Monday, 29 November 2010

damaged goods

i hope those of you that stop by here occasionally have been able to keep up with the recent deluge of output that has kept the blog moving at quite a pace

on the press front, it seems that the Janelle Monae review i expected to surface has gone astray somewhere along the line, the editor instead pushing to have my Cheryl Cole and Flo Kirton pieces published, narrowing down the time between me submitting them and them appearing in print, even catching me unawares when he beat me to the punch by featuring Flamboyant Bella's former singer in last wednesday's Enfield Advertiser before i'd even posted it on the blog... the newspaper also using the inspired, tongue in cheek headline Flo's bedroom antics to get back on top

on the home front, the weekend was used to pick out curtains and contemplate venetian blinds, as the rooms tackled so far attempt to make it past the 'soft furnishings' mark in terms of progress.  a brisk trip around the Cross also found 2 new additions for the kitchen, in the form of a novelty ice cube tray and a chrome bin that replaces the small black bin that was intended for the bathroom but will now probably reside in one of the bedrooms.

and these shopping trips have also produced a few unique images of quite disturbing products that are for sale in Harlow if you know all the wrong places to look

meaning you not only get updates on my journalism and home improvements, you also get treated to brand new photography

Friday, 26 November 2010

bedroom antics.....

last december, in my first ever review for the Enfield Advertiser i brought you a review of a band i was extremely excited about.

sadly, Flamboyant Bella promptly imploded in the early part of 2010 when the male 3/4s of the band decided to take a break from rock star shenanigans in favour of furthering each of their respective educations.

Which left Flo Kirton with no band.

what didn't leave Flo was a passion to continue making music, which saw her experimenting with self-production, solo compositions, seeking collaborators and trying to avoid getting a real job.

playing a crucial contributing role within 'Flambo', Flo found herself with complete creative control of her output, but has found it hard keeping herself motivated without the structure of conventional band practises.

working from her bedroom recording demo tracks with a small set up of a PC and Logic studio has put Flo in the same position as so many other people out there that are hoping to break into the mainstream and make a name for herself, but has found that the reailty of affordable recording equipment and an over saturated internet music culture is leaving her jaded.

'Due to the new-found accessibility in entering the music industry, i'd say it makes it all the harder for a small town girl to make any impact at all these days. After all, everyone knows it's who you know, not what you know..' she told me.

and going from a treasured indie-pop band that were flirting with the prospect of stardom to being a girl that signs on every week, struggles with crashing software stunting her creativity and still dreams of 'making it' has seen a sense of cynism and bitterness creeping into Flo's songwriting  and also had an adverse effect of her views of the industry and her outlook of the world.

'Although i'm only 20, because of how young i was when stuff with Flamboyant Bella peaked, it's easy to feel like i've had my time to shine. I can only hope that how bitter i've become, will spur me on to better things, because one thing i have learnt is to not trust, rely on or try to make friends with 90% of the industry, 'cos all they tend to care about anymore is money and name-dropping.'

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

not paying

it's clear we live in a fickle world.

i was one of many subscribers that helped Marina Gasolina's debut solo single cause a mini stir among the blogosphere.

it just seems such a shame that those willing to give exposure to Marina's talent in an online forum weren't quite so keen to turn up in person for a free gig when Marina Gasolina hit Brixton's The Rest Is Noise last week.

the bar hosting the gig is probably best known as a place to hook up with friends and knock back a few drinks before gigs at Brixton Academy, me and my brother found ourselves stood at the bar at a little after eight, waiting to get a pint among a whole bundle of Deftones fans and then trying to find a spot to perch and wait out the inevitable exodus that would occur.

sure enough, come nine o'clock, the punters still inside the Rest Is Noise were actually outnumbered by the bar staff.

and as there didn't seem to be an awful lot of activity on the tiny stage i became a little concerned, and was uncertain if that really was Marina Gasolina sat just a couple of feet away from us.

it was Marina, although i didn't know this at the time, she certainly looked different from the last time i had seen her hanging around at an M.I.A gig at London's ICA, but all of this is regardless - it had now gone 9 and i was starting to wonder if anything was even gonna happen and started to fret that we may have had a wasted journey to the far flung end of the Victoria Line for nothing.

instead of approaching the maybe Marina i thought it best to avoid embarrassment by simply asking at the bar if the gig was still going ahead, at which point i was told that she would likely be on once it had picked up again, probably about half 10, going on 11.  something that wasn't entirely evident from the details of the event that i had previously seen that simply said the gig was 8 - 12.

a little flummoxed by this, i ordered the next two pints, hoping we could make them last otherwise this 'free' gig was going to work out pricier than i imagined since i was buying for both me and my artistic (translated as currently unemployed and broke) brother, and more importantly i actually had no intention of getting drunk at all and knocking back beers was hardly gonna achieve sobriety

so how exactly do you make a pint of beer last an hour and a half?

by providing enough of a distraction by raiding the bar's table full of games! that's how!

