Thursday, 29 July 2010

Indietracks memories

This past weekend wasn't just the Indietracks weekend, in a way it was also the end of an era. I used up most of my final pack of Polaroid film and I doubt I'll ever use that format ever again. Yeah, I know there's the new Impossible Project instant film, but in the end it's just too expensive. I have one picture left in the camera and when that's gone it's gone. Any suggestions? What/who should be the subject of my last ever Polaroid picture?

Anyway, Indietracks. With such fond memories of last year's festival, could it live up to expectations and again be the highlight of the festival summer? Well, we'll see. There's still End Of The Road to go, but Indietracks is always gonna be hard to beat.

Here's some thoughts and observations from Indietracks 2010.


We got to the festival site just in time for Allo Darlin's soundcheck, leaving me in charge of solo tent construction. Our tent is a bastard to put together, but the friendly souls next to our pitch helped out, so it was easier than expected. Then, with an electricity plug conveniently located in the handicapped toilets I even managed to sort out the blow-up mattress without resorting to lung power. Hurray!

Music o'clock. First band on were the lovely Veronica Falls. Not everyone had managed to sort out tent and festival wristbands that early, so it was a bit empty by the stage, but they soldiered on, playing a great set of oldies and newies....well, as old as a band that young can.

Actually, the turn-out probably didn't bother them a huge deal. They were playing the 1234 Festival in London on Saturday and Truck Festival in Oxfordshire on Sunday, so they had a pretty impressive festival weekend ahead of them.

Second on were Allo Darlin' and by now the crowd was much bigger. The band was on top-form as usual and it was lovely to see them on such a big stage. Definitely one of the best AD shows I've seen, up there with the album launch at The Lexington and the early lunch show at The British Music Embassy in Austin, both of which are hard to beat.

The ale started taking its toll and despite being very excited about seeing Eddie Argos and Everybody Was In The French Resistance...Now! I can't remember much from their set. I do remember talking about them beforehand about how they should play a cover of Art Brut's 'Formed A Band' and call it 'Formed Another Band'. Surprisingly, they did cover that very song, but decided to change the lyrics to "Formed A Side Project", which surely must have been far more difficult to sing.

Then...DISCO TIME with two competing indie clubnights playing in two different tents. Again, the memory is a bit muddled, but I do remember the people in the big tent playing The Moldy Peaches, so they win the song of the evening competetion. For atmosphere and general awesomeness you couldn't beat the Come Out 2Nite kids in the small tent, so they win the overall fun competition. Hurray!

There was dancing!




Some people didn't feel so good in the morning.

Personally, I saved my own 'I think I'm gonna die' morning for Monday.

My fIrst band of the day was Red Shoe Diaries, who we played with in Nottingham and who are great. Unfortunately, I could only watch a few songs before I had to rush for the train, where Jam On Bread from Manchester was playing. The carriage was absolutely packed and Steve played a lovely set, with the moustachioed fella from Internet Forever on knee-drums and melodica.

It was a great start to the day. Jam On Bread has a new record out and the packaging is pretty awesome. You should look him up on myspace. He also recommends listening to Moustache of Insanity in his liner notes, which is very nice of him and came as a complete surprise to us.

Feeling a bit better, Dan got the privilege of being the subject of my final Indietracks polaroid.

So that was it, in Polaroid land anyway. The festival of course, carried on.

After Jam On Bread I had a bit of a break and helped manning the merch tent. Then eventually I headed to the indoor stage for The Just Joans. They were great as usual, but that stage never does anyone any favours....unless it's raining. After they finished I cought some of The Smittens set on the main stage. Again, despite missing my favorite song of theirs, 100 Roses, they were awesome.

Another break before heading over to the church to catch David Tattersall. Despite not feeling very well and telling us in detail of all the vomiting he'd been doing during the day, David played a beautiful set. It was the perfect way to end the evening and in fact that's what we did. I know nothing about The Primitives and what I heard didn't really spark any interest, so we went to bed. Yes, that's right. In bed before 11 during a festival. Rock n'roll!


Despite being woken up by the sounds of the disco tent on the camp site at 2am, I woke up feeling fresh as a daisy.

We headed over to the festival site, where the drummer from Ballboy was getting married. Smiles all around and a lovely way to start the day. Winston Echo was the first band on what was my busiest day. Winston was awesome. Awesome!

