Monday, 27 October 2008

Mogwai , F*ckbuttons and Errors Noise Up The Edinburgh Corn Exchange

There's a new blogger in town! His name is Ian, he's a top bloke who lives in Edinburgh (Scotland) and will be writing concert reviews (beginning today with Mogwai) for this blog whenever he gets the chance. Thanks Ian!

(**I've censored the name F*ckbuttons because little people will read this blog**)

It was with a sense of trepidation that we headed for the Corn Exchange to see a trio of the finest experimental acts playing live at the moment . Now I don’t mind a lack of melody however I was worried if a whole evening with little or no vocals would hold my interest .

No need to worry as this whole show was the sort of aural assault which I’m sure could be used as a torture tactic on the holidaymakers at Guantanamo Bay. Opening up were Errors - local electronic outfit who scorched through a tight set. They have a fairly distinctive sound using quirky beats and driving guitars . The more familiar tracks from their recently acclaimed album have a dub feel and perhaps are influenced by another local act from around 5 years ago - Scientific Support Department . Please see Errors if they visit your town.

Errors sounded a bit more ambient than the last time I saw them a few months back however this is likely due to F*ckbuttons who put the “mental” into experimental. They are a bit better known having starred at the Greenman Festival and are obviously not courting commercial success. The name is probably nothing to do with a homage to seventies pantomime principal boy Cinderella Specialist Anita Harris but you never know ( I was at the gig with the lead singer from Factory favourites of the early nineties The Wendys who allegedly were named after Wendy Craig) . The duo produced 30 minutes of uncompromising soaring ear piercing undiluted noise. This was a throw back to the likes of SPK at their best . My right ear drum started to vibrate nastily halfway through their set and each segment of music seemed more awesome than the previous one. I’m not sure I could last a whole album and their style suited the aircraft hanger type venue very well with noise bouncing off the back wall and assaulting us from behind. One has to accept that a certain amount of the set has to come pre recorded however the F*ckbuttons boys played with a sense of stage presence which made this tolerable. F*ckbuttons are a defining moment that noise lives - even the road works outside the venue sounded bland after this!

Mogwai had a lot to live up to following this and managed to meet the high standards of the evening . A mixture of Mogwai classics and tracks from there new album were delivered with their trademark relaxed elegance. How can they make such a complicated sound appear so easy ? This is the biggest venue I’ve seen Mogwai appear in and similar to F*ckbuttons the dimensions of the place added to their orchestral feel rather than being lost in what are traditionally dodgy acoustics . Favourite pieces of mine come from Happy Songs From Happy People especially the bits used in the film about Zinedine Zidane which the band collaborated on. It is always great to see a band who really think about what they do and mixing their talent and experience this is what you get at a Mogwai show. I just hope my hearing returns soon. Even if it doesn’t I would still say it’s been worth it…


Photo Links:


Friday, 24 October 2008

15 Years Ago and a Friday Round Up

The last time Guns'N'Roses released an album George Bush Snr was just handing over the US presidency to Bill Clinton, Intel were shipping the first pentium chips, Monica Seles was stabbed in the back by an obsessed fan of rival Steffi Graf, Brandon Lee was accidentally killed during the filming of The Crow, Microsoft unveiled Windows NT and the words "ipod" and "mp3" meant nothing to us. Yes it's been 15 years and if you're still a G'N'R fan, this Nov 23rd is a date you should be penciling onto your G'N'R calender. The date has finally been set for the release of their 'Chinese Democracy' album and if you can't wait until then, they've already released a song off the new album to wet your appetite (and it's legal!), here it is:

Chinese Democracy - Guns N Roses

Not only this, US manufactured soft drink Dr Pepper had promised a free soft drink to all Americans if Guns N' Roses released a new album in 2008 and has said it will honour its pledge. According to wikipedia, that's a whopping 300 million potentially thirsty people! Does this also cover Americans living abroad?

In other news:
Daniel Johnston is hitting the road for another European tour;
Snow patrol are streaming their entire new album on the Internet before it's official release;
EL GUINCHO are playing a free set at rough trade east Saturday 25th @ 4PM; Westminster City Council has ordered a 23ft-high (7m) mural created by Banksy, entitled One Nation Under CCTV, to be removed from a building on Newman Street
and Animal Collective have released their latest album art for their forthcoming album Merriweather Post Pavilion due to be released on 27th Jan next year.

Animal Collective Album Art for Merriweather Post Pavilion

I'm holding another Living Room Concert this weekend and as usual the location and artist remains a secret until the event is over. I'll be posting videos, photos and a review of the evening at the beginning of next week.

Anything else?

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Giovanni Sollima - The man with 6 hands!

Yesterday Cookiemouse blogged about Giovanni Sollima, a brilliant cellist who is a master of every genre, from early music to the most modern and exotic.

I was drawn in particular to the most amazing piece of video footage I've seen in a while.

Video director Lasse Gjertsen writes,
"In the six arms part, which by the way took most of the time to make, I filmed Sollima playing the different layers of cello after each other. I then edited the video frame by frame in Photoshop (remember, it's 25 frames per second of video), cutting his arms out from the other layers and pasting it on top, matching the movement of the cello. This was done ca 4000 times, by myself.
The clouds were actually filmed in my backyard, sped up 1250 times. The birds were filmed in my town, Larvik, Norway on clear blue sky, so that I could use blue screen keying to put them on top of the clouds. It's hard to notice, but the birds are moving in half speed slow motion. I also had to stabilize the motion of the birds, since I filmed it with a handheld camcorder. The sequence was cut together using After Effects and Premiere."

