Monday, 30 December 2013

a year in rebuke (or, things for your ears 2013)

Well, that was fun, wasn't it? 2013. Thanks for coming. We'll remember you as the year which.. oh, you know what? If you want a proper year in review you should probably watch Charlie Brooker's Newswipe 2013. It's probably on iPlayer already. I'm just here to tell you about nine (correction: TEN) good things you should put in your ears from the past year.

Ten Good Things You Should Put In Your Ears From The Past Year: 2013 Edition
(in no particular order)

Shovels & Rope: O Be Joyful
Second album from Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, albeit their first under the S&R banner. An old-fashioned blues-country trip to the olden days in the Southern states.
See/hear: Lay Low (live at Pickathon)

Chris T-T & the Hoodrats: The Bear
First album in 3,934 years from Chris T-T, this time credited to a full band. Rockier than the normal folk fare but maintains the trademark personal T-T feel. No songs about Nick Clegg though.
See/hear: Gulls

Oxygen Thief: Accidents Do Not Happen, They Are Caused
This is a mini-album but it counts because I say it does. First full-band release from normally-acoustic Bristolian noisemonger. Set faces to melted.
See/hear: Terry Nutkins Salute

Frank Turner: Tape Deck Heart
Fiftieth album in two years from Winchester's own folk-punk hero and history/Iron Maiden buff. Probably the most personal album he'll ever commit to record and the most ambitious one to boot.
See/hear: Recovery

Jetplane Landing: Don't Try
Return of Derry's favourite rockers. Political leanings all but banished, replaced with rock, rock and some more rock. And bits for people to yell along to. This shit's important.
See/hear: Beat Generation... Ha!

Jamie Lenman: Muscle Memory
Another return, courtesy of ex-Reuben frontman, and a double album to boot. A mix of beautiful, exquisitely crafted numbers and metal designed to tear out your brain. Set faces to double-melted.
See/hear: Pretty Please

Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo: Dear River
Gentle, wistful folk adventure courtesy of brilliant Aussie and band of chums. Tender, spellbinding, memorable.
See/hear: In The Winter I Return (live)

Off With Their Heads: Home
Disaffected two-minute punk rock at its growling finest.
See/hear: Nightlife

Blitzen Trapper: VII
Seventh album from American rock-country outfit, big on choruses, production values and sometimes murder. Remarkable consistency.
See/hear: Feel the Chill (live at WFUV)

Future of the Left: How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident
Darkly humourous, punchy, punky noise-rock. This is album four, and the spikes are as sharp as ever.
See/hear: Johnny Borrell Afterlife

a note from the author: I haven't heard the new Beans On Toast album yet, so calm down.

Friday, 27 December 2013

strange folk for good people (or, tour part 1)

Is it still Christmas? I'm not really sure. It's that uneasy time between Christmas Day and New Year where some of us (or, to be more specific, I) have gone back to work, whereas some people are still sat around in their pants watching Only Fools and Horses.

Whilst we wait for the arrival of Father Time or Mr New Year or for Justin Bieber to ceremonially spit on a tramp or retire from life or for us all to watch a recording from a few weeks ago of when Jools Holland pretended it was New Year (oft soundtracked by cheerless morons, but I don't know who's on it this OH holy wow it's The Proclaimers, HAIM and Lisa Stansfield).. hang on, I forget where I was. NEW PARAGRAPH.

TOUR! I'm doing a tour! Second album Back Down was released in May 2013, so I'm doing some shows in the first half of this year aimed at putting the album to bed, and maybe showcasing some new songs too, if I'm feeling confident. The first batch of dates have been released, the final batch to follow in a month or so. I'm really, really sorry that despite spending most of my life working til I cry to keep people happy, I'm probably not visiting the pub down the road from you, but hey, if you'd like to come to a Ben Marwood show in the few weeks spanning February 14th to March 8th, here are your choices:

w/Retrospective Soundtrack Players

14.02.14 CHELTENHAM Frog and Fiddle
15.02.14 LEEDS Fox & Newt
16.02.14 SOUTHAMPTON Joiners
17.02.14 SWINDON The Vic
18.02.14 LONDON The Monarch, Camden

not w/Retrospective Soundtrack Players

07.03.14 COLCHESTER Lakeside Theatre, Essex University
08.03.14 KINGSTON The Cricketers

I'm also playing a warm-up show at the Oakford Social Club on 29th January to kick the whole thing off. Why not come along? Or, if you don't enjoy live music, arrange to meet all your loudest friends at the bar?

If that's not the news you wanted, hold on tight for more dates announced early in 2014 and if that's still not good enough, maybe gaze into this poster and see if you can change the locations with your mind:

No? Oh well, you'll get 'em next time, champ.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

ho ho ho and a bottle of gin for helen chambers, please

So, there you go. Another year draws to a close. Massive highs, crushing lows: standard fare for the 21st Century.

Personally, after the final shows of the year in York, I've been booking some shows, spending time at a desk and, in the past few days, back at the family home for that one time of the year it's acceptable to sit around and definitely not fight at all, no sir. I've just about recovered from the Christmas Party held at the Duchess in York after the final Black Swan show. Helen Chambers somehow managed to escape a hangover the next day despite being what I estimate to be 50% gin, so I bravely had enough of a hangover for both of us. Personally, I'm putting my downfall down to the Duchess serving their spirits in half-sized cups so, being a man of little desire to change my drinking pace, I managed to imbibe twice as much. All's fair in love and nightclubs. I'll see you next year for the rematch, Chambers.

I'm pretty damn happy with how a lot of things this year went. The difficult second album finally saw the light of day (indeed, I don't normally use the phrase Difficult Second Album, but some of the terms I have used for Back Down are just not fit for a public forum) and wasn't chased out of town like a scary mutant, we went touring in the US with Frank, tore 2000Trees a new chimney over the summer and finally admitted that you probably shouldn't be taking life advice from me via the medium of t-shirt.

Thanks one and all for your support. I really couldn't (and, more to the point, wouldn't) do this without you. There really are too many people to thank, so if you're reading this: this is your thanks.

See you in 2014.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

As never seen on TV

The nights are drawing in, the air has a chill in it, and somewhere some evil bastard is compiling a Christmas playlist for supermarket radio nationwide. England will soon be in the grip of winter, and there's not a damn thing you or me or Professor Brian Cox can do about it. What did they teach you, Brian?

Anyway, as newspapers report that we're facing a brand new ice age, the worst winter ever contemplated and, in the Mail's case, that we may as well start sacrificing our illegal immigrants immediately (probably, I haven't checked, but it's quite likely isn't it?) to use as fuel, I at least have some good news to warm your hearts and give your eyes something to focus on as the icy hand of Jack Frost - the seasonal character, not the detective played by David Jason - prepares to make our cold water feel colder and our gardens a barren place of woe.

Am I overdoing it?

New tour dates! London, Reading, Cardiff and York
Sure as eggs are eggs, I have some shows to end the year. They go like this:

22 - LONDON - Camden Monarch (free!)
24 - READING - Rising Sun Arts Centre (w/Franz Nicolay) // tickets
30 - CARDIFF - Moon Club (w/Ieuan Williams) // tickets

13 - YORK - The Black Swan (w/Jonny Gill + more) // tickets
14 - YORK - The Black Swan (w/Helen Chambers + more) // tickets

You can even get tickets at the link above, and if you're mental and wish to attend both York shows, there's a special combi-ticket right here.

Ben Morse wants to show you how good he is at stuff
Did you know that videographer, director, photographer and Vitamin Water enthusiast Ben Morse is really good at being a videographer and also directing, photograpy and.. er.. enjoying vitamin water?

Here's him showing you how good he is at three of those above four things.

And finally.. Xtra Mile welcomes Oxygen Thief!
The final member of the Exclamation Triumvirate (as Oxygen Thief, Jim Lockey and I never call ourselves) has finally been claimed by the good people of Xtra Mile Recordings. It's been a long time coming, and about time too. The good folk at Xtra Mile will be releasing Oxygen Thief's first full-band release Accidents Do Not Happen, They Are Caused on 9th December. Can't wait! You can catch him on tour everywhere, and if you need any more information than that, I don't know what to suggest., perhaps.

Stay warm!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

ben marwood's USA adventure

The excellent recent US tour with Frank Turner and Off With Their Heads seems like many a moon ago now (well, I've been home three weeks today), but the impact is far-reaching. To me. Today.

Why? I'm glad you asked. It's because the phunky photographer and vivacious videodude Ben Morse has created this small account which accurately sums up the following points which came to light on the US tour:

1) USA! USA!
2) The shows were fun
3) I was tired and look tired
4) Some Americans struggle with my surname

You can see the video in all its wondertastic glory below.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

US Tour: a tale of two videos

Hey everyone.

This is my first post since getting back from the US tour a couple of weeks ago - my final show there was indeed two weeks ago this very night, which is weird because it feels like a lifetime ago now - and the silence is down to trying to write a tour summary which isn't a) needlessly emotional, b) one million words and c) shit.

Whilst we're all enjoying Ben Marwood Being Silent here's two videos from various stages of the tour: one on the opening night at The Chance in Poughkeepsie before doors opened with me and Frank playing through Question Marks, and the second filmed at the other end of the tour where I am looking bedraggled and much shorter: Frank's festival survival guide, filmed at Osheaga Festival in Montreal, Canada.


For the second video, click here!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Thames Valley Bens

Hey buggers bloggers

The countdown is almost complete and the time is almost upon us. I've had my visa interview and I have bought all the bubblewrap Rymans had to stop my guitar being smashed into a zillion pieces in transit. All I need now is my passport back.

Er.. that's quite important, right?

I'm sure it'll turn up soon, allowing me to get in a shiny metal box with wings and be launched through the air at all the miles per hour, and if all goes to plan I'll even spend a couple of days getting some sleep, something which frequently eludes me here in Blighty. Next Friday I'll hook up with FT and his sleepy souls and the dudes from Off With Their Heads, as well as fellow Thames Valley resident Ben Morse, for what is apparently being dubbed The Thames Valley Bens Tour.

Here's the deal: touring the US is expensive. Most British acts who fly to the States do so prepared to lose a lot of money. I am no exception. With that in mind, I'm concentrating more on having a fucking brilliant time than, you know, Breaking America, so if you see me in Poughkeepsie, Portland, Brooklyn, Silver Spring, South Burlington, Ann Arbor or Madison, come say hi, and we'll high five and chat like old friends.

Meanwhile, whilst I wait for life's conundrums to resolve themselves, here's an update on stuff:

2000trees was incredible
Hands up, you knew it would be. We all did. After turning up unprepared to last year's mudfest I was going to wear wellies and a mac in the blazing sun this time around to make a point of my ill preparation, but it was too hot to go through with it. Instead I had an incredible Friday of catching up with people, some of whom I see only once every year or two. I'm definitely camping next year and you can hold me to that.

Here's a video from the set:

Special thanks to Tom Crook who, for the second year in a row, managed to not hit anything whilst driving to and from the festival.

I'm taking my Saigon to the States!
Did I mention this on here before? I am unable to take my now-retired Art & Lutherie to the States because one look at a baggage handler and it would smash itself into ten pieces, so instead the good people of Saigon guitars have given me one to take to the USA with me. This is a big deal for me. People rarely give me free things.

To celebrate, my Thames Valley Bens tag team partner and I went to the University of Reading and stood in a field when it was windy to put it through its paces. Here's the result:

Ugh. So many videos of my face on this page!

And finally.. British shows to end 2013
Upon my return from the States I imagine I will want to do two things:

1) Get some sleep
2) See some of Britain

I know it's not much, and there are a couple of shows still TBC, but here are the British shows which will take me to the end of the year:

August 18th  BRISTOL Mothers Ruin
Sept 14th  SOUTHSEA Xtra Mile Stage @ Southsea Festival [Atrium Bar]
Sept 19th  OXFORD Port Mahon
October 5th  SOUTHAMPTON Bent Brief
Nov 24th  READING Rising Sun Arts Centre [w/Franz Nicolay]
Dec 14th  YORK Black Swan

Also, if you're in the UK and near a radio this week, Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun have made it to the fringes of the Radio 1 playlist. If you hear them on there this week, do drop Radio 1 a congratulatory text for being such good eggs.

Monday, 8 July 2013

great hangs: no longer just good hangs

Just a quick update to let you know that today, the Monday the 8th of the July, is the release day for the brand new Xtra Mile Recordings compilation entitled Great Hangs.

You can get it from iTunes for a mere £2.49 for all twenty-four tracks, which if you don't believe me you can check out for yourself by going clicky-clicky here.

1. Sonic Boom Six - Virus
2. Chris T-T - Idris Lung

3. Dave Hause - Melanin
4. Franz Nicolay - Frankie Stubbs' Tears
5. Crazy Arm - Oh Death/Hell To Pay
6. Frank Turner - Tattoos
7. Ben Marwood - Under Lock & Key
8. Larry & His Flask - Pandemonium
9. Tim Barry - Amen
10. Beans On Toast - Beer & A Burger
11. Vinnie Caruana - To Be Dead & In Love
12. Retrospective Soundtrack Players - Catcher In The Rye
13. Riverboat Gamblers - Comedians
14. The Xcerts - Young (Belane) alt version.
15. Fighting Fiction - The Long and Short of It
16. Mull Historical Society - You Can Get Better
17. Drag The River - History With History
18. Glossary - Heart Full of Wanna
19. Ghouls - Oceans (live)
20. Fighting With Wire - Blackout
21. Mongol Horde - Casual Threats From Weekend Hardmen
22. Future Of The Left - I Am The Least Of Your Problems
23. Straight Lines - Ring The Bells
24. Jim Lockey And The Solemn Sun - England's Dead

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Tease me. Please me. 2000Trees me.


Indeed, it's happening. It's finally happening. Late last week, the sun came out, and it has stayed out. It wasn't a day of sun followed by two days of light drizzle, hail or snow. It has been hot, and there has been tennis, and the pub, and all these things together finally herald the arrival of Summer In Britain.

I don't mean "the arrival of summer in Britain this year", either. I mean, this is probably the first proper few days of uninterrupted sunshine during conventional summer months (you remember those? June to August) we've had since, ooh, 1995. Well maybe not, but you get the picture.

All this means that after the washout of 2000Trees last year, albeit the most fun washout ever, I am looking forward especially to this year's festival action. Aside from not getting rained on until your pockets are full of sky juice, here's a list of ten acts to look forward to next weekend, clashes allowing and in no particular order:

1. Oxygen Thief - GreenHouse, Friday
Mr Thief, or Oxygen to his friends, is probably holed up at the moment writing a second album. As well as being one of my best friends, he's also one of the only men to ever successfully wield just an acoustic guitar and still be considered metal. He throws shapes! He rages! He writes two-minute pop songs then crowbars in an obscure breakdown until you forget how the song started! He is not to be missed.

2. Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo - The Leaf Lounge, Friday
& Emily Barker solo - GreenHouse, Friday
Emily Barker and chums rock my world. The melodies are sweet, the music is gentle, and latest album 'Dear River' is on repeat in my ears as of yesterday when I first picked it up. Emily's even kind enough to be pulling a double shift, so catch her at least once.

3. Frank Turner - Main Stage, Friday (headline)
Some dude. Maybe you've heard of him. I hear he's hand-picked ten acts to be on this year's bill, and he's going to close Friday night with a headline show. I'm going to pretend that at least one person reading this blog hasn't heard of Frank Turner, and if that's you, check out his new (fifth) album Tape Deck Heart and opening track/single 'Recovery'. Then see him play.

4. Jim Lockey & the Solemn Sun - Main Stage, Friday
& Jim Lockey solo - GreenHouse, Friday
2000Trees' foremost success story. As far as I'm aware, Jim has played every 2000Trees ever and this year, like Emily, he's giving you two bites of the cherry. His second album proper 'Death' was released on Xtra Mile last year and is wall-to-wall heavy-folk-rock gold. Don't tell Jim that though, he offically hates folk music. Catch him on the main stage with his full band for full effect.

5. Beans On Toast - GreenHouse, Friday
It is hard to sum up the appeal of Beans On Toast without just taking someone to a show he's playing and going "look, SEE? I told you". After going down well in the States with Frank Turner in June, Beans on Toast closes out the GreenHouse on Friday. His Essex vocals are more spoken than sung, and no matter how short his songs are, there's always a chance he'll stop halfway through and do something else, but this just increases the general hilarity and banter of a man who can't be second guessed. No two shows are the same. See him.

