My 7 inch

What do you mean misleading title?

When I was reorganising my 7 inch vinyl collection I realised what a stunning collection of records I’ve collected over the years, so here are some of those images and a little description for each…

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This is the amazing The Twilight Sad with the emotional song The Room. I got this last time I saw them live and had a wee chat with their drummer and discussed the merits of the song, turns out it his favourite too. The expanded audio depth on vinyl is generally something else but when you put that to a band like TTS then it goes beyond that… It’s an experience.

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On the rare occasions I get to Leeds I almost always go to Crash records and filter through their 7 inch collection. On one of those days I found this, it was swiftly purchased… “Here we go with Leeds United…”

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Electric Light Orchestra with Mr Blue Sky 7 inch on Blue Vinyl… Need I say more.

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65daysofstatic made a limited run of vinyl so to make sure I got at least one I purchased one from Crash records but I also somehow got another. This second copy fell into the first 1500 which each have a unique polaroid to them. I have also kept the branded paper bag like a GEEK.

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My limited edition Death Cab For Cutie vinyl – expensive finds but worth it.

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Ah the Duke (Duke Special) a little treasure this is, hmv can be useful sometimes!

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Hot Club De Paris were always a delight to watch live as they would start gigs with a gorgeous acapella number which would make you take notice if they happen to be the support band.

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And finally from the quite stunning Pontefract music scene in my high school and college days The Machines Will Take Over. Of all the bands around at the time I think I enjoyed their music the most, they seemed to have ambition and quality musicianship throughout. This was underlined when most bands struggled to get studio time these guys made 7 inch vinyl.

This is not by any stretch an expensive list of the collection but a few highlights. Hope you enjoyed this little post, more posts soon – I’ve just been a bit busy being a dad.

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X rated music videos and the Children

While reading Q magazine this month (issue 340) I came across an article by Eamonn Forde discussing the soon to be introduced age rating on music videos.

His argument that went along the lines that this is the first measure of a slippery slope of the government saying “you can’t sing those lyrics” which of course is a road no artist wants to go down however I think the ‘powers that be’ have a bit of a point.

I have a 3 year old daughter and I attempt to show her music videos on TV and so often a massive number of channels are skipped through because the content of the video just isn’t suitable for a child to watch. Now I’m not expecting mtv to be cbeebies in the day but bar some highly censored videos you can see things that would make BBC 2 blush during the day.

And this is an issue, so often the most suitable channels are kerrang, scuzz and mtv2 because so often those genres of music are more concerned with how the instruments are played not getting some hot guys or girls in that make up for a lack of content or to follow the mantra of the song.

So what to do?
It’s alright moaning but what should be done? Well why don’t we have the same rules for soaps and television applied to music videos then after 9pm you can show Robin being a creepy man.

Essentially if Emmerdale wouldn’t put it on at 7:30pm then mtv can’t put it on at 8 am.

(I’ve published this on my phone as laptop is out of action for the moment so if it looks crap…that might be why)

Wife Birthday – Gentry Morris Gig

It was my wife’s birthday in June and before then a favorite singer-songwriter was playing live near us at a venue I had not heard of (All Hallows Leeds and there gig listing). So like an excited child in a sweet shop I showed my wife pointing and jumping up and down at the flyer on Facebook, she accepted this was a brilliant idea so we found a baby sitter  (cheers Victoria!) and booked the tickets.

Not knowing what to expect we arrived and went into a community church building and took our seat with 20-30 others around tables. This shocked us as in our head Gentry is a stunning talent and this was an intimate gig for sure.

So already it had panned out to be a great birthday present for my wife, and the gig itself was great and such an intimate experience that we are thinking of taking our whole house group to another night by All Hallows.The icing on top of the cake was when the compare said…

“It’s a pay what you want real ale bar tonight”

Not that I abused the system but how trusting, kind and awesome is that, flipping love Christian ethos venues.

Anyway if you don’t know Gentry check out his site and music here : http://www.gentrymorris.com/news.cfm and go see him live if you can, think Damien Rice with better song writing, he also has one of the most gorgeous love songs ever (Love is Alive). Cavill supported him and they were also very good.

