Thanks to GBHBL, who not only interviewed me following the LP release, but published some track-by-track notes that I wrote about it.
Interview link here. “I ended up in Brighton, like so many drug burn-outs and rejects from the capital, and got my act together. The music, hopefully, takes care of itself.”
Track by track here. “I once had an idea for a live show at the Brighton Fringe Festival but couldn’t work out how to do it without somebody getting killed … This turned into a song… which is one of the most upbeat things I’ve written“.
Gig went well the other night – thanks again to Peter Cat & grasshopper. Great sets, and always a good feeling when one of these DIY gigs gets a good turnout (my band was sounding pretty sharp too, if I say so myself).
Beyond that, there’s a couple of things lined up for August, including this:
…And some other stuff in November. Sept-Oct there’s a few possible dates swirling around, including a return trip to Glasgow (with the full band this time), but nothing definite yet. That aside, the single Perilous Seat – and War on Pain, another track off the album – are getting a lot of radio… about 60 stations, not including syndication, at last count. So it’s all good… The reason I’ve not updated for a while (and this entry’s admittedly something of a bulletin) is I’ve been really busy – also got an EP ready to go with the band, and a whole load of new songs for 2020. The lot of the DIY/independent/underground/really-do-absolutely-everything-yourself artist these days is a hard one – but not a bad one.
Thanks very much for kind words on the Vanishing Island album, from Brighton Source: “a prolific songwriter with an array of excellent self-produced independent releases. He’s influenced by the darker side of indie rock, but puts his own stamp on things […] strong and well-structured, with a memorable and distinctive sound”.
& also Plugged in Brighton:
…Not bad, not bad at all.
[EDIT: PiB now has a website – links added, but check it out here]
Yes, that title’s a dig at Brexit, but there are no overt protest songs this time round: these are complex emotions, for complex times… The kind of feelings that don’t even have names – but you know them when they hit home.
I’m very happy with this one, and hope it’s as enjoyable a listening experience as it was to make.
The video of Perilous Seat can be seen exclusively via Pure Grain Audio, here. It’s a DIY epic of indifferent miming, lurid colours and general dislocation – every penny’s up there on the screen. Hope you enjoy… If not, you can claim back the 3min 47sec of yr life from me at a gig, with this handy token:
Vanishing Island seems to be doing good. Got a tremendous write-up from The Ringmaster Review – “his finest incitement yet… has something extra which truly set it apart… delicious pop cacophony”. O yes.
House of Prog went easy on me this time, citing “a somewhat odd and eerie production, with a touch of kraut to the psychedelia”… Thanks, I’ll take it.
Further, Full Circle calls it “ten adventurous songs with inventive arrangements […] Very enjoyable and well made album throughout by an individual and fascinating artist.”
Anyway, pretty soon you’ll be able to decide for yourself – album’s out 3rd May.
Stencil issue 54
Stencil Magazine reviews Vanishing Island here (p. 153) …”for those looking for something that’s outside of the box and scratches many levels of atmosphere”. Ambivalent but interested – my favourite kind of review, quite often (as it implies a genuine effort to engage).
Plugged in Brighton gave the single, Perilous Seat, its first write-up in their 13th issue: “pop through a prism […] It’s almost a waltz, not quite a sea shanty but certainly quality, adult pop”. Wonder what they’ll make of the album? (That’s by far the most accessible, song-shaped track on there, as you’d expect. Even scored some airplay on Kerrang Radio.) We’ll find out…
Otherwise, doing another free improv Safehouse gig as part of the Wildcard Quartet, on 24 April at The Verdict. Comfort zone? I have none.
More band gigs coming up too – news on them as & when.
EDIT: Another review came in just after this post, from Whisperin & Hollerin. It’s very generous indeed – “tidy hooks and imaginatively-crafted moments of atmosphere and even pangs of emotional depth“, among other things. Always cool when someone sees what I was aiming at. Read it here.
There’s a B-side – Stroke of Noon – and a bonus track on the Bandcamp release – Fair Question.
It’s taken from an album called Vanishing Island, which is due Fri 3 May.
more info to follow…
So the gig went well…
…and three days later, we went into the studio to record as a band – which also went very well (more on that later)…
…but meanwhile, there’s a new single coming out next month:
Due 8 March, accompanied by a video (one of my no-budget, lo-fi specials) – link to follow.
very excited about this one…
THE EMPERORS OF ICE CREAM onstage 10pm
wonky post-punk with a dash of weird
“big time kicks up some serious dust” – Mike Watt
Wed 20 Feb, The Prince Albert
MUSIC from 8.30 sharp
I fucking hate January (and February, but that’s another story). Only remedy’s work – been rehearsing with the band for an upcoming gig and some recording next month, and finalising my next release… due out early May, probably.
More news on the gig and other doings – it occurs to me there’s not a lot of stuff online with the band, which we’ll have to do something about – as and when, as ever.
Hope & Ruin gig went well – although enough’s happened since that it now feels like a vague, fond childhood memory – and the band gets ever more awesome: from early next year we’re doing more gigs, with new material to play.
I’ve got another meaty interview in Irish rock zine Overdrive – read here. Also, German indie radio’s NBT put Disquiet at 55 on their 410-album Best Of 2018, which as plaudits go is pretty heady: some of the names I beat are big and legendary (of course it’s not a contest… is it?… but a gong’s always welcome).
Anyway, big plans for 2019, including a new solo album and our first recordings as a group – starting February, probably. Here we are in that happy era of five weeks ago:
l-r: MF, Barney Guy, Stephen Bad Mother-Folker
BOUNCING SKULL PRESENTS
L C PUMPKIN
astonishing lo-fi outsiderness
“Warping keyboards, fuzz-banjo, blown-out drum machine beats and extremely catchy songwriting” – Upset The Rhythm
“It was good” – Jarvis Cocker
ADAM & ELVIS
formidable and poignant live band with a mighty work ethic, fresh from supporting Fat White Family, The Correspondents, Splashh and The Zombies
“Their track The Artiste takes you gently by the hand and draws you down a hypnotizing route that leads to some surprising places” – Steve Lamacq, 6MUSIC
Here’s a stranger to daylight, staring back at a camera and talking to Mass Movement about his 10 favourite LPs. I now understand why vloggers do that thing of having loads of apparently pointless fast cuts even if it’s just them talking (to edit out all the times they blew their lines or dried up. Try giving a semi-improvised speech for a quarter hour without deviation, hesitation, repetition or several annoying facial tics… even the most glibly confident would struggle. Still, interesting to try – although I don’t think I could make a “career” out of it). These aren’t the definitive 10 – more the ones that seemed significant that day – but I hope this small addition to the huge reef of pop cult lists is entertaining, anyway. And it’s nice to be asked.
…Reproduced here because it’s bootleg as fuck – a paper zine with minimal web presence, and if you don’t live in Brighton you’re unlikely to see a copy. Both ends of the magnet!
[EDIT: as of July ’19, PiB now has a website – check here]
Back soon with gig news…
There’s also a review, courtesy The RingMaster: “a mix of challenge and seduction but most of all a fascination leaning towards needing more”… Hey, I’ll take it.
Here are the links:
Sonic Shocks interview “my feet were floating a couple of inches above the floor and everything was blue round the edges”
Whisperin and Hollerin interview “I got a lot of abuse growing up in England with an Irish surname, so it feels good to parade it now”
Riff Media interview “I’d be seduced by power […] my hands coated with blood and my soul shrunken to a burnt piece of popcorn, then end my days in front of a firing squad”
…There’s stuff about songwriting, inspirations and the dodgy reality of being an independent artist in 2018. Also, the EP’s being streamed by Puregrain Audio, here. So yeah, you can listen and/or read as the mood takes you – with more to come yet.
Here’s the follow-up to Ugly Scene (released earlier this year).
Where that one was… well, ugly… this is the mirror opposite. It’s mellow, but be warned: the tracks get freakier as it progresses. Again, the clue’s in the title. Enjoy x
“this little honesty nugget could poison my future…”
The link above takes you to a lengthy interview I did with Big Issue North recently (then had to keep quiet about for a while). It was a buzz, and hopefully makes a good read – covering such things as:
What informs your music and songwriting?
What’s on your rider?
What’s your worst lyric?
…among others. A lot of words, so I’ll just leave it there for you to take a look.
BOUNCING SKULL PRESENTS
YOUNG FRANCIS – onstage 10pm
Young Francis plays guitar by hand, drums by foot and sings by mouth. No effects, no pedals, no loops, no tricks.
Young Francis sings 2 minute songs about girls, getting high and hanging out.
“A one-man Ramones, with a touch of John Cooper Clarke wit”
– Brighton Unsigned
MATT FINUCANE – onstage 9.15
Deliciously dysfunctional… now with drums!!!!!!!!
“Music runs through the core of the mysterious and ground breaking singer/songwriter/poet” – Brighton Source
LA PEQUENA EM – onstage 8.30
Punked up cover versions on a distorted electric uke with masks, wrestling, sharks and fun.
ART SCUZZ FOREVER!!!
Thur 11 Oct, The Quadrant – 12-13 North Street, Brighton BN1
MUSIC from 8:30 SHARP
This is the first press for forthcoming EP Disquiet – an interview talking about songwriting for AltCorner. It’s a fine, almost invisible line between saying something interesting and giving the whole game away… but maybe I walked it here. Have a look, see what you reckon.
With thanks to David Page and Joe Bridge.
(Actually, there was one other recent gig review – of the electric band, by Plugged In Brighton, here.)
There’s another EP coming out later this year – Fri 19 Oct – which is the opposite half of the picture to the abrasive, noise-heavy protest songs on Ugly Scene. The clue’s in the title: Disquiet – a mellow slab of grandeur and weirdness. Till then, got gigs coming up next month and more in Sept-Nov (a mixture of solo and electric band nights, details to follow). These are the nearest few dates:
The 11 June Hope & Ruin gig, written up in issue 4 of Plugged In Brighton. Grab a copy round town, unless distance and/or the forces of entropy prevent you (you’ll just have to move to Brighton). Anyway, it was a very nice night, good to see the other acts getting due credit. While we’re here… Can I direct you once more to the zine’s latest Mixcloud, which features an old track of mine? Here it is.
photo by Lewis McKale
Two more upcoming local gigs:
What can I say – I’m a greedy bitch. To soak up the folly, the gigs will be poles apart in sound, feel and setlist (very different venues too). For the first, there’ll be electricity, bass and drums; the second, I’ll be alone up there… After that, it’s oblivion for a little while.
Meanwhile, a track from the new EP’s featured on Monolith Cocktail’s Quarterly Playlist Revue, alongside Dr Octagon, Grimm Grimm and Crayola Lectern, to name a few – it’s an immersive, intelligently-structured listening experience; switch that phone off and strap in for a journey by tracklist.
An oldie, Lilith, features on the third edition of Plugged In Brighton’s Mixcloud in a rockier setting; Young Francis, Big Slammu et al bring the scuzz.
The two programmes are very reflective of the two nights – one’s adrenaline noise, the other’s a head trip. Explore!