscurity typically bestowed upon female counterparts of established male heroes and tells a heartbreaking story about depression and suicidality. It's a great metaphor, it doesn't necessarily take immortality to render you incapable of self harm. Our human instinct for self-preservation can sometimes be a glorious default but at times a painful obstacle.

I didn't realize that Element Girl had a wealth of comic appearances in more mainstream adventures before this story. And it was exciting to discover that superheroes fuck up and find themselves fucked up. All those times when your memory deludes you that you USED to be this or USED to be that; but are no longer, the pining for the person you were once and things you could have done before is mirrored in Element Girl. She USED to be a heavy hitter and now she hides agoraphobically in the haven of her apartment waiting for the girl with black hair to arrive. It's the bittersweet illumination that people are only human. The two Dark Knight series by Frank Miller show an ageing and disagreeable cast of superheroes, fractured Supermen, Women of Wonder and BatMen. The grizzly bear of Bruce Wayne gurns and bitches his way in a changed world and adapts by using bigger guns and enforcing a zero tolerance mantra. And of course, The Dark Knight film brought to the world of cynics a seedier more hopeless version of the Caped Crusader, a man who has everything to lose and is in fact, just a man. The formerly comically naughty Joker is now replaced with a man suffering psycho/sociopathic mental illness.

This doesn't need to be a depressing phenomenon though. Quite opposite in tone is the moment in Alias when Spider-Woman, formerly freewheeling darling of seventies California visits private eye Jessica Jones apartment, shocks her with a venom blast and states: "Listen up, bitchcakes. I'm Jessica Drew and what you just got a faceful of was my spider-bite. Where the fuck is Mattie Franklin?" GOD! such a FINE moment. Not that cursing denotes maturity or an evolution of the character necessarily, but it suggests a significant departure from her earlier personality. I was ecstatic! It singled Drew out as a grown up superhero, full of the tics and fractures we familiarize with as human beings. She says 'fuck', she probably fucks even, she probably smokes and has anxiety attacks. It's amazing to marry this to the character I grew up loving.

And it just grows from there. Bendis allied her with the Avengers, albeit a New Avengers, grittier and darker and, consequently; far more relevant than the traditional Avengers. From there he forced her through the humiliation of being revealed as a double or triple agent, the ostracism this caused in the Civil War and finally the revelation that all these things happened to an imposter. Thats right; The Jessica Drew we have been speaking of since those immortal curses in Jones' apartment (presumably, the actual diary of events remains unclear) was not Jessica Drew.
Veranke was a Skrull queen, the skrulls being familiar shapeshifting antagonists in the Marvel Universe since the early sixties. The Skrulls are again party to stark and modernist revisions, casting them as a serious equivalent to real life terrorists rather than the comical rubberfaces they were in earlier issues. Jessica Drew was replaced by Veranke at some point in history and it turns out that under this guise Veranke has led a secret invasion of the earth, resulting in a huge catastrophic showdown in New York where she announces her plans to colonize earth. The earth doesn't see Veranke though, they see a demented Spider-Woman announcing invasion. From the end of the invasion Drew is in exile. The world doesn't trust her and she is returned to an earth she too cannot trust. And I couldn't be happier. As her solo series begins anew, we are going to be met with a Spider-Woman who is vicious and angry and raped and bitter. A Lady Snowblood on a Tarantino-esque mission of vengeance. It's like Tom snapping and pulling a knife on Jerry or submitting him to electro shock therapy. The status quo is rocked and everything is changing. Which is exactly how I like it!

I don't think the medium of comics is credited with enough importance, whats sad is when people associate seminal works with the Beano or other frivolous publications. Watchmen was listed as one of the top fifty novels of the 20th century by Time Magazine, Maus won the Pulitzer. These are two seperate worlds. And some of the comics coming out at the moment are so rich in characterization and social comment, some of the things I read are as important to my mind as great works of literature. I challenge you to remain unchilled by the Generation M miniseries, or flaccid before the blood spatter of X-Force.

I can talk about comics forever, I wrote my dissertation at University on the subject, and I think I'll probably write a lot more about them in the future.

Alan MX: Wookey And His Shields

My friend Michael Wookey is finishing his third album. I've known Michael for a while now and my love for him just about balances the fierce jealousy I harbour of his musical gifts.

A few years back a friend gave me a copy of Michael's second album, beautifully titled You Shield Me from Darkness. It must have been winter at the time, because everytime I hear these songs I have frost on my memory and woolen jumpers embracing my frame. In my technological retardation, the album I have starts with the marauding slur of Keep a Promise rather than the correct lead of I Can Show You Things, and it's a song that I find so nourishing. It's typical of it's brothers and sisters in the gorgeous chaos of instrumentation, but this patient tells a story not only in words and chord progressions, but also in tone and intent. The spoken count in at the songs alpha and the sombre drone that follows is a theatrical leveling. It widens the eyes, this lacuna of murmur which lasts only seconds until the falling xylophone provides the true genesis, but it's this little segue; marking the transition from loaded silence to majestic procession which tickles me.

