Thursday, 28 January 2010

Photos from 22nd January, 2009

Took a roll of film with the old lomo camera. Some of them turned out pretty nice. A selection...

Greg from Lofty Heights, during the "experimental" ending to their set


Sweet Baboo


Withered Hand coming out to play. I forgot to wind the film, but let's say it was intentional.


Withered Hand


Withered Hand

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Music, music, music....

Finally starting to feel human again after an extremely busy and music-heavy weekend. It all kicked off on Thursady at The Luminaire with the Hexicon single launch party. It was great to see Hexicon at a proper venue, with proper sound and all that jazz. They boys were on top form, excited that the single was out and that an album release seems within reach. I can't remember exactly how long, but their album has been several years in the making. I've listened through it a good few times and I can only say it has been worth the wait. It sounds great!

Hexicon rockin out with guest appearances form Elizabeth of Allo Darlin and Virgina (former member of Allo Darlin')

The Luminaire is a difficult venue to fill and unfortunately there wasn't a huge amount of people there for the support bands, but by the time Hexicon hit the stage there was a respectable amount of people in the room. They played pretty much all the tracks off the upcoming album, and despite them all being great, the highlight for me was Cutting Limes, a newer song which hasn't made it on to the album, but which is absolutely incredible.

On Friday was my big night. Withered Hand at a completely sold out Wilmington Arms. Unfortunately Time Out did a biggish write-up of the gig after we had already sold all the tickets, so a fair few people showed up at the venue, only to be told they couldn't get in. But, I can't really complain too much. It was a sold out show after all.

Withered Hand soundcheck
Lofty Heights started off the evening with their melodic folky ballads. With a stripped-down set-up of only guitar and lap steel, it was a perfect start to the night. Sweet Baboo was great as usual, but unfortunately the room started to get a bit rowdy and a fair amount of people paid him no respect whatsoever and kept talking throughout his set. It was really a shame, since he is one of the most amazing British artists I've heard in a long time and really deserved better than that. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do in those situations, except for trying to tell people to shut the fuck up. Which I did. Anyway, he coped with it admirably and didn't seem too disappointed afterwards.

After two quiet bands it was time for Withered Hand, with a full band – drums, bass, guitar, cello, banjo, backing singers – the whole schebang. By this time, most people, myself included, had had a fair amount to drink and the band couldn't really do anything wrong. They stomped through pretty much every song I've ever heard (except the Christmas Song) and people were singing along and even requesting repeat plays. Finally, after a whole hour on stage and past the curfew for music they finished off the set with a cover in homage to Vic Chesnutt, who I'm sure you know recently passed away. A great ending to a great night.

On Saturday evening , we headed down to The Flowerpot on Kentish Town Road, where Internet Forever were playing a free show. Unfortunately, we got there in time to see the support band, who were one of the worst bands I've seen in a long time. The Flowerpot is an odd venue. It's not very nice and on a Saturday night any music venue with free entry in this part of town will be a bit of a "weirdo magnet". Anyway, Internet Forever took to the stage and played a short-but-sweet set to a not terribly excited audience. Not the best place for them to play and I would really like to see them at a proper venue…or just in a nicer place really.

Internet Forever

Apologies for photo quality. These were all taken with my phone. Proper photos from the Withered hand show should be up soon.


Thursday, 21 January 2010

Tonight

A little late shouting about this, but if you're free this evening you should really come down to Kilburn. I've been treated to an advance copy of Hexicon's upcoming album and it's well worth the wait....and what a wait it has been. Luminaire tonight. Be there.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Friday, 15 January 2010

new discoveries

As amazing as it is rediscovering old favorites, nothing compares to discovering great new artists/bands. I can't remember how I stumbled across Failed Attempts At Facial Hair, but it was certainly not intentional. Apart from Jam On Bread and occasionally Jacob Borshard the whole lone-man-with-a-uke thing isn't really my thing. But now I'm gonna have to add another name to that list, because his songs have been played more than anything else over the past month.

Failed Attempts At Facial Hair is John Crodian and I really don't know anything about the guy. According to his myspace he's from West Chester, Pennsylvania, and I guess his influences says it all:

"Magnetic Fields, Mr. T Experience, realizing you've had dried toothpaste in the corners of your mouth all day, plan-it-x, Tullycraft, Calvin Johnson, feeling like everyone at the show is laughing at you for dancing stupid, snobbery, positive hardcore"

It's random yes, but when you hear his music it all makes sense. The songs are simple but instantly likeable, covering subjects such as falling for grindcore girls with Anal Cunt badges to sleeveless t-shirts and bad haircuts. It's sweet, funny and feels very sincere.

