There’s a 6th installment of the ongoing Safehouse album project (and I’m on it). This is another free improv epic, part of a vast unfolding tale that started in lockdown… Here’s what I wrote about the first one I played on, shortly after the world changed. Track above features some truly horrible guitar from me, pitted against two unlucky other musicians, while the entire album can be heard on Bandcamp, here.
A rough & ready phone vid of the recent gig at Biddle Bros in London, courtesy Sad House Daddy. It captures the atmosphere – my guitar’s out of tune, the lunatics are slamdancing, the music’s very loud: it’s the full set. Enjoy!
I’ve got 2 new pieces of music on 2 different releases:
“BUCFP provides practical support, education, advice and much more to the unemployed and those in poor living conditions, benefit claimants, the unwaged, pensioners, families and those on low incomes.
Download it, tell all yr friends, send us money. All profits go to BUCFP.”
– The first features shitloads of punk & punk-adjacent bands like Austerity, Idle Bones, Ferox Fucking Ferox, Mules & others, plus a new track of mine.
– The second’s a compilation from Brighton’s foremost experimental electronic collective (SoG, celebrating 21 years of promoting gigs). There’s 36 tracks of foaming noise terror, including an instrumental from me, all based around a recording of Nil By Nose washing up.
I urge you to check them out on the links above, buy them & play them obsessively – both are out now.
Another improv album from Safehouse Brighton – I’m on tracks 1, 17 & 19. This is the fifth in a series of remote collaborations started over lockdown (am on every one except the first), so I’ll skip the blurb; enough to say it’s a big listen and a deep dive into freeform sound adventure. It’s also possibly the lightest, most accessible volume so far; who knows what’ll happen when we reach the end of the alphabet…
That’s one extreme, so here’s the reverse – from the Rossi Bar gig in November showing the other end of what I do:
1) MF – 2) La Pequena Em – 3) Austerity – 4) Austerity/Gulls (photos by Jimmy Guest)
It’s been a blast, somewhat against expectation given how bleak things looked in January – hope to do a lot more next year, and that everyone’s 2022 is utterly fucking fab.
It’s here… New album comes out today – a full-length studio recording with the band and various guest musicians, and some of my best songs yet: hope you enjoy (you can stream it on any of the links above). xx
The 3rd and final single from my forthcoming album To The Outer World releases today… It’s a longer track (5mins, which is a lot for a guitar band), goes to some interesting places without losing the groove.
Did an interview recently with Muso Muso magazine – read it here. I don’t normally swear that much – answering questions about my music, anyway – but seeing it out there in someone else’s font, it seems a bit excessive. Didn’t register it at the time, for whatever reason – my mood was fine, pulse and brainwaves normal… maybe it just looks worse to me, I dunno. See what you think.
EDIT: Just to add, Graham Duff’s Mixtape on Slack City for 24 March played “A Friend From Far Away” – listen to the whole show here.
The 2nd single from my new album’s out today (LP to follow Fri 23 April). It’s available from all the usual online sources, but I’d recommend the Bandcamp version, which comes with several extra tracks – a stealth EP, even. As before, it was recorded punishingly loud at Church Road Studios with Julian Tardo – hope you enjoy.
Oh yeah, here’s another no-budget DIY video to go with it, what I done all by myself (meant to make something a bit more extravagant this time, but lockdown II squashed that idea)…
First of three singles – next one follows in about a month. This one’s my last word on a pet subject – a focused, direct guitar number (another last word, possibly). Hope you enjoy.
Got an album out in April, and in the run-up to release am putting out 3 singles. The first, Something That Can Help, is due Friday 29 Jan. It’s been aired on Dexter Bentley’s Hello Goodbye Show on Resonance 104.4 FM – listen here… & Radio Reverb’s Pete Jones Show – here.
There’s also a review up on Plugged in Brighton: “It’s a cliche to talk about singers who wear their hearts on their sleeves but in Matt’s case, you can add all the other major organs”.
True, that. Have an advance listen, see if you agree.
Those crazy Safehouse cosmonauts have done it again: a new collection of trios – including me, on three tracks – working long-distance on some free improv musical collaborations. (This is the third so far… I’m also on the previous album, D.E.F.*)
Hadn’t expected to update again so soon, with no gigs or anything like that on the horizon – of course – but hopefully this is a sign of life resuming… We’ll find out.
*It makes sense (read the blurb on Bandcamp)…
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.
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.)
Here’s a free download, moved across to Bandcamp from Soundcloud.
It’s a BBC Introducing: South session with my previous live band (including links by DJ Melita Dennett – these were included in the original files they sent me afterward, and add a pleasing sense of the captured moment).
Feel free to pig out on all of the above.
