Sunday, 29 November 2009

Alan MX Reviewed On Phantom FM's Front Row

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

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

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Huw Stephens Spins 4 Or 5 Magicians

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

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

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 59

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

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

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

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

Let Our Enemies Beware Playlisted on XFM London

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

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

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

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

Phantom FM Poll: Best Of 2009

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

Calories EP Review

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

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 58

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

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

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

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

Skibunny On Tour With Har Mar Superstar + Album News

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

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

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

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

And So I Watch You From Afar on Across The Line

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

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

LaFaro Jan/Feb Tour

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

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

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

So we booked some shows -

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

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

29th Jan - Newcastle - World Headquarters

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

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


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

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

Mucho amore,

LaFaro xx

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

And So I Watch You From Afar Say Hello From Budapest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All the best always



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


Watch this

Then this

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Zikotown Vs Niketown? Raccoonify Your Feet!

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

Music Managers Forum - Dublin Sat 28th November

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Friday, 13 November 2009

Warpsichord : first sighting

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

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

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

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

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

Do you have any record deals on offer?

4 Or 5 Magicians on Journalism

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

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


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

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

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

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

Expecting some more reviews to come in this week.

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

RIP Dad, I'm doing the business!

Dan xx

Thursday, 5 November 2009

4 Or 5 Magicians Tour Begins Today

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

Once again, the tour calls at :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you on tour,

Dan xx

ASIWYFA: Lowdown On New Records


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

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

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


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

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


4 Or 5 Magicians: Dan Goes To Shows Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Calories vs Slow Club

The following are all stolen from Rebecca Slow Club's twitter. Sometimes guys I really like the internets and the wonders it can bring forth.

edit: please note we're not taking this at all seriously, and we certainly don't think Rebecca is a cow. It's just REALLY FUNNY. REALLY REALLY FUNNY. Seriously, I love Slow Club. Their set at Latitude was just to die for. <333333

SO ANGRY the name 'Calories' for a band is taken and they r SHIT. SO UPSET
about 1 hour ago from web

oh ppl are mad cos i said they were shit. maybe they are not but im too bored to listen to anymore. sorry.
39 minutes ago from web

GOD world sorry Calories are great
38 minutes ago from web

oh, now im worried i started band beef. i didn't mean it Calories. i'm a massive cow in a shit band. there i said it for you.
35 minutes ago from web

Its just that your band name is SO GOOD and im jealous. cos im that kinda girl.
32 minutes ago from web

Calories release a new EP through Big Scary Monsters next Monday, and new album Habitations will follow through us early next year. Slow Club are ace and their album Yeah So is out now via Moshi Moshi.

November Newsletter

Good Evening,

No let up before the Christmas rush at the STA Office, the roster is in full swing - so onto this month's news>>

1. [LIVE] And So I Watch You From Afar, Calories & 4 Or 5 Magicians on tour
2. [ONLINE] Free Calories Download, LaFaro Podcast and Cahir FWW Vs Pumpkin
3. [BUY] Debut Albums from 4 Or 5 Magicians & The Moi Non Plus, Limited Edition Calories EP & ASIWYFA/Talons Split Single On Big Scary Monsters

This month's photograph - 4 or 5 Magicians On Tour!
1. [LIVE] And So I Watch You From Afar, Calories & 4 Or 5 Magicians on tour

From Warsaw to Dundalk - STA bands take to the road in November bringing some Autumnal noise to your town. ASIWYFA return to Europe before supporting Oceansize in the UK ----- 4 Or 5 Magicians tour their 8/10 Rock Sound rated debut album with The Muscle Club ----- Calories show-off their new denim with Youves ----- LaFaro and Ice, Sea, Dead People patrol their respective local turfs.

