Beverly – Honey Do

Beverly-Honey-Do-video-608x438

Frankie Rose can do very little wrong. As shown by Honey Do, a track by her band Beverly, who she formed with Drew Citron. It’s a vibrant piece of fuzz pop, all sepia tinged and swelling. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAG0EhVPUR0

Debut album Careers is out now. 

 

A chat with Joe Innes

joeinnesbrian

A bit indie, folk, pop, anti-folk, what sort of music is it that Joe Innes & The Calvacade make? And who is Joe himself? And, whilst we’re at it – Brian?? Read on to find out more…

For people who aren’t so familiar, can you give me a bit of background to you and your band? 

So, I’ve been playing in and around London for a few years acoustically. I used to do that thing years ago where I’d record a song and put it up on myspace and expect something to happen – which was pretty dumb looking back, I probably wasted lots of time that could have been spent doing something more pro-active. At one point I had a record deal with this tiny label that didn’t do anything, and when that fell through I realised I’d have to do everything myself. So I put a band together with some of my friends from uni and that became the first incarnation of Joe Innes & The Cavalcade. We released our first mini album in 2012 called The Frighteners which I paid for by selling half my comic book collection, and we went from there really. There are a lot of people in your band! Is it very much your band, or is it a collective? The band has changed over the years, Chris Mitchell and Sam Simon-Norris (drummer and bassist) were the backbone for ages and we had Amy Smith on violin and Lynn Roberts filling in harmonies and keyboards and other bits and pieces. Last year though, Amy went to New York for a year and Sam and Chris started a new band called I.This.Yes (who are really good) so they had less time to spend with The Cavalcade, and I put together a new band basically. Those guys are still around though, they’re well up for playing whenever they can, so it’s like a rotating collective of people now. The current line-up is Mark Higgins (bass), Charlie Farncombe (banjo), Patrick Degenhardt (drums) and Lynn Roberts (harmonies, glock, keyboard etc). Most of them are people we already knew and liked. You spend so much time hanging around in a band, you have to have people you like hanging out with otherwise it can suck.

How does working with so many people contribute to the result? How has it changed your work?

I think it changes the live performances a lot, new people bring new ideas and ways of playing. I think it’s exciting bringing a song to a new group of people, changing things up is important when you can – trying different instruments and interesting drum rhythms is where incredible albums like Graceland by Paul Simon came from. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with music if you allow yourself, but having a rotating group of musicians keeps it really exciting. I like it.

joeinnes

You’ve got some great accolades from people like Alessi’s Ark, Steve Lamacq and Tom Robinson. How difficult is it to raise awareness of your music?

It’s incredibly difficult, but I’m incredibly grateful that there are people out there who take it upon themselves to listen to hours and hours of new music everyday (and often for a hobby). Tom Robinson in particular has been really great to us, as well as Steve Lamacq and all the blogs and publications that have covered us. It’s always been hard to get anywhere in music, even Mozart had trouble with it – and you have to work incredibly hard to get yourself heard, but you have to do it if you feel compelled to, and I feel compelled to.

Your sound is very folky and pastoral, but you live in London. Can the city inspire folk music? What is folk?

It’s funny you describe us as pastoral, because I would never have thought that, I think we’re a bit too rough around the edges to be pastoral! If I wrote about traditionally folky stuff, I feel like it would be incredibly disingenuous. All I’ve known is towns and cities, so that’s what I write about, and anything can be inspirational, even a drunk guy pissing against a wall. Louis Armstrong once said “All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song.” And I’ve always remembered that quote. Before recorded music, the only songs that survived would be the catchy ones, and they’re the ones people would remember after seeing a folk singer at the pub – I’d say modern pop music is the natural evolution of folk music, with all the super catchy hooks and sing-along choruses. Music is music, songs are songs, there’s just so much of it out there it needs to be catalogued into genres otherwise there’d be chaos! We describe ourselves as alternative or anti-folk, like Jeffrey Lewis, The Mountain Goats or The Decemberists, and they’re just guys with acoustic instruments singing their songs. To be honest, I only play acoustic guitar so I don’t have to carry an amp around. That’s really all folk music is these days, unless you’re singing the traditional stuff. Your lyrics on the other hand are very gritty and real. What is the writing process for you? My writing process is stolen from 101 Dalmations. The guy in that film writes an awesome tune, and then meets Cruella de Vil, who inspires him to write the lyrics and finish the song. I have about 30 odd tunes currently knocking around my head and in my iPhone voice recorder waiting for a moment, or an event, or a Cruella de Vil to inspire the lyrics that will finish the song. At the moment I’m writing quite a lot, which always happens after we release something – I just want to record the next bunch of songs, which is bad because I should be spending my time selling the EP!

