Tuesday, 25 December 2012

the results are in

Merry christmas!

Honestly, this is the last time i'm going to mention this EP, but the results of it were this:

a) i stopped counting yesterday when it sailed past 400 downloads
b) the money raised has paid for the mastering of the new album
c) the masters are at my house RIGHT NOW
d) after 24 hours, the EP was #5 in the Bandcamp chart (#1 in folk, just pipping Sufjan Stevens)

i screencapped it just for posterity, and because i find it entirely unbelievable.

so, thank you once again. i hope you all have a merry christmas and a fantastic new year, i'll be back in January with some new show announcements, details on the two new EPs and general messing around.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

an EP for free, for longer..

Holy shit, internet, what happened?

I feel like i've been assaulted viciously with inappropriate generosity and I think someone touched me on the bum. Sure enough, after offering up an EP for free for the first 100 people who could be bothered to stumble across it by Facebook, Twitter or just by chance at 11.08, by 11.45 I hit 101 and extended it to 200, and now at 12.14 I'm paying Bandcamp using the money that you crazy, generous fools sent me to extend it to 5000 because, you know, the interest is ridiculous.

I'm touched, and you're all crazy. What this means is the people who aren't sat in front of their computers at 11am on a Sunday will have the opportunity to leisurely log in after Antiques Roadshow (I don't know why I'm aiming this comment at my Dad - he treats the Internet with suspicion) and still enjoy free stuff at Christmas.

So, here's to listening to free stuff until we're all exhausted and stuffed full of free music until the mere mention of an mp3 blog will cause us all to spew music from our mouths.

Merry christmas, me.

An EP for free

Incidents/Accidents EP
available now from Bandcamp
December 23rd, 2012

Five new versions of five old songs.

1. Friendly Fire (alternate version)
2. Five Little Secrets (alternate version)
3. You Can Hold On Once (alternate version)
4. More Good Propaganda (alternate version)
5. Question Marks (alternate version)

Pay what you like for the first 100 downloads!

Whilst on the surface 2012 has been a quiet one for me, in reality I've been as busy as ever. I was working on the new album from January to September, built a webstore in March, spent most of April and May in the post office and ended the year actually playing some gigs like the real musician I was in 2011. Rejoice!

Now the dust has settled and 2013 is taking shape, and with the spectre of new releases looming on the horizon - two further digital EPs are heading your way in February, and there's a small matter of the new album in May - I figured it was about time to introduce these five stripped back, re-recorded versions of five old songs to the world; the Incidents/Accidents EP is available now through Bandcamp, free for the first 100 of you, and a shiny pound from then on.

No you're right, that's not much money but fuck it, it's Christmas.

All five of these songs originally saw the light of day between 2007 and 2009, with a couple of songs featuring on the This Is Not What You Had Planned mini-album and a couple on the split EP with Oxygen Thief and Jim Lockey. This time around though, it's as basic as a song can get - just me shut in the tiny vocal booth at White House Studios with three microphones and a guitar for these stripped-to-the-bone live versions.

.. And merry Christmas etc.
Thank you to those of you who came out to the final five shows of 2012. Each and every one was great in its own way, from the massive York show (still can't get used to security barriers) to the crammed hometown Reading one, highlights being the entirely-acoustic Oxford show with Dive Dive and Francis Pugh & the Whisky Singers and introducing Retrospective Soundtrack Players to the After Dark 80s club night. 'Easy Lover' and 'Uptown Girl' all over.

There'll be news on the two new EPs in the first week of January, so keep your information centres peeled. Have a merry Christmas and a great end to 2012 - what a year, even if it looks a bit like I've done bugger-all.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

new shows: Portsmouth, Reading, London and Devizes

Well howdy,

So it turns out, I have some shows coming up. It's been something of a rarity this year, what with gigs in 2012 being put on the back burner to allow me, in theory, to get some kind of life in my life/work balance. I think I hate the phrase "life/work balance" but it does come in useful when you want to describe the balance between life and work.



This is not an exhaustive to-the-end-of-the-year list, because I do expect a couple more to be confirmed, but here are the some which I am definitely, absolutely going to be playing at:

Sunday 21st SOUTHSEA/PORTSMOUTH Edge of the Wedge
w/Retrospective Soundtrack Players & Oxygen Thief
£5 adv - tickets here

Saturday 17th READING Rising Sun Arts Centre
w/Retrospective Soundtrack Players
£4 adv - tickets here

Sunday 18th LONDON Brixton Windmill
w/Retrospective Soundtrack Players
£4 adv

Friday 14th DEVIZES The Lamb
w/Beans on Toast
£5 adv - tickets here

Let the good times roll.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

i'm still powering KEXP

Hello October. The lack of September news was not a reflection on there not being any activity on the music front here at BM Inc., but more that there was no news that would set the world on fire. Any little snippets of info went through Facebook and Twitter, etc.

