Tuesday, 6 January 2009

a stop scratching djs weekender




The Fellow is a fancy little cocktail bar by the same people who run The Amersham Arms and The Lock Tavern. It does AMAZING cocktails has a smoking garden and lots of plush seating.
To get to there take a tube or a bus to kings cross then left of the station is a mcdonalds, go left down the road that it is on and the fellow is on the corner of york way and caledonia street. see map.





Cassie will be with me for The Old Blue Last night too, so come meet her.


Friday, 2 January 2009

shdwplay#2: the fog through the trees.

Sore Eros' principle song writer is Robert Robinsion, he gets by with a little help from his friends. Boston is where he calls home but as life weaves it's rich tapestries of adventure and exploration Robert is happy to fall into the searching winds and go where the music takes him, both in his personal life and in the recording of his second proper full length 'Second Chants'.

To just get to this stage he has already undergone a monumental journey of discovery, after recording his first full length - with then band member Micheal Centore - and distributing it by his own admission mainly just to "friends and local radio stations" Robert set off for sunnier shores and made his way to LA. It was there he met Ariel Pink, who had just recently been signed to Animal Collective's Pawtracks imprint, Ariel found the backing band he required for playing live shows in Robert and his close friend Greg (of Gary War fame). So, partly due to conflicting work and sleep schedules and partly due the drain on inspiration forced upon him by life in LA, Sore Eros was put on hold in favour of touring the globe with Ariel Pink.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, Ariel and John Maus (who was enlisted to play keyboards) got stopped in London prior to a planned UK tour supporting Panda Bear, but Robert and Gary were on a different flight to Paris and perhaps due to the slightly more lenient french authorities, perhaps just to do with swirling winds of fate, they didn't get stopped and they thankfully decided not to waste the opportunity and embarked on the without Ariel and re-kindled his passion for Sore Eros. Skip forward a few years and we're back again in Boston with much of the material that he wrote in his time in LA scrapped in favour of what we hear today on Second Chants.

Second Chants is described by Robert as being "influenced more by the changing of the leaves in the autumn and the snow in the winter, rather then the palm trees of Los Angeles" a quality which speaks volumes for itself. Luscious textures fall softly to a forest floor, damp leaves crackle and hiss beneath your feet. It's dawn and the nights thick fog that has settled all around begins to disperse, creating free flowing ghosts that chant haunting, delicate melodies which echo and weave there way through the trees leaving a strong sense of love in their wake.

Love is in fact the central theme on the record which binds all the songs together, the concept of love before existence, the essence and truth of the coming together of two entities. On 'Before Animals' Robert sings "She taught me to love animals / I can hear their hearts beat" which is him expanding and exploring the notion of loving animals and the existence of love before animals. Sometimes on the record the message is lost in the enveloping effects of the music but this was the intention, this is him searching inside himself, existing solely in the moment, relying on the randomness of improvisation to best express his ideas and his beliefs.
Because of this the process of writing songs is a very organic one, sometimes it doesn't sound as though it should but when it does he himself describes it as "feeling like magic", this is a record for anyone who has ever believed in magic.
Not completely in the psychical respect of wizardry and witchcraft but in the magic that surrounds each and everyone of us and binds us all together as one. It's not a new (age) idea, in fact it's one which is expressed and accepted by many a great mind and in this particular instance Robert explores it brilliantly and if you can just open up your mind and your ears then Second Chants will do it's best to open up your heart.

Sore Eros - Before Animals.mp3 (zshare)

Second Chants LP is out on Shdwply Records on February 14th. In the meantime you can check out Sore Eros' myspace here.


Tuesday, 23 December 2008

shdwplay#1: catch some waves.

"If you don't think drugs have done good things for us, then go home and take all of your records, tapes and CD's and burn them." Bill Hicks said it best, he always says it best and with his sentiment let me introduce The Super Vacations.

