Thursday, 31 July 2008

The Cool Kids -Black Cab Session

I just love the whole concept of The Black Cab Sessions and am pleased to see they have just released their 50th session, this time it's the The Cool Kids from Illinois. Mikey Rocks and Chad English were over in the UK promoting their new album 'The Bake Sale'.

The Cool Kids are touting themselves as "the new black version of the Beastie Boys". Although I'm not sold on all of their tracks on 'The Bake Sale', I do still love 'A Little Bit Cooler' and there's no doubting these guys can rap.

Take a look at this performance and try to tell me the poor cabbie wouldn't be getting just a little bit wound up at his cab door being thumped repeatably as it doubles up as a drum machine. Pretty good sounds though, maybe I'll try doing the same when I get in a London cab next, somehow I can't see me getting away with it so easily.

The Cool Kids -Black Cab Session

Here's an DiS interview with the guys behind The Black Cab Sessions.


Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Rod Thomas - The Welsh Wizard

A few weeks ago Rod Thomas contacted me via MySpace site and sent me a few of his songs to check out. It took me a while to get round to listening to them, but now that I have I am happy to share them with you.

Who is Rod Thomas?

Rod describes himself as “a singer/songwriter who grew up between two villages in the South Wales valleys with not much else to do but learn how to play a number of instruments and start to write my own songs.” He’s a one man band playing live with a guitar, a synth, loop pedals (like Liam Finn) and handclaps.

What does he sound like?

His music is often described as “folk disco to make people dance, smile, laugh and occasionally think a little bit.
I’d describe his music as good pop songs with a twist of folk and a slice of indie dance.

Who are his influences?

Richard Swift, Tom Waits, Donna Summer, Chet Baker, Minnie Ripperton, Underworld, Blur, Cardigans, Bjork, Air, Beck, Ace of Base and David Bowie.
That’s quite a mix Rod!

Who’s been saying what?

Huw Stephens (Radio 1) described Rod as having “a knack of making super accessible, light-hearted yet poignant music."
Glasswerk - "A one man band carved from musical excellence, bringing a level of honesty and authenticity to his music that is not short of remarkable."

Childhood Toys?!

The video for ‘Your Love Is A Tease' features all his toys from childhood including Russian Dolls and Fisher Price toys.

Your Love Is A Tease

When this video debuted on YouTube, it received over 25,000 plays in its first 24 hours!

What’s Rod been up to?

He’s been a busy man setting up his own label, Self Raising Records, in 2006 (which Huw Stephens has incidentally chosen as his DIY label of the week on Radio 1 and from midnight tonight he’ll be featuring the label and playing some tracks from the artists.) He then put out his first 7" 'Good Coat' (which is my favourite) inspired by a gloomy London morning tube ride and seeing a guy looking happy with his own coat. Here is a video of Rod performing ‘Good Coat’ live. This song really shows off Rod’s great voice.

Good Coat Live In The Liveroom

What’s Next?

Rod is playing a totally live session for BBC Wales tonight at 7:30 with Bethan Elfyn, which you can listen to by heading to He’ll be playing 'Same Old Lines', 'You Get Goodbyes' and a few others.
The video for Rods new single 'Same Old Lines' is also up on his MySpace page.

Tour Dates:

Rod has been pretty busy this year playing music festivals such as Glastonbury and Camp Bestifal and the summer festival madness continues:

30 Jul 2008 19:00 BBC WALES LIVE SESSION Cardiff and beyond, Wales
2 Aug 2008 20:00 The Albion London, London and South East
3 Aug 2008 13:00 Innocent Village Fete in Regents Park London, London and South East
9 Aug 2008 14:00 Summer Sundae Leicester, Midlands
10 Aug 2008 18:00 AME Festival Northampton, Midlands
14 Aug 2008 20:00 Cargo : with Cave Singers / O’Death / Sennen London, London and South East
15 Aug 2008 20:00 Green Man Festival South Wales, Wales
18 Aug 2008 20:00 Post-Green Man party @ Barfy Cardiff, Wales
22 Aug 2008 20:00 The Barhouse Chelmsford, London and South East
24 Aug 2008 14:00 Tenby Folk Festival Tenby, Wales
30 Sep 2008 20:00 The Windmill (w/ It Hugs Back) London, London and South East
1 Oct 2008 20:00 Start The Bus (w/ James Yuill & It Hugs Back) Bristol & Online, Southwest
3 Oct 2008 20:00 Rosie’s Tea Shop (w/ It Hugs Back & Swimming) Nottingham, Northeast
5 Oct 2008 16:00 IN THE CITY @ Green Room Manchester, Northeast
8 Oct 2008 20:00 The Doghouse (w/ It Hugs Back) Dundee, Scotland
9 Oct 2008 20:00 Captain’s Rest (w/ It Hugs Back) Glasgow, Scotland
10 Oct 2008 20:00 The Brickyard (w/ It Hugs Back) Carlisle, Northeast
11 Oct 2008 20:00 Vintage Rock Bar (w/ It Hugs Back) Doncaster, Northeast
12 Oct 2008 20:00 Clwb Ifor Bach (w/ It Hugs Back) Cardiff, Wales
14 Oct 2008 20:00 The Jericho Tavern (w/ It Hugs Back) Oxford
16 Oct 2008 20:00 The Boiler Room (w/ It Hugs Back) Guilford, London and South East
21 Oct 2008 20:00 The Hope (w/ It Hugs Back) Brighton, London and South East
22 Oct 2008 20:00 The Borderline (w/ It Hugs Back) London, London and South East

