Thursday, January 29, 2009


Me: "Apparently in Ethiopia you have to be sure to iron your clothes because of flies laying eggs in them"
Kevin: "Hey?"
Ross: "Yep, flies lay eggs in your pants"
Kevin: "What?"
Ross: "Leading to boils and sores on your penis and testicles"
Kevin: "Oh fucking hell....
...I hate ironing"

Everyone's second favourite small, hairy drummer Kevin "Smith" Smith is moving to the wild lands of Ethiopia on Saturday for at least a year in order to teach English as part of the VSO Voluntary Teaching programme. He recently attended a seminar entitled How To Not Get AIDS in preparation and informs us that he will be eating "mainly spaghetti" whilst there. If anyone can pull this mighty leap off then it's Smith Kevin.
You can support him in this venture by heading over to the Blaklava Myspage page and buying their recent CDR as all the proceeds go to VSO. It's good too, which helps.

In the meantime, enjoy The Greatest Hits Of Kevin Smith in visual-cake form.

Kevin Smith


Classic Smith


Day 4: Exceptionally gnarly

Trouser dismay

Extreme Air Guitar

Fake overdubs


Maida Vale 11/12/02

Hello Sailor 2

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


More photos and video from Katy, this time of the first gig by Stage Blood at Stereo in Glasgow on December 12th last year. Plans are afoot to do some recording for a single in the near future. The video might not work if you're not on Facebook, I can't fathom it.




Monday, January 26, 2009

Katy's Band Photos

My ladyfriend Katy has a special talent for taking posed pictures (usually Polaroids) of bands. However, despite buying her a 'Pro' Flickr account for Christmas, she hasn't managed to gather them all in the same place (internet or otherwise) yet. So why not go to her Flickr page and hassle her until she does? In the meantime here are some highlights:

Dirty Three











JOE PRESTON (and Lisa)



Calling All Video Experts

Can someone who knows what they're doing make a looped version of this video for David Wm Sims?


I did a mixtape for the Egoeccentric Blog last year and it's available as a single download file:
When it gets to Pressure Drop by The Maytals, listen to the version from the video posted below though, not sure where they got the one on the mix from...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Corporate Stooge

Recognise this guy? Surely not...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

You Are The One I Pick

Lucky Coconut

Nearly a year since we started it, the Felix album is done and ready for mastering. It's called You Are The One I Pick and it has 11 songs on it. Lucy, Elvis and me played it. Ian Scanlon and Gareth Hardwick recorded it. Hopefully someone will release it. Will keep you posted on that.
Recording songs so minimal but intricate was a challenge. We made it hard for ourselves. I'm very happy with the results. I felt at times like I was in the middle of Project Mersh, making decisions in music I normally wouldn't consider but we all ended up enjoying our turns at being a 'producer', in the oldest sense of the music-industry term.
When things got tough we just turned to the coconut. My Mum was in Hawaii and when looking for a present, thought to herself: "I think my son may struggle to articulate his thoughts about guitar seperation and increasing the resonant frequency of a floor tom head at some point in the next year. I think I will buy him a coconut". It worked. Thanks Mum.
There are 3 unmastered songs from the record at the obligatory Myspace page:

Art Criticism


Amazing. Turner Prize comments board at Tate Britain.
Also featuring "This exhibition is like AIDS", "£6.90 wasted", "The one with the checkouts WAS WELL SHIT" and the simple but yet confusing "I came".

Summertime 24/7/365

It is a Saturday. The weekend is here. No one told the weather. It's fucking freezing. Cheap rent in shitty houses is fine until winter comes around. I'm wearing 4 layers.
But it's OK because sometime in 1969 The Maytals recorded the song Pressure Drop and sometime last year this gentlemen made a video of himself dancing to it in the Farmer's Market in Hamilton, Ontario when it was minus 15 outside.
Instant summer in a can!

Lungfish 1998

There have been enough clips online from this 1998 Lungfish show in Baltimore (a lot of them since deleted) to suggest someone filmed the whole thing. That person needs thanking as they seem to have captured the mid-era of the band when they were at the height of their heavy throb. One question: are my eyes decieving me or are there 2 gentlemen doing a kind of martial arts dancing on the front edges of the stage? I do hope so.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Silver Jews

According to the Drag City Forum, David Berman is calling time on his band Silver Jews.
Their last show is next Saturday. Appropriately enough, it's underground in Cumberland Caverns, Tennessee.
Berman's post on his own fan forum seems to say that he doesn't feel being in a band is somehow enough to 'count' for him. He also reveals that his father is Richard Berman, aka "Dr Evil" - an industry lobbyist in Washington DC.

"My father is a despicable man. My father is a sort of human molestor. An exploiter. A scoundrel. A world historical motherfucking son of a bitch. (sorry grandma)"

He goes on to say that he 'fought' this fact for the best part of 20 years and 'hid' in academia and art. It all sounds very dramatic but Berman has become something of a specialist in the area over the past few years, with the blurb for his 'comeback' album Tanglewood Numbers reading like a transcription from a self-help group meeting.
I think it was my distaste for the Americanism of bearing one's demons in public as justification for the validity of one's artistic endeavours that put me off that record and perhaps subconciously stopped me from buying last year's Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea.

