Friday, 29 July 2011

Writers Blog - 29/07/2011

Vocal tracking starts tomorrow and i've yet to write a complete set of vocals for either 'Penance...' or 'New Adventures...'. It's not for lack of trying, more a case of nothing fitting together well. I'm really disappointed, but i should be able to wing at least one on the day. Probably 'Penance...' as it currently has a half complete verse as well as a chorus that i'm 50/50 as to whether or not i actually like it... the vocal melody i first had in mind when i sat down to write the song simply doesn't work, so i've had to compltelely strip it down and start again. As for 'New Adventures...' it's got a chorus and that's it. The verses are IMPOSSIBLE to work some words in and around. Absolute nightmare.

Nevertheless, apart from the aforementioned little absolute fuckers, i'm entirely happy and chomping at the bit to get stuck into the other nine.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Currently listening to... - 26/07/2011

Skying - The Horrors
Society Is A Carnivorous Flower - J Church
Boy - U2
Heaven Is Whenever - The Hold Steady
Jump Salty - Pinhead Gunpowder
What Did You Expect From... - The Vaccines
S/T - Bon Iver
Somewhere At The Bottom... - La Dispute
Mare Vitalis - The Appleseed Cast
Third Album Demos - Future Of The Left
The Unforgettable Fire - U2

... heard six brand new No Choice songs on the weekend too and all genetic bias aside they sound really, really good.

I'm absolutely obsessed with the first four U2 records (Boy, October, War & The Unforgettable Fire) at the moment, all from hearing 'I Will Follow' during their Glastonbury set and thinking "no fucking way is that actually one of their own tunes". I must admit i thought it was a spontaneous cover of The Skids (though not that fucking co-massacre of 'The Saints Are Coming' they did with fellow dinosaurs-at-least-sixteen-years-past-their-prime Greenday, that one unfortunately is still all too fresh in the memory) or perhaps even a Ruts song i somehow hadn't heard before. I was obviously wrong. Took me a couple of days to track down a 'deluxe re-issue' version of their debut album 'Boy' and i was blown away by just how raw and great it sounded. Tight, abrasive, massively melodic post punk. The sourcing of other re-issues followed over the next week or so follow, all the was up until Achtung Baby, which i'm not keen on, and neither am i particularly bothered with The Joshua Tree even though everyone goes mad about it. Not really for me, though there are indeed a few great songs scattered between the two, but i'm personally far more a fan of everything that came before. Suffice to say i didn't worry myself with tracking down anything past Achtung Baby.

It's weird. Up until three or so weeks ago i had written off U2 as a band i'd make a point of not paying any attention to, largely on the basis that everything i'd heard from them in my formative years was just various shades of Extreme Dad Rock, and also because Bono is something of an unrelenting bellend. I was completely ignorant to their rich, prolific post punk beginnings, and now i feel as though i've just stumbled across a veritable gold mine of genuinely brilliant, brilliant songs from one of the very last bands i would ever imagine once being able write. You can say what you like about U2 as a band now, but from 1980 to 1984, they were on fucking fire.

My current favourite tunes from that era are: I Will Follow, The Electric Co, Bad, Out Of Control, The Refugee, A Sort Of Homecoming, I Threw A Brick Through A Window, Another Time, Fire, Two Hearts Beat As One, The Unforgettable Fire & 11 O'Clock Tick Tock. Check them out if you haven't heard them before, like me you might find yourself somewhat stunned to discover just how good this 'dad rock' band really once were.

Monday, 25 July 2011

The Weekenders - 25/07/2011

Last Friday and Saturday's recording session with Chris went really well. Eleven songs were tracked, with vocals to added this coming weekend. Chris will mix them in his own time thereafter, but he won't take too long to get them back to us. Once he does we're gonna put one or possibly two of them online, for anyone and everyone to hear. Every song sounds really promising (if a little rushed in a couple of instances! Sod it, half of these versions probably won't be heard by anyone other than us four in the band), and i'm absolutely itching to start laying some vocals down, however, 'Penance...' currently has no lyrics whatsoever (on account of it being less than a week old) and 'New Adventures...' still doesn't have any verses, so i'll be busy enough scribbling away during the week to get absolutely everything down and ready.


We were originally going to be recording in Pontypridd, but everything fell through at the last possible minute (we really don't seem to be having the best of luck with much of anything at the moment), which effectively cancelled our weekend plans entirely for a moment on Friday afternoon, only for Fudge @ Sound Space to pull off a miraculous emergency recovery operation late on Friday evening to keep us on track. Nice one, Fudge!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Seven Records / The First Two Years - 22/07/2011

Due to circumstances out of everyones control, Seven Records will no longer be taking orders or directly selling any more copies of The First Two Years. I won't bore you with the precise details as to why this has happened, but let's just say that an 'admin error' had something, if not absolutely everything, to do with it.

Before the CD got pulled, we're told that orders were shipped across the globe, which humbles the living shit out of me. The fact that there are a couple of kids in Japan, Russia or Italy with our CD in their collections blows my tiny mind.

Our heads are currently far too wrapped up in getting album #2 ready for any us to actively do anything about this situation at this moment in time, but what i can say is that if you do have a copy of The First Two Years then there's a 0.0000001% chance that you're now in the possession of some serious future ebay gold... GO YOU!

A quick google search suggests that you can download The First Two Years via mediafire, thepiratebay and some punk rock blogs. I actively encourage you to do so, and would hugely appreciate anyone taking it upon themselves to point others towards the free download links, the vast majority of the songs on there are fucking great and remain staples in our set, the more people that can get it into their media library the better.