6. Fight Like Apes - Leaf Lounge, Saturday
These days they have a home with fun label types Alcopop! (one of the brightest and fan-friendliest UK small labels you could ever wish for, in my opinion) and they've recently been crowd-funding in an attempt to raise money for a third full-length release, so generally it seems like a new dawn for Fight Like Apes. Frontwoman MayKay has more stage presence than is strictly healthy - I really am surprised she has not imploded or exploded or something - but the main strength here lies in the lyrics. There's no time to type any out. Suffice to say their second album was called The Body Of Christ And The Legs Of Tina Turner. Steve Lamacq is a huge fan and, on the record, I am too. Sadly I'm only there on Friday though, so I get to miss this bunch.

7. Hold Your Horse Is - The Cave, Friday
I once saw this band play Rising Sun Arts Centre in Reading. It is a tiny room with a capacity of fifty, maybe sixty, tops. The room was half-full, the sound was bouncing around and my ears were bleeding. The band's response? Turn it up louder. Their rock is a jagged rock, razor sharp and not happy until you are crying. See and be impressed or deaf or something like that.

8. Retrospective Soundtrack Players - Main Stage, Friday
In terms of brave ideas for a band, the notion that you should only write albums based around famous works is definitely among the top ten. First of all, you need to convince the people who aren't a fan of the original material that they've been wrong all along, and secondly, you need to convince the people who love the original works that you're good enough to do it justice. It could be carnage, but the RSP somehow make it incredible. Their three-minute numbers capture the strong songwriting of one Kyle Evans, who is not unlike Steven Adams of the Broken Family Band (RIP) and, these days, Singing Adams (wait, they're currently on hiatus). The band also comprise former members of Dawn Chorus (RIP). Shit, check out second RSP album  Catcher In The Rye before they break up or something.

9. Freeze The Atlantic - The Cave, Thursday
Of all the ways to win my heart, here are three:
1) Your band should be formed of ex members of Reuben and Hundred Reasons
2) You should name yourself after one of the best songs of one of the greatest UK bands of all time, Cable.
3) You should sign yourself up to aforementioned Alcopop label
A special treat for those of you with an early camping ticket, catch Freeze The Atlantic on Thursday night, before the gates officially open to the non-special plebs. Can you still say plebs? Anyway, recent single 'Shivering and Dazed' shows with FTA are all about - sugared pop-rock like mama used to make.

10. The Crimea - Main Stage, Friday
The first time I heard The Crimea, it was on John Peel's show in the mid-2000s.
"John", I emailed, "is that Davey Crockett, ex of the Crocketts?".
"Why, yes", he replied, "I think I have some Crocketts CDs somewhere, I must dig them out and have a listen to them over the weekend."
I like to think that he did, and he enjoyed them. I first saw Davey Macmanus fronting The Crocketts when they supported the Stereophonics a long, long time ago. I hated it. One year later when I found some music taste, I hated the Stereophonics and loved The Crocketts. Watch him jerk, watch him spasm, watch him possess the voice of a nutter, who may or may not have informed my own vocal sound in some small way over the years. The life of these guys didn't ever run smoothly. I'm pretty sure I saw Davey appear as a model playing a musician in the Sun's 'Dear Diedre' column once, and that's not even a joke. When the Crocketts gave up, The Crimea arrived with an extra depth to their sound. You know, some pianos and such. Tragedy Rocks was the first album I played when I set up my new stereo in 2005, just like the Crocketts' Great Brain Robbery was the first album I played during my Freshers Week at uni in 2000. This band and this man have formed an important part of me without even realising, and it is with a heavy heart that I learn that this will be one of their final ever shows. Third album Square Moon is released on 29th July on, you guessed it, Alcopop, and they call time with one final show in London on 30th July. Do not miss them.

The last few tickets for 2000Trees are available here, and I hear Xtra Mile might even bust out the swingball.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Webstore 2: Return of the webstore

Two posts in one day? This is surely nuts, but I think it's merited.

For the first time this year(!), the webstore is open, and will remain open for a month or so. This is a good excuse to get rid of all the new albums on my dining room table, take pre-orders on a great new shirt (which, after all the time I spent faffing around with new designs, is the very first one we came up with due to Shit's Law) and a whole bunch of other things.

The full list:

New t-shirt (below): Ben Marwood Life Advice
Pre-order any size, expected to ship mid-July. Only fifty to be made!

'Back Down' new album!
The latest major release comes to the webstore. Hear the sounds which had critics so baffled, that most places didn't review it.

'Outside There's A Curse'
Album one! 2011's debut holds up as well now as it did then due to Science!

Ben Marwood/Quiet Quiet Band split EP CD-R promos
Back in February, my good buddies Quiet Quiet Band and I put our heads together and spammed out eight tracks to be sold digitally. We still have a whole set of CD-R promos of the EP in card wallets, never to see a traditional physical release. Strictly limited edition. Get them before they're gone forever and ever.

Bundle offer! Get both albums and the split EP for just £20
All three CDs available in the webstore at a combined price of £20, which ships free to anywhere and everywhere!

The new store is powered by the user- (and seller-) friendly Bigcartel, who are one of the few places who'll sell your stuff for free.. as long as you don't have much to sell. Which is fine because I never do as you can tell from the above.

The t-shirts are expected to ship mid-July, just as the store shuts down so I can bugger off the US for a few weeks. Set wallets to BUY.

Bennnnnn In The U.S.A (I was..)

Curiously enough, the biggest news for me on Ben Marwood Day (way back on the 13th May, when the album was released) was not the revelation that I had somehow squeezed out a second album from my brain a mere (ahem) nearly two and a half years after the first, but that I am about to do something I have said for a while I just would never do on the grounds I couldn't afford to.

And now I'm making a liar of myself.