As normal these images are taken by my Nikon D3000 with a Nikon 50mm-200mm and edited on Photoshop7

Gentry Morris 2Gentry Morris 1Gentry Morris 3Gentry Morris 4Cavill 1Cavill 2Cavill 3Cavill 4

Best Christian Easter Tunes

Easter is my favorite time of year, I think these days I enjoy it more than Christmas. It’s something about the darkness of the Easter story really appeals to me. Well, while I remember why and how my Lord God died I think about it in music (I do this most of the time) so here are a few tunes that should be played around Easter but seldom aren’t (in the UK at least). I Thought of Dave Burton while writing this…his blog is ace check it out.

Brandnew – Jesus Christ
A song about doubting religion, doubting whether you believe, doubting if society would accept you if you believed… “what did you do those 3 days you were dead because this problem’s going to last more than the weekend”

Thrice – For Miles
A stunning song that for me conveys the ‘darkness’ of this Easter time, the darkness of humanity…love it. “There is no greater love than that shed his blood for his friends”

Downhere – A Better Way
My go-to Christian band Downhere wrote this stunning Easter message song – it’s good. This song also features perhaps the greatest singer I have ever heard with my own ears.

The Stone Roses – I am the Resurrection
Although an anti-Christian song, at this time of year I end up singing this song a lot. In the Manchester Passion they used this song at the end and I thought it was a great use of a song that had started out with the opposite meaning to what it was used for.

Happy Easter all…

If I was in Q magazine…

A sad little fantasy of mine has been to appear in the pages of Q magazine. I have a subscription and read mostly the whole magazine each month, I’m a little behind at the moment currently reading last month’s issue. In this issue Graham Coxon was interviewed talking about his musical influences, so I had an idea, I’ll ask my self the same questions!

Hello how’s your day been?
Quite good, I’ve got a lot done and really had an enjoyable day. I put my daughter to bed tonight which I don’t normally do too often so that was nice.

What was the first album you ever bought?
That would have probably been a Michael Jackson tape… Dangerous or Bad I think… I’m really unsure of his personal life but musically he is just brilliant and even at a young age I knew that.

What was the first gig you saw?
My parents from a young age used to take me to pubs in Castleford and we would watch bands on a Friday and Saturday night. One band (deep blue maybe…) had a talented drummer who would play most gigs with his eyes shut, at the time I thought this was stunning, I now know this is easy to pull off. The first big gig was again Jacko at Sheffield Don Valley (might had been obsessed…slightly)

What album made you want to write music?
Peter lent me OK Computer, enough said really. The album blew my mind apart, so many levels, so atmospheric and still is to this day. I knew I needed to make music with other people, if only to cover Radiohead!

Have you ever bought a record on the strength of the album cover?
Yes only once, Massive Attack’s 100th windows. I found it in FOPP in Manchester and picked it up for £3, £3! It was a stunning gatefold vinyl and thought I can’t go wrong with Massive Attack. I was right it is pretty good.

What do you listen to in the car?
It changes often, also I can plug the iPod into my car so that opens most of my music collection up for use. Somehow Take That also seem to be present but also some decent electronica or instrumental music isn’t far away.

Is there a classic album that does nothing for you?
Bon Jovi – it’s just nothing to me (sorry Gemma if you are reading!) its just non-impactful to me, I just think ‘stick some ACDC on and everything will be better’.

What album do you never tire of hearing?
Oh anything by my musical hero’s 65daysofstatic – ever album is a work of beautifulness. Even EP’s of tracks that didn’t make albums would be any other bands peak of output but this is 65 cutting room! Every album is just brilliant and never tires.

What was the last record to inspire you?
I think possibly the last Beastie Boys record – So good, some of the rhythms used are hard, raw and uncompromising. When I listen I think ‘I’d like to play this live’.