Now, I can't be sure whether the band had to claw the singer off the ceiling to do the vocals, or whether they do drugs at all but it seems pretty elementary. The Super Vacations' music is an old fashioned kaleidoscopic journey through their own states of consciousness. It's the bigger picture, it swirls and it sweeps, it distorts and contorts, it twists and it glides, it's up and it's down. It's a vacant solitary hut trapped on a stormy beach front but it's emanating a warm, radiant, all consuming love. There is sand in your mouth and salt-water in your eyes but their candy hearts are filled with sugar and bliss. Their music sounds like it was recorded in a basement, in the 60's, psychedelic licks cut through the sonic surf, muffled vocals claw there way through 40 years of crackling fuzz, it's crude, it's enchanting, it's out there. It's fucking amazing.

I've just invested in their recent self titled LP out on the amazing shdwply records, maybe i'll give you the lowdown when it gets here, until then, enjoy this piece of lo-fi beach pop brilliance.
Also, you can catch the drummer Ryan who will be over here doing live drums for Nathan Williams' Wavves in the new year, check tour dates here.

Check out The Super Vacations' Myspace here.


Wednesday, 17 December 2008

a deer is for life, not just for christmas.

I was tidying up my desktop and organising things into folders yesterday (sad i know, it's a habit that Cassie got me in to) when I stumbled upon a folder of pictures from ATP vs Pitchfork back in may which I had completely forgotten about. When thinking back to that night, it's hard to imagine i'd easily forgot the ordeal I went through in order to get them.

It was the Sunday night of ATP and we'd consumed way to much of whatever we could over the course of weekend so we were bouncing about Camber Sands like kids full of sugar on the night before Christmas. Needless to say, after a weekend of such epic proportions our attention spans had dwindled into something equally as juvenile. Not content with the Sunday night offering of bands and all smoked out, we had no reason to be outside in the chilling night air so we decided to go and make use of what the arcade had to offer. All was going well at first, we played some games, playfully harassed some elders, won loads of prize tickets and were generally making the most of the last night at my favourite place on earth. Then...we saw it.

"It" was Extreme Hunting 2 a 1st person shoot 'em up but this wasn't your standard, post-apocalyptic zombie type affair, this was "hunting", or aimlessly shooting poor innocent animals for £2 a go. One of these sets of animals being DEERS, yes DEERS.
For those of you who don't pay attention, the comics that come with each and every stop scratching tape detail the adventures of a cat, who represents myself, and a deer, who represents Cassie. So you can imagine my outrage. It was probably about 1am, Sunday night, but I had to phone Cassie and express my outrage. Much outrage later, I let her go back to sleep but I couldn't let Sega get away with this travesty so I set about the Lord of the Rings sized task of warning everyone off playing the game.

Now, at this point in time to quote Alexander Shulgin's system, I was definitely not at baseline, so standing next to a video game shouting about how my girlfriend is a deer and not to kill them to anyone who walked by quickly wore thin, not to mention getting me a fair few odd looks.
A NOTE. I hate to find some paper and leave a note to warn people off playing it, something simple and to the point. DON'T KILL DEERS. That should do it.
Now, finding a pen and paper at 1.30am on Sunday night standing in an arcade in the middle of a festival at Butlins. Easier said than done, believe me. After some more harassing of passers by for a pen or some paper I noticed across the way a small kiosk was open, selling drinks, crisps and other such holy grails of late-night-munchie-seeking-festival-goers. After a lot of difficult searching I discovered that they didn't sell paper, but they did sell pens! One step closer. After about 10 minutes of trying to frantically explain the whole thing to the cashier, I convinced him to donate some till roll to the cause.

So, with the note wrote we headed back over the horrible game but quickly realised the paper was not going to sit on the slippery, slanted surface of the screen. So I went back to the shop in search of sellotape or any kind of adhesive, they didn't have any. I stood there for a while. Refusing to be defeated I went back over and tried and failed again to stick the paper to it. CHEWING GUM IS STICKY. It hit me. Everyone has chewing game. Again some more harassing of the general public ensued. No-one had chewing gum!? Back the shop!
He had chewing gum, so I bought some popped one in my mouth and made my way across the arcade to finally put Extreme Hunting 2 out of action.

