Garbage, a reflection of albums at the right time

I hear the opening guitar line and close my eyes and I can see myself cycling to and from the newly opened Tonbridge swimming pool, day in day out, having to stop to flip over the tape before carrying on my journey. This is the story of a perfect album released at the perfect moment.

As the summer holiday of high-school was nearing an end in 1995 Garbage released their eponymous titled debut album to international acclaim. A year after the death of Kurt Cobain and the rock world was lost. Enter Shirley Manson, a bold and confident personification of rock and roll and even better in female form. Every magazine cover was emblazoned by the vision of this fiery haired rock goddess, even though as she would later come to admit she was nervous about everything, and until walking into the recording studio never written a lyric in her life.

I bought the album on cassette at Our Price the morning it came out having seen videos at friends houses of Garbage performing Only Happy When It Rains and was mesmerised, not from her beauty, but from the sheer strength she expressed in performances.

The tape didn’t leave my walkman until about 2 months later, day in day out listening to it. I’d not really heard anything like it before, the blend of edgy rock guitars, dark lyrics electronic drums and synths. Garbage opened a door for me to what else was happening with the cross over between rock and electronica. Without them I don’t think I would have revisited Pop Will Eat Itself, Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy or Front 242 even though none of them really reflected the same sound.

For some reason Stupid Girl came into my head this morning and took me back to that summer, a blistering sunshine and getting caught in a freak lightening storm out of nowhere one afternoon cycling back from the swimming pool.

I got home feeling somehow wetter than when I was in the pool, the sky was black and the outside was officially off-limits. What else to do but put my headphones back on and push play.

Why you shouldn’t fund concepts – Elbow Tape Player

I recently had my attention drawn to the Elbow tape player, a future-retro piece of equipment for playing cassettes. With the recent insurgent of cassette releases by young bands, it’s understandable that there becomes a demand of players. A quick look on ebay will show that unlike 5 years ago, a Sony Walkman is currently worth the same, if not more than what you may have paid for it in 1996.

However, take heed music lovers, because here is where funding and showing interest in something based on a very snazzy looking mock-up image and render of product proves you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. below I have copied out my post on their Facebook page, due to a lack of anywhere public to communicate with them and the people they had garnered interest from.

Continue reading “Why you shouldn’t fund concepts – Elbow Tape Player”

Doing something because you should

I was sat in a conference hall when my phone informed me that a show I was going to had been cancelled and would not be rescheduled. Another email followed with a notice of refund. I don’t know why, what it was at that moment that drove me but I headed to twitter.

Jonah shortly replied.

I’m blessed to work in an incredibly diverse space, with a very open group. I checked the diary and we had nothing booked in and decided I could fix this. I know what it is like first hand being on tour and a promoter pulling out, it can completely mess your schedule and you also have to consider the people who were going to attend, I can only imagine how worse it is if you’ve travelled 7,000 miles for the pleasure.

Using Twitter, Jonah and I arranged a time, he put together an RSVP list on his site, and at around 20:30, I sat down with 12 other people, friends, and fans for a very intimate, fun and special performance in 68 Middle St, and wow, the sound is just astounding.

If you can – do

We are all guilty of having something we can share with people and keeping it to ourselves, something which Jonah himself commented on, talking about how his love for playing and sharing music with people was what drove him and how he spends time with his daughter and explaining that daddy doesn’t have to go away for work – daddy wants to go away for work, it’s what makes him, him.

I believe that sharing whatever that gift you have, or even a commodity that you may have forgotten is what makes us good people, and I was thankful for being able to share this space with a few people, even if just for one night.

I want to thank everyone who came, from my old flat mate who I had not seen for 5 years, the lady who is soon to introduce the future into this world with the birth of her child, the guy who retold the story of being in 68 Middle Street for an illegal rave a few years ago and everyone who commented on how wonderful the space is and how fortunate we are to have a creative and open space like it in Brighton. I also want to thank Jonah Matranga for making that happen. I may have opened the doors and turned the lights off at the end but ultimately, it was his joyful persona and his music which brought this little group of people together. I hope to see you all again soon.

The cloud is more than air and water

What is ‘The Cloud’ and how is it affecting our lives? CMTAW is a project investigating the acoustic ecology and impact of cloud computing on the lives of those who use it, the places it is physically located in and the people who work to maintain it.

The project my brother has been working on for the last year is going to be on display in Birmingham between August 21st and 22nd. The location is secret, as has been much of the machinations behind this project which has gone somewhat viral in recent months with Matt’s work being featured on many blogs and landed him on BBC Radio and a few stations in the USA. His Tumblr alone has been fascinating with its documentation of environmental effects of cloud computing that you may not have thought about. You can see preview for CMTAW Installation V1.0 on his Tumblr and if you would like to find out how to access the installation contact the project via

Where have all the hardcore bands gone?

There was a reblog from Deathwish recently titled just say the safe word and I’ll stop which struck a chord with me.

It’s an article discussing the merits of Self Defence Family (current, past, former et et) and their relevance as a band that could leave you walking from a show uncomfortably blown away.

The original poster – safeasmalk talks about GG Allin and Jesus Lizard then referred to These Arms Are Snakes as his generation (and mine’s) equivalent. I was fortunate enough to see TAAS around 5 or 6 times during their career. Being in the UK we take things as they come and appreciate every body-aching moment. I remember maybe the first show, watching Steve Snere deep throat the microphone resulting with him vomiting on the stage. The last time, Ryan Frederiksen toured the entire venue using two bar stools as stilt, at one point using me as a resting post whilst his guitar lead ran nooses around members of the crowd whilst he convulsed atop of his plinths.

It was a truly terrifying experience and yet the most engaged I’ve ever felt at a show. They’re not the only ones I can think of but I can certainly reflect with the original article.

I grew up in the sleepy dull town in the shadow of its parent; Tunbridge Wells. We had an incredible music scene (it still does) and the best independent venue in the country (it still does). At the heart of the scene even to this day has been Joeyfat. A post-punk band with a revolving door on it’s lineup but with one main-stay, it’s front-man Matt Cole.

Over the course of the last 10 years I’ve seen M.Cole on all fours of a table, barking like a dog at a couple who were having a conversion throughout the entire set, rip the clothes off his body during 20 minutes of anguish, and on countless occasions he’s let us join him through warped take on the world.

It’s not about pantomime antics, I know that isn’t what safeasmilk was talking about – neither am I, and I can see why he is discounting Trash Talk who are indeed a powerful force onstage. But once you have seen them 3 or 4 times the illusion is broken. When you realise it is set-pieces rehearsed, in a loose sense, of whatever worked last time. Yes they’ll be in the crowd, yes someone will climb a PA stack, yes we’ll have a circle pit. The same went for the latter Gallows tours, you were guaranteed Frank Carter walking across the crowd and standing on the shoulders of his followers below. It becomes prescribed and unreal, it becomes – a show.

But it’s not just about the intensity in the delivery, it’s the content as well. Have we run out of things to rebel against? Are the wrong people making music now? What’s happened to the disguised anger of Fugazi or brazen assault that was Bikini Kill?

I get the point and I agree, where have all those bands gone?

There’s a recent star in the clouded sky of hardcore that I still pine for today. It burnt hard and burnt fast and that was Blackhole.

I took this photo during one of their last shows and that look, what you see when you look into those eyes – that is what is missing from bands right now.