Sunday, 30 December 2007

Last Night Podcast #2

Driving back from Glasgow last night and this morning and thinking it was about time I strung together another podcast. I came up with this cool idea where I'd do a series of podcasts which feature the same artists, but different songs or the same songs but by different artists.

Never quite panned out that way, but here's the second podcast from Last Night From Glasgow Indie Eyespy, with me, Chris Gilmour

Last Night Podcast #2
Do yersel a right-click - save as

The tracklisting is as follows

Russian Spy Camera - Svengali what's the caper
Dananananaykroyd - Hey Giles
Dracula's Daughter - Candy
The Just Joans - Just Another Lunchtime Affair
The Gaskets - The Easy Life
The Moving Sidewalks - 99th Floor
The Plimptons - System Error
Squeeze - Cool for Cats
The Great Money Trick - Final Feelings
Electrophonvintage - Sex Shops
Hello Saferide - The Quiz
Liechtenstein - Stalking Skills
The Parsonage - Our Lips are Sealed (Fun Boy Three)
Pato Fu - Just Live Heaven (The Cure)
New Kids on the Block - Cover Girl

Saturday, 15 December 2007

The Plimptons Christmas EP

xmas 031
Whilst there's barely a music blog out there that isn't covering top Glasgow band The Martial Arts's retro-Happy-Days-esque style of music and their free album download (. . .)

Only the most cynical of Glasgow comedy rock band ex-managers would try the same sort of Christmas giveaway. So here it is, in its entirity The Plimptons Christmas EP in giftwrapped zipped download for you listening pleasure.

gies yersel a rightclick download

Featuring no less than seven festive songs, including some old favourites and new ones recorded especially for this release.

How, you may be asking, can they afford to give it away for free? What about recording costs, bandwidth, bandheight and bandweight? Worry you not, for it is the magic of the internet.

Twee as Fuck: The Margarets, St. Christopher, Hatcham Social - Buffalo

I thought I'd arrived at the last Twee as Fuck of the year stylishly late, but alas, I'm early enough to catch one of the free CDs on the door. I guess there's thirty people here by 10pm. I glimpse Thorsten and Camilla sat at the other side of the room, their latest eagerly awaited podcast is a corker, I wonder if they'll do an xmas one. I keep my distance to avoid cornering them ad wonder when the bands start.

I spy another bloke here on his own, at the opposite end of the bar, we glance at each other suspiciously, I think he's jealous, he left his notebook at home. He reminds me of Robbie from IoMoPS, I wonder if he got round to doing his Christmas song for this year. May I suggest "Wednesday Girl at Xmas" or "Little Miss Maybe's first Xmas" as possible song titles.

Realise the fallacy in wanting to avoid being creepy, but at the same time, standing on my own, next to the toilets, scribbling. Wish bands would hurry up, get on stage so I can fuck off home.

Four skinny lads take to the stage, no drummer, they are from Sweden, they are The Margarets. My ex-wife many months ago coined the phrase for them 'Swedish kids with handbags'.

The Margarets 03

They sound like two parts early Stone Roses and one part Acid House Kings. Easy G, C, Am, D type songs with noodles and phaser effects. Stephen Pastel would be proud of the vocals, Best use of iPod for drums, crowd noise and St. Etienne/Just Joans found movie dialog clips.

Ooh, I just remembered, at work today, a colleague was playing some Polish funk rock, and one of the songs sounded remarkably like The Just Joans's 'I Hear your the man now John'.

Stood nearby the bar here is a tall hairy chap who looks like Big Duncan from Dananananaykrod, but he smells different, he runs a label called Wax.

Ooh, Elaine the promoter comes over to say hi. I get all nervous but try to come across as a pro-muso journo, fail badly. Scribble note 'must come up with more sensible bloggery muso journo things to say in similar situations'.

I spot PopKid from Spiral Scratch and elsewhere this tall scrawny ginger girl who I;d swear I was in a drama society with at university a decade ago. The place is filling up and I feel about one chessboard row less self-conscious.

A short girl tugs on my arm and asks of I have a cigarette and suddenly I'm in Bolton, November 1995. Time travel fucking terrifies me. I'm in the Academy Bar, I can't see my girlfriend, but if I could would she recognise me? The jacket and the sideburns are thesame, besides she'd be about 14 years too young. Time travel fucking sucks.

