Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year!

This year was the busiest and most rewarding yet for me at Smalltown America. We released 16 titles in 2009 making it the most hectic in our catalogue as well. 

I've always enjoyed Christmas holidays as it gives me time to think and make plans for the label - I get to change things up, which I love doing. 2010 will be our ninth year in the game and by the end of it I would love for us to have reached catalogue number STA100 - that would double our physical CD/Vinyl output and push us to thirty releases plus per year. It wouldn't be Smalltown America unless their were some mishaps along the way - so it's with a mixture of excitement and queasiness that I set this ambitious stall out for the next twelve months! 

Record labels come and go - lots have disappeared this year along with many independent and chain stores; to analysts our industry is one in crisis. I'm not going to disagree with the facts, it's harder than ever to sell records - but why should it be easy? When Jamie and I began the label at the turn of the decade we always thought that if a record or an idea was good enough it would reach its audience eventually. Marketing and advertising helps of course, but it's not the way to build a real audience. And So I Watch You From Afar proved this year that being honest, steel-hard in the face of adversity and generally awesome live is the correct path to win hearts all over the world.

I've always thought that we've released great records and that we have a warm, independent and appreciative audience. I'm genuinely thankful to all people who buy our stuff and to all the bands that trust us with their master recordings.

Expect new records from all of the roster in 2010 and lots of new STA signings, we'll be launching our new webstore in January which will make it really easy to get hold of what you want - fast. 

Huge thanks to everyone that has helped me out this year promoting our bands: Brian, Charlene, Daniel, Ash, Jeff, Ben, Tim, Matt and Chris principally and many, many others besides.

Lots of love to you all and good luck for 2010! Let's go!


Thursday, 24 December 2009

Alan MX: It comes this once a year...

Merry Christmas my friends.

This has been a really good year really in summation.

I'm spending Christmas Eve reading 1984 and wrapping presents, while occasionally running to the computer to organize a beat or two.

I am so excited about the music thats coming at the moment, and very excited also to be mixing it where I'm going to mix it. Also terribly excited about who I'm going to be working with on this record. It's dark though, guys. But I think it has to be. Warpsichord was such a colourful camp little record, the next one has to be a marauding monochrome.

I hope you all get everything you want from Santee Clause.

Much Love to everyone.



4 Or 5 Magicians on Sweeping The Nation's Best Albums of 2009

Few records better typify Sweeping The Nations' It may be white lower middle class schmindie hipster shit, but hey, it's British mantra than 4 Or 5 Magicians' debut album so no suprise that it has placed on Sweeping's Best Of 2009 list. The list is being counted down day-by-day until the end of the month; here's the list so far.

50 MJ Hibbett & The Validators - Regardez, Ecoutez Et Repetez
49 Papercuts - You Can Have What You Want
48 Volcano Choir – Unmap
47 The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
46 Andrew Bird - Noble Beast
45 Piano Magic - Ovations
44 Au Revoir Simone - Still Night Still Light
43 Julian Plenti - Julian Plenti Is... Skyscraper
42 Arthur & Martha - Navigation
41 The Flaming Lips – Embryonic
40 Luke Haines – 21st Century Man
39 Projekt A-Ko - Yoyodyne
38 Why? - Eskimo Snow
37 Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
36 The Voluntary Butler Scheme - At Breakfast, Dinner, Tea
35 Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
34 The Low Anthem - Oh My God Charlie Darwin
33 Micachu & The Shapes - Jewellery
32 Lucas Renney - Strange Glory
31 Maybeshewill - Sing The Word Hope In Four Part Harmony
30 Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years
29 Mew - No More Stories...
28 Broken Records - Until The Earth Begins To Part
27 Pagan Wanderer Lu - Fight My Battles For Me
26 Mission Of Burma - The Sound The Speed The Light
25 Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
24 The Wave Pictures - If You Leave It Alone
23 Charlotte Hatherley - New Worlds
22 Graham Coxon - The Spinning Top
21 4 Or 5 Magicians - Empty, Derivative Pop Songs
20 Kill It Kid - Kill It Kid
19 Felix - You Are The One I Pick
18 Blue Roses - Blue Roses
17 The Victorian English Gentlemens Club - Love On An Oil Rig
16 Wake The President - You Can't Change That Boy
15 Fanfarlo - Reservoir
14 The Phantom Band - Checkmate Savage
13 Grammatics - Grammatics
12 Joe Gideon & The Shark - Harum Scarum
11 Animal Collective - Merriwether Post Pavilion
10 Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career
9 Sky Larkin - The Golden Spike
8 Slow Club - Yeah So
7 Emmy The Great - First Love

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Calories: Fuck Yule

We haven't made much of a big deal of this but we've made a Christmas disc and we're giving it away tonight at this gig>>>>
if you'reading this after the fact then here's the tracklisting that I forgot to put in with the cd

Fuck Yule: Vol 1
1. Fuck Yule
2. Xmas Marks The Spot
3.Christmas Keeps On Coming

Merry Crispmas


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

More XFM London for ASIWYFA

Just a quick one to let you know that John Kennedy played ‘S Is For Salamander’ on his X-Posure show on XFM Monday night (tracklisting below). The show goes out Mon – Thurs 22:00 - 02:00 on XFM London and XFM Manchester. This is the 3rd play on X-Posure for tracks taken from ‘The Letters EP