There have been some show announcements that I'll post up here tomorrow (or you can see now on the gigs page), but I wanted to do a brief post about Seattle radio station KEXP. My guitar case proudly displays KEXP stickers from 2010 and 2011 summer fundraising drives, and when summer 2012 rolled around I didn't have the money to spare. When the "fall" (hah) fundraiser rolled around this week, I still didn't have that much, but I've bitten the bullet and done it. I am proud to power KEXP in 2012.

KEXP 90.3 Seattle is a publically-funded alternative rock station with regular live music sessions, which then are made available through a massive streamable archive. They highlight the very best of the Seattle music scene (who gave us more than their fair share of excellent acts over the years, and anyone who knows me well will know I'm definitely not talking about Nirvana), as well as alternative music from the States and often great music from UK acts who you don't always get to hear, perversely, on UK radio stations.

I'm proud to power KEXP, and not just because I enjoy scrolling through their annual reports to see my name amongst the thousands of donors every year.

(By the way KEXP, if I don't get a 2012 sticker with my donation, I want my money back).

Thursday, 23 August 2012

saturday stage times PLUS xtra mile tv tomorrow morning

hey everyone
quick news-splurge. for anyone attending this Saturday's free show at the Wheelbarrow, note I'll be on at 10pm, with the excellent Dave Giles opening the show at 9pm. good times.

also, tomorrow morning at 11am there'll be some me-related 2000Trees highlights (as well as stuff from Crazy Arm, Future of the Left, Sonic Boom Six and more) on Xtra Mile TV. the site is www.xtramile.tv, and if you share this on facebook you get entered into a prize draw. i'm not one of the prizes.

as far as i'm aware, the me-related stuff on Xtra Mile TV from tomorrow is a short interview conducted with me by Chris T-T, and also I tried to do a song. we may have been interrupted by quad bikes and nesting birds - i don't quite remember.

Monday, 20 August 2012

cursed again

bonjour, bonjour!

hello from my sweaty bedroom (not normally sweaty, but it's tiny, and in this heat it is indeed a hotbox or sauna or somewhere in between depending on what next door are doing) where I bring some great news.

Gigs this fortnight
indeed, the lesser-spotted Ben Marwood is actually leaving his/my damn house and playing some shows for you kids down south the next couple of weekends. there'll be the road test of some new material here and there, but mostly it's just an excuse to make sure you buggers don't forget about me.

The two:

AUGUST Sat 25th
LONDON Wheelbarrow, Camden
w/Dave J Giles, free entry, 18+

READING Rising Sun Arts Centre
w/Aubrey Dye-Welch and band, plus Burnt Tomorrow
£5 entry, £4 adv (ticket link)

The return of the mack, if the mack is my first album
This month we celebrated the first anniversary of the original run of my first album going up in smoke courtesy of youths (yuck, you with your nice hairs and positive outlooks). The first anniversary in the US would've been the paper anniversary, but here in the UK it is the cotton anniversary.

All that has little to do with how Xtra Mile have re-pressed (after a year of selling the 150 super-limited-but-definitely-very-official replacement CD-Rs) the first album Outside There's A Curse, which is now in a very sexy jewel case, and you can own one via all the normal means (the interweb, the big old-fashioned shops desperately trying not to just be DVD and electronics stores) but also they're now in the webshop either as a standalone item or in one of the bundles, including the one where you get a t-shirt, album, mini-album and split EP all for not much money.

AND also since this is the cotton anniversary, I'm pretty sure my t-shirts are made of cotton, and fittingly you can now buy the t-shirt along with a CD-R copy of the album for just £1 extra whilst stocks last. Good link!

So there, all is rosy. Stay positive! See some of you these next few weekends..

Monday, 13 August 2012

falling asleep standing up.

so the olympics has been and gone, and i feel like now might be the time to break the blogsilence that i maintained whilst it was happening. i don't have a lot to say about it, but i note the following points.

it is possible to fall asleep standing up on trains
on the monday of the very first rehearsal, i got up at 4.45am in order to get to London. after the last rehearsal, I fell asleep around midnight on the train home. standing up. leaning against the border of an open window. thankfully i was blocking the door so someone had to wake me up at Reading in order to get off the train. this is good news because whilst i can't remember where the train was going to, i know it was way beyond Reading.

i can be proud to be British
Danny Boyle's opening ceremony gave me a warm feeling in my soul, and i thought perhaps i was ill or something, but i realised it was actually National Pride and not a disease. this is pretty odd because although this land has a lot going for it, we're reminded of its failures every day. media outlets remind us constantly that the NHS is understaffed and shit and getting worse, police are understaffed and shit, our politicians are rotten, are newspapers will hack your phones, we're unemployed, we're unemployable, and our national football team sucks eggs. Well, fuck off. Aside from Hull, this land is okay by me.