Useful Rod Thomas Information:


Friday, 25 July 2008

Recommended Blogs

I'm not going to be able to blog for the next few days but I wanted to leave you with links to some new blogs I've been enjoying so you don't get bored.
Frequently updated music blog. Recently discovered but now hooked.
Another music blog. Concert reviews and recommendations on new music etc.
Bre Pettis makes things and shows you how.
Black Cab Sessions. Exactly what it says on the box, bands playing in black cabs while being driven around London. Loads of great bands to watch in the archive.

And last but not least, lets not forget the funky Cookiemouse blog:


Thursday, 24 July 2008

Pub Quiz Answers

Here are the answers to yesterdays (23/07/08) quiz.

1) Nottingham

2) 5 - Montreal, Milan Munich, Mexico, Moscow, Melbourne

3) King Lear

4) November

5) Mansion House, South Ealing

6) The Tower of London

7) Beijing

8) New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, New Hampshire

9) Istanbul

10) Asia

11) Blue

So how did you score?

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Pub Quiz Questions

Proud winners of second place in last nights Pub Quiz, I thought you might like to try your hand at some of the questions. They were mostly on the themes of Geography and London. Unfortunately I can't reproduce the music questions here but it was our best round of course! ;-)

(Obviously using the Internet as a resource is not allowed, since you’re minus alcohol you already have an advantage.)

If you'd like me to score your answers, just fire them over to tlsreview@gmail dot com. I'll post the answers tomorrow. Good Luck!

1) Which UK city has the smallest population, Nottingham, Cardiff or Bristol?

2) How many countries beginning with the letter M have held the Olympics?

3) Which Shakespeare play contains the character Edmund –'Macbeth', 'King Lear' or 'Romeo and Juliet'?

4) During which month is the The Mayor of London’s Show held?

5) Name two London Underground stations that contain all the vowels.

6) William the Conqueror laid the foundation for which famous London landmark in 1078?

7) What's the capitol of China?

8) Name four American states beginning with the word New.

9) What's the largest city in Turkey?

10) The Caspian Sea is on which continent?

11) Which colour would you find on the left hand corner of the French flag?

Don't be shy!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Saturday Round up on a Tuesday

Given the increasing slippage of this Saturday blog into the next week, give it a few more weeks and it will naturally occur on a Saturday again!

It may be late but this week’s catch up is packed with info and ideas:

Last week we continued the theme of home experimentation with a neat little metronome experiment to see if there really is magic at work in the world or is it just plain Physics.

Swiftly, to avoid putting you off with a Physics blog, we got the blues and then tried to shake ‘em with a little Chiquita Banana.

By Saturday the fabulous Makepeace Brothers had flown in from LA and performed for me and 20 or so friends in Nic’s Living Room/garden.

The Makepeace Brothers

Watch them perform here

In The News:

The Guardian website told us that 3.8% inflation (UK) was potentially good for people who are young, sex fiends, vegans, have mild criminal tendancies, alcoholics, interior designers, anti social, knitters, fashionistas (almost sounds like buddhavistas) and sturdy. You could almost remove the comma between social and knitters. Here’s a link to a diagram explaining why:

Lemmy from Motorhead could be facing prosecution in Germany after he broke the law by apparently wearing a Nazi cap in a photoshoot.
I spotted him a few times hovering around a second hand music stall I used to visit in a little market in West Wales years ago. Not hard to miss without a Nazi hat on!

YouTube and Viacom have agreed to mask viewer data.
In a nod to privacy complaints, Viacom Inc. won't be told the identities of individuals who watch video clips on YouTube. You’re safe for now!

If you’re old and wrote a good song years ago you’ll still own the royalties until you pass away. Performers currently lose the rights to their recordings after 50 years. The EU has now announced a scheme for copyright on recordings to last for 95 years. EU governments and the European Parliament still need to give approval. Sir Cliff Richard and some other fellow rockers were very pleased about this move, shame his songs weren’t any good (I think) and some people still play them.

Music I’ve Been Listening To:

Falcao and Monashee

Devendra Banhart
Leonard Cohen

Website Recommendation

Steve Schofield – Land of the Free

This website is a truly amazing.

My practice is concerned with exploring the fascination that the British public has with American popular culture and the sub-cultural world of fandom. In the images, I have shown people in their own homes and environments wearing costumes that they would be dressed in to attend events with other like-minded individuals. It seeks to offer a glimpse into seemingly ordinary lives of my subjects and allows the private to become public. The work hints at the depth of people's fantasies and the methods they employ to adopt this culture as part of their own lifestyle as a means of escapism.

