Friday, 29 July 2011

Paste Streaming: Mathieu Santos & Musikanto

The Paste Magazine website pretty much always has a new album streaming before it's release date which for those of us who aren't shacked up with a record labels is a great way to get a early listen in on lots of new music. Last year I heard Caribou's most recent and probably my favourite album of 2010 'Swim' there first.

Right now they have Ra Ra Riot's Mathieu Santos's 'Massachusetts 2010 album'. The record comes out next week on August 2nd via Barsuk, but you can listen to the entire album for the next week here. I'm really liking The Police feel to 'Wait To Get Up'

Musikanto’s upcoming record 'Sky Of Dresses' is also streaming and I highly recommend the song 'Take What You Need', it has a great and unexpected Beirut brassy feel to it. You can listen to full album here. 'Sky Of Dresses' also goes on sale on August 2nd.

Between Paste and NPR's First Listen you can hear quite a lot of new albums before their release dates, I wonder how much this helps stop leaks and the subsequent free downloads.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Justin Townes Earle @ Rough Trade East Instore

Son of alt-country star Steve Earle and named after the 'musician's musician' Townes Van Zandt, you'd be forgiven for thinking Justin Townes Earle had every reason to not be there on merit. You're be so wrong. Not only does this guy play the meanest guitar I've heard in a while, his voice is just made for singing. Wow. I loved this performance, one of the best I've seen at Rough Trade East. What I heard tonight was raw JTE, no accompanying band, nothing but his acoustic guitar and wonderful distinctive voice. 'Mama's Eyes' and 'One More Night In Brooklyn' were highlights, actually it was all one big highlight. Amazing.

Justin Townes Earle- One More Night In Brooklyn

Justin Townes Earle - So Different Blues

Justin Townes Earle - Mama's Eyes

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Free Beats in Union Square (NY)

This is fun! A guy set himself up to do some beat boxing in Union Square (NY) and anyone could join in with a little rap.

My favourite is "Where My Dogs At! Where my Frogs At!" Go New York!

[Thanks to Reddit for the tip off]

Lucy Wainwright Roche and 'her Dad' perform at The Slaughtered Lamb

I've just seen some footage from Wednesday's nights Lucy Wainwright Roche show which also featured a guest surprise appearance from her dad, Loudon Wainwright. I am so sick that I missed this.

Organiser Will who runs the superb Electro Acoustic Club nights at The Slaughtered Lamb in London and who ran this particular night said:  

"A customer turning up late introduced himself as 'Lucy's Dad'. Now, we might have known about Jackson Browne coming to play but not even Lucy Wainwright was expecting LOUDON WAINWRIGHT to join her on stage to entertain us with stories about Rufus and Martha's new babies and a sing us a few songs. We had been well and truly tango'd."

Amazing.  Here's the first of some video footage that's emerged, hopefully there will be more!

If this wasn't enough, only the night before Jackson Browne took to the very same stage along with Bella Union's Jonathon Wilson as backing to play the Eagles classics (which he wrote) 'Take It Easy' and 'These Days'.  There are some great photos here and a video here.  Two more shows that from the sound of it Will should be very very proud of, nicely done!


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Low Anthem on World Cafe and Tour Announcement

It feels like a lifetime ago since I went round and round the London Eye with The Low Anthem and what an amazing experience that was! I can't fail to think of them every time I see 'The Eye' which happens pretty frequently because I go past it on my train to work almost every day.

Anyway, NPR has a World Cafe recording of The Low Anthem performing three songs at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center as well as an interview with Ben and Jeff.

They play:

"Matter of Time"
"Boeing 737"
"This Goddamn House"

[Listen here]

In other Low Anthem news, they have been announced as the support for Iron & Wine's Terminal 5 ( NYC) show on October 13th. Iron & Wine's other T5 show the night before has Low supporting. Lucky New Yorkers! Also there is a pre sale on tickets for The Low Anthem's new tour and any one who purchases a ticket via their website by Friday will have access to a free download of two versions of a new song. Thanks to NPR for the tip off.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

PJ Harvey - Potential Mercury Prize Winner? Twice?

A bit like Bjork, PJ Harvey is one of those female artists that not only sound checked my teenage years, she was there for my student days and she is still making fresh sounding music many years later. With this in mind it is pretty awesome that her latest album 'Let England Shake' has today been shortlisted for the 2011 Mercury Prize. If she wins (and I believe she could) she will be the first artist to take the prize home twice, the first time being for 'Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea' in 2001.

Much to my embarrassment I have only ever seen PJ Harvey perform once and this was at the recently demolished Astoria 2 club in London back in 1996. She was going through her pink cat suit/long fake eye lashes phase touring her 'To Bring You My Love' album. I remember being totally impressed by how big a sound such a small framed person could make, it was a stella performance and I vowed to see her again. Somehow this just never happened and I am a little disappointed I'll be missing her yet again this weekend when she plays at Alexandra Palace. One day, one day!

To celebrate the lady who I regard as one of the best female musicians around, here are a couple of my favourite PJ Harvey songs. They all bring back memories from different times.