the daily mail is still written mostly for your local UKIP MP
i'm not going to say too much on this, because i think this article sums it up pretty nicely, but really - Britain gives the world some excellence, and the Mail gives it some casual and pretty desperate racism? but screw it, even that didn't dampen the fun.

and that it's good to catch up with friends (duh)
first things first: i'd like to congratulate Frank Turner on his constant hard work earning him the opportunity to play in front of X million people watching at home and the Y thousand people in the stadium. this man works hard, punk-rock hard, and in a decade in the industry i don't think i've met anyone like him. and let's not forget that his, and Xtra Mile's, choice of extended backing band was entirely excellent, because frankly Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo and Jim Lockey & the Solemn Sun are two bands who deserve a zillion times more plaudits than they earn, but give it time.

me, i accepted this gig entirely blind, with no knowledge that it was the Olympics, just a knowledge of the dates I'd need to be around for, and whose company i'd be keeping. in truth, that's why i accepted it - to hang out with FT, Charlie at Xtra Mile, the cast and crew of Sleeping Souls, Jim Lockey & the Solemn Sun and Emily Barker and friends is one of life's little pleasures for me. I may never tackle this industry, but at least i can show my grandkids this moving gif i made of ben marwood, aged 31, shuffling on a slippery hill in awkward embarrassment:

i'm off to practice my carnivale dancings for Rio 2016.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

2000Trees 2012 Survivors Club.

A deep breath. I need to write this now before I forget or the emotions dull. Be grateful I did not write this upon my arrival home this morning at 1am.. after my brother had helped me out of my shoes.

For those of you who are looking at the above paragraph with a quizzical look that resembles the same one most people have had listening to the new Muse Olympic anthem, last night I played 2000Trees, in my opinion the best festival that the UK has to offer and a must-play for any good British independent act (by its very nature - 2000Trees is an entirely British festival, in the least Daily Mail, Down With Foreigners way possible).

It's no secret that I love this festival, this is my fourth year there on the trot, but a variety of factors combined this year to remind us all why this festival is so good, and why UK festivals in general - not considering the major, largely bullshit corporate affairs - are so special.

Those of you reading this in the UK will have noticed this already, but for the benefit of those of you abroad I'll mention this anyway: it has been pissing it down here like big, regular mournful tears from the sky. It would be childish of me to blame Nick Clegg, but it's his fault entirely. Hold on, dear reader, get past the initial reaction of "but it's Britain, everyone knows it rains in Britain all the time regardless", but I'll have you know that since some bright spark declared in Spring that the UK was in drought conditions, barely a day has passed without some rainshower, or two rainshowers. In the two weeks before 2000Trees it was declared that April to June in the UK had been the wettest since records began over 100 years ago.

Two weeks before 2000Trees, it began raining heavily and regularly.

One week before 2000Trees, it was still raining.

2000Trees is held on a farm.

Five days ago I looked at the weather report and stopped looking for someone to fill my guestlist spot.

It rained on Monday.
And Tuesday.
And Wednesday.

And Thursday, when the gates opened to early birds, it was raining.

And it rained on Friday, which is the day on which I forgot to buy wellies, walking boots, or even a pair of trainers that do not have a hole in the bottom.

On Saturday, when we arrived on site, it took me about 30 minutes of standing in the ice-cold mud in my shoes before I'd realised the mistake.

And then, standing in front of the GreenHouse stage I would be playing later that day, the heavens opened. Again.

But where were the sad faces? Sure, when we pulled up at midday there were some rain-soaked mud-caked ex-festivalgoers busy throwing in the towel to the British summer, but as far as quitting went, that was it. A man in Speedos belly-flopped down what used to be the hill between the main site and the GreenHouse and people still spent (fancy dress) Saturday in video game costumes - lots of Mario/Luigi pairings, many many Lemmings (some with appropriate tools), some Sims, Tetris shapes, Portal cubes, Bombermen.

I'll say this though. As easy as it is to look back and give a big thumbs-up, the staff of this festival should be lauded for even pulling this together. Expensive extra measures, extra security, re-routing walkways and a lot of crossing of fingers are the real reasons that this even went ahead this year - helped I'm sure by the financial damage faced by pulling it. I'm sure there were crisis meetings, and I'm sure some people will disagree with this statement, but I think it was the right call to go ahead. I'm not sure if I'd have shared this sentiment if everyone had gone to see Hundred Reasons instead of making the considerable journey up Mud Hill.. but they did.

And wow, did they. When I saw the clash with the hotly anticipated main stage HR set, my heart sank a little, but I was ready to draw positives. Before I found out about it, I'd spent a little while worrying about how on Earth we were going to fit everyone into the tent when the rains came. The addition of a big clash with the weekend's most hotly-anticipated set in the end ended up a blessing, in my eyes.

