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