Saturday, 22 May 2010


Four tracks from Patch William, a band I discovered via "BBC Introducing". Here is their Last FM biog:

Patch William officially started in the summer of 2007 with their first gig at Bristol University. The band consists of Ed and Will, who are brothers, George, one of their old friends, and Ali, a recent addition to the band since recording. For their first year playing the band conscientiously gigged around London, recorded at home and promoted themselves culminating in a lucky run-in with producer Steve Levine. Having heard them play Steve quickly signed the band to his label, Hubris records, in the summer of 2008. From this Patch William have been invited to perform a live session for BBC introducing where they recorded three tracks which have subsequently been played on 6 music Radio 2, and Radio 1. The band have recently finished their debut album whereby an EP will be release very soon (26th October) and available to download from itunes, and the album will follow soon after.

Two live tracks:


Two tracks from the "BBC Intoducing" session in 2008:

Monday, 17 May 2010


Leave any general messages or feedback below, as a comment, and I will try to reply asap :)


I am a lover of country music, but I am the first to admit it is not one of my areas of expertise. For their recommendtions I am indebted to my panel of country music advisers, including (on twitter) @Heidi_Jackson and @Bradshawww.

American country singer-songwriter Brad Paisley specialises in songs containing wry comment on contemporary phenomena. His song "Online" (link to official video here) contains the lyric "I'm so much cooler online"...not true in my case, as my real friends will testify, and "The Toilet Song" (live performance below) is a mildly cynical portrait of the "New Man":

Whitney Duncan built up a big audience after appearing on the American TV series "Nashville Star". Here she performs "Right Road Now" for radio station Hank FM:


The YouTube Channel NMEtv is a "must subscribe" site for indie and other genres. There you will find such gems as Foals' "Spanish Sahara":

If indie is your thing then take a trip to the YouTube Channel Subtvmusic. They record live sessions every month for signed and unsigned bands.They have had such bands as the Holloways and the Wombats and recently Laura Marling and the Rushes. Here is one of my favourites - White Light Parade with "Wait For The Weekend":

Friday, 14 May 2010


Melody Gardot's stunning performance of "Baby I'm A Fool" on Later With Jools Holland. Many musicians have been described as inspirational, but here the description is truly deserved, as this brief biography by Michael G. Nastos, from the "All Music Guide" shows:

"The story of vocalist Melody Gardot is as remarkable as any who perseveres against abject adversity. Born in New Jersey in 1985, she took up piano and played as a youngster on the nightclub scene of Philadelphia, influenced by jazz, folk, rock and pop musics. At age 19 she was a fashion student at the Community College of Philadelphia. But, on a fateful day, while riding her bicycle, the driver of a Jeep made an illegal turn, hurdling into Gardot and leaving her in the street for dead. Hospitalized for months with multiple head injuries and pelvic fractures, her love for music was the best therapy she could receive. While in her hospital bed, she wrote and recorded songs that would become the EP Some Lessons. Upon her eventual release from intensive care, Gardot found the strength and determination to further her career as an artist. Blessed with a beautiful voice and grand insight as a songwriter, her cognitive powers slowly but surely became pronounced, leading to the independent recording and release of her debut CD, Worrisome Heart, which was reissued in 2007 by Verve records. Her music could be described as a cross between Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Eva Cassidy, and Shania Twain, but goes deeper than mere pop convention. Gardot is hypersensitive to light and noise, thus she wears dark glasses, and uses a cane to walk. On-stage she requires a special seating unit, and wears a Transcutaneous Electro-Nerve Stimulator, a TENS device, to assist in alleviating her neuralgic muscle pain. As amazing as her story is, what is more evident is that she possesses a blue style and persona that reflects not only her afflictions, but conversely the hope and joy of making personalized music that marks her as an individual and original. Though touring is difficult, she has been performing in major cities on the East Coast to support her recordings. In 2009, working with producer Larry Klein and arranger Vince Mendoza -- both known for their work with Joni Mitchell -- Gardot followed up her Verve debut with My One and Only Thrill". ~

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


Laura Marling sings "What He Wrote" from her album "I Speak Because I Can", from an acoustic session for Virgin Music France. It is am incredibly mature album for such a young artist.

PETE DOHERTY: Beg, Steal or Borrow

Pete Doherty performs Beg, Steal or Borrow on Jools:

PETE DOHERTY: Music When The Lights Go Out

Pete Doherty performing during an interview for BBC4, in 2004. The whole interview (which is on YouTube) is well worth watching, showing that Doherty is a long way from the drunken drug-crazed monster that is presented to us in the tabloids. In fact we see a sensitive and vulnerable individual, a talented performer, and a writer of poignant and personal songs. Unfortunatey the interviewer (Kirsty Wark) once again dwells on the issues of drugs and relationships, and seems to have little appreciation of the music. My reaction was similar to that of bevyk777, who commented:

"I'm trying to figure out how she sat there and didn't acknowledge how lucky she was to have that song played so beautifully 2 feet away from her...and not even so much as a word or a toe tap...or a head sway. Maybe concentrating on her next question. I wonder if she rethought it after seeing it? How can you ignore that performance w/out a compliment of some sort???".

She is quite sensitive, however. It's touching at the end when she reads a letter frome Pete Doherty's mum.

POP LEVI: Semi Babe

This is British singer, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and filmmaker Pop Levi. Basically the craic here is to get all three videos playing in sync. You can even mix it yourself using the volume controls. Have fun...I've done this a few times now and dammit I am starting to like the song.