X-Posure Monday 21st December 2009
Christmas Guests: Curly Hair & The Hornblower Brothers
Interview Guests: Danger Mouse & James Mercer aka Broken Bells
X-Posure Hot One: I Blame Coco ‘Caesar’ (Island)
X-Posure Big One: The XX ‘VCR’ (Young Turks)

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip ‘Get Better’ (Sunday Best)
White Rabbits ‘Percussion Gun’ ()
Good Shoes ‘Under Control’ (Brille)
Airship ‘Kids’ (Love & Disaster)
Sennen ‘Destroy Us’ (Hungry Audio)
Lightspeed Champion ‘Marlene’ (Domino)
Hot Chip ‘One Life Stand’ (Parlophone)
Gnarls Barkley ‘Crazy’ ()
The Shins ‘New Slang’ (Sub Pop)
Interview w/ Brian Burton and James Mercer aka Broken Bells
Broken Bells ‘The High Road’ (Columbia)
Interview w/ Brian Burton and James Mercer aka Broken Bells
Broken Bells ‘Vaporize’ (Columbia)

11pm-Midnight (Deep)
Plan B ‘Stay Too Long’ (Atlantic)
Rage Against The Machine ‘Killing In The Name’ (Epic)
And So I Watch You From Afar ‘S Is For Salamander’ (Smalltown America)
Franz Ferdinand ‘Can’t Stop Feeling (Emperor Machine Remix)’ (Domino)
Nat Johnson & The Figureheads ‘Book Club’ (
Live Studio Guests: Interview w/ Curly Hair
Live Studio Guests, Session Track: Curly Hair ‘Pumpkin Eye’
Curly Hair ‘Blow The House Down’ (Toy Soldier)
The Hornblower Brothers ‘Android With A Heart’ (Bellboy)
Live Studio Guests: Interview w/ Curly Hair continued
Live Studio Guests, Session Track: Curly Hair ‘Silly Billy Yellow’
Lawrence Arabia ‘The Beautiful Young Crew’ (Bella Union)
Tristram ‘Someone Told Me A Poem’ ()
Rachael Dadd ‘Table’ ()
Live Studio Guests: Interview w/ The Hornblower Brothers
Live Studio Guests, Session Track: The Hornblower Brothers ‘The Christmas Song’
The Hornblower Brothers ‘Shooting Star’ (Bellboy)
Live Studio Guests: Interview w/ The Hornblower Brothers continued
Live Studio Guests, Session Track: The Hornblower Brothers ‘Give And Receive’

Midnight-1am (Deeper!)
Can ‘Silent Night’ (Spoon/Mute)
X-Posure Big One: The XX ‘VCR’ (Young Turks)
Errors ‘A Rumour In Africa’ (Rock Action)
Spoon ‘Written In Reverse’ (Anti-)
School Of Seven Bells ‘Half Asleep’ (Full Time Hobby)
Jesca Hoop ‘Four Dreams’ (Last Laugh)
Viv Albertine ‘Never Come’ (
Hotpants Romance ‘All I Want For Christmas’ ()
Fever Fever ‘Little Drummer Boy’ (Cherryade Music)
Eugene & The Lizards ‘Grogshop’ (Domino)
Lost Classic: Blue Cheer ‘Summertime Blues’ (Trikont)
Creatures Of Love ‘Creatures Of Love’ (
Gil Scott-Heron ‘Me And The Devil’ (XL)

1-2am (Deeper Still!)
Liars ‘Scissor’ (Mute)
Portishead ‘Chase The Tear’ (
Acid Washed ‘General Motors, Detroit, America’ (Record Maker)
Goldie ‘Timeless (SBTRKT Edit)’ (
These New Puritans ‘We Want War (SBTRKT Remix)’ (Domino)
TJR ‘Just Gets Better (SBTRKT Gutter Mix)’ (
X-Posure Long One: Hell feat. Bryan Ferry ‘U Can Dance (Simian Mobile Disco Remix)’ (Gigolo)
Salem ‘Babydaddy’ (Fader/SoCo 7” Series)
F’d Up ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ ()
Allo, Darlin’ ‘Space Christmas’ (Cherryade Music)
The Lovely Eggs ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex For Christmas’ (Cherryade Music)

Skibunny: It's A Wonderful Life

The snow is continuing to fall out there and we're about ready for a few days off beside a warm fire. We'll be back in the new year with news of a new release and lots more shows. In the meantime, click the link below to download Skibunny's Christmas song "It's a Wonderful Life", recorded a couple of years ago especially for BBC Radio Ulster's ATL show, and then later ended up on a Japanese label Second Royal's "Winter" compilation.

>>>It's a Wonderful Life<<<

Merry Christmas from Team Skibunny, and a Happy New Year!