Connect 4, despite it's simplicity and the fact we had to substitute fingers for missing red counters if the game wore on too long, probably kept us going the longest, this may also be down to the fact that not all of the pieces for Frustation and Downfall were in the respective boxes and we wasn't sure we'd have time to conquer the world playing Risk

the only other option left was a boardgame version of Blockbusters, sadly missing it's instuctions, and since it looked like quite a complex game to set up we simply made it up as we went along, unpeturbed by a lack of guidelines and possibly bolstered by a slight boredom of Connect 4

The Bishop was just about to start his Gold Run (that i was gonna have to make the rules up for) but the game finished in a forced draw when the band started up....

this was intended to be a Marina review, getting a little sidetracked here

midway through the first track, and just outside the streets of Brixton were suddenly awash with four thousand deftones fans, with a number of passing punters steadily streaming in and refilling the empty bar and giving Marina something resembling an audience to work with

perhaps it was down to the unfamiliarity of those gathered and the fact that the bar had been practically empty just five minutes previously, but it was hardly the performance that i was hoping for given her history (and mine) with Bonde Do Role

gone were the baile funk beats and the extrovert antics, in was a style more associated with Juliette Lewis and the Licks, backed by a more traditionally accepted band of guitar, drummer and bassist, Marina fronts the band with a tearaway attitude and a punk-tinged but pleasing singing voice, something that wasn't evident from her tenure with Bonde.

talk of working with producers such as Radioclit, had my salivating, but little of the electronic influence bleeds through into the show i witnessed, although, by her own admission, Marina had managed to spill an almost full pint over her sampler just as her set began, which may have left us without an important ingredient of live proceedings.

i could hardly chalk this one up as the most inspiring performances i have ever seen, but i pin most of that on my pining for even a nod towards old school Bonde Do Role, but despite the changes, Marina is still a rather unabashed entity, willing to work for a crowd, and when she flashes a cheeky grin or swivels her hips it is like a tease of the way things use to be, and i only hope that her audiences will grow alongside her newly forged solo career.

a free download of Marina Gasolina's debut single was featured in my post from earlier this month

Monday, 22 November 2010

a thinker and not a doer

i was sat in the passenger seat of the car on the way to leicester, scribbling down all of the bits that i would like to do in the house, trying to recall all the little quirky ideas and geeky touches that have fallen into my brain over the past few months, as well as any other cosmetic changes that i think would be appropriate.

top of the list was purchasing a 2 seater Karlstad sofa from Ikea, despite the fact that my girlfriend had pretty much won that argument already, having picked up the Isundra Grey covers for the 3 seater earlier that day (tho not the sofa, since it wouldn't fit in the car), i knew it was rather futile, but in my mind i thought i may still be in with a chance of proving myself right once the 3 seater is in place and is slightly too big, as i think it is.

further down are a number of other changes that i would like to implement that i know she already disagrees with

(alas, it is already too late to get a boat in the front room)

my girlfriend glances at the list after filling up petrol and i covet it before she can read too far and start putting paid to all my other intentions for the home.

she tells me:  'you are a thinker and not a doer'

indeed it is true, i like to give things a lot of thought and sometimes overthink things to the point that i don't actually get round to doing them, far too busy wondering if i've made the right choice or holding off doing what i want to do for one reason or another.

whereas she will get sick of me thinking about it and just buy whatever suits herself, this is the reason we now have a bed and will soon have a sofa.

but i like thinking, i spend a lot of time thinking, and this is also the reason i have my blog, it is an outlet, not only can i let my creative side flourish and indulge my passion for writing, but i can also publish my procrastinations, on whatever topic i so desire, whether it is music, ikea sofas, thinking, or, erm, music.