I owned a dodgy tape version of 'Dry'. The sound was slightly muffled and fluxuated randomly between loud and quiet before my tape player eventually chewed it.

Love the bass in this song, so sparse yet so powerful. My brother and I brought this CD ('To Bring You My Love' between us but it never left my CD collection. Sorry Jim!

[mercury prize nominations]

Monday, 18 July 2011


Love this band! Only just over a month to wait until their 3rd album 'Rip Tide' is released. Here's their first ever official video from the Elephant Gun EP (2007).

Also if you're a fan of Tune-Yards you'll be pleased to know they'll be supporting Beirut at the Brixton Academy on September 16th, a stellar line-up I'm sure you'll agree! Tickets here.


Saturday, 16 July 2011

Festival Small Print: Lanterns On The Lake

Lanterns On The Lake hail from Newcastle, England and are signed to the formidable Bella Union label.

They are on the line up for End of the Road 2011 and I will be checking them out on the steam of their song 'You're Almost There' alone, it's pretty stunning but perhaps a little depressing at the same time.

Looking forward to hearing more from their forthcoming album 'Gracious Tide Take Me Home' which will be released via Bella in September.

Lanterns on the Lake - You're Almost There from Bella Union on Vimeo.

Stream and download 'You're Almost There' here:

Hear more of their songs at

Friday, 15 July 2011

'Let's Go Surfing' - The Drums

Yesterday I sat on the beach all day with my family eating sandwiches and reading the newspaper, it was awesome. Occasionally I would cool my feet off in the sea and then retreat to the shade and my folks would cool off with a nice cup of tea. I noted they packed china cups for their tea, we don't mess about when it comes to picnics (and tea).

All this summer beach time made me think of The Drums song 'Let's Go Surfing' and what happens the next day? They announce 3 intimate gigs in London for September. Now I'm not claiming to be a clairvoyant or anything otherwise I wouldn't be blogging, I'd be setting up my own record company and building elaborate tree houses with my lottery winnings, but it was a little quinky dinky. Here are the details, the Lexington show sold out in 15 mins.

Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen - Monday, 05 Sep 2011 at 9:30PM
The Lexington - Tuesday, 06 Sep 2011 at 7:30PM
XOYO - Wednesday, 07 Sep 2011 at 8:00PM

[The Drums]

Well done if you got a ticket, commiserations if you didn't. Here's 'Let's Go Surfing'.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Sound of Rum - 6 Music Session

I first encountered Sound of Rum's lead singer Kate Tempest at a mini festival in a Kings Cross pub a few years back. That evening she delivered the most amazing spoken word I've ever heard, anyone who has ever witnessed a Kate Tempest performance will agree the girl has passion and writes some slamming poetry. Sound of Rum is basically Kate delivering her hip-hop style poetry to music and you can hear a session she did for Cerys Matthews 6 Music Sunday show here.

They'll be playing loads of festivals this summer, I highly recommend you check them out.

15th July – Latitude Festival 
23rd July – Ben & Jerry’s Festival – Manchester 
24th July – Ben & Jerry’s Festival – London Clapham Common 
31st July – Camp Bestival 
5th August – The Nest – Dalston 
6th August – Fieldview Festival 
14th August – Standon Calling 
18th August – Hoxton Bar and Kitchen 
25th August – Clapham Grand – Bookslam 
9th September – Bestival

[Sound of Rum]

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

'Love Will Tear Us Apart'

As seen just off Cremer street across the road from Hoxton overground station in London's east end. This amazing piece uses the words from Joy Division's 1980's song 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' and is the creation of a graffiti artist called Cept. The same words are also inscribed on lead singer Ian Curtis's memorial stone.

[See more of Cept's work here]

[Listen to 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' here.]

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Dirty Beggers

MrChalky and I had a lovely time strolling along London's Southbank this afternoon. We ate chocolate sundaes, saw some cheeky sand sculptures and happened across a Glaswegian band called The Dirty Beggers playing an excellent little impromptu busking set. Their sound is bluegrass and if I hadn't have been feeling sick from too much chocolate sundae I would have felt obliged to put in a little jig. Mumford & Sons eat your hearts out!

The Dirty Beggers are currently touring London and if you fancy a bit of a hoedown I highly recommend. Here are the dates:

July 11th Owlsworld: The Old Barn
July 12th The Windmill, Brixton
July 13th + support from Ely Plains @ The Betsey Trotwood (upstairs)
July 14th What's Cookin: The North Star

[The Dirty Beggers]

The Dirty Beggars - Hey Hey by The Dirty Beggars

I can make chocolate sundaes vanish!

Cheeky Sand Sculpture - the other 2 guys were singing Space Oddity by David Bowie.

Previously Unreleased Elliott Smith Song

Pitchfork have posted a previously unreleased Elliott Smith song on their website. The song is called 'The Real Estate' and is a track from the homeless benefit compilation Live From Nowhere Near You: Volume Two. Hear it here.

Sometimes I forget how good Elliott Smith's voice sounds, this is an excellent fairly upbeat reminder.