When we got there, much to my surprise and dismay, a young man with a hat on was standing there, gun in held proudly in hand, choosing his poor defenceless victims. I ran over panicking, what if he'd chosen Deers already!? Ohmy.
He hadn't. He had however, just paid his £2 and as much as I flapped about, I couldn't convince him to not play, he was a nice, accomodationg chap though and after I explained my ordeal he agreed to shoot mooses instead. Me and Louise did a good job of sabotaging him and because of our interfering he only managed about 3 shots on the whole level and thus failed to get to the next round (if you're reading, man in hat, sorry but it had to be done).
He finished playing by which time the chewing gum was soft and good to go, so after apologising to the poor fellow, we stuck the sign to the front and danced around with a warm sense of achievement and an ever warmer sense of accomplishment. It was hard work, and all together took about an hour but we saved a lot of deers lives that night so it was all worth it in the end.


Friday, 12 December 2008

end of year part deux.

I thought crafting this Top 10 would be pretty easy, though as i took a place at my computer i had a sick moment of realisation 'Suicide' by 'Suicide' was actually released in 1977 (and i would've got away with it as well if it wasn't for that pesky Alan Vega!) However in a mad scramble i have managed to piece together my super lovely TOP 10 of the year. It's does vary from Benjamin's list, even if that variation is slight at times. With so many good rekkids released this year, i undoubtedly left some awesome stuff off, so say something if you disagree, lets chat.

1. AutechreQuaristice
2. Off MinorSome Blood (12”)
3. Deerhunter - Microcastle
4. CardopusherUnity Means Power
5. Flying LotusLos Angeles
6. La QuieteLa Quiete (7”)
7. Starkey - Ephermeral Exhibits
8. High Places - 03/07-09/07
9. Fuck buttonsStreet Horrrsing
10. Gang Gang Dance Saint Dymphna


Wednesday, 10 December 2008

end of year.

10. Foot Village - Friendship Nation

9. Girl Talk - Feed The Animals

8. Starkey - Ephermeral Exhibits

7. K-The-I??? - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

6. iTAL tEK - Cyclical

5. No Age - Nouns

4. Rings - Black Habit

3. Flying Lotus - Los Angeles

2. Why? - Alopecia

1. Nisennenmondai - Destination Tokyo

So there you have it, my vision of 2008's finest offerings summed up in 10 pictures.
Feel free to tell me if you think I missed anything or if indeed you disagree. In the end there are way more electronic based albums on the list than I would have imagined but I put a lot of thought into it and I feel that these are the releases i've been able to come back to and enjoy more than any other this year. It's been a good one.

Top 15 songs and live acts after the jump.


Little Trooper - Wasn't Ready

14. Night Jewel - Artificial Intelligence

13. Telepathe - Chromes On It

12. TV On The Radio - DLZ

11. Nisennenmondai - Mirrorball

10. Baby Venom - Eye Patch

9. Pens - Hate Your Calender

8. Human Hair - Happy Birthday

7. Nisennenmondai - Souzousuru Neji

6. Drop The Lime - Hear Me

5. Gentle Friendly - Five Girl Night

4. Arch M - 21st Union

3. Starkey - Spacewalk

2. No Age - Cappo

1. Baby Venom - Frank


15. Barr @ The Luminaire(London)

14. Fuck Buttons @ ATP vs Pitchfork (Camber Sands)

13. Chrome Hoof @ Dot to Dot (Nottingham)

12. Ex Models @ Dot to Dot (Nottingham)

11. Foot Village @ The Luminaire (London)

10. No Age @ Stealth (Nottingham)

9. Dan Deacon @ Dot to Dot (Nottingham)

8. Banjo Or Freakout @ No Shows Forever (London)

7. Aids Wolf @ The Rainbow (Birmingham)

6. Japanther @ The Old Blue Last (London)

5. Mika Miko @ The Dome (London)

4. Nisennenmondai @ The Hare And Hounds (Birmingham)

3. Glass Candy @ ATP vs Pitchfork (Camber Sands)

2. Dalek @ Supersonic Festival (Birmingham)

1. Why? @ The Regal (Oxford)


Monday, 8 December 2008

i don't wanna build an empire.

