AIM HIGH

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh the difficult second album. Where to begin? Well…with ‘Aim High’ that’s where.

The ORIGINAL plan was to get in and record this new set of songs as quickly as possible, pretty much track everything live and get it done swiftly. How wrong we were. The band at this point I think had expanded to Myself, Dave on guitar, Ox on bass, Elliott on drums and Roxanne on keys. Jack had moved to the imaginary, made-up place of Sherfield-on-Loddon for work and, although he was still a member of the band, logistics prevented him on getting down much to Southsea to record anything.

Rox was a great addition – lending her ace vocals and silky piano skills to many a track. I’d always wanted dual male/female vocals (which is why 3 songs on our first album have ladies as guest singers) and I started writing accordingly. The mighty Ox had also stepped in to a full time role after we’d toured together as Dawn Chorus stand-ins. No-one slappa da bass like him.

So….what happened? Well, rather selfishly I went off traveling around Asia for 3 months (in order to…you know….like….totally find myself dahling…) and I got engaged. Upon returning, I’d had all these new ideas for songs and music. The main crux of which was a ridiculously overblown concept piece, more of which I’ll chat about later. I’d made recordings of foley and sound effects etc…while I was away and wanted to take the thread of ‘Beginning. Middle. End’ even further with a 3 act concept album. As you do. If you’re going to do something, you may as well go for it eh? Well thank God it didn’t actually happen like that as I think the slimmed-down, final group of tracks that became album 2 are much, much better for it.

‘Aim High’ was an early contender. I wanted to streamline my songwriting and condense my ideas a little. If there’s a major criticism (that I also sort of see as a positive to be honest…) with the first album it’s that it sounds like loads of different bands. Album 2 was a conceited effort to come up with a TBOTB definable ‘sound’. Still an eclectic one but more focused and direct.

Originally a gentle little acoustic number, I’d been inspired by some of the chanting monks (I’m not even lying…what a tool…) from Laos and Vietnam etc…so, wherever we could force a big, gang vocal harmony in, we did. Fittingly, we thought it should open the album and it ended up being our second single. I made the video using an iPhone app for nothing. It took forever. But it does sum up the whole period of recording quite nicely…

A live version from The Bull & Gate, Camden for Club Fandango…

…and from our album launch at The Wedgewood Rooms (nice intune vocals at the start there…few nerves I expect…)

…finally the song in it’s original guise shortly after writing…

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Now the dust has settled….

Well….what a couple of weeks it’s been….I’d use the term ’emotional rollercoaster’ but I’m not really a fan of that particular theme park ride so I’m going to go for….er…..what else has twists and turns? Perhaps a Paul Hollywood plaited loaf? Emotional loaf. That’s how I feel.

So. Against all odds (more of which in a mo…) our second album is finally out. To buy. On vinyl. Doesn’t it look purdy?

Tremors & Nosebleeds: The Melodies of a Malady

Tremors & Nosebleeds: The Melodies of a Malady

It’s £9.99 and comes with a free download code – you can purchase it here: http://thebofthebang.bigcartel.com/ (you can get it from iTunes, Amazon and all that too but it doesn’t look as nice as this does…)

Basically (and to cut a very long story short) we were originally promised the album was going to be baked (like Hollywood’s loaves again…), pressed and delivered the week before Record Store Day and in more than enough time for our album launch.

How wrong we were.

On the delivery date we were suddenly informed by the European pressing plant (I shan’t mention any names…) that we wouldn’t be receiving the records for another month! This pretty much rendered the whole shebang a wee bit pointless and, as might be expected, many swears were flung into the surrounding silence….

BUT

Up stepped a hero of a man, who did an absolutely Herculean job at wrenching us – battered, bruised and weeping – up from the gutter. Tim at Sound Performace. What an absolute legend. He worked tirelessly non-stop for us and pretty much cut, pressed and manufactured a record in a week. Outstanding. Our gratitude to him is endless. Many, many phone calls, emails, favours, handshakes, winks and secret nods were deployed and….Friday night (the night before Record Store Day) the band were in production plant mode gluing labels on, popping inlays in and printing off download codes left right and centre at our Pie & Vinyl Headquarters. DIY til we die. I want to thank all the P&V staff there for their help in the matter too…we couldn’t have done it without you. Steve, Rob, Rob, Roberta, Lydia & Kirsty. Thankyou.