Kind Band Gesture

If you haven’t heard of the Fleet Foxes, you probably will very soon. The 5 piece band from Washington State, US have risen to stardom pretty quickly with their recently released debut self titled album hitting the top ten in the charts and the poor guys have been on the road ever since. Plagued with ailments and probably general exhaustion, they had to cancel a gig in Toronto last week. In a bid to apologise and make it up to their fans, singer Robin Pecknold posted this message on MySpace

Hey Torontonians, we feel really awful and in-a-bad-place about having to call off last night's show with Malkmus. After 4 months or so nearly nonstop touring we're in dire straits somewhat with sickness (I've had like three recurring sinus infections over the last few months) and it kind of came to head last night. So sorry.

Anyway I feel really bad and if you had tickets to that show you can get a refund. I know that's not much consolation but!! If you were going to the Toronto show to see us and are bummed, send me your t-shirt size and address to me at:

robinpecknold (at) gmail (dot) com

And I'll send you a consolatory package of things once we get home.

So sorry again and please forgive us!

Fleet Foxes I am totally impressed with your attitude towards your fans, good on you.

Chalky’s Tip For The Summer

Since the sun is finally out here, I want to share with you a little trick my Mother recently passed on to me. Do you ever buy those nets of lemons and forget to use half of them and so they just sit there and shrivel up at the bottom of your fruit bowl? Why not chop them into slices when they’re fresh and pop them in a little box in the freezer. Whenever you fancy a Gin and Tonic pop a frozen lemon slice in and tad-ah! Chilled as well. No waste, no problem.

Chin chin,


Friday, 18 July 2008

The Makepeace Brothers @ Nic’s Living Room Concert

Following the success of the Living Room Concert (LRC) with Jacob Golden a couple of months ago I was approached by the lovely Abi, of Room Thirteen, suggesting that my piece about the concert appear as a feature on their website. Following this she approached me about hosting further LRCs, and in particular having a Californian based band, The Makepeace Brothers, over for a gig. After the success of the last LRC I felt this would be too good an offer to pass on. Very kindly, my good friend Nic of (A dog barks) offered her living room for the show, allowing us to opt for a change of scenery and a bit more space to hold the event in this time around.

As the performance day arrived a little cloud of excitement formed over Nic’s house. Chilled beers, multiple BBQs, darts and other games awaited the guests and band. Nic had really pushed the boat out. (She actually has a boat shaped sort of bar/table which was pushed out for the day and worked as a DJ booth!)

The Makepeace Brothers were on this occasion (there are also two older brothers Aiden and Liam Makepeace who are also members of the band, but were not traveling on this tour):

Finian Makepeace (Vocals Guitar Cajon)

Conor Gaffney (Bass)

Ciaran Makepeace (Vocals Ukulele Cajon)

In case you are wondering what a Cajon is (well I’d never seen one before), it’s a really cool square shaped drum. Here’s a photo:

Ciaran playing the Cajon-he's sitting on it in case you still can't see it!

The four Makepeace brothers (that is really their surname) grew up in Ithaca, New York, surrounded by a vibrant music community. They have been singing and playing music together since they can remember but it was a year-long motorhome tour that inspired the brothers to write their own songs. Amongst their influences, they site Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and The Beatles. Ciaran also mentioned being sent to sleep by Peter Gabriel records as a child. Their music is folk orientated with the sweetest of harmonies and strong hints of Paul Simon–esque sounds.

After two weeks of constant touring around the UK, I wasn’t expecting the burst of energy that exploded when these three very charismatic guys arrived at the front door. Since it was such a lovely afternoon we decided the garden was the best place for them to play but, one song in, the British summer revealed its true colours and we all had to move indoors to get out of the rain. Wasting no time, the MPB’s (that’s what I’m going to call them from now on because it takes too long to type out their whole name) set up indoors and gave this great performance of ‘In The Garden’ (with a real city baby!).

'In The Garden'

I love Conor’s bass melodies in this song.

After a bit of baby improvisation comes a song called 'Come Back'. Not many babies get the chance to have the MPB’s sing a song especially made up for them, so this little one was very lucky; she even got her own CD signed with really adorable messages from the guys, maybe she will remember this one day when she’s older –well at least she has this video. I love the great smile on her face when she’s crawling up to them at the beginning.

'Come Back'

By this point, all the dancing (and maybe some alcohol) had got the crowd hungry so we sparked up the BBQ and my (heroic and handsome) husband took on the task of feeding the 5000.

By the way, if you didn’t believe me about the boys being energetic earlier check out Ciaran in a competition of hula hooping and playing darts at the same time!! He actually was quite good at it.

Ciaran Hula Hooping and playing darts

...but not that good :-)!

As the evening progressed guests kept arriving and the MPB’s kept playing. This song is called 'About'. It was getting a bit dark at this point but stick with it as it was a wonderful performance.


There was plenty of crowd participation and dancing well into the evening. The guys really project a great positive vibe (check it out, I’m sounding Californian!) and had several of the guests dancing during most of the songs and even got us all to whistle along with a tune as well. And, to their credit, they managed to keep their harmonies spot on despite our woeful efforts at whistling.

I did manage to steal them away for a moment to do an interview but sadly there was a technical error we didn’t notice till we ran the film back the next day – though I hope to get the brothers to answer a few questions via email soon.

