Monday, 27 July 2009

Indietracks makes me want to rock out!

That's it. Indietracks 2009 is over. Three days of far too much booze and not enough sleep...but also three days of amazing fun and great music. I must say I was a bit worried beforehand, with Elefant Records being involved and all that. I guess I feared that with bigger names on the bill, it just wouldn't be as nice and cosy this year. But, in the end it was pretty damn awesome again. Sure, I missed some things, but then some things were improved, so you win some, you lose some. I missed the spontaneous late-night platform gigs from last year, but we did them in the marquee instead, so it didn't really matter. And no tea tent (meaning no tea tent gig surprises) either. Anyway, it was an ace weekend.

Some personal highlights...

Friday is a bit of a blur, but I did have an awesome time. I remember catching bits of Au Revoir Simone and they sounded lovely. Caught up with the Smittens gang and we all danced like loons to cheesy 80's pop classics in the shed. I went to the bathroom and heard Dream Bitches' Maniacal Mechanic being played in the marquee, which made me develop a giant cheese-eating grin. I love that song. In there, I remember drunkenly wondering whether the flourescent tubes on the table in the marquee were tubes of sherbet or glow sticks. I soon found out that they were full of sugary goodness. Oh and Silke gave me a Pop Kombinat tote bag. Yay! Back to the tent for drinking and funness.

Saturday was when it really started. It was hard leaving Little My in the middle of their set, but I just had to see Let's Whisper on the train. And they were awesome.

Dana and Colin on the platform before the show.

I'm sure they get awfully tired of always getting requests for the ice cream song, but it still makes me so happy.


The rest of the Saturday went by quickly. The Lovely Eggs were rather brilliant in the church, despite the fact that they didn't play their amazing Christmas song. I guess it was July. Tender Trap were great on the main stage. Watched from Camera Obscura from afar whilst eating a yummy curry.
The Tender Trap gang

Malcolm from Eagleowl (who were sadly not playing)

After working a bit on the merch stand and watching Emmy The Great, it was time for my highlight of the day, the "secret" marquee gig. Members from One Happy Island, The Smittens, The Just Joans, Allo Darlin and Moustache of Insanity took it in turns to play a song or two to a packed tent.

This was seriously amazing....

Afterwards we headed back to the campsite and finally managed to get into the disco tent. Dancing, dancing, drinking, drinking....then eventually...sleep.

Sunday and I started getting nervous pretty much immediately. What if nobody would show to our train show?
Bill Moustache in front of the wheely thing.

Anyway, we watched a bit of The Smittens and headed to the platform. To our surprise the place was packed. The train was early but we all piled on. Our set seemed to go down well. When the train came back to the platform, we realised we had taken the wrong train and there was even more people waiting for we stayed on the train and played another set for them. It was much quieter, but also really nice. All in all I think we played for one hour and ten minutes and got through 19 songs. That was quite some PRS form to fill in.

Sadly this meant we missed the Talulah Gosh set, but you know....these things happen.

After the giant set we dropped of our stuff I got back to merch tent and realised that pretty much all our records had been sold. Woo zaa!

And of the big highlights of the weekend. Art Brut in the shed. AMAZING!

Elizabeth and Pete

Elizabeth and The Smittens trying to decide whether to brave the rain for Teenage fanclub.

We were a bit wimpy and had an early more dancing.
Elizabeth playing football with Little My.

Monday....all over....brekkie...packing up a soggy tent....

365 days or so to go to the next one.

Thank you Stuart and everyone involved for an incredible weekend.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Allo sweet whispers

Another weekend just flew past. I don't know what happened to time, but it seems to pass alot faster these days. Anyway, Friday night was incredible. At first, there was the usual fear/paranoia that goes with putting on shows. What if nobody shows up? What if the sound guy doesn't show up? What if the wrong type of crowd shows up? What if nobody likes the bands? What if I don't like them? So, I spent the first couple of hours running around thinking about stupid things, like where the chairs should be and where the table for taking door money should be. Should I do both the door and merch? How many pages should I use in the notepad? Seriously, I think about these things....and many many more. Phone call from the headliner, who's running late. Panic, panic, panic, even if he even told us before that he didn't really need to soundcheck. Anyway, two out of three bands were there, so soundcheck could start. Let's Whisper and Allo, Darlin' did their thing. Greg (from The Lofty Heights) was on sound duty and it all sounded fine. Glass of wine, a beer, sweets. After a while, quite a few strangers had already been up to ask about stage times, so I could finally relax a bit. Sweet Baboo showed up eventually, along with his brother and the biggest keyboard known to man. They soundchecked in about six minutes, so in the end we had plenty of time.

