SOMETHING IS HOLDING ME DOWN

The ‘epic’ one. Being ‘epic’ without being ‘wanky’ is everso difficult. I don’t know if we achieved it but we gave it a good shot. A few of the tunes on Bon Iver’s second album do it well. Knowingly overblown. Not saying we scaled those heady heights of course. It’s basically us playing the same chords over and over, slow build up, big crescendo ending. That seemed to be becoming our trademark. Well…it’s Mogwai’s trademark but we borrowed it.

This is the moment in the story arc where everything seems lost and our hero/antihero steps up, the cameras pan out and the violins swell. Or something. Hopefully it’s hopeful. We chucked everything at it whilst recording it. Kitchen sink. The lot. This would have been the one to get the orchestra in at Abbey Road. Unfortunately we did this in the freezing cold studio I work in so an extra cup of tea was all we could bring in on our budget. Good tea though. For some reason, there’s something about the organ that reminds me of Billy Ocean’s ‘When the Going Gets Tough’. That in turn reminds me of the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner 80’s classic film, ‘The Jewel of the Nile. No bad thing.

Here’s a vid from our Wedgewood Rooms album launch back in 2013. Top 3 gig for us I reckon. Good times.

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:

Image

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

TWO VERY SPECIAL SHOWS…

So….we’ve been busy beavering away in the background…and we’re finally surfacing for air…

We promised an announcement, and happily, like the proverbial bus, we have two pieces of good news for you (unless you don’t like us then it’s two pieces of bad news…)

ANNOUNCEMENT #1 – We will be playing an acoustic set at Pie & Vinyl on Sat 30th November. It’s an honour to play at our HQ/home/mothership again as it’s the official launch of their new, improved (and much bigger) premises. If you’ve not been in there yet then put this date in your diary as it will be splendid. I recommend the Matador pie. Tasty. It’s also the day after Black Friday which means lots of limited edition record releases etc…may still be there for your perusal.

You can read all about it here:

http://www.pieandvinyl.co.uk/events/pievinyl-launch-party-next-saturday-come-and-see-the-your-new-pie-and-record-store/

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

ANNOUNCEMENT #2 – We will be hosting our annual Christmas Party at The Wedgewood Rooms on Wed 18th December with an absolutely stellar line up….this year we are ridiculously proud to present to you….

TBOTB XMAS POSTER EDIT Final

A CREEPY CHRISTMAS starring…

RALFE BAND

If anyone caught their P&V instore earlier this year you know what a treat you’re in for. Having just toured with The Young Knives and performed at a host of festivals (I caught their set at End of the Road and it was something to marvel at…) – the  band have released four mighty fine albums of vivid, English madness. When not busy crafting folk-pop nuggets, front man Oli has soundtracked the Mighty Boosh affiliated film (the series in which he has also starred) ‘Bunny and the Bull’ as well as winning awards for his film-making.

MARY EPWORTH

We can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to have Mary come and play. Her debut album ‘Dream Life’ on the ace Hand of Glory label was a highlight of last year containing the 6Music-conquering single ‘Black Doe’ (an absolute stone cold classic in my eyes…). Blending dark-pysch-pop with bewitching fuzz-folk, her presence on the main stages of festivals like Hop Farm, Standon Calling and Bestival show she is a live force not to be missed.

JOE BLACK

This man should need no introduction. A legend of cabaret-noir, his songs of black humour and spine-tingling brilliance will have you begging for more. You’ll either be in hysterics or concerned for your safety but you certainly won’t forget it. Performing at such disparate events as the Kerrang Awards, the Torture Garden Nighclub and playing alongside Duke Special and…er…Toyah Wilcox(!), Joe’s chameleon-esque charm means that your xmas will be slightly more indecent this year. And that’s always a good thing right?

