COSINES

I don’t recall a lot about writing this song. It was one of the ‘written-in-twenty minutes’ ones. Sometimes, you’ll toil and toil over a song for years (literally) and you finally get to completing it only to realise it’s not as good as you’d hoped. Other times, you sit eating dinner or nonchalantly filing your nails, you pick up a guitar and inadvertently smash out a guaranteed pop number one in 5 mins.
In truth, my songwriting lies somewhere betwixt those two opposing nadirs. Oftentimes, I write a song really quickly, declare it the best thing ever, listen back to it a week later and realise that it’s utterly shit. Other times you have a little idea or riff and it can be months later that you write something else that makes you remember your earlier idea…pop the two together and you have something surprisingly nice. There the ones that I usually stick with. I don’t tend to write too much down or record any initial thoughts so, if I play something a few times and still like it/remember it a week or two later, then it’s probably worth pursuing. Always music first though. Lyrics come later. Generally about half an hour before we have to record it in the studio.

With ‘Cosines’, I think I probably loved it at the time but listening back now I actually don’t think it has much going for it. I like a few of the lyrics (about underachieving….again!) and the mention of good old Alfred (finished lighting his fires now…) but I don’t know…it’s not a classic Bang track by any means.
To make up for that, here is a classic track by one of my favourite artists ever. You’ll have to put up with  me covering it though I’m afraid. Sorry about that.

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Published in: on September 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm  Comments (1)  
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GIGS OF THE YEAR 2013

Straight in…..no messin’…..

#10) Retro Stefson – The Hope, Brighton

I think this was my fourth or fifth time seeing the Icelandic dance-pop-rock-funk-world-metal-r&b’ers. Normally that array of words together in a sentence would send me fleeing for the hills but, since I first saw these a few years back, I’ve been absolutely hooked and have spread the good word Stefson high and low. Flamenco dance-offs and directional jumping at a gig are not something I generally participate in. I’m happy to say, however, that three members of the Bang were in attendance and all of us were flinging ourselves around like knobs.

#9) The Fall – Clapham Grand

A big tick off the list to finally see the genius of M.E.S live. Couldn’t make out a single word he said all night and spent a great deal of time chuckling as he stalked round the stage turning amps up and down, hanging his coat over drum microphones and generally arsing about. A birthday pressie from Bangman Rhodesy and a great evening out all round. I even ‘strawpedoed’ a Smirnoff Ice. Something I haven’t done for a good 10 years. Good pub opposite The Grand too.

#8) Everything Everything/Dutch Uncles – Portsmouth Pyramids

Birthday related fun once again (this time from the wondrous Mrs W…). Dutch Uncles were on ace form (I particularly enjoyed the midi glockenspiel and ‘interesting’ dance moves from singer Duncan…). Everything Everything have certainly come a long way since seeing them at The Fat Fox pub a few years ago. Thought they were great earlier in the year (or was it last year?) at The Wedgewood Rooms and they just seem to get better every time I see them. Stadia beckon soon I reckon. A total treat to see my favourite ditty ‘Nasa is on Your Side’ performed live as well.

#7) Lanterns on the Lake – Southampon Joiners/Southsea’s Pie & Vinyl

Couldn’t really separate these two performances though they were a few months apart. I was on sound duty for the P&V one and it was probably my favourite instore performance they’ve had in there so far (…even though my shitty old mixing desk broke meaning the band were without reverb….not ideal for LotL…sorry…).Hazel, though, has a stunning voice which carried things along nicely and the close proximity in P&V really suited the intimate, dreamy atmosphere. The gig at The Joiners meant that the slightly heavier, more up-tempo songs on the new album could sound as big as intended and they were very friendly folks too which is always a bonus.

#6) The National – Alexandra Palace, London

I’ve technically ‘seen’ The National once before at the incredible  ATP festival they curated last year. However…it was at the end of my stag do. Three very…er…’powerful’ days forever etched in the mind (for good and bad reasons…I’m not sure I’ll ever recover…). Physically and mentally fatigued as I was, I perhaps didn’t fully enjoy the wonder of them live that first time round. For this one though, I made sure I was in full and rude health. They didn’t disappoint at all and the songs from the new album ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ really come in to their own live. Everyone seems to moan about Ally Pally as a venue as well but I really enjoyed and thought the sound was great inside.

