Muso-bable
The thoughts and ocassional ramblings of a 30-something muso.
Hello, I’m a muso. I'm one of those guys you see digging around the racks of vinyl in London's backstreet record shops. I'm not addicted, I can give it up whenever I want. I just need to find that limited edition 7" single that the NME made single of the week. Maybe you've bumped into me in the queue for the bar at The Academy or The Astoria. There are thousands of us in London - I've seen all the regular faces in the record shops and at the gigs.

This blog is my attempt to write about the records that I love, the gigs I've been to and, well, anything else to do with music. Hopefully you'll find something here that makes you nod in agreement or rant in disagreement or maybe even laugh.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
 
Liam Frost
After writing my review last night I went to Liam's website and downloaded the three free tracks, and I've been listening to them all day.

And I'm pleased to report that he's actually rather good, remanisant of Elliot Smith. But don't take my word for it, me go and download the tracks now and make up yor own mind.

Tonight we're off to see Battle, but I can't promise a review until after the weekend because we're off to Paris.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005
 
Liam Frost/ Hush/ Stephen Fretwell, Kings College London
Last night we went to see Stephen Fretwell play a small gig with support from Liam frost and a two-piece called Hush.

But first a little history. Badly Drawn Boy has a lot to answer for. He was the first manc singer songwritter to shamble onto stage with an acoustic guitar and then all of a sudden they seemed to multiply like mould on a shower curtain. Liam Frost and Stephen Fretwell are the latest in a long line of earnest Mancunian singer songwriters to appear on our radar (or if we’re going to continue with the mould analogy – the latest to appear on the shower curtain).

Liam Frost was actually pretty good. We arrived just after he started his set and he kept us entertained for half an hour with stories of lost loves and a patter with the audience. Definitely worth investigating a little further (And his little web page is nice and personal)

In comparison Hush are awful. An awful Hoxton Chancer, Dave Stewart look-a-like playing guitar and a girl warbling faux Country in a mid Atlantic accent (I thought at the time she may have been from Scotland but have since found that she is from Denmark; she want’s to be Tammy Wynette so badly that's for sure). They made my teeth itch – that’s how bad they were; and my palms are still red from having my finger nails dug into them. Anyway they played a session for Janice Long on the radio yesterday and you can probably hear how bad they are (for the next week or so) on her home page.

We saw some of Stephen Fretwell’s set at V festival and were least than impressed. I guess we weren’t in the right mood or he wasn’t into the festival because I remember thinking – oh god no, we’ve booked tickets to see this guy.

So we were actually pretty impressed with his set – half of which he banged out on his own with an acoustic guitar and half of which he plays with a full band. Some of the songs are quite Ryan Adams like – country tinged blues, and some of the stuff with the band sounded like Coldplay. We left the venue (which is actually a pretty good venue, very intimate) thinking about going out and investing in the album. There is no higher praise.

By-the-way, Hoxton Chancer is a great name for a band, so I’m looking for a drummer and a guitarist to join me in this new venture. Any takers?

 
See Tickets/SMS where are my tickets (yes again!)

Yes another rant about See Tickets and Special Mail Services. Every time. EVERY TIME. Every time we have to deal with SMS it’s a stress and we have to rearrange deliveries etc.

The recent saga is as follows.  They tried to deliver some tickets to us last week and unsurprisingly we were at work.  They followed up with a letter and several text messages (all in the same day) to prompt me to arrange redelivery.

I was working from home on Monday and so I called them up on Saturday to try and arrange a delivery. No such luck – all of their ‘delivery slots’ were full.  Imagine the post office telling you this “Nah, sorry mate, can’t deliver your post today we’ve not got anymore space”.  OK, so our dyslexic postie may not get the right address more than 60% of the time, but at least he’ll have a go and try to deliver it.

And so we decided to have the tickets delivered to Annie at work, which has actually been reasonably stress free (considering the whole see/SMS service level).  Previous deliveries have been made before 9:30, so we were a little worried today when 4 o’clock rolled round and there was no sign of the greasy biker. In the 10 minutes that followed someone tried to deliver tickets to me, was told I didn’t work there and had pissed off.  A call to the SMS call centre indicated that the tickets should have been delivered to Annie.  So a right royal fuck up and we’ll have to get them redelivered another day, except we’re on holiday Friday so it’ll be next week before they can try again.

It’s an absolute bloody shambles and I can’t see it getting better.  See tickets are the biggest online ticket broker so it’s not as if we have a choice and they refuse to give us, the customers, the right to choose how and where we want the tickets delivered.

Thursday, September 22, 2005
 
Pete Doherty, you're a dirty boy
Channel 4 news showed coverage of the latest discusting Pete incedent this evening. Forget the drugs; forget the fighting - this time he was caught spitting at the press after a fracas outside a venue in Carlisle (yes, he actually turned up to play a gig). What a dirty bastard.

I know he's under constant press pressure what with the hole Cocaine Kate saga, but really, spitting is just the thin end of the wedge. What's worse, one of his filthy little hangers on did the same thing, because you know, if Pete does it then it's cool and the thing to do. Muppet.