Here's the result:

Thanks for bringing Giovanni Sollima to my attention Cookiemouse, I'm now a fan as well!

Animal Collective Album Art

I think it's safe to assume you've probably noticed the image on this page that makes you feel a bit queasy/dizzy? Well that image is the album art for the upcoming Animal Collective record, Merriweather Post Pavilion due to be released on 27th Jan next year on Domino.


01. In The Flowers
02. My Girls
03. Also Frightened
04. Summertime Clothes
05. Daily Routine
06. Bluish
07. Guys Eyes
08. Taste
09. Lion In A Coma
10. No More Runnin
11. Brothersport

Here's a link to gorilavsbear's post on the new album

and a review on Uncut

MySpace: Website:

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Of Montreal go Bandstand Busking!

Big thanks to Consequence of Sound for bringing to my attention a great website called Bandstand Busking.

Much along the same lines as the Take Away shows and Black Cab Sessions, the people behind Bandstand Busking shoot videos of bands playing live only this time you've guessed it, on a bandstand in London.

Here's what it says on their website:

"There are loads of bandstands in parks across London, and most of them are looking fairly tattered from lack of use. When did you last see/hear one surrounded by hordes excited by the sounds? ...well we hadn't so we decided to do what we could to change that, to fill the parks once more (at least for a wee while every couple of weeks) with some talented people capable of carrying a tune or two."

They are right. There are a fair few bandstands in London parks and even though I've lived in London for the past 13 years, I've yet to see the point in them, until now...

While Of Montreal were briefly passing through London last week, Bandstand Busking shot them playing Id Engager, An Eluardian Instance and Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse. And here are the results.

ID Engager

An Eluardian Instance

Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse

Skin Relief Lotion, Kids Crackling Bath Powder and Justin Hawkins?

In an attempt to save a couple of pounds I’m subscribed to Martins Money Saving Tips weekly email. Martin “Money” Lewis is a sort of financial advice guru who advises you where you can get the best broadband deals, mortgages etc and he has a pal called Andrea who has a weekly section in his email called Andrea's Freebies where you click on the links to get things like a coupon for money off nappies or a free sample of coffee etc. This morning I had to chuckle, in amongst the Aveeno Skin Relief Lotion and the Kids Cracking Bath Powder free samples was Justin Hawkins’ (formerly of The Darkness) new single called “Trojan Guitar” from his latest band Hot Leg.

Now giving away your single in Andrea's Freebies is in my mind the online equivalent of your single sitting gathering dust in the Woolworths bargain bin. This has got to be a symptom of an ongoing low point in Justin Hawkins musical career which some would argue never really got off the ground. At least with Christmas coming, Justin can sit back and count on some royalties from The Darkness’s attempt at being a yearly Christmas feature joining the ranks of Slade and Cliff Richard with their 2003 single “Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)”. I must confess I actually liked that song, yeah I know, it must be all that Christmas sherry affecting my judgement.

Justin, no offence but I’m sure I’ll find a lot more joy in the bottom of a half priced tub of Ben and Jerry’s half baked ice cream than I will listening to your latest song, even if it is free!

Here’s the link to the ice cream deal in case you’re interested.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Nick Mulvey - The Interview

Photography by Barnaby Aldrick

It’s a real pleasure for me to introduce you to Nick Mulvey – a uniquely gifted musician who in my opinion everyone should know about. Being a multi-talented man, he sings and plays guitar as a solo artist , plays the hang (which is a fantastic instrument and quite rare) for the Mercury Prize nominated jazz/instrumental group Portico Quartet and he is also a member of the experimental London based One Taste Collective. Basically he’s very busy which is what you might expect of such a fiercely talented guy.

Nick has just finished a degree in ethnomusicology (focusing on African music) at SOAS (The School of Oriental and African Studies) where, according to his website, “the sounds he encountered in this course have informed and influenced my songwriting and musicality greatly, and fed my passion for musical expression.”

I’d describe Nicks music as Paul Simon (Graceland) meets Jose Gonzalez with a sprinkle of London magic. I recently saw Nick play at the IKTOMS Wired festival and was totally blown away, not only by his superb guitar playing ability (he simultaneously played three different rhythms on his guitar and sang at the same time!), but also by his amazing voice and ability to impress a previously chatty audience into complete silence. Many a jaw hit the floor that evening and he put to rest any notions I ever had of ever picking up my guitar again! When I hear someone this good, I’m just happy to sit back and enjoy the evening and leave it to the professionals!

Nick Mulvey

I recently took the opportunity to catch up with Nick and asked him a few questions:

When did you begin writing songs?
When I was 18 (i'm 23 now).

What instruments do you play?
My first instrument is guitar but I'm most busy with Portico Quartet in which I play an unusual tuned percussion instrument called the Hang. Similar to a steelpan but softer in tone. I sing too and play a bit of piano (though who doesn't these days)..

What inspires you to write?
Hard to articulate. Making music brings me great joy so I pursue that feeling. A feeling of many strands culminating and then being transcended.

How would you describe your music?
Amazing! Inquisitive songwriting with kick-ass guitar playing and a passion for music from across the planet. Central African and Flamenco guitar influences combine with a love of great songwriting and an enduring interest in the mysterious things that happen to humans when exposed to deeply repetitive sounds.

Is your family musical?
Lots of music in the house when I was growing up but i'm the only one who'd call myself a musician.