This late July and early August, you can find me Stateside not as a freeloader (sadly), but as a musician, puzzlingly-expensive visa permitting. And massively-expensive flights. Seriously America, why do you make it so hard for people to bring angsty folk joy to your country?

I'll be out on the road to form the most unruly and unpredictable line-up since my collaboration with Shaggy - incidentally, I'm still waiting for that call - as I hit the road as an opener for the mighty Frank Turner and his sleepy souls, and also Off With Their Heads, who I hadn't heard when I agreed to the shows and now I have I can only say "I have to compete with whaaaaaat?".

Friends of the USA! Welcome me with open arms, direct me to your Publix stores where you have them and prepare to make lots of jokes about the Queen as I invade the following places in a few weeks.

28 PORTLAND, ME Port City Music Hall
30 BROOKLYN, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg
31 BROOKLYN, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg

01 SILVER SPRING, MD The Fillmore
05 ANN ARBOR, MI The Blind Pig
06 MADISON, WI Majestic Theatre

(Thank you, Xtra Mile, for all of this)

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Review: Back Down in Rock Sound

Thanks to Oxygen Thief for pointing this at me - nice review of the new album in Rock Sound.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Saturday, We Ride (or, Tina Fey is allergic to dogs)

Blogs blogs blogs blogs
Bloggers bloggers bloggers
Friends, Romans, Countrymen

Send help. I am going crazy. In a few days I hit the road with one bag, one suitcase and one guitar to visit eight of my most favourite places in the United Kingdom and whilst I can't wait, I'm also praying for much better weather than the water of depression that has fallen from the sky in the past 48 hours. It's Wednesday evening. Precisely 52 hours ago I was in the sunshine feeding the ducks. The ducks.

Still, whilst the potential of being soaked through on a regular basis, that I'm relying mostly on public transport for getting from A to B to C to D and that I don't have a consistent touring partner on this tour accompanying me everywhere and generally helping me keep a grip on sanity, if the next eight dates are anything like the opening weekend in London and Reading I will be very happy indeed. Those two got their own weekend because I suspected they would be (and they were) complete carnage, so thanks to those of you who came, who sung, who shouted and who stayed on at the after parties (London: hip hop night, Reading: 80s night). Thanks especially to Jay and Scott from Quiet Quiet Band who formed my unconventional but highly impressive band for the one-off special album launch show.

On the topic of the album, I'm not sure how well it did, I don't think it charted anywhere (because I mostly directly you away from chart-legible sources, didn't I?) and I'm not aware of it winning all the music prizes yet, but I'm still proud of it and I'm glad people like it. The good folk of Adverse Camber had some questions for me regarding the making of the album and I was happy to answer and swear a bit whilst doing it. Join us as we discuss what would happen if I ever met Tina Fey, why I never have to do the garden ever again ever (ever) and also what it's like to be definitely not a murderer.

Read the interview here!

Right, now off with you. Pass my umbrella on your way out.

ps. York show is sold out! Well done York.


1st June - Leicester, Cookie Jar
2nd June - Birmingham, The Railway (also known as The Brighthouse)
3rd June - York, Black Swan
4th June - Dundee, Cerberus Bar
5th June - Edinburgh, Pivo
6th June - Manchester, Bay Horse
7th June - Cheltenham, Frog and Fiddle
8th June - Bristol, Louisiana

Friday, 10 May 2013

News from the mailing list: Ben Marwood Day, 2000Trees and more.

The following is taken from the recent Ben Marwood mailing list mailshot. To get on the list, the box is at the bottom of this webpage.


Hey mailshotters!

I am on the train from London to Oxford.

It stops at places that aren't even places.

What better time to update you all on the latest news? Well, it is going to keep me awake, and I'm thankful that I caught the train this time around - three weeks ago today I missed them all and spent the night in Paddington. You'd think I'd have learned by now, but I've only been making the trip on and off for a decade.

So, today is going well. Next week, though, will be even better:

>>Album out this Monday
Yes. I am excited, nervous, proud and terrified in equal measure, for my new album Back Down is out on Monday. I'm not sure that I can accurately portray how this makes me feel without the medium of dance, but it will all be good come Monday. Here's a short breakdown of things you might want to know, followed by some long-winded sentences about stuff you probably don't.

>>Ben, where can I get it?
Why, I'm glad you asked. Back Down is available from all fine establishments and probably the crap ones too. Popular links are BanquetAmazoniTunes or how about Xtra Mile themselves?

>>Is there anything else important happening on Monday like, say, your brother Tom's 28th birthday?YES. But also Monday has been declared #BenMarwoodDay on Twitter (not by me), and I'll be part of a Twitter Q&A between the hour of 6 -7pm UK time. There's also going to be lots of other stuff happening throughout the day when no-one at work is looking (only kidding, people from work, I work dead hard). For more information on Ben Marwood Day you can read all about it on the Xtra Mile site. I'm pretty excited by all the attention, so I shall be doing my royal wave all day.

>>Recorded music is so April, what are your UK tour dates again? You know, the ones that start this Friday.

May 17 LONDON Camden Monarch (18+)
May 18 READING Rising Sun Arts Centre (18+)

Jun 01 LEICESTER Cookie Jar/Crumblin' Cookie (14+)
Jun 02 BIRMINGHAM The Railway (18+)
Jun 03 YORK Black Swan (18+)
Jun 04 DUNDEE Cerberus Bar (18+)
Jun 05 EDINBURGH Pivo (18+)
Jun 06 MANCHESTER Bay Horse (18+)
Jun 07 CHELTENHAM Frog and Fiddle (18+)
Jun 08 BRISTOL The Louisiana (16+)

For more details head to the gigs page here.
People, I can't wait. I'll be joined at various points on the tour by so many incredible acts it is making my head hurt. No two bills are the same, and do yourself a favour and look some of these up: Retrospective Soundtrack PlayersJay NewtonOxygen ThiefMy Name Is IanHelen ChambersDave HughesMark McCabe and Jim Lockey just for starters.