Michael is guilty of creating little shanty towns in his songs. Little one act plays with beginnings middles and ends and all the intrigue and event of a rich local history. If sounds were transferrable to the written word these songs would be Dylan Thomas. And there is something very Under Milkwood-y about this album. The characters in Michael's sonic legion are thick with folklore and triumphs and failures. Each song boasts a congregation of sonics, parishioners with dark secrets beneath the floorboards and live skeletons in various closets.

Just as you come to grips with the haunting theremin, grizzled vocal and maudlin sense that something here is really paralyzing, the townsfolk collect and gather round a campfire for the chorus. The depersonalization and seclusion of the verse is replaced by a swinging romance of hope. He choirs his voice as omega draws near and the effect is prayer like. Sanguine is sought after and received as we fade out. There's more than music here, note that I didn't say JUST music, its evident from You Shield Me From Darkness that Michael Wookey is a novelist. And a good one.

I was talking to Mike about my green at the way he works tonight. The difference between us is that Michael truly creates the sounds you hear, through a family of seasoned and mutated instruments he has adopted and birthed over his career. His paternity over every ping and crash is in no doubt and is proven by the intimate performance only a father could achieve.

Michael lives in Paris with his wonderful lady Laura-Jeanne, speaking french and performing his arias for the people of France. I'm so envious of Michael I could literally die. The otherworldliness of is creations is quantified by his fearless residency in a foreign country. I'm eager to experience the beautiful solitude of being surrounded by people but hearing nothing. Well, not HEARING nothing, but perhaps not comprehending anything. It's difficult enough to concentrate on absence of thought, the haven for creatives, in this country with everyone blithering and intruding on my cipher. And I love to hear people talking. Listening to conversations can be exhilarating and informative, and also as pleasurable as symphonies. The lilting dissonances and impulsive changes of pitch and timbre. But at times you need a white noise to find the pebble in the cave.

Michael speaks far better french than I could imagine, but it must be wonderful to hear people talking and not have to hear what they are saying.

As well as covetousness; I am suffused with an immense pride and sense of privilege to know Michael personally. After disconnecting from skype tonight, following a conversation with Mike, I took myself outside to indulge my need to fog my lungs and listened to Keep A Promise again.

Someday I am going to sit down with him, perhaps; if I am lucky, in Paris, and talk about this song and the stories it tells me.

You should talk to Michael too.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Fighting With Wire: Man Vs Pan Pipes


Hey everyone!

Long time no... anything really! The FWW monster has been locked away writing lots of new material for album number 2, and we can tell you a little more about what's going on!

In 2 weeks time the FWW Team will be heading over the Nashville USA to spend roughly 6 weeks in Dark Horse Studio.

Pretty nice ay?!

The album will see the fellows working with a legend of the music world in the shape of Nick Raskulinecz (check his wikipedia and see all the millions of famous types he's worked with) who will be producing the new record.

There WILL be another round of legendary diary entries on the way which will post in the blog section and on FWW TV.

There'll be news on shows and such like to follow, but for now that's your lot!

Cheers

Sam FWW Team

Let Our Enemies Beware Gig Utterances

Filthy Whore-Slags, hear my utterances:

Utterance #1: ROAR Festival in Gravesend this weekend (11th - 13th September). We have a few tickets left. You want them, huh? You NEED them, eh? No problem. They are four of your dirty English pounds. Let us know if you want some by contacting us.

Utterance #2: THE ALBUM LAUNCH on Saturday 26th Septmeber at The Fox N Firkin in Lewisham. You should be there. If travel is a problem there will be a coach from Medway. Again, let us know the crack by Saturday 12th September LATEST. LATEST. LATEST. E-mail us. Now, get to it.

Godspeed.

Master Meat.

4 Or 5 Magicians' Dan Ormsby: Not Scott Walker

Hello I'm called Dan, my band 4 or 5 Magicians just signed to Smalltown America Records. We are set to release our debut album Empty, Derivative Pop Songs on October 26th. I'm very much looking forward to this, in fact, I'd go as far as to say I am quite excited.

However, any time I get excited about my own music, I remember that I am not Scott Walker. And for this I can only apologise.



Maybe one day when I am over the age of 50, I will make music that merits at 45 second introduction by Jools Holland.

Until then, enjoy my ramshackle debut.

xxx

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 52

video

A year to the week (pretty much) the series launched, here's the 52nd and final submissions-based Public Service Blogcast and we go out with bangs from Gaggle, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Sucioperro plus tracks from 2 of the bands playing the next STA London show - The Terrordactyls and Superman Revenge Squad play live on Saturday at London's Wilmington Arms, doors at 8pm. Scroll down for the poster.