Where is your most favorite place in the world?
Plaza Mirador de San Nicolas in Granada, south Spain. Amazing square in the Arab quarter of this old and romantic city, over looking a Moorish palace and the Sierra Nevada mountains with flamenco guitarists and beautiful gypsy girls everywhere.

What was the last song you listened to?
Darkest Light by Jono McCleery.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you during a performance?
I performed at Europe's largest sex party once. Held in SeOne club in London Bridge, I played in a 'sting' band playing 20 second stings as people entered a cabaret-like stage to perform mind-boggling sex acts. A formative gig.

Is there one venue in particular you would love to play?
not right now.

What do you do to relax?
Read. Play guitar. Go cycling.

What are your plans over the next year?
Touring UK with Portico Quartet this autumn, releasing second album in spring, European tour in April/May, then festival circuit in the summer. Will continue to develop my solo thing throughout, learning more about songwriting, recording, improving more guitar technique, getting a band together, developing my audience, collaborate with other artists...having shitloads of fun! Meeting amazing people....

If you could have 3 musicians over to your place, who would they be?
Muddy Waters, Little Walters and Jimmy Rogers (all seminal Chicago blues musicians I've been reading about lately).

If I asked you one more question what would it be and what would be the answer?
Which South-East Asian capital city is spelt exactly the same as a mild spice except one letter is different?

If you get a chance to see Nick perform, reschedule all other appointments, spend your last few pounds, grab that ticket and prepare to be dazzled!

Here are a couple of videos of Nick Mulvey:

Portico Quartet 'Cittagazze' live

Nick Mulvey - Throw your shovel to the ground

Tour Dates

21 Oct 2008 RUDI TUESDAY @ Bom-Banes BRIGHTON
25 Oct 2008 Inspiral Lounge, Camden London
30 Oct 2008 Sanctuary Cafe, Brighton
1 Nov 2008 Wormfood, Dalston London
11 Nov 2008 Big Chill House London
18 Nov 2008 LONDON JAZZ FEST - The Vortex with Olivia Chaney and Ayana Witter Johnson London
21 Dec 2008 Sunday Service Xmas Special LEEDS

For Further Nick Mulvey Info:


Yeasayer on Pitchfork TV

Many a music bloggers favourite Yeasayer have been given the Pitchfork TV "Don't Look Down" treatment.

They sing the following songs from a very cold looking Brooklyn rooftop.

1: 2080
2: No Need To Worry
3: Wait For The Wintertime
4: Final Path
5: Sunrise

Is it me or does the singer Chris Keating seems to change his hairstyle pretty frequently?
I read this interesting interview with Yeasayer with info about their follow up album although it looks like we might have to wait until next Summer to hear it.

If you like this video, I can highly recommend the Take Away show they did a while back, here's the link

Yeasayer - 2080

And here are the direct links to the other songs from this Pitchfork TV performance in case you do not get forwarded there from the video embedded on this page.

No Need To Worry
Wait For The Wintertime
Final Path

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Of Montreal @ Koko, London (HOT PANTS ALERT!)

Summary: Blown away!

I’m still partially deaf and slightly bruised from seeing Of Montreal deliver a dazzling performance, that proved more than worthy of the enormous glitter ball that dangles above the main floor at the Koko nightclub, in Camden London on this their only UK date of their tour (apart from an acoustic set at Rough Trade East earlier this week).

Following a no show from supporting act The Wave Pictures and a short set from Eugene McGuinness we waited, for what felt like an eternity, for headliners Of Montreal to take to the stage. The predominantly young crowd was growing increasingly rowdy with anticipation (btw I had no idea Of Montreal had picked up such a following in the UK). I was standing one row back from the stage, crushed up so tight to the person in front of me I could smell what they had eaten for dinner (if you're interested I'm almost positive it was garlic sausage!). Thanks to a group of girls standing behind me I had elbows hammering away at my kidneys often enough that I feared a spinal injury before the night was over! This was going to be one hell of a show and at this stage there was no way out - I couldn’t have moved if I wanted. I gazed longingly at the vast expanses of the press photo pit and stared enviously into the back of the photographers as they took their time perfecting their shots. There I was trying to get photos worthy or sharing with you guys out of my little compact camera but being one row back from the front there was no luxury of a barrier to steady my arms. I did consider resting my camera on the head of the very short girl standing infront of me but I guess that’s not a very nice thing to do, so I didn’t.

This latest tour illustrates the life, death and resurrection of Kevin Barnes’ (the bands lead man) stage persona George Fruit. Accompanied by two gold painted padded suit Buddhas, Barnes (George Fruit) skipped onto the stage bursting with energy and it was insanely captivating from the very first note. The funky buddhas climbed out of their impossibly huge suits and turned into ninjas who were soon accompanied by people dressed as a satyr and a whole carnival of animals including chickens, tigers, pigs and elephants amongst a host of acts. With no breaks between the first eight songs, this gig took on the feel of a dance/rock opera type musical.

Gold Buddhas

I’m not going to try to fit this band into a genre; it wouldn’t help you understand what they’re about one iota! Instead, here’s a list of all the sounds and influences I thought I could hear last night (bear in mind this was one gig, one band and it lasted about one hour): David Bowie, Elton John, Scissor Sisters, very early Queen (I could imagine George Fruit enjoying singing the last five songs from Queen II), all mixed together with a huge twist of psychedelia, a lesson in Greek history and generous sprinkle of indie pop. Got that? Make sense? A lot of the sounds I just mentioned wouldn’t normally appeal to me, just Bowie and early Queen but mixed together, Of Montreal have very cleverly crafted a unique sound that is not only really captivating, it's also very addictive.

A Satyr

About half way through the set, George Fruit was disrobed by two masked creatures revealing his Kylie-esk gold pants (and apart from a pair of silver strapped heeled shoes that was ALL he had on) his body was then smeared with red paint (as you do)! Here's a photo of the moment the robe dropped and the reason why everyones jaws hit the floor!

The moment the robe dropped!

There was an energy to this band that was impossible to not enjoy. Combining the music, theatrics and low budget costumes it was truly entertaining - they delivered a spectacular extravaganza worthy of a west end show, only ten times better!

Unlike their recent New York show, there was no horse riding, nooses or coffins but we were treated to a fantastic finale, in the form of a cover of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. Admittedly grunge rock and the musical extravagance Of Montreal had served up during the evening couldn't be placed more further apart on the musical spectrum but Ladies and Gentleman of the class of ’91, their version was probably the best you’ll hear live since Kurt last attempted it.

A HUGE thank you to crazybobbles who sorted me out with a ticket to one of the best concerts I've seen in the last 4 years (for me this was up there with seeing Kraftwerk @ the Brixton Academy in 2004).

Of Montreal are the hottest ticket in town right now, they've even had MTV comparing their tour to Madonnas and came out on top! I'd really recommend trying to get a ticket if they're going to be playing in your town although if the thought of attending a costume clad indie pop extravaganza makes you feel queasy then you’d do best to stay away!

Here’s the setlist and my slightly blurry photos - sorry it was just impossible to stand still to take these photos because of the girls who were killing me with their elbows!

Set List

Here are some other links to interviews, albums, myspaces and a George Fruit recipe for making cookies.

Of Montreal

Official Blog:
Latest Album Skeletal Lamping on Amazon
Interview with George Fruit
Rough Trade Acoustic Set Review with video
George Fruit Cookies Recipe

Tour Dates:

19 Oct 2008 Lido Berlin GERMANY
20 Oct 2008 Debaser Medis Stockholm SWEDEN
21 Oct 2008 Amager Bio Copenhagen DENMARK
24 Oct 2008 The Pagaent St. Louis, Missouri
25 Oct 2008 First Avenue Minneapolis, Minnesota
26 Oct 2008 Pabst Theater Milwaukee, Wisconsin
27 Oct 2008 Riviera Chicago, Illinois
28 Oct 2008 Queen Elizabeth Theatre Toronto, Ontario
29 Oct 2008 Metropolis Montreal, Quebec
30 Oct 2008 Orpheum Theatre Boston, Massachusetts
31 Oct 2008 Electric Factory Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 Nov 2008 The National Richmond,Virginia
8 Nov 2008 The Tabernacle Atlanta,Georgia
11 Nov 2008 Howlin’ Wolf New Orleans,Louisiana
12 Nov 2008 Warehouse Live Houston, Texas
13 Nov 2008 Fiesta Gardens Austin,Texas
14 Nov 2008 House of Blues Dallas,Texas
15 Nov 2008 Liberty Hall Lawrence, Kansas
16 Nov 2008 Ogden Theatre Denver,Colorado
17 Nov 2008 Murray Super Theater Murray, Utah
19 Nov 2008 Showbox SoDo Seattle,Washington
20 Nov 2008 Roseland Theater Portland, Oregon
21 Nov 2008 Regency Center Grand Ballroom San Francisco, California
22 Nov 2008 Hollywood Palladium Los Angeles, California
4 Dec 2008 The Moon Tallahassee, Florida
5 Dec 2008 The Venue Gainesville, Florida
6 Dec 2008 Revolution Live Fort Lauderdale, Florida
8 Dec 2008 The Ritz Ybor Tampa, Florida
9 Dec 2008 House of Blues Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Thursday, 16 October 2008

The Dears @ Rough Trade East

The Dears @ Rough Trade East

Yesterday evening I took a trip across town to see The Dears play a free gig at Rough Trade East. I confess that I am not overly familiar with The Dears so went along to this concert with an open mind.

I arrived promptly an hour before the show in case there was a queue for wristbands but walked straight in no problem, maybe a sign of their slightly off the radar existence? Seeing no need to hover at Rough Trade (that's hover not hoover), I relaxed with a cup of tea (rock 'n' roll British style) in cafe 1001 just across the street to use their free wi-fi opportunity to research The Dears a little more. Here's what I now know, feel free to correct if you must!

The Dears are from Montreal, Quebec and formed in 1995. The line up seems to be ever changing, the core founding members who always seem to survive this metamorphosis are singer/songwriter Murray Lightburn along with his wife, keyboardist Natalia Yanhack (fair enough if it's your band I suppose and FYI, last night there were seven of them on stage and they all looked pretty happy to be there apart from Murray and Natalia!)
They were shortlisted for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize with their 2006 album 'Gang of Losers'. The latest album 'Missiles' is their forth album and released on North American label Dangerbird Records. Their music has been described as a cross between The Smiths, Serge Gainsbourg and Joy Division and Natalia says “Missiles is not Indie rock”.

Well, I've read lots of reviews about their new album, some good, some not so good – there is a similar sort of reaction from their fans even though the album isn't officially released until October 20th. Yes, The Dears have had to deal with their album being leaked onto the Internet weeks before it's official release date and have responded with a tour and wrote this comment on their MySpace page:

"So there you have it, friends: our new album and finest work to date, still not due for several weeks, is out there. While we are 100% appreciative that people care enough, The Dears are still pretty old-school. This was not exactly our intention and to be honest, even though it’s kind of cool, we can’t help feeling a little bit devastated. We were always aware of the inevitability, as we are living in the modern age. In fact, we don’t expect anyone to empathize at all. Nevertheless, you now have these options: a.) download it now. b.) wait and buy it later. c.) both."

