Well, there goes 2020: thank fuck.
I won’t labour the point – this year can only be an improvement…
Anyway, finished an album which I plan to release mid-2021 – probably my best yet – and a few other bits and pieces, so on a personal level there’s little to complain about. Also, NBTMusic Radio voted The Seizure 195 in the top 400 albums of 2020, which is gratifying. Have a listen, see what you think. Already feels like a long, long time since it came out (end of 2019, actually, so about a century in covid years)… I’m confident the new stuff’s even better, and hope to get it in front of you soon.
Nothing doing yet on the gig front, obviously – did a few streamed things on facebook & youtube in the first half of last year, which went well enough… I guess, it’s hard to tell when you’re serenading your phone… but it’s a bit too message in a bottle, too inhuman, for my taste. (And without the bit at the end of the night where you pack up and leave the venue, it’s really hard to wind down afterward – all that adrenaline and nowhere to go: you’re already home, amid the too-familiar objects. And since I don’t get drunk anymore, no way to zone out. Ah well.) Laying plans for when things start to move again, though. Meanwhile, do check out the Music Venue Trust’s Save Our Venues campaign – be good to have somewhere left to play!
To better days
amazing what you can do with £0.00
Am playing a free all-day gig in London – Smile Acoustic @ RichMix, E1 – this Monday (25th). On 4pm-ish, I think. There’s loads of musicians involved – here’s the event page. Looks fun.
Also, been recording another full-length effort lately… Self-produced, micro-budget, with assists here and there from talented friends. It already sounds exciting, might even end up as the best thing I’ve done so far.
Anyway, come to the gig and hear some of the songs that’ll be on it.
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.
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.
Okay, the live session on BBC Introducing: South is going out this Sunday, from 7 – 9 pm. We’re playing 4 songs and doing an interview. EDIT: 1st song goes out at 7:05.
Link to their webpage here. Info:
BBC Introducing: The South, 7-9pm Sunday evenings
BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey & BBC Radio Solent
Listen in Brighton on 95.3 FM
Listen in Sussex & Surrey 104-104.8 FM
Listen in Solent & Hampshire on 96.1 FM
Listen in Dorset on 103.8 FM L
Text during the show on 81333 your normal rates apply, but you must start your text with the word ‘radio’
…I can promise the unpredictable, the colourful, the atom-smashing. Give us a listen, do!
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.
Here’s a review of forthcoming single Hard Science on God Is In The TV’s site.
It’s a good one: “If these two avant-pop tracks are anything to go by then the album should be, at the least, intriguing.”
Read the article, listen to the tracks when they’re released at the end of this very month, and see if you agree. (In fact, Hard Science can be heard on the Bandcamp player at the top of this page. If you like, you can watch the video, too.)
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.
those who complain on messageboards that a not-for-sale CD clearly marked PROMO ONLY which they had no business buying is in fact a CD-r… I salute you
By and large, as a musician I expect to get ripped off occasionally; it’s an occupational hazard. This is why I’m not too bothered about torrent sites or other internet-based free music distributors beyond my control. While I might find the principle behind them bogus and annoying, it’s just about possible to accept in return for the (theoretical) publicity it can generate. And let’s face it, other options are limited.
Just before This Mucky Age was released, a ton of pirate downloads appeared on the net; one of the promo copies was ripped by a journalist. The only objection I could think of was that it messed up search results for this site; otherwise it was vaguely flattering, in a creepy sort of way… but begs the question, Why?!? Some sad bastard even went to the trouble of photographing the packaging. It’s a decent pic, too; so ironically enough, I’m going to steal it (see above).
While checking this out, I found bands begging to be pirated – either from wanting the extra exposure that these sites supposedly offer, or to be seen as inside the great big inclusive internet tent, maybe, instead of out in the rain. And to an extent, there’s something in the righteous notions the… pirates?… bandy about, of Opening Up Music’s Furthest Horizons Without Hindrance or Limit For Everybody, of sticking it to The Man, etc etc (when they bother to make excuses, it’s usually some kind of incoherent bid for the moral high ground).
Still, it would’ve been nice to be asked. At one point there were 80-odd leaked versions out there; not many in the scheme of things, but enough to be taking the piss. It can be remedied with a little effort, though: get a DMCA takedown notice issued, and the dark grapes of villainy wither on the vine. Eventually.
This is why the US House of Representatives’ proposed Stop Online Piracy Act & Protect Intellectual Property Act are disproportionate and inappropriate. The main argument against is that these pieces of legislation are so vague and potentially all-inclusive that, as the proposals stand, they could be extended to mean censorship (by blocking) of pretty much anything. All this in the hands of a closed group of private interests. But so what?
…After all, it sometimes feels like the www could do with a good purge; times when it seems to consist almost entirely of 2nd-hand crud – endlessly-circulated photos of dogs in fancy dress, people who can’t spell screeding out massive reviews of long-forgotten 80’s horror films, regurged gossip and contention, whatever.
Yeah (that’s quite enough devil’s advocacy), then what? What’s left, other than scorched earth and Adele? The brute fact is, I have no idea where any of this is going, and care less; it was just an excuse to put that picture up at the top. Which makes me just as bad – will the circle of evil ne’er be broken…?
Nothing like positive coverage to make an egomaniac’s day worthwhile
There’s a good write-up for the album in this month’s BN1 Magazine. It’s not online yet, but can be found in print around Brighton. I’m a pirate and a rascal, apparently – also a devil may care rebel. Naturally, this is very gratifying. Favourable comments on the music, too.
A few more reviews (that I’m aware of) should appear soon, but this’ll do nicely for now.
[EDIT – the review can now be read on the More Press page. All copyright BN1 Magazine, all effrontery mine.]
This Mucky Age is now on sale, and is available all over the internet (Amazon, Spotify etc), or from Bandcamp.
The Bandcamp version features lyrics, 4 different versions of the cover art, and a bonus hidden track.