Sunday 24 August 2008

LNFGIES - August podcast

Its rare that I do podcasts on this here blog, maybe I should more often.

So here's a wee downloady thing of the music from the bands who I've seen this month

The Smittens - Sapphire
Ballboy - Donald in the bushes with a bag of glue
Pete Green - Best British band supported by Shockwaves
The Gresham Flyers - Student nurse
Wintergreen - Are our future
The Hermit Crabs - Feelgood Factor
The Deirdres - Claire are we safe
Secret Shine - Whats to come
Brontosaurus Chorus - The myth of love
Town Bike - Bad Girls
Pocketbooks - Don't stop
Half Tiger - Natalie now
The Kabeedies - Palindromes

Pocketbooks, The Late Greats, Half Tiger, The Kabeedies - 333MotherBar

The Late Greats

Half Tiger

The Kabeedies

The Abnomalies, Town Bike, Brontosaurus Chorus, Keith TOTP and The Minor UK Indie Celebrity All Star Backing Band - 229

The Abnomalies

Town Bike

Brontosaurus Chorus

Keith TOTP and The Minor UK Indie Celebrity All Star Backing Band

Thursday 14 August 2008

Lost Music: Air Formation, Secret Shine - The Grammaphone

At the Grammaphone, scribbling, Air Formation have just been onstage. Earlier in the day I read this American Elf strip, "When I think of things, I can see them in my mind"
So, on stage, its warm fuzzy shoegazery goodness, murmured vocals, early Boo Radleys, shards of Whipping Boy, Ballboy and Jesus and Mary Chain Boy. Brief ropey periods, finishing on a head lowered, backs to the crowd wig-out.

But in my mind I drift backwards, first to the pub a few hours ago, friends off of the internet, some I'd met before and some I only knew from website linkery. The music took me further back, to '93, to the playing fields in Walkden, playing soccer in scouts in the summertime. Grey darkening skies, deep green grass, friends or cellmates, innocent and long ago. Aye, that's what Air Foundation sound like.

I'd gotten lost on my way to the venue and by the time I arrived, I'd missed the first two bands.

Folk said they were less shoegazery and more shouty, but there was a mixed view on whether they were any good or not.

Final band of the night, Secret Shine, five folk on stage, singing synth girl, singing guitar chap. Less reverb and sustain than Air Formation, more distinct vocals.
Other folk there had seen them before, some many years ago, Secret Shine being an old Sarah Records band, but for me, it was my first time, no preconceptions.

There was an element of shimmering majesty, something epic from the past, shards of the shoe' and twee, but not enough to engage me.

Saturday 2 August 2008

The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut, The Deirdres, The Smittens - The Rescue Rooms

Crikey, the sound in here is great. The wee promoter girl was hyping it before, and I admit I was sceptical, but she was right, The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut are on stage and they sound awesome.
Stadium Pete Green. The songs re-arranged for the whole band rather than just solo stuff with a band accompanying. Everything I Do Is Going To Be Sparkly, Dr Beeching, Monday Morning, they all sound so cohesive now, so big it fills the room. There's only a few of us who can hear the lonely ghost of solo troubadour Pete behind the songs.

This site has been following Pete Green's progress from floppy hair popster, to frontman with the mighty 'Juggernaut beside him, right there on the cusp of world domination now. If only the NME don't take offence at Best British Band Supported By Shockwaves.

Actually I keep meaning to say, whilst its a fine sentiment behind his song Hey Dr Beeching, the sort of paradoxes that would arise from what he proposes are seriously bad. If Stephen Moffat ever hears of it there'll be an interesting bank holiday special next year.

He does a wonderful speech before the final song, The Day of the Popshow, about how Indietracks doesn't have to end, you don't have to be at a train museum in the Midland, you just have to go to shows, start a fanzine, start a band and do it. There was barely a dry eye in the place.

Next up in this post-Indietracks popfest are The Deirdres, as utterly shambolic as always, bristling with their youthful energy and occasionally songs they haven't rehearsed for months.
Sophie's magic sentient feedback guitar and the chap who was forever runnig round the stage finding neglected instruments to play before running back to a microphone, any microphone to sing his next line.

The drums were a bit too loud this evening, and there were other bits of the mix that needed tweaking. Luckily the folks in the crowd still had the sound from Indietracks in there ears, The Deirdres can do no wrong. The was crowd surfing, there was reaching to touch Russell, and it was quite spectacular when Sophie actually took a run up and launched herself into the mosh pit.

Its the final night of The Smittens' UK tour, there's a little sadness in the air. As they point out, many folk in the crowd have followed them around for the past two weeks.