So, back to the concert. Crammed onto the impossibly small Rough Trade East stage, all seven members of The Dears took part in some sort of 'group huddle high five' before taking to their instruments and unleashing a six song set. Not a great turn out for a free gig by a band NME once described as “Probably the Best New Band in the World” but this made it easy for me to make my way to the front of the crowd and take a few photos with my extremely basic camera so I wasn't complaining.

The set list was as follows:
Money Babies
Berlin Heart
Crisis 1&2

Demons 22: The Death Of All The Romance

Now as I mentioned earlier, I am not very familiar with The Dears especially their new album so I was a blank canvas ready to soak it all up. Of all the songs they performed last night, my favourite was ‘22: The Death Of All The Romance’. It had an almost Pink Floyd ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ emotional intensity and not only that, the band looked like they were enjoying playing it.

The other songs are all off their new album and while there were moments where I really felt I could 'get into' them, these moments never lasted long enough for me to be able to say yes, I really enjoyed that. Just like when you get a new album and it takes a few listens to discover whether you really like it, I got the feeling this may be the case with 'Missiles'. I'm not ready to write it off yet, I think it deserves a proper listen and am intrigued enough to await its release.

Natalia recently wrote on her blog:

"In a recent interview on XFM, Morrissey spoke of his new album, saying: 'Journalists won’t like it but real people will.' And you know I feel the same way -- not about his album but about The Dears’ album. "We have been pretty busy planning our release, that we hope at least some journalists will like. We hope everyone would like it, journalist or not, but we understand that there are many haters out there so it’s out of our control."

After the gig I bumped into one of the guys who was also taking photos during the performance. Turns out he also writes a music blog, you should check it out:
He also has a far snazzier camera than me so has much better photos from the evening on his blog plus a video of them performing Demons.

The Dears are playing Porchester Hall in London tonight. Their new album Missiles is released on October 20th (UK) and Oct 27th (US)

Here are some more dates:

10/16 - London, UK @ Porchester Hall
10/21 - Boston, MA @ Great Scott

10/22 - Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell’s

10/23 - New York, NY @ Hiro Ballroom
10/24 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
10/25 - Madison, WI @ Majestic

10/27 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird

10/28 - Aspen, CO @ Belly Up

10/30 - Los Angeles, CA @ Key Club

11/01 - San Diego, CA @ Belly Up

11/03 - San Francisco, CA @ The Independent

11/05 - Portland, OR @ Berbati’s

11/06 - Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s

11/21 - The Hague, The Netherlands @ Crossing Border Festival

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Giving it 100%

I'm looking out of my window and typing at the same time, a skill that to my annoyance a lady who I used to sit opposite in work demonstrated regularly. She had this uncanny knack of being able to engage fully in a conversation and yet be typing about something completely different at the same time. Sometimes when she was chatting her eyes would glaze over and I would wonder what was going on in her head but then I'd receive an email from her and realised her brain must been working in a similar style to Windows Task Manager, shutting down her eye function for a moment because she had too many processes running and her CPU was at 100% usage (gees sometimes I'm a complete nerd!).

I've been trying to multi task on a couple of projects over the last few days, have failed miserably and thought I should take a few moments out to let you know what's going on. I'm currently up to my armpits in Joomla! installations trying to find out about all the good stuff it can do and also all the stuff it won't let me do (I have about two strands of hair left and my computer in running like a dog). I'm hoping I can craft a much more interactive website for Terrible Love Songs in time for it's first year anniversary. Given my success so far, I wouldn't hold your breath.

On a musical note, I am off to a very interesting concert tonight which I of course will write a full report on so stay tuned.

So that's all from me for now, I'll leave you with a fun cover of 'Summertime' by Devendra Banhart in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco at the 2008 Outside Lands Festival. Enjoy.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Mumford & Sons - Black Cab Session

Mumford & Sons got together in December 2007 through a shared love of bluegrass, country and folk. Marcus Mumford who is the singer/guitarist in Mumford & Sons also plays drums for Laura Marling's band. Small world? Nah, these guys happen to be friends not only with the likes of Laura Marling but with Noah and the Whale and also it seems with the folk explosion taking on the world of indie music right now.

Fresh from their North American tour with Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn, Mumford & Sons are now embarking on a tour of the UK.

Mumford & Sons' debut EP was released by Chess Club in early June and if you sign up to you can get yourself a free copy of the EP and and an exclusive bonus track for free via this link:

Here is a great Black Cab Session they performed at the very muddy Green Man Festival in Wales a couple of months ago. The bloke at the beginning is speaking in Welsh which is a language TLS is very familiar with.

Mumford & Sons - Sister

UK Tour Dates

Friday, 10 October 2008

Meanwhile on 7th Avenue South - A detour from the norm...

Several giant rat paintings have appeared on the walls of streets in lower Manhattan. Meanwhile over on 7th Avenue South, a sign saying ‘open for business’ is set up on the pavement outside a pet shop by a middle age man in overalls. “Fancy buying a new fish?” says the elderly gentleman to his wife, “Yes dear” she answers “lets take a look in side and see what they have on offer”. They enter the shop but something feels odd about the place. The old lady has forgotten her glasses and her husband Earl hasn’t fully woken up from the sleeping tablet he had to take the night before.

I’d love a goldfish!” she exclaimed, “these ones over here look just right”:

Lets ask the guy over there for some help, he doesn’t seem to busy. Squuzz mee young man, we would like to buy a goldfish. Can you hear me? I said I would like to buy a goldfish.

He ain’t sayin’ anythin Earl, young people are so rude. He’s just like that guy who works in McDonalds, never anything nice to say, never says nothin at all.”

"That guy in McDonalds"

I wrote this very short fictional story following the news that guerrilla graffiti artist Banksy has opened an art installation in New York called The Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill.

The exhibition contains swimming fish sticks, self-dipping chicken nuggets and a makeup-wearing robo-rabbit amongst other crazy creations all on show in a fake pet store with a real shop front in Manhattan.

Before the New York Times revealed the shop as artwork, it had already attracted genuine customers (actually looking for a new pet!) last weekend who were sent away by workmen declaring the shop was not quite ready for business. There was no opening party.

Banksy is quoted as saying "I wanted to make art that questioned our relationship with animals and the ethics and sustainability of factory farming but it ended up as chicken nuggets singing."

This is the first time he has used animatronics in his art and the results are pretty amazing. Check out his YouTube channel to see more videos of the installation.

You can find this exhibition at No. 89 Seventh Avenue South, Greenwich Village, New York. It's not a pet shop!

Open 10am -12am daily until October 31st.
(also viewable at night)

Back to my usual music ramblings in the next blog I promise!

[Source: The Independent]

Laura Marling - 'Night Terror' Video

For those of you who haven't heard of Laura Marling yet I'd recommend watching this video for her song 'Night Terror'. This should give you some idea why she was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize.

Laura Marling - 'Night Terror'

Taken from her debut album 'Alas, I Cannot Swim', her clear melonchony vocals full of gentle protest are mildly reminiscent of Beth Orton (who incidentally has been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, twice).

Laura has just finished her ‘Fee Fie Foe Fum’ tour of the States with Johnny Flynn (front-man for 'Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit') and Mumford & Sons and will shortly be embarking on a UK tour.

Here are some links to reviews from the US tour:

Brooklyn Vegan

UK Tour Dates:

30 Oct 2008 The Tunnels - w/Malcolm Middleton Aberdeen, Scotland
31 Oct 2008 Town Hall - w/Malcolm Middleton & Glasvegas - SOLD OUT Ayr, Scotland
1 Nov 2008 ***UK Night Terror Tour*** Glasgow Art School Glasgow, Scotland
2 Nov 2008 Brudenell Social - SOLD OUT Leeds
4 Nov 2008 Rescue Rooms Nottingham
5 Nov 2008 Wedgewood Rooms Portsmouth
7 Nov 2008 Trinity Centre Bristol
8 Nov 2008 Club Academy - SOLD OUT Manchester
9 Nov 2008 Glee Club Birmingham
11 Nov 2008 Scala - SOLD OUT London
12 Nov 2008 Scala - SOLD OUT London

Laura Marling Info:


Wednesday, 8 October 2008

What if they hadn't sent?

Here in the UK, our Post Offices are shutting down faster than a rat infested KFC. My nearest one is now constantly crammed full of unhappy looking people in an endless queue waiting patiently to carry out a simple task such as posting a letter or a parcel or maybe collecting their pension. Whereas I used to think nothing of popping a small parcel in the post to friends and family with say a CD or a few photos, now I think twice and usually end up not bothering, the queues are just too depressing. This got me thinking, what might have happened in the past if other people had come to the same conclusion and not bothered to get in the queue?

Joe Cocker might not have ever made it home if his baby hadn’t sent him THAT letter. How would the since deceased ‘Stan’ have got in contact with Eminem to tell him how he wanted to ‘be with him’ (not that it made much difference)? Johnny Cash’s ‘special delivery tear stained letter’ would never have arrived. And even though Elvis’ letter was returned to sender, at least he got it back, given our current postman’s attitude, he would probably have dumped it behind a bin somewhere or delivered it to someone else instead.

Although old fashioned and fairly risky, at least Stings method didn’t involve any queuing, just a bottle and a river. And R.E.M. would never have this problem because they never sent their letters.

Family and friends, I’ll try to do some queuing before Christmas so you might get some presents this year.

Songs References (in no particular order):

Eminem – Stan
Joe Cocker – The letter
Johnny Cash – Tear Stained Letter
Elvis – Return to sender
The Police – Message in a bottle
R.E.M. - Letter never sent

Elvis - Return To Sender

Stan - Eminem

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

13 Questions with Lail Arad

I first heard Lail Arad play at the IKTOMS Wired Festival 2008 and was really impressed with her ability to engage and thoroughly entertain an audience. Lail's songs are like little stories with funny twists and a clever use of imagery and accents. If you're at a Lail show, expect to be surrounded by happy faces eagerly anticipating the next verse of her song.

Lail Arad has been building up a steady following over the last two years and justifiably so. She has played at the Stella McCartney's Christmas Party kicking off her set with her song 'Hit Single' which begins 'I wish I was a fashion victim, but I just don't care enough'. This London lass has also found herself on stage at Devendra Banhart's gig at The Forum last November (apparently he invites a member of the audience to share a song at every show). Lail performed her song 'Winter' which Banhart declared was 'the best song of the entire tour'.

Lail with Devendra Banhart Performing 'Winter'

I'm not keen on comparing artists to each other because they are all unique (except Oasis and other cover bands) but if I HAD to give you a ball park idea of her style, she's been compared to Martha Wainwright, Camille, Kimya Dawson with a little 'chocolate on a cappuccino type sprinkle' of Mel Blanc.