Monday, 10 May 2010

The X Factor won't work...people are naturally greedy and competitive. If I had £1 for every time I heard that, I would be a rich capitalist bastard. The thing is, competition is forced upon us at every turn. TV seems to be turning everything into a competition at the moment. Think of singing, dancing, skating, cooking, creating a work of art, living in a house for four weeks without annoying too many people...and you'll soon be thinking of a TV game show.
Which leads me to The X Factor. Everything about it says I should hate it and avoid it like I would avoid Louis Walsh in a wine bar. But I am drawn to it. It is strangely compelling, as Capt. James T. Kirk might say. I am drawn to it because it sometimes turns up very real raw talent, in particular I am thinking of...don't throw things at me now...Diana Vickers (more about her later). Of course it's all too possible that X Factor success will lead to being devoured by a giant music corporation that then churns out another teeth-whitened auto-tuned bubblegum popster. But I am STILL entertained by Alexandra Burke, for example, and I can't help it. I will listen to her album again today. And I think Subo's (not X Factor, I know, but the same sort of thing) version of Wild Horses is a pretty good cover of a much-covered song. I agree that XF seems to value only a very narrow spectrum of musical ability, but it is as if the individuality shines through despite production line treatment.
So maybe the competition does produce talent, or at least bring it to our attention. Of course there's loads of brilliant stuff that would fly straight over Simon Cowell's helicopter landing pad haircut, and I still cringe when I see or hear Jedward, or I peep at those hide-my-face-behind-the-cushion qualifying rounds. It was Ricky Gervais, I think, that described them as the bewildered being paraded before multi-millionaires for our entertainment. But I remain an X Factor addict, and there is no treatment known to humanity.

Tony Blair

A few words appear to be missing from the cover of the published version.

LILY ALLEN, Bournemouth BIC, 2009.

This is a photo I took at a Lily Allen gig in Bournemouth last year. When I first saw the pic I didn't think much of it. I put it up on twitpic and I got a positive comment on it, then when I looked at it again I decided that I did really like it. I took it on a Canon Ixus; I hadn't wanted to lug my SLR around all night. So it's really just a point-and-shoot pic that has turned out properly exposed and looking good in black and white.

We were sat quite a way back, up on the balcony, so Lily looks fairly small in the frame as she paces the stage. But I think that helps with this pic. Lily seems quite a vulnerable person, and I think the pic emphasises this, as does the fact that she is sideways on to the eyes of the crowd. I think also that her image on the video screen somehow adds to the appearance that she lonely on the stage. It can also represent the way the performer and the performance is captured, re-packaged and transmitted, even for the live audience. Her image is also being captured on the glowing screens of the mobile phone/cameras.


I found this video quite moving and poignant. It is Scottish comedian/actor Brian Limond (Limmy).


Ricky Gervais: I thought 'The Office' and 'Extras' were both brilliant. I am not a huge fan of his 'stand-up' comedy, it's a bit hit and miss. The same goes for 'the Invention of Lying', but he can do 'serious' acting, as the last two clips below show, I think.

He is spot on here with Simon Cowell, who, to be fair, seems to take it very well.

This scene occurs towards the end (*spoiler alert*) of the Extras Xmas Special. Andy's speech hits about a thousand nails right on the head. It's too dramatic to be funny and shows he can do 'serious' acting. I fell in love with Maggie; a good performance from Ashley Jensen.

Too tragic to be funny, again.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

JAMES BROWN: Please Please Please

THE WHO: Substitute

EDITH PIAF: Je Ne Regrette Rien



KEITH JARRETT / JEFF BECK: Somewhere Over The Rainbow

It is interesting to compare these two performances. I think Jeff Beck's is technically brilliant, but Keith Jarrett's has more emotional impact:

THE CLASH: What's My Name?

There is a better quality vid, which I could not embed, here:

The Clash: "What's My Name"

ARETHA FRANKLIN: Bridge Over Troubled Water

ALICIA KEYS: Empire State Of Mind Pt.II

OTIS REDDING: Try A Little Tenderness


Sunday, 2 May 2010

Blood Of The Black Owl

Death Metal project "Blood of the Black Owl" is the brainchild of Chet W. Scott, of Seattle, Washington, who is responsible for all vocals and instrumentation, from guitars and drums to flutes and ocarinas.

Reviewer Erik Thomas writes "Blood of the Black Owl delivers a take on doomy depressive black metal that deviates slightly from the suffocating psychosis of his peers. What we have here is still, disturbing and nervous doom-gaited black metal, but with a tangible stoner lean, especially in guitar tone. Now don’t get me wrong, the first time I listened to Blood of the Black Owl with headphones on at bedtime, I had wretched nightmares (seriously), as the draining, lengthy tracks are still fraught with tense paranoia, but its’ less clich├ęd and insidious and more organic."

Sweet dreams everyone!

"Uwwalo" from the album "Blood Of The Black Owl":

"Journey Of The Plague Year" from the album "A Feral Spirit":

Saturday, 1 May 2010


Tinie Tempah and his crew perform "Pass Out" at the Dingwall's MTV "10 for 10" event. I prefer this to the recorded's like a public service announcement...WITH GUITAR!!!...hell yeah!

PLAN B: Writing's On The Wall

Plan B (Ben Drew) with "Writing's On The Wall" from Later With Jools Holland: