Saturday, 31 December 2011


Thank you to all the lovely people who have checked out this site and to the musicians for giving me something to write about. Here's hoping 2012 is a bumper year for finding more of the good stuff. I'm not really into making New Years resolutions but I am going to try and write on here a little more often and as always I'm going to try and listen to as much new music as possible. I'll leave you with a great article I read recently called 'Music journalism is the new boring' and bid you a wonderful 2012.

Chalky x

Monday, 26 December 2011

I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas holiday.

I haven't made any 'best of' lists this year, maybe I'll make one in the next week once I've stopped eating turkey and watching movies.

Here's a festive song that has the raw soul and sheer awesomeness that I love about Southern gospel music. This is one of the songs that came on the radio while we prepared out Christmas meal. The foot shuffling rhythm and the conviction in Viola James' voice gets me every time. Whatever your belief, enjoy x

Is There Anybody Here That Love My Jesus by Viola James & Co

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Talking Heads 1975 CBGB's Performance

Ever wanted to see Talking Head's perform an acoustic version of Psycho Killer at the infamous CBGB's back in 1975? I thought so. Well here it is.

In the audience that night watching the band for the first time was one Seymour Stein who went on to be their manager and the co-founder of Sire records. Headlining the bill that night was The Ramones who Seymour had just signed. What a night that must have been.

The footage has been released as part of a new DVD documentary called Chronology featuring classic performances, interviews and commentary from original band members David Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, as well as keyboardist and guitarist Jerry Harrison. For the more hardcore fans with cash to burn there is a deluxe edition which features a 48-page hardcover book that includes an essay review of Fear of Music by the late great music journalist Lester Bangs.

[Source: npr]

SoundCloud Dropbox

You may or may not have noticed that I have added a Soundcloud dropbox to the far right hand column of this site. This is for you to send me any music you think I should be listening to. I will listen to it all but this doesn't mean I'll be giving everyone feedback. Show me wotcha got!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Apparat Organ Quartet - 123 Forever

Featured in npr's '5 Artists You Should Know In 2011' list, Apparat Organ Quartet's 123 Forever is a little gem of electronic joy with a neat little video to match.

Icelanders Apparat Organ Quartet aren't really a new band, they've been around since 1999 releasing their first album in 2002 and then the follow up Pólýfónía some 8 years later. Unlike the rest of us, artists don't have to explain gaps in their CV!

123 Forver is taken from this latest album and is in their own words, "Machine Rock'n'Roll". There's a definite Daft Punk influence in there. Take a listen.

Mister Heavenly @ Cargo 12/12/11

Here are a few of my slightly blurry photos from last night's Mister Heavenly concert at Cargo. When I booked the ticket a month or so ago, I had no idea Michael Cera (star of Juno and Scott Pilgrim etc) was their touring bass player. His presence did attract quite a few female fans which was funny to observe. I ended up standing right in front of him which in a weird way made me feel quite awkward because I didn't want to stare. OK, I did stare a bit but more out of intrigue than anything fan girlish...;)

So if you're unaware of Mister Heavenly they're what you might call an indie rock super group with members including Honus Honus of Man ManNicholas Thorburn of Islands and The Unicorns, and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and The Shins.

They covered all of the songs from their one and only album so far, Out of Love with the foot stomping Bronx Sniper sounding amazing as did more laid back Reggae Pie and rocking Mister Heavenly. Honus Honus jumping into the crowd and hammering away at his keyboard in a poncho added a nice colourful flair to the set. I did have a little chuckle when I saw the band leave the stage and then could see them trying to get into their backstage room and I don't think anyone could remember the code for the door. They ended up crouching in the doorway and then returning to the stage for a final few songs.

I must also mention the support act Wet Nuns (the names!) whose sound was something in between Nirvana's Bleach and Insecticide (think Stain) only a lot louder and a bit more incomprehensible. Probably not a sound I'd normally listen to but they did rock out live.

All in all a very enjoyable night and who cares who is in the band as long as they sound good.

Michael Cera

Mister Heavenly

Wet Nuns

Thursday, 8 December 2011

End of the Road Festival 2012

Best small festival winners of 2011 (and personal favourite) End of the Road have just announced their head liners and first artists for 2012.

Drummmm Durrummm....

Grizzly Bear have pole position with Tindersticks confirmed as co-headliners.

Beach House will play a UK festival exclusive as part of Bella Union's 15th Anniversary celebrations. The bill will also be joined by The Antlers, Jeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard, Mountain Man, Frank Fairfield, The Strange Boys, I Break Horses, Justin Townes Earle, Richard Buckner, First Aid Kit, Doug Paisley, Robyn Hitchcock, Stranded Horse, Outfit, Moulettes, Driver Drive Faster, Robert Ellis, Delicate Steve and Sleep Party People.

Bands I've seen, bands I've been wanting to see and bands I've never heard of!

Now might be a good time to block out August 31st until September 2nd in your diary.  I was going to go for Ringo Bingo anyway...

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Low - Just Like Christmas

It's that time of year again!

I love the way Alan sings the aw-woooooooo's live. This song made my saturday night. Amazing.

From Charles Dickens to Chopin

I regularly walk along London's Southbank, infact I've got to know the place really well over the last month. I'm always intrigued by how quickly amazing works of graffiti art are sprayed over in the skate section. This Charles Dickens portrait has been there for well over a week, that must be some kind of record.

Also, I must have walked past this statue of Chopin so many times and never taken the time to look at it properly. To be fair, it is a bit tucked away near a side entrance to the Royal Festival Hall. I took a closer look the other day and was slightly surprised to read that Chopin was Polish. I never knew. I guess I only studied the German romantics at college so any finer details about Chopin have sort of passed me by. There are so many hidden secrets and new learnings in London, probably the best thing about living in this sometimes overly intense city.

"Simplicity is the highest goal achievable when you have overcome all difficulties"

"For your freedom and ours"

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Around London

Here are some photos taken with my phone from the last few weeks. I have a lot to catch up on. My studies finished yesterday so there's a little more time to spend on other things. I'm not going to put descriptions with the photos, I'll let you decide what they're about. They were all taken in London. Forgive the quality, my phone has a pretty awful camera.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Ólöf Arnalds - Swansea Town

Tomorrow I'm going to see Ólöf Arnalds, a performer I know very little about apart she is from Iceland and has been a touring member of Múm since 2003. I heard her sing a cover of Bruce Springsteen's 'I'm On Fire' on Marc Riley's BBC6 Music show a few weeks back and booked a ticket to see her on a bit of a whim. The show is at the St. Pancras Old Church which is another unknown to me even though I work just around the corner from there.

ANYWAY, I found this video of Ólöf Arnalds singing an old song called 'Swansea town'. I'm not a 100% sure who sang the original but the thought of an Icelander singing about Swansea did make me smile. Part of my family is from Swansea which as the song would suggest is by the sea and used to be a major shipping port back in the day. If you ever go there, make sure you try a Joe's ice cream, I grew up on the stuff and my mum even more so. It's the best.

"Oh! Farewell to you, my Nancy, ten thousand times adieu,
I'm bound to cross the ocean, girl, once more to part with you;
Once more to part from you, fine girl, you're the girl that I adore,
But still I live in hopes to see old Swansea Town once more.

Oh! It's now that I am out to sea, and you are far behind,
Kind letters I will write to you of the secrets of my mind;
The secrets of my mind, fine, girl, you're the girl that I adore,
But still I live in hopes to see old Swansea Town once more."

Thursday, 17 November 2011

John Maus @ Rough Trade East 16/11/11

What a crazy amazing fella. A John Maus performance is a bit like when someone is at that point when they've just become mad but they haven't yet turned into the hulk with subtle Ian Curtis undertones mixed with a club MC who keeps saying muffled incomprehensible words over the music.

What more can I say, he's strangely compelling and completely mad.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

FM Belfast: 'Underwear'

Anyone who's grown up in a small town in the middle of nowhere can probably relate to the sentiment behind this song's lyrics. If you haven't yet heard FM Belfast's incredibly contagious 'Underwear' then you're in for a treat. Check out this video and watch for some of the guys near the end who take the song quite literally. All good fun.

"We come from a place where we count the days

Until nothing, until nothing, until nothing...
We come from a place where we count the days
Until nothing, until nothing, until nothing...

We are running down the street in our underwear
We are running up the hill, it's over there
We are running down the street in our underwear
We are running up the hill, it's over there

Cause nothing, ever, happens here.
Cause nothing, ever, happens here.

Where everyone keeps of the grass
No littering, no loitering
No nothing, no nothing, no nothing..."

Monday, 14 November 2011

Where is the music hipster taking us?

Is the future orchestras playing out folk classics and double denim?


Nicolas Jaar: space is only noise

It's Rough Trade's number 2 album of 2011 and will most certainly be appearing on my 2011 list should I make one.

Feast your ears on the chilled out and outrageously slinky Nicolas Jaar's 'Keep Me There' taken from his latest album 'space is only noise'.

I'm appreciating the relaxed tone but if I'm completely honest, I only really fall for this song properly at about 3min 23 when the horns kick in. I'm such a sucker for new instruments being introduced towards the end of songs (think Metronomy :Some Written).