Here are some links to her fabulous songs:
Who Am I: LastFM Link
Last Fm Link

I was lucky enough to catch up with the lady herself and asked her 13 Questions.

When did you begin writing songs?
some completely off-the-wall compositions while i was at school! but properly in my year out and then through university.. though my style has changed so much now i can barely recognise myself in those songs!

What instruments do you play?
i studied piano, i'm making friends with the guitar (i play a strange yamaha travel guitar, its just a frame and strings, looks better than it sounds), kazoos, tambourines and shakers tend to feature in my shows...

What inspires you to write?
other people's amazing songs. the stories that happen in this very funny world.

How would you describe your music?
very song-focused. lyrics and melodies. i'm bad with this question.

Is your family musical?
i got sung to sleep every night when i was little. there was always a lot of the music in the house - a lot of what i still listen to is what i was brought up on. but my parents are not musicians. my cousins and my sister are fantastic singers. we all sounds completely different!

Where is your most favorite place in the world?
a magic island the location of which i cannot reveal. if you find it you are lucky.

What was the last song you listened to? i've been listening to the new herman dune album on repeat since i got it. its just wonderful.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you during a performance?
There is a part during one song called 'Je Suis Une Touriste' where i proposition a man in the audience in french. the reactions are always hilarious, some almost climb on stage, some shake their heads and run away!

Is there one venue in particular you would love to play?
I love union chapel in islington. I've seen some of my favourites play there... Jonathan Richman, Loudon Wainwright, Adam Green.. its such a beautiful venue.

What do you do to relax?
what does relax mean?

What are your plans over the next year?
I'm signing to a new label in Paris called Notify Music so I hope the album will be recorded and maybe even released during the year! Maybe it will also mean my french will improve? I also have some really exciting shows coming up, I'm going to play in New York for the first time soon! So there I can work on my american accent.. lots to do..

If you could have 3 musicians over to your place, who would they be?
Jimi Hendrix. Mick Jagger circa 1965. Brandon Boyd from Incubus. I'm going by looks only.

If I asked you one more question what would it be and what would be the answer? "Would you like some freshly made pancakes with banana, raspberries and maple syrup right now?"
"Yes please"

Lail is a busy lady, here are her upcoming tour dates:

Tuesday 21st October - Headlining the Electro Acoustic Club @ The Slaughtered Lamb - Doors 8pm
34-35 Great Sutton St London EC1V
Tickets are £5 from here:

This is my BiG London GiG of the month, wonderful venue, full show, new songs..
I'm on just before 10pm but an old friend of mine is opening the night so get there early if you can!

Thursday 30th October - Book Slam @ Neighbourhood - Doors 7pm
12 Acklam Road London W10.
Tickets are £6 from here:

"Book Slam has attracted a wide range of storytellers.. novelists including Irvine Welsh, Nick Hornby, Monica Ali, Zadie Smith, Jonathan Safran-Foer, David Eggars, Will Self.. spoken word artists such as Simon Armitage, Lemn Sissay, Polar Bear and Floetry.. musical talent like Adele, Ty, Kate Nash, Soweto Kinch and Tawiah..."

Saturday 25th October - CMJ Showcase @ Pete's Candy Store, Brooklyn, NY - Doors 8pm

My first ever show in New York! CMJ Music Marathon is a huge festival/conference taking place all over the city. All the hip new yorkers say pete's candy store is their favourite venue. Its a free show in a small place and all the acts are great so get there early. Please tell any friends you have over in that apple of a city...

Wednesday 19th November - Showcase @ Le Comedy Club, Bonne Nouvelle, Paris - Doors 11pm
Je Suis Une Touriste again and I will be doing a big show(case) in this gorgeous venue. Entry is by invitation only so let me know if you're going to be in town! (i hear there's a great little exhibition opening at the pompidu that week......)

Tuesday 7th October - Poejazzi @ Volupté - Doors 7pm
9 Norwich Street London EC4A
Tickets are £10 from here:
This is a spoken word/music event with consistently great line-ups which was voted No.1 Timeout Critics' Choice last year and takes place in a beautiful cabaret club. Its tonight!

When she makes it big, remember who told you about her!

As my way of saying thanks, Lail, this video is for you:

Herman Dune: 'My Home Is Nowhere without you'

Monday, 6 October 2008

Black Cab Sessions - Calexico (and a little story about a black cab)

Joey Burns from Calexico is the latest artist to receive the 'Black Cab treatment' and it's a pretty good one. Fresh from just having played a concert, Joey jumped into the back of the cab and strummed out 'Not Even Stevie Nicks'.

Joey Burns Plays 'Not Even Stevie Nicks'

Here's a little story about a London Black Cab.

Three weeks ago, a friend of mine took a black cab home from a post work night out in London. When she woke up the next day she realised the brand new laptop she had looked after so carefully throughout the evening was gone, no where to be seen. Slowly resigning herself to the fact that she was probably never going to see it again, she thought it was worth at least reporting it to the Transport for London lost property department incase it was handed in. Low and behold three weeks later she received a call from them saying her laptop had turned up and as I'm sure you can imagine, she was pretty happy.

Now doesn't this story restore your faith in people just that little bit?

So to anyone who lives in London or is planning to visit, if you misplace anything in a black cab (or any form of public transport in London), it's worth contacting Transport For London. As my friend has proved, sometimes the system can work.

