Thursday, 10 November 2011

But It's Only November!

This post comes with an apology. I know it is barely the middle of November, I know talking about Christmas now is evil and wrong. But...

Every year that I've been writing a blog (this is the third year on here, plus four years before that elsewhere) I've gone Christmas song crazy come December. At least one song a day every day from the 1st to the 24th, like a musical advent calendar. I'll be doing it again this year. This year there might also be a little something extra too. That's secret for now, but I'm rubbish with secrets, so if you ask about it I'll likely tell you.

I like to keep repeats to a minimum, but that all depends on me having new songs to include, which is the purpose of this post, as I start to beg for material. The sooner I get things, the more organised I can be, and the less I use something from the last few years again.

So, are you a band or artist and fancy donating something? Something I can post as a free downloads is best. but I can set things to stream instead of download if it is something you want to sell instead of giving away.
Bandcamp and Soundcloud embeds are fine too if you want to keep the song under your control, but want it included here too.
If you have something up your sleeve you don't mind sharing send a wee email to and I'll be delighted to include you, but the earlier you get to me the better.
Covers, originals, I'm not fussy in the slightest. Neither does it have to be your most professional recording, demos, home recordings and decent sounding live tracks are great. Err, just songs though, no links to YouTube of you doing Slade at karaoke, please. I said that last year and still got two emails containing videos of the band drunk and singing something, this year if anyone does it I'll name and shame you.

Also, readers, suggestions are welcome too, just stick a comment on the post and I'll see what I can do.

Black Books - An Introduction To...

I'm pretty rubbish at this blogging lark, really. Case in point, this post is about an EP I got way back in July, and only now am I actually getting round to writing about it here.

Black Books come from Austin, Texas. How the heck they found me I don't know, but I'm really glad they did. It may have taken me five months to get round to posting about it, but in the time since first hearing it their An Introduction To Black Books EP has ended up on regular rotation round here, and been a go to recommendation every time someone has told me to give them something to listen to they haven't heard before. A lot of music hits my inbox, gets a listen, and goes no further, so I'll invoke the "better late than never" clause when it comes to this, since I'd rather be months late with it than let something I've fallen in love with a bit go entirely unmentioned on the blog.

Yeah, I'm making excuses for myself.

The four tracks on An Introduction To... fall pretty solidly into the dreamy pop territory, slow paced, a little bit psychedelic in places, but bit of a rock element bubbling just under the surface at time that pokes its head through the blissed out sounds here and there in the form of a jagged guitar line, or a thumping drum beat.
the whole EP is pretty much perfect for sticking on, putting your headphones in, and getting away from reality for 20 minutes, and let's face it, we all want to escape from time to time.

There's a full album on the way from Black Books sometime in the near future, but in the meantime An Introduction To provides exactly what it says, a quick taster of Black Books. Delicious, I say.

Black Books - The Big Idea

An Introduction To Black Books is available to download on Bandcamp, and also available as a limited edition 10" vinyl. UK/Europe readers, don't try and buy the vinyl from Bandcamp unless you want to have a heart attack when you see the shipping costs, instead we can order a 10" from Shifting Sounds.

Black Books: Blog - Bandcamp - Facebook

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Rob St. John - Sargasso Sea [Free Download]

A few weeks back I babbled a wee bit about a Rob St. John and Ian Humberstone split 7" (short version, it's really blooming good) and now with the release of Weald, Rob St. John's new album, just around the corner there's a new, free single available to share with you.

Like Your Phantom Limb, the last single, I find myself incapable of doing much more than pointing at Sargasso Sea and shouting "THIS IS ACE!" so just a listen to it below and download it if you like it, it is free after all.

Rob St. John - Sargasso Sea by Song, by Toad

There's a lovely wee video to go with the song too, for those of you who want to engage your eyes as well as your ears.

Rob St.John 'Sargasso Sea' from rob st john on Vimeo.

Weald by Rob St.John is released on gatefold 12” vinyl and download by Song, by Toad Records on November 21st, but if you order a copy of the vinyl, which comes with a download code for the album, from Song, by Toad you'll likely get it early.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Bloggers Doing Gigs - Last Year's Girl

Not pictured - a crazed axe murderer.

I seem to have fought off the gremlins that killed my computer, fingers crossed on that score. Now I can get back to just having myself to blame for a lack of posts.

At the weekend I mentioned that one of my blogging pals is moving into gig putting on too, well, The Vinyl Villain isn't the only one.

My mate Lis - famous on the internet as Last Year's Girl - is also at it. I pretty much have to plug this gig as (a) she quoted my “Bloggers putting on gigs? It’ll never catch on…” line on her press release, (b) it looks pretty ace and (c) I'm pretty sure she could, and would, batter me if I don't.

Back in June Lis drew up a list of 30 things to do before she hits 30 - cheers Lis for making me feel old every time you mention that too - one of which was "put on a gig". Rather than take the easy option of hiring The 13th Note and getting some local pals to pitch in to play (stop looking at me like that, I've only hired The Note once), she's been a good bit more adventurous.

Since our Lisa-Marie is much better at writing things than I am, I'll just apologise for the cut & paste nature of the next bit and go over to her to tell you who is playing Last Year's Girl's Friday Night Speakeasy.

Franz Nicolay has the face of a villain, but the heart of a vaudevillian. He specialises in moustaches, raconteuring and the sort of antiquated instruments such as banjo, accordion and musical saw it’s pretty awkward to get through customs. He has played with a few bands you may have heard of (The Hold Steady, Against Me!, Guignol, The World/Inferno Friendship Society), and released two albums of solo material that are even better. If you want to see him make a third one, you could contribute to his Kickstarter pledge drive. He feels as weird about it as you do.

Brighton-based Chris T-T tried to be a political songwriter, but Billy Bragg said he didn’t exist so he went back to writing about bunny rabbits instead. Sorry, what? That was a song about communism, you say? You might have seen him set the works of AA Milne to music at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, or joined in one of his acts of civil disobedience through the use of social media (#IAmSpartacus). He is currently working on his eighth album of original material.

Dave Hughes plays folk music without the scarves, handclaps or tambourines. Before buying a car he pretty much invented the Megabus tour, which is the only explanation for that time he ended up playing to a hen party in Birmingham. He does not sound like Ed Sheeran, and does not get offended if you describe his performance as “ramshackle” with or without his Renegade Folk Punk Band. His latest release is the six-track Despite the Blackout EP, on Corporate Records.

Last Year's Girl's Friday Night Speakeasy takes place at The Old Hairdressers, right across from Stereo on Renfield Lane in Glasgow, on Friday (funny that) December 2nd.
You can buy tickets, and we all know you want to buy a ticket, here.

Now Lis, when do we get that podcast that's on your list too?

Monday, 7 November 2011

Technical Difficulties

This afternoon my computer contracted a nasty bit of malware, and is currently, in technical terms, fucked.

We'll be back when it works again.