Doors and the place started filling up quickly. First up : Let's Whisper.

Let's Whisper used to really feel like a side-project. Whenever I've seen them in the past I've been left feeling like The Smittens are the real band and LW was there for songs that didn't really fit anywhere or for those times when the other Smittens weren't available. But on Friday, things really felt different. Colin and Dana were on top form and all the songs sounded great. The new songs are as good as anything by The Smittens and I'm now really looking forward to their upcoming album. They were joined on stage by members of One Happy Island and the full-band thing really worked as well. So, Let's Whisper are most definitely a sugar sweet indiepop force to be reckoned with. They were running out of time and still hadn't played When You Were Eating Ice Cream, so I let them run over a bit. It's always heartbreaking to ask bands to stop playing when everyone is having such a great time, but I don't make up the rules.

Let's Whisper has a myspace and you should pop over and say hello. They're also playing on the steam train at Indietracks at the weekend.

Next up was Allo Darlin, hot from supporting the Lucksmiths at the Scala the week before and also from a glowing review in The Guardian, with Jude Rogers calling Henry Rollins Don't Dance "the best indiepop song for years". Woo zaa. They went down a storm as usual.

Woot. Look at that! Again, they ran over and I started to feel increasingly worried about the headliner, Sweet Baboo. Luckily, I know from soundcheck that they were super quick to set up and indeed, they were up and ready to go in ten minutes.

I'm new to Sweet Baboo. I know the guys in Little My recommended him when we were up in Cardiff earlier in the year, but I hadn't really listened much to him before the show. His website is well worth visiting though, since it features a simple video for each song on his absolutely incredible, new album, Hello Wave. Go on. Watch them all -

They played an incredible set and despite the music was rather different from the first two acts, he had the crowd's full attention. Their brotherly bickering made for great in-between songs banter. SB is not really music for dancing and parts of the audience sat down on the floor, just enjoying the songs.

His set flew past and before I knew it, I had to tell them to wrap it up :(

But, but...that's how it goes. It felt a bit short, but I don't think people were too disappointed. After all, it was only a fiver and he's back in London in a couple of weeks.

So, another successful Records Make Great Pets night. Thanks to everyone who came down to Betsey. We have some exciting plans for the future. I hope they work out.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Another Monday, another podcast

Four more long days until the weekend. I thought I'd share some songs with you in the hope that they will make your week go faster. Just like the weather in London it's a rather schizo mix, from the sweet sounds of Pants Yell! to the loudness of Emperor X, new bands along old favorites.

The lyric that sums it all up is from the Passenger Pigeon song:

"I used to think that indie music came from India and is made of turqouise"

Hmmm...or maybe not.

1. Nana Grizol - Circles 'Round The Moon
2. Urban Barnyard - Horseys In The City
3. Andrew Phillip Tipton - I Mississippi You
4. Six Cents And Natalie - Penalty Box
5. Huggabroomstik - The P Man Has A Nightmare
6. My Darling YOU! - Please Don't Talk To Me I Fall In Love So Easily
7. Shrag - Talk To The Left
8. Strip Squad - If You Don't Take Me Right Away You Might As Well Fuck Off
9. Half Japanese - Secret
10. Pants Yell! - Mixed Media Collage
11. Kanda - Too Many Boys
12. Oh Sweet Music! - My Trip To Asia
13. Siberia - Vem Som Klanger Pa Vem
14. The Passenger Pigeons - The Punk Song
15. Veronica Falls - Found Love In A Graveyard
16. Emperor X - Shut Shut Up

Enjoy responsibly!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

That was rather awesome...