On July 12th/13th I'll be making my seemingly annual outing to the only festival worth your time and money, 2000Trees in Cheltenham. Come and help me go crazy with the excitement. I promise this year I'll bring sensible footwear..

>>The end
For some reason that I'm definitely not complaining about, I am Band of the Week on fairsharemusic. I'm really not sure how these things happen, but i'm very happy with it. Check them out - they give half of their profits to charity. Whilst we're on the topic of unexpected happenings, and in conclusion, I am humbled by the number of people who have emailed, tweeted, facebooked and rugby-tackled me to the ground to express their support for the new album, from the people who gave up their time to play on it, to the people who are just going to sit and listen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Now I need to go home and edit this draft so it looks slightly more colourful. Right now it's looking like a thesis or a classic Penguin book, and we all know that's not what you signed up for.

Hello from platform 13,

ps. I know you probably have already, but please do check out Frank Turner's new album Tape Deck Heart, out on Xtra Mile. If his new video compared to mine is anything to go by, all Xtra Mile bands will be digging holes in their videos in 2013.

pps. Still no approach received from Everton.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

gigs and tickets and sugar and spice and all things whatever

Hello bloggers!

It is with great pleasure that I can give an update on the Back Down tour supports, tickets, door charges and such. In the run-up to the dates, I'll be keeping the gigs page on the website updated as much as possible, so head over to there for regular updates.

Below is the list: four ticketed shows, two pay-on-the-door and four free shows. I think it's a nice mix, and I'm intensely proud of the supports who have been willing to give up their time to join me. As well as below there'll be other supports tbc. I really can't wait to get out and play some new songs, catch up with people and issue some high-fives.

See you there!

17 London Camden Monarch // [[facebook]]
----18+, free show, w/Kyle Evans of Retrospective Soundtrack Players
18 Reading Rising Sun Arts Centre // [[facebook]] // [[tickets]]
----18+, w/Oxygen Thief and Jay Newton

1 Leicester Cookie Jar // [[facebook]] // [[tickets]]
----14+, w/My Name Is Ian
2 Birmingham Bright House **EARLY onstage 8pm** // [[facebook]]
----18+, free show, w/My Name Is Ian
3 York Black Swan // [[facebook]] // [[tickets]]
----18+, w/Helen Chambers
4 Dundee Cerberus Bar // [[facebook]]
----18+, free show, w/Dave Hughes
5 Edinburgh Pivos // [[facebook]]
----18+, free show, w/Dave Hughes and Mark McCabe
Manchester Bay Horse // [[facebook]]
----18+, £5 on the door, w/Helen Chambers and Mark McCabe
7 Cheltenham Frog and Fiddle // [[facebook]]
----18+, £4 on the door (£3 NUS), w/Jim Lockey and Oxygen Thief
8 Bristol The Louisiana // [[facebook]] // [[tickets]]
----16+, w/Oxygen Thief

Sunday, 14 April 2013

pre-order in the court

Yes, it's true, it wasn't all a big dream, Back Down is still coming out on the 13th May on digital download and CD.

With Xtra Mile being professionals and all, I'm sure there'll be no shortage (especially with downloads being, y'know, infinite) but just in case you absolutely 100% cannot sleep without being safe in the knowledge that there's a copy out there reserved especially for you, here are the ways that you - yes, you - can pre-order it to your heart's content.

I would definitely recommend it.

Why not pick up three?


Xtra Mile shop
Banquet Records

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Under Lock and Key, and more for free

I know, I know, I only posted recently. Two posts close together? I need (another) hobby.

Some great news though: for the month of April the wonderful Xtra Mile Recordings are Amazon's free label spotlight. That's great news for Xtra Mile because it will presumably mean that they get tax breaks (arf, a big corporate joke), and it's good news for you because it means you can pick up a sampler called Good Hangs as a download for absolutely free. Or, as it's known around here, a free download.

My new single 'Under Lock and Key' is included in the package, but the full list is right here for your perusal:

1. Frank Turner - Tattoos [demo]
2. Jim Lockey & the Solemn Sun - England's Dead
3. Dave Hause - Melanin
4. Future of the Left - Real Meaning of Christmas
5. Mongol Horde - Casual Threats From Weekend Hardmen
6. Fighting With Wire - Didn't Wanna Come Back Home
7. Glossary - Keep It Coming
8. Straight Lines - Ring The Bell
9. Sonic Boom Six - Virus (single mix)
10. Ben Marwood - Under Lock and Key
11. Fighting Fiction - The Long and Short of It
12. Franz Nicolay - Hearts of Boston
13. Vinnie Caruana - To Be Dead and In Love
14. Tim Barry - 40 Miler
15. Beans On Toast - Angry Birds


Monday, 1 April 2013

back down 2013: more show announcements and all details!

Urgh, my voice. Yesterday was Lexapalooza, a wonderful charity all-dayer run by some friends of mine which is worth the suggested donation of £5. I shouted all day, including through my set midway through the day, then I spent all my money, spent everyone else's money, and took the opportunity to take in some of the best small acts the UK has to offer, both loud and quiet, including Mark McCabe, Oxygen Thief in a rare full-band show, Retrospective Soundtrack Players and one of the final gigs of superhero six-piece cock-rockers Justice Force 5, which really did have to be seen to be believed. Thanks to all of you who came, I am truly suffering.