Crikey, I think I've seen Colin and Dana play seven times since they got here. Am I going to miss them or just back to business as usual? The Smittens were my summer holiday.
These songs I'd never heard before, now so familiar, 100 Roses, Gumdrops, the one where they try to get the audience to pretend to be bumblebees, Stop the Bombs, with the Pocketbooks, those dudes are crooks lyric, made me squeee a little.

There were hip hop bass noises coming from the club upstairs that only Dana could here at first then the rest of us, but it didn't distract from the stream of magic on stage, the instrument swapping and the joy.
I think Sapphire ought to sound a little more like Belle and Sebastian's Sleeping the Clock Around.

They finished with Gentlefication Now! (The La La La Song), a fabulous one for singing along to. But even afterwards, when the rest of the band were packing up, Colin was still playing some song about Justin Timberlake that he didn't know the words to, just for some guys in the audience.
It was a long drive home from Nottingham back to London, my ipod on shuffle, Sapphire comes on, and smiled a little.

Indietracks review round-up

Crikey, according to the stage times thing there were 67 bands scheduled to play, but with folk playing the Twist and Spout and on the platform I reckon 80 is closer to the mark.

In the past couple of days I've written 29 reviewy things, but someof them were a bit half hearted - sorry.

Luckily other folk on the internet were there and have posted reviews online...

Sweeping the Nation - Comprehensive review of Saturday
Indie-MP3 - Says the vibe from last year remained intact
George the 23rd's Journal - Didn't like the food
Rhythm_isa_mre - Saw too many bands to remember
eFestivals - Not so many bands but lots of sunshine
This is Nottingham - Thought the Church was rather warm
Ripley and Heanor News - Interviews a couple of the organisers
Sweeping the Nation - Manages to cover a lot of Sunday's bands that I missed
Chance of Sunny Spells - Rather fine array of photies from Saturday
Chance of Sunny Spells - Campsite festivities and photies from Sunday
Hey Hey Honeypop! - Dancing lots on Saturday
Hey Hey Honeypop! - Marvelling at Colin Clary's hips
Anorak - There's a whole thread of memories and photies
Kiss me, I've Quit Smoking - Missed a couple of bands on Saturday
Kiss me, I've Quit Smoking - But pulled it back on Sunday
Drowned In Sound - Their post-Indietracks thread
John Marshall - Some cracking photies from the chap who seemed to be everywhere
John Marshall - Thrills and spills on Sunday
Ready Art Brut - Doesn't get on well with sunshine
Ready Art Brut - Not a fan of Anorak either
Kitten Painting - Some fine photies too
Indie MP3 - Quick rundown of the Friday night
Indietracks photie pools
on Facebook
on flickr
IndieHorse's photies

Will add more as I find them

Friday 1 August 2008

Ballboy, The Smittens, Pocketbooks - The Luminaire

Its warm, warm, warm and the word on the net is that the show is sold out except for a few tickets on the door, so come early. I came an hour early, and that's how I got in. Also returned Andy Pocketbooks's capo that had been left on a train platform in the Midlands on Sunday night.

Inside, its almost like Indietracks is still going on, the same faces in the crowd, the same bands on stage, the same feelings of excitement. How long can this feeling last?

Pocketbooks are up first. My companion says they sound like a young version of Belle and Sebastian, but more upbeat.

The new songs that I wasn't sure about last week, they haven't grown on me yet. Like, their earlier stuff is packed with hooks and melody, sometimes even motifs from motown, but I think the new songs, are a little more about the tune and the texture. I'm going to have to hear them recorded so my interpretation isn't jaundiced by standing in the part of the room where the sound is pants.

My companion who hadn't heard them before thought they were nice, and liked the sound of Andy's voice.

The folk at the front of the crowd were dancing like it was still Saturday afternoon.

The Smittens on next, crikey, its like the sixth time I've seen some of them play in the past week, if I were still in the boy scouts I could get The Smitten merit badge.

We retire to seats at the back to watch them on the screens.

I think I prefered seeing them play in a club rather than at a festival, it feels more comfortable, not so much more intimate, cos you can't beat acoustic sets on train platforms, even with a stick.

They start off with an acappella number before bursting in with all instruments ablazing.

The between-song banter and introductions are the icing on the cheesecake.
"Can I have more vocals in my monitor?"
"Can I have more AC in my monitor?"
"Ooh, I can I have more sleep in mine?"
And whole shared experience of most people in the room, or at least the more vocal one, having been at Indietracks. Heck, Colin was even talking about how he'd checked Anorak and needed to point out that it was Elizabeth from Allo Darlin' who suggested playing on the platform.

I think my companion liked the Smittens the best and the song they did that was like from the Grease soundtrack.

Ooh, ooh, if I ever get together a rockabilly covers band, possibly called The Southside Wolfknuckles, we gotta do a garage cover of Gumdrops, F-C-G-Am innit?