King and the Olive Fields is a hip young man named Phillip Serfaty, he resides in the infamous London borough of New Cross, he is sometimes but not always accompanied by his very talented, beautiful group of friends who often come and go and when they come, they lend his music the sound of their percussion, their oboes, their cellos, their banjos, their ukuleles and their voices.

The music is delicate and thoughtful folk, it’s minimalistic but the quaint nature of it ensures that none of the charm is lost. The focus though for me his mature and distinctive vocals and of course, the lyrics, which are an endearing account of the life, the loves and the troubles of the whimsical Mr. Serfaty. It’s when you pay close attention to them that you notice the references to life in London but fortunately Phillip seems to have divorced himself from the often negative affects the city can bestow on you and sings about his idiosyncrasies in a convincingly upbeat manner. I asked him a few questions to work into this write up but his answers were so amazing i’ve left them exactly how as they are and are in full here for you to read. Enjoy.

(this post was originally written for http://thisisoffset.co.uk)

BS: How does living in a suburb as infamous as New Cross effect your music? Do you find yourself getting grouped in with a scene you evidently don’t want to be a part of?

PS: I don’t know how much of a difference it makes to the music itself, but most of KATOF live no further than fifteen minutes from each other and we’re recording our first record above the off-license opposite New Cross Gate Station, so i suppose you could say that we’ve created a little hub for ourselves, for better or for worse. As far as getting grouped in with a scene, i don’t think there is any such thing. I mean, musicians, promoters and artists know each other, but i reckon that has more to do with proximity and mutual friends than any kind of shared ideals.

BS: You often reference not wanting to be a ‘part of this’ or ‘getting out of here’, what it that bothers you so much?

PS: The immediate though that popped into my head is the first scene in ‘Annie Hall’ where Woody Allen paraphrases Groucho Marx: “I would never want to be part of any club that would have someone like me for a member”.

BS: Your lyrics are contemporary and sometimes relate to life in London, do you think KATOF can exist without the artistic inspiration of life in a big city?

PS: Sure, I think I could always find things to write about, whether I’m a penniless shmuck in a city or a dribbling recluse out in the sticks.

BS: You seem the have the unbridled ability to talk about your life and tell stories in and amusing and honest in a way I find similar to Brandon Flower of Barr. Who/what would you site as your main sources of inspiration?

PS: That’s a nice comparison, Barr are great! Daniel Jonhston, Smog and the ethics of K Records inspired me to start home-recording when I was about 17. Jimmy from The Bobby McGees taught me how to play the ukulele. I listen closely to lyrics and I’m a big fan of the SIlver Jews. I long to be able to write a lyric like : “When I go downtown/ I always wear a corduroy suit/ cos it’s made of a hundred gutters / that the rain can run right through”. I’ve been listening to a lot of Arthur Russell, so I seem to be more enthusiastic about the cello these days. I like baritone voices and my favourite performer is Jacques Brel.

BS: Your friends often join in with the fun, how important is their role in your music? Could you not say just do it all with an acoustic guitar and a few other bits and pieces?

PS: The line-up is constantly changing, members come and go. It gives me a lot of freedom, in that I can always play a show, whether solo with a ukulele or with a five piece band. Also, it means that musicians are less reluctant to play with me as there are no contracts involved, they can come and go as they please. There’s the cliche that being in a band is like being married. Well, we’re more like swingers.

BS: I admire the fact you don’t want to play shows because of their supposed benefits but say you were scouted one day at a show in one of these A&R hangouts? Would you actually be opposed to taking this project somewhere because it’s something you did for fun?