It was lovely to catch up with everyone, which in turn has reminded me a) that my tour this year is going to be a lot of fun, and b) i should really get around to letting you know full details about the tour. So here we go. I'm excited to be heading out on my first headline tour for eighteen months, and finally finally finally get the second album out. I'm delighted (yes, delighted) to be joined on the road by a collective of friends and more-talented musicians and I wanted to include so many of them on the tour that there was no way I could confirm any 'official' tour support. As a result, the line-up is different for every single show (though London supports are tbc as I type this) but every night is guaranteed to be either entertaining or, failing that, totally free.

Hey, you get what you pay for.

all shows 18+ unless specified

17 LONDON Camden Monarch - free show!
18 READING Rising Sun Arts Centre (w/Oxygen Thief, Jay Newton) - tickets

1 LEICESTER Cookie Jar @ Crumblin' Cookie - (14+)
2 BIRMINGHAM Bright House - free early show! curfew 9pm
3 YORK Black Swan (w/Helen Chambers, Jonny Gill) - tickets
4 DUNDEE Cerberus Bar (w/Dave Hughes) - free show
5 EDINBURGH Pivo (w/Dave Hughes, Mark McCabe) - free show
6 MANCHESTER The Bay Horse (w/Helen Chambers, Mark McCabe)
7 CHELTENHAM Frog and Fiddle (w/Oxygen Thief)
8 BRISTOL Louisiana (w/Oxygen Thief) - tickets - (16+)

See you all down the front. Can't wait

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Video: Under Lock and Key

'Under Lock and Key' is the first single from my new album Back Down, and represents the very first time I've ever made a 'proper' music video.

It was directed by Ben Morse, who is super at making videos, shooting me in the face with cameras and putting up with my shit. As someone with strange hair and messed-up teeth, I wasn't entirely sure how I would look on the internet when I wasn't being filmed drunk and in an empty bath, but I'm happy to report that I.. look like a total murderer.

Decide for yourself:

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

it's finally time: 'back down' out 13th may

So, here we go. It's been a long time coming. Today's the day.

Well, 13th May is more like the day, because that's when my second album Back Down is out on Xtra Mile Recordings, followed by a UK headline tour (well, England and Scotland) to celebrate. More details on that to come further down the page.

Album spiel! Recorded over the space of eighteen months, largely in my hometown of Reading, Back Down is for the most part an actual, real studio album, in that the majority of it wasn't recorded on my bedroom floor at 2am with me sobbing at it going "why won't you WORK?!". Instead, the sobbing this time happened in a markedly more well-furnished studio with Matt Bew at the helm. We laughed, we cried, we ate a shit-ton of pizza and then had to wait a while to be able to move again before waddling back in. Thinking back, perhaps this is why the process took eighteen months.

Joining me for some of the tracks were a whole bunch of incredibly-talented and mostly free ne'er-do-wells often from my local scene. I roped in good friends (and sexy hunks of love) Scott Painter and Jay Newton of Quiet Quiet Band and Kurt Hamilton returns from Francis Pugh & the Whisky Singers to bring that pedal steel sound which helped the first album suck so much less. I even roped in my own brother Rick for some ukulele action, and as a result he is moving to Canada to escape the inevitable paparazzi invasion that will follow. Early on I took the decision that no click tracks or metronomes nor other crazy timing wizardry should be involved in this album, and boy, was that a stupid idea when you have up to nine different people playing songs they haven't rehearsed together. Thankfully, it all came together. Will I be doing it this way again? No fucking way. Do I like it in the end? Fuck yes.

Sweary Wednesday.

Many exciting things happened this time around, including actually shooting a video for 'Under Lock and Key'. You can find it along with a sweet piece on the album on Rocksound right here. The video was shot by Mr Ben Morse, he who makes me look sexy in pictures and also made videos for buddies Frank Turner and Retrospective Soundtrack Players. You can read yet more stuff about everything here.

Oh, and before we get to the tracklisting and to the shows, you Londoners have a GREAT opportunity to hear some of these songs if you come along to Lexapalooza at the Boston Arms in London on Easter Sunday. It's an all-dayer for a great cause, the line-up is killer and you can find more information about it here

Those tour dates:

more dates to follow inc. London

18 READING Rising Sun Arts Centre

1 LEICESTER Cookie Jar @ Crumblin' Cookie
3 YORK The Black Swan
4 DUNDEE Cerberus Bar
7 CHELTENHAM Frog and Fiddle
8 BRISTOL Louisiana

Info on supports and tickets to follow. Sadly for those of you who are not yet old enough to legally smoke or drink until you vomit, I expect these shows to all be 18+.

The songs, they are so:

out 13th May on Xtra Mile Recordings on CD/download
1. For the Skin and the Bone
2. These Are the Days When You Can't Go Home
3. The Soundtrack to the Trailer For Your Miserable Christmas Special
4. Under Lock and Key
5. This Industry Eats Its Young
6. I Promise You That It Will Be Okay
7. An Escape From Yeehaw Junction
8. We Are No Longer Twenty-Five
9. Demons
10. Don't Call It A Comeback
11. Murder She Wrote
12. Lake Wales

Hugs and stuff

Monday, 4 February 2013

mailshot: reading/southampton/london, and two EPs

The following is taken from the ben marwood mailshot. You can join the party by signing up at


This may be the first mailshot of 2013, but I do feel like it's a little late to still be wishing people a happy new year. Instead, let us celebrate the wonder of February, which has already given us my Mum's birthday and King Richard III being found underneath a Leicestershire car park. He was bound to turn up eventually.

So far this year I've been hard at work doing all the stuff for the new album that I always forget needs doing - working out the design, writing the liner notes, trying to remember who played what where, and other such fun. I'm delighted to announce that I still can't tell you anything about it, and instead this news update was going to consist almost solely of SuperbOwl jokes, until I looked just now on Twitter and they're still being made at a rate of about 100 per hour.