Despite this, 1998's American Water remains one of my favourite albums. It's funny how records (or books or films) can lay dormant in your life only to rise to the surface when they make most sense, or when you 'need' them the most. If I look back and pinpoint a time when my life was truly the shittiest it could be, it would be sometime around 2004 when I moved house and stupidly ended up in an attic room living next door to a warring family. My then-girlfriend dumped me by phone from several thousand miles away to make matters worse. It's times like these that you need to sit and stare out of the window and have some time for reflection but unfortunately my window just looked upwards at the sky so I opted to do my gazing at work and was promptly fired.
My American Water CD somehow wormed it's way into a different box than the rest of my CDs when I moved so when it came to listening to music as I unpacked it was my only option. It stuck around for the next few months on repeat. Even now when I listen to it, it puts me back in that situation and place so strongly that it's uncanny. It has gone beyond memories or senses and become an abstract but crystal-clear summary of a period of time. Listening to the guitar solos on Buckingham Rabbit today puts me right back to sitting in the garden on blue plastic chairs wondering what the fuck I was going to do with my life.

I hope Berman has a plan for what he's going to do with his.
His ability to manipulate the English language into perfect-sized kernels of information has few equals. I guess maybe he feels this skill could be better used than just making records or writing books for a particular crowd of people that might automatically agree with him. I can see his point.

Sometime after I moved out of the aforementioned house, I went to see Berman and band in London. My now-girlfriend Katy spent an age deciding where would be best to stand to take photos and as we waited for the band to come out, she set up her posh camera to capture the proceedings.

Then Berman got out his music stand.

Silver Jews

(Also, the way he sings the word "game" in the style of Mick Jagger on Send In The Clouds is my favourite Silver Jews moment by far even if it haunts him everytime he hears it).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Upcoming: Zun Zun Egui, Lords and Bilge Pump






THE ARTS ORGANISATION, 21 Station Street, Nottingham (next to the Station Tram Stop)
8pm. £5 on the door

Facebook Event

Upcoming: Zomes



ZOMES (Asa Osborne of Lungfish's new project on Holy Mountain Records)

THE HORSE LOOM (Steve Malley of Crane, Kodiak and The Unit Ama)

медведь (Members of Wolves Of Greece, Bob Tilton, Lords)

UPSTAIRS AT THE ARTS ORGANISATION, 21 Station Street, Nottingham
8pm. £5 on the door

Facebook Event

Rah Bras "EPs" (Lovitt)

Describing The Rah Bras* is pretty hard work. Not as hard as it was 10 years-or-so ago when the majority of this compilation came out. That they share a member with fellow bafflers of the era Men's Recovery Project doesn't really help in that "ex-members-of" way that usually works when words run thin on the ground.
They share a similar scattershot approach to MRP that's often genuinely hilarious but unlike a lot of bands from the past few years who have a schtick (usually a costume) that's maybe worth a couple of singles and some gigs, Rah Bras seem to draw from a bottomless pit of influences that make their records genuinely good listening. I say "good", I mean "scary", "funny", "catchy", "confusing" and "mucky".
The best way of describing them would be to say listening to one of their records is a bit like waking up nude, stuck in the middle of the road with hundreds of cars speeding past as you try and get your bearings . The cars' stereos are all on and music pours out as they pass and you hear pop music colliding with punk rock and R&B and Bollywood themes and Eastern European Disco and everything in between. It's terrifying. But exhilarating too. And kind of sexy. Or at least sexual.
I saw them play what ranks as one of the more bizarre gig experiences of my life when they opened for Hirameka Hi-Fi in Notting Hill in 2001. Aurally they were a powerhouse dance band. Visually they were something akin to this scene from Blue Velvet but set to music that sounds like this. I needed disinfecting afterwards.
This CD collects together the 3 EPs Concentrate To Listen To The Rondo That We Christen King Speed, Wear The Beat Spectacular and Nipponoppin.
If the classic The Fifth Allen and the emotionally raw Tokyo Bus Stop were the only 2 tracks on this CD it would still be worth the money. Instead it's an essential buy and a good reminder of when "weird" meant something different to "funny hat".

Buy it from Lovitt Records
Watch this You Tube clip

*"A RAH BRA is a fankini. A fankini is a festive floral bikini accessory worn over shirts or coats. The Rah Bra is a great way to strut your spirit."

January Sales

January Sales

Proamplifiers SDC75

Wiring nightmare

The big January clear-out. All in fine fettle. Click the photo for the details.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Pulled The Trigger"

Damn you EBay.

Library Of Congress Photo Collection

The United States Library Of Congress in Washington DC has over 14 million photos in it's collection, dating back to the mid-1800s. They've started putting it on Flickr for everyone to see. They recently put up some of their collection of Photochrom prints. Photochroms are ink-based photo-lithographs that look both hyper-realistic and completely otherworldly. The process is described here:

The collection is here:

There are also over 1600 incredible slides of Great Depression-era America and over 3000 news photos on their Flickr page.