joeinnes2

What influences your lyrics and music? Are they the same?

I think when I write a melody it’s literally converting my mood into music – which is nice. Lyrics are more cerebral and involve me scratching my head a lot thinking about them, I like to reference pop culture a lot. My favourite TV, films and music growing up would reference other things (The Beatles did it a lot), and if you heard the reference and understood it, you felt like you were in ‘the club’ – I like to do that, and when people come up to me after shows and tell me they got it, that’s the best. Songs are basically there to communicate your experience as a human being to other human beings, and let everyone know we’re all in the same boat, so it’s nice to hear from people when they’ve shared an experience.

Who is Brian?

So, the new EP is called Brian, I’m a Genius Too which is a reference to a Beach Boys recording session where Brian Wilson’s dad Murray turned up drunk and started telling the band what to do, and says Brian, I’m a Genius Too  to his son (you can listen to it on youtube). Him and Brian had a strained relationship, which is basically summed up in that phrase. It’s something that reverberated with me a lot. Murray Wilson was a washed up songwriter and incredibly bitter about his son’s success, which I suppose is a fear for me, when I have children I don’t want to feel resentful about being a washed up songwriter. But I don’t think I will, I think I’m too cheerful for that. That’s basically where the new EP came from.

Wild Smiles – Never Wanted This

wildsmiles

Is it punk? Is it pop? Is it surfer? Who knows, but I like it. There’s no reinvention of the wheel here from Hampshire trio Wild Smiles, just a frantic and fuzzy that slaps you around the face like a thrashing fish whilst you stomp deliriously in a swirl of distortion. New single Never Wanted This is wildly exuberant, a testament in lyrics and melodies to never growing up.

Released on August 18th, it’s a less than gentle introduction to debut album Always Tomorrow, released on October 14th.

https://soundcloud.com/wildsmiles/neverwantedthis

A night of giggling at The Good Ship

the-good-ship

I like laughing. I also like Edinburgh. Yet I have never actually made it to the festival of fun and creativity that takes place in the fine Scottish city every August. Luckily enough, although I am sure it doesn’t quite compare, London is awash with comics rehearsing their stuff before they unleash it on those demanding audiences. And so, for those of us exploring these early performances, and as compere Ben Van Der Velde, comic and founder of the Good Ship Comedy Club, reminded us on this Thursday night in July – we are a wall, and the artists are there to throw shit.

In the few weeks running up to Edinburgh, these preview shows are a test bed for new material. True to form, this evening in the Kilburn venue saw some rough and some smooth. Some laugh out loud moments and some gentle smirk, some genuine entertainment and some raised eyebrows, some straight up one liners and some witty sarcasm. Stomping feet in laughter and squirming bottoms in awkwardness. All for only four quid.

The night kicked off with twenty five minutes of divulgence from Manchester lass Kate Mulgrew in her set Happily Ever After. Mainly about her own life, and Disney, and the merging of the two it was a warm set filled with observations about life and longings. Likeable, she’s the kind of girl you’d be glad to share a brew or a beer with, whether in an optimistic or cynical bent. When the set is sharper she will also be the kind of comedian you’d happily part with cash to see as a headliner. By the time Edinburgh rolls round expect a shorter more punchy set, filler buffed, excitement more evident than awkward anxiety – and a great show.

