Friday, 18 June 2010

Peaches / Creators Project

God I so want to move to Berlin and be Peaches’ house-bitch. She looks amazing in this vid, check out the size of that zip! Great little interview and again with the fit interviewer. Highlight: ‘Really I wanted a hologram, of Iggy Pop…’ Who doesn’t? Plus those stage outfits are mental.

Also check out the United Visual Artists movie, they’re the tech-heads who’ve done fancy light shows for Westwood and Massive Attack. Cool job. The installations are gorgeous.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Up and comers

New music! New bands! Here's where the future might lie, have a listen ...

Hans Island
Influences: Ride, The Chameleons, Interpol, Rival Schools, The Clash
Choice track: ‘Cameras’

Hans Island

‘Give Over’

Influences: At the Drive-In, Fall of Troy, Deftones, Million Dead, GlassJaw, The Mars Volta, Tool, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Choice track: ‘Sleep Well’


Waiting Oct gig prep...

Battleplans | MySpace Music Videos

The Witches
Influences: ‘Yawn’ (quite …)
Choice track: ‘When The Lights Go Out’

The Witches


Influences: They’re EXPERIMENTAL, okay?
Choice track: ‘We Shall Visit’


Dunno what the track is, love it though …

La La Vasquez
Influences: Vivian Girls, “3 Parts girl, 2 Parts beer, 1 Part Cider”
Choice track: ‘Come Back Baby’

La La Vasquez

‘Blue Monday’ (Yeah, that ‘Blue Monday’)

Thursday, 10 June 2010

'Every day in every way I'm getting better and better …' Adventures Part 2

An actual summer's day. Ma gets the train over from Blackpool and we sit on Canal Street drinking cider with ice and having a proper chinwag and a laugh. It’s the loveliest thing we’ve done together for ages, my Mum is amazing. Around 8 pm I pour her back on the train and she gives me a wad of sweaty fun money to spend, as if I’m a teenager, bless her. I head down to Club Brenda at the Deaf Institute to liaise with my lovelies and to watch the wonderful David Hoyle introduce a lady who pulls a handkerchief out of her ladyparts. Normal Saturday night, in other words. Late, wreckless, brilliant.

The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

A gruelling but productive week at work. (I do have a job too, who do you think pays for all this? Apart from Ma, obviously.) A few days of work tedium is rewarded by dinner at Strada with Dee, Matthew, Marie and Jonathan, followed by a spectacular Mahler’s Ninth at the Bridgewater Hall which pulls me right out of myself but also makes me feel inexplicably lonesome. Well, not completely inexplicable I guess. Next night is a hit and miss Bourgeois & Maurice for Queer Up North at the gorgeous Spiegeltent. When they are good they are very very good and when they are bad they are torrid. Fun night though.

Frank Spencer

Saturday it’s up early and dry-mouthed for a trip to London with Shauny. Ohmygodfuntimes. The weekend is a heady mix of Camden falafels, the theme tune to Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, lager and vodka tonics, an interminable walk up Kingsland Road for drinkies with Malc and Craig at Dalston Superstore, and a trek to the Eagle in Vauxhall for Carpet Burn. On the tube platform I bump into my friend Jonathan, make a new friend called Harry, also on his way to Vauxhall, meet another new friend, lovely Martyn, in the Eagle, then at the bar there bump into Phil of Worrapolava fame, my longstanding-but-never-met-in-real-life internet buddy of mine, right there in the impeccable flesh. London is officially tiny and crammed full of friends.

Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea

Sunday is another hot day. I tube it to Victoria and walk the full length of the King’s Road, Chelsea, watching all the money laze about. Quick stop at the new Saatchi gallery where I admire some large crazy graffiti-collage-cartoon canvases which are kind of hypnotic and very POP. The artist turns out to be sixteen which means he is precisely half as old and twice as cool as yours truly. Fail.