The MPB’s certainly got Chalky’s seal of approval along with all of the other guests who really enjoyed themselves. If you ever get the chance to see them don’t pass it up! They are currently on tour in the US, here are some dates:

18 Jul 2008 20:00 LRC Denver Denver
19 Jul 2008 20:00 going to Mile High Music fest Denver, Colorado
20 Jul 2008 20:00 hanging out at Mile High Music Fest Denver, Colorado
24 Jul 2008 21:30 Castaways -Ithaca NY- Kick off of East Coast tour with DJ Cappel Grassroots Decompression show Ithaca, New York
25 Jul 2008 19:30 Ithaca NY -Cornell Summer concert series with Oculus- Cornell Arts quad Ithaca, New York
26 Jul 2008 20:00 Free Times Cafe - Toronto Canada Toronto, Ontario
27 Jul 2008 20:00 Toronto Canada Venue TBA Toronto, Ontario
28 Jul 2008 20:00 Club Lambi - Montreal Montreal, Quebec
29 Jul 2008 20:00 The Cutting Room NYC NYC, New York
1 Aug 2008 20:00 The Tin Angel Philly, Pennsylvania
2 Aug 2008 20:00 LRC - PA Philly, Pennsylvania
3 Aug 2008 20:00 VA tba TBA, Virginia
6 Aug 2008 20:00 VA TBA TBA
7 Aug 2008 20:00 LRC SC --, South Carolina
8 Aug 2008 20:00 LRC in ATL ATL
9 Aug 2008 20:00 LRC in ATL 2 ATL, Georgia
10 Aug 2008 20:00 Eddie’s Attic ATL, Georgia

For up to date information and to learn more about The Makepeace Brothers, try their MySpace site:

There are many more LRC videos on my YouTube channel

All that's left to say is a BIG THANK YOU to The Makepeace Brothers and to Nic!

Right, so who wants to play next?

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Three Songs To Shake The Blues?

I’ve been feeling a little of the 'it’s summer so where’s the sunshine?' blues over the last couple of days. Today I want to shake this feeling so I decided to try out a little experiment (you know I like experiments). I’m going to find some songs on YouTube, watch and listen and then let you know how they made me feel. You can join in as well with suggestions or how the songs made you feel.

I’m starting with the forever cheerful Manu Chao and his happy track in which he talks about what he gustas:

Manu Chao -Me Gusta Tu

My reaction:

I cracked a smile and swayed a bit. I like his jumper in the video and it reminds me of my travels in South America. I like seeing happy men dancing.
Me gusta ma lasagne!

Next up, maybe I need more energy, lets try Spiderbait's version of Black Betty

Spiderbait - Black Betty

My reaction:

My head rocked a bit but got fed up with the same lyrics by the end of the song.

Cup of tea break.

What can I follow Spiderbait with? Well there was this one track in the 80’s which I used to enjoy dancing around to:

Fame - Irena Cara

My reaction:

How can men wearing shorts over jogging pants while wearing leg warmers not cheer me up? Yes this was good but I got fed up of the guy with the crazy throat problem shouting about his son Bruno.

That’s my son bruno, he runs the music, 46th street! Ya ha ha ha!

To be honest with you, none of these songs have really worked for me, in the end it was my husband’s impromptu performance of Chiquita Banana that did the trick. I searched around for a video to share with you in case you have the ‘lack of summer blues’ too and this is what I found:

You just never know what’s going to make you smile some days!

And in case you’re not sure what happy or sad (mad) looks like, this kid will let you know:

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Good Vibrations

I was reading an article in a psychedelic rock book about Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys (some would argue he WAS the Beach Boys) when my mind took a tangent and I ended up thinking about vibrations (good ones that is). A YouTube video about metronomes that I saw a while back popped into my mind as a result of this:


Here’s the explanation of how this all works as given with the YouTube posting:

metronomes (or "pendula") when on table, oscillate with random phases, since that is how they started and they are "uncoupled" (no energy/information flows from one to other so they do not "know" each other.) When they are all together on the cans, notice that the cans themselves oscillate little, providing coupling/information crossover. which forces "synchronization" in periodic systems (discovered by Huygens in 17th century).

If your kids or you have access to a music department, maybe this is something fun for you all to try out. Why not get your kids and yourself into a little home experimentation – that doesn’t have to mean drugs man!!

It seems Music and Physics have a history of going hand in hand. I discovered this article asking why good physicists make good musicians on the University of Cornell website.

The article doesn’t come to any groundbreaking conclusions (or to any discernable conclusion at all for that matter), but I like the initial sentence “Albert Einstein played the violin. Werner Heisenberg was a distinguished pianist. Richard Feynman played ... well, the bongos” being followed by “good physicists are very often good musicians” two paragraphs down. Einstein, Heisenberg and Feynman are “good physicists”? What next? Mozart, Bach and Beethoven as “decent composers”?

As a further example of a physicist showing some serious musical talent I remember that when I was studying physics at Imperial College in London a friend on my course won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition and gave a lovely performance of Saint-SaensIntroduction et Rondo capriccioso’ on her violin, one of my favourite classic pieces. She couldn’t choose between Physics or Music though she eventually went on to study more Physics.