And then the people appeared up mud hill.

On Saturday evening, it did not rain.

I wish I'd taken pictures from the stage, it was good to see faces familiar and not so, and the reception, warmth and vocal support for a guy who hasn't toured in 2012 was the most incredible shock and the best surprise. That it was a set chosen by people almost entirely via social media also meant that I knew at least you guys were getting what you actually wanted.

That set in full:

Question Marks
We Are No Longer Twenty-Five
Five Little Secrets
JJ Abrams
Friendly Fire
Oh My Days
Tell Avril Lavigne I Never Wanted To Be Her Stupid Boyfriend Anyway
Engine Driver (Decemberists - with Jay Newton of Quiet Quiet Band)
District Sleeps Alone Tonight (Postal Service)
A Lack of Colo(u)r (Death Cab)*

(*belated apologies to anyone who didn't wish for a second encore. including anyone running the stage. i was persuaded back on by a couple of people it turns out are nothing to do with the festival. oops?)

I'm hoping someone captured at least some of it on video, or in pictures. And when I find some decent pictures of the mud, I may well post them here.

And I don't say this very often, drum beating really isn't my thing, but if you would normally have seen me and instead opted for Hundred Reasons, find someone who was there and ask them if you made the right choice.

Special mentions go to the Xtra Mile crew who were busy there all weekend, to the organisers and staff, to Cadbury Sisters whose set was beautiful, and to Future of the Left, whose set was entirely ugly in the very best way. Also, special thanks to Mr Tom Crook, driver extraordinaire, sales assistant and morale booster, without whom yesterday would have been a very, very different experience altogether.

If you needed an example of British stubbornness in action, 2000Trees this year was the place to be. I can honestly say I have never experienced anything like it, even though secretly I hope I don't have to again anytime soon.

Meanwhile, to anyone who now forms part of the 2000Trees 2012 Survivors Club, do get in touch via the email on my Twitter profile, or via the joy of Facebook messaging. We should do t-shirts, right?


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

the lines are closed.

thanks to everyone who helped me choose my 2000trees set. it's done, it's dusted, i'm ready for Saturday.

i have given up on the weather, to be honest, in this darned country, and from the weather forecast for the day i think rather than bring an umbrella i'll just be bringing a canoe. maybe my set should be played in the style of sea shanties from start to finish..

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

so, ask me anything..

It's true, Xtra Mile have set up a Q&A at 2000 Trees in a couple of weekends' time.

If you ever wanted to ask me a question, whether it's how many elephants I have ever seen in one place, or why I still wear skater-type shoes at the age of thirty-one, you can start the ball rolling by visiting this link

You can even ask me questions about how Get Cape stole my sound, if you don't mind the answer being SHUT UP YOU GUYS.


Sunday, 1 July 2012

2000Trees: pick a set, any set


I find this year's 2000Trees to be a daunting prospect. I could explain why, but I won't. Here at Ben Marwood Towers the new record isn't finished or scheduled for release, so it would be inappropriate for me to pull that dickish I'm-playing-a-whole-bunch-of-new-songs-you-don't-know-or-care-about stunt that acts tend to do when they've written some shiny new songs and don't want you to care about the old ones anymore.

What I'm going to do is the opposite - I'm going to lay myself open to abuse and say: this year at 2000Trees, you can pick my damn set.

The reasons are simple: I'm at 2000Trees again this year because you wanted me there. I have that on good authority. So, since I've neglected you all terribly this year etc, now you can at least have some influence on what I spend my time onstage doing. No juggling.

Let's be honest, I'm going to play Singalong, I'm also going to play We Are No Longer Twenty-Five, and I'm going to play Oh My Days. You can't pick one of those three because I've already picked them. Also I will play a couple (max) of new ones. The rest, though is up to you. Here's what you do.

If you came here from Facebook:
Leave the song names in the status. Actual song names please, not: "that one that goes ner-ner-nerrrr-nerrrrrr oh you know the one". Maximum of three please.

If you came here from Twitter:
Tweet me @benmarwoodmusic. I'll pick it up. Max three, again.

Alternatively, email me:
You can email me (probably) by clicking here, if for some reason you can't be bothered with Facebook or Twitter or you want to keep your requests private.

Right folks, I'm in your hands. See you on the 14th!
b. x

Saturday, 30 June 2012

help, i'm trapped in my bedroom


I think if the Internet, and the letters to the editor section in magazines, has proved anything, it's that people will tell other people absolutely anything. If only I structured my time on this blog better, I can only imagine the kinds of things I'd post.