Mon Oct 12th: am playing a live session for Pete Jones on Radio Reverb 97.2FM tonight, which can be heard on the wireless or streamed live here. It goes out from 6-8PM, with a repeat on Friday at noon (see above). I’ll be doing songs old & new, and probably chatting a bit.
yeah, this is my fucking “critic” face
Just for a change, and because everyone loves a pundit, I fancy writing about local bands encountered recently who didn’t make me want to puke.
Well, not so much “writing” like a reviewer, more listing them in no particular order, without spoon-feeding – so you can discover their brilliance for yourself. Also, lists are how we communicate nowadays:
Man Ray Sky – incredible layered guitar/electro soundscapes and vistas
Lutine – spooky anti-folk from the dark, dark ages (their debut gig in a church was stunning)
Thee Bald Knobbers – absolutely indescribable. This link is live footage. It’s terrifying.
Shonalika Tilak – a superb singer with some extremely dark, absorbing music
Stevie and the Nobodies – crunchy guitars, smart tunes, humour
Prissy Lips – utter fucking exotic trash glam
Plurals – drones and transcendence
Broken Ears – punchy, hard-edged acoustica (fairly new outfit, but already very strong)
& the marvellous Junkboy
An interesting mixture, and that’ll do for now – apologies to any I’ve missed out, although doubtless there’ll be more… There were three very good acts at my recent launch gig, for example – check them out too. In fact, check em all out.
Seasonal fear! Here’s a new song from me at 6min26 called Dead Men Sing Us To Our Rest – very apt for the dark, hushed mortuary time of year it was shot and broadcast…
This is episode 4 of StageUp Unplugged, which went out on local TV & Virgin 159 just before Xmas, now archived to their Youtube channel. Do check it out – there’s other good stuff on there, plus it’s an interesting and worthwhile outfit: a Social Enterprise involved in mental health.
More news (and hopefully, gigs) soon.
This is the lyrics video to forthcoming single In The Evil Empire, due to be released on The Animal Farm in 2014.
It’s been a while, but then this time of year’s rarely very dramatic.
Lately, the focus is on improvising, found sounds and field recordings – for instance, a spoken word piece I just did with a sound artist named Jamie Sturrock.
He’d produced a very eerie soundscape called water ghosts, based on noises obtained by dangling a mic into an underground cavern in Scotland. I wrote a response after sitting in the dark with it, then recorded this with him. The results, when finished, may be released at some point – but that’s out of my hands, and part of a larger ongoing project. More news on this if/when I have it.
Anyway, it’s very exciting so far; Jamie’s website (with water ghosts toward the bottom of the page) can be found here.
2012 was bipolar – but I’d do it all again
Well, that was a… colourful year. And who could ask for more? Rather that than the alternative, which is a dreary thought. Death!
So what happened? (I’m still asking myself that, so this summary is as much for my benefit as anything else.)
1) Released 2nd album. Got more, and better, reviews than #1 – which was kind of the idea.
2) Did a brief and eventful tour after release – pretty much broke even: another first. Played a fair few other gigs, mostly solo, some with…
3) A band, which orbited around the songs for roughly 8-9 months and then exploded. With hindsight, it was never going to last, but during that time we played…
4) Live on BBC Introducing: The South (and the single got a little air-time too). This was exciting.
…Besides these bare bullet-points, I’ve just kept on doing it, “it” being more songs. Met some potential collaborators in the last couple of months, had a few tantalising overtures; again, I’m not going into detail yet for fear of The Jinx; in this game, so many promising set-ups tend to evaporate without warning.
But it’s promising just the same. And it’s been a blast – on a gross venal level, the trickle of royalties makes filling in an income tax Self Assessment form such a thrill.
Joking aside, I’m still fuelling off the highs and regret none of the lows – hope you (whoever you are) likewise. Happy New Year.
Below is a piece I wrote some years ago for a fanzine (on actual paper, yet). Explanation follows.
I arrived at 221B Baker Street to find my friend Sherlock Holmes deep in consultation with a well-to-do lady of middle years, her pale worried features a sad contrast to the richness of her dress. ‘It’s my son Francis,’ she said in a voice cracked with weariness. ‘Ever since he joined this.. “rock band”, he’s been like a perfect stranger. He comes and goes at all hours, refuses his dinner, and seems to detest my husband and I – but worse yet…’
Here Holmes interrupted with a brusque gesture of his nervous fingers. ‘This band. What do they call themselves?’
‘I blush to tell you, Mr Holmes, but they are known as The Fucking Cocksuckers.’
‘Quite so. If you will permit me – ?’ Holmes stretched out a long arm and reached into the jumble of documents and periodicals on the mantelpiece. ‘Hmm. Yes, here we are – this week’s New Musical Express.. Watson, what a catalogue of horrors is here! The lubberly scum of London, the very dregs of the opium dens.. Where was it.. Ah! I quote: “spotted by yr excited reporter picking their noses in a darkened toilet with the Damp Socket Scuzz Collective (formerly We Luv Public School Records) – anti-music – anti-quotes – they wipe their arses on the smug corpse of the Old Previous Cunts – doing it for The Kids, man – tired rhetoric – I play guitar like I’m flogging my old PE teacher – drums like a scotch egg full of Iggy’s spunk…” Enough!’