Andrew O’Neill skipped on to the stage and burst into song, an entrance which seemed something of a juxtaposition to his long dark hair and sleeve tattoos. Firing through fifteen minutes of one liners mixed with impersonations, I confess, I was a little confused at times, but then I have realised I spend just as much time at comedy shows bemused as well as amused. Chock full of skittish sketches, he flitted between jokes with energy and enthusiasm, bounding humour at the audience and making engagement essential. Whether you  ‘got it’ or not.

Andy Zaltzman, who is half of the topical podcast The Bugle, and owner of some excellent hair, usually conducts his satirical remarks in response to suggestions from the audience solicited in advance. Tonight a rather keen fan/heckler was the most engaged, frustrating the rest of the crowd a little, and slowing down the set. Exasperated by politics, the world, society and the environment, his sharp remonstrance delivered with a laser cut tongue is quick and responsive, even if he did appear a little weary tonight. Witty and sardonic, he still was without doubt the crowd’s highlight.

Sure there were some misses, but plenty of hits to compensate. I don’t want to over think the metaphor, but some material will definitely stick to that wall and make it up to Edinburgh. Scotland can look forward to their visitors.

Catch more Edinburgh previews and more at The Good Ship Comedy Night, usually twice a week, and a bargain at only £4.

Ex Hex – Don’t Wanna Lose

Ex_Hex_2

Want some frantic and fuzzy girl punk? Mary Timony is the lady to know. A central member of several punk bands including Autoclave in 1990, then through the ’90s  Helium, rocking solo for a bit before rocking vocals and guitars for supergroup Wild Flag she now has a new project - Ex Hex. First single Don’t Wanna Lose is incredibly vibrant and raw, pacing along with rough urgency and intuition, and of course utters strong female sentiment.

In her own words:

Ex Hex is what your older brother’s friends listened to. “Roxy Roller” and “Virginia Plain” rumbling from the Kenwood in the basement.
It’s what your babysitters listened to, and it’s what stuck with me.
Ex Hex is a power trio: guitar, drums, and bass.

Debut album Rips is released on October 7 in North America and October 13 worldwide.

Scriggler: Live

Scriggler live for print-final-p18slarnve1m5b1pjt111790a1mg3

A night of creativity and inspiration for the thinking person

Music and words, stories and songs, poetry and performance all come together at The Harrison Bar, London, on Thursday 18th September for Scriggler: Live.

Celebrating the launch of Scriggler, a hub for words, a magazine, social network, publishing and blogging platform for anyone who wants to read, write and discuss any topic in any style, the evening is one of inspiration and imagination.

Scriggler: Live brings the online offline, this night of music, literature and debate continuing in the ethos of allowing stimulating and creative content to be shared. Featuring the best of both established and new spoken word artists, actors, writers, poets, musicians, the live events will enthral and entertain.

And so we have Sam Berkson, the ‘poet thug’, giving us his take on the issues he sees in London, counter balanced by the sweet and gentle yet no less powerful Jo Brandon. See magical work courtesy of Anna Beecher, hear some work submitted to Scriggler, and listen back as lovely and lilting Hannah Scott plays some acoustic tunes.

Thursday 18th September 2014

7.00pm for 7.30pm start

£5 in advance / £8 on the door

Get tickets in advance from We Got Tickets or Eventbrite, and follow Scriggler and me on twitter for more information.

5×15′s Capitalism and its Discontents, London – review

5x15

5×15. Not 75, but an evening of intellect and inspiration. A brilliant concept, developed by journalist Rosie Boycott, her daughter Daisy Leitch and the literary events promoter Eleanor O’Keeffe, the event is a highly relevant literary smorgasbord.

Five speakers, 15 minutes each. Sometimes there is no connection between the orators at all; the only link being that these are five interesting people passionate about a topic and wanting to share it with the audience.

Read more at Blue & Green Tomorrow.