You can download the report here (the Pete bit is the last 5 seconds).

 
NME relaunch
In the last week the print edition and online editions of the NME have had a bit of a facelift and a relaunch.

The print edition doesn't look too bad, with clearer news and reciews sections, but I'm pretty sure it's only 6 months since the last rebranding.

The online edition, NME.com, appears to be harder to use than the old site. The news page is now hard to read and obscured by adverts; the pictures take forever to load; there's still no RSS feed and as far as I can see there is no way to access an archive of articles that have appeared in the print edition. V poor indeed.

Monday, September 19, 2005
 
Bugger!
Last week I entered a competition to win tickets for the launch party for the new Xtreme radio station. I didn't hear anythingf so I thought I'd missed out.

I've just been going through my junk mail and I found this email:


Well tie me up and call me Barry, YOU'VE WON a pair of tickets to the Xtreme launch party on Monday night!

Now you must do three things.

Firstly be at The Mean Fiddler, Charing Cross Road on Monday 19 September. The doors open at 7.30pm and the evening will feature sets from 3 of the best new bands in the country - Hard-fi, Dead 60s and The Ordinary Boys. Kick out time is around midnight.

Secondly you need to print this email out and bring it with you, as there are no tickets for this event, your name (plus one guest) has been tattoed on the security guard's forehead.

Thirdly, go and tell as many people of the opposite sex that you've won these highly sought after tickets, as you are VERY popular right now...

See you there.


Bugger! Bugger Bugger!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005
 
Echolyn / Strangefish, Mean Fiddler
Prog Rock – Don’t’ Do It.  This is a warning to anyone thinking of getting involved with Prog Rock.

It all started innocently enough, I booked tickets to see Echelon a band that we saw supporting a few months ago and were keen to see again.  Unfortunately I was a bit click-happy and actually booked tickets for Echolyn who are a whole different prospect.  A little perturbed we decide to head off to the gig anyway – I mean, how bad could it be ?

Oh Mama, were we in for a shock.  For a start the doors were really early to allow the Mean Fiddler to squeeze in a club night after the gig so we turn up pretty late and half way through the set of support band Strangefish.  Thank god we were late a s they are appalling.  

Imagine a band that play 10 minute songs (at one point they started a song, I went to the toilet, visited the bar and they were still only half way through the damn song) that sound like Genesis or Mike And The Mechanics but have a front man like an annoying Bruce Dickinson.  A few examples of how annoying he was.  He tried to crack jokes with the audience after every song – not to bad when a venue is full but not to 10 people in the Mean Fiddler.  When not singing he antagonizes his band mates leaning on them dancing around them (see the picture on their home page for an example) or just being a twat. For the last song (an instrumental I seem to remember) he brings on beach balls and starts having a game with the audience – basically he has no respect for his band mates.

The music is so bad.  They play a song that is supposedly about a man who has it all but decided to gamble and looses it all.  It is very, very long and very, very dull.

In comparison Echolyn are reasonable.  The songs are shorter and tight and they are a lot more professional.  But it’s too late – we’ve had enough Prog for one evening and we decide to make a quick exit and find something else to do with our evening.Of course, this is just my opinion. Other people seem to have enjoyed the gig.

 
Elbow, Koko
A bit of a strange gig this – neither a great gig nor a stinker, just average.  Elbow are on form and itching to play new songs. Perhaps the problem is that the set is chock full of new songs that at the time of the gig hadn’t been released.  It’s not that the new songs are bad – having now heard it I can report that it is another cracker – its just that we don’t know the new songs, so it’s hard to really get into the gig.  The stand out newies at the gig are the current single Forget Myself and the title track from the album (and a future single) Leaders Of The Free World.

I think I’m going to put this down to the curse of Koko.  I don’t think we’ve had a really good time or an unforgettable gig there yet. Or maybe it's that we don't get a support band, which feels a bit tight. Elbow manage to redeem themselves by closing the set with my favorite song, Faded Black And Whites, but I doubt that we’ll remember this gig in a few months time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005
 
The Lost Soul Band == Lucky Jim
I was just playing around in iTunes and stumbeld across some tracks by The Lost Soul Band, who were a favorite band of myself and McBarr when at Uni and so I did a little search and found that Gordon Grahame the singer/songwriter from LSB nowgoes by the moniker Lucky Jim.

I'm off to investigate and many thanks to whoever runs the Trash Can Sinatras web site, who posted this piece that allowed me to join the dots.

Monday, September 12, 2005
 
Artic Monkeys photos
Yes I know I'm obsessed but just look at these photos taken by Andrew Kendall.


 
Special Needs become The Needs
The title says it all. We saw an advert in last weeks NME for a gig featuring a band called The Needs looking suspiciously like our favorite dodgem driving mop tops.

The news is confirmed on the unofficial fan site here, but no reason for the change appears to be forthcoming.

Monday, September 05, 2005
 
Arctic Monkeys Video
The Arctic Monkeys have put a new video up on their site - here


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