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.
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!
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
noises (Church Road Studio)
burnt orange (Church Road Studio)
lights! (Audiobeach Studio)
…more on these developments soon
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…)
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“.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
Badges… badges everywhere
A strange feeling, putting yr image into a 25mm metal circle. How do bands cope with their gormless faces plastered all over T-shirts and other… “merch”? Come to a gig and take these damn things away.
…But there are several more to come, including a third go with Safehouse in the Wildcard Quartet, end of June. Details here, as they become available. Anyway, ask me for a badge and you can have one.
My next full-band gig’s on Mon 11 June at the Hope & Ruin, with Pink Narcissus, Peter Cat & Lewis McKale. I’ll be onstage from 8:30, with a new drummer and new songs – truly, playing with the big boys…
Before that, there’s a return to Mr Wolf’s in Bristol (tomorrow!) and another go at Bar 42 in Worthing (electric this time). I chase the phantom wherever it leads, till the oil runs out and the lights go off.
I love a blog entry studded with enticing blue links. So – another track from the new EP can be heard on the second Mixcloud from Plugged In Brighton, along with loads of other really good hard stuff. Listen at leisure.