During my average week, I think "Hah! I will write about this in my blog", with the same self-importance that Radiohead fans displayed on their livejournals about seven or eight years ago. Luckily for you I have a Blackberry, which is about as good at posting to Blogger as it is at getting off its shiny ass and making me a cup of tea, and by the time I have zombie-slouched* my way to the nearest computer, all the important** things I have to say have been negated and replaced by "I should check my emails/Facebook/Twitter/Myspace/the news".

Today, I woke up early. Today it was pretty important that I didn't wake up too early and got a lot of sleep. I can't sleep. Normally, it's not that my body doesn't want to sleep, I just don't want to let it - having a day job and then coming home to music-related work has meant I have finally been able to reach the same heights as my Dad did in his thirties, where he worked all hours of the day and had kids to help look after. Music is my children. Put that on a press release/t-shirt/permanent marker in the cubicle walls of the Barfly***.

Anyway, today I want to sleep, but my body is taking revenge. So, unable to begin recording for the day until my voice wakes up in a few hours, instead I thought I'd write some blog posts, and schedule them for the Future. Expect news on the 2000Trees performance, a brief waltz down memory lane and, with any luck, some other unexpectedly great news. First though, here is the kind of thing I would've told you about if I'd actually made it to a computer in time:

My brother has a really bad stomach ache
For when my brother had appendicitis. He's still off work.

I am glad England are out of the Euros
Because watching them killing off every game was like watching Italy do the same about four years ago. International football is about attacking and chaos and beauty, like Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain. It is not about cramming ten people into a penalty box and forming a human shield across the goal. France and Italy frankly looked embarrassed to be having to play us.

2012: the unintentional year off?
The other day I played Glastonbury Fringe Festival (thanks if you came), and that is my fifth show of the year. My fifth show, in the sixth month of the year. Things aren't looking likely to pick up until I get the new album done either - but rest assured that whilst I'm not doing much in the way of gigs likely for most of the year, I'm not just sat around watching TV.

(Also, as an addendum to the Glastonbury gig: some sound men shouldn't be allowed to operate in professional circles.)

The new Future of the Left album is so good
And, for the hundredth time, go and buy it:

Gosh, the rest is just too boring to even mention.

*lack of sleep, I will explain some other day..

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

go to sleep

"go to sleep", i say.
"but look, it's 3am. i've given you the baseball to listen to. i've closed my eyes really tight. go to sleep"
"no, it is 10pm in florida"
"go to sleep"
"look, you've spent nine days convincing me I should be awake according to socially acceptable Florida terms, and now you want me to forget that?"
"but i have work tomorrow"

and this is the argument between me and my freshly jetlagged body on Tuesday night. today, it is Wednesday night. it is gone midnight, i don't feel too bad for my lack of sleep last night, and so tonight I guess we'll have the same battle, until gradually inch by inch I will drag my body back to Reading, UK.

i believe it was me who once wrote "before we go on, the honeymoon is over", although Mick Hucknall still gets all the credit, and I meant 'holiday' all along. sure enough, we painted pottery*, travelled into the heart of florida, watched the USA mens' soccer team, was vomited on by a puppy, walked in the park, ate a lot of junk, watched Men In Black III and watched Kenan and Kel in Good Burger (i'll leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide which of those two epic beasts was best).

now it's back to the glamorous life of being fed peeled grapes by my many slaves relaunching the webstore, and I dedicated some time yesterday to some vocal takes for alternate versions of songs that you quite possibly might never hear. i should still put the effort in to make these sound listenable, lest i be stabbed tomorrow by Chris Martin after our rivalry finally hits boiling point and my family release all the shit I didn't ever want any of you to hear, ever**.

i think i'm unpacked, i think i'm caught up, and from here on in I have sixteen days remaining until i'm due in for mixing. i've abandoned my initial plan to get everything recorded before the impending 1st July session, and instead will settle for everything apart from the backing vocals. and the banjo. and the main vocals.

but apart from that, everything.

oh, apart from the piano***.

roll on July.

b. x

*me and my girlfriend, not me and Mick Hucknall
**if only Kurt had considered the same
***and the glockenspiel

Sunday, 3 June 2012

get this album out of my head

I am sat on a floor in Tampa. It is time for a holiday.

The absence of any news from me recently does not depict an empty schedule. Far from it; travelling 4200 miles west of Reading has detached me from an endless schedule of music which my doctor recently called 'ridiculous'. My doctor is female and probably only slightly older than me, but she still issued a set of demands with the stance and nature of a natural born mother.

Yesterday, my parents and I sat in Heathrow, where my mum told me I looked "great", but my dad ventured that I didn't look too great.

It is time for a holiday.

On the plane from Heathrow to Atlanta, in the company of a nice man from the RAF called Tom (on his way to Wichita*, since you asked), I cued up ten of the demos that I think are going to make up the second album, though looking at the length of those ten, I imagine I'll need an eleventh. Somewhere in there, there is an album, and I want to tell you a little more about it. I feel like I make reference to it on social media a lot without telling anyone, anything anything about it. My good friends have asked me about it but all I can tell them is "it will be recorded better", and that much is true.