Friday, 19 November 2010

paying (part 2)

and after the disappointment of M.I.A earlier in the week, to say that i was apprehensive about seeing Gorillaz at the o2 arena was a massive understatement.
even before the Maya debacle i was kinda concerned about how thing would turn out since past experience didn't exactly bode well for it.

i'd already documented my feelings about Blur's massive Hyde Park gigs and i was unimpressed with Gorillaz' drafted in headline slot at Glastonbury earlier this year, it was shambolic and rambling and lacked any real energy, when you combine this with the fact that i knew Flaming Lips would be much more entertaining over on the other stage, we reached the conclusion that we wouldn't bother to stick around to see if the Gorillaz set got any better

and i guess that brings the story pretty much up to date, with me spending the months since Glastonbury wondering if it could have been some hokum Damon Albarn curse that had been put upon me, i love virtually all the music the man touches, but so far 2 out of 3 live performances had disappointed me (with the exception being The Good, The Bad and The Queen in Victoria Park)

thankfully my misgivings were misplaced and i hadn't felt like i had thrown all of my money away in one week, virtually from the outset it was obvious that this would surpass the shoddy performance from the summer, there was a build up of genuine anticipation as opposed to the mix of curiosity and high hopes that flooded the fields of Glastonbury, and even tho we were on very familiar ground, with the similar starts to the set and a repetition of the same animation sequences we had already seen, it still didn't feel like we had seen this live show before, if anything it felt that glasto was the dress rehearsal and this was the real deal that we had been looking forward to

for a start, Damon Albarn was a lot more (for want of a better word) animated, actually taking to the stage and bounding among the performers instead of hiding behind his keyboards towards the back of the stage and trying to orchestrate a star spangled extravaganza, onstage at the o2 arena you could believe that he was truly involved in the project and followed this belief through by acting like a part-time lead singer between the expected guestspots

another fault i levelled at Glastonbury was the stop/start nature of the entire headline slot, lacking cohesion and causing immense boredom when the Pyramid Stage crowd were frequently met with silence, and this problem has been ironed out, leaving us with a perfectly flowing performance, all tied together with slick animation asides and always eyecatching backdrop videos throughout, creating one of the ultimate audio-visual experiences possible

not every guest performer was there with them, but this was inconsequential when considering the performers they had still managed to pull together and pull off without making the night feel like a charity fundraising gala show, it still felt celebrational but far from trite, the mood onstage was joyous and the crowd reaction was equally as enjoyable.

so, second time around Damon actually managed to steer a smooth course towards Plastic Beach, transferring the atmospheric album onto stage with a crew of veteran musicians, world spanning guests and a smattering of new blood, creating an almost perfect vehicle for his fictional bands career to date and at the same time making me a very pleased punter.

money well spent indeed.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

paying (part 1)

before i was a music journalist and a blogger, i was a music fan (as i continue to be).

thankfully, getting myself in to review gigs is an inexpensive way to indulge my passion, but last week i actually went to two gigs that i had to pay for, deciding that i couldn't just take the chance that an opportunity to get on the respective guestlists would arise.

first up was M.I.A, who i had been desperate to see touring her new album after catching her rare London appearances whenever possible over the past 6 years.

i shouldn't have bothered.

/\/\/\Y/\ is a heavy, broodding beast of an album that warrants being played at high volumes in order to become fully immersed in the dense urban beats and leftfield sound effects, and in theory should have birthed a riotous live show.

but instead i ended up shelling out for a gig where for the most part the vocals were barely audible, the setlist choice left alot to be desired, and i think M.I.A, despite being at the gig in body, was hardly there in spirit.

i don't know where to lay the blame, but things have changed, perhaps motherhood has sapped the chaotic energy she was renowned for, perhaps her family ties to the CEO of Warner Music has made life too comfortable, perhaps it was the crossover success of Paper Planes and the new fans it garnered that changed the gig's dynamics, or perhaps it was just a bad night

all i know is that it didn't feel like i was witnessing the same person on that stage that i had seen before

it would be an easy assumption to blame it on the venue, M.I.A works far better in a more intimate environment, fuelling the fantasy that you've joined her for a genre splitting underground rave as i've encountered first hand at the ICA and at Fabric, nowhere was this more obvious than with the rather desperate looking stage invasion that the security had quite clearly been briefed to allow (and even lend a hand) but simply resulted in a small gathering of people poncing around onstage which quite frankly looked embarrassing.

i still class myself as an M.I.A fan, i'll try not to let this one incident ruin the memory of far happier times we have shared together, i must admit tho, that the experiences have been tainted.

but when you are being outshone by your own faltering and awkward Ginger B-Boy, M.I.A must realise that things haven't been going great recently.