Between bands, there's this flyer for other bands playing The Luminaire, the girls asks me if I could recommend any of them, but none of the names look familar. Except Alastair Roberts, he sat behind me in Russian class in Glasgow. How is it that the world works like that?

For the final act of the night, the sweat is dripping off the walls, it like The Woodside Social Club all over again when Ballboy hit the stage.

Ballboy's been kicking about for years, playing much the same songs too. They're great songs, "I've got pictures of you in your underwear" and "Donald in the Bushes with a Bag of Glue" and he's still coming up with the goods "Godzilla Vs The Island of Manhattan with you and I somewhere inbetween". But when I think about songs like Avante Guard, and Gordon MacIntyre's introduction to it, I can't help but think of the long running comic strip in the Khaki Shorts comic, about a chap called Gordon MacIntyre and the tribulations of his relationship with a girl who works in a record shop in Edinburgh.

The crowd are loving them tonight. The music wraps round you and carries you a small boat on a turbulant sea, the vocals a stready reassuring rudder.

The banter about how they smile at each other on stage now, so folk don't think they're just Scottish miserabilists. Its a lesson they've learnt from the days of touring with The Smittens. I can't help but feel that its a little bit like selling out. They are Scottish miserabilists, upholding a fine tradition of that type, by smiling, they're betraying themselves, pandering to the needs of the audience rather than wearing their own feelings as a badge.

Maybe we all do eventually.

The Bobby McGees - Indietracks

Church stage is HOT
probably because
of Bobby McGees

Jesters costume, balloons, sweets, party poppers, swearing, kids dancing.
Indietracks125 - The Bobby McGees
"They were amazing", the place was packed with folk from other bands, Jimmy McGee is like a god to them, a baldy hairy god.

If there were a fight between the Just Joans and The Smittens, money's on The Smittens to win, but if it were The Smittens against The Bobby McGees, Jimmy could have them all with one hand behind his back. Just speculating, mind.

Regular readers of this blog will know I've seen them a couple of times. They are quiet a show, an act, a performance. The songs are sweet, and tick all the right boxes, for twee and angst, surreal, day dreaming and audience participation. Jimmy had us all making butterflies with our hand "C'mon, its no Hoxton" and spelling out L-O-V-E. And it was the best I've seen them play, with the audience in the palm of their hands.

Other photies
Favourite Dress
BMX Rejects
Miss E Kawasaki
Sunshine Pop
Hayley Hawley
Liz Love

Little My - Indietracks

Little My playing rather unexpectedly in the Twist and Spout tent. I was at the back eating carrot cake, the icing had gone a bit funny in the heat I think, rather than fluffy and creamy, the sugar seemed to have melted so it looked my like a lumpy glaze, but the cakey carrot goodness was still there.

For a few moments I couldn't see the cute Little My bass player girl, then noticed she was sat at the front playing glokenspiel. No animal costumes this time. There was about twelve people on stage, with a fine selection of acoustic instruments and VL Tone culled from other bands, Brontosaurus Chorus, The Just Joans, et al.
Indietracks105 - Little My
Its a rather jolly racket they're making, with the usual guitar turned down and the vocals louder in the tent, I though it was a little improvement on when they played the Twee As Fuck alldayer the other week.

Ooh, hang on, most of Silence the Sea are in Little My too, now I understand the collective thing. Thats neat.

Other photies
Liz Love

The Smittens - Indietracks

There are clouds overhead, a welcome relief from the scorching sunshine of earlier in the day, and The Smittens are on the Outdoor Stage.
Indietracks098 - The Smittens
Its like the first time I've actually seen The Smittens with the full lineup. Holly Smitten on drums, shy Smitten on bass, then this tall chap on keyboards and vocals, he's got this really deep voice, at first I thought he was from Flight of the Concords, but it turns out he's from American Elf. Then there's Dana on guitar, vocals and wee wooden snappery things wearing a blue and white striped jumper. Colin's at the end with his guitar, all wide-eyed and trying to decided whether to wear the hat or not.

Its a warm day, the hat looks good, but it's just not feasible.

There's a huge crowd of folk to see the Smittens, they were popular before, but the week of touring the UK before Indietracks and being like a live action version of Sesame Street has whipped the fans into a frenzy.

Here, watch this video, you'll see what I mean.

Anyhoo, they're on stage, and they're on fire, catching the whole vibe of the festival, well for me anyway, I can't speak for the legions of Wedding Present and Los Campesinos fans. But you know, the friendly vibe of five people up on stage doing what they love the best with enthusiasm, energy and gusto.

Max the deep voiced guy, this was the first time I'd seen him play, and his really deep voice makes me smile, almost comedy.

Other photies
Bob Underexposed
Favourite Dress
Enid Coleslaw
BMX Rejects
Trev Lost
Liz Love
Sweeping the Nation 08
Will Erskine