St. Christopher 04

Twelve years and one month later St. Christopher take to the stage, a two-piece tonight. The chummy Yorkshire accented between and mid-song banter in stark contrast to the shoegazery noise. They're missing their drummer tonight, relying on a drum machine.

Whilst its kind of easy to get lost in the music, the 14 song set is dragging. Its only at the last song I find they're an old Sarah Records band. Revering C86 folk probably care deeply, but I want to see the headline act.

The two people in the crowd who still give a crap shout for an encore, luckily they don't oblige.

The Buffalo Bar is full, folk chatting amongst themselves, scant regard for the music, smiling, engrossed in conversations. Time has passed, its half midnight, do bands usually go on this late, I try to remember.

Hatcham Social 01
Hatcham Social on last, a three-piece with a standy up drummer, matching hairstyles and torn jeans. They play in an inwardly facing triangular formation. Strange, difficult to describe songs, clunky guitars. Folk in the crowd and behind the DJ desk were dancing and singing along. It seems jolly good fun, but the words are low and the ba ba ba choruses are like another language.

Bands
The Margarets
St. Christopher
Hatcham Social

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Big in Japan: Gay Against You - Amersham Arms

Car radio-less, for the jorney over to New Cross I have in my head the dis-embodied voice of my mother from decads ago, warning me of the perils of going to gigs on school nights. Pah, I laugh in her face, for I went to a gig in Sheffield the other day, on a shcool night, pah again.

I enter the Amersham arms to find it full of fucking students. Not just anything fucking students, but damned Goldsmiths fucking students. I'd worn my scenester orange stripey jumper just in case, but its not match for the crowd tonight, they all look like folk for Driven By Boredom, or style magazines. Everyone looks like they're sucking in their cheeks.

All the people I know aren't here, except Gay Against You who I've seen a few times before, they're perched behind a merchy table by the door. That girl who looks like Jef in Glasgow is here and some cutie who looks like a younger Katrina House, I make eye contact and give her my winning smile, she runs. There's a girl wearing exciting eye make-up who looks really pissed off, I wondeer whether to ask her if she's an astronaut, but she vanishes before I have a chance.

Reappearing moments later as part of a three-piece cabaret act, waltzing through the audience in leotards with hula hoop rings, before conjuring a set of skipping ropes and luring unsuspecting Katrina House lookalikes to skip mid-dance floor.

The music thats been blaring out for the evening has been early nineties cheese-dance by the sound of things. A few people making shapes on the dancefloor, fucking students on E. I wonder how many retired pornstars are in the room.

Time passes and Gay Against You take to the stage.

Gay Against You 01

The have technical problems with guitar noise, but eventually get going. Launching themselves out into the audience, half of whom try to start a fight, then leave in digust. The good-time fun of GAG isn't for them.

Gay Against You 06

Eventually the crowd get into it, embracing the offered microphones to sing along and contribute their own lyrics. Joe on keyboards seems more reserved than usual, leaving most of the theatrics to Lachlann.

Gay Against You 11

Monday, 3 December 2007

Sparklemotion Promotions: Nat Johnson, The 10p Mixes, MJ Hibbett, The Deirdres - The Red House

Dear UK Indiepop scenesters,

I must apologise for my non-attendance at the Indietracks Christmas Twee show. It was Saturday morning, I was doing my Christmas shopping at Brent Cross when I got a call from a friend formerly of Glasgow about possibly going to the cinema that night and well, it was preferable to a long trek to Nottinghamshire, Derby and random isolated railway stations.

We saw American Gangster, a long and engaging Ridley Scott movie. I feel there is some degree of fuckwittery in our friendship, her place is miles away on the other side of town and mine is a shithole at the moment. So whilst we get on really well and are fond of each other, it was just a pleasant evening out and drive home to opposite ends of the Northern Circular, followed by hours on wikipedia reading up on Frank Lucas, Senator Charlie Wilson and Star Trek.

So it led me to today's quick drive up the M1 to Sheffield. Whatever I'd missed at Indietracks was in a shadowy corner of my mind for before I left home I'd had a quick blast of YouPorn, some retro lesbian skit.