Another truth is that the guitars and drums (what have become known as "the shit bits") are done. Absolutely, nailed on completed. What's holding this album up now are the bass parts (to be completed by me when I get back home), and the stuff I have little to do with, the remaining pedal steel takes courtesy of Kurt Hamilton, the piano parts of Jay Newton**, and also some banjo, ukulele and then, when everything's on, my vocals.

The main aim for this album was to get everything done in the studio. I have failed at this aim, in part because that is too flippin' expensive, and in part because spending all the time in the studio did not encourage the experimentation with percussion and backing vocals that made the first album so dear to me. So, at least one of the songs will be home-recorded (which turned out just fine with Tell Avril.. from album one), as will the backing vocals, the bass, and more.

I have three more studio days between now and August 12th, and I'm working hand over fist to have this album done by the end of the summer in the increasingly vain hope that it will be out this year. The album is untitled and will be until the very last note has been mixed, and no artwork has been commissioned as yet. There'll be some promotional videos to go with it this time (this I guarantee: there's so much shit on YouTube of me now, neglecting it any further in an official capacity is not an option), and the album is set in a parallel universe where I have a string of ladies hanging off my every word, another parallel universe where I'm obsessed with finding my way to an unspecified home, and this universe, where I am peeved at stuff.

So there. Consider yourself updated. At this juncture I'd normally offer up a demo from the album or some snippet of information about release dates, but I'm not a huge fan of posted-up demos, because if history of music posting has taught me anything, it's that 90% of the time people will prefer the raw demo version to the real thing if the demo is the first thing they hear***.

I'm sure things will worm their way out into the open before long - I can't imagine this is an album I'll want to keep under wraps for much longer. Also, there'll likely be some EPs to be served up along with the album which will give you more of an idea of what the album will hold. I'm especially excited for a split record with Quiet Quiet Band, which if it comes off will be the pick of the bunch, I'm sure.

Anyway, I need to get back to my holiday, right? I've been left alone too long in the apartment and I've taken a pair of scissors to the chinos I accidentally bought so they make me look less like a prick**** and more like a castaway, which is the look I'm rocking at the moment.

A parting word. If you're frustrated by the wait for this album, at least it's not bugging you with every waking hour like it is me. Truth be told, I spend my evenings and weekends writing parts for the album, recording takes, editing takes, processing webstore orders and doing the books for myself or for Broken Tail stuff. I will give a shining sixpence to anyone who can remove this album from my head surgically. Please?

Seems modern medicine has only come so far.

All of you - stay well. And remember, in a few days, there's a new Future of the Left album out. Buy it, listen to it, and we'll all meet up to see them at 2000Trees.


*not the record label
**currently recording his debut album, I'm informed
***this statement is not backed up by any fact and likely never will be, but you all believe me, right?
****guys, if you specifically own some tight chino shorts, there is a 73.4% chance that this is how you look when you wear them

Sunday, 27 May 2012

archive schmarchive

i know, i know, we're well overdue an update, but in the meantime here's something i rescued from the archives this week. an alternative version of 'They Will Float Your Body Out To Sea', plain and simple as me.

 02 They Will Float Your Body Out To Sea (alternate take) by Ben Marwood

Thursday, 19 April 2012

the webstore goeth, and then cometh back again..

Holy moly,

So, it turns out that people like t-shirts with slogans from 2008 on, because within five days of the launch of the webstore, shizzle went crazy and the first run of 'Ben Marwood Stole My Sound' t-shirts in blue sold out. This has left me with a choice to make, since I'd told everyone they'd be limited edition.



So, yes, this Tuesday the store re-launched with two new t-shirt designs to pre-order, the two above no less. The stock's due early on the second week of May, and whilst I know this is a little while to wait, I decided to sweeten the deal a little bit with some t-shirt related special offers as follow:

Yep, yep, if you pre-order one of the two new shirts before 6pm on April 26th, you'll be rewarded (or punished) with a brand new, currently-unreleased mp3. I can't decide which one I'm going to give away, so I'm just going to present you with a whole list of them on the 26th for you to choose.

Pre-order two at the same time, and not only will it cost you less, you'll also have a choice of three mp3s from the list, instead of one. Again, this applies before 6pm on April 26th. Go crazy!

As ever, there are also loads of other special offers which you can peruse simply by clicking here

That's that. Thanks for your ongoing support. Because of you, I finally learned how to use the Post & Go machines in the post office.


Saturday, 7 April 2012

the webstore cometh

In very-basic-coding news, I have spent a few evenings over the last couple of weeks trying to remember how to make things look nice in Internet Explorer (hint: it's hard), then I decided instead to make it competent.