The Lucksmiths final show, with support from Daniel Kitson and Allo Darlin. Such a lovely evening. It started off rather bizarrely, when we walked into a dodgy strip joint by mistake. Seriously! We mistook it for a weird old man's pub, which would have been much preferable to all the generic gastro-lounge-nonsense bars around the Scala. The first thing I noticed was a sign that said "No Photos", which I thought was a bit odd. But, you know...maybe their clientele just didn't like tourists or whatever. Then a girl wearing not much more than her pants walked past and we realised what we'd just done. So, we left, giggled a lot and went somewhere much more forgettable.

Anyway, the gig was great. There was already quite a crowd inside when Allo Darlin hit the stage and the band was in great form. Heartbeat Chilli was a particular crowd-pleaser, but all their songs went down a storm. Daniel Kitson was super nervous about being a comedy middle act at a pop show, but he did an awesome set. The Lucksmiths were great as well and provided more than enough reasons for me to start familiarising myself with their albums.


Mike and Bill hide during a drum/bass-free song.

Daniel Kitson managed to get the pop kids' attention. Absolutely brilliant.

And the headliners themselves...

Class photo! All the artists, promoters and some randomers! Woot

Now it's the weekend. Twee as Fuck alldayer tomorrow with Allo Darlin and Tender Trap. Yay! Even though the Twee as Fuck peeps never reply to my emails I shall try to enjoy myself.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Goodbye Lucksmiths, Allo Darlin'

To quote the late Micheal Jackson, "This is it". Tonight is the night of the very last Lucksmiths show. To be honest, it doesn't really mean that much to me, or anything at all actually. I like what I've heard, but that pretty much amounts to one song, T-shirt weather. I hope they play it.

I'm sure it will all be lovely, but I'm much more excited about the support acts, Allo Darlin and Daniel Kitson. It will be Allo, Darlin's biggest show to date and I'm really looking forward to seeing them on a big stage. Kitson is hilarious and it'll be interesting to see how the indiepopsters will take to a stand-up comedy support act.

The awesometastic poster for tonight's show. It's rather strange seeing your girlfriend in cartoon form. Haha.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Me and a legend

So, I was in rather fine company on Saturday. I was at an event called Sweden on Stage, celebrating Swedish culture and drawing attention to the fact that Sweden have just taken over the presidency of the European Commission. A bunch of Swedish artists were performing, including bearded ABBA legend BEnny Andersson himself. However, I had the honour of meeting Harriet Andersson, the star of several of my favorite Ingmar Bergman films. I also met Stig Björkman, filmmaker and authour of several biographies on Bergman, Lars von Trier, Woody Allen etc.

So, from left to right, that's Margot Wallström (Vide-President of the European Commission), me, Harriet Andersson and Stig Björkman.

And Harriet back in her Bergman days. This is a promoshot for Summer With Monika, which is a rather incredible film.

It's all a bit of a blur...

...but we also went to see Blur at Hyde Park on Thursday. It was pretty amazing. I have a video of Song 2 that I might put up later, but for now...two Polaroids.

ice cream, ice cream, ice cream!!!!!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Another awesometastic show coming up!

That's right. We're putting on yet another show and this one should be very special indeed.

We're doing it upstairs at The Betsey, which is a lovely little room. It should be great. Come and join the fun.

Sweet Baboo will, or should if there's any justice in the world, be massive this year. With an extremely impressive summer of gigs ahead of him (Truck Festival, Green Man etc) and an amazing new album we're extremely excited about having him with us. Simply gorgeous folky pop songs.

Allo, Darlin' has played every night I've put on and here they are again. They just keep getting better and better. With a great new single under their belt, this should be another great show.

One word to describe Let's Whisper: cute. But, not annoying cute, just awesome 'fluffy kittens and puppies and ice creams and hugs' cute. Acoustic lovelyness that's catchier than...I was going to say swine flu, but that would be just really catchy.

Sweet Baboo myspace
Allo, Darlin' myspace
Let's Whisper myspace