The blogcast's been both fun (the buzz from stumbling across a genuinely great mp3 from an undiscovered band that unceremoniously appears in the inbox) and a huge ball-ache (anyone who's tried to upload a video file to Blogger will understand what a RAM gobbling chore it is). Thanks to all the bands that agreed to have their song played and to everyone who got in touch to say nice things.

The occasional guest blogcast takeovers will continue and October will see the launch of the downloadable monthly STA Public Service Podcast - you'll get to hear it first right here.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 52
43 minutes 34 seconds
Recorded 07/09/09
Tracklisting
00.01 Bygones - Fool Evolved (from By- album – Sargent House)
05.13 Gaggle - Hidden Army
09.22 Superman Revenge Squad - Captain Non-entity (from This Is My Own Personal Way Of Dealing With It All album - self-released)
12.15 The Terrordactyls - Zombie Girl (from self-titled album - Don't Stop Believin' Records)
14.17 Ethical Debating Society - Hobson's Choice
16.46 Elk - Lightheavyweight (from We Should Start Our Own Gang - self-released)
19.14 Something Beginning With L - Say (from Beautiful Ground single - Drift Records)
22.50 Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Bournemouth (from All In One Sixty Dancehalls EP - Greco Roman)
27.12 Prince Harry - My Hands
31.44 Sucioperro - Dissident Code (from Dissident Code EP - Xtra Mile Recordings)
35.33 Le Reno Amps - The Stand Off (from Tear It Open album - Drift Records)
39.52 Reuben - Blitzkrieg (from We Should Have Gone To University double album - Xtra Mile Recordings)

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

Monday, 7 September 2009

Alan MX: The Importance Of Reading A Book

I'm writing again, which is a huge relief.

After finishing what is probably my seventh Angela Carter book, I am suffused with a level of creativity I had thought impossible. One of my Dad's friends, a lyricist, said once that words were like cats: they come when they want to. Which is exactly the same with music. I have tried for the best part of a year to write something leading enough to turn into an album. Something with enough of a comet tail to steer my spaceship into the next quadrant.

Wise Children got the ball rolling. When I read this I remembered how liberating fiction could be. A notion that is strange for me to forget seeing as I am surrounded by fiction everyday. Nora and Dora Chance were the two slutty old ladies who got my pen hand wriggling again, but it was Fevvers who sent it shooting out of the cannon. Fitting, what with her wings and all.

I've written a garden of lyrics and poems informed by Angela Carter's canon in the past few weeks. And I realize that without novels and stories, music is just noise.

For Warpsichord, I took a lot of inspiration from classical horror and science fiction. The God Song and Cuckoos were direct reflections of John Wyndham (Chocky and Midwich Cuckoos respectively) and Franks Monster was plainly Shelley. Also present were the tones of Marvel Comics, which I have collected and obsessed over since my childhood, when one Sunday afternoon I travelled back from London on a train with my brother and filled my mind with his What If story featuring Phoenix of the X-Men.

It's probably really cheeky, but when I read a story or identify with a character so completely I am compelled to absorb them and turn them into actors in my own story. Not necessarily rewrite their story, but put it into my own flourished and overtly camp words. When I wrote Hawkeye, I was writing about a couple of things, most plainly; Clint Barton of the Avengers and, perhaps more covertly, about a terrible relationship I just about survived with my skin still on. I whored Barton to my purposes, and I feel a little guilty for it.

I get a funny feeling in my stomach when I think of all the books and comic books I haven't read yet. Music and literature are the only two things in this world that thicken my blood. And they are essentially two ends of the same piece of string. My ideal eternity would be me and a computer and some instruments and a horde of books. As long as I could dwindle the hours until twilight with singing till i bled and reading till my eyes melted I would be happy. I could cope with nihilism, I could weather apocalypse if I could sing and read. For all my fear of old age and the certainty I harbour that old age is something I will not see, I would relish the opportunity to indulge my interests in my end days.

Generally, in the past I thought the only relevant song was one that conveyed a message of import. I would lace my songs with hidden barbs of 'morality'; in inverted commas because my notions of morality are heavily flawed and immature, feeling that there was no point unless a political perspective was announced. I think in my neotonous mind I was trying to make myself in the image of protestors I had nothing in common with. I never marched for Pride, I never survived a blitzkrieg or held my breath. It's only now in this current equinox (soon to be eclipsed by greater knowledge no doubt) that I come to my senses and see that a song is a story. A political view is served by fable and a moral missive is issued by folklore and myth.

I don't think I'll ever be able to parody a politic. I'm too uneducated at this lofty age of 27, I'm too muddy in the mind to strike a philosophical question to its core; Sartre makes sense until I forget the terminology and I am too cowardly for atheism.