 M.I.A - Steppin Up

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

take a bite.

the Bubblegum Stomp crew helped bring a fledling All Teeth into the world, way back in march 2008

we knew the Gingerbread Men through their gigging with Red Griffin Records, for whom we became something like resident DJs, always quite happy to throw down for a party vibe

and we were over the moon to be asked to get involved, always keen to take our eclectic tastes elsewhere and catch a few bands in the process

and yeah, we threw down hard (as always!), we mashed it up, we played the songs you love, the songs you hate (but secretly love) and the songs you don't actually know (but should love). we also wore Will Smith masks.

we had bloody great fun and we had people dancing but i'm guessing we must have done something wrong, because we never got invited back.

perhaps it was because we were slightly non-punctual (ooops)

perhaps it was because Pink Lizard upset All Teeths head honcho early in the night by playing My Chemical Romance when panicked by an unfamiliar CD deck that wouldn't give her CD back (i deduced that it needed to be paused, then ejected, problem solved)

or perhaps it was because we disgruntled Bloody Awful Poetry who were also along to DJ after we'd had our slot, we probably didn't hit it off well when we kept giving one guy rather off looks after he just started hanging around near the decks, acting completely shifty and failing to introduce himself and i think we were quite justified in thinking that he was out to steal our or the band's stuff.

and when his DJing co-hort arrived and they were actually introduced to us they suddenly insisted on taking over right away, ignorant of the fact that we had just hit our stride and were getting great reactions from the floor, obviously pleased to see people moving and wanting a slice of the glory.

we bargained to buy ourselves a little longer and play out a couple more before relenting our hold on the Buffalo Bar, at which point they cued up their tracks and followed with a less than barn storming set.

as fans of Gingerbread Men and discovering new music in general, i think us Stompers had kinda hoped it may have been the start of a beautiful relationship, but something nixed it for us, and despite popping along to enjoy All Teeth as paying customers, while Bloody Awful Poetry returned a few times, we have never been invited back to DJ ..

until now!!!

yep, maybe the ghosts of Bloody Awful Poetry have been exorcised! cos we are back at All Teeth this thursday!!!

click image for a larger view or check out the event page on facebook

now these chances to DJ are becoming rarer , we utterly relish the chance to get out and exert our musical taste on others, the last set at Bushfest was a revelation, and since my mp3 burnt discs are unlikely to work on the Buffalo Bars slightly old Skool rickety CD decks, i'll probably have to dig in the crates a little (and perhaps burn an extra special CD of new stuff)

and those wanting to know a little more about the historical launch night of All Teeth can check out a write-up right here

Sunday, 14 November 2010

stray sofas 11

the last time i posted sofas was in july??

why must the months keep hurtling past so quickly?

by the looks of it, this sofa could be related to this guy.  but i think he's is a bit tougher, for a start, he has managed to keep his cushions, and is still in a rather respectable condition.  and secondly, it looks like he has knocked out a fridge in order to get a prime place in front on the bin shelter, that he looks longingly at, wishing to get inside.

Monday, 8 November 2010

little bit

after the pop diversion of Cheryl Cole, perhaps i should swing the focus back round to a more standard blog filler and play a little catch up with my contemporaries.

i tend to sidestep a lot of the hype acts so beloved by the blogosphere, but these couple of tracks that have surfaced recently were just too good to overlook and since both are available to download for free i thought it would be wrong to deny you these absolute gems

first up is the return of Lykke Li, which is already getting plenty of people excited.

i really don't think i need to be pushing Lykke Li onto anybody, since her 2008 debut album Youth Novels, she has been steadily gaining more and more recognition which has seen her slowly saturating, even cropping up in places as diverse and wide reaching as Drake's 2009 mixtape So Far Gone and The Twlight Saga's soundtrack for New Moon.

but for those that may have slept on Lykke, it's time to wake up, when i first heard her on the radio i found her voice and the music to be so refreshing and irristable and i would urge anyone to dig up Youth Novels and find out what you've missed out on so far.

back in the present day tho, Lykke is prepping for an upcoming album with the free release of Get Some, which is also accompanied by a quite superb b-side (remember them?) and they are both yours in exchange for a little info and your email address, which is a fair deal in my opinion.

somewhat disturbingly, the comeback track kicks in with intro sounding like a knock off of Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse's version of Valerie, and also features a refrain resembling a KT Tunstall hook, yet neither of these music coincidences could tarnish the track, as it broodingly beats an almost tribal rythm and the song sways with a commanding, sultry darkness

Lykke Li - Get Some download available via

also making a welcome is the force of nature known as Marina Gasolina, formerly of one of my new favourite bands from back in the day, Bonde Do Role.  the crazy energy exerted by the brazilian trio (in their original line-up) and their onstage antics meant that no two Bonde live shows would ever be the same, and i only hope that solo performances won't have lost the unpredictable edge that the group dynamic delivered

but until she has the chance to prove herself live, we have a download of her debut solo single courtesy of Notion magazine and Sainted PR, which is a well crafted slice of electonic wonkiness tooled up with Spaghetti Western-esque twangs that works for Marina perfectly, while also carving her own clear identity that should see her avoid being merely lumped in lazily with M.I.A, Santigold and Amanda Blanc, and if this is the standard to be expected from future output then it should easily see Marina surpass her achievements with Bonde Do Role.