I'd copy and paste the links up here but my computer is being an utterly appalling bastard at the moment, but you know what to do, all i did was google search 'solutions the first two years'. Loads of results.

Massive thanks to everyone who actually bought a copy, and thank you to Rich @ Seven for putting his money where his mouth is to physically get it out there, if only for a short while ultimately.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Final Hill - 20/07/2011

Last night we had our final practice before we head into the studio this weekend. Chris came down for a listen to the tracks and everything went well. We will be recording eleven songs, including a song that slipped through the gates at the last possible minute (i wrote it on Sunday evening, we played it for the first time as a full band around 8:30pm last night) called Penance For Raped Angels. The song itself is complete 'Beaster' era Sugar worship, but with a chorus progression that wouldn't be out of place on Definitely Maybe. Weird? Well, kinda. I initially envisioned it as a perfect track 1 on the record, but it felt more like a pummelling mid to late album number as we were running through it last night. It's cool and really, really easy to play, the boys had it down from start to finish in less than ten minutes. So here's the revised / updated list of songs to be tracked this and next weekend:

1) House Of America
2) Don't Say 'No' To Rock N' Roll
3) Blank Cities
4) Whatever Keeps You Alive
5) Drug Money
6) Gorgeous Horses
7) History Of The Bullfight
8) Histrionics
9) Penance For Raped Angels
10) Lake Palmer
11) New Adventures In Wi-Fi

New Adventures In Wi-Fi was once called The Plastic Stays Yellow Forever, then I Had A Dream... the new, and final, change is of course a doff of the cap to the best band that ever stepped out of Athens, Georgia.

Eddie brought a great riff into practice last night too, catchy as all hell itself, but it's gonna have to wait until our next batch of dates with Chris.

Roll on the weekend...

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

And then there was one... or two? - 12/07/2011

All but one of the ten songs to be taken into the studio with Chris now have a full set of lyrics. R'N'R was surprisingly SUPER hard to write, as the lyrics are essentially absolute nonsense from start to finish. Believe it or not it's actually insanely hard to write completely nonsensical lyrics. Somehow a linear commentary is maintained beneath the madness, but quite what that message is i'll have you figure out for yourself. The first draft of the lyrics had 'bitches' rhyme with 'ditches' and then 'ditches' rhyme with 'stitches' (...obviously). Insane Clown Posse are quaking in their boots right now, i'm sure. Alas, i'm saddened to say that said lyric has not found it's way to the finished draft.

I tried to channel The Lemonheads at their most stupid (Rockin' Stroll), The Drips and straight-up Poison Idea (Just To Get Away) to help me nail this unexpectedly complicated beast, and i hope that i've done the influences justice.

Only the last song on the record currently has no lyrics, or even a final working title for that matter, it's changed from The Plastic Stays Yellow Forever (which i thought possibly sounded a bit too Twilight Sad) to I Had A Dream in the last couple of days, but to be honest i think it will be called something else entirely again by the time we get into the studio with it. So yeah, nine of the ten songs are ready to go. Or...

It could be nine of the eleven that are ready to go.

I wrote another song just yesterday evening. It's short, fast and super catchy. I don't know if i have the patience to wait until another session comes along in a couple of months before we record it! However, obviously the other boys haven't even heard a second of it yet, and learning a new song from scratch combined with getting the other ten songs completely musically and vocally tight for recording, in two weeks, may just be too much of an ask. Probably will be, if i'm being honest.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Room Thirteen - 10/07/2011

Cheers to Room Thirteen for this review of 'The First Two Years':

Friday, 8 July 2011

Buffalo Headline Show - 08/07/2011

We've just accepted an offer from the lovely Jon Greenwood to headline a show of his at Buffalo Bar, Cardiff on Saturday 3rd September 2011. We haven't got the full details just yet, suffice to say the show will be cheap on the door and will comply with the strict 10pm curfew. Looking forward to it. Cheers Jon!

In Silence / Words Away - 08/07/2011

In an unprecedented burst of productivity and creativity, over the last three days i have managed to totally write (and actually re-write in a couple of cases) eight of the ten songs that needed to be written before we head into the studio with Chris. Don't ask me how, but i did! Less than five days ago i was genuinely stressing at the prospect of sitting down and having absolutely nothing to write about, when in actual fact it turns out i had absolutely everything to write about. As with 90% of all other lyrics i've ever written, i'm unable to comprehend just yet where they've all come from and what they're about exactly, but a few of the songs seem quite political in their lyrical content, especially Lake Palmer and House Of America. It certainly wasn't a conscious decision, but the tone and content more than compliments the music for each. Both are very bleak and claustrophobic numbers, distant cousins of Mexican Waves from the 'Ends Meet' EP i reckon.

I'm over the moon with how things have gone so far, i'm hoping to get the other two, Don't Say 'No' To Rock N' Roll (our personal homage to Anvil and Hot Snakes, which fucking kills if i may say so myself) and I Had A Dream. Rock N' Roll should be written by Sunday evening, but Yellow will take another practice to settle on a vocal melody, never mind a set of lyrics.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Two Hearts In Two Weeks - 05/07/2011

In little over two weeks we will officially begin production on our second full length record. Here are the songs that have made the grade and will be brought be brought along to the first session:

1) House Of America
2) Don't Say 'No' To Rock N' Roll
3) Blank Cities
4) Whatever Keeps You Alive
5) Drug Money
6) Gorgeous Horses
7) Histrionics
8) A History Of The Bullfight
9) Lake Palmer
10) I Had A Dream

Of the above, only Blank Cities and Lake Palmer have a complete set of lyrics, so i've got A LOT of hard work ahead of me for the next couple of weeks!