Go to his myspace page to order the CD-R of the album Girls, Friends and Girlfriends. You won't regret it. Here's a taster.

swoon

It's nice to rediscover lost loves of music. The Magnetic Fields have a new album out in a couple of weeks. A few years ago, this would have been the most exciting thing in the world to me, but I haven't been in the mood for Merritt for quite some time. But after the craziness of the previous album Distortion I was a bit curious to see what he'd come up with this time. So without any great expectations I had my first listen yesterday morning on my way to work. And...wow...the first track is absolutely incredible...just wow. It's called You Must Be Out Of Your Mind and it made me remember exactly why I fell in love with the MF in the first place. It's as good as anything Merritt has ever written and already a strong contender for the best song of 2010.

"You can't go round just saying stuff because it's pretty and I no longer drink enough to think you're witty"

awwwwwwwwwwwwww...

That's right. There's no file for you to download. I imagine I'd get my ass kicked by Mr Merritt's goons if I shared anything. But it's out there. So search and you shall find.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Best of 2009 and all that jazz

Everyone's doing it so I guess I should as well....while I still remember last year So, here it is…'ye olde best of 2009' list. However, since my memory is a bit rubbish, I'll just make it a big post with a bunch of names and gigs thrown in here and there....I think...we'll see how I get on and when I run out of juice...

So…

Best gigs of 2009

Matt and Kim,Old Blue Last (1st June)
Matt and Kim are always great live, but this one was special. The Old Blue Last packed far beyond capacity and an amazingly enthusiastic crowd made this my favourite gig of the year. Kim crowdsurfed, Matt ripped off his back brace, the audience went mental. It was fucking ace.

Blur, Hyde Park (2nd June)
The biggest concert I've ever been to and just an amazing experience. I'm not a massive Blur fan, but this was a pretty incredible show. Best memory: a gazillion people waiting for Song 2 to kick in and when it happened, the stage and Hyde Park almost exploding with energy.

Adam Green, The Flowerpot (14th October)
This one was announced at the very last minute, which made it extra exciting. Adam's only headliner show was this free entry show at an otherwise pretty mediocre venue. Adam and Co were just amazing and the crowd loved it.

Jeffrey Lewis, Betsey Trotwood (20th February)

Another "secret" mini-show. I'm starting to see a connection here. However, a Jeff Lewis show at the Betsey was never going to stay secret for very long and there was of course queues around the building. I managed to get in to see the full Jeff Lewis band play a brilliant set on the tiny Betsey stage. One of the best shows I've seen them do.

Ryland Bouchard, Wilmington Arms (6th January)
I've been a fan of Ryland and The Robot Ate Me for years, so this was always going to be special. Real shame that almost noone turned up, cause Ryland played a magical set of old and new songs.

Art Brut, Indietracks (July)
Apart from playing on the train with Moustache, this was definitely the highlight of Indietracks 2009 for me. I'd never seen Art Brut and I was a bit scared I'd missed their best days. Turned out I was worrying about nothing, because Eddie Argos and Co turned the normally quite boring indoor shed stage into an ocean of excitement. Price for stage banter quote of the year goes to Eddie Argos for "Don't share your sweets with the Kings of Leon".

Sweet Baboo, The Betsey Trotwood (17th July)
Ok, so my own show, but it was everything I hoped for. Upstairs at The Betsey with a great crowd. Allo Darlin and Let's Whisper were both great as well, but it was my first Sweet Baboo live experience. Simply stunning and I can't wait to see him again in two weeks time.

Allo Darlin + Suburban Kids With Biblical Names + Vit Päls, Cosy Den @ Gula Villan (August)
This whole day was amazing, but by the time Suburban Kids and Allo Darlin played, the energy in that tiny little house was amazing.

Jonathan Richman, Bush Hall (28th March)
Didn't really know much Jonathan Richman until this night and what an introduction it proved to be.

Eagleowl, Betsey Trotwood (February)
The first official Records Make Great Pets night and what a way to start. We managed to squeeze in 70+ paying people downstairs at the Betsey, which has to be some kind of record. Eagleowl got the respect they deserve and the audience didn't make a sound during the songs. A sweaty and incredible night.

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, The Luminaire (27th April)
CFTPA is always great. Half the show was a solo performance with songs requested by the audience and the second half was with a full band. Amazing.

Yo La Tengo, The Roundhouse (8th November)
Just loud and great.


FILMS
I didn't really see many new films in 2009, but out of the ones I saw, the following comes highly recommended:

Mammoth
Thirst
Anti Christ
Trash Humpers
Fantastic Mister Fox
500 Days Of Summer


SONGS
Love In The Time Of Ecstacy – Withered Hand
Henry Rollins Don't Dance - Allo Darlin'


ALBUMS
Withered Hand – Good News
Sweet Baboo – Hello Wave

Failed Attempts At Facial Hair - Girls, Friends and Girlfriends
Matt and Kim – Grand
Jeffrey Lewis – Em Are I


That'll do for now. Perhaps I'll add more later. Ahh...the wonders of the internet.