Not a sniff of the King’s Road of the swinging sixties left, or of Viv and Malc’s punks. I find out after that I’ve been spitting distance from the house where Judy Garland died. In the window of one fancy Chelsea boutique is a mirror. A handsome young homeless guy with his arm in a sling is standing in front of it looking at himself. I walk close enough to hear him saying, ‘I’m very clean for a homeless person.’ It puts such a terrible lump in my throat.

The Black Cap, Camden

I keep walking down to the river, cross Battersea Bridge, walk through the beautiful park along the river, past the power station, mostly under wraps, past the dog’s home where they all yap like mad things, then tube back to Soho for lunch and coffee and people watching. I buy Mrs Dalloway and read it in the last of the sunshine in Soho Square. Shauny meets me and we have a drink before retiring back to Chalk Farm. We attempt to stay in but of course we’re unable to. Instead we’re lucky enough to catch the semi-final of Britain’s Got Drag Talent, or Drag Idol, or maybe it was Drag Factor? Whatever, it takes place at the rough and rowdy Black Cap in Camden and it’s shamazing. Okay it’s naff, but we stay ages and drink our hangovers away and are completely superior and un-ironic and gauche. Lots of smashed glasses and scraps and rough trade. Not us, of course. Shaun and I are from seaside towns though, so it’s like home for us. Shaun falls up the stairs at one point, which is just my favourite comedy move of all time.

Back to Manchester, yuck, short week at work, yay, then back to London again quick-sharp to see the Pixies play the Troxy out on the wilds of Commercial Road with Matthew and the Geordie. It’s a complete wet dream set list, take a look. I couldn’t have asked for better, honest to God. ‘River Euphrates’, ‘Sad Punk‘, ‘Gigantic’, ‘Broken Face‘, ‘Bone Machine’, ‘Caribou’, ‘Dig For Fire‘, ‘Alec Eiffel’ for Christ’s sake! Fuck it, they’re the greatest band of all time. I want a Pixies tattoo.

The Troxy

Next day it’s a complete scorcher. We pick our lovely Helen up at Kings Cross and travel out to spend the day at Kew Gardens which costs a fortune to get into it but really is worth it. Picnic by the lake, breathless Victorian greenhouses, gorgeous birds, cool grass. The highlight is the tree-top walkways, not just for the gorgeous views but for the pleasure of watching Matthew white-knuckle his way around the entire thing while it rocks back and forward ominously.

After Kew it’s back to the city for Pimms and Lemonade by the river outside the Royal Festival Hall until the sun goes down. Bliss was it that night to be alive, but to be young(ish) was very heaven. Helen gets her train home and we head on to The Enterprise pub at Chalk Farm which is rammed and sweaty and brilliant. Britpop and Madness and utterly sozzled punters cooling off in the rain and our last night there and oh I love you London.

Soundtrack: Shipbuilding, Dirty Old Town, If She Knew What She Wants, When Your Life Was Low, Sleeping Satellite, Schoolin',
The Best Of The Proclaimers, loads of Joni Mitchell, Edith Piaf, Pixies, Mahler and Schubert

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The Creators Project // Mark Ronson

What is it?

"The Creators Project has two mandates: on one hand it’s a modern day media channel that we will continually identify and celebrate the work of visionary artists wherever they are. On the other hand it is also a content creation studio, an arts foundation of sorts that will facilitate the production and dissemination of new work with these artists and their collaborators."

Erm ... right. At the moment it seems to be a hub for cool videos, not just music vids but interviews and mini-documentaries about creative players; Diplo, Phoenix and Peaches all have stuff up there which should be worth checking out. Below is a Mark Ronson interview. Three things you should know: he has the coolest old-skool synths, he's a lot better looking than you remember, his interviewer is FIT.

Check it ...

Monday, 7 June 2010

'I know how it starts, and now I know, I know how it ends …' Adventures, Part 1

Four consecutive Tuesday evenings I bus down to the lovely Folk café bar on Burton Road, West Didsbury for pearls of wisdom from Mr Dave Haslam on the art of music writing. It’s genuinely enlightening, not to mention great fun and a bit boozy too, just like all the best things. Some great tips to be had from Dave with some lovely people in attendance. The suburbs ain’t so bad you know. Plus Katie lives up the road and has two brand new kittens which are worth the trip all by themselves. Cute!