Film Poster Illustrations

Illustration 1

Illustration 2

2 different finished ideas for a poster for a UK independant film that's in the making. The team behind it would like to keep the title and details secret for the meantime so the text has been removed. As you can see it features the 'mobile cathedral' - the Citroen DS - in the South Of France.
If I ever make any money from designing anything then French Classics better be ready...

How To Listen To Music

From the latest Drag City mailout, perhaps to be included as a footnote in all independant record label mailouts from this moment forth:


...earlier in this email we were railing against modern consumers and their parasitical non-consumerism — tough stuff — when we stopped to think for a moment, are we selling the youth of today short? Maybe they don’t know how to listen to a record anymore. This could be a lost art outside the ghetto of aesthetes who traditionally buy our long-playing product. So here’s a little checklist:

  • Decide what you like. This may come as the result of self-searching, following by reaching into the world in order to evaluate the music it has to offer.
  • Having evaluated the variety of products available to you, take the plunge — buy one!
  • You are now in possession of something special. It requires your attention in order for you to determine if it also requires your faith and devotion. Take it home, it’s time to find out.
  • Conducting the ritual of listening is up to you — when you want to listen, and where. We suggest you choose a space that allows the music to come to you in a relaxed state over a system that lets the sound breathe.
  • Listen to the record all the way through. It’s saying something to you, something you might not be able to hear if you subdivide it by songs, taking time and attention away from it in bits and pieces.
  • Spend time with the record, absorb the artwork and whatever details are available to you. It’s like a lover, don’t ignore him/her.
  • Congratulations, you’re listening to music. It’s not wallpaper, it’s not your ringtone. It’s like a book or a movie, worth your undivided attention, giving back to you the value of the time you put into it."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Apparently 99.6% of Americans have a Blog. That might not be true. Here are a handful that are worth adding to your 'Favourites':

The Loom Of Ruin: Sam McPheeters used to sing in Born Against, Men's Recovery Project and Wrangler Brutes. Now he's sacked off playing music to concentrate on writing with some occasional spoken word shows. He might be on to something.

Too Big To Fail: Newly-hatched blog by Scratch Acid and Jesus Lizard bassist David Wm Sims. Good way to work yourself into a frenzy about having paid out something like £160 to see the Jesus Lizard play in May only to find out everyone else who bought a ticket voted for Sufjan Stevens.

Ideologic: Links to art, articles and music provided by Stephen O'Malley of Sunn 0))) and KTL. The art links are always work a look...

Pink Hollers: Obtuse and cryptic musings from Dead Child and Slint guitarist David Pajo accompanied by obtuse and cryptic mobile phone snaps.

Stereo Sanctity: Great blog of music reviews, news and musings. Always right on the money and funny too. Regularly updated, always worth a cup-of-tea's worth of your time.

and of course Diskant: The original and best. Loads of people with not-so-much-time-on-their-hands-as-they-used-to-have talk about culture and get their ideas stolen by The Guardian. True!

Disc Wizards

Disc Wizards

As much as the idea of rubbishing a company seems in bad taste, when that company has a 100% record of not delivering the goods it seems at least fair to warn potential customers in advance.
Disc Wizards manufactured the album I did under the name Last Of The Real Hardmen for the Birdwar label a few years back. They somehow pixelated the artwork, or reduced the resolution, leading to a CD that looked like it had been printed on my Inkjet from internet images at home. 1000 copies ended up crushed in a skip and Birdwar got their money refunded and went elsewhere.
Then Gringo Records used them to manufacture their "Oh Yeah!" sampler. They managed to do the graphics right but on the second press of it they randomly changed the font used throughout to something else.
Now my housemate Gareth is the latest customer to find all is not well when he got back the run of "Gris Gris" CDs (by Mariska Baars, Robert Deters and Rutger Zuydervelt).
First of all the request by the designer to match the colours exactly (by printing using Pantones) was either ignored or carried out by a poor quality printers. The colours fluctuate between copies and sometimes throughout the same sleeve. And then, upon further inspection, it turns out around 30% or more of them are finished so badly they'll have to be binned*. It looks like a gang of 2 year olds has been at them with some PVA glue.
So; label types: beware.

Low Point have sorted it out though so you can get the album now from their website:

Lucinda Chua Retrospective

Deja Vu

My friend and bandmate Lucinda has a cheekily-titled Retrospective exhibition of her photography at Nottingham's Lakeside Gallery at the moment. You might have seen Lucinda on Channel 4's Picture This where she was the runner-up. The exhibition takes a playful look at the idea of a Retrospective, going right back to her first photos from childhood and up to her recent work, including the picture above that was also used by Low Point for this release:
Her attention to detail and work ethic always amazes me. The photos are like viewing another world. You should go and see them:

More Elvis

Festive Season

Festive Season in photographic form. Click the pictures to be transported by magic to the world of Flickr and several other photos of a similar nature.


DEAD CELEBRITIES PARTY (Richard Whiteley pictured)



TCB Band


Round Round


Ultimate Cocktail


Blackout At Bacon