Scottish Sea Power - A Whale Of A Time! Posted by 1 October 2010 in British Sea Power on
On the same day BSP launched Zeus, a free download from their new EP, I was lucky enough to go on a field trip with them on the start of their 30 day tour. It was to begin in the Western Isles of Scotland.
After a breathtaking journey, taking in some classic Scottish treats like
Loch Ness and Ben Nevis, I met the band in a pub in Oban. There were plenty of laughs as we sampled local whiskeys and discussed a fantasy film of BSP where the manager would be played by Daniel Craig and Phil (keyboards / cornet / guitar) would be played by Johnny Depp – we didn’t get much further. A burly local in an AC/DC shirt lurched over hollering “are yoo Carl MacCulley’s daughter?!” at my friend, then lunged at me going “and whooo the fuck are yoo?’ in the thickest Scottish accent resulting in some uncontrollable fear laughing! Yan (singer / guitar) said he was just being friendly so we palmed him off on Paul the tour manager who’s also massive AC/DC fan.
The next day our first voyage on the high seas was to begin. We set sail for the island of Mull then hopped on board the second ferry of the day for a sea safari!
After a safety speech and presentation on the possible wildlife sightings such as whales, dolphins, sunfish and great skuas, we were out firmly out to sea.
It was a gorgeous day but freezing on deck. It was also pretty choppy and within the first hour I toppled and head butted Hamilton (vocals / bass / guitar) who’d been sitting quietly with Abi (viola / keyboards) taking in the view. I think he probably saved me from landing in the Atlantic though.
A second wobbly incident followed when our sound recorder went flying overboard! Everyone looked on in horror as we’d been aiming to make a documentary about our unique band and their special trip to the Inner Hebrides and now it looked like some serious overdubbing and subtitles would be needed or the doc might be scrapped completely.
As if by magic though, someone from a group of BSP’s friends, (who we later named The Gang Of All That Is Good), produced a recorder out of his bag! He even trusted us with borrowing it for the duration of the trip after what he’d just witnessed as well as forgo any tapings of his own found sounds and musical inspirations from his own trip.
Whilst the Director of Cinematography was ready to keel haul our slippery fingered friend who was sitting on the naughty step mortified, a second diamond in the gang produced this lovely cartoon to cheer her up.
I was then charged with boom duties but staring at the band rather than the surroundings made me feel seasick! But whatd’yaknow, No.3 from The Gang Of All That Is Good produced a hip flask of whiskey to ease the nausea and I’m back on track – so much so we end up seeing porpoises, seals and a sea eagle!
After about 5 hours at sea we get back to Tobermory
where there’s gonna be a BSP gig in a 60 capacity arts centre, with an honesty bar!
It’s firmly in my Top 5 Best BSP shows ever. They played 2 new songs including the beautiful, beautiful “Bear” from the new EP. Abi’s singing was as gorgeous as her super cute sailor suit onesie!
As ever, Noble (axe man) was getting twitchy on the stage and headed for the crowd. After starting with a shoulder stand whilst still playing his guitar, he then went berserk, knocking over a punter and nearly glassing him with his own glass of wine (all beer had been drunk dry earlier in the evening!). The crowd was mainly bemused locals but luckily this guy was donning one of the famous Heron Addict T shirts so maybe he’d half been expecting it but maybe not…. Handstands, wheel barrows and twirling headstands a kin to break dancing were the culmination of the show.
A glance back in to the room as we left saw just one crushed beer can – as if nothing had ever taken place – but actually BSP had just rocked Tobermory to it’s inner core.
After show activities involved ping pong with poppadoms, some bizarre Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee role playing, an all night bagpipe party and being lost down dark lanes looking for our B&Bs.
Day 3 incorporated another amazing drive and yet another ferry that took us to the Island of Eigg, host to the 150 capacity Away Game Festival and home of 84 inhabitants!
