Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Video of the day (YMCK - Magical 8bit Tour)

I've been listening to alot chiptune stuff the last couple of days. Below is a track from Japanese 8-bit popsters YMCK. They are also the people behind the Magical 8-bit plug-in, which you can download for free from their website at http://www.ymck.net/ . It says it should be Grageband compatible, but I've been having problems with it recently, so be a bit wary. For me, it just causes Garageband to make an extremely loud popping noise before crashing and it's not exactly pleasant if you're wearing headphones. Should work better with other pieces of software though.

And an old classic from the grand Uber-lord ninja master of computer games music, Rob Hubbard.

Aww...those were the days.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Les Savy Fav live (Electric Ballroom, 22nd November 2010)

I remember going to punk gigs as a teenager and how exciting everything seemed. It was never really about what songs got played or how well they were played. It was just so exciting to be in the same room as your favorite band and watch them play. It's a rare thing indeed to experience the same excitement as an adult, but Les Savy Fav came pretty damn close last night. Tim Harrington is an amazing frontman...perhaps the best in music today...and crowd interaction is very much top of his agenda. The set list at a Les Savy Fav show doesn't really matter...as long as there's room (and there always is) for the obligatory The Sweat Descends of course. The music is more there to provide a beat to the interaction between band and crowd. It was a beautiful sweaty mess of a show, with the crowd going crazy and Harrington going everywhere, making sure every person in the room got the full experience. All over the floor. Up on the lighting rig and upstairs to the balcony. It's been a long time since I've seen so many sweaty, smiling faces...both during and after the show.

I didn't bring my camera and only have a few blurry iphone photos from what was a truly amazing performance and straight into the top-3 of the year. Just awesome!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Video of the day (Enfant Bastard - For The Maudlin)

Enfant Bastard is an Edinburgh-based 8-bit artist. Well, he used to play messy and completely awesome anti-folk under the same name (and previously as The Love Gestures) but these days it seems to be all 8-bit bleeps coming from Cameron.

In this video Withered Hand's For The Maudlin gets the 8-bit treatment. I thought it was the perfect way to start the weekend. Have a good one!

How incredibly awesome is that?

Enfant Bastard on bandcamp

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Gig flashback - Bobby Conn & The Glass Gypsies (Scala, 9th June, 2005)

Bobby Conn has been suspiciously quiet the last few years. He released his last album, King For A Day, in early 2007 and then he seemed to vanish off the face of the planet. The internet suggest that he became a dad and took a step back from music, so I guess we'll go with that as an explanation. Anyway, HE'S BACK! There's word of a new album and he's playing the Brixton Windmill on 27th November. Apparently, he will do a 'Don't Look Back'-style show and play his Rise Up! album from 1998 in its entirety. You should really try and make it to this show. Bobby is an incredible performer and his shows are never less than fucking amazing.

The photos below are from summer 2005, when he played the Scala in London.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Thank you Owen

Last night Owen Ashworth played his last ever show as Casiotone For The Painfully Alone to a completely sold-out Cargo. It was the perfect goodbye show, with just him and his instruments. He played a long set...well, in "indie time" anyway....one and a half hour, the songs chosen mainly through audience requests and spanning his entire "career"...We Have Mice, Ice Cream Truck, Scattered Pearls, New Year's Kiss, Old Panda Days, Graceland, I Love Creedence etc etc...before finishing with a stunning version of Hobby Bobby.

It's sad to see him go, but 13 years of pouring your heart out, has to be enough for one person. He promised to be back under a different name in a couple of years. I guess nobody knows quite what to expect, but I'm sure it'll be worth the wait. And, until then, at least we'll still have his records.

Monday, 15 November 2010

CFTPA final show...

This evening Owen Ashworth plays his last ever London show as Casiotone For The Painfully Alone. After 13 years it's time to say goodbye. Owen has hinted that he will continue to make some kind of music under a different name, so we will just have to see what happens.