Monday, 21 December 2009

ASIWYFA: Green & Live's 4th Best Album of 2009

Green & Live join the growing ranks of those rating ASIWYFA's self-titled debut album one of the year's best Irish records. Here's the playlist from the Friday 18th December show which goes out on Limerick's Live 95FM from 10pm.

Good to see placings for Elks, Cutaways and Panda Kopanda - all STA recommended albums!

1. Some Kind of Kick - The Things — (Some Kind Of Kick)
2. Saw Saw Hammer Hammer - Elk — (We Should Start Our Own Gang)
3. Witch Hunt - Twinkranes — (Spektrum Theatre Snakes)
4. A Little Bit Of Solidarity Goes A Long Way - And So I Watch You From Afar — (And So I Watch You From Afar)
5. Death Of A Songwriter - Groom — (At The Natural History Museum)
6. Talk Over Talking - Pocket Promise — (I've Been Here For Ages)
7. It's Yours - David Kitt — (The Nightsaver)
8. The Sweet Spot - The Duckworth Lewis Method — (The Duckworth Lewis Method)
9. You Know What You Want - Red Eskimo — (The Grey Death Billow)
10. Songbird - Iain Archer — (To The Pine Roots)
11. What's With All The Lights - Seven Summits — (Seven Summits)
12. Iceland - Van Cleef — (SuperVillainesque)
13. Nelligans Guts - The Mighty Stef — (100 Midnights)
14. Life's Nudge - Julie Feeney — (Pages)
15. Neon In Our Dreams - The Holy Roman Army — (How The Light Gets In)
16. Consume - Pearse McGloughlin — (Busy Whisper)
17. Year Of The Horse - Herm — (Monsters)
18. Milo Of Kroton - Cutaways (Earth And Earthly Things)
19. Astronaut - Alphastates — (Human Nature)
20. In A Bar - Huts On Stilts — (Lo-Fi Love Songs)
21. Watch Her Win - David Geraghty — (The Victory Dance)
22. Secret Places - Panda Kopanda — (This Hope Will Kill Us All)
23. Photograph - Craig Walker — (Siamese)
24. The Wishing Seat - Adrian Crowley — (Season of the Sparks)
25. The Men Who Saved The Face Of Football - Jinx Lennon — (GREEN AND LIVE BEST IRISH ALBUM OF 2009 — TRAUMA THEMES IDIOT TIMES)

LOEB on Kerrang Radio

Another - the 7th in fact! - spin for Let Our Enemies Beware's ‘Fools! Philistines! Heretics and Whores!’ on Johnny Doom’s Kerrang Radio show. Windows users can listen here: LOEB are towards the end of the show sandwiched between Japanese Voyeurs and Fightstar. Gulp.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

ASIWYFA Ulster Hall: First Report

First report on Friday's epic Ulster Hall show.

Alan MX: Spinning Webs

The first reviews are coming in for my debut album Warpsichord which came out last week.

Mostly they have been good
, one magazine did a nice bit on it, an Irish radio station and the Irish newspaper have been less kind, but still warm. I want to say that it's like sending your children out into the world but it's not like that at all. I have lived with these songs for a long time now, sometimes I forget bits of them or forget the meaning behind a lyric or how I made a certain arrangement and I have to go back and remind myself through the reopening of files or the rereading of diaries.

I'm really glad that it is out now because it has allowed me to divorce from it entirely now. This may sound a negative attitude, but I don't think it is really. As I said, Warpsichord took a long time to come to term, it's gestation stretching over nearly two years from initial writing to release and in that time I did come to feel shackled to it. Performing the same songs at shows, listening to them over and over during the mix and speaking to people about them, I think I had a version of post natal dysphoria. I needed a hefty dialysis and certain events towards the end of this year have allowed me to put it in the ground, not in burial but in the hopes that it might grow unattended. And actually, this funereal action has reinvigorated my interest in the project. I can talk about it with some distance now, listening to the songs from an outsiders viewpoint.

And I never want to hear the Captain America Video again. We listened to it about a million times when shooting the video and I have anxiety when I hear those chords now.

So, the next step in the marathon for this album is the release of the second official, but third unofficial single. This is going to be Green Tea, and I have some remixes in the works for this by some of my favourite people. There are to be some new songs for B-Sides as well. There will be a fourth, but I don't want to say what it is yet. Two videos are in the pipeline, made by some brilliant directors and I'm excited about them.

Work is underway on the new album too. It has about three different titles at the moment, two are strong possibilities. It may end up with a dual title in the Shakespearean fashion, and at the rate the songs are being born it may very well end up as a double album.

I'm reading my old favourite again, Mrs Carter, and I'm enjoying how her potency is bleeding through into my lyrics. Things have gone very dark for me recently, musically and lyrically speaking and I feel like much more of a narrator at this point than a protagonist. I think this time around the stories are going to be a little bit more magical and less reality-based. I'm revisiting old songs and turning them upside down to view them from underneath. It can be quite enlightening to analyze an old set of words and write an answer to them years down the line. I'm a much different person to who I was when I began writing, and while I'm not sure if this is a positive increment; it's certainly significant.

What I would like to do is take the first album and place it at the end of a long range telescope, far into the galaxy, spinning at a million miles an minute until an aureole forms, and then take parts of the halo and respin them. These new webs will form the second album, the darker echos from the edges of it's grandstanding older/younger brother. Pretentious, I know, but I also know that this is what I want.

If you haven't bought the first record, then I hope that you do. I want to make the next one as interesting as I can for you.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Last Call For 4 Or 5 Magicians In 2009

Sunday December 20th @ The Windmill, Brixton - your last chance to see 4 or 5 Magicians...

... well, sort of. It will certainly be your last chance to see 4 or 5 Magicians as you know us (or perhaps as you didn't know us!). Either way, 2010 is going to see some big changes, and we will be focusing prinicipally, perhaps exclusively on new stuff, so this may well be your final opportunity to hear some, most, or all of the old songs! So if you are a fan of the band, a friend of mine or of the other guys in the band, or if you have never seen us before and want to before it is too late, then this is the show to come to! See you there, ho ho ho etc.!

Details of the show are as follows ...

Sunday 20th December @ The Windmill Brixton
6:00pm to 11:00pm
£4 advance from / £5 on the door

4 OR 5 MAGICIANS - 10:15pm - 11:00pm
THE MUSCLE CLUB - 9:30pm - 10:00pm
STAGECOACH - 8:45pm to 9:15pm
LAURA HOCKING - 8:00pm to 8:30pm
EELECTRICITY AND LUST - 7:15pm to 7:45pm

Every band is playing a song by one of the other bands on the bill: 4 or 5 Magicians are Laura Hocking. The Muscle Club are Eelectricity and Lust. Stagecoach are 4 or 5 Magicians. Laura Hocking is Stagecoach. Eelectricity and Lust are The Muscle Club. Raymond Detritus has no idea what he's doing. Or at least I have no idea what he's doing!

Anyway yeah, see you there. Bring a friend. Bring an enemy. Bring whoever. Lets make it a big party time to finish the year!

Dan from 4 or 5 Magicians xx

PS. We are also playing (exxxtreme weather permitting!) in Norwich on Saturday, 19th December, at Norwich Arts Centre. That is also £5 and we are also on at 10:15pm.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

LaFaro New Christmas Song

Hey all, since it's Christmas we've decided to give you all presents!!

First of all, there's a new Xmas song on our Myspace profile! Check it the fuck out!

Secondly, we're playing the Ulster Hall on Friday (still tickets left for this show, it's gonna be the show of the year!) with our good buddies ASIWYFA and if that isn't enough of a gift, if you come to the show you will be presented with the opportunity to purchase not one brand new never...before-heard song but TWO!

Two brand new songs! Never been heard! And they won't be on the album either.........

Thirdly, if you don't want to buy our new songs you can buy a brand spanking new LaFaro tshirt!!!!!!!!


We're too good to you lot, we really are............

Happy Hannukka,

LaFaro x

Skibunny Christmas Party + New Remix Download

You may remember a few months ago we, Skibunny, remixed Paloma Faith's single "New York", well now you can download it here for free.... Reeeeemix!

It features the rap talents of our Chicago based pal, the amazing KID STATIC. If you haven't heard of him yet, you really need to check this shit out... Love this guy

Don't forget about the annual Skibunny Christmas party, taking place once again at Belfast's Spring & Airbrake, featuring a final headline set from our favourites OPPENHEIMER, plus SKIBUNNY, NAKATOMI TOWERS and Rigsy on the decks. Saturday 19th December, 9pm-3am.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Cargo Collective December 2009

Oppenheimer Split/Farewell Show

STA alumni Oppenheimer have announced that this Saturday's show at Belfast's Spring & Airbrake (with support from Skibunny) will be their last -

On December 19th at 11pm, Rocky and Shaun plan to take to the stage together as Oppenheimer for the last time.

There will be a farewell EP, a digital release at the start of 2010. A snapshot of where we had arrived at this point, as we have recently been working on new material.

Further ideas that have been worked on will accompany Rocky on his journey to a new band, which in some ways has already started, as the songs and plot lines are already underway, as anyone who has witnessed Oppenheimer recently can no doubt testify.

The reasons for this announcement are multiple yet highly intertwined. Ultimately, to be in any band you allow the band to consume you, becoming every particle of your existence, every aspect of your being, every thought that wakes you up early and every task that keeps you up late at night.

The reward for such dedication and commitment, not to mention the hardship that goes hand in hand with making music for a living is the unrivalled joy and honour that fills your mind, body and soul by getting to do all the things that you can.

The moment this joy falters, rocks or is jolted out of existence, the struggle is of no consequence or purpose.

After five years together, recording and releasing two albums, playing hundreds of shows and touring with some of the greatest bands in the world, the level of commitment, passion and drive that one of us can give to the band has changed.

It's an understandable occurrence and one that we're both delighted to address at this time.

Shaun has realized that in order to fulfill his hopes and dreams he needs to take a new and different path in his life.

Rocky's ideas, dreams and notions for writing, recording and touring are more alive and vibrant than ever.

Due to these changing circumstances, we have decided to part ways.

We have no idea if we will ever work together again, recording movie soundtracks, making ambient albums or even making indie pop songs. Who knows what tomorrow holds?