Greeted by the organisers, Sarah and Johnny, with reports of the previous night’s activities ending at 7am that morning, we were taken to our digs and fed a hearty meal. Sarah’s dad gave us lifts across the island (it was an hours walk to where the band’s played) and gave us as much local info as our minds could absorb.
The scenery was some of the most beautiful you could imagine – mountains, beaches, clear waters and the flora and fauna was magical!
The show was chaotic but another blinder. Johnny from Fence / Silver Columns was invited on stage to play tambourine for “Lights Out For Darker Skies” and was grinning like a kid in a sweet shop at being an honoury member of the band. Noble cranked his energy up to eleven by doing some vigorous star jumps, then leapt in to crowd and climbed the flimsy wooden pole holding the tent up.
Once back down he selected a member of the audience with his feral eyes and swung her around windmill fashion letting her go at the height of dizziness and utterly bemused whilst she crashed in the crowd herself.
Luckily Eigg is self policed and the people are the security and no one got hurt.
Sunday was spent walking and relaxing on the beach, more whiskey, more filming and another home cooked dinner.
Monday was for heading home and I was to part ways in Inverness but I just couldn’t do it. I was having too much of a good time so Geoff Travis gave me his blessing to stay on. After a radio session at Moray Firth we headed to the Iron Works for a ‘normal’ BSP show. I manned the merch stand for a bit to earn my keep and did a bit of a Mary Queen Of Shops to the display. We sold British Tea Power Tea and Zeus beer amongst other things.
After the show, Woody (drums) showed us the artwork he’d done for the new album and it’s totally mint! He, Noble and Phil stayed up for a few more wee goodbye drams and tales of BSP’s Top 5 naughtiest moments for a forthcoming Drowned In Sound feature. Broken but still smiling, I got back to the Rough Trade office to find we’d been flooded! The goddess of indie decreed everyone at Rough Trade should experience a bit of water that weekend but I’d been the lucky one – consequently I offered another flexi at her altar!
The Strange Boys au Midi Festival, France Posted by 28 September 2010 in Strange Boys on
Dylan plays 100 Club Posted by 20 September 2010 in blog on
Right now Dylan is on a plane home for some much needed kip. It’s safe to say a good time’s been had; he leaves on first name terms with many a London whiskey barman, and not so good terms with Stone Henge’s security guards. There have been songs sung on the counter at Rough Trade West and on the desks in the basement of our office, but hands down the most special of his shows took place at Soho’s 100 Club on Wednesday night. Here he is pre-set with his bandmates from Nashville and Muscle Shoals. Checks were a strong...
As a Somerset lass I’ve been going to Glastonbury since I was one of those
babies you see bobbing along in neon mini builders’ headphones (FYI
they barely block out the ice cream van tune let alone the main
stage. I now suffer from mild tinnitus – thanks mum and dad) whose
pram you have to strategically clamber over every time you want to
move a row back in the Pyramid crowd. I’ve been bred on pints of cider
made from actual apples rather than ones which make you feel as though
you’re supping watered-down golden syrup, wandered straight...
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros Go Viral! Posted by 28 July 2010 in Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros on
Two men, Blake and Mike, recently walked across America from New York to San Francisco, they compiled this inspiring video using photos that they took along the way and the song Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros as the soundtrack:
Check out this google map of the route they took.
British Sea Power's Norway Diary Posted by 15 July 2010 in British Sea Power on
British Sea Power: We’ve just got back from the Træna Music festival and have had an amazing time.
After almost 2 days of travel, flying over fjords and snowy peaks, and sailing on a boat for 3 hours, we saw the islands and peaks of Traena rising out of the sea like Norse Gods.
Træna is really close to the Arctic Circle, and it remains light for 24 hours this time of year, though the sun sets for an hour or 2.
Throw an Nordlands beer into the equation and it’s very disorientating.
Taxi service to the church was a tiny boat...
