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 free LP out now, 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.
recorded live at Audiobeach (Brighton), 16 Jan 2020
vox / gtr: MF
bass: Stephen Parker
drums: Barney Guy
engineer: Forbes Coleman
(songs MF / arr. band)
(cover photo: Mik Hanscomb)
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…)
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.
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“.
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.
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.
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
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:
Not Too Far
The Wrong Side
Out today: the loudest and most obnoxious set of recordings I’ve done in quite a while – it felt like that kind of time again. The follow-up, hopefully due later this year, is already finished and takes a different angle… it’s called Disquiet. But for now, hope you enjoy these dispatches from the feedback frontier x
“spins and spins to weave a heavy and complex sonic web” – indiebandguru.com
The 13th August update of Unpeeled has very positive things to say about Glow in the Dark – “once in a blue one, you come across something of genuine interest”, for a start – and I’ve taken the liberty of quoting the entire review somewhere on here. Go to the site, though, it’s all good writing (and they clearly have excellent taste).
Wish me luck – or a gloriously messy death. x
GLOW IN THE DARK – album #2 – is now available from Bandcamp, Amazon, Spotify & the rest. My advice is get it from Bandcamp, where it comes with extras.
It’s been reviewed by Whiteboard Project, here. (Scroll down, it’s the second or third item.) It “will infuriate some and delight others […] Highly recommended”. Amen to that.
On top of this, I’m part of a brief tour from 15th – 19th August.
Two more reviews for Glow in the Dark, first from Stu Huggett in Brighton Source magazine:
…And second from Ringmaster Reviews, here. An ambivalent one, this – “at times not easy to get a handle on”, but “to ignore it would be a mistake”… and “a sinister caress with less than healthy intentions which leaves one rattled but needing to feel its shadows again”(!). Still, it’s in-depth, which is aces with me. And uncertainty isn’t a bad thing… I’ve evoked some colourful images in the writer’s head: my work is done.
Here’s a nice write-up for the upcoming album at indiebandsblog.com …
And here’s one at withguitars.com
Appreciated, as ever. Live, the gigs are gradually pencilling in, circling like corner-of-the eye spectres… Also, just been offered a BBC radio session, so more news on that soon.
The video to my next single, Hard Science (released on Light Crude 28 May) can be viewed above. It was a lot of fun, albeit very fragmented, to make – not the least difficult was finding a vicar’s collar that fit comfortably and didn’t slip out to the side like a broken bone. Anyway, now I know how those evangelicals feel: drunk and throbbing with THE POWER OF THE LORD.
A positive write-up for This Mucky Age from individualist journo Indie Dad. It’s on the [sic] Magazine site here.
(Seem to recall he quite liked Episodes when it was first released in 2008, too – did I mention it’s just been re-issued by any chance…?)
A review’s always appreciated – even more when it’s favourable. So far, I’ve been very lucky.
2008 debut EP re-released
Episodes is on sale again from tomorrow, via Bandcamp and – shortly afterwards – iTunes, Amazon & all that bunch.
Not only does it include Kafka Song and the hidden spoken-word track from the original CD, but also 3 extra tunes (one of them exclusive to Bandcamp). It’s been unavailable for a long time due to problems with the original distributors which I won’t go into here – suffice to say a repeat appearance is long overdue. Check it out.
This Mucky Age gets an interesting write-up from Peter Kemp’s music blog here:
It’s pretty shrewd; but then it’s a great review so I would say that, wouldn’t I? (He’s bang-on about the imaginary scenario of Degenerate Son, which seems to have puzzled some people.)
Anyway, check out Peter’s blog – I’m in very good company.
…and also for the re-issue of “Episodes”
Monday 20th Feb sees the digital re-release of my 2008 EP Episodes, with bonus tracks. Here’s a short story to celebrate: one for all you Valentine’s Day romantics out there. (Ha!)