For now, Oppenheimer have no plans to write, record or play together again after December 19th 2009.

Our thanks and respect for every single person in the world who has done anything to help us is overwhelming, it always has been, it always will be.

Rocky O'Reilly & Shaun Robinson

ASIWYFA on God Is In The TV Best Of 2009 Shortlist

Another day, another Best Of 2009 shortlist placing for And So I Watch You From Afar, this time from the excellent God Is In The TV blog - see below then vote ASI.

09 was meant to be the year of the girl but while Florence and her Machine did her best to fly the flag for Britain after damp squibs from La Roux and Little Boots, Lady Gaga revealed her poker face and it was she and Beyonce that created most of the pop spectacles that mattered in 09. JLS proved you didn't need to win the Xfactor to really prevail, some bands shifted into the mainstream while others concentrated on their craft and all the while there was some great music being made and released just below the surface so lift up the stone look under and choose your TOP FIVE from our TOP short listed albums of 2009. A list that includes some highly commercial releases, some massively surprising comeback album triumphs, some cult releases, some barely known ones, plucked from a range of genres, from across the United Kingdom, North America and beyond, no focus groups or commercial pressures here, just a love of the long players that really moved our bodies and our souls in the past year. So get voting!

GIITTV’s Shortlisted albums of 2009.(In no particular order)

Grizzly Bear- ‘Veckatimest’
The Antlers – ‘Hospice’
Mumford and Sons – ‘Sigh No More’
The Mars Volta – ‘Octahedron’
Health – ‘Get Colour’
P.O.S –‘Never Better'
Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
The Decemberists – ‘The Hazards of Love’
Animal Collective – ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’
The Joy Formidable - ‘A Balloon Called Moaning’
Discovery – LP
Manic Street Preachers – ‘Journal For Plague Lovers'
The Maccabees – ‘Wall of Arms’
Dan Deacon – ‘Bromst’
Passion Pit – ‘Manners’
Noah And The Whale – ‘First Days Of Spring’
Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose
We Were Promised Jetpacks - S/T
Atlas Sound – ‘Logos’
Grammatics – S/T
The XX – S/T
Fuck Buttons – ‘Tarot Sport’
Arctic Monkeys – ‘Humbug’
There Will Be Fireworks – S/T
Wild Beasts - Two Dancers
Dananananaykroyd - Hey Everyone!
Ramona Falls – ‘Intuit’
Blakroc – S/T
Lovvers – ‘OCD Go Go Go Girls’
Slaraffenland – ‘We’re On Your Side’
Balmorhea – ‘All is Wild, All is Silent’
Former Ghosts – ‘Fleurs’
Florence and The Machine – ‘Lungs’
And So I Watch You From Afar – S/T
Raekwon – ‘Only Built For Cuban Linx 2’
The Cribs – ‘Ignore the Ignorant’
Future of The Left – Travels With Myself And Another
Blue October – ‘Approaching Normal’
M.Ward – ‘Hold Time’
Brand New – ‘Daisy’
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – S/T
Flaming Lips – ‘Embryonic’
Madness – ‘The liberation of Norton Folgate’
Bibio – ‘Ambivalence Avenue’
The Firekites – ‘The Bowery’
Orphans and Vandals- ‘I Am Alive You Are Dead’
Frank Turner – ‘Poetry of the Deed’
Dredg – ‘The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion’
The Twilight Sad – ‘Forget the Night Ahead’
The Horrors – ‘Primary Colours’
St. Vincent – ‘Actor’
Cymbals Eat Guitars – S/T
Russian Circles – ‘Geneva’

Can’t make up your mind? Then listen to the majority of the albums on GIITTV’s albums of the year spotify playlist (including some that just didn’t make it).

Vote for your TOP FIVE now, FIVE lucky entrants will win a stack of CDs from this year. Then the GIITTV’s Readers and Writer’s best fifty albums of 2009 lists will be published together, later this month. Like any list its subjective, do you disagree with the albums shortlisted? Do you think we missed your favourite out? Then what are you waiting for voice it!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Public Service Blogcast Episode 60

One of Northern Ireland's hottest properties are Belfast's The Jane Bradfords whose number while alternating between being as large as a seven piece and as small as just one guy in a studio (cursing at old keyboards that used to work perfectly well) averages out at 5. Their fusion of the nonchalant swagger of The National, the driving tight Peter Hook style bass and at times the euphoric hosannas of Arcade Fire has won plaudits from Huw Stephens and the readership of Alternative Ulster magazine who voted their 2008 debut album into the list of 50 best records of the 2000s. Look out for a new album from TJB in 2010, exclusive previews of which can be heard on this blogcast.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 60
29 minutes 32 seconds
Recorded 02/12/09
00.01 The Jane Bradfords - Judicial Duel (exclusive new track from forthcoming 2010 album)
04.52 Clown Parlour - Stark (from Introducing Clown Parlour album - White Mountain Music)
06.55 The Jane Bradfords - More Than This (exclusive new track from forthcoming 2010 album)
13.15 Robyn G Shiels - Drunk Myself A River (from unreleased new album - Dancing Records)
18.04 The National - Slow Show (acoustic recording for Bandwidth Films)
22.13 Three Tales - The Things That We Know (from The Hidden Possibilities In All Things EP - Furious Tradesmen)
26.33 The Jane Bradfords - Too Much Christmas (free download)

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

The Moi Non Plus Viva Radio Session

Check out The Moi Non Plus' session for Viva Radio.

