Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Bill Withers


One of the highlights of my now old job was getting to meet heroes. And meeting soul man Bill Withers was one of the best.  

Yep the duck in a microwave Bill Withers of the very same. He's almost 80 and got the wry cynical sense of humour of a fella at least half his years.

We spoke in Bill's hotel bar over a couple of waters back in May and spent half an hour deliberating what a tool Donald Trump is. After we finished he took me to the hotel's Starbucks and made the lady serving promise to give me a donut every time I went in. Right on Bill!

Read the Bill Withers feature


We survived Glastonbury 2017


I have no photos of Glastonbury 2017 other than the one above of the shitty little tent I got from Lidl two days before going.

I only spent about five minutes in it over the four or so days we were there but for the sake of posterity, there she blows. Thankfully there was much more on offer than just this tent although it's taken us until now to piece the narrative together. Still however much was forgotten, I'm never going to forget how much it hurt coming back on the Monday. Sloping back into Tottenham at 10am that morning having not slept for the past two nights and with only a Babybell and the crumbs of a bacon butty as fuel meant for a massive, grizzly ouch. Here is a list of the best things we can (kind of) vaguely remember...

Craig David

Turns out he can kill it on the main stage when he's got a laptop full of big R&B bangers and some pure syrup coming out of his gob. The whole site must blatantly have been pissed when he played on the Friday afternoon as he got tongues wagging for the duration of the festival. It's hardly Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock but whatevs, 2017 isn't as good as 1969 is it?

The Crow's Nest 

Perhaps the coolest spot in the whole place, this bar at the top of the Park gives you a bird's eye view of the entire site and some of the best musical selections of the weekend. We were there on Sunday for the final hurrah which meant some huge chugging techno courtesy of one of Jagwa Ma. It was extreme as minds frayed ever closer to the edge.

Thatchers 

Every other weekend of the year I would say Thatchers is the most disgusting liquid you could insert in your mouth. Even bleach is more appealing. But somehow at Glastonbury it works as the perfect fuel to keep you standing upright when you really should be having a lie down. Nice work Thatchers. You've got a well deserved reputation as loopy juice.

Justice 

Sure Justice haven't progressed their sound too much from the early 2000s but jesus god it sounded extremely large and ravey when they headlined the West Holts on Sunday night. They still smoke, have big lights, a weird god complex and the biggest kick drums this side of Van Halen. The perfect antidote to flagging spirits.

Dancing in tents 

Away from Radiohead and Ed Sheeran one finds oneself dancing to no mark DJs but with big tunes in their bag at all times of the day. Sunday morning was a case in point. Although I've no idea where we were or who they were. Props to the underdogs without any rep. I haven't a clue about your identities but you kept it large and in charge.

NYC Downlow

The best club in the world? Quite possibly, this alive and voguing shrine to the meat packing district raves of seventies down town New York is the one, especially when they crank it up and all you can see are amyl cracking drag queens. Intense, crazy and weird. 

Acting like a caveman 

There's a lot to be said for changing one's pants and socks in the real world. Your rep will be mud if you have stinking toes and halitosis. But at Glastonbury, who cares. I didn't take my shoes off the whole weekend and felt all the better for it. 

We went to Glastonbury in 2015 too and this is what happened...




Monday, 3 July 2017

10 tune to get our juice oozing and flowing


We've been sucking up new tunes as fast as they emerge so here's a top ten of recent hits round our way. All go well with a Theresa May meme. Shoegazers Ride are back and I can't get enough of this. It's produced by Erol Alkan and the verses are masterclasses in swirling, dreamy guitar aceness.



I've no idea who Wooden Shjips are and what These Shadows is about but Jarvis Cocker opened his Sunday Service with it a while back and I was instantly smitten. Goes good with crumpets innit.

 

Chris and Cosey have always been at the back of the class throwing LSD tabs and dildos at the teachers when it comes to electronica. Exotika is an amazing slice of proto house business capable of destroying any party, whether it's been going for three hours or three days. Stonker mate. Get inside it.



Slowdive were a band who started out before I had a clue what was going on because I was into the Supernaturals and Grass Show. But now, like EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD, they're back with new music. Unlike everyone else though, they sound fucking huge and immense. Star Roving from their new self-titled album is the one.

 

I've no idea who Hugh Pascall but this remix manages to make the church organ sound both creepy and balearic. Hats off to Max Cooper for bringing it.



Thundercat is making 22nd century yacht rock. Check it. It's perfect for sipping pina coladas by the pool at beach resorts on Mars. It's killer and features some of the originals.

 

Mura Masa makes music for people in their twenties and soundtracks shit clothing ads on ITV 3 during the Love Island ads. There are plenty of drippy synths and steel pans. But I don't care, it's addictive as fuck.

 

Apart from Jeremy Corbyn, Stormzy is the man of 2016. Or at least no one else is riding such a huge wave of hype. Or got as many tongues waving in the post Glastonbury dust storm, This one is the best off a meh meh album...