Transport For London Lost Property Link

Calexico Info and Links:


Calexico are touring and you can find out more details about these dates on their MySpace Page and website (links posted above)

9 Oct 2008 Columbiahalle Berlin
10 Oct 2008 E- Werk Köln
11 Oct 2008 Forum London
13 Oct 2008 Ancienne Belgique Brussells
14 Oct 2008 La Cigale Paris
15 Oct 2008 Paradiso Amsterdam
16 Oct 2008 Muffathalle München
17 Oct 2008 Volkshaus Zürich
18 Oct 2008 Rolling Stone Milan
19 Oct 2008 Mousonturm Frankfurt
21 Oct 2008 Gasometer Vienna
22 Oct 2008 Alter Schlachthof Dresden
23 Oct 2008 Fabrik Hamburg
24 Oct 2008 Vega Copenhagen
25 Oct 2008 Stockholm Stockholm
26 Oct 2008 Rockefeller Oslo
7 Nov 2008 Antone’s Austin, Texas
8 Nov 2008 Granada Theatre Dallas, Texas
9 Nov 2008 Duck Room St Louis, Missouri
10 Nov 2008 Mercy Lounge Nashville, Tennessee
12 Nov 2008 Cat’s Cradle Carrboro, North Carolina
13 Nov 2008 9:30 Club Washington, Washington DC
14 Nov 2008 Theatre of the Living Arts Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
15 Nov 2008 Tarrytown Theatre Tarrytown, New York
16 Nov 2008 Somerville Theatre Boston, Massachusetts
17 Nov 2008 Le National Montreal, Quebec
18 Nov 2008 Phoenix Theatre Toronto, Ontario
20 Nov 2008 Crofoot Ballroom Detroit, Michigan
21 Nov 2008 Metro Chicago, Illinois
22 Nov 2008 Fine Line Music Cafe Minneapolis, Minnesota
23 Nov 2008 Slowdown Omaha, Nebraska
24 Nov 2008 The Gothic Theatre Denver, Colorado
25 Nov 2008 Sunshine Theatre Albuquerque, New Mexico

Thursday, 2 October 2008

'Music Lives On The Internet' - Interview #9

Today I have another 'Music Lives On The Internet' interview, our ninth in the series so far. If you're a music blogger, you probably already know about this blog, it's called You Ain't No Picasso and is run by a guy called Matt in Kentucky in the US of A.

Name (or pseudonym for the shy):
Matt Jordan

Blog Name: You Ain't No Picasso

What is your blog/website about?
Music. Mostly what gets called "indie", but really just anything that gets me interested.

What started you blogging?
Lots of free time when I started college. I was just starting to dive into music heavily and needed a place to talk about it. I started YANP as a way to share new discoveries with my friends. I never really intended for people outside of my social circle to read it, but it worked out well.

First record you bought?
First vinyl record was Ted Leo's 'Shake the Sheets'. I was at his show and wanted something for him to sign. Later I bought a record player and found out that it had a better use than just eye candy.

First album I bought was... probably... Smashing Pumpkins' 'Siamese Dream'. I didn't get started on contemporary music until I was like 16 or so. The first bands to grab me were the Pumpkins, Green Day and Weezer.

Last piece of music that got your heart racing?
Okkervil River's 'The Stand-Ins'
These United States' Crimes

Last gig that made you say "Wow"?
Probably White Denim or TV on the Radio at Monolith. Locally it was These United States

Where do you find out about new music?
Pretty much everything I do relates to music. I work in a record store, occasionally book shows in Lexington, help out at the college radio station and run this blog. Most of it comes from friends' recommendations.

What would you like to see more of in the music world?
Covers and happiness.

Favourite music venue?
That's a tough one. Red Rocks was amazing. The Mohawk in Austin is great. Can't really pick on that one.

Favourite music store?
Why, CD Central in Lexington, Kentucky, of course! Seriously, though -- Other Music was sweet.

Which blogs do you read?
All the Hot Freaks blogs, naturally. (Gorilla vs Bear, MOKB, Aquarium Drunkard, Chromewaves) Skatterbrain, Muzzle of Bees, Brooklyn Vegan are others.

What songs would you include on the soundtrack to your life?
Talking Heads - Found a Job
The Modern Lovers - Roadrunner
David Bowie - Moonage Daydream

In 10 years time music will be....
Almost completely divided between audiophile nerds and ringtone teenyboppers.

If you could have 3 musicians over to your place, they would be...

Of the ones I've met...
Robert Schneider of the Apples in Stereo
Tim Delaughter of the Polyphonic Spree
Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips
Of all the ones I've never met...
David Bowie
Paul McCartney
Jack White

I'm pretty sure Matt is a busy man so a huge thank you to him for taking part in this interview series. Matt this video is for you. Cheers!

These United States - 'Get Yourself Home' (from the album 'Crimes')

Be sure to check out You Ain't No Picasso

If you're interested in reading some or all (that's a lot of reading so good luck!) of the interviews carried out so far in the 'Music Lives On The Internet' series, here are the links:

Interview #8 - Consequence of Sound
Interview #7 - Nine Bullets
Interview #6 - The OCMD
Interview #5 - Lonesome Music
Interview #4 - Count Me Out
Interview #3 - The Middle Distance Runner
Interview #2 - Blend Apparel
Interview #1 - Stress Management

If you write a music blog or contribute to the world of music in some way or form and fancy taking part in an interview, drop me an email with your details at tlsreview@ gmail dot com.

I'll be back with more interviews very soon.
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