Our understanding and research into physics has also played a very important role in distributing music over the years. I found an interesting article on the BBC website about the oldest known recordings of computer generated music. The songs were a scratchy recording of Baa Baa Black Sheep and a truncated version of In The Mood.

"The songs were captured by the BBC in the Autumn of 1951 during a visit to the University of Manchester.
The recording has been unveiled as part of the 60th Anniversary of "Baby", the forerunner of all modern computers.
As far as I know it's the earliest recording of a computer playing music in the world, probably by quite a wide margin."

Commented Paul Doornbusch, a computer music composer and historian at the New Zealand School of Music.

Nowadays, of course, computers and networks pump music around the world and user generated content on sites like MySpace, Facebook and MOG. Blogs, music sites and online magazines are the starting points and favoured promotion points for thousands of bands uploading new recordings every day. It makes you stop and think about the rate of technological progress and how it changes every aspect of our life, doesn’t it?

Before I go off on too many tangents, I would like you to watch this video of physicist Richard Feynman playing the bongos. This might be all the proof you need to counter my argument about musicians and physics! Points for enthusiasm though. And somebody give that man an orange juice!

Richard Feynman Plays The Bongos

Monday, 14 July 2008

Saturday on a Monday Catch Up

The last week has been full of highs and lows. On Saturday the fabulous Makepeace Brothers were the latest band to be given the Terrible Love Songs Living Room Concert (LRC) treatment and what a fabulous night it was. I’ll post a full review with videos and photos shortly. The lows were mostly surrounding electronic equipment again. Our cheap freeview digital television receiver box packed up and reminded us to buy a more expensive one next time. Add to that a faulty laptop and a few blown light bulbs and I’m beginning to think I might be electrically charged after the lightening storm that hovered for hours over London during last week.

On Wednesday I stumbled across Improv Everywheres latest mission to fill a subway car with identical twins, creating a human mirror. Here’s the link to the video.

On Thursday we looked at the top Chalky recommended homemade instruments to form a band. Since I posted this article I have been contacted by the Instructables website who have now set up a community on their website called Top Homemade Instruments to Form Your Own Band. DIYtastic! Why not try it out and send me your results?

(Instructables is currently running a competition to invent a sport - very cool!)

In The News:

  • Snoop Dogg has recorded a new version of Johnny Cash’s classic ‘I Walk The Line’ for the, soon to be released, Johnny Cash Remix album. The album is being produced with the approval of the Cash family under the guidance of John’s son John Carter Cash. The album, ‘Johnny Cash Remixed’, is based on the original Sun Sessions recordings and will be released in October. Slightly horrified by this news, I checked out Snoop Dogg’s MySpace page to see if there were any snippets of what such an album might sound like and found a song called My Medicine (not off this new album). I was surprised by how well his voice suited country-style music. I particularly like the line “The more medicated, the more dedicated”.
The track listing for Johnny Cash Remixed is as follows:

I Walk The Line (featuring Snoop Dogg) (QDT (Snoop Dogg, Teddy Riley and DJ Quik))
Country Boy (Sonny J)
Get Rhythm (Philip Steir)
Leave that Junk Alone (Alabama 3)
Folsom Prison Blues (Pete Rock)
Hey Porter (Mocean Worker)
Sugartime (Kennedy)
Trail to Mexico (Mexican Industry of Sound/MIS)
Doin` My Time (The Heavy)
Wide Open Road (Count de Money)

  • Olive Riley, the oldest blogger known to the world sadly passed away on July 12th. She was 108 years old. Her final days were spent at a nursing facility in Woy Woy, New South Wales, Australia, where she chronicled her life growing up in the Outback, raising three kids, and working as a bartender and farm cook on her blog: "The Life of Riley" (which was also nominated for a Blogger’s Choice award in 2007). (Thanks to CookieMouse for bringing this to my attention.)
Olive not only wrote blogs but also posted a few videos of herself talking and singing on YouTube. I think this comment sums up why a lot of people can’t fail to admire this lady:

“Absolutley brilliant! Great age and she has seen more in advancement in her lifetime than any other century from first cars, landing on the moon to space stations and to cap it all she started using computors when she was well over one hundred years old!
Good on ya girl!”

Upon news of Olive’s death, her blog received a flurry of hits and experienced technical difficulties. Here is a link to her temporary blog in the meantime:

Maria Amelia Lopez from Galicia in northern Spain can now rightfully claim the title of the world's oldest blogger. The woman dubbed "little granny" by her readers has had over 1.2 million hits since she started her blog in December 2006 when her grandson set it up for her 95th birthday.

Olive Sings

R.I.P. Olive

  • The ever so reliable newspaper The Mail On Sunday claims to have discovered the real identity of mysterious graffiti artist Banksy. I particularly liked his alleged parents’ reactions quote in the newspaper:

Gunningham's father Peter said he did not recognise the person in the photograph, while his mother Pamela maintained she had never even had a son.

Music I’ve Been Listening to:

The Heart Strings
Rod Thomas
The Makepeace Brothers
Craft Club
El Guincho

I would like to say a big thank you to all the bands that have been sending me their music. I am listening and should have some reviews up soon. I like to take some time to let the music marinade in my little brain before I start writing. I have found one of the best times to listen to a new album is when I’m ironing – my brain must switch off and I relax into the tunes. Strange but true!