Watch: Jim James' Cameo in The Roots new video Posted by 22 June 2010 in My Morning Jacket on
Our Man On The Ground: Mr Jones' SXSW Blog Posted by 24 March 2010 in blog on
Tuesday – DAY 1:
Land in the evening have a quick drink with the lovely folks of Beggars
then cab off to see the garage rock of the Ooh Sees and the mighty Strange Boys playing at the Scoot Inn venue.
Wednesday – DAY 2:
Following morning hit Mohawk as i want to see Toro Y Moi as he is first on and has released an interesting album “Causers of This”, bolt down the road to see Tobacco and an impressive Bear in Heaven who play over driving rhythms. Saw Small Black and Washed Out back at Mohawks.
This evening we have the Rough Trade 2010 showcase!
Geoff Travis DJ’s first.
The Strange Boys who are sounding more like Bob Dylan / Exile On Mainstreet meets Fun House Stooges due to the addition of Jenna E. Thornhill deWitt on Sax and vocals,and lead guitarist Ryan’s vocal drawl. I love them.
The beguiling Unthanks and folk power of Basia Bulat follow and make a great impression and variation to the bill.
I’m next up on the decks and get to play Nutbush City Limits before being turned down as the soundman needs to do a line-check.
Next onstage is our latest signing Dylan LeBlanc a 19 year old long haired kid from Shreveport Louisana who draws inspiration from American artists such as Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young and Willis Alan Ramsey we are very excited about him and he plays mighty fine.
Another Rough Trade DJ gets on the decks could be Scott, Steve or Scouse Ruth try to play over the line checks.
LA all girl four piece Warpaint next on and blow me away, last time i saw them at CMJ they were good but with the addition of Stella on drums they have become a unique entity sometimes sounding like Dirty Projectors with Cure flanged guitars – quite mesmerising.
Finally Morning Benders come on to end the night playing a most moving and melodic set overcoming some technical electric gremlins, and showing what a great record their Big Echo album is.
Have drinks with Dylan LeBlanc’s band who have a keen interest in Tennessee Whisky and the Warpaint girls afterwards…they rock.
Thursday – Day Two:
Cab up to Urban Outfitters North of City to see Toro Y Moi then walk down to French Legation see Dylan LeBlanc play in the glorious sunshine, here is a clip from my iphone:
I then do a meet and greet at the Indie Center in the heart of the Convention Center.
Went out to an Ethiopian Restaurant’s backyard called Karibou to witness the R&B band Fergus and Geronimo play although they are fighting some sound problems then took a punt by going well out of town to a place up north called the Spider Cafe to see Moon Duo play at 12amish.
They feature Ripley from Wooden Shjips and make some great Spaceman 3 meets Suicide music.
Friday – Day 3:
It ended up being a late one last night and hence peeved off when my roomate wakes me up early just because she wanted to. I sulk for a bit then go to see Active Child and Twin Sister play at Mohawke then over to the Tiniest Bar in TX with Scouse Ruth (work colleague and sometimes mate) to see Young Buffalo in the sunshine, walked over see Warpaint storm the Dickies party over otherside of town, hung out with them while watching Broken Bells and Surfer Blood, ended up in rickshaw race with them over to a late late bar called Crack Village with some sergeant major bouncer with a chip on his shoulder my wristband was stuck together with chewing gum and they were checking them thoroughly somehow i got in…
Saturday – Day 4:
Winter arrives! This is not good as i spend a lot of the day watching bands in car park lots, I watch the poptastico sounds of Diamond Rings get blown around in the freezing wind with my mate Sam from 4AD.
Spend the rest of the day/evening in Beerland where i bump into Bim from Dylan’s band talk the merits of US vs Uk humour over drinks and get to watch Sonny and the Sunsets (a good Jonathan Richman) sounding act and The Baths (Very unique sounding 4 piece from San Fran) remaining part of night gets messy hooking up with Warpaint and quite a large crew in the Driskell then ending up at some wharehose party with a band that are copying a band called Foals onstage. Retire to bed around 5am.