Friday, 11 December 2009

ASIWYFA Voted Best Record Of The Decade: Alternative Ulster

Belfast-based AU Magazine polled thier readership for the best Irish albums of the decade and the results are out in the new issue. Thanks to everyone who voted ASIWYFA the best Irish record of the 2000s - the full list which includes 3 STA releases in the Top 10 and another 3 bringing the total to 6 is below.

It's also good to see friends of the label such as Bats, Adebisi Shank and the Jane Bradfords place high in the rundown. All told, NI music is in rude health!

AU Top 50 Irish albums of the Decade

1. And So I Watch You From Afar – And So I Watch You From Afar (2009)
2. Jape – Ritual (2008)
3. David Holmes – The Holy Pictures (2008)
4. Oppenheimer – Oppenheimer (2006)
5. Fight Like Apes – Fight Like Apes and the Mystery Of The Golden Medallion (2009)
6. Damien Rice – O (2002)
7. The Frames – For The Birds (2001)
8. Fighting With Wire – Man Vs. Monster (2008)
9. Snow Patrol – Final Straw (2003)
10. Jane Bradfords – Jane Bradfords (2008)
11. Adebisi Shank – This Is The Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank (2008)
12. The Immediate – In Towers and Clouds (2006)
13. Ash – Free All Angels (2001)
14. Snow Patrol – When It’s All Over We Still Have To Clear Up (2001)
15. David Holmes – Bow Down To The Exit Sign (2000)
16. BATS – Red In Tooth & Claw (2009)
17. Duke Special – Songs From The Deep Forest (2006)
18. Mumblin’ Deaf Ro – The Herring And The Brine (2007)
19. Simple Kid – 1 (2003)
20. David Kitt – The Big Romance (2001)
21. Clone Quartet – Well-Oiled Machine (2007)
22. The Redneck Manifesto – thirtysixstrings (2001)
23. The Redneck Manifesto – I Am Brazil (2004)
24. Desert Hearts – Hotsy Totsy Nagasaki (2006)
25. The Thrills – So Much For The City (2003)
26. Republic of Loose – Aaagh! (2006)
27. Fionn Regan – The End Of History (2006)
28. The Divine Comedy – Regeneration (2001)
29. Cathy Davey – Tales Of Silversleeve (2007)
30. Lisa Hannigan – Sea Sew (2008)
31. Jetplane Landing – Once Like A Spark (2003)
32. Bell XI – Music In Mouth (2003)
33. Delorentos – In Love With Detail (2007)
34. Oppenheimer – Take the Whole Midrange and Boost It (2008)
35. The Chalets – Check In (2005)
36. Three Tales – Three Tales (2008)
37. Bell X1 – Flock (2005)
38. The Divine Comedy – Absent Friends (2004)
39. JJ72 – JJ72 (2000)
40. Desert Hearts – Let’s Get Worse (2004)
41. Jetplane Landing – Zero For Conduct (2001)
42. Gemma Hayes – Night On My Side (2002)
43. Boxcutter – Glyphic (2007)
44. So Cow – These Truly Are End Times (2007)
45. Si Schroeder – Coping Mechanisms (2006)
46. Robyn G. Shiels – A Lifetime Of Midnights (2006)
47. Patrick Kelleher – You Look Cold (2009)
48. Alloy Mental – We Have Control (2007)
49. Damien Dempsey – Seize the Day (2003)
50. Boxcutter – Oneiric (2006)

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Vote STA for NME Awards

Voting has commenced for the public to pick the shortlisted nominees for the 2010 NME Awards and it's not a pre-set multiple-choice affair so you have more than merely Kings Of Leon or Muse to choose from, at this stage at least.

Shake things up with ASIWYFA for Best Live Band and Best Album!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

And So I Watch You From Afar Photography

Graham Smith works as the tour manager for And So I Watch You From Afar but he is also a photographer and has been snapping the band constantly since first seeing them in November 2006.

Graham joined the band full-time on the road in April 2009 and since then has documented the band everywhere from Eastern Europe to back home in Northern Ireland.

Graham is currently hard at work on a book of photographs of ASIWYFA, tentatively scheduled for release in the Autumn of 2010. A series of exhibitions will accompany the release. Details about this will be available next year.

2010 is already shaping up to be even more exciting than this year, with massive tours planned around the world. Graham will be there to snap it all as it happens.

A sneak preview of some of the images to be featured in this book can be found here. This gallery will be updated regularly.

Calories on MFM's Best Of 2009 List

Calories clock in at #36 in Music Fan Mic's Top 50 of 2009

A frantic, adolescent take on the highs of youth and life on the edge. “Adventuring is dangerous but danger can be fun” is the reckless motto of the title-track and the music behind is just scavenging and unafraid. Far from slick and professional but quite the start to a potentially fantastic career.