…and of course ourselves THE B OF THE BANG….we’ll be debuting lots of new material earmarked for album three and attempting to remember how many people we have in the band…

There will also be xmas ‘cheer’ (for ‘cheer’ read: ‘cantankerousness’..) a’plenty with mince pies, films, music, stalls and much more. We’re feeling the creepy, Victorian Xmas vibe in the air this year so dressing up is heartily encouraged…who knows, it might even win you a special prize or two…

All the details are here – http://www.facebook.com/events/479932588788715/

And as a cheeky, wee bonus (as you’ve been so good this year…) here’s a free download of that merriest of xmas tunes for you all:

We really hope to see you at this one…it’s going to be a special evening…merry what-have-you!!

TBOTB

xxxxxx

PIE AND VINYL RECORDS/THE B OF THE BANG ALBUM LAUNCH EXTRAVAGANZA!

We are proud to announce our brand new album ‘Tremors and Nosebleeds: The Melodies of a Malady’ will be released on Pie & Vinyl Records on Monday 22nd April.

To celebrate this we’ll be having a humdinger of a launch show at The Wedgewood Rooms on Sunday 21st April (vinyl copies of the album will be for sale too…)

We have gathered together the finest menu of our favourite bands from around the UK to hopefully concoct the most satisfying aural-meal you will ever indulge in.

RICH KEAM: A delightful entree. Delicately balanced folk-flecked acoustic flavours served with a robust bluesy sauce. Will certainly get your tastebuds excited.

THE BOY I USED TO BE: A smattering of lo-fi, two scoops of sweet melody and a hearty side helping of ace. You’ll definitely be asking for seconds.

BILLY VINCENT: Lashings of full on creamy folk rock, this is much more than your standard amuse bouche. Spicy vocal harmonies blend with rich velvety song-smithery. Pairs well with a fine Merlot.

THE HALL OF MIRRORS: Bold, ear-caressing flavours and subtle, left-field textures combine together beautifully for a full on wow factor with this course. Modern haute cuisine fused with classic cordon bleu piano-led wonder.

REVERE: The chefs have really pulled it out of the bag here. Every mouthful is full of satisfaction….depth, sweetness, spice and a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ mean that your palate really is in for a post-rock soundtrack treat of epic proportions. You might want to loosen your belt a little…

THE B OF THE BANG: Rich, meaty, avant-garde gravy smothering a moreish, sinful pop-pastry-cased surprise. The sound of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory if you poured it into your ear-pipes. Avoid if on a diet as TBOTB pack a weeks worth of aural calories into one song.

There will also be stalls selling bric-a-brac, nik-naks and other such trinkets and curio in a setting that will hopefully inspire and enhance your evenings specially selected 6 course sonic-dinner.

DOORS AT 5pm

TICKETS: £4 in advance / £5 on the door

Available from:

Pie & Vinyl Record Cafe
http://www.pieandvinyl.co.uk/

Wedgewood Rooms Box Office
http://tinyurl.com/BangWedge

We cannot wait to see you all around the table…tuck in.

THE GOOD FRIDAY ALBUM ANNOUNCEMENTS….

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! THE GOOD FRIDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS ARE HERE FOR YOU TO HEAR IN YOUR EARS!

GOOD FRIDAY ANNOUNCEMENT 1: Our new album ‘Tremors & Nosebleeds: The Melodies of a Malady’ will be released on vinyl and download by Pie & Vinyl Records on Monday 22nd April 2013!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pie-Vinyl-Records/553520584679230

GOOD FRIDAY ANNOUNCEMENT 2: We are having a launch show/mini festival at The Wedgewood Rooms on Sunday 21st Apri with some of our favourite bands!

http://www.facebook.com/events/584303971594938/?fref=ts

GOOD FRIDAY ANNOUNCEMENT 3: Lastly…we will be performing a Record Store Day acoustic set at our HQ of Pie and Vinyl Record Cafe on Sat 20th April!

HERE IS OUR NEW ALBUM TO STREAM:

Here’s our 2 singles so far:

‘Wander (Through the Night)’ video :

‘Aim High’ video: 

If you like a tweet every now and then, please go show our new label some love too:

http://twitter.com/PieVinylRecords

See you at the launch show!

TBOTB

xxxxx