My car radio was bust, so for company on my way north I just had dark thoughts and memories of girls who'd fucked me over in the past. The familiar teen soap storyline of close friendships and fun times slowly leaning towards something more intimate when cometh the revelation that there's someone else, bad, mad, on the internet and less able to be introduced to parents and I'm cast out. Variations on the theme, usually with some degree of knife-twisting, despite buggery and brutalisation, its still deeply unsatisfying.

When I got to Sheffield, I was furious. Fire in my veins.

It was dark and wet, the rain in this city unrelenting as I had my weekly parental phone call. Mother concerned I hadn't eaten all day, convinced me to get fruit, veg, meat and all other food groups from a nearby supermarket.

And so it was, snacking on dried berries from Tescos that I stumble to the venue, The Red House, spotting MJ Hibbett helping a Validator unload outside. I've developed an uncanny ability to see him at gigs far away from the city in which I live, such as London/Glasgow and Sheffield/London.

Tonight Pete Green is promoting his first gig, they're still sound checking, but the turnout is already better than half a dozen gigs I've put on. CrystalBall is here, I engage in conversation. The girl who goes to even more Hibbett gigs than me is here. No sign of Indietracks survivors yet. I hope they're okay, whoever they are.

Sound checking first are The Deirdres, the mob who I missed at The Windmill a month ago. They look like they have an average age of 12, std dev 0.5 and make me wish that my own teenage band, Shouting Ralf, had made it out of Pnosni's garage back in '96. Their drummer even looks like Chris Stageman.

So this pub, The Red House, is pretty nifty. I've discovered four rooms so far, the gig room, the dark snug room, the quiet well-lit room where I write and the outside smoking bit, its kind of like The Crystal Maze with the d├ęcor.

MJ Hibbett and the Validator soundchecked a lot quicker, two swift run throughs of Mental Judo, from their 2006 album We Validate, particularly significant to this blog's conceit in that the first verse refers to a conversation MJ Hibbett had with Big Duncan from The Hector Collectors at a gig in Edinburgh, the album version includes a sample of Iain Smith introducing The Hectors, recorded live by Adam Smith.

First act to start proper was Nat Johnson from Monkey Swallows Universe, just on her own centre-stage, with a guitar and a tape loop pedal, surrounded by what could be close to a capacity crowd.
Nat Johnson

Whilst girl with guitar has been done to death thanks to Sandi Thom and her cohort and girl with tape loop pedal has cathedrals devoted to its cause, Nat Johnson's Chrissie Hynde-style vocals bring a much needed freshness to the genre. Gentle and Tender when admonishing folk in the crowd for burping and the realistic acceptance of songs which don't end properly are strangely reassuring.

Only a short set, which I liked.
The 10p Mixes 03

The 10p Mixes on second, some tall perminator twat who manages to stand right in front of me twice in a minute. I'd heard good things online about the 'Mixes. Just a two-piece boy girl singing, guitar and a keyboard for solos. They started off pretty jolly, indiepop at it sparkly grass-roots, but their half-remembered cover of Johnny Cash's Jackson let them down, then the rest of the set veered between amateur musical requiem numbers and more half-remembered stuff. The sounds was a bit weedy too.
MJ Hibbett and the Validators 01

I sentence them to another six months rehearsing in a bedroom.

The mighty Hibbett takes to the stage next, a warm and raucous set, which is definitely in my Top Five Hibbett sets. Folk singing along and dancing all the way through, a secret plan to get this mob as the support for some major league band's stadium tour, to introduce them to a loving new audience.

The final act of the night were the aforementioned Deirdres. They were fab. There's about seven of them, all young and happy and smiley, maye a touch nervous, who knows. Some mad cross between The Loves, Motown, The Polyphonic Spree and the Go Team! All handwaving and shouting and folk having fun.
Pete Green
Dramatic interludes involving spilled drinks at the front of the stage and the barman performing a mop solo to clear it up.
The Deirdres 03
Have you ever noticed how these reviews kind of trail off as the night wears on, and I get bored of scribbling, or maybe after the last band I'm more concerned with getting home than considering my opinion of the band.
The Deirdres 04
170 miles in silence, save singing along to the songs in my head.
The Deirdres 08

Reviews
here

The Icicles, Stars of Aviation - The Windmill

Stars of Aviation 02

The Icicles 01

The Icicles 03