Internet Forever were great, but again, that bloody shed stage ruined a bit of the enjoyment.

The rest of the evening was spent in a drunken mess by the main stage, watching Standard Fare, Shrag, Slow Club and finally The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. All were great.

My evening finished somewhere half-way through the Pains set. I then woke up the following morning in my tent with a drawing of a cartoon lion on my shin. I deserved to feel like shit and I really did.

I did take alot of photos during the weekend, but thought I'd just use the polaroids for this post. You can view my Indietracks set on Flickr here.

Bring on Indietracks 2011!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Video of the day (Bishop Allen - Click, click, click, click)

I was talking to David from The Smittens about mumblecore movies last night and we eventually got to Mutual Appreciation, a movie we both adore. For me, it was also the movie that introduced me to Bishop Allen, since it stars singer Justin Rice and features several of the band's songs.

This is a great little song off their 2006 album The Broken String and it can also be found as a free mp3 on the band's official website.

Mutual Appreciation is also well worth checking out. It's a low-budget indie (in the true sense of the word) film about a musician coming to New York trying to start a new band and sort his life out.

Smiley bounce fest with Allo Darlin' and The Smittens

The Luminaire is a funny venue and I have a type of love-hate relationship with it. In a way it's both lovely and awkward in equal measures. When it's too crowded it's horrible and from some angles it's almost impossible to see the stage. And on nights when it's only moderately busy, nobody wants to stand in the "bad" parts of the venue anyway, so it gets horribly crowded in front of the stage anyway. But, then it's also a lovely venue and sometimes it's just perfect.

Last night, for Allo Darlin' and The Smittens, it was a bit of both worlds. Not too busy, but busy enough. People talking loudly too each other during songs. Then, the sound was a bit harsh and screechy at times. But the bands were great as usual. Lovely to see them both on good form ahead of their European adventures next week.

Allo Darlin'

The Smittens

Some highlights of the evening included The Smittens playing one of Colin's solo songs (I think?), a pretty Magnetic Field's-esque a capella thing....and then 100 Roses of course....and Max joining Allo Darlin' to do the male part in Dreaming. The man does have the most amazing voice. Also, the evening took an unexpected turn when Allo Darlin, during their encore agreed to play Emily, a song they haven't played live in a long time. It was a bit of treat for those present and something I expect won't happen again for a long time.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Video(s) of the day (Half Japanese - Live in hell)

I've been listening to Half Japanese all day today, so I thought I'd make them today's entry. They're not really a band that would make 'music videos' as such. This is probably the closest you can get...a "live" video with blue screen stuff and some seriously amazing dancing.

Jad Fair's website

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Video of the day (Bobby Conn - Angels)

Sooo....July is video month. I didn't think I would manage to do it, but it's going alright so far, with at least one video posted every day. It has meant, however, that I haven't really posted anything else. Hmmm. We'll try to sort that out. I have had a couple of exciting replies to interview requests, so hopefully I should be able to get some of those up in the not too distant future.

So, video of the day. I wonder if people will be able to watch this without being signed in to youtube. It contains "content that might inappropriate for some users" you see.

Bobby Conn is an old favorite of mine and a colourful character to say the least. It's been rather quiet around him for the last few years. He released his last album King For A Day in 2007 and since then, nada, zilch, nothing. It is a shame, because the world definitely needs people like Bobby.

According to his myspace page there has been a bit of action in Bobby-land recently. Apart from mentions of a possible UK tour in June there's also a mention of an upcoming new album, Macaroni. I guess I should visit his myspace a bit more regularly.

This video is from an old album, which is also one of his best, The Golden Age.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Video of the day (My Darling YOU! - The Youthful Feelings Taken To The End)

My Darling YOU! play perfect summer music. Even if this video was just made three years ago, it brings back so many memories of Swedish summers in the mid-90s. Maybe it's the skateboarding or the forest and the lake....or maybe just the classic NES :)

I'm not quite sure what's happening with this band. They seem to still be going, but only play very sporadically. Hmmmm.

My Darling YOU! official website

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Video of the day (Of Montreal - Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse)

It's Sunday, I'm tired...what can you really say about this video anyway? It's...just...the best thing ever.


Saturday, 17 July 2010

Video of the day (Adam Green - Dance With Me)

Apparently Adam Green played a 'secret' show in Shoreditch earlier this week. I remember getting the Songkick alert with the date before the venue had been decided, but stupidly I forgot to put it in my diary. Ah well. I got to see his last 'secret' show at The Flowerpot in Kentish Town. Can't get to them all.

Here's a video for his classic song Dance With Me.

Adam Green's photo blog - The Lake Room

Friday, 16 July 2010

Video of the day (Matt and Kim - 5K)

Few bands make me smile as much as Matt and Kim. They're one of the most fun bands I've ever seen live. Whenever you're having a bad day, there's nothing like a bit of M&K to cheer you up. Or if you're having an already awesome day, they'll provide the perfect soundtrack for that as well.

Here's a post with photos and video from last summer when I saw them at The Old Blue Last.

This is the first M&K song I ever heard....and the video is pretty damn awesome!

Matt and Kim on myspace

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Video(s) of the day (Ryland Bouchard / The Robot Ate Me)

Ryland Bouchard used to be make music as The Robot Ate Me. Under both these names he's released some of the most stunningly beautiful music I have ever heard. It's been called baroque pop, whatever that means. It's poppy, it's folky, occassionally really weird, but always completely mesmerising. He also puts an incredible amount of effort into the artwork his releases. The last one I bought, his Seeds box set, came in a wooden hand-carved box and contained, two CD's with A-sides and B-sides in handsewn cases, a DVD with short films/videos, four seven-inch records, hand screen-printed t-shirt, poster and tote bag, as well as some beautiful art prints. It's all absolutely incredible.

And the music....there's 'floury' nudity in the second video, so please cover your eyes if naked bits and bobs give you nightmares.

Ryland Bouchard official website

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Video of the day (The Smittens - One Hundred Roses)

It's quite a jump, going from Refused to The Smittens, but I guess it fits the schizo nature of this blog. Maybe I will put both The Smittens and Refused on my Indietracks mix-tape/CD. That would most definitely blow one lucky person's mind...maybe even literally.

The Smittens are a lovely bunch of people from Vermont, playing lovely music. They're pretty much the musical equivalent of Haribo - sweeeeeeeeet and irresistable.

The below video contains one of my favorite lyrics ever - "It doesn't mean that I love you any less. It only means that I'm a mess". The whole thing is bound to put a smile on your face.

The Smittens are about to embark on a European summer tour, together with Allo Darlin (and Moustache of Insanity on a few dates), so if you're in need of a high dose of vitamin-POP you should try to catch them. Dates are:

19 July 2010 Glasgow, Scotland @ The Flying Duck
20 July 2010 Birmingham, England @ The Victoria
21 July 2010 London, England @ The Luminaire
22 July 2010 Sheffield, England @ The Red House
24 July 2010 Ripley, Derbyshire, England @ INDIETRACKS FESTIVAL!!!
27 July 2010 Paris, France @ L'international (with Allo Darlin')
28 July 2010 Cologne, Germany @ TBA (with Allo Darlin')
29 July 2010 Hamburg, Germany @ Astra Stube (with Allo Darlin')
30 July 2010 Dresden, Germany @ Ostpol (with Allo Darlin')
31 July 2010 Copenhagen, Denmark @ Huset i Magstræde (with Allo Darlin' and MoI)
1 August 2010 Malmö, Sweden @ På Besök
2 August 2010 Göteborg, Sweden @ House of Win-Win (with Allo Darlin' and MoI)
3 August 2010 Varberg, Sweden @ Maja's (with Allo Darlin' and MoI)
4 August 2010 Jönköping, Sweden @ Insikten (with Allo Darlin' and MoI)
5 August 2010 Stockholm, Sweden @ Landet

The Smittens official website

Colin and Dana from The Smittens also make music as Let's Whisper, who are playing a Records Make Great Pets night this coming Friday at The Betsey Trotwood in London.

Get your tickets here.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Video of the day (Refused - New Noise)

The Shape Of Punk To Come is an incredibly important album for me personally. I guess it was, if not the album, at least one of the albums that made me realise that there was no valid reason why a punk album had to sound a certain way and a hardcore album had to sound a certain way. Here was one of the best punk AND hardcore albums ever made and it sounded like nothing else I'd ever heard. Sure, you could hear the influences, but Refused never really copied other bands. They took their influences and wore them proudly on their sleeves and created their own unique sound.

I must have watched the video for New Noise at least a hundred times. It's not my favorite Refused track, but it is the one that sums up the band best, a mixture of all the parts that made them so incredible. Just the intro is amazing. Lasting one minute and ten seconds, starting fast and then slowing down and you really have no idea what to expect. It's got to be building up to something, right? And then, BAM! Dennis grabs the mic and goes 'Can I Scream!' and oh yes he certainly can. Then the shit really kicks off.

Definitely in my list of top videos of all time. Bands "playing live" in their videos very rarely work. This is one of the rare occassions where it does work and it looks fucking amazing.

The Shape of Punk To Come has just been re-released in a Deluxe edition, containing extra live CD's and a DVD. Oh yes. Definitely worth investing in if you have any sort of interest in punk/hardcore music.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Video of the day (Hexicon - Something Strange Beneath The Stars)

Just another manic Monday....I wish it was I could have listened to the Hexicon record all day instead of being at work.

Hexicon album cover, with artwork by Paul Rains

The Hexicon album is now finally out.....and of course it's briliant. You can download it from most places, itunes, amazon even. But, I guess the best thing for the band would be if you headed over to their bandcamp site and ordered it from there. That way, every penny goes to them, rather than one penny to the band and the rest of the pennies to Charlie Amazon, or whatever his name might be.

Here's the first video from the album.

Hexicon on myspace

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Video of the day (Darren Hanlon - All These Things)

I'm watching the World Cup final and it's pretty brutal at times. Here's something much nicer and less violent....a new Darren Hanlon video! A lovely little video for a lovely little song.

The song, however, isn't all that new. I remember him playing it at the End Of The Road Festival two years ago. There's video evidence and all. That time it was with Elizabeth from Allo Darlin' on duet duties.

Darren Hanlon's official website

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Friday, 9 July 2010

Video of the day (The Lovely Eggs - Have You Ever Heard A Digital Accordion?)

The Lovely Eggs are bloody brilliant. And they're playing in London tonight at the Buffalo Bar. You should go and see them. That's about it. Have a great weekend!

The Lovely Eggs on myspace

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Video(s) of the day (Directed by Harmony Korine)

I was first introduced to Harmony Korine (and Larry Clark) when I saw Kids in the mid-90's, which he wrote the screenplay for. I had never seen anything like it and I guess it was one of the films that introduced me to, or sparked my interest in 'indie cinema'. So, I started looking into the histories of these two people. In Clark's case it was his amazing photography work, whilst in Korine's case it was not much apart from skateboarding. Then a year or so later, in 1997, he released his first feature film (a term used quite loosely here) Gummo and it somehow found its way to our local video store. If Kids was one of the films that introduced me to 'indie cinema' it was Gummo that first made me realise the awesome power of the moving image and turned me into a geeky film buff. I remember being completely blown away by it and watched it over and over again that weekend. These days I've lost count, but to this day I've easily watched it 50-60 times. I know it off by heart and there's not a single scene in it that I don't love to bits. Anyway, soon after Gummo came Korine's first book A Crack-up At The Race Riots, which also had a profound effect on me. Apart from what we had to read in school I mainly read Stephen King books, and I had no idea people even wrote these kind of books.

Whilst my fascination with Larry Clark has faded with years, my admiration of Harmony Korine has just increased with every new piece of work. Sure, there has been a few disappointments, especially when it comes to books, but I'm still kicking myself about not getting hold of them while I had the chance. I remember seeing his art book Pass The Bitch Chicken in Foyles about five years ago, the only time I've ever seen it in a shop. I looked through it and decided I didn't want to spend £30 on what was essentially page after page of photocopied bleak photos. But now, if I could go back in time, I would buy it in an instant. Even if just to have it sitting on my book shelf. Aloso, looking at amazon it now goes for closer to £200. The same goes for his most recent photo book Pigxote. I saw it in a shop earlier this year, decided I didn't like it and left it there. Now it's out-of-print and I want it. It doesn't make any sense, but hey, welcome to my head.