What do you want played at your funeral?
The song that comes to mind is Jimmy Eat World’s May Angeles Lead You In but also Sufran Stevens Predatory Wasp, it wouldn’t be totally true to my life but it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

I got some new headphones and didn’t spend £100’s

I like music, no i love it! Not a day goes buy where I don’t listen to my iPod or stereo at home. My use of headphones is then normally far greater than most so I listen on the way to work, on the way home from work and then doing the washing up on a night. So 3×300 (give or take sick days, weekends, holidays etc) is 900 times a year. It’s safe to say most headphones struggle to last past 18 months, broken buds, broken wires, and  everything else, for this reason I don’t tend to spend lots of money on my headphones but should that mean I have to comprise on the sound?

I am an awful shopper, by that I mean that anyone I shop with I’m awful for them, I never choose and take hours to research what I want – In short I’m a nightmare. So with the greatness of internet shopping I did some killer research into cheapish earphones that pack a punch, I really won’t bore you with the details but I ended up going with a new company called SoundMagic and their PL30 model.

They received some great reviews and the PL range got a what HiFi award this year for best budget earphone, but could they be that good for £27.99 answer? YES oh YES.

I’ve had plenty of earphone previous to this including the very good Sennheiser PMX 70, but as soon as I put some of my favorite songs on my ipod oh I understood what all the fuss was about. Goodness they are good, getting a good fitting seal to the ear is a must, soon as that is sorted you are in listening bliss.

If your thinking of getting some headphones, seriously these headphones are sooo good for the money.

SoundMagic didn’t pay me for comment I really like these headphones.

The distant mechanised glow of European mobile technology

While looking through some old image files I found these gems and they have been getting a little attention on my flickr account so I thought I’d post some more about them and how they were took. The subject matter is important here; the greatest working British band, 65daysofstatic. The location is also a key aspect here; Dry Bar, Manchester 2005 – I was given access to In The City 05 in Manchester which is a showcase for unsigned and up and coming bands on indie labels. 65 were on the bill to play the basement of the Dry Bar, it was so small Joe had to play guitar in the crowd narrowly sparing my manhood with his headstock as he violently played through the set.

So what brought me to the Dry bar basement watching 65? I was sent to one of their gigs and ask to review their live set despite me having full blown flu in 2004/5 my face turned to stun… everything was just stunning. I’ve since had the pleasure of interviewing them, seeing them live countless times and being stupidly proud when they achieve another milestone, it is a joy to share these memories and images with other people so click on the below images and enjoy. 65XHC

65 In The City Manc 05 dry bar 165 @ cockpit summer09 3 - Copy65 In The City Manc 05 dry bar 365 at Manchester Academy 65 at Manchester Academy 265 In The City Manc 05 dry bar65 In The City Manc 05 dry bar 965 In The City Manc 05 dry bar (7)65 In The City Manc 05 dry bar 665 In The City Manc 05 dry bar 565 In The City Manc 05 dry bar 465 In The City Manc 05 dry bar (2)65 In The City Manc 05 dry bar (17)65 In The City Manc 05 dry bar (16)65 In The City Manc 05 dry bar 1565 In The City Manc 05 dry bar (14)65 In The City Manc 05 dry bar 1565 In The City Manc 05 dry bar (10)65 days of static in a music shop

Forget the Night Ahead – Review

So over Christmas I got some money and thought I’ve not funded the pockets of some record labels for a bit so I purchased a whole host of albums and music I had been wanting to get for some time.

The first of these reviews kicks off with The Twlight Sad, a band that my good friend Tom Bass (second name is a nickname as I know too many Tom’s, this one was my bass player in BPA) got me into.

First off I love bands who’s singer sings in the accent of their area, and TTS are the perfect example of that, a raw powerful but runnable voice echo’s through this album courtesy of James Graham. The whole sound of the album in facts lends it’s self to a live and open feel, as if it was recorded in a field with a slight echo.

A large epic sound can sometimes come across as not being emotionally connecting with the audience but this is draped in emotion, heart ache, despair, and loneliness. This is certainly an album where a heart is served up on a plate for all to see it’s beauty and it’s life.