No sleep and plenty of worried hours meant that things were pretty fraught in the camp for a while….a happy ending was much needed and by jingo we got it. First with the success of RSD at P&V where we played an instore acoustic set alongside Band of Skulls…(followed by an ace evening at The Registry where the documentary Last Shop Standing was shown featuring our own Pie & Vinyl peeps…)

The cue outside Pie & Vinyl while we played

The queue outside Pie & Vinyl whilst we played…

then….at our album launch at The Wedgewood Rooms on the Sunday night. It couldn’t have gone any better. I won’t forget that gig for a long time. We’ve played that particular venue a fair few times over the years in various bands but we’ve never actually headlined our own night there so it was a definite tick off the list. Cheers to Geoff at The Wedge for his help. The support bands were all absolutely incredible too. Revere, Hall of Mirrors, Billy Vincent, The Boy I Used to Be and Rich Keam. All of them friends from the last few years of touring around the UK. Everyone mucked in to help us make the place look nice and turn it into a bit of a different event than your normal, everyday gig too…

Amongst good company...

Amongst good company…

My incredible wife and her incredible cakes...

My incredible wife and her incredible cakes…

Roberta (of the ace band Curxes and P&V fame...) sold some of her excellent prints - she did the RSD and launch poster designs...

Roberta (of the ace band Curxes and P&V fame…) sold some of her excellent prints – she did the RSD and launch poster designs n’all…

TBOTB & TBIUTB. Some Bangers chat to Ed of The Boy I Used To Be...

TBOTB & TBIUTB. Some Bangers chat to Ed of The Boy I Used To Be…

Nothing like last minute preparation...the band & chums assembling our vinyl...

Nothing like last minute preparation…the band & chums assembling our vinyl…

Rich Keam and his 'glimmer curtain'...

The marvellous Rich Keam and his self assembled ‘glimmer curtain’…

The aforementioned TBIUTB

The aforementioned TBIUTB bringing the magic…

Lovely London folksters Billy Vincent...

Lovely London folksters Billy Vincent…

If you haven't seen Hall of Mirrors, I suggest you do. Soon.

If you haven’t seen Hall of Mirrors, I suggest you do. Soon.

Sorry Revere - I didn't get a photo of you in action as I realised I'd left a lead we needed for our visuals at home! Here's one of my wife's cakes instead. (Rest assured Revere were amazing)

Sorry Revere – I didn’t get a photo of you in action as I realised I’d left a lead we needed for our visuals at home! Here’s one of my wife’s cakes instead. (Rest assured Revere were amazing)

We played the new album in it’s entirity plus a few choice cuts from our first album and EP’s. Including a ridiculous, comedy Jools Holland-style ‘introductions segment’ where we all played the worst possible thing we could. Not entirely on purpose. Keef’s Jurassic Park solo was a highlight.

Here’s one of our new album tracks ‘Something is Holding Me Down’, filmed by the splendid Ryan (Revere’s visual fella and helper of me-not-knowing-what-I-was doing-with-a-laptop)

A massive thank you to everyone involved once again. Friends, family, staff and random strangers who all assisted us in creating what we hope was a unique and special night. It was to us anyway. HERE’S TO THE NEXT ALBUM EH???? (Hopefully it will be easier than this one…)

Wit & The B of the Bang

xxxxx

ps – as an aside, Mr Rich Keam who opened our show, has made it through to the final 25 applicants out of 600,000 in ‘The Best Jobs in the World’ competition. As part of this, we became his backing band ‘The Tastebuds’ for one night only last week…please have a look at his blog here and give him your support. He deserves it. http://richkeam.wordpress.com/

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

You’ve got a nerve to be asking a favor (or favour)…

Howdy hi pop-pickers

Haven’t posted here for a wee while have we? Apologies for that…rest assured we’ve been as busy as beavers (who are renowned for being particularly busy…I suspect because building and maintaining a dam requires a lot of effort…)

An excellent mini-tour over the weekend last properly inaugurated the fine talent that is bassman extraordinaire Keefy Beefy into The Bang….it culminated with him swallowing a penny for reasons that we shan’t divulge here (7.5% cider may have been a contributory factor, however…). Thankyou Brighton, London and Preston. It was emotional.

Next up – we’re all moist with anticipation as we’re supporting one of our favourite ever bands The Walkmen! Yes, we’re supporting those actual sexy American indie legends (and I don’t bandy that term about willy…or indeed…nilly…) tonight – and it’s on home turf too at our most loved Southsea venue The Wedgewood Rooms. The icing on the cake is that the excellent Retrospective Soundtrack Players (our drummer Eggliott Egg’s other band feat members of the equally splendid Dawn Chorus) are on the bill too! Frankly, you’d be an ingrate not to be in attendance. AN INGRATE, Y’HEAR??!!?

After that we’re playing at one of our fave venues in our home-away-from-home (bizarrely…) of Cambridgethis forthcoming Saturday. Headlining the Buzz Festival at The Haymakers I believe. They’ve got a cider bar so might keep ol’ Keefy away from that….

So that’s how for now…we’ll see you down the front for ‘The Rat’ yes? Will let you know how it all goes. Here’s some piccies of us chillaxing at home for no real reason other than I just found them…

Wit
xxx