#5) Olafur Arnalds/Douglas Dare – Brighton All Saints Church

A funny old gig for a couple of reasons. Firstly – it came at the end of a day xmas shopping in Brighton whereby we had all our newly purchased presses nicked whilst helping a cyclist after she’d had a horrible crash. PEOPLE. The gig itself though was in a spectacular setting and the calming music of piano, cello and violin, often in almost complete darkness, was incredible…UNTIL…utter dickheads with iPhones aloft, flashes on, and annoying camera sounds clicking away almost ruined every moment you felt like you could completely drift away. Could have been number one gig of the year otherwise. PEOPLE. WHAT A BUNCH OF BASTARDS.

#4) John Grant/Asgeir Trausti – Cambridge Junction

After discovering Icelander (I know….just for a change…) Asgeir Trausti last year, I was overjoyed to see that he was the support for the splendid John Grant on his UK tour. Turns out, John assisted in translating Asgeir’s debut album Dýrð í dauðaþögn (which is absolutely ace) into English for worldwide release next year. Both artists were amazing, chatty between songs and on top form (and I always enjoy a visit to Cambridge…mainly for Fopp and Nana Mexico’s). I am also everso partial to Mr Grant’s little shimmy betwixt synth and mic on the dancier songs.

#3) David Byrne & St Vincent – End of the Road

Lots of great performances at this cracking festival. David Byrne’s announcement over the PA prior to taking to the stage asking people not to take loads of photos or videos and to enjoy the music ‘in the moment’ (see Olafur above…) was a brilliant touch that i’m hoping will catch on. Annie Clark of St Vincent is one of my fave guitarists (and people in general) so to see her solo stuff combined with classic Talking Heads numbers, all played by a choreographed brass band is something to behold indeed. Electric.

#2) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Brighton Dome/Optimus Primavera

It’s Nick Cave for fucks sake.

#1) Danny Elfman/The BBC Symphonic Orchestra – Royal Albert Hall

I never thought I’d see the day. One of the greatest living composers (to my mind anyway) responsible for some of the most iconic film and TV music of recent times performing live. With a full orchestra. Themes from Edward Scissorhands, BeetleJuice, Batman, Corpse Bride and a host of others all played out in the beautiful surroundings of the Albert Hall. Simple images of concept drawings and early sketches displayed behind added to the uniqueness of the performance (though I heard one idiot complain afterwards that ‘the visuals could have been better’…WATCH THE ORCHESTRA YOU CLUNGE!). Even Helena Bonham Carter popped up to belt out a rendition of Sally’s Song from Nightmare Before Xmas to rapturous applause and Tim Burton said a few moving words about Danny at the end. Incredible.

Special mentions go to the following gigs:

* At our local legendary venue The Wedge – British Sea Power, Villagers, Johnny Marr and Willy Mason

* Efterklang, Sigur Ros (both of whom are only not in the top ten cos I’ve seen them before play better gigs), MONEY, Bo Ningen & PINS all at the amazing End of the Road (maybe my favourite UK festival)

* Deerhunter (‘we are a PROFESSIONAL ROCK OUTFIT’), Explosions in the Sky and Blur at Optimus Primavera (a shining example of why foreign festivals are often much better than our own)

* Snorri Helgason – KEX Hostel, Iceland

So there you have it. Albums of the year done. Gigs of the year done. What would your choices be?

PERHAPS THIS?????? TONIGHT!!!!!!!! COME AND FESTIVE IT RIGHT UP WITH US!!!!!!!!!

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A CREEPY CHRISTMAS w/ Ralfe Band, Mary Epworth, The B of the Bang & Joe Black

MERRY XMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE B OF THE BANG

xxx

ALBUMS OF THE YEAR 2013

It’s that time of year again innit? Fire crackling (I don’t have a fire), stocking hung (I don’t have a stocking) and sherry in hand (I don’t have any sherry)….it’s time for that odd, and slightly unnatural, annual yuletide tradition of PUTTING THINGS YOU LIKE INTO AN ORDER FOR NO APPARENT REASON. But, like watching Jack Frost (the terrible Michael Keaton-is-a-snowman one…), drinking Advocaat (why would you do that at any other time of year?) and eating sprouts (January to November they are banned from my plate)…it just has to be done as December’s darkness envelopes us all…

So….ready? Heating on? Carols being sung? Astonishing amount of pastry based snacks at hand?

My (me. Wit. Hello.) Albums of the Year 2013. GO!

#10) Lanterns on the Lake – Until the Colours Run

A band that seem to have gone through a whole load of shitty stuff just to get the chance to make their second album (which certainly resonates with us…) and the end result is ruddy fantastic. A record that skillfully blends swelling, subtle, gorgeous tunes with informed and thought-provoking lyrics. A theme that seems to crop up lots in the following artists….

#9) Olafur Arnalds – For Now I Am Winter

The Erased Tapes label really is a goldmine and Olafur is probably their…er….shiniest nugget? (Sorry Olafur…that was meant to be a compliment). All of his work is beautifully evocative and this’n is no exception. They (who are ‘they???’) call it ‘neo-classical’ but daft genre titles don’t really interest me. What does interest me are subtle electronic beats, sparsely layered string quartets and even some cheeky, sexy vocals popping up this time round. A wonderful, wintry album.

#8) Midlake – Antiphon

An all time fave band of mine returning with an album that’s much more impressive than it really has any right to be. Eric Pulido taking over on vox from Tim Smith has only invigorated things as far as I can hear and the songs themselves are as classy, inventive, well executed and lyrically inspired as ever. Well played sirs. Well played.

#7) Nadine Shah – Love Your Dum and Mad

An artist who I was unaware of until very recently and I’m ever so glad I am now. I think she’ll be a mighty force to be reckoned with in years to come. Fantastic lyrics and fantastic musicianship. The restrained power in her voice really is something to behold too. What’s not to love? I believe Wild Beasts like her n’all so that means I must be right.

#6) Sigur Ros – Kveikur

A tricky one this. On the one hand, if you held a gun to my head (please don’t…I’d probably wet myself…), I would more than likely say – depending on what day of the week it is – that Sigur Ros are my ‘favourite’ band overall. Kveikur certainly has some of their most immediate, ‘catchiest’ (not really the right word for Jonsi & co…) work on it but I will admit, when push comes to shove…(guns, pushing, shoving…what’s going on?)…I prefer the Ros in full on soundscapey mode. In fact, the album of theirs I’m probably fondest of is Valtari. Saying that, it’s a bit like comparing eating Wensleydale with watching snooker. They’re both lush so let’s just enjoy them all and STOP COMPARING EVERYTHING YEAH???

#5) The National – Trouble Will Find Me

It’s rare these days that you get a band who deliver album after album of top notch stuff. Even rarer when each album bests the last. Mid-period REM spring to mind (for a while anyway…) and I think this lot are their natural successors. Again you get those people (often dullards…) that are all ‘Alligator/High Violet/Boxer is the best and nothing will beat that’ but I couldn’t care less – I think this is easily up there with some of their finest stuff. Sounds even better live too.

#4) John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts

I’ve been hooked on Johnny-boy since I first heard his dulcet tones a few years back. He just has that certain quality where you need to hear what he has to say and want to know everything that he’s thinking. A wonderful album that’s quite different from his first solo record and, to these ears, even better for it. The Gus Gus involvement in production meant the album was always going to be a bit ‘dancier’ (for want of a better word) but it still manages to be packed full of emotion and meaning. Also, the third Bella Union act on this list. They know what they’re doing them lot.

#3) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away

It’s Nick Cave for fucks sake. I don’t need to say anymore.

#2) These New Puritans – Field of Reeds 

Firstly, most of the reviews I’ve read about this album bang on about how it’s ‘like, almost classical man’ or that it’s mind-bogglingly, genre-spanningly, boundary-pushing…er…ly…different from everything ever in music. I’m not quite sure I completely agree with all that BUT what I do hear is an incredibly strong album, packed with excellent songs and interesting arrangements from a band at the top of their game. It goes to show how homogenised and derivative a lot of current music is at the moment that, when a band come along who do have a definite and specific vision, people whip out the over-the-top superlatives like ol’ Jack whips out the Taiko drums and samurai swords. Still superb though.

#1) Mogwai – Les Revenants OST

Now I’m no Mogwai purist/die-hard fan like lots o’ folk. I’ve always liked what I’ve heard by them and owned a few bits and bobs but I’m not what you’d call a completist (about anything to be honest…I don’t think I have the patience or attention span…). Hearing this album though, and intrinsically linking it in my mind to some of the beautiful imagery from the excellent French TV series it soundtracks, just made me go a bit Mogwai-mad. There’s something rather special about it. In general, I like a bit of instrumental post-rock as much as the next man but occasionally I find there can be a wee bit of emotional detachment involved. More nodding and beard-stroking than actually feeling like your heart may explode. This album, however, really does deliver it all. A cardiopulmonary whilst rubbing ones chin approvingly.

Special mention goes to Everything Everything for making one of the more interesting mainstream(ish) pop albums of recent times in ‘Arc’ and the following two albums I still don’t actually own but have been listening to loooaaaaads and intend to purchase ‘em as soon as possible (unless Santa is reading this…I’ve been reet good this year big man…) – those albums in question are Nils Frahm ‘Spaces’ and Anna Calvi ‘One Breath’. Cracking stuff.

Tons more I’ve heard bits of this year too but just haven’t yet had enough time or dosh to make up my mind and buy (as usual) including:

Emiliana Torrini, Boards of Canada, Volcano Choir, No Age, Tuung, I Am Kloot, Eels, Deerhunter and probably loads of others I forget. SO MUCH MUZIK.

So there you have it. Some will agree, most won’t. That’s the joy of art isn’t it? If you find this list rubs you the wrong way so hard that you’re face goes red and you want to send a strongly worded email on how wrong I am then send it here: elliottgregg@thedrummer.com

I think I’ll post up me top gigs of the year somewhen this week too. Just because.

SPEAKING OF GIGS (see what I did there…?) – come to this next Wednesday and you really will feel that Christmas miracles can come true:

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Facebook Event – http://www.facebook.com/events/479932588788715/
Pie & Vinyl Event – http://www.pieandvinyl.co.uk/events/2784/
Wedgewood Rooms Event & tickets – http://wedgewood-rooms.co.uk/WhatsOn/LiveMusic/LIVELOCAL.aspx
In the words of Tiny Tim…..MERRY FUCKING CHRISTMAS
XXXXXXXXX

G-G-G-G-G-G-G-GO!

It’s all go-go-go here in BangLand at the mo so not many words today but some pretty pictures and audio for you….

Firstly – we’re playing an acoustic instore set at our lovely headquarters http://www.pieandvinyl.co.uk this Saturday 20th April for http://www.recordstoreday.co.uk  – Band of Skulls will be making an appearance too…

RSD POSTER V2

Secondly, the day after (Sunday 21st April) we will be having our big album 2 launch gig/mini-festival at The Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth with support from some of our very favourite bands…it’s going to be a truly special day and we’d love to see you all there….tickets and details available here: http://tinyurl.com/BangWedge

Wit PosterWeb

Thirdly, we’ve been announced to play at the splendid looking Victorious Festival http://victoriousfestival.co.uk in August alongside The Cribs, Maximo Park, Nine Black Alps, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Mike Skinner, Katy B…..and more excitingly….LEVEL 42! Yes indeed.

Victorious

Fourthly (I know…!), our new album will be out Monday 22nd April (although we will have vinyl on us for Record Store Day and the album launch) and it has had a couple of lovely early reviews here:

http://recordoverplayed.co.uk/cdreviews/botb_tremors13.html

http://www.mrteethreviews.com/the-b-of-the-bang-tremors-and-nosebleeds-melodies-of-a-malady/

AND FINALLY…..our very own Wit appeared on BBC6 Music’s Radcliffe and Maconie Show yesterday cramming in as much info about all the stuff above as possible whilst fulfilling a lifetime ambition appearing on their ace feature ‘The Chain’. His song choice? John Grant’s ‘Pale Green Ghosts’ (from The Walker Brothers ‘Make it Easy on Yourself’ – Ivor Raymonde arranged the strings for it and his son is Simon Raymonde who runs the Bella Union label…which John Grant is on). Listen again here (2 hours 14 minutes in):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rsz1y

PHEW!!!

xxxx

Gigs of the Year 2012 (and a new song for y’all…)

Another list coming at’cha…..drum roll please…….

 

1) Wild Beasts – ATP Camber Sands

 

An incredible performance. The album ‘Smother’ in full, plus a few other choice cuts. I was on my stag do. Very tipsy. Questionably dressed. Best man/TBOTB geetarist David claimed it was ‘the best gig he’d ever seen’. I’m tempted to agree.