05 Calories – Nottingham, The Bodega
05 4 Or 5 Magicians – Cardiff, Buffalo Bar
06 4 Or 5 Magicians - Bath, Moles
06 Calories - Brighton, The Freebutt
07 Calories – Southampton, Lennons
07 Ice, Sea, Dead People – London, Catch
07 4 Or 5 Magicians – Coventry, Taylor John's House
07 LaFaro – Draperstown, Cellar Bar
08 Calories – Reading, Oakford Social Club
08 4 Or 5 Magicians – London, The Flowerpot
09 Calories – Birmingham, The Flapper
09 4 Or 5 Magicians – Portsmouth, The Cellars
09 And So I Watch You From Afar – Germany, Duisberg Steinbruch
10 Calories – London, Barfly
10 4 Or 5 Magicians – Brighton, The Hobgoblin
11 4 Or 5 Magicians – Southampton, Hamptons
11 And So I Watch You From Afar – Austria, Graz Forum Stadtpark
12 4 Or 5 Magicians – Bristol, Heartbreaker @ Start The Bus
12 And So I Watch You From Afar – Austria, Vienna Chelsea
13 4 Or 5 Magicians – Newport, Le Pub
13 And So I Watch You From Afar – Austria, Innsbruck PMK
14 4 Or 5 Magicians - Oxford Vacuous Pop @ The Cellar
15 4 Or 5 Magicians – Reading, Oakford Social Club
16 And So I Watch You From Afar – Hungary, Budapest Durer-Kert
18 And So I Watch You From Afar – Poland, Poznan Pod Minoga
19 4 Or 5 Magicians – London, The Fly
19 And So I Watch You From Afar – Poland, Warsaw, Jadlodajnia Filozoficzna (Philosophical Cafeteria)
20 4 Or 5 Magicians – Lewisham, Fox & Firkin
20 And So I Watch You From Afar – Poland, Krakow, Lodz Kaliska
20 LaFaro – Belfast, Stiff Kitten
21 Let Our Enemies Beware – Peckham, Ivy House
25 4 Or 5 Magicians – London, The Fly
27 Ice, Sea, Dead People – London, Club.The.Mammoth @ The Hobby Horse
29 And So I Watch You From Afar – Dundee, Fat Sams
30 And So I Watch You From Afar – Aberdeen, Tunnels
01 And So I Watch You From Afar – Glasgow, King Tut's
02 And So I Watch You From Afar – Liverpool, The Masque
03 4 Or 5 Magicians – Leicester, Firebug
03 And So I Watch You From Afar – London, Heaven
05 4 Or 5 Magicians - London, Club COG @ The Lexington
05 And So I Watch You From Afar - Brussels, Beurskafee
06 LaFaro – Louth, Spirit Store


2. [ONLINE] Recent new filings for the tubes of the internet include a free download of a brand new Calories EP track, our chums at Tough Love Records largely wasting the opportunity to plug their records when they took over the STA blogcast plus news and horrifying photos from the recording of the new Fighting With Wire album

Download opening track from new Calories EP
4 Or 5 Magicians & Let Our Enemies Beware swamp Rock Sound
ASIWYFA nominated for Best Live Video


3. [ORDER] An abundance of additions to the catalogue this month – deep breath…
The Moi Non Plus - self titled debut album with free Remixed Book & CD set
£8 - out now
sparse, angular and aggressive Liars-esque post-punk; ferocious, syncopated dance-beats and ripped-speaker guitar lines that squeal like particularly melodic stuck-pigs Rockfeedback

4 Or 5 Magicians - Empty, Derivative Pop Songs debut album with free Live In Bristol bonus disc (only 4 bonus discs left at time of writing)
£8 - out now
The band's guiding light, Dan Ormsby, has clearly learnt from the best and his ability to alchemise chrushing lyrical wit and infectious melody with the musical equivalent of rusty nails scraping on an old tin roof expertly conjures up various points the spirit of everyone from Pavement to Pixies Rock Sound

£5 out now
A very limited (150 copies only) split release with our compadres at Big Scary Monsters - 4 fresh new Calories recordings in unique hand-made denim packaging with the tracklisting etc on a special pin badge. Genius! These songs will not be on the new Calories album so don't miss out!

And So I Watch You From Afar / Talons Limited split 3" CD single
£3 out Nov 22nd, pre-order now!

Another winner from the melding of STA and BSM minds; one new ASI track from new instrumental rock titans Talons 3" to just 100 copies. Ever. You've been warned.

Next month: Alan MX's debut album and new ASIWYFA EP available 2 months early...but only at their Belfast Christmas show



And So I Watch You From Afar are making phenomenal plans for their Belfast Christmas show ----- The Moi Non Plus recover from hard gigging & partying at CMJ New York ----- Alan MX starts work on Album #2 first song to drop into the inbox is called 'Meat Bag' ----- Ice, Sea Dead People complete AMAZING artwork for next spring’s debut album ----- 4 Or 5 Magicians hyperventilate at the prospect of next year's Pavement-curated ATP ----- LaFaro gear up for their first headlining tour of the UK in February 2010 ---- STA V3.0 to launch mid November including new store!

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

Cargo Collective November 09

Courtesy Group
Tradesman Entrance
Ma Doocey CD
"Visceral debut from Brummagem grinesters beloved of Messrs Cooper Clarke & Peel, ("Strong spikey stuff I'd say!").