When it became clear that my html knowledge does not extend to making things look competent in Internet Explorer, I built the damn thing anyway so you're going to have to either live with its clunky appearance or switch to Google Chrome for a 10% neater outlook. I'm not sure if anyone still uses Firefox and Safari, and I haven't tested it in either so if you do use either and it does work then let me know. You should also let me know if it makes your computer grow teeth and attack a sibling, votes Republican or attempts a military strike on Homs.

The star turn of the store is this little number, modelled by a goofball who spent a good few minutes trying to look less of a goofball in front of a mirror like a fourteen year old girl on Myspace in 2005.

Also, there are:

Xtra-Mile's official CDR copies of Outside There's A Curse

Broken Tail's last official promos of This Is Not What You Had Planned and the last of the real, actual stock of Exclamation At Asterisk Hash

The last of the Ben Marwood beanies and scarves from 2011, reduced to clear.

Plus a whole bundle of combo moves to deploy.

Now taking payment in the forms of all major credit cards, debit cards and interesting pieces of string through Paypal, who in internet terms are veterans of this here game.

With t-shirts, there'll be more designs and stuff to follow over the next few weeks, but I thought I'd start back at the start, in 2008, and finally turn that Get Cape joke back onto myself. I think we can all agree these shirts are long overdue, but I had to wait until I had some downtime to build the store and finalise a design, plus I was waiting for the tenth anniversary of the first solo show I ever had, which happened to be at Aldershot's West End Centre on March 13, 2002.

Happy birthday, me. I am ten.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

avoiding the drought season: an idiot's perspective

Please, someone, let this be a joke.



Well at least it's a letter from Australia.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

the shows must go on..

After knocking away the cobwebs over St Patrick's weekend with a show for the Reading University Songwriters Society (though, as Steve Lewis pointed out that night, a night surprisingly full of covers for a songwriters event), it's time to confirm some more shows.

A return to 2000 Trees
Sure as eggs are eggs, I can confirm today that I'm back at 2000Trees this July 14th. I'm pretty damn excited to be involved in this festival for the fourth year in a row, and happy to be heading back to the headline spot on the Greenhouse stage. Those of you who found it too quiet last year will be overjoyed (i'm sure) to note that the PA for this year will be even bigger.

Also confirmed for the festival are the likes of
Dry The River, Future of the Left, Pulled Apart By Horses and much much more. As ever, there are no day tickets, but weekend tickets are still available here.

Trees on Fire
As if one 2000Trees-themed event wasn't enough, I'm also pleased to be playing the Trees on Fire alldayer at Cheltenham's Frog and Fiddle three months earlier on Saturday, April 14th. Tickets are available here.

Glastonbury (fringe) Festival
Yep, since there's no Glastonbury festival to be had this year, my good friend Steve Henderson has taken it upon himself to help liven up their fringe festival with a couple of great nights in June, firstly with Jim Lockey and Gaz Brookfield on Friday, June 22nd, and then me, Oxygen Thief and Nick Parker on Saturday 23rd.

Tickets are available at £5 for either night or £8 for both. You can get more information by emailing Steve.

And of course, the JimBob show..
.. with me and Damien A Passmore in support, in Reading, on May 18th. Tickets are still available at £9 here.

Hopefully i'll see you at one of those. More show news to follow!

Thanks again to anyone and everyone who came down to the show over the weekend. I can't remember the last time I played for fifty minutes and have it only feel like ten..

Thursday, 8 March 2012

.. oh, and a note from some friends of mine

Broken Tail Records are firing up their engines for their tenth official release this April, the debut single from my good friends Quiet Quiet Band.

More information right here: clickyclicky

Catch them supporting Emmy the Great this Friday at Sub89 in Reading.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

a steak through the heart

hey everyone

some exciting developments at bM hQ this week, and when i say 'some exciting developments' i mean 'some developments'.

first of all, i'm hard at work recently sorting out the first ever run of ben marwood t-shirts. it's something which i've been looking into for a long time but haven't had the inclination to follow through with for various reasons. I've finally been convinced that there are a bunch of people out there who I can trust the quality of, so the wheels are in motion. these will be available at select shows and from the ben marwood store on benmarwood.com, when it eventually opens. i guess that there's a store on the way is announcement #2.

the reason this is all future-speak is because i'm currently in the back yard of my girlfriend's shared house in Tampa, meaning my brain couldn't give even half a fuck about websites and stores and such, but i'm back in the country on Sunday and everything will go crazy from then on.