PS: If don’t think anyone would be crazy enough to take an interest in my music from a financial perspective. But if someone offered me the opportunity to release a record and travel for a while, well, that could be fun. However, as soon as money gets involved, your relationship to your creative activity does change. You approach it differently when it becomes your source of income, I worry the pressures of success would impinge on the music. I suppose I like the idea of taking the project to different places, both literally and metaphorically, but doing so with great caution. I’d try to avoid signing anything. Not that I have had any offers, you understand.

BS: What are your intentions now? What do you see in store for the future of KATOF?

PS: Well, we’re recording a five song EP that we’re going to release ourselves, hopefully on 7″ in early ‘09. I’m hoping to move to Paris in the summer, I know it really well and am desperate for a change of scene, I’m too comfortable these days. The music is my main creative output and will continue no matter where I live. Also, it’d give me the opportunity to rename the band to King And Ze Olive Fields.

BS: And lastly, what is favourite dinosaur and why?

PS: Probably the Diplodocus. It’s a huge towering beast but it’s a herbivore so it’s not too threatening. I doubt it would crush a fellow vegetarian. I imagine it would pick me up by my shirt and pop me on its back, at which point I would run up his neck, sit on the top of his head and keep an eye out for carnivores in the distance.

King And The Live Fields - Empire.mp3 (zshare)

You can check out KATOF's myspace here and go see them live this Thursday (Dec. 11th) @ The Amersham Arms.


Friday, 5 December 2008

missletoe and wine.



8.30PM-2.00AM || FREE ENTRY


it's the last friday before jolly old saint nick pulls on his furry leather boots and jumps in his sleigh, so in light of these events we've decided to have a little get together with our friends, play some music, have a dance and generally get in the christmas spirit. it's free entry all night and they'll be xmas gifts and giveaways for all who attend.
we've been chatting with santa too & he's told us that your name will be transfered to the naughty list if you don't come, so if you want that remote control car or a barbie dream house, i suggest you pop on down to camden and help us spread the xmas cheer!

& to get you in the mood...
menegaur - christmas isn't christmas.mp3


Thursday, 27 November 2008

careless whisper.

resonant guitars, crackling delicate vocals, twinkling keys, serene distortion, echoing electronics. crackling delicate vocals, twinkling keys, serene distortion, echoing electronics, resonant guitars. twinkling keys, serene distortion, echoing electronics, resonant guitars, crackling delicate vocals.
serene distortion, echoing electronics, resonant guitars, crackling delicate vocals, twinkling keys.
echoing electronics, resonant guitars, crackling delicate vocals, twinkling keys, serene distortion.
oh and of course, lots of loops.

8 tracks, laptops, computer software, tiny bedrooms, pissed of neighbours, garages, penny pinching, scuzz, a mass of wires all tangled beyond comprehension. home recording and lo-fi production have been the surprise stars of 2008.
with everyman and his dog picking up a modified synth, a broken drum kit and a tesco price guitar and having a stab at pouring their angst onto an 8-track or garage band, no mastering, and before long, it's on myspace for the world to share. i can't say i'm opposed to this, after all i run a tape label, i love the fuzzy punch of home recording and it has given me a lot more music to listen to too. some people have took the lo-fi sound and approach and ran with it, and have acquired many a more adoring fans than they had in previous years, no age, bradford cox and times new viking to name a few. some have tried and failed. i have a fair few pending requests that demonstrate this, i just don't have the heart to deny them, after all this isn't some polished, £1mil, pre-packaged jewelcase release, this is an extension of these people and who i am to judge them as people?

so aside from the big hitters and their new found record deals with sub pop or witchita, one italian born londoner has shone like a un-polished star amongst all of this, un-polised or not a star is a star non the less. his name is robert pulsan, it's not sorry, i couldn't resist. his name is actually alessio natalizia but you might know him better under the moniker banjo or freakout. he started recording his majestic art-pop a couple of years ago, surrounded by people he didn't know in his girlfriends house and without any sign of her showing up, he turned to her computer and began playing around on a music programme and not long later had written his first song, freak out. now, i can't speak for you but i'm certainly glad that his girlfriend never showed that night because since then alessio's music has grown from strength to resonating strength.