The Brian Jonestown Massacre have been in our lives since we hosted a gig with them as headliners in Sheffield back in the mid 2000s. We got hammered, they requested peyote, they fell out with each other and when we eventually got out of bed the next day, there was a big unexplained puddle on the front room carpet. Years later they've still got it and here's the proof...



It's hard to argue with the Thin White Duke and it's even harder to argue with this. Kills it every time...


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

10 of the best things we stuffed in our faces in Trump's America


We spent three weeks in Donald Trump's America at the start of April. This was a lengthy holiday masquerading as parental leave but however you billed it, it meant we were in the United States of America for three whole weeks. Three. Despite their new leader being a massive racist baby, it was a luxurious time make no mistake.

Our flight landed in Los Angeles where we had three nights down near Venice Beach before taking in a further four nights in Palm Springs, plus a whole two weeks in Portland, Oregon. Oooof. Rather than post pictures of us and our kid marauding around the place, here's a break down of the ten best things we ate. It's hard to go out raving all night when you have a six month old baby so instead the vibe was all about pure gluttony. Open wide and take a look inside...

Ronnie's Diner, Los Angeles

Diners are in some ways the ultimate American eating experience. Big portions, limitless coffee, nutters at every turn. And breakfast can be peak when it comes to visiting. The casual abandon with which the Americans mix sweet and savoury is something to behold. So at Ronnie's Diner (see above), a greasy spoon-esque joint near our place in Marina Del Ray, we went in on a 'scramble', French toast and grits. 'Are grits nice?' is a question I'm still asking and still don't know the answer to.


The Blue Coyote, Palm Springs

This is a Mexican joint on the main drag in Palm Springs. Mexican places are everywhere in this town but the Coyote could be the best partly because they go heavy on the cheese on the plates and even heavier on the tequila in their drinks. We had two margaritas and walked home cross eyed attempting to avoid steering the pram into the road.


The Ace Hotel, Palm Springs

The Ace Hotel brand is synonymous with the trendy and the Palm Springs branch may well be the trendiest. It's full of silly young things in uniform shades preening and pouting and generally crossing their fingers that they might get 'discovered' there by someone to give meaning to their meaningless, yet highly instagrammable lives. Even if its the silliest, most vacuous black hole on the planet, they do a mean breakfast. Avocado on toast was the one.



Oh my gosh this place may well be the best. They do big portions with just the right balance of grease, stodge and vegetables to make it not seem like you're scoffing down a heart attack on a plate. Although you most probably are. The staff in there are so horizontally laid back, it makes you want to own your brunch spot and just lope around serving people scrambled eggs until you die. It's simple, yet killer fare dudes.  


Pig 'n Pancake, Astoria

One of the local folk told us not to go to Pig 'n Pancake as it's too skutty. But they were talking to the wrong people. This cavernous diner offered the perfect vibe for our slightly hungover morning in Astoria (the town where the Goonies was filmed). Again, there were grits, again there was a scramble and the green Tabasco sauce so prevalent (and delicious) in the US. Can we get this in the UK? Questions, questions. Plus there were American folk of all shapes and sizes eating all sorts of weird shit early in the morning. Steak and syrup? I don't think so...



Everyone bangs on about the chicken wings at Pok Pok in Portland. But that's because they are the BEST thing you can ever put in your mouth. Originally a food cart, the success has been so gargantuan that they've got a permanent restaurant with a permanent queue outside, plus cookbooks and worldwide acclaim. These wings will redefine your thoughts on chicken. Like totally. They use fish sauce and it will blow your mind. 



If I was on death row and I was asked what I'd like for my final meal, I might be tempted to ask for the so-called 'dirty fries' from Lardo in Portland. I'd probably want them with a scotch egg, a pork pie and a side order of scrambled eggs but I'd definitely want them. They are fucking amazing. Look at them there above. They are fries, with hot peppers, bacon scraps and chunks coated in Parmesan cheese. There is no nutritional value to be had in them and they're all the better for it. The sign on the wall of Lardo says 'pig out' and it'd be rude not to obey. 



One of the worst hangovers we had on our recent trip was after the 1st birthday bash of the Toffee Club. The next day was one of serious hard work, anxiety and beer-induced paranoia. Perhaps the one good thing to come out of it was stumbling upon the HunnyMilk pop up breakfast spot. I hate the concept of a pop as much as the next normal but this was something else. Ribs, grits with a carrot cake waffle for afters? All for 20 dollars? Excuse me! 



After three weeks in American, we'd started becoming more American. Not to the point where we wanted to shoot anyone. Or not let them into our country due to the colour of their skin. But where the concept of sweet and savoury didn't seem like the worst idea ever. We were of course brutally hungover when we went to Screen Door and ordered chicken with waffles. But when they arrived, we ate every last crumb. Game changing. 



The Holiday Inn, LAX 

After many amazing breakfasts, our last hurrah was at the Holiday Inn near the airport in LA. You'd be forgiven for thinking that we were going out on a bit of a low ebb but not a bit of it. We arrived late at the all you could eat breakfast. But, despite being tardy, they still let us go mad on every bit of it. So we did. God bless America. And the French Toast that resides within you.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Record Shop in the Tottenham Community Press