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

John Maus - 'Keep Pushing On' + Free Show

'Keep Pushing On' is from John Maus's 2011 album We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves. I recommend. John will be playing a free instore at Rough Trade East in London on November 16th at 1pm.  Definitely a date for the diary.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

R.I.P. Heavy D


R.I.P. Heavy D (1967 - 2011)

Monday, 7 November 2011

Another Low post...

Low are back in the UK in December and I have two tickets to see them. This isn't a competition or a give away, I am actually going to see them and I might take someone else or lie across two seats, either way, I'm going to be there.

I can remember the time they toured the UK and the closest they got to London was Oxford. I pondered driving out there for the evening but decided against it. Silly me, what was I thinking? This time I shall drive to Brighton and see Low. If it snows then I will ski to see Low. You get the idea. I'm super excited, this will be the second time I'll have seen them this year. Since I'm currently self employed this is the equivalent of my Christmas party and what a cool Christmas party it shall be!

If you want to see them as well you can get tickets here.
Hello btw x

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Fleet Foxes - Mykonos

Mykonos is my favourite Fleet Foxes song by a country mile. I've heard it performed live a couple of times and it really is quite magical. In my humble opinion this song suits Robin Pecknold's voice the best out of all their songs. I hope they get to make lots more great music.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

My visit to the home of Charles Darwin

This is the chair in which Charles Darwin wrote his masterpiece On The Origin of Species in 1859. I like to look at this photo and listen to The Low Anthem's 'Charlie Darwin' song, it somehow brings the chair out of it's old age and helps me imagine Charles Darwin sitting right there pondering on his next line (which probably had something to do with beetles or pigeons).

The Low Anthem, Oh My God Charlie Darwin - Charlie Darwin by foundations

I've been slowing making my way through On The Origin of Species so a visit to the house in Downe where it was actually written was quite a special day for me. Here are some of my photos.

Darwin attached bed casters to the bottom of his chair so he could get around the room faster without standing up, smart thinking.

One of the trees Darwin planted.

Red and yellow chard growing in the huge vegetable garden.

Evolution at work?

In Darwin's greenhouse: Digestion takes about ten days...

In Darwin's garden: British Summer time made it an hour out.

The front of the house.

Inside the house.

Garden produce including Trombone Courgettes.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Aurora seen from the ISS in Orbit

This is awesome (in the the truest sense of the word). This video currently has no music, surely there must be some suitable tune out there? I bet Caribou could compose something.

Caribou - Sun

Sunday, 25 September 2011

I used to live next door to The Knife's 'Marble House'

I'm completely hooked on The Knife at the moment. They are simply the best study companions and they also make mean running friends. 'Marble House' is one of my favourite songs of theirs and earlier this evening I was looking around on line for live performances of this song. What followed was an incredibly intense hour of electro pop and then a suprise. The Marble House featured in the background of this performance in Gothenburg, Sweden, (April 12th 2006) is I'm pretty sure this 'Marble Hill House' in East Twickenham, London. I know this house because I used to live literally right next door to it. I think I've got this right, what do you think?


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Ketty Lester - 'Love Letters'

Given to me by my Dad. Such a classic tune hitting number 4 in 1962 (UK). The vinyl crackles add something magical to this recording. Here's a sans crackle recording, if you want to hear it with crackles you need to invite me and my record over.

Warpaint Rough Trade Session - 'Billie Holiday'


Monday, 19 September 2011

Low Daytrotter Session

There are days when I just can't get enough of Low's most recent album, C'mon. It's days like these when you want a Daytrotter session to come along and give you yet another angle to appreciate the awesomeness that is Low. Today is one of those days.

[Low Daytrotter Session]

Saturday, 17 September 2011

From ATP - four short films by Vincent Moon (Kickstarter)

I've mentioned Kickstarter on here a few times before. It's basically a crowd funding platform for creative projects. If the project reaches it's target amount then it flies, if it doesn't then the project receives zero of the pledged funding. You are rewarded for your donation depending on how much you pledge.

So Vincent Moon, the brains and genius behind the blogotheque 'take away' shows (Les Concerts à Emporter) has set up a Kickstarter project called 'From ATP'.

Here are details of the project from the ATP website:

"Vincent Moon (the Take Away Shows) went to ATP as a fan on numerous occasions documenting his experiences each time. Some of his footage was used in the fan-sourced feature documentary All Tomorrow’s Parties (directed by All Tomorrow’s People and Jonathan Caouette - That film was completed and released in 2009 but Vincent continued to return to the festival and shoot as a fan, running around the site capturing the unique atmosphere and some incredible performances in his own inimitable style.

The edit for his first stand-alone short film was completed last year and the footage for the next 3 short films is in the can.  Please help us complete post-production so we can get the films out into the world for free (after an exclusive 3 month period where they’ll be available for contributors only).

With your help we will edit a further trilogy of short films (each one approximately 30 minutes) in order to complete this unique project.  Bands documented, and intended for the final films (subject to clearance) include Broken Social Scene, Explosions In The Sky, Four Tet, Animal Collective, The National, Saul Williams, Monotonix, Fantomas, Taraf De Haidouks, Teenage Jesus And The Jerks, Rahzel, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Afrirampo, Sleepy Sun and many others.

The four films will be:

From Smoke - Portishead’s Nightmare Before Christmas, narrated by Damo Suzuki.
From Hybrid - Explosions in the Sky’s ATP, narrated by Saul Williams.
The Melvins/Mike Patton curated Nightmare Before Christmas, narrated by Lydia Lunch
10 Years of All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, narrated by Josh Pearson.

Your contributions will help us pay for:

Film editing fees (an editor, the rental of an edit machine, and color grading)
Legal work, permissions and clearances for music and artists included in the films.
Sound mixing and post production.
Hard drives for the footage and web hosting fees for the eventual video.
If you want to get involved in helping to get these films finished and released, check out the Kickstarter page now to see a trailer and get more info. You can pledge anywhere from $1 to $5000, and you will receive special rewards for your contribution - from CD’s, DVD’s & Posters to film credits, festival tickets and your own personal film, made for you by Vincent Moon, anywhere in the world.  "

If you have any spare cashetos and are a fan of music and movie making then this would be such a good project to support. I've been a huge fan of Vincent's take away shows for years. His 'one take' guerilla style of filming is such a pleasure to watch, there's a certain signature rough yet finished feel that means you can immediately tell you're watching his work. I could go on....
If you interested you can get involved here.

[La blogotheque]

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Little Scream

This is lovely. I think Little Scream is probably on stage supporting Handsome Furs at The Hoxton B&G right now. If you know me, you'll know why I'm not there!

Here's a lovely Little Scream blogotheque show published today:


International PARK(ing) Day - 16th September 2011

Friday September 16th (this week) will be PARK(ing) day's 5th annual celebration. If you haven't heard of it before, PARK(ing) Day is a one-day, global event, where the public, artists and activists collaborate to transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces - temporary parks for the public good and enhancement of the urban built environment.

Many cities around the world including NYC, LA and London will be taking part with the shared mission of:

- drawing attention to the need for more urban open spaces
- generating dialogue in relation to how public space is created and allocated
- improving the quality of the urban human habitat

One of my favourite London charities Trees for Cities is getting involved working with key artists, charities, designers and creative's to launch this international event in London this week, to coincide with the start of London Fashion Week and London Design Week.

By getting involved Trees for Cities is hoping to provoke thought, spark reactions and bring a little humour to unsuspecting Londoners and visitors that stumble across the PARK(ing) bays. In addition to the PARK(ing) bay installations there will be live music and street theatre/ performers to bring the space alive.

They will be on Concert Hall Approach, London SE1 on Friday 16th September from 10am - 6pm. This is a busy area near Waterloo and the South Bank Centre so it should be quite a hit.

The PARK(ing) bay installations will include:

'Class(ic) cliché - An interpretation of a formal Italianate garden - Will Sandy Landscape Architecture

The Green Carpet Runway - a catwalk featuring ethical fashion designers. Two salon style fashion shows will see models from the leading UK model agency -Premier Model Management, model sustainable and upcycled clothing and accessories. The shows will be accompanied by musician Joe Cang providing a live acoustic set.

The Parking Bay - An interpretation on reclaiming the urban environment with a humourous take on the term 'parking bay' – using a bay tree. To endorse this concept we are inviting a number of London's finest artists to join us on the day with sculptures and site-specific pieces.

The Portable Woodland - a moveable woodland space created in collaboration with Trees for Cities. Highlighting the need for more trees in cities, this exhibit will bring verdant woodland into the heart of London for a day.

The Edible Container Garden - an area illustrating the simplicity of growing your own food in whatever space you may have available regardless of the limitations - from a window box, or roof terrace to a small patio. This is a collaboration with the Edible Bus Stop Community Garden Project.

In addition to all of these attractions there will be mischievous artistic installations, and a festival theatre troop doing street performances. It will be a creative, design led event with a quirky feel promising a day to remember.

Here are some photos from past events from all over the world so you can get an idea of what it might look like. Should be a super fun day!


Album Release Week

Autumn seems to mark the start of a barrage of new album releases. This year's round might not be all your cups of tea but I'm fairly confident there's something in there for everyone. Most of these albums are streaming somewhere on line and I've tracked them down for your listening pleasure!

Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know [stream here

St Vincent - Strange Mercy [stream here

You Aint No Picasso is currently featuring 14 downloadable St Vincent covers. Check it out here.

Peggy Sue - Acrobats [stream here]

Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost [stream here]

And as if all this isn't enough to keep you busy, Kate Bush has announced a new album. Yes the album rumours were true. It's called 50 Words For Snow and will be released on 21 November 2011. This album will be the second release from Kate’s own label Fish People. Read all about it here.

In the spirit of album releases I think it's also worth a mention that it is 20 years since Nirvana's Nevermind album was released. Last week's Sunday Times ran a feature called 20 'did you knows' about the album. One of the facts was how Chad Channing, Nirvana's first drummer gets royalties for three barely audible cymbal crashes heard at the beginning of 'Polly'. Being as Nevermind went on to sell over 30 million copies I'd imagine Chad Channing is happy he got up and made some noise that day!


Friday, 9 September 2011

The Peckham Rat

Not sure where I'm going with this photo...
Basically I walked past this huge inflatable rat in an art exhibition/unused car park in Peckham (London) today. It did have music blasting out from it but I couldn't recognise the tune, sounded 70's-ish. I guess I'm posting this because I can't help but think it's strange that I can stand next to this and not be freaked out, yet I turn into a scared-e-cat mess when I watch The Muppets/Fraggle Rock and have people around me wearing masks. I know....I don't know either...

Also, the building you can just about see in the background is the Bussey building. Not only is it where Dan Deacon did a show earlier this year, it's also where one of England's legendary cricketers, WG Grace used to have his cricket bats made a long time ago. Incidentally WG Grace is the great grandad of a close friend of mine who shares the impressive hair gene. Here's lots more info if you're interested.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Girls - 'Father, Son, Holy Ghost' Album Stream

San Franciscan band Girls will be releasing their second album 'Father, Son, Holy Ghost' on September 13th and in the spirit of listen before you buy, they're released a stream of the entire album a whole week early. Looking forward to seeing them at The Electric Ballroom on November 9th, tickets here.

End of the Road Festival 2011 Quick Notes

As the wind and rain lashes against my London flat, the heady days of last weekends End of the Road festival already seem like distant memories, but very good ones at that.

The performances I enjoyed the most were tUne-yArDs, M Ward, Midlake and Austra.

Midlake had a huge banner with the cover from their latest album 'The Courage of Others' as their stage backdrop on the newly added and very big Woods stage, this created a great visual point for those of us stuck right at the back. 'Acts of Man' and 'Roscoe' sounded sublime.

Merrill Garbus of tUne-yArDs is just over and over again crazily good. The audience predictably loved her and her amazing yodels - always wonder how she discovered she could do that.

M Ward is possibly one the most impressive singer/songwriter musicians around right now. His solo rendition of 'Poor Boy, Minor Key' and 'Hello Stranger' (with Jolie Holland) left me jaw a-gaping. That man really is a grand master of his tools.

I'd really wanted to see Austra for a while, love their debut album 'Feel It Break' so was a little suprised by how some people left the audience after they started playing. I thought it was great although I do think the twins who sing backing vocals definitely bring a necessary extra dimension to the show, it would have been a bit flat without them. 'Beat and the Pulse' was an obvious favourite, you just know some songs are going to sound brilliant live.

Other great moments included hearing Treefight for Sunlight cover 'Wuthering Heights' from inside my tent (sounded like this), catching Jim Bob from Carter USM playing 'The Only Living Boy In New Cross' acoustically on the comedy stage, the cider bus, baby peacocks and Okkervil River playing a secret show on a boat in the woods.

I also enjoyed Beirut, Micah P Hinson, Lykke Li, Phosphorescent (although he needed his band to make the show complete), Timber Timbre and Kurt Vile and the Violators.

This was my third time at this festival and although it was noticeably bigger this year both from a people and lay out perspective, the general feeling was that the organisers pulled it off successfully, just don't let it get any bigger. The new large Woods stage is an excellent addition and although perhaps somewhat less intimate than the Garden stage, at least its position at the bottom of a slight incline gives you a chance of actually seeing the performers from wherever you are standing even if it's right at the back.

Same again next year?

Apologies to those of you who I tried and failed to meet up with, my phone failed miserably at finding a reception. Hopefully we can meet at a London show sometime.

Living Room stage where anyone can perform
Houses in a tree
Okkervil River secret set in a boat
Me lounging in a nearby field :)
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