After Gummo, Korine kept making films. His Dogme-95 contribution Julien Donkey-Boy is another of my favourite films. His David Blaine documentary Above The Below was a bit disappointing, but that was more to do with David Blaine being annoying than the film itself. There are some interesting Blaine-free bits in it. Then after a four-year break from movies, Mister Lonely came out in 2007. Another mesmerising film, it's the most "normal" of his films, but still unlike anything else I saw that year. Finally, last year, he unleashed Trash Humpers on the world, a world that wasn't quite (and probably never will be) ready for it. I won't even go into it. No description or review of the film can really do it justice. It's as brilliant as it's bad. It's difficult to watch, makes you question what and why you're watching it, and it sticks in your head for ages after watching. It's an experience, which is more than you can say about most films these days.

Anyway, at some point in between making movies, Korine started making music videos, often as strangely beautiful as his full-length works, so I thought I'd share some of them with you.

Sonic Youth – Sunday

Bonnie 'Prince' Billie – No More Workhorse Blues

Cat Power – Living Proof

So, what's next for Harmony? I have no idea, but I hope he doesn't take too long. The world needs more people like him.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Video of the day (Times New Viking - No Time, No Hope)

I love Times New Viking. Sure, they're noisy, fuzzy, tinny and incredibly distorted, but behind all the mess there are some lovely melodies. You just have to give the songs some time. And they're incredible live. Their performance at the Pavement-curated ATP in May is still one of the highlights of my gig-going this year.

This is a song from last year's brilliant Born Again revisited.

Times New Viking on myspace

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Video of the day (Pagan Wanderer Lu - Banish Negative Thoughts)

Pagan Wanderer Lu is playing the next Records Make Great Pets evening on 16th July at the Betsey Trotwood. I've seen him play a bunch of times, most recently supporting Allo Darlin' and The School at Bush Hall in March. He's always a lot of fun and brings loads of interesting, weird-looking electronic gadgets along.

His new album was released a few weeks ago and below is the first video from it.

Pagan Wanderer Lu official website (with plenty of free mp3's)

Monday, 5 July 2010

Video(s) of the day (The Mr T Experience / The Queers)

I forgot to put a video up yesterday, so today I'm putting up two. Two classic Californian pop punk bands, The Mr T Experince and The Queers, playing two of their most classic songs. These two bands made a big impact on me when I was a teenager, but these days I hardly ever listen to them. Anyway, on a day like this, when it's sunny and warm outside, it's nice to go on a bit of a nostalgia trip. Both videos were directed by Jennifer Kaufman. Enjoy.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Video of the day (Nena - 99 Luftballons)

Today, to most people's surprise, Germany kicked the shit out of Argentina by beating them 4-0 in the World Cup quarter finals. I'm sure I have some other German music somewhere, but I just can't think of anything apart from this. The original is just infinitely better than the English language version. It's a classic of classics.


Friday, 2 July 2010

Video of the day (Bob Hund - Dusseldorf)

It's another lovely day in London, so I thought I'd post a rather summery video. This is Dusseldorf by Bob Hund, quite possibly the best band to ever come out of Sweden. It's from their 1996 album Omslag: Martin Kann. One day I will devote a looooooong post to these guys....but for now, just a video.

Bob Hund on myspace

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The Return of the Machete

The other day, whilst clearing out my spam inbox, I found a pleasant email. Yup, that's right. It doesn't happen very often, but occasionally a nice/useful/important one finds its way in there. This time, amongst all the offers of cheap university degrees, prescription drugs and nice letters from (mainly) African gentlemen telling me that they want to give me millions and millions of dollars in exchange for my bank details, was an email from F.O. Machete (formerly known as Fuck-Off Machete). I used to looooooooooooove this band a few years ago, so it was very exciting to hear that they're alive/back/playing again.

I'm not exactly sure about the dates, but they released an album, maybe six years ago(?), called My First Machete and it's completely awesome. Then, after a few singles and a second album that was only released in Australia (and Monorail Records in Glasgow) they disappeared. That was a bout three and a half years ago. What happened? Haven't got a clue. What matters is that they're back and if you're in Glasgow you should go to the Captain's Rest on Saturday 3rd July, cause that's where they'll be playing.

And here are some videos....

F.O. Machete website