Sunday – Day 5
Check out and eventually board a once flooded after they vacuumed it all up airplane homeward bound to England.
Cheers to Scouse Ruth for buying me drinks and food
To Succeed In Music... Posted by 30 September 2009 in blog on
When Rough Trade garage rock fave The Strange Boys came over here last month for their blistering UK tour, we of course hung out with the boys.
It’s interesting talking to a band about influences and all that into the night,
and as we did they got me into the late great fellow Texan…Townes Van Zandt.
Check out the TVZ documentary Be Here To Love Me to see why some people said that he was the greatest songwriter in the world here is a clip where Townes explains what a musician should do if he wants to suceed:
I Gotta Feeling... Posted by 29 September 2009 in blog on
I’d like to encourage more flash mobs and group dance routines at Rough Trade gigs please….
Doing It For The Kids Posted by 25 September 2009 in blog on
Twee DIY virtuoso Dallas Clayton recently unearthed this sweet little ditty that features Binki Shapiro from Little Joy, Jason Boesel of Rilo Kiley and The Mystic Valley Band and more. The song was inspired in part by Dr. Seuss‘ “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?”. Dallas writes of the collaboration:
“A few years ago I was putting together a small kids album for my son and I asked a bunch of my friends to record some songs. As tends to happen I got about half way through before being taken away by more pressing projects. The other day I unearthed this track, which I thought might be nice to share with the world…
Run To You Posted by 15 May 2009 in blog on
Bryan Adams, ‘Run to You’, now there’s a tune. It never made the top 10 in the UK and was nominated for 5 MTV awards… but didn’t win ANY. That’s two travesties we’ve not quite been able to get over here and that’s why we were so chuffed with the news that the Hold Steady will be performing a homage to it this Monday on Radio One in collaboration with ex Arab Strap member Malcolm Middleton. You can listen live online or again online here.
There’s also a few chances left for those of you...
Where's Micachu's Guitar From? Posted by on 29 April 2009 in blog
Probably this guy…
You can listen to Mr Vickroid’s music and purchase your very own amplified cigar box
Where Did Frank Zappa Come From? Posted by on 29 April 2009 in blog
I had always kind of assumed that he fell to Earth one day, but no, he had had a ‘normal’ home back in the 70’s, when purple was certainly a lot more purple. The Crosby family (the other one) it appears opted for a more neutral colour scheme, here’s David with his father Floyd in 1970:
And lastly, Elton’s mother’s boots:
The Reel Jimi Hendrix Posted by on 28 April 2009 in blog
When Rough Trade recently released a Cassette compilation called C09 to mark Record Store Day a lot of people’s reaction was ‘what the hell am I meant to do with a tape?’. Well, apart from listen to it and treasure it always, you could do as one inventive young lady has and make some incredible art with it.
The artist goes under the name of Iri5 and she specialises in using non traditional media such as old books, audio cassettes, playing cards, magazines, credit cards, basically whatever she can find. These images come from her...
Youtube Remixed Posted by on 17 March 2009 in blog
Rather brilliantly an Israli producer named Kutiman has sifted though youtube and sampled video clips of people playing instruments, and then mixed them all into the following impressive little ditty…
Rough Trade Counter Culture Playlist: 12th March Posted by on 16 March 2009 in blog
Jean Pierre Massiera – Visitors ‘Visitors’ – Compilation CD (Finders Keepers)
Funky B Movie music from ‘The French Joe Meek’. If you cant handle the 9 headed monsters and zombie dogs then try some of the later disco work.
Douglas Wood – ‘Folk Ghost’ – G-Spots Compilation CD (Trunk)
Belbury Poly – ‘The All At Once Club’ – ‘From An Ancient Star’ CD (Ghostbox) Unsettling soundtrack from the co owner of Ghostbox that brings to mind Raymond Scott and the 60’s / 70’s holy BBC Radiophionc Workshop trinity of Derbyshire,...