Calories play a hometown show at Birmingham's Island Bar on December 23.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Skibunny Touring Under The Influence Of Har Mar

Skibunny report in on their week with Har Mar Superstar...

Day one - Sunday - Oxford
We meet up at Heathrow, Nick and Mark having flown over from Belfast, and Tanya having driven the bad-ass tour mobile (a sweet Peugeout 406, no less!) down from Edinburgh. After a bite to eat, we head to a practice room in deepest Oxfordshire to reherse the two new songs we’re going to be playing on the tour. It’s the same room that, many years ago, Tanya and Mark stayed in whilst supporting Gorkys Zygotic Mynci, so its very funny to be back again. To the venue, and meeting team Har Mar. They’re all very great people-Sean (HMS to you), Denver (bass, tall, laconic) Jeff (Guitar, Catfish, funk), Will (drums, new york dolls lookalike) and T (best tour manager ever). As T’s the tour manager of Skibunny guest vocalist MAPS, there’s already much to chat about. The show that night in Oxford is great, and late that night we hit the road for London and the flat of Tanya’s sister Liana (a most convivial hostess).

Day two - Monday - London
A London show can be a thing to fear, and in order to guarantee that we’ll be cooking with gas, we decamp to a practice room to go over last minute tweaks to the new tracks (which have new Bandwidth videos to accompany them for the AV part of the set - AWESOME people!) Things are sounding good so we wrap up early and head for The Garage - the last time Tanya and Mark were here, one of our band ended up lending Stuart from Mogwai pyjamas (loooong story….) and its great to be back in an 800 capacity venue with so many good memories. Soundcheck done, and introductions made with New Zealand’s Bang Bang Eche (opening act, they did the Har Mar US tour, and are blistering live), we head to the pub to meet Liana, Nick, and everyone’s favourite Dandy - Jim “Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer” Burke. The show tonight is really perfect, and we’re happy to see Ash from Smalltown America, who has come down to see Skibunny for the first time. Har Mar rocks it, and the night ends in The Lexington with many many drinks and toasts to one and all. Phew, London DONE!

Day Three - Tuesday - Bristol
It's Bristol, so of course we’re playing on a boat! Having got up late and devoured some bacon sandwiches, we hit the road, and are soon loading into the bowels of the ship we’re playing on. A bracing walk round the town leads us into an amazing art bookshop in one of Bristol’s biggest galleries - anywhere with Yoshitoma Nara postcards will work for Tanya…..The show’s great, team Har Mar have taken delivery of their US merchandise (ladies and gentleman’s underwear included) and late at night we hit the road for the Southampton. This is where the sat nav throws a hissy fit, and starts driving us round sets for The Midsummer Murders for about an hour….tiny villages with thatched cottages, and wild-eyed locals. Not what you need at 2am. Finally we get to the damn hotel, where some of us head for bed, and some of us stay up and finish the Jagermeister :-)

Day four - Wednesday - Portsmouth
Yaaaarrr. Tis another sea-faring town, you salty dogs! Actually, it's only an hour down the road, and so there’s plenty of time in the afternoon to do some Christmas shopping and get our daily soaking from the shitty weather that’s been following us round all tour. Uugh. The Wedgewood rooms is a venue clearly run by people who love music, so everything’s very easy and comfy. Nice. The show’s great, and spirits are high as there’s a day off tomorrow for everyone apart fro Mark who has to fly home for 24 Hours. He’s deposited at his Heathrow hotel for a 6.40am flight, whilst Tanya and Nick head back to team Liana’s.

Day five - Thursday - Nottingham
Day off people! Whilst Mark is staggering around the streets of Belfast bleary-eyed, Tanya and Nick head up to Nottingham to join the Har Mars for a night on the tiles. And what a night! The Horrors are playing and Sean’s mates with Farris, so he ends up coming out for drinks and punk-rock Bingo, champagne and more Jagermeister...

Day six - Friday - Nottingham
We’re playing the Bodega Social tonight, and from the odd looks of the barstaff, its clear that somethings up. Ahhhh yes, various people were in the bar/kicked out of said bar last night! Nice! Nottingham’s looking very Christmassy, there’s an ice-rink and full Christmas market a happening in the town-centre. Mark heads to the Oxfam boutique shop to pick up a lovely scarf, and then it's another easy soundcheck and what is, by team Har Mar’s accounts, our best show of the tour so far! Many many friends are made in Nottingham. Sean is doing a DJ set so Nick and Mark hit the road for Doncaster whilst Tanya stays to Dance to 'Buffalo Stance' and 'No Scrubs' at the club, hitching a ride up to Doncaster with the Har Mars.

Day Seven - Saturday - Carlisle
Wooh! Where did the week go??!! Last show already - You serious?! Ok, we get to Carlisle and go off in search of presents for everyone. We end up choosing a selection of biographies for Team HMS including Chevy Chase, William Shatner and.. erm... Chantelle “Living the Dream”! We also get everyone snow spray for general mischief, bottle-openers, stickers (of a stupid variety) and festive snacks. As well as that, there’s a communal bottle of buckfast, so they can blend in with the Glasgow mob the following night. In return there’s Champagne in the dressing room, and before a really amazing Carlisle show, we toast what’s been an unforgettable week. Then it's up the road to Tanya’s flat in Edinburgh and our tour is officially over... or is it....

