New Music Redux

Some New Music To Listen To In February

The start of 2013 has been an awesome time for me finding new music – something that I’m very grateful for as I’ve been spending long hours doing some somewhat monotonous tasks at work. I love finding new music a lot and it’s something I can best liken to people who like collecting things – it becomes something that’s not really an obsession, more something that’s just a baseline in the psyche. I’m not one of those people who stop liking a band/singer/author/comic/whatever when they become popular – recognition is the reward for years of hard work for most artists. I’m also someone who tries not to idolises people – I know that the people that I admire have their flaws just like everyone else – and I don’t know if that’s the reason but I try to seek out new music… and as a result my taste is definitely being expanded over time. Anyway… here are some highlights of bands/tunes/albums that you need to check out:

  • Frightened Rabbit have a brand new album out! 🙂 Without question these guys are my favourite band and Pedestrian Verse doesn’t disappoint. I went to the HMV in-store to see them play last week and was impressed as always. It feels even more developed than previous albums and I love the approach of using the whole band to write songs together. My favourite tracks are probably Nitrous Gas and Late March, Death March. 
  • Chvrches: New single Recover is fab – lots of girly Scots-accented vocals and strong electronic backing. I can’t wait to hear the EP/LP/album.
  • HAIM: Don’t Save Me is more elctro-pop of a less grungy/more polished nature.
  • Kate Boy: Northern Lights is good, In Your Eyes is fantastic. Yet more electro-pop but a little more chilled out than Chvrches.
  • Sweet Sweet Moon: This is really more of a rediscovery – I first saw the awesome “They Shoot Music” video a few years ago but didn’t realise that Sweet Sweet Moon had an album out. The album is good but lacks the rawness and power of the street performance of Psalm For The Elks Lodge Last Call – I’m still stunned by the simultaneous singing and violin playing.
  • The Weakerthans: The Sweet Sweet Moon cover of Psalm for The Elks Lodge Last Call led me to the original band, The Weakerthans – a band who have a sound comparable to The Wallflowers if you imagine Ben Gibbard singing for them. Left & Leaving is well worth a listen.
  • Katy Bar The Door: It seems like things haven’t gone the way the band wanted (presumably to do with a record contract) so the end result is that the band’s album wasn’t really released with the triumphant fanfare that it deserves… but it’s out and I guess that’s the main thing as a listener. One of my favourite tracks from Orienteering is the track The Nearly Men’s Society (possibly slightly apocryphal, possibly I’m reading too much into it!) – something about this song just sounds so quintessentially Scottish. The whole album is fantastic and is really well finished – I wish these guys all the best for the future, they definitely deserve more people to hear their greatness.
  • SONOIO: How I hadn’t heard of SONOIO until last week I have no idea. Anyway, SONOIO is a solo project of Alessandro Cortini (part of the Nine Inch Nails lineup) and that’s all you need to know. Much awesomeness. Especially on Enough.
  • Fake Major: It’s sad to say goodbye to a band like Endor (especially since it seemed like they had so much more to give) but the news of a new band, a new track (Little Researcher) and a record label is all very much a positive.
  • The Antlers: I’ve been rediscovering The Antlers (so not really new music) but if you haven’t heard Bear you really should!

An Experiment In Video Conversion

Some things are easy to clear out but I felt that I couldn’t just bin the handful of old VHS video tapes that I’ve had in my old bedroom cupboard in my parents house forever… but I it took me a while to actually get round to doing anything with them! A few weeks ago some friends kindly lent me their old video recorder from their attic and all the pieces fell into place. The process was remarkably easy:

  1. Record video from VHS via SCART into HDD recorder
  2. Dub HDD recording onto DVD-R
  3. Copy video file from DVD onto computer and rename as .MPEG
  4. Upload to YouTube!

And the results? Here are two videos that are well worth showing off – a recording from my old band and a recording of a school musical. The process was remarkably simple and although the quality of the original recordings was (at best) poor (especially given that Little Shop Of Horrors was recorded over an episode of Sharpe!) I think the end result is not too bad. It certainly made me smile to reminisce over old times.

The Hawick High School performance of Little Shop Of Horrors from June 1997. Sorry for the vintage VHS quality.

Taper – We Don’t Do Garage
Filmed by Stuart Tait (Heaven Help Us Productions) in February 2001 on location in Jono’s parent’s garage.

  1. Ode To Dream
  2. What Now 
  3. Hold On
  4. Lies
  5. Think
  6. Kung Fu (Ash cover)
  7. Strangeways
  8. Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix cover)
  9. Buffy Theme (Nerf Herder cover)
  10. Here’s To Your Dream

Taper are:

  • Craig Neilson – guitar
  • Alastair Smith – guitar
  • Jonny Combe – drums
  • Jono Ellis – bass

The One Item Museum Project

One Item Museum
My One Item Museum project website is live and I’m really happy as it has started gaining really awesome submissions. The purpose of the site is to get people to share what the one item in their house is that they feel deserves to be in a gallery or museum. The submissions have already included several items of original art, a World War 1 soldier’s kit trunk, a vintage motorbike and some dress designs from a fashion designer in the 1940s – so cool! 🙂

What do you have in your house that’s museum/gallery-worthy? Submit it now!

The website itself is far less complicated than was originally planned – I started out thinking about building a site that people could submit images to from scratch before quickly realising that piggybacking the site on Tumblr would save me a lot of headaches. Then there came the design – again this is far simpler than I started out with for one reason – getting it done. I think in the future I’d like to have only one item per page with a controller to move on to the next thing – the background for this would look like a museum with each item in a separate frame. Still – it’s all very exciting in the stripped down format. 🙂