And finally, Terrible Love Songs is being repeatably approached by various internet advertising companies asking me to get involved in a pay per blog scenario but I refuse to compromise my principles so while I can still afford it, Terrible Love Songs remains a free musical voice on the internet.

Stay true,


Friday, 11 July 2008

Fleet Foxes Video - White Winter Hymnal

Former Chalky's Choice, Fleet Foxes have released a new video to accompany their song White Winter Hymnal.

Here it is:

White Winter Hymnal

This video is like parts of the album, quite dark but covered in the sweetest of rhythms and melodies.

Apparently tickets for their midnight show at Union Hall, NY sold out in under 4 minutes!

More Info:


Thursday, 10 July 2008

5 Top Home Made Instruments To Form Your Own Band

I’ve been in a couple of bands and have always tinkered with the idea of making my own instruments. Unfortunately they have never held together for long enough to take photos of (that's the bands and the instruments).

Here are 6 instruments that don’t look impossible to make and could start you off on your journey to discover the talent within.

All instructions and information are from the superb
Instructables website.

A Rule Organ

Things You Need:
13 rulers
double sided sticky tape
a desk

Instructions For Making Your Own Rule Organ

"Hold the rule to the desk as tightly as possible to produce the best audio fidelity (read: twang) possible.”

Miniature Washtub Bass Made From Office Supplies

Things You Need:
2 paperclips
1 unsharpened pencil
1 rubber band
1 disposable cup

"This is a great time killer and will probably annoy your co-workers (unless they've already made one themselves!)”

Lap Steel Guitar out of a Pool Cue Case

Things You Need:
pool cue case
a single coil pickup
three individual guitar tuning pegs
a couple of chunks of hardwood for the bridge and nut
a piece of thin wood for the volume and tone mount
input socket for a guitar lead jack
10k pot for volume
primer and paint
some sticky-backed fabric letters

"string her up and plug her in! You'll need to play her using a guitar slide, or, to complete that bar room blues look, a shot glass.”

Cookie Tin Tambourine (Good name for a band)

Things You Need:
1 cookie tin
8 - 10 aluminum caps
4 - 5 paper clips or an equivalent amount of wire
a marker
a good knife (to cut the cookie tin)
a hammer
a nail

"Just find someone to join you in eating the cookies and emptying the bottles and it will be a very enjoyable evening.”

Horn From A Drinking Straw

Things You Need:
a drinking straw

“The sounds produced range from a duck call to a flagulent.”

Cookie Tin Banjo

Follow the instructions, this one's a little more complicated for me to explain.

Instructions for Cookie Tin Banjo

“These banjos are fretless. I was surprised how easy they were to play.”

Once you’ve managed to make a half decent sound out of your homemade instruments, why not try writing a song?

How To Write A Song

Things You Need:

Build, craft, record, sell and become famous!

"Even if the world doesn't get to hear it, you'll know that you did good work, and that's fulfilling enough to be well worth the attempt. Right?"

And if you prefer to try your hand at rapping.

How To Rap

Things You Need:
a computer
a cd
pointy writey stick
a brain and some sense
a mic (yeah!)

"like snoop dawg lol so to rap you need little diction and not a lot of pronunciation…”

Now you have no excuses. If you do manage to become famous (or not), please remember where you came from and post a video in the comments box.

If you are a child reading this, please ask your parents for help and be careful with the sharp things! Don’t want you loosing any fingers in your bid to make it big.

[Source: Instructables]

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Human Mirror On The Subway

I just stumbled across the Improve Everywhere website. For those of you who haven't heard of it, they are a group of people who like to "cause scenes of chaos and joy in public places."
Based in New York City,Improve Everywhere was created in 2001 by Charlie Todd and has executed over 70 missions involving "thousands of undercover agents".

For their latest mission, Improve Everywhere filled a subway car with identical twins, creating a human mirror. Here's the video. I like this a lot!

Human Mirror

"...Maybe there's a twin conference happening somewhere?"

and I thought this comment left on the You Tube page was funny:

"...only people with apple computers come up with these kinda of ideas"

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Whistle While you Work

I’ve decided to have a bit of fun with a series exploring some of the instruments that we all carry around with us such as our hands and mouth. To kick it off I’m going to have a look at whistling: what you are actually doing when you whistle, what defining moments of whistling exist in film and song, etc.. You get the idea, bear with me a bit – it’s actually quite an interesting subject.

Let’s start by looking at what whistling actually is. According to Wikipedia (I know, I love my reliable sources) whistling “is the production of sound by means of a constant stream of air from the mouth. The air is moderated by the tongue, lips, teeth, or fingers to create turbulence, and the mouth acts as a resonant chamber to enhance the resulting sound, thus acting as a type of Helmholtz resonator. Whistling can also be produced by hands, or using an external instrument, such as a whistle or a blade of grass.” Furthermore: “A whistled tone is primarily a simple oscillation (or sine wave) produced in the resonant chamber, and thus timbral variations are slight. The pitch of a whistle can be altered by changing the volume and shape of the resonant chamber (most typically by using the tongue).