You can pre-order all three discs of Live From Nowhere Near You with the proceeds from the album going to benefit Portland Oregon's homeless youth organisation Outside In.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

I might keep bees

Today I took a course on bee keeping and learnt about how they have their own special dance called the waggle dance. I think I could get obsessed with bees. This Men Without Hats 80's classic has been going round in my head ever since.

.. and I couldn't write about Bees without including these guys:

Friday, 8 July 2011

Atlantis, the end of an era

Space shuttle Atlantis will hopefully have successfully made it into space (and back depending on when you read this). This mission marks the end of NASA's space shuttle program and the end of an era in space travel. In it's 25 year history, Atlantis was the first shuttle to send a probe to another planet and to dock with a space station. This will have been it's 33rd mission.

I've always been impressed with NASA and was so jealous of the guy from my university physics course who went to work there. Isn't it amazing to think we put a man on the moon using about the same computer power as a game boy?!

I always wanted to be an astronaut but dodgy ears and a distinct lack in some of the qualities necessary meant this was never to be. After declaring that I was going to be an astronaut at the age of 7 I can remember my Mum and Dad saying "We'd worry about you out there in space". I think it's awesome they took me seriously, this always makes me smile when I think back on it.

I hope we don't wait too long before getting people into space again. These photos are from the newspaper my Dad saved from the first moon landing in 1969 when manned space exploration was new and pretty much everyone was excited or at least interested. I'm still just as excited as the first time I saw a shuttle launch on our little tv at home and since seeing the Challenger disaster I'm still as nervous in case something goes wrong. Those astronauts are some brave people.

For me this Arthur Russell song captures the feeling surrounding the amazing achievements human beings have made possible in space.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Jacob Golden

Miss this guy.

Such a privilege to have him play at my house a few years back, will never forget it.

Please please please make some more music. So so talented.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Unknown Mortal Orchestra @ The Lexington 06/07/11

Fresh off a flight from Portland, this was Unknown Mortal Orchestra's first ever UK show and a sold out one at that. Having been converted to their fascinating blend of indie psychedelia via their debut album released only last month I was super excited about this show and had a feeling it was going to be a bit special. The songs sounded tight, the guys looked and sounded pleased to be there and the audience was lapping it up, what more could you want?  Well maybe a few more songs but I guess it is their first album so how many was I realistically expecting. All they need now is a few more female fans and maybe Joshua's Light Show to work on their stage backdrop. Catch them in a small venue while you still can, they're not going to be playing them for long.

[Sorry for the bad photos, the lighting is always a bit of a challenge at The Lexington, a challenge I didn't accept on this occasion...]

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Monday, 4 July 2011

Festival Small Print: Lightning Dust

Lightning Dust are yet another band billed in the End of the Road festival smaller print who have caught my ear.

The Canadian band is a side project of Amber Webber and Joshua Wells who are both members of Black Mountain. If you're thinking rock then you'd be wrong. Lightning Dust's music has a much softer minimalistic feel with fragile sounding vocals that bring a slightly haunted/distant dimension to even their more poppier sounding songs. 'Antonia Jane' is my favourite song so far. They have released 2 albums, the first was self titled in 2007 and the second called 'Infinite Light' in 2009.

I'm hoping they play in one of the more intimate stages at the festival, I'm not sure a large stage would suit their sound.

Lightning Dust - Antonia Jane by carloscouto

Sunday, 3 July 2011

LOLDinos and The Crystal Palace Bowl

There's something a bit LOLDino about this photo I took yesterday in Crystal Palace Park. There are loads of dinosaurs in the park and they were all created in 1854, yes 1854!!!! This really is an awesome park. All those ruins from The former Crystal Palace and the Crystal Palace Bowl with it's natural amphitheatre and awesome rusty futuristic looking stage plus speakers. It was home to the great summer garden parties of the 70's where artists such as Pink Floyd, Beach Boys and Lou Reed played. The stage has now changed but the pond in front is still the same.

Here's a famous photo of Bob Marley playing the Crystal Palace Bowl in what was to be his last ever UK show. Look at all those fans in the pond!


The Floyd show had an inflatable octopus (see here) in the pond in front of the stage and other bands such as Journey added inflatable dinosaurs. Maybe The Flaming Lips should have played here instead of Alexandra Palace this week so we could have seen Wayne Coyne do his hamster impression on the pond. I'm going to write more about the Crystal Palace Bowl and how I think it is such a shame the space isn't really used much any more, maybe I should start a #bringbackthebowl hashtag. Why oh why is this place not hosting loads of concerts? I think the Crystal Palace Bowl needs to have it's time again, there's even an overground station next to the park that could train all the hipsters from East London fast enough for them not to notice they're not in East London any more. This all makes a lot of sense.

Friday, 1 July 2011

'Treeshouses of the World'

This book about Treehouses is amazing! I want to visit so many of them. It makes me want to design and build a treehouse and arrange for musicians to perform in and/or make it into a recording studio.

Back in the real world I'll just enjoy reading the book and try to arrange to see at least one of them at some point in my life. Pretty cool though!

'Tree Hugger' by Antsy Pants and Kimya Dawson along with the lovely Treetop Flyers' 'Is It All Worth It' seemed right for this post.

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