he gives himself just one strict rule when recording and that is that he always goes with the first take, of everything, including vocals. of course, he toys with the whole thing afterwards on his laptop, adding loops, and samples and all manor of other-worldly intricacies. the option to go with the first take gives his music a very punk-rock quality and with each new song or cover (upto date alessio has recorded 20 amazing covers of artists such as bob dylan, pavement, why?, amy winehouse, invisible congo people and even burial) that that he posts on his blog comes with a distinct lack of progression in terms production but a sense that he really is finding himself and his place as a recording artist.

below, is possibly the pick of alessio's original material, a track titlted '42' from his upside down ep. it brings together the resonant guitars, the twinkling keys, the serene distortion, the echoing electronics and the delicate vocals crackling away as allessio passionately lets the world know that "i'm not upside down". type banjo or freakout into any search engine and you'll be met with an abundance of interviews and mp3 blogs, which all suggest that he isn't upside down at all, in fact he is very modest and remains grounded despite his growing popularity. all the evidence suggests that 2009 could be a busy year for alessio.
keep your eyes peeled for his debut single 'mr no' out soon on the amazing no pain in pop.

banjo or freakout - 42 (upside down).mp3 (zshare)
banjo or freakout - the hollows (why? cover).mp3 (zshare)

check out banjo or freakouts myspace here
& no pain in pop here


Tuesday, 25 November 2008

stella drinking grannies and other such tales

on the train last week, i saw the best lady in the whole world. she was about 70 i think, but was one of those shrunken small grannies who seemed to be growing down. she had a laura ashley twin-set on with a string of pearls and perfectly curled bluey hair. i liked her already. then out of her carpet bag she took a sandwich box and started eating some home made triangle sandwiches. i wanted to see if she had cut off the crusts but i thought she might see me staring, so lets just say she had.. for the story. i loved her already.

THEN she went into her bag again and pulled out nothing other than a can of stella. she popped it on the table we shared, got a hanky out and dusted off the top, opened the can and took a slurp. im pretty sure she did the 'mmm mmm ' shoulder shrug thing that i do when i like something. again.. lets say she did.

i almost asked for a picture. she is what stop scratching is made of.

ive been travelling all around recently. been to london more than i have been at home it seems.. which is actually quite clever considering i live in reading. not very long until the move now though. im hoping that my new found addiction to property websites will ease off once we're actually living in one. if the housing market wasnt in such a pickle i would maybe think of becoming an estate agent. a nice one ofcourse! who doesnt wear a suit. ive managed to find lots of lovely houses, even a new cross one with a swimming pool (we're abit scared we'll do a barrymore) SO if anybody needs a help finding a house to rent, im your girl.

i also went travelling to birmingham for jennifers birthday. i nearly had an asthma attack on the train home because i dont think i took a breath all night through pure excitement of being in jennifers company.

ooh also, something funny happened. really, its a blog in itself - a very long story. but i shall cut it into a small after dinner pie slice for this occasion. four or so years ago i was having the best time a girl could have at reading festival. running around, being silly, not even wearing a coat! me and my friend hannah-fringe, during a squiggle through mainstage crowds whilst trying to hold onto each other, a bottle of water and gravity.. made a song up. it went...

uh oh, dont let go. the waters getting low but you cant let go.

i cant say it was an immediate hit. but we sang it for the rest of the weekend anyway. later, in birmingham, during nights out i would maybe sing it to special people. then after knowing benjamin for not so long but him charming me into having the band kit stay at my house - i also sang it to vice cooler (drummer of kit and vocalist of xbxrx). at the time i thought he found it quite funny, and recorded me singing it on his recordable thing (that in my memory he just had in his pocket.. but probably not) FAST FORWARD to now - vice, as hawnay troof, has an album and has used my acual real life song and vocals on his song 'water' off his new album, islands of ayle. accidental popstar, me.

hawnay troof - water.mp3 (zshare)

sorry, that turned out to be a whole pie of a story. with custard. x