Now, whistling can be used as an expression of joy, as a method of aggression, or as a way to grab somebody’s attention. Whistling for a cab is a cool skill to have (tutorial for whistling through your fingers here – I am currently mopping up the saliva from my arms after having given it a go) but I don’t really think it’s musical as such so that leaves the joy and the anger of whistling.

I can think of plenty of examples of whistling being used aggressively, be it builders wolf whistling women (or the other way round) as they walk down the street or football crowds whistling in protest when a player they have taken a dislike to receives a pass – but the only truly really aggressive use of a whistled tune (see the way I keep coming back to music – that’s why I have ‘focused’ as a quality in my CV) that I can think of is the one from Kill Bill Volume 1. A guy where I used to work used to have it as a ring tone and whenever it went off he would look around to make sure everyone had heard it, how sad. Anyway, whistling it seems is not only a passing jolly puff in the air for humans, it’s also a past time for a parrot called Jasper, check him out proving that even parrots can be a bit scary:

Jasper Parrot Whistling Kill Bill

Ginger Doesn't Like the Kill Bill Whistle Song

It seems not all animals enjoy it though; Ginger in particular really doesn’t seem to like it much:

Master of Cool

Well it seems only fitting I end this post with the master of whistling coolness, Alex Moore showing us all exactly how it should be done. (note the cigarette shot for extra coolness):

Whistling Alex Moore

You'll note that it might be a bit odd that I write a music blog and haven't really mentioned any songs that contain whistles. When I started researching the subject, the sheer volume of songs containing whistles was overwhelming and would take a whole blog in itself to do it justice so I'll leave you with some suggestions instead. Time for a cup of tea.

Songs with whistles:

Patience - Guns N’ Roses

Don’t Worry Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin

Over My Shoulder - Mike and the Mechanics

Cat Stevens - Portobello Road

Winds Of Change-Scorpions

Love Generation-Bob Sinclar

Walk Like An Egyptian - The Bangles

Always Look On the Bright Side of Life - from Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head - Burt Bacharach

Games Without Frontiers - Peter Gabriel

If I could Talk I’d Tell You - The Lemonheads

(Sittin On) The Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding

Any more?

[Source: Wikipedia]

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Saturday Round Up

This week has been a little sparse on blog posts due to me having fallen foul to a rotten, stinky cold and sickness virus. Not only that, I have also had a cursed week of electronic mess ups, first my laptop power cable stops working and then I accidentally leave my camera in a house hundreds of miles away along with my mobile phone charger, humph! That's three annoying situations so maybe my luck will change soon.

Although the world paused for me, others have been busy making, selling, performing and stealing music as usual. Well it’s what people do isn’t it?

In The News:

  • The BBC reported that the tombstone marking the grave of Ian Curtis (Singer of Joy Division) was stolen sometime between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning from a Macclesfield Cemetery (UK). There is no news as to its whereabouts yet. I do hope the person that took it is a) OK (though they’re plainly a bit twisted) and b) Not carrying out more really nasty thoughtless deeds. Just let the man rest in peace.

Did you hear, the cops finally busted Madam Marie

for tellin' fortunes better than they do

  • Google have been ordered by a US Court to divulge the viewing habits of every user who has ever watched a YouTube video to Viacom. This ruling is the result of a legal battle between Viacom and Google over allegations of copyright infringement. The viewing log (all 12 terabytes of it!), which will be handed to Viacom, contains the log-in ID of users, the computer IP address (online identifier) and video clip details. The ruling has been called a “set-back to privacy rights” by digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). I’m assuming Google won’t just take this lying down.

Star Spangled Banner - Jimi Hendrix

This week I have been listening to:

Golden Animals

The Heart Strings

Dengue Fever

Joni Mitchell (lots of)

The Makepeace Brothers

Terrible Love Songs brought to you information hot off the press about the release of John Perozzi’s latest documentarySleeping Through The Mekong’ featuring the amazing Dengue Fever. Click here to see the trailer.

Random experience of the week

It seems quite common for Chalky to have random experiences and this week was no exception. I was without a voice for most of the week and could put up with it no more so went to my local pharmacy to get some medication. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me (scratchy barely audible voice): Please would you give me something to help get my voice back please.

Pharmacist Girl: You should sing a Michael Jackson song.

Me: What?

Pharmacist Girl: Yes, you should sing a Michael Jackson song it would sound really good.

Me: What?!

Pharmacist Girl: Try this, I love Michael Jackson. Your voice sounds sexy. I love it when I get a cold, it sounds really good. I wish I had a voice that sounds like yours.

Me: Ummm, thanks, goodbye.

If my re-enactment of this conversation wasn’t weird enough, try this website ‘Overheard In London’. Based on the original ‘Overheard in New York’ this is basically a blog where people living in London can send details of funny conversations they have overheard.

It can be very amusing.

And finally, Iron Maiden and their bad, old, long term, ugly lookin’ buddy Eddy are playing in my town tonight. A friend just rang to say he’s never seen so many black t-shirts on people on such a nice sunny day. Why do they do it?