So with a heavy funny bone, here's some real, disappointingly-serious news about two new EPs and some shows, including the return of the world's greatest charity all-dayer, Lexapalooza, on Easter Sunday (31st March). Rejoice! But not too loudly because it's an important religious holiday and not just an international chocolate day.

Two new EPs out today (and a launch show, this Thursday)
Yes, this week sees the release of the first properly-new material since 2011's Outside There's A Curse album, and it arrives in the form of two digital EPs; one called Demons containing just me, and a split EP called Ben Marwood and Quiet Quiet Band Lay Low. I'm sure you can guess the name of the band who appear alongside me on that one.

To celebrate we're having an EP(s) launch party at South Street Arts Centre in Reading on Thursday night, to which you are cordially invited. Some tickets remain, at £5 plus booking fee, and I believe the Quiet Quiets have some CD-R promo copies of the split available from them on the night.

Thursday, February 7th
Double EP launch party @ South Street Arts Centre, Reading
w/Quiet Quiet Band & Tom Crook (of Band of Hope)
£5 adv/door - tickets here

Both Demons and ..Lay Low are available from all decent digital retailers, probably in fancy formats. You can also hear them on Spotify, if that's your thing, or a couple of my efforts are up on my Soundcloud page. Artwork for both was painted by the immensely talented Cat Holt, who did the artwork for Outside There's A Curse too.

Now is probably a good time to also mention that the free Incidents/Accidents EP is still up on Bandcamp for your downloading pleasure.

A Southampton gig is also happening
Saturday, March 9th
Bent Brief, Southampton
w/Rob The Liar & more
free show! 18+

And finally, the return of Lexapalooza - Boston Music Rooms, Easter Sunday, London
Yep, I'm excited about this one. For the uninitiated, Lexapalooza have previously given me the pleasure of playing alongside the likes of Frank Turner, Get Cape, Chris T-T, Jim Lockey, Oxygen Thief, Beans on Toast and many more, all in aid of raising money for Breast Cancer Campaign as well as being a really good excuse to dance, eat cake and enjoy a beer. I haven't played a Lexapalooza in ages, and I'm delighted that it's back.

There's plenty more acts to be announced but currently I'm sharing the stage with Jim Lockey & the Solemn SunOxygen Thief playing a full band show, Retrospective Soundtrack Players and many more. There are no tickets in advance so just turn up on the day. If you'd like to read up on it - and you should - head over here.

So, I think that's it for now. Thanks for reading, and stay warm.


Saturday, 5 January 2013

new year, new releases

Happy new year!

Yep, it's a brand new year and if the Mayan prophets are to be believed it's the year of the new album, presumably a new setlist and also, finally, the year of the first ever Ben Marwood music video. Relunctantly pro.

But more on that another day. We can't do these things (albums, gigs, media) from a standing start or we'll pull a muscle, so to celebrate it being a new year and me having more songs recorded than I know what to do with, this February will see the release of not one, not two, not three.. wait, actually yes two new EPs available digitally, one my very own work and one shared with my friends Quiet Quiet Band, containing my ex-Broken Tail cohorts Jay Newton and Paul Smith.

Both EPs are released through the fantastic Josaka Music label, a couple of people who I'm proud to be associated with. Back in the days of Broken Tail they let us use their digital and physical distribution deal to get our releases onto iTunes, Amazon and into the shops, and I'm happy to be involved with them again.

Here's the info:


Release #1: Ben Marwood and Quiet Quiet Band Lay Low
Released 4th February 2013 through Josaka Music
Cat No. TSK12, available digitally through all good stores

Ben songs: Run Home, I Promise You That It Will Be Okay (EP version), A Bedpost Mostly Notches, Come All Ye Unfaithful
QQB songs: Homemade Pistol, Fudge, Town & Country, Sutterton Roundabout

I've been hoping this one will come about for a while. QQB are one of my favourite bands, and a breath of fresh air in much the same way Heartwear Process were in 2007/2008, especially in Reading. Three ex-Heartwear members make up half of Quiet Quiet Band, and now they're slowly conquering the South one gig at a time.

Of my songs, 'A Bedpost Mostly Notches' and 'Come All Ye Unfaithful' were considered for the album right up until the last minute, and a version of 'I Promise You That It Will Be Okay' will indeed crop up on the new album. 'Run Home' is played on piano and I got Quiet Quiet's Jay Newton to help me out with that given that I'm as good at playing the piano as I am at playing Von Rothbart in Swan Lake.

The artwork for this record is by Cathy Holt, and is one of the alternative covers from first album Outside There's A Curse.

Release #2: Ben Marwood - Demons (EP)
Also released 4th February 2013 through Josaka Music
Cat No. TSK13, available digitally through all good stores

Tampa International
All Teeth On Skin
Demons (EP version)
You Can Run Away For Money
Tampa International (demo)

To complement Lay Low, here's an EP I made all by myself. Largely comprised of songs that didn't fit on the album, it features two versions of a song involving my favourite airport, two songs that were written during recording sessions for album #1 ('All Teeth On Skin', 'You Can Run Away For Money'), a cover of one of my favourite Cake songs ('Daria') and a song called 'Demons' which will feature on the forthcoming album and contains a ripping guitar solo from Paul Cardno of Damien A Passmore & the Loveable Fraudsters, Reading's tallest comedy country band.

The artwork for this record is also by Cathy Holt, and is another one of the alternative covers from first album Outside There's A Curse.


So, there you have it. More to come tomorrow - I haven't got any new noises to offer you today, so instead here's a video from Beans on Toast.