CFTPA is such a special band....act or whatever. I've only had the pleasure of seeing him play once, so I have nothing to compare it to. I remember people talking about how it was so much better when it was just him on his own with a Casio keyboard and maybe it's true. How do I know? For me it was just brilliant night, watching one of my favorite artists. He played half a set with a full band and the other half on his own, just playing audience requests.

Tonight, I don't know what to expect. Being a final show and all, I kind of hope that he will play a selection of songs from all his releases, rather than concentrating on the later ones. But, we'll see. It's his last show. He has given us 13 years, five albums, endless EP's and compilations...so I think he's entitled to play whatever he wants to play.

CFTPA official website

Friday, 12 November 2010

Withered Hand live (Silver Bullet, 11th November 2010)

It had been almost a year since I saw Withered Hand. It was at the Records Make Great Pets night at The Wilmington Arms (photos here) and despite all the equpiment drama and stress that goes with putting on shows, it was such a brilliant night. Last night I wasn't involved, so I could just stand back and enjoy the show.

Playing as a three-piece Dan and Co were in good form, stomping through most of the "classics", including an amazingly shambolic version of Religious Songs, along with some new songs.

Set-list (fairly accurate)
New Dawn
I Am Nothing
No Cigarettes
Panda Eyes
Religious Songs
Love In The Time Of Ecstacy
Heart, Heart
Wonderful Lie
My Struggle
Hard On (which they didn't get round to playing because of time constraints)

It was a great performance as usual. The sound at the Silver Bullet is rather tinny and horrible, but it didn't matter. London seems to have really taken to Withered Hand and the audience were singing along to their hearts' content.

In the end, the silly London 11pm curfew ended the show. I guess we're used to it, but this time it was even more annoying than usual. The band were ready to hit the stage earlier than their given time, but the DJ's would not allow them to start. Obviously the main reason we go to gigs is so we can listen to the music in between bands. Stoopid.

Dan is back in London in December, when he'll be playing on his own in support of Viking Moses at The Luminaire. That is bound to be an incredible show. A full-band Withered Hand tour is currently being planned for early next year, but more on that in a bit.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Video of the day (The Thermals - I Don't Believe You)

I wasn't all that impressed with last year's Now We Can See, so my expectations for the new Thermals album were pretty low. It's not that it was bad, it was just not very memorable....which happens every now and then with The Thermals..I don't think they have any really bad songs...for me, they seem to be either just good or fucking awesome. I Don't Believe You is very much the latter - it's completely fucking awesome. And the video features Sleater-Kinney guitarist Carrie Brownstein. Woot!

The new album from The Thermals, Personal Life , is out now and it's great.

The Thermals official website

Friday, 5 November 2010

Video of the day (Of Montreal - Famine Affair)

I have listened to this song an insane amount of times over the last couple of weeks. It's the highlight of False Priest and definitely one of my "songs of 2010". The video was just released the other day and it's great as well. Of Montreal can't really do much wrong in my eyes at the moment.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Alone In The Dark (1982)

What a curious little film. Starring Martin Landau, Jack Palance and Donald Pleasance it was always going to be interesting, but I really had no idea of what to expect. A new doctor is struggling to fit in at the mental hospital he's been placed. When a powercut disables the hospital's security system four of the most dangerous inmates escape. They eventually surround the doctor's house, forcing him and his young family to fight for their survival.

This was…well…weird. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it just didn't feel like a normal horror film. The way it's written, shot and paced just made me feel a bit uneasy, but not in a 'I'm scared' kinda way. I just couldn't figure out what type of film it was trying to be. Despite there being no supernatural elements to the story, and the plot itself being fairly straight forward, none of it felt realistic. It's almost like all the characters were non-humorous caricatures of themselves…if that makes any sense. At time it plays out like a chiller intended for the whole family, but then it gets too sinister and gruesome for that to have been the intention.

It's not that it's a bad film, in fact I quite enjoyed it. I just don't know where to place it. It's well worth watching for the great cast, Jack Palance in particular. If you do watch it, let me know what you think. I'm still a bit confused by the whole thing.

Alone In The Dark on imdb