It’s been a while. Here’s some new music

The trouble with doing music in your spare time is that it can take ages to get anything finished. That was definitely the case with this song, The Sun Is Going To Shine Today: it’s been in half-finished form for months. We finally knuckled down and finished the track, and we hope you like it. We won’t keep you waiting quite so long for the next one.

Another victory for the ticket touts

News I’d missed: online ethical ticket exchange Scarlet Mist has shut down.

Richard, the owner, writes:

I’ve been running it more or less single-handledly for the past eleven years, as a part-time hobby whilst doing my day-job as a hospital doctor. It has been fun to run it, and it has been a useful service.

Unfortunately my wife is now disabled and I need to devote more time to caring for her and my family.

Ticket touts and the secondary ticket market is here to stay. There is very little political will to address it, money talks in this world.

He’s right. My local MP is one of very many politicians who voted against proposals to crack down on the legal-tout market. Personally I don’t think gigs should only be available to the rich.

From Scotland with love

I went to see the live version of this the other night:

It’s a collection of archive footage from Scotland with a soundtrack by King Creosote. The album’s fantastic and the film’s great too, but live it took on another dimension entirely. One of those shows where the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. I think everybody who went vowed to buy the DVD for everybody they know.

Switch me off and on again

Last free song of 2014: this one’s called Three Fingered Salute. It’s on Soundcloud too if you prefer to listen there.

Dad dancing

Time for a new song, I think. This one harks back to one of my musical loves, the KLF, and it’s about men who don’t realise it’s time they grew up. You know the type, the exuberant dancer who doesn’t realise he’s invisible at best and laughable at worst.

As ever, this one’s a free download. If you like it we’d appreciate it if you could share it.

In my head there’s nothing but music

Today’s post title is from erratic musical genius Babybird.

I was late to music – playing it, at least. I was told at eleven that I’d never be musical* (which is a pretty shitty thing to be told by a music teacher, isn’t it?) and I didn’t play my first note on a guitar until I was fourteen. That note was the bass line from Eddy Cochran’s C’Mon Everybody, a song I still love.

I was in bands from about 16 to my mid-thirties, with varying degrees of success: we did some decent gigs but, as I’ve written before, stage fright meant that the live side of things didn’t really do it for me. Unfortunately the bit I really did like, writing and recording, never quite lived up to what I hoped it would be. I’ve never been in a band that had the budget, the time or the expertise to really get things right in recording studios. That’s a real shame, because some of the songs I’ve been involved in over the years have been pretty damn good – which is why I don’t have a problem digging out some of my favourite ones and trying to get them right many years later.

It’s the best part of a decade since I played a gig, and I don’t really miss it – but I did spend a year or two where I wasn’t making music or writing songs, and with hindsight that was a pretty low period. Music’s a crucial part of who I am.

I started doing music seriously again about two years ago, when my brother and musical sparring partner David and I put together DMGM and ended up releasing Good Times, High Times and Hard Times. Thanks to the internet I know exactly how few people give a shit, but that’s not why we do it: we do it because we enjoy making noise. Music is its own reward.

And now there’s a whole bunch more coming.

As with the last album, the stuff we’re doing is all over the place stylistically. There’s NIN stomping and the odd outbreak of disco, some really squelchy electro-pop and some nods to various musical inspirations such as Faith No More, Talk Talk and The Human League. And I genuinely think it’s the best stuff I’ve been involved in: I’ve finally lost my fear of looking like an arse, so the music’s more honest and ambitious than ever before. It’s a pity that I’m doing it at the point in my life when the fewest number of people are likely to care: as much as Bono talks bollocks most of the time, he’s bang on when he talks about the fear that songs you’ve poured years of your life into won’t be heard.

Anyway. Here’s a new song. It’s called All Messed Up and you can have it for free.

This is the first thing we’ve put out since Hope And Faith jinxed the Scottish independence referendum, and it’s going to be joined by others really soon. If you like it you can download it for nothing from our bandcamp page, and if you do please ignore the pay what you want option: the plan is to keep adding tracks as and when we finish them, so it’s unlikely we’ll hit the limit on free downloads. All we ask is that if you like it, please tell someone else about it.

As ever, if you’d like to use our music for anything just drop me a line.

* Some say I’ve spent the 30-odd years since proving that particular point.

Hope and Faith: an independence anthem

It’s almost a year since we released Good Times, High Times and Hard Times, so it’s about time we put out some new music. Here’s the first one, a wee independence anthem that doesn’t so much veer close to Big Country territory as barrel through it on a motorbike fuelled by Irn-Bru.

As ever, if you like it we’d appreciate it if you could share it – and if you’d like to use it for something, please get in touch.

Six stringed joy

I’ve been letting my inner Bob Mould out a lot recently (his new album, Beauty and Ruin, is a cracker) and I just wanted to mention this guitar:

marauder-black-630-80

It’s a Fender Modern Player Marauder, it’s dirt cheap and it’s fantastic fun. Especially if you like guitars that go GNNNNH or fancy something that can sound like a Strat but that isn’t a Strat.

The most fun I’ve had at a gig in ages

I went to see Marmozets last week, and they were fantastic.  The tour’s nearly finished – they’re in Exeter tonight, Bridgend on Friday and Brighton on Saturday – but they’re doing some of the summer festivals. Definitely worth seeing.

“The needle has slowly shifted away from ‘music,’ towards ‘party.'”

There’s an interesting post on EDM.com about Outkast’s disappointing performance at the Coachella festival. The short version: people don’t have patience for stuff they can’t get into immediately.

The bar for energy and excitement has been set too high, and the mainstream interest at attending music festivals, driven by the proliferation of EDM mega-fests, has brought in a wide swath of people who simply aren’t what readers of a site like this would consider music fans.

I don’t think this is exclusive to electronic music, or to festivals. You’ll see it at all kinds of gigs, where people are paying top dollar for a performance they’ll only pay occasional attention to. It’s as relevant to stadium rockers as it is to rappers, and while the culprit may be EDM’s high-energy shows in this particular case there’s a wider trend of people going to gigs and only knowing, and only wanting to hear, three or four hits.

It’s a new era for live music, and acts that aren’t going to be bringing the requisite amount of energy to please a crowd filled with thousands of casual fans need to consider their audiences more carefully now than ever before.

It’s also something we punters need to consider before we splash out ridiculous sums of money on concert tickets. Unless you’re going to be right down the front with the superfans – something which, given my fear of crowds and my love of lager, isn’t going to happen – the bigger the gig, the more likely you’ll spend it listening to the people around you.