In many ways; to survive, I need NOT to know things, because the result is wonder. A quality far too lacking in our society, too lost in its literal slavery. It's not that I believe Fevvers stories or wish upon poor departed Carter an intangible and invisible position as narrator.

I don't need to believe in God or aliens, but the potential is so inspiring
.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

4 Or 5 Magicians Video for New Single

Here's the laugh-out-loud (or LOL as the yute say) and aptly zero budget video of a surprisingly athletic 4 Or 5 Magicians for their Nice Little Earner single which will be available as free download on October 12th.



Shot on location in Brighton by Graham Pembrey and edited by Mark Pembrey

There will also be 100 unique hand-finished CDs available from the merch desk at the plethora of 4 Or 5 M shows over the autumn - check the STA shows page over the coming weeks. And two weeks later will see the streeting of the band's long awaited debut full length record Empty, Derivative Pop Songs - STA pre-order customers can pick up an exclusive Live In Bristol bonus disc when pre-orers go live later this month.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Club STA Opening Night - Belfast Menagerie - September 24th


Hey - Winnebago Deal headline Club STA's first show in Belfast on September 24th - free label compilation to the first fifty people through the door - hardcore!

City of Song Final Lineup Announced

It's that time of the year again - this year STA's Singer Songwriter Trail is extended across 9 venues in the Maiden City and features 24 breaking talents. Did we mention that Valerie Francis is playing... oh yes, I've mentioned that before. Latest addition is last of the great Delta Bluesmen - T-Model Ford. For further details - drop me or Charlene an email.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 51

From Let Our Enemies Beware:

This is our blogcast. Don't listen to it.

Seriously DON'T.

LOEB would like to thank Vicious Biting Thing for his dedication to THE CAUSE.

At one point we have paraphrased a quote from the Armando Iannucci Show without permssion. We would like to make it clear that we are huge fans of the work of Armand Iannucci and that of Alan Ford. Whilst we do have the utmost respect for them, we were compelled to hear their work through a threatening Stephen Hawkins-esque voice-box named 'Fred'. Please don't sue us or we will come round and batter the chins from your living skulls.


video

Public Service Blogcast Episode 51
25 minutes 48 seconds
Recorded 10/07/09
Tracklisting
00.45 Let Our Enemies Beware - Noise = Death (from forthcoming Against Karate album - pre-orders coming soon - get a free exclusive bonus disc - Smalltown America)
04.24 Honey Ride Me A Goat - Quentin's Curly Shoes
06.55 The Ergon Carousel -
Hindsight Is A Wonderful Thing (from Ergon EP - Holy Roar Records)
08.17 Mind Without Maths - What You Advertise
13.02 Cups On Strings - Flight Plan Four
16.38 And So I Watch You From Afar - The Voiceless (from self titled album - Smalltown America)

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

ASIWYFA Webcast & Tour Info

Following LaFaro's footsteps, And So I Watch You From Afar were subjects on the latest installment of Bangor Tech's impressive vodcast series. Bangor Tech is part of Northern Ireland's South Eastern Regional College - Music and Performing Arts faculty.




November

1st - Leeds University (Brainwash Festival w/ Efterklang, Grammatics,
We Vs. Death, These Monsters)
Woodhouse Lane, LS2 9JT
www.brainwashleeds.co.uk / 0871 230 0010
Wed 25 - Cardiff Barfly (w/ Vessels & Brontide)
Kingsway, CF10 3FD
www.ticketweb.co.uk / 0844 847 242

Thurs 26 - Manchester Academy 3 (w/ Vessels & Brontide)
Oxford Road, M13 9PR
www.gigsandtours.com / 0161 832 1111
Fri 27 - Nottingham Seven (w/ Vessels & Brontide)
6 Ilkeston Road, Canning Circus, NG6 3GE
www.seetickets.com / 0871 230 0010
Sun 29 - Dundee Fat Sams (w/ And So I Watch You From Afar & Vessels)
31 South Ward Road, DD1 1PU
www.ticketweb.co.uk / 08444 77 1000
Mon 30 - Aberdeen Tunnels (w/ And So I Watch You From Afar & Vessels)
Carnegie's Brae, AB10 1BF
www.ticketweb.co.uk / 08444 77 1000

December

Tues 1 - Glasgow King Tuts (w/ And So I Watch You From Afar & Vessels)
227 St. Vincent Street, G2 5RL
www.gigsinscotland.com / 08444 999 990
Wed 2 - Liverpool Masque (w/ And So I Watch You From Afar & Vessels)
90 Seel Street, L1 4BH
www.ticketweb.co.uk / 0844 847 24 24
Thurs 3 - London Heaven (w/ And So I Watch You From Afar & Vessels)
9 The Arches, Villers Street, WC2N 6NG
www.gigsandtours.com / 020 7403 3331