Day Eight? Sunday?! Glasgow??!!
You didn’t thing that was the end of the story did you?! Mark and Nick jump on a plane back to Belfast, that much is true. But who is this singing “I got next” with Har Mar Superstar in King Tuts?!

*warning, this video is not suitable for young 'uns!*

So, thanks again to Team Har Mar Superstar for an awesome week, and thanks to everybody who came out to say hello, we can't wait to get back on the road again early 2010!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Moi Non Plus Tipped For 2010

Influential Dutch music site ROAR E-Zine have included The Moi Non Plus in their ROAR Sound Of 2010 tip list.

This of course inspired by the famous BBC longlist, a list that gives a preview of the coming music year. Because our website is writing about new and fresh music, we also challenged ourselves to make a similar longlist. One of our expectancy is the band The Moi Non Plus. Twan Scheffers

Prizefighter Recommend Alan MX

Prizefighting blog give thumbs up to Alan MX's debut album - out digitally now and physically next Monday, December 14th

Saturday, 5 December 2009

4 or 5 Magicians Annual Christmas Party

4 Or 5 Magicians announce the line-up for their 3rd annual Yuletide shindig

The Windmill Brixton
22 Blenheim Gardens, Brixton, SW2 5BZ

The third annual 4 or 5 Magicians Christmas party at The Windmill in Brixton!

This year, the theme is Secret Santa, and every band will be covering at least one song by one of the other bands on the night!

I organised a show on our November tour at The Flowerpot in Camden, and it was so good (as I’m sure anyone who was there would agree!) that I have picked the same lineup (+1 more) for this show.


So we have :


Our final show of an eventful year - we released our debut album ‘Empty, Derivative Pop Songs’ in early November to a series of glowing reviews.

“Beyond the cracking choruses, it’s this acerbic wit that makes 4 or 5 Magicians an essential listen – Ormsby’s gift of the gab matches Alex Turner’s or Mike Skinner’s, but he delivers his lines without showiness and with a smile on his face”. BBC MUSIC

“Art Brut have finally found their soulmates, and you might well have discovered a new band that could be your life”. IRISH TIMES 9/10 review of Empty, Derivative Pop Songs

“his ability to alchemise crushing lyrical wit and infectious melody expertly conjures up the spirit of everyone from Pavement to Pixies, Idlewild and Cable”. ROCKSOUND 8/10 review of Empty, Derivative Pop Songs

GUESTS TBA (I don’t think I’m allowed to announce them just yet, but they are a Club, and Muscly)

“Spiky, pumped up riffage and sneering tunesmithery… Energy in abundance, [GUESTS TBA!] boast a rippling guitar pop sound… Potential to reach beyond their own back gardens, they could just be the next big thing from Cardiff to burst through the walls of the mainstream music scene” God is in the TV Zine


Superb tunesmithery from the depths of Surrey. Probably the loudest electro acoustic fronted band in the world.

“A sumptuous slice of Wilco-esque” THE FLY


A wonderful voice with lyrics and tunes to match. Imagine a young, female Jake Thackray and you’re along the right lines. The best singer songwriter in London. FACT!


Really promising young rookie band from Brixton in the vein of Pavement and Built To Spill.


The irreverent lofi musings of Jon Wood, the self styled ‘singer songwriter who can’t sing or write songs’. With backing band including members of Internet Forever and Tellison.


Doors are at 6:00pm and the gig finishes at 10:45pm. First band on at 6:20pm.

£4 on the door.

Come down and celebrate the birth of Santa Claus!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

ASIWYFA 16th Best Album of the 2000s: State

6th best of the year? Pah. And So I Watch You From Afar's debut album is the 16th best album of the whole darned decade! So say

When we asked for the collected wisdom of the State writers for their choices for the albums of the decade, little did we expect such a bewilderingly wide ranging response. In total, there were votes for around 250 albums – which says a lot for both that collected wisdom and the decade itself. There are many you’d expect, many you wouldn’t and the odd surprise...

16. And So I Watch You From Afar – And So I Watch You From Afar (2009)
The whispers were there in Belfast from early in the year, that And So I Watch You From Afar’s self titled debut was – in the words of one music industry name – a masterpiece. They weren’t far wrong. ASIWYFA took the concept of an all instrumental album and turned it on its head. They’re a rock band, a metal band, a post-rock band. they’re whatever the hell they want to be. The record’s greatest strength was that, amongst the noise and mayhem, were actual melodies that stuck in your consciousness. It didn’t hurt that they were the live band of the year too. (Phil Udell)

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

ASIWYFA 6th Best Album Of 2009: Rock Sound

Thanks to all of the staff at Rock Sound for voting And So I Watch You From Afar the 6th best album of the year in their Top 75 of 2009 in the new issue of the magazine, out this week, and also for their support of all of our releases this year.