In the midst of that, Foals play a storming gig at the Ritz. I’m so glad the Ritz is back as a proper music venue, it’s like having a miniature Apollo in the middle of town, right on my street in fact. Foals’ new material sounds really good live, a party atmosphere pervades for such serious boys. The beautiful Yannis runs through the crowd with his guitar at one point and ploughs right into me. No injuries sustained alas. My gig review will appear in the Folk in-house zine soon, eyes peeled.

The Ritz

Later that week we’re blessed with a beautiful sunny day for the christening of little Sebastian. Sebbie is the second wee lad belonging to two dear friends from school. I have one of those huge temporal jolts at how much time has gone by, followed straight away by feelings of gladness that we’ve managed to keep our friendships alive. Some friendships I’ve let fall away for one reason or another, a couple I had taken away when I wasn’t ready to let them go, others still I don’t seem to find time to invest in, though I always mean to. To have friends you met aged nine, eleven, sixteen, twenty-three, and to see them all together, changed a little bit or a lot, married or not, kids or not, living in France or not, yet not one of them grown up, not really, it’s just lovely. It’s an honour, actually.

Knott Bar, Manchester, England

The following Friday sees another raft of friends, old, new and fabulous, assemble for drinks at the Knott followed by an impromptu trip to the tirelessly brilliant Clique where we catch the last part of the Aeroplane DJ set. They’re the most exciting thing in the world right now aren’t they? Look! Listen! See!?

Despite the good times, and maybe a little bit because of them, I’m a few days into a low spell come Sunday. It’s not just the bell jar this time, things have changed in my life somewhere I didn’t want them to. I’ll not go into it. Meh. Whatever, I get positively choked watching hundreds of people cross the finish line of the Manchester 10K run. The spectators are all so proud, proud and smoking fags and eating hotdogs, which is hilarious. I feel like a slovenly hungover donkey watching Joff sail past the finish line under the hour mark. I wanted to be there to wrap him in tinfoil like they do on the telly but I just yelled instead. Go Joff!

The mighty Sleigh Bells

Sleigh Bells play The Corner in Fallowfield and unless Queen Morrissey himself makes an appearance I shan’t be gigging there again. Don’t get me wrong, the band are amazing, I’m actually going to BUY the CD they were that good, it’s just we didn’t see any more of them than the singer’s bangle. It’s the wrong wrong wrong place for a gig. Admittedly we weren’t so mashed this time that we could fight to the front, kidnap the band and molest them. Ahem. Neon Indian played a lush, psychedelic support slot and even spoke to the audience. No idea what he/they looks like though. No matter. Sleigh Bells, get on it, right away.

Everything Everything 'Weights' Live on Channel M

Two days later it’s back to the Ritz to catch Everything Everything play a support slot for the popular beat combo Delphic, who I don’t really get. Is it the best EE gig I’ve seen? It just might be. ‘Tin’ is absolute angel food tonight, sublime and effortless. ‘Weights’ is the song of theirs which sealed the deal for me, one day it will be considered a great British classic,. It’s mine and Katie’s song too so it’s all kinds of special. When they close the set with it this evening, Jeremy Everything, bass giant and compadre, says, ‘Thanks to everyone for coming down to see us, you’ve been lovely. This is our last song of the evening. It’s called ‘Weights’ and we’d like to dedicate it to our friend Greg.’ Blub. At the end of a week of trying to keep the dark away, it was like being handed a little candle. Thanks boys. I trip off to Bollox vs. Pussy Faggot with a spring in my step and wig out to Larry Tee and Holestar and count my blessings once again. Dance dance dance.

Amazing Chat Roulette promo video for Holestar's 'Nylon Woman' single