Githead is a group whose members are Colin Newman (Wire), Malka Spigel and Max Franken (Minimal Compact) and Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner). ‘Landing’ is their third album of sparkling, sophisticated and adventurous avant-pop, striking a unique balance between convention and subtle experimentation.

Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School Of Medicine
The Audacity of Hype
Alternative Tentacles
"Jello Biafra returns with a new band and new music! With members of Faith No More and Victims Family. Psyched, politically charged punk by one of the inventors of the form"

Rio En Medio
Frontier (Deluxe Edition CD)
Manimal Vinyl
“Captivating....Part cosmic fun house, part haunted house, [Frontier] keeps you on your toes, waiting to see if the next song will amuse you, entrance you, or scare you silly. Or all three." - Pitchfork

Alan MX
Smalltown America
Staggering work of heartbreaking electro genius - debut album by Britain's soon to be not best kept secret Alan MX. For Fans Of: Bjork, Matmos, Peaches, PJ Harvey & Vincent Gallo.

Thee Vicars
Psychotic Beats !
Dirty Water
Their manic energy is palpable, it hits you with a jolt – but that should be the case with teenagers playing raw rock’n’roll shot through with a punk and garage band aesthetic.

Josephine Foster
Graphic as a Star
Fire Records
Based upon the poems of the 19th century American poet Emily Dickenson, Josephine lays her stairsteppy melodies beneath a collection of Dickenson gems & sings them with a burnished soulfulness like the purple sunsets so often described in the poems.”

Rainbow Arabia
Manimal Vinyl
"Intoxicated dance music made out of dervish rhythms, snakish melodica, and percussion procured from the labyrinthine corridors of some smoky souk." The Guardian

Glass Ghost
Idol Omen
Western Vinyl
The birth of a new musical force with influences from J. Dilla to Deerhoof. Contributions from Luke Temple of Here We Go Magic has "..that irresistible, disjointed mix of pop hooks & Beefheartian abandon" Village Voice.

Katy Carr
Coquette is Katy Carr’s third album. Infused with recall & reminiscence, it is a character-driven tour-de-force of emotional intrigue, surrender and defiance. ‘Alt-folk star in waiting.’ ****Q ‘Elegant and sensual.’ Mojo ****

Nat Johnson & The Figureheads
Roman Radio
Damaged Goods
Nat Johnson’s (Ex - Monkey Swallows The Universe) critically acclaimed debut solo album, includes the Steve Lamacq single of the week ‘Dirty Rotten Soul’ and the new single ‘Wonderful Emergency’

Invada CD
Debut album from new Bristol band who consist of Geoff Barrow (Portishead) / Billy Fuller (Fuzz Against Junk) / Matt Williams (Team Brick) . Referencing Krautrock / Silver Apples /Stereolab , the album was recorded live over a 12 day period. Beak will playing live in the UK in December including a performance at ATP

Monday, 2 November 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 57

Ryan and Stephen aka Coventry's Tough Love Records - home to William, Dead!Dead!Dead!, the first label to release The Twilight Sad and purveyors of many a fine split single the most recent of which showcases Male Bonding and Eat Skull - present an entertaining takeover taking a goth-slash-tropical bent and including new finds (and probable future big-deals) Becoming Real and Spectrals.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 57
46 minutes 38 seconds
Recorded 20/10/09
00.48 Graffiti Island - Headhunters (from Sisters EP - Sister Phunk)
04.25 Japandroids - Wet Hair (from Post-Nothing album - Polyvinyl)
09.38 Tap Tap - Queen Of Hearts (from On My Way album - Stolen Recordings)
14.36 Becoming Real - Let The Right One In
20.50 Gold Panda - Like Totally (from Phatom Channel Presents...Part 2 album)
24.39 Spectrals - Don't Mind
29.37 A Grave With No Name - And We Parted Ways At Mt Jade (from Mountain Debris album – No Pain In Pop)
35.42 The Twilight Sad - I Became A Prostitute (from Forget The Night Ahead album - Fat Cat)
44.08 Fair Ohs - Almost Island (from Sex Is Disgusting split vinyl - Tough Love 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

4 Or 5 Magicians & Let Our Enemies Beware: Rock Sound Hats Tipped

The always astute Rock Sound give 4 Or 5 Magicians an 8/10 album review, a feature and airtime on the covermount CD as well as offering kudos to Let Our Enemies Beware for their recent album. The December issue hits the newsagents' racks this week. Thanks to Darren and his team for their ongoing support.