The title track introduces you to the sound of TTS a great massive bombastic drum noise with effect heavy guitars and driving bass. Now around this time the normal reviewer gives the reader some helpful sign posts on where to position this band in your mental music library, these comparisons are normally lazy and sometimes miss the mark completely, so hopefully this won’t. Imagine a heavier Idlewild one darker than the mid to late 90’s version but with the same youthful energy that made Hope Is Important and 100 Broken Windows such good albums, mix this with a Mogwai sense of filling the space on a song then your getting close.

The latter comparison isn’t surprising given that they recently supported Mogwai on their UK tour, but it must be something about Scottish music of this ilk that manage to wonderfully convey a despite pain and longing for better times, the Scots for me do this better than other nationalities.

So for me this album has great points and doesn’t get boring half way through, it does have the same dynamic of seeing them live i.e my ears still work, but it does show you just how good they are while giving a nod to where they hope to be in the future. This is a great album with real gems that pull it above their class mates, such tracks as The Room which is brilliantly simple, raw and emotive. The album takes you into dark places but I’ve always had a fondness of such places so it appeals to me, just don’t pick it up expecting to see the world in a better light afterwards.

Now when I review an album that’s been out for ages I take a quick look at what others have said about the record, two main themes came out ‘wow they use a lot of effects’ and ‘It does sound quite same-y’. On the first point I LOVE the fact it’s got a massive. expansive sound with lots of noise and this sound isn’t a patch on the experience of hearing them live! And I can understand the same-y comment but I think there is enough here to separate a track from other tracks and the whole album has a ‘feel’ because of this common sound.

So in a nutshell : MASSIVE sound, dark themes, very promising band.

No but really… I played in there!

It’s been a long time, not only because I’ve not been taking many photos but also because I badly injured my hand so not only could I not take photos but I couldn’t type about photos I had taken, or edit them… or basically do anything.

So this little selection comes from my time in Touchwood studios in Leeds, a gem of a studio in Leeds where my band We Sell Seashells tasked me to recorded all the drum tracks for our new LP which gave me the quite impossible task of recording 5 tracks perfectly in 2 days. I’m pleased to say I managed it with about 3 hours to spare (we we did some odd over dubs to fill the rest of the time!).

The studio was good, lots of equipment everywhere, little tokens nodding to the studios owner’s former life as a film producer (on Pink Floyd’s ‘the wall’) and just a really chilled atmosphere.  So enjoy my snaps  of the experience, the guy in the image is Jonny; he is the lead guy in WSS. The mind game was the second one I solved in as many days, it only has one possible way it can enter the cube and the combinations are in the thousands!

Oh yeah admire just how tight the space I recorded in was…no metal kits here please.

We Sell Seashells in Studio 19We Sell Seashells in Studio 18We Sell Seashells in Studio 17We Sell Seashells in Studio 16We Sell Seashells in Studio 15We Sell Seashells in Studio 14We Sell Seashells in Studio 14We Sell Seashells in Studio 11We Sell Seashells in Studio 10We Sell Seashells in Studio 9We Sell Seashells in Studio 8We Sell Seashells in Studio 7We Sell Seashells in Studio 6We Sell Seashells in Studio 5We Sell Seashells in Studio 4We Sell Seashells in Studio 3We Sell Seashells in Studio 2We Sell Seashells in Studio 1

Greenbelt 2010: Rainbows, lights in trees and Beer and Hymns

So this is my LONG over due photo blog of Greenbelt 2010. Greenbelt was great this year and was a nice relaxing atmosphere, as always.

So here is my run through of images…

1-5      Ugly Duckling on Main stage.

6          A rainbow lands…I’m guessing it isn’t gold in there!

7         One more Ugly Duckling

8         One of my best pics, from the tiny tea tent.

9         Mainstage with moon.

10-15  Beer and Hymns @ The Jesus Arms that’s right sing old fashioned hymns and sip real ale…perfect! (with children recycling)

16-17        Danny and Champions of the World

18               The gang.

19               Some tree’s with lights.

20              Claire Short

21              Milton + crowd

22 -23     Performance Cafe

24-25      London Gospel choir

26              Beverly Knight

27             South Africa after Fifa talk

28             John Bell (Iona bloke)

29             The wife sat down in front of main stage.

30            Jars of Clay

31            The last day…