whilst i'm on the subject of Tampa, i was lucky enough this week to enjoy the company of Mr Frank Turner and his band of merry men currently out on tour with the dropkicks. to a man they look exhausted, but in fine form, and if the recent show at Ritz Ybor is anything to go by they've torn this tour a new turban. Ttttt. i had the pleasure of harmonic'ing the shit out of a mouthy mouth-harp for 'I Still Believe' and caught up with (your friends and mine) The Ruckus, and then I started drinking on my antibiotics and I cannot remember how the funk I got home. But apparently I navigated. My autopilot is a reliable beast.

to cap it all, and apologies to the vegetarians in the audience, but my girlfriend sprung upon me a surprise anniversary visit to Bern's Steak House, an independently-owned, upmarket, how-the-fuck-can-you-afford-this steak house right here in Tampa. for the sake of all of us, i'm going to keep my memories to myself, but good god if you're a steak fan and you ever get the chance to go, just go.


anyway, the crickets have risen and the wind is up. adios.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

horatio dies all over again

dear boris,

a few years back i wrote a song called 'Horatio Dies'. though i never 'properly' released it, people still liked it and i play it a lot.

during the album recording sessions with Bobby Bloomfield of Does It Offend You, Yeah? back in August which spawned a couple of decent tracks, I had a stab at a new version of 'Horatio Dies', and then donated it to the good people at Engineer Records.

they have THIS to say..

All of us at Engineer Records are very proud to be giving the world Lamp Light The Fire: A Compilation of Quiet(ER) songs

Lamp Light The Fire has a theme. No questions or hidden agendas. Simply put, Engineer Records wanted to gather a small array of artists that we´ve loved and worked with in the past, and/or thought would sound great in the environment of an acoustic guitar as the central instrument, and build from there. Don´t let the title fool you though, as there are as many acoustic rockers on here, as much as the intensely subtle, slow burners as you´d expect on such a compilation. Listening to it as a whole you'll hear that this real gem of a project sounds just as dynamic as any ´proper´ album. Although mellow in places, this is not a snoozer of an album only to fall asleep with. Hearing how each artist took the idea and built upon it is certainly the key to the album's inspiration. You´ll find some songs that sound like the artists´ best work yet, and plenty of exclusive material.

You´ll hear the acoustic guitar accompanied by piano, strings, vocal harmonies, and fitting percussion. You´ll hear some artists we´ve worked with in the past, showing off their new material, and some newer bands, or newer solo work, most of which is previously unreleased. Engineer Records and these artists, including Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music), Ryan Mills, Jeff Rowe, The Satellite Year, Her Only Presence, Mikee J Reds (Call Off The Search), Elemae, The Waltz (Penfold/Moirai) and Dan Coutant (Joshua), have created the scenario of a sit down at a camp fire surrounded by good friends. This musical company bring together talent from across the world to warm your heart, sway your soul, and reflect upon the quieter side of life.

PURCHASE FROM THIS LINK (engineer bandcamp)


So there!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

happy new ears


a belated happy new year to you. i would've posted this message earlier, but i had to recover from my experiences this year at the stroke of midnight as me and my girlfriend saw in 2012.. kettled around the back of London Waterloo, able to hear fireworks, somewhere, but more able to hear the shouts of the general public, annoyed that we'd all left it too late to make it to the South Bank.

so, we went home to Reading, shared some champagne and watched Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and made our plans for 2012.

i don't have any plans for 2012, dear reader. well, i do, but they're pretty vague. i have no resolutions, merely plans:

Plan #1: make album #2
this past weekend I visited the good kids at White House for album recording days 8 - 10. it was crunch weekend, because by the time day #11 rolls around it will be over a year since day #1, and i don't want to have a five year gap between first and second albums (though i'd definitely string you along for that amount of time if you let me).

the songs are sounding natural. i have a fear that some are a bit basic, but a second album of puns and smart-alec quips will only cause some of you to punch me in the ego eventually. still, all the music is written, and the next step is to flesh out the twenty-something songs into finished articles. all necessary musicians have been recruited, what we need now is Time.

Plan #2: finally, some t-shirts
i think i've finally tired of being the only musician to sell more than 50 records in a shop who doesn't have a t-shirt with his name on and/or a hilarious statement about how cool/uncool/subversive they are. expect this to be remedied by the time i get out on the road

Plan #3: do some gigs
i know that should be a given that any musician is going to do gigs, but i'm one of the few who could accidentally go a year without really doing very many (see: 2007, 2008, 2010). the reason i'm not doing any at the minute is very simple. number 1: i have nothing to sell, number 2: i have no new set, and i've been playing this current one for a couple of years now. it's time for a change. i have some one-off shows planned in the coming months, as well as a track on a new compilation, and i'll get to those this week.

so, there you go
consider yourself updated. i'm off to grovel to my e-mailing list that i haven't spoken to them for many, many months, and i just (FINALLY) found the mailing list from the Frank Turner/Franz Nicolay tour back in May in a box just now, so i will also have to grovel at them and see if they remember who i am.

YOU, take it easy..