‘But Mr Holmes, this is not the worst of it!’ the good lady interjected. ‘I listened to some of their.. music.. only this afternoon, and my own Francis was,’ she coughed with embarrassment, ‘..singing, after a fashion, about “snorting bones”. In somebody’s garden shed.’ Her face was ashen with horror. ‘Bones, Mr Holmes!’
Holmes looked grim indeed. ‘Mrs Glendinning, I shall be most glad to rescue your son from these villains. Watson, I would be grateful if you’d pass me the inhaler of benzedrine cough remedy.’
‘Why, have you a cold, Holmes?’
‘Just do it.’
Suitably refreshed, my friend bade the dowager Lady goodbye and stepped out to hail a cab. I found him prostrate with nervous exhaustion a few feet from the porch, his athletic frame splayed on the cobblestones. ‘Quickly Watson – the brandy,’ he croaked, gesturing feebly toward the inner pocket of his greatcoat, ‘and you’d better have some too if we’re to stand a chance of surviving the ghastly work that lies ahead of us. I trust you’ve brought your revolver.’
‘Holmes, you surely cannot anticipate any danger from these noisy children?’
My friend smiled thinly as I helped him to his feet. ‘No. But I might feel like shooting someone.’
We arrived in a swirling fog outside the lowest kind of tavern. The noises from within are beyond my power to describe – and over it all a nasal, tortured yelp as of a man crying out in mortal crisis.
We pushed inside through the heat and throng, eyes watering in the murk, minds assaulted by the din. My cheeks burn as I write it, but the music began to work within me in strange ways – my moral fibre was shaken – my resistance wavered.. I plugged my ears and pushed on, seeing the lithe form of my friend leap onto the stage!
What a scene I beheld: the preening figure that had once been Francis Strathbogie Glendinning, beloved heir of a respectable family, twitching and cursing in language that must not – must not – be repeated. Surrounding him were a group of haggard, perspiring louts, sneering in practised ennui as they mishandled their instruments; a glassy-eyed stare and a shrug was their only reaction to Holmes’ appearance. He grasped Francis’s skinny shoulder and pushed the repulsive figure aside, seizing the microphone – howls of protest rose from the crowd – with his other hand Holmes picked up a guitar and lifted it high above his head, then dashed it to the floor!
I felt a thrill of fear as he snarled, ‘Right you lightweight little shits.. I’ll show you something..’
TO BE CONTINUED
(Except it wasn’t, nor was it intended to be. It was a dig at the then-prevalent mid-00’s fashion for bands made up of crackheads and public-school wankers pretending to be ex-rent boys, weird as that seems now. Anyway, I rediscovered it by accident and thought it might be a laugh to stick it on here.)
notes from waaay underground, Sept 2012
It’s hardly an original observation, but we’re in an unprecedented place with music right now. And that’s leaving aside the hopelessly blurred question of illicit downloads.
What we’ve got is an ever-more-entrenched top tier – the trad music biz – with a chokehold on all outlets still, despite everything. Shrinking but sucking up all the gravy, digging in, skimming off as much short-term profit on karaoke, lukewarm EDM and career-path indie as possible… (The money nowadays is in being a middleman – a 360-degree platform, or whatever… basically smoothing a load of unexpected bumps out of this level playing field, or claiming to.) And then there’s practically everyone else. Okay, there are exceptions when someone interesting somehow gets over the fence, but you know what I’m saying.
“Everyone else” being the huge semi-pro DIY mass, squashed in a corner, playing the long game. Doing it for the love of it, waiting for a break, gambling on longevity – or persistence – or bloody-mindedness… (If the volume of ever-accumulating stuff out there on the internet hasn’t made a nonsense of ideas like “back catalogue” and “posterity”, for unknowns anyway.) This in itself isn’t a new thing; it’s the extent of the lower tier that’s new. There simply aren’t enough outlets that pay – either in terms of making a living, or the finer commodity of sustained visibility. Of course the situation could eventually stabilize, even improve; something unexpected might come along and change the game again. Until then, though…
They believe in what they’re doing, these hidden musicians, so they roll the dice and carry on regardless.
As will I, despite the discouraging recent experience of having a band blow up on the launchpad. Discouraging, not fatal – with 20/20 hindsight it’s best in the long run, for reasons I needn’t go into here. Gave me ideas on how I’d like to continue, which is something; time now to get on with it.
Another year, another gamble: thankfully, the work is its own reward. Clearly lots of other people feel the same.