Stay well,


Wednesday, 2 July 2008

'Sleepwalking Through The Mekong' - A Documentary Featuring Dengue Fever

Former Chalky’s Choice and current holders of Rough Trade Album of the Week Dengue Fever are the focus of John Pirozzi’s latest documentary ‘Sleepwalking Through The Mekong’.

I love this band!

Here's what you need to know from the Press Release:

Sleepwalking Through the Mekong follows Los Angeles based Dengue Fever on their recent journey to Cambodia to perform 60s and 70s Cambodian rock n' roll in the country where it was created and very nearly destroyed.

The odyssey is a homecoming for singer Chhom Nimol and a transformation for the rest of the band as they perform with master musicians and record new songs along the way.

More than a rockumentary, the film serves up a portrait of modern Cambodia as the band tours through Phnom Penh and beyond, crossing a great cultural chasm with the same spirit of Cambodia's original rock pioneers.

Cambodia is often synonymous with the brutal Khmer Rouge regime that left millions dead and scattered refugees around the globe. This tragedy overshadows the story of Cambodia's music scene in the 1960s and 1970s. Cambodian musicians reinvented Western rock n' roll with a distinctly Khmer flavor to create a sound that is at once familiar and completely original.

Sleepwalking Through the Mekong celebrates this vibrant but long-overlooked music and reveals the power of music to weave a common thread between extremely different cultures.

The Trailor:

Sleepwalking Through The Mekong Trailor

Director's statement:

In making SLEEPWALKING THROUGH THE MEKONG, I was hoping to capture what happens when two extremely different cultures (which historically have very little interaction) are connected by music. The film was shot in ten days. In that amount of time wanted to see if music really could bridge such a wide cultural chasm. While the music may be new to Western ears, for Cambodians, it is part of their daily life. Especially for the older generation, it represents a better time; a time of relative peace and prosperity. It embodies the period before their country was brought to the brink of destruction by the brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge, which began in 1975. Although, the damage of that era still runs deep, I wanted the film to focus instead on the power of the music and how it not only survived, but has transmuted and returned some thirty years later to find a new voice and, perhaps, a new audience. Hopefully, the film is a testament to how this music spans not only generations, but cultures as well.

Dengue Fever

Fronted by Cambodian pop star Chhom Nimol, who sings in Khmer and English, the Los Angeles sextet blends the rhythms of '60s Cambodian pop – heavily influenced by American surf, rock and early psychedelic garage bands -with their own eclectic mix of American and international styles. There are echoes of Bollywood soundtracks, Ethiopian soul, American R&B, Cambodian folk, Spaghetti Western weirdness and girl group angst in the mix, but the resulting concoction is all their own.

In addition to vocalist Chhom Nimol – who sang regularly for the King and Queen of Cambodia - Dengue Fever includes Farfisa organist Ethan Holtzman, his guitarist brother Zac (ex-Dieselhed), horns David Ralicke (Beck/Brazzaville), bassist Senon Williams (Radar Bros.) and drummer Paul Smith.

Here's they are singing 'Sober Driver' from their latest album 'Venus On Earth':

Dengue Fever - Sober Driver

Where Can I See Sleepwalking Through The Mekong?

Here is a link to screening information.

It would be really great if the London ICA got involved with a screening, maybe I will mention this to them.

Are Dengue Fever Touring This Year?

You betcha! And I have 2 tickets to see them at the ICA in London and unless something really big comes up, I won’t be sharing them!

Here are the tour dates I took from their MySpace site:

3 Jul 2008 20:00 Roskilde Festival Roskilde

5 Jul 2008 20:00 Summer Stage in Central Park New York, New York

6 Jul 2008 20:00 Black Cat Washington, DC, Washington DC

7 Jul 2008 20:00 Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

8 Jul 2008 20:00 Iron Horse Northampton, Massachusetts

9 Jul 2008 20:00 Museum of Fine Arts, Calderwood Courtyard Boston, Massachusetts

11 Jul 2008 20:00 Empty Bottle Chicago, Illinois

12 Jul 2008 20:00 La Fete de Marquette at Central Park Madison, Wisconsin

18 Jul 2008 20:00 Larmertree Festival Salisbury, England

19 Jul 2008 20:00 Lovebox London Weekender London, England

23 Jul 2008 20:00 Jazz Cafe London

26 Jul 2008 20:00 WOMAD Festival, Charleton Park Wiltshire, England

27 Jul 2008 20:00 WOMAD Festival, Charleton Park Wiltshire, England

6 Aug 2008 20:00 Oya Festival Oslo

8 Aug 2008 20:00 Way Out West Goteborg

9 Aug 2008 20:00 Summer Sundae Weekender Leicester, England

14 Aug 2008 20:00 Viana Do Castelo Int. Music Festival Viana Do Castelo

16 Aug 2008 20:00 Beautiful Days Devon, England

21 Aug 2008 20:00 Festival Musicas Do mar Povoa do Varzim, Portugal

29 Aug 2008 20:00 Festival Musicas Do mar Povoa do Varzim

30 Aug 2008 20:00 Festival de Beschaving Utrecht, Holland, Utrecht

Useful Dengue Fever Info:


[Source: Sleepwalking Through The Mekong Website]

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