credit where it's due:

Marina Gasolina's debut solo effort was brought to my attention by Faded Glamour

Friday, 5 November 2010

Thursday, 4 November 2010

lump it

my little brother seems to think that it was possibly Shakespeare that said "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry".

i personally couldn't care who said it (although i do know that he is on a bit of a wind up)

i just wish that sometimes things would actually just work out the way i intended them to.

for while i have been busy trying to add weight to my blog's social standing as a music blog, and while my life has been in slight upheaval, and while my crippled computer has remained comatose, i have found no time at all to work on any of my own music.

i then made the decision that since things are kind of settling down in the new home and we now have small amounts of clutter gravitating towards us within the large empty rooms, that i would try and get the wheels in motion again, by sneakily installing Acid on my girlfriend's laptop so i could continue my experiments into sound and noise.

i'd picked up the instillation disc and a handful of other CDs that i thought may come in handy and sat myself down, ready to work into the night on manipulating whatever aural pleasures i chose to, all set-up, all good..

except i don't have my damn serial number :-(

so the time i should have spent knocking out some inaudible concoction was instead replaced by the installation of Comical and picking up where i'd last read Countdown to Infinite Crisis until my eyes could no longer stay open.

Waking up this morning with a new sense of vigour and purpose, knowing that i could finally got a move on and possibly even have an audio experiment all wrapped up and ready to share by the end of the day, i ploughed through my household chores without even a shred of half-heartedness, keen to make this day a glorious day full of achievements!  washing put out to dry, clothes put away, floors swept and bundles of boring paperwork piled through, i decided my work here was done and rushed out to grab a few extra bits of clutter, a few more DVDs and the all important serial number i needed....

well i guess i wouldn't even be writing this blog post if the story had a happy ending, but incase the suspense is killing you....   i tapped in the ridiculously long code, got the software all loaded up, clicked to youtube looking for some audio i wished to rip and started recording..

only to find that the inner machinations of my girlfriend's laptop must be stupidly loud and didn't really want to participate in what i had got planned for the rest of the day

so it's back to the drawing board for now, in fact it is probably back to a few more comics and finally getting round to making myself some lunch after all the excitement has worn off and the frustration has been vented.

perhaps it is time to pay to get my computer fixed......


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

toothpaste, cucumber, lettuce

once upon a time, the charts actually mattered to me.

it was of the utmost importance to me to know who had got to number one and what new entries there were.

now i don't know if it is just because i am getting older, or if music actually is getting worse, but i just don't care for chart placings anymore and i'm not even fond of listening to the radio, with most stations opting for depressingly un-inspired playlists that irritatingly have a very short turnaround, leaving you tiresomely bored and verging on homicidal tendencies at hearing the opening bars of even the tracks that you once loved, yet now loathe after having heard it played twelvety times a day!!!??

it all just seems so stagnant.

yet this week i can quite honestly say that i am a huge fan of the song that went straight into the top of the charts!

no, it is not the meteoric rise or shock ascension of an underground artist, i thought i might buck the trend of cooler-than-thou music blogs and profess my love of the latest single from Cheryl Cole.

Cheryl Cole - Promise This stream only

i don't mince my words when it comes to expressing opinions on music, frankly, everything Cheryl Cole has released since going solo had been hugely disappointing, of course relentless radio play meant that each single soon grew on me, but Fight For This Love, 3 Little Words and Parachute were all pretty dire, particularly taken on the merit of their lyrical content and in comparison to Girls Aloud's phenomenal track record for delivering solid nuggets of pop gold

from the first time i heard Promise This, not even knowing that it was Cheryl's latest offering, i was intrigued and quite quickly hooked into it.  to be fair, the lyrics may be a load of codswallop yet again, and i'd be quite surprised if they weren't, but the bizarre little repetition of something or other in french that kicks off the whole thing and returns in the chorus is some strange sort of genius and the up-tempo, driven track is a glimmering pop masterpiece that kicks serious arse, while every other RnB star on the planet is running after David Guetta hoping he will polish their turds and produce another bland 'dance' hybrid destined for chart success.

i certainly won't be in any kind of a rush to shell out for the new album, which has so far recieved  reviews ranging from 'mixed' to luke warm, and quite possibly tepid, even though Cheryl Cole is enough of a star to have a change of hair colour become front page news and even though she is fated to one day be my wife, i still wouldn't hang much hope on 'Messy Little Raindrops', instead i think her 2011 calender would be a much wiser investment.