 

2) Eric Pulido & Friends – The Slaughtered Lamb, Clerkenwell

 

A secret gig in a tiny London pub that featured Jason Lytle of Grandaddy (covering Neil Young, no less…), John Grant, half of Midlake and Ed Harcourt. Probably only about 50 people there and felt like watching some mates play in a living room. Some mates though…

 

3) Olafur Arnalds/Nils Frahm/Winged Victory For The Sullen – Hackney Empire

 

A beautiful evening in a beautiful venue. WVFTS were incredible. I’ve seen Olafur a few times now and he’s always an utter joy to watch and Nils (down to 9 working fingers…) had the entire place spellbound. Also they were all very amusing between songs. Which was nice.

 

4) Sigur Ros – Laugardalshöll Arena, Iceland Airwaves

 

Every show at Airwaves this year could probably go on the list but this really was special. An absolutely amazing performance with visuals to match. Even after the hour-long drone that preceded them which seemed to annoy a few peeps (I quite enjoyed it….)

 

5) Asgeir Trausti – KEX Hostel, Iceland Airwaves

 

I knew nothing about this lad before we went to see him so he’s discovery of the year for me. The excellent taste of my ladyfriend guided us his way as he’d been called the ‘Icelandic Bon Iver’. There were certainly similarities but also touches of Jeff Buckley and some lovely instrumentation. I predict big things for this lad and he’s only 20. Bastard.

 

6) The National – ATP Camber Sands

 

At the very end of an emotionally draining stag that probably should have seen me hospitalised at the very least….one of my favourite ever bands playing everything you’d ever want to hear them do for 2 hours. Including an unplugged ‘…Crybaby Geeks’ which by that point I actually was…

 

7) Bon Iver – Latitude Festival

 

The last time I saw Mr Vernon at Glasto he just had a coupla folks backing him and an acoustic guitar. This time he had a ten piece band, an expansive stage set-up and a sawnky, fancy light show. Both times he was no less than brilliant. The man certainly has skills.

 

8) Efterklang/John Grant – Brighton Dome

 

Efterklang playing this years ace ‘Piramida’ album in full with an orchestra. Peter Broderick played with them. They were supported by one of my favourite ever artists who debuted some fantastic new songs. In one of my favourite ever venues. What’s not to like?

 

9) Dirty Projectors – Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland Airwaves

 

Bjork was wandering around whilst these were playing (we’d seen her watching Purity Ring earlier on. Wearing a puffa jacket and a veil. As you do…) and she has splendid taste. Very very very good indeed….even if aforementioned TBOTB six-stringer Dave missed it due to too much vodka consumed from a mouthwash bottle….

 

10) Field Music – Electric Ballroom

 

Infuriatingly talented, those Brewis brothers. They played for nigh on 2 hours, swapping instruments, changing song structures and even threw in a few Week That Was numbers too which sounded fantastiche. Hadn’t been to the venue before either and rather liked it n’all….

 

11) Josh T Pearson – Latitude

 

Magnificent beard. Magnificent hat. Magnificent guitarist. Magnificent man. Had the audience in the palm of his hand. Also had a mean line in blue jokes. Brilliant.

 

12) Lianne La Havas – Great Escape

 

Quite a surprise for me to be honest. I’d heard a couple of her songs and they sort of passed me by a little as standard pop stuff. What a fool I am. She was incredible….especially when performing solo. Definitely want this album as soon as poss. She seemed genuinely happy to be there as well which is a welcome change from some of the usual dour indie nonsense I generally see. Like when we play.

 

13) Kerbdog – The Garage, London

Hundred Reasons/Hell is for Heroes/Cable – Kentish Town Forum, London

Therapy? – The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

 

I’m not generally one who likes to wallow around in nostalgia…it’s pretty rare I listen to stuff from my teens really (except Idlewild obviously….that borders on dangerous obsession) but these 3 gigs were all absolutely amazing. I can definitely see why some people’s music tastes get stuck around 16 years of age as these gigs evoked some lovely memories that I’d almost forgotten. I was accompanied at all these gigs by good friends too and everyone was there to have a right old time. That first little hi-hat count of ‘I’ll Find You’ by HR just does something to me….

 

14) Sharon Van Etten – Latitude Festival

 

I missed her at ATP due to playing the drinking game ‘Leanmaster’ but it was OK as her performance earlier in the year was enough to keep me going for some time it was so good. She really is something else this lass.

 

15) Clock Opera – The Registry, Portsmouth

 

I’ve seen Guy and co a few times now and they’re always entertaining. This gig was late, there were technical problems and the sound wasn’t as clear as some of the times i’d seen them before but it was my favourite performance of theirs. Possibly as I think it was the last night of their tour and they seemed really up for it. Top stuff.

 

 

Honourable mentions also go to Richard Hawley & Lisa Hannigan at The Pyramids, Southsea. A freshly reformed 80’s Matchbox B-Line Disaster at Concorde 2, Brighton and Elbow creating some of the biggest sing-a-longs going at Latitude….

 

So….what are your gigs of the year? Maybe the one this coming Saturday?

 

http://www.pieandvinyl.co.uk/events/pievinyl-presents-the-official-christmas-party-2012/

 

To get you in the mood here’s a brand new song of ours.

 

https://soundcloud.com/thebofthebang/the-b-of-the-bang-chemikals

 

Merry Xmas everyone!

 

xxx

Albums of 2011 (and gigs…)

Ahhhhh a list. Love em or hate em. I personally love em…whether they be shopping, bucket or Schindler’s. People get so irate over end-of-year lists don’t they? They say ‘HOW DARE YOU RATE THE WANTED OVER NICKI MINAJ!!!  (check me out…i’m down with the hep cats…) YOU MUST BE MENTALLY UNBALANCED!!!’ Well, don’t take this list too seriously as my mind changes as often as a member of the Sugababes…this is just what I think in this particular moment at this exact point in time (10.48AM GMT, Monday 28th November 2011).

Also…for your records, this is Wit writing…hello. I don’t want you to exact revenge on one of the other GangBangers just because i’ve placed X higher than Y. That just wouldn’t be on. Unless it’s Jack. Cos his list would be awful.

So…mince pie in hand, Bailey’s poured, fire crackling….let’s begin.

…oh by the way – i’m doing a top 15…just because I want to…

15) Radiohead – The King of Limbs

Shock! Horror! A Radiohead record has been released and it’s not my number one! These truly are end times! Well the truth is that, although there’s some good stuff on there…it’s just not top 10 material. Codex is lovely though. Like Thom’s dance moves.

14) DELS – Gob

My hip-hop knowledge is not as sharp as it might be but I know what’s good and this is ruddy good. (ps my first ever band when I was 13 was a comedy rap band with my brother and I used to listen to his Pete Rock & CL Smooth and Lords of the Underground CD’s quite a lot….does this make me more street? No? Oh.)

13) Josh T Pearson – Last of the Country Gentlemen

I haven’t had very long with this record so, over time, I’d imagine this would place much higher…on the first few listens though it is indeed splendid and has introduced me to the wonderous Lift to Experience so that’s nice…

12) Roddy Woomble – The Impossible Song

Long time BangFans will know of my worrying man-love for young Roddy…ever since his early Idlewild days he can do nowt wrong in my eyes and this album is a joy. So that’s nice too…

11) Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!

Another cracking record from everyones favourite angel-voiced plumbers…in other years this would probably be higher on the list but personally I think 2011 has been an exceptional year for musical releases. So there. I’m sure Elbow aren’t too fussed. I would like to try their ale though.

10) The Antlers – Burst Apart

Critics darlings but for once completely justified. A beautiful record though not quite as wondrous as ‘Hospice’ so just edging into my top 10…I would like to see these live please. As Jim can no longer Fix It for me i’m asking Santa.

9) The Duke Spirit – Bruiser

I love Leila Moss and her band. That is all.

8) Beirut – The Rip Tide

More marvellous merriment from Monsieur Condon and co. Managed to get a gorgeous see-through vinyl of it too. Does that matter? OF COURSE IT DOES.

7) Patrick Wolf – Lupercalia

He’s got some lungs on him this lad. ‘House’ is one of my pop songs of the year too. Not just because it shares a name with a certain medical series about a miserable genius that i’m semi-obsessed with.

6) St Vincent – Strange Mercy

Probably the freshest thing to grace my ears for some time. Amazing guitarist she is n’all. Well done Annie.

5) PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

Not really getting why people have said this album is love or hate – it’s Polly Jean at her finest in my ears. I also love ‘White Chalk’ though and lots of folk don’t care for that. Those people are called idiots.

4) Wild Beasts – Smother

To be honest, my top 5 are completely interchangeable. This would deffo sit easily and proudly as my fave album of the year but, perhaps because I’ve listened to it so very very much, today it’s at 5. Sorry lads. I STILL LOVE YOU!!!!

3) Bon Iver – s/t

See above. Amazing stuff. Even the 80’s power ballad. ESPECIALLY the 80’s power ballad.

2) Metronomy – The English Riviera

Caught me by surprise this’n. Having seen em a few times and heard their earlier stuff I was always left a bit underwhelmed but this album is nigh on perfection. It also contains one of the best pop songs ever in ‘The Look’. That keyboard solo at the end…yes….

…and DRUM ROLL PLEASE…..

1) Bjork – Biophillia

Just astounding. May mean more to me because of seeing her perform it live in Iceland this year (on my 30th birthday too..) but it’s an absolutely amazing piece of work. Not just in the innovative way it was released, the app’s, the bizarre instruments and her top notch wig. The songs themselves are also 1st class. And after all boys n girls…that’s what it’s all about innit?

So…there you go. My Albums of 2011. As I say I can’t speak for the others (though I dare say Rhodesy would have Stephen Malkmus and The Fall high up there…I haven’t got those albums yet so will have to ask for a lend…) and Keef and Ell Greggo might have gone for a bit of Tyler, the Creator (I love ‘Yonkers’ but can’t bring myself to love the rest of the album…). Rox will no doubt be rocking out to the Deftones (actually that might’ve been last year…soz) and Jack is probs relaxing in the bath to Sade but WHO KNOWS. You’ll have to ask them…

I’m not gonna list the various TBOTB offshoot albums/side projects as it’s a bit unfair but both Rox’s album and The Retrospective Soundtrack Players LP were excellent. Go buy them both. Special mentions also go to The Horrors, Tom Waits, I Break Horses, Zun Zun Egui, Washed Out, Mogwai, Blood Orange and, of course, there’s loads more that escape my mind or that I haven’t really given enough time to. As always, being a skint musician (who DOESN’T ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD) means I can’t afford a lot of the stuff that I want. Add to this the fact that i’m always catching up on the last 1000 odd years of music means that really, when it comes down to it…THIS LIST MEANS NOTHING. Still, it’s kept us both out of trouble for 10 mins and I feel like we’ve bonded. Do you?

While i’m here – i’m gonna do a gig list too. I’m feeling frivolous, footloose and fancy free!

15) Bob Dylan/Fionn Regan/Shane McGowan – Feis Festival, London

Bob’d be higher but I’ve seen him before, I was surrounded by 20,000 drunk Irish folk (both a plus and a minus…) and I left before the encore when he played ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, ‘All Along the Watchtower’ and ‘Blowin in the Wind’. Oops. Fionn played on a quiet acoustic stage about 10 metres from where The Waterboys were bellowing out ‘Whole of the Moon’ so I could only hear about 40% and Shane McGowan…well he’s Shane McGowan (again, both a positive and a negative…)

14) Beach House – Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland Airwaves

I think just the fact that when I saw them support Grizzly Bear in Brighton last year they blew me away might’ve lessened the impact this time round. Still proper good though.

13) Andy Foster/Stealing Sheep – The Wedge, Southsea & Kinky Boot Beasts – The Cellars, Eastney

A tie here. Lovely stuff from both Mr Foster and the Sheep Stealers. Saw them supporting Emmy the Great. Who really wasn’t great. Kinky Boot Beasts played with Dave and myself’s other band Analogue Manilow. And really were great.

12) Howling Bells – The Wedge, Southsea

They didn’t play ‘Low Happening’. THE HEARTLESS BASTARDS.

11) Other Lives – KEX, Iceland Airwaves

Watched them soundcheck in a tiny little bar. Lovely.

10) The Walkmen – The Wedge, Southsea

We supported them. They were aloof and didn’t talk to us. I kind of liked it though. And they played ‘The Rat’. YOU HEAR THAT HOWLING BELLS??

9) Deerhunter – Shepherd Bush Empire. London

Lots of scenester tossers there. This would probably have placed higher were it not for them talking balls incessantly everywhere you turned.

8) Borko – Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland Airwaves

‘Ding Dong Kingdom’. Nuff said.

7) Wild Beasts – Concorde 2, Brighton

‘WATCH ME! WATCH ME!’ This would’ve been top 3 but for some bizarre reason (a club night or something…) the curfew was 10pm on a Saturday night meaning they started at 8.30. Myself, Mrs W, Ell Greggo and Rhodesy arrived after much mulled wine at about 9 hoping to catch the end of support band Dutch Uncles only to be met with the Beast’s a quarter of the way through their set! D’oh! Still, we did then end up in, not one, but two gay night clubs so every cloud n’ that…

6) Clock Opera – The Wedge, Southsea Fest

Really want to see this band again as I had drunk a lot of brandy prior to this gig. I think it was very good…in fact i’m pretty sure it was…DAMN YOU BRANDY!

5) Retro Stefson – Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland Airwaves

‘KIMBA! KIMBA!’ The liveliest folks I’ve seen since….I saw them a couple of years ago. Chirpy, funky and danceable are not words often associated with me but they’re infectious. Some of the other Bangers saw them play in a launderette or something too. I’ve been telling every Ron, Mick and Larry in Blighty about them ever since…

4) Roddy Woomble – The Point, Eastliegh

See my Album List. Worrying.

3) Donovan – Albert Hall, London

Played the whole ‘Sunshine Superman’ album with an orchestra. Then sat cross-legged and pretended it was still 1966. We got a free upgrade to one o’ them posh boxes. Noel Gallagher was next to us. It was a fun evening all round.

2) John Grant – Harpa, Iceland Airwaves

Bloody hell. I had a tear in my eye all the way through. As did Mrs W. Not just because of the Birthday shots of Cointreau either. Absolutely beautiful.

1) Bjork – Harpa, Iceland Airwaves

She’s only gone and done the double! Just 750 people there and in a stunning venue. I’ve been to a handful of gigs in my life that have been that outstanding. Made me want to give up. In a good way.

And that’s that. Again there’s probs loads of others that i’ve forgotten about so don’t shout at me too much. All in all though –  in a year where dosh has been tight, tight, tight and thus festivals and gigs have been few and far between for me, I’m happy to have seen and heard some absolutely awe-inspiring stuff. Now…back to TBOTB recording. FINALLY.

MERRY EASTER.

xxxx

Incestuous Southsea…

Autumns spindly fingers are slowly creeping around us here in the South of England and this chill morn seems like a good time to post. Things are rosy in Camp Bang at the mo – writing more than ever and it looks like we finally might all find the time to get together and record all this new stuff soon. It always seems to be winter for us when we record – I guess we’re a winter band….here are some early demo’s for the forthcoming album:

For the uninitiated I should probs introduce you to a few of our other projects – the reason that organising our gigs and recording is similar in scale to organising the Olympics…

Ready? Deep breath…

I myself (Wit) try and devote most of my time to The B of the Bang but I also have a lovely side project on the go with Dave Of-The-Bang (who I’ve been in bands with half my life) and former Bang-man Mighty Matt E (The Myth). It’s called Analogue Manilow and is much rawer and grungier than TBOTB. This is us:

On top of that, i’m currently recording solo stuff for a film and I also play live with The Dawn Chorus who are recording at the mo:

http://www.thedawnchorus.com/blog/

A few of The Dawn Chorus have their own side project signed to Xtra Mile called The Retrospective Soundtrack Players: Who’s their drummer? Well if it’s not our very own Elliott Gregg! This be them:

http://retrospectivesoundtrackplayers.blogspot.com/

Greggles also does his own DJ/electronic thang that goes by the name of St Robe:

http://soundcloud.com/saintrobe

Keefy Beefy, our bassman, plays with the aforementioned DC and has his own ace solo guise called Tom Fossum:

http://www.myspace.com/tomfossum

He took over from The Ox who plays in a reggae/dub/rock band called Zegema Beach with…..yes you guessed it! Our heroine Roxanne Johns – who also plays and records top-notch solo stuff:

http://www.facebook.com/Zegemabeach

http://www.roxannejohns.co.uk/

Confused yet? You will be. Jack and me used to play in his band Hats are for Heads and he also does remixes under the name of Billy and The Bears. When he’s not organising hostile take-overs.

http://www.myspace.com/hatsareforheads

http://www.myspace.com/billyandthebearsmusic

I think that’s most of it covered…might have missed out one or two bands but it’s so incestuous here in Southsea that it’s hard to keep track. Most of us have something to do with this wee DIY label here so have a peek and, if you’re feeling all communal, like – p’raps buy an album or 2 and keep us all in electricity for another week.

http://jellymaidmusic.com/

To play you out – a cover of one of my favourite artists – the lovely John Grant:

and a new song:

DONE!!!

TTFN
xxxxx

ps tomorrow (Tues 8th November) we’re playing one of our last gigs of the year at The Edge of the Wedge with the excellent Chapman Family. Do come say hi yes?