music

Going up in The Public

POSTED IN art, my projects | TAGS : , , , , , , 12 July 2012

Jon is a proper artist!

From 18th July until September the large glass edition of the Birmingham Music Map is going to be on display at The Public in West Bromwich as part of their Summer Exhibition. It’s free to visit and has a rather nice coffee shop-cum-bar.

Thanks to Jez from the Birmingham Music Archive for his continued support of this.

You can still add your memories to the map, here. And paper editions are on sale.

Touching cloth

POSTED IN music, my projects | TAGS : , , , , , , 14 March 2012

On Friday, as part of Flatpack Festival, there’ll be a screening of Lawrence of Belgravia: the documentary about the Felt, Denim and Go Kart Mozart frontman (nay, genius). The blurb goes thusly:

“Lawrence is one of those legends that very few people have heard of. Hellbent on stardom from an early age he jettisoned his surname and formed Felt, an 80s indie band with enigmatic allure, enormous influence (on Pulp and Belle and Sebastian, amongst others) and negligible sales. Later came Denim and then Go Kart Mozart, but fame never quite arrived. Rather than a talking-heads rehash of the whole story, Paul Kelly (Finisterre) has crafted a tender, bleak, funny portrait of the man himself now, a labour of love which accumulated over several years. This screening is a homecoming gig of sorts – Lawrence used to live over the road from the Midlands Arts Centre – and both subject and director will be here to talk about the film.”

I’ll be hosting the Q&A afterwards, and am listening to the Felt back catalogue and reading this book as I type. Tickets are, at the moment, still available.

New LP free: with chicken seasoning

POSTED IN found stuff, music | TAGS : , , 4 March 2012

The Internet has disrupted the musician’s lot as much as that or any artist, perhaps more so. So how do you get people to value an new LP? Maybe give it away with some fried chicken seasoning? Well that’s what mates Friends of the Stars are doing.

Their second LP, “Faith’s Meat Kiosk“, is coming out on 23rd April 2012 and to celebrate the’ve teamed up with Birmingham’s Jack Rabbit to do this:

You can pre-order it now. It comes in a number of flavours, all of which include a download of the “Faith’s Meat Kiosk” LP.

 

There’s also this charming video for the track Railroad Towns, shot around Lifford Reservoir in Birmingham, directed by Pete Ashton.

 

Broadcast’s Trish Keenan: a singer for whom life was a discovery | Music | guardian.co.uk

POSTED IN found stuff | TAGS : , , , 17 January 2011

"If the reaction of the blogosphere and Twitterati to Keenan's sudden death are reliable indicators, every one of their four studio albums should have been worldwide No 1s.

Blur's Graham Coxon called the news "devastating". Chillwave artist, Toro Y Moi, aka Chaz Bundick, tweeted that Keenan was "one of my biggest influences", while Colin Meloy from the Decemberists' wrote, "So sad. Everyone should listen to Broadcast today. Come on let's go …", referring to the title of an early Broadcast single.

Even the Arkansas Times was touched by Keenan's passing. The truth is that while Broadcast were shamefully underrated they were also quietly, beguilingly influential. They encouraged people to seek out esoteric or long-forgotten music – from electronica to folk." – Broadcast’s Trish Keenan: a singer for whom life was a discovery | Music | guardian.co.uk.

The King and I — my Elvis Marathon.

POSTED IN my projects, portfolio, writing | TAGS : , , , , 16 August 2010

Pleased to have one less thing in common with the Wonder Stuff, I do love Elvis. I love the hillbilly cat and the jumpsuited entertainer, and to prevent disillusionment I find it fairly easy to avoid watching the films — it’s not as if they are in heavy rotation on our mainstream channels these days. A love for the King is an isolating love these days. Elvis has become a rubber hat and plastic sunglasses, a jumpsuit and a remix opportunity. Elvis has become, like every dead musical artist worth remembering, a tribute and moneymaking sinkhole.

And I’m as much to blame as anybody, I own an officially licensed Blue Hawaii Hawaiian shirt (see what they did there?), an ‘Elvis pig’ (in mitigation, a gift), and book-after-book both scurrilous and fanboy. But I love the King, it’s where me and Chuck D part company (“Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant shit to me”) and one of the few touchstones that I’m sure I would have with bum-sex comedian Frank Skinner (who paid silly money for a shirt that may have belonged to EAP).

It’s a love based on the iconography as much as the music, the belts and glasses as much as the sultry vocals, That’s The Way It Is as much as the Carson show and really; ’75 as much as ’56. We’re around the 33rd anniversary of the death of Elvis Aaron Presley, and if there’s anything more undignifying than “dying on the toilet” it’s Elvis Week 2010. A week long excuse to bombard fans with emails for inglorious tat: Jailhouse Rock Flip Flops, the Elvis Hot Sauce Sauce Gift Set (including Elvis Don’t Be Cruel Hot Sauce), the Elvis and Dale Earnhardt Fantasy Race Car Magnetic Guitar Bottle Opener and left over Elvis Week 2009 Golf Balls. But, there’s still the music. In October a new Elvis Complete Masters 30 CD set is being released at the paltry sum of about £573.78 plus shipping, containing all 711 master recordings and a hundred or so rarities — no better way to make sure that it’s the music that matters.

Elvises

I couldn’t justify a pre-order for that, but I could beg and borrow all studio recordings released to date—and I can listen to all six hundred and ninety-eight of them in order. I could do the listening bit as I was ill with a stodgy cold and home alone as my other half was away to visit friends for the weekend—had she have been in situ there would have been no chance of getting through it in a sitting. A ferociously opinionated music fan, Jules has banned many of my favourites from play in her presence, mainly what she calls “wimpy indie music” (The Smiths, Belle and Sebastian, Black Box Recorder amongst them) but my recent obsession with listening only to covers of the Stones’ Satisfaction didn’t go down well either.

So I did, I loaded them all into iTunes, ordered by recording date as best as I could, from 1953′s My Happiness to 1976’s recording of Way Down (a posthumous Number One in the UK in 1977). That’s 1.2 days according to Apple. I started at 1pm on a Saturday, with intentions of attempting it in one go.

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My new music blog

POSTED IN music, my projects | TAGS : , 4 January 2010

fuckyeahobscuretunes where I’m going to try to post an obscure tune a day.

Birmingham Music Map

POSTED IN geodata, my projects, social media work | TAGS : , , , , , 5 November 2009

I’m a great supporter of the Birmingham Music Archive, and have long been discussing types of social media and other work that could contribute to their archiving of Birmingham based music and related culture. One idea I came up with was to map people’s music emotional attachments. Not just musicians or venues or bands, but mangers, personalities, shops, companies, collectives and hang-outs. We opened a public Google Map and asked people to contribute. That map is still open for contributions, but the first result of it is now produced — an A1 poster of memories:

Birmingham Music Map

It contains over 200 records, placed on the map by contributors. Zoom in, or see a detail:
BirminghamMusicMap_detail

It’s available to buy on my Zazzle store, with my other map-based artworks.

Half Map Half Biscuit

POSTED IN found stuff, music | TAGS : , , , , 18 February 2009

A map of everywhere mentioned in a Half Man Half Biscuit song. Genuis psychogeography.

Radio Free Horse Shit For The Garden

POSTED IN birminghamuk | TAGS : , , , , , 9 February 2009

Young @probablydrunk on teh  @rhubarbradio on TwitPic

If you like the Two Ronnies your first thought when using the word Rhubarb is probably “manure”, but no more. At least until they run out of themes and end up doing a gardening-with-poo based show, Danny Smith et al’s Rhubarb Radio show puts all effluent fertilizer thoughts out of my head. It replaced them this week with robot sex, but that’ll change as long as I keep tuning in at 7pm on Saturdays.

If you spent your evening less productively this week you can still listen again:

Listen to Technical Difficulties on Rhubarb Radio

Glasvegas

POSTED IN birminghamuk, music | TAGS : , , 4 February 2009

Have the look of the band of 2009 – as imagined in a British film from the early nineties. They’re various old punk scenesters playing the future Jesus and Mary chain. The set is straight from Jude Law’s forgotten dystopian master-work ‘Shopping’ – desolate monolithic council flats rumble bass and flash neon.

They’ve only got one song. It goes thump thump thump woo oooh. Works though.

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