So what’s it like, doing live tracking in the age of Covid? Here’s some footage from Church Road Studios a couple of days ago…
Masks, hand sanitizer and tape on the floor – also, I’m not allowed to touch an amp or mic stand myself, which makes it feel like we’re filming at the BBC in about 1970 (quite fun, actually).
These are preliminary recordings for an album due out sometime next year… not yet clear exactly when… The first track featured is called Schooling, the second’s Derision (which is meant to be about 4min of freeform… we got nearly half an hour, so I look forward to the edit).
It’s a strange new situation all right – but not impossible, thankfully.
A surprise lockdown bonus, courtesy Safehouse… I’m on 3 tracks (10, 12 & 13 – guitar, synth and effects, respectively), but I’d recommend the full immersion. Here’s the blurb:
A system of 23 trios were created, whereby no one player could play with the same person more than once. Cards with the 23 players names on were shuffled and depending on the order they were drawn, each player was given a number. These 23 musicians sent in a recording of themselves playing, between 4 and 6 minutes long. This solo performance/recording was sent to the player “below” them to play along with. This recorded duet was then sent to the player “below” them to play along with.
Players were invited to record whatever they wanted, whilst listening to and accompanying the track “above”
The final trio of each unique group is what you are listening to here!
(Full list of personnel on Bandcamp… Thanks to Iain Paxon for dreaming it up/organising.)
This was lots of fun to be involved with – which, at the moment, is the most important thing: something worthwhile to focus on, and some form of connection, however remote. And it sounds marvellous, possibly.
Here’s the recent streamed gig courtesy The Rec Rooms, for anyone who doesn’t like Facebook. It’s only the second time I’ve performed this way, and can’t deny it feels odd playing a set at home to dead silence (a bit like radio, but on yr own and with less reliable tech)… Still, reckon it went pretty well – see what you think.
All these lo-fi home gigs are going to make a weird little time-capsule once the immediate crisis passes… A historical record of people with hair that needs cut, staring at cameras in their bedrooms.
For anyone who fancies a deeper dive, here‘s the #SaveOurVenues gig I did for The Brunswick (fb only unfortunately)… Having crossed a line, I’ll probably do more of this kind of thing in future – but still prefer actual in-reality gigs.
So here, because I’m feeling maudlin, are a few that never came to pass:
…Hope to reschedule with some of these bands, some day!
As previously mentioned, Hectic Night (out now on Bandcamp) is a free download live LP we recorded in January, live in the studio. I was saving it for a rainy day, and this has to be the rainiest year…
Plugged in Brighton have given it a track-by-track review, link here – “a troubled troubadour running in and out of dark alleyways being chased by god knows what seeking who knows what.”
Read and see if the music matches the words… I reckon so, but then I’m biased.
The Music Venue Trust needs YOU – to help #SaveOurVenues.
“We need Artists, Music Fans & Local Communities to act together to prevent their local music venues from permanently closing.
Visit saveourvenues.co.uk to get involved.”
no venues = no new music
As part of the #saveourvenues campaign, I’m doing a streamed gig on Facebook to raise funds for The Brunswick – a venue I’ve spent a lot of time in over the last several years, both onstage and audience.
It’s Sunday 3 May, 7pm UK time – on my Facebook page or the venue’s: here.
(Donations can be sent direct to The Brunswick here.)
It’s all quite last-minute, but then the situation’s urgent… and dire… for smaller venues in lockdown: I’m hoping we can all help each other out. Keep music (a)live!
Here it is – help selves x
A free LP out Mon 27th, if you’d like one, with a simple premise: the band, playing our set in a studio, a few weeks before the lockdown hammer fell – just because.
Listen/download/enjoy. Three sample tracks in the link above…
recorded live at Audiobeach (Brighton), 16 Jan 2020
vox / gtr: MF
bass: Stephen Parker
drums: Barney Guy
engineer: Forbes Coleman
(songs MF / arr. band)
(photo: Mik Hanscomb)
Dexter Bentley’s Hello GoodBye Show on Resonance FM played a new song of mine, Caught Making Signals, as part of QUARANTUNE on Sat 4 April: “Enjoy the first flowers of lockdown in the form of new music written in response to the current pandemic”. Strictly speaking, my contribution was written and recorded before all this blew up, but it seems to fit regardless. See what you think – links above.
Am going to release a free album of the recording session that track was taken from: the band, live in the studio, one very hectic night… Date to follow!
Still haven’t done any live streaming on facebook or wherever yet, but mean to get my shit together soon – even if the idea of it feels a bit like making a model ocean liner out of toothpicks in a hermit’s cell. Again, date/s to follow (maybe).
All gigs cancelled for the forseeable, unfortunately – but I hope to reschedule, once the Covid crisis is under some semblance of control.
I’ll very likely do something on Facebook live or Youtube quite soon, as much to ward off going stir crazy as anything… Keep an eye out, will update on here as & when.
Take care and thanks for listening – be well
“Matt played his guitar with menace tonight”
And a few pix (thanks to Mik Hanscomb. The out-of-focus shots of the other bands are mine – I’m a musician, not a photojournalist… clearly):
…Onward to the next one.
noises (Church Road Studio)
burnt orange (Church Road Studio)
lights! (Audiobeach Studio)
…more on these developments soon
MF, Barney, Stephen, 11 Dec
On the whole, I’ve really enjoyed putting on some DIY gigs this year – it’s been stressful at times (for purely organisational reasons – all the other bands have been lovely)… but very much worth it. This last one went very well, and here’s a review from Plugged in Brighton to testify:
On the subject of reviews, here’s one of the EP from Whisperin and Hollerin:
“…And so it is that over the course of 4 songs and 20 minutes, Matt Finucane demonstrates that he’s a singular artistic voice in a sea of sameness, and if 2019 has seen him establish himself, 2020 looks like being the year he takes it to the next level.”
Well, hope so. This year’s not over yet, of course – couple more gigs to come – and in January we’re back in the studio. So who knows? If nothing else, be interesting to see what happens next.
pic(s) by Dexter Bentley
Here’s the live session & interview we did for Dexter Bentley’s HelloGoodbye Show on Resonance FM – it’s very close to the start of the show, and is four uninterrupted songs (including a brand new number) followed by some chat:
(That was our afternoon. Later on, we went to Biddle Bros in E5 for a very loud gig. An ideal day.)
The band’s doing a live session in London this Saturday: Dexter Bentley’s HelloGoodbye Show, Resonance 104.4 FM – that’s from noon on 16 Nov. I’ve wanted to play on Resonance for ages, so this is something of a thrill (there might be an interview too).
Later that same day in the same city, we’re gigging on a great line-up… Here’s the info:
8:30pm THE GREAT MALARKEY (Acoustic)
Influenced by the likes of Tom Waits, Pixies, The Pogues, Beirut, Nick Cave, Fanfare Ciocărlia, Manu Chao, The Dead Brothers and Toots & The Maytals (the latter of whom they supported with only their third gig), The Great Malarkey are a riotous mix of musical styles delivered in a “multicultural train of fast beats and trembling slams of punk-folk spirit.” Earlier this year the song ‘Gimme Sugar’ from their second album “Doghouse” was chosen by Tom Robinson as BBC Radio 6 Music Recommend’s track of the week, getting played by daytime DJs Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq and Mary Anne Hobbs. The band play a special acoustic set tonight, featuring Alex ‘Ware-Woolf’ Gillings on vocals and guitar, Hugh Jones on vocals and guitar and Joni Belaruski on drums and vocals.
“A wild, multi-gendered gang of rebels brimming with deviant energy and fun… An absolute must see live experience” – Tom Robinson, BBC Radio 6 Music
9:20pm LEISURE TANK
Leisure Tank are a new female led power duo arrived from Berlin playing raw, minimalistic rock with unpredictable song structures and heavy, danceable grooves. Originally, K.C. (Katalin Czenker) is from Ossak, a tiny East German farm town that was home before the wall came down. Her songs echo that tough landscape, while her gutsy voice and electric guitar can be compared to PJ Harvey or Anna Calvi. She is backed by Budi on drums who plays huge complex rhythms on a gorgeous old Ludwig kit. The duo, in other guises, performed over seven hundred shows in punk squats and alternative acoustic clubs across Europe for a decade, saving their newer harder sound for the tougher British bar and festival crowds. They have just released their latest single ‘Moema’ and are soon to release their just-completed album.
“Gripping indie rock at it’s best” – Tom Robinson
10:10pm MATT FINUCANE
Brighton based singer/songwriter Matt Finucane’s music takes influence from art rock, krautrock and electronic noise and mashes them up into something intense and energetic. His songs have drawn comparisons to Lou Reed, Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave and David Bowie and for several years he has been DIY-releasing albums at a steady rate, getting airplay on BBC Introducing: South (including a live session with an early version of the band), Kerrang Radio and The Séance, among others. He has just released his third album “Vanishing Island” and has a new EP titled “The Seizure” out in November. Live, Matt is accompanied by Stephen Parker on bass and Barney Guy on drums.
“He should be heard by many many people” – Louder Than War Magazine
“A delight. Always great to hear an artist doing things their way” – R*E*P*E*A*T
VanityAct have always been a product of a variety of burgeoning London music scenes. The band started in 2015 in a bedroom in Hackney, with the main goal of being equal parts jazz, soul and punk, and went on to scavenge inspiration from the rich and diverse music of East London’s local bars and pubs. Originally flying under the moniker of Bubblegum, the band decided to start recording an album before playing any shows. This led to the release of their full-length LP, “Life in Colour”, which laid the groundwork for their full-bodied, orchestrated sound, rich with gospel choirs and raw brass ad libs. This sonic idiom was fully realised on their 2018 releases, ‘Original Sin’ and ‘Sunset (in the Key of E)’. During that year they also started their own regular music night in collaboration with Deviant & Dandy Brewery, entitled “The VanityAct Jamboree”, where they invite their favourite London bands to play laid back sets. The band are Henry Louis Ogilvie Dabrowski on vocals and guitar, Gabi Demera on bass and vocals, Alex Montgomerie-Corcoran on guitar, Jamie Burnett on drums and Helen Walpole on synth and vocals.
This EP marks a new departure: if you can make out the text on the back cover, you’ll see there’s an actual band involved. We recorded three tracks from our current set, pretty much live in the studio – barring vocals and a few guitar overdubs – then the final track’s a collaboration with Mik Hanscomb (Junkboy) in a lighter vein.
For more detail, I can’t really do better than the RingMaster Reviews interview I did recently, which covers everything…
Or there’s a review on Plugged in Brighton – “The familiar is twisted and distorted. Music comes from the shadows. Sonic exploration in every sense. Recommended.”
A good end to an interesting year!
(Except it’s not over yet – there’s a live session on Resonance FM to come, among other things…)
A first look at The Seizure from The Ring Master Review: “one of the most unique and honest artists around” – wow, I’ll take it!
The band gets singled out too, which is cool – “The bass of Stephen Parker again proves a dark invitation to get hooked up on; it’s tempting as brooding as it is catchy against the rhythmic swing of drummer Barney Guy”…
And here’s the conclusion: “In our experience every outing with Matt Finucane has proven an absorbing and rousing adventure in some rich level of degree but The Seizure might just be his finest proposition yet; in fact no question, it is.”
…The write-up goes into more detail about each track, but I think it’s safe to say it went over well, which is always a good feeling. Check it out, see if it tingles yr fancy.
EDITED TO ADD:
There’s also an interview: embracing the discord, here – which goes into more detail about the band, what’s behind the EP, and what happens next. As I say, you have to meet me halfway… but it’s always good when someone takes the time to listen and engage; and for what it’s worth, this is the clearest account yet.
Eight Miles High presents a night of far-out live music at the Brunswick Cellar Bar, Hove, with Eight Miles High playlists and liquid visuals in an intimate basement setting.
a Gnostic mix of folk, ambient, electronic and drone influenced by the forgotten places and times that surround us. Meditative drones, corrupted banjo and squeezebox and lo-fi electronics, and the occasional song about Stonehenge. His second album Geomancer was released in August this year.
channels Lou Reed stylings into psychotronic darkness. He’s happy to be “the troubadour of disharmony, back to confront, provoke, and captivate in his unique way” – The Ring Master review
is the project of Mark Benton and his eclectic troupe of performers that create dream-pop songs. They combine a variety of influences into a myriad sound of lullabies with anthemic electric and acoustic textures. performing at Cellar Bar as duo with synth, guitars and vocals
venture down to the Cellar Bar basement for a multi-sensory experience!
Doors open 8pm (first band on 8:30pm)
operates predominantly in the realm of free improvisation, interested in a spatial and phenomenological exploration of acoustic sound through the steel-string acoustic guitar
“the troubadour of disharmony” – Ring Master Review
mellow tastes and long atmospheric trips on hip hop beats
music from 8.30pm sharp
…I’ll be playing the 1st gig as a duo – guitar/drums – and the 2nd solo…
Sat 16 Nov, Biddle Bros (London E5) 8pm – electric band – details tbc
7 Aug ’19, The Prince Albert (Brighton) – CCZH Photography
Thought it was about time for some action shots of the band, to go with the recent overhaul of the site… This new collective focus is reflected in the next EP, which was recorded pretty much live in the studio earlier this year; it’s not just a one-man operation anymore. Anyway, there’s more to follow, audio & visual.
pre-order on Bandcamp here
This is the first set of tracks I’ve recorded with the band – at Church Road Studio here in Brighton, earlier this year – loud and (pretty much) live. There’s also an acoustic song featuring Mik Hanscomb on 12-string guitar: you get the whole spectrum in this EP’s 20min run-time.
It’s available in all the usual online places from 8th Nov, but you can hear a preview of the longest, strangest track on the player above.
“We all choose our suffering. There is ugly suffering and there is beautiful suffering. You, I think, are somewhere in between”
That’s a quote from an interview I did with The Sound Lab, here. (One of the more… interesting audience responses I’ve had in a while, that was.)
There’s also a review of Vanishing Island in print and online in Devolution Magazine – a good one, check it out here.
…Another full-throat shout-out for the August gig:
GREENNESS (full band) onstage 10pm
“Hypnotic electro acoustic tunes creating a relaxed atmosphere with a whiff of Massive Attack / The Sugarcubes” – Breaking Glass Magazine
MATT FINUCANE + band onstage 9.15
“The troubadour of disharmony, back to confront, provoke, and captivate in his unique way” – The Ring Master Review
Wed 7 Aug, The Prince Albert
MUSIC from 8.30 sharp
…After that, I’ve got stuff booked up till December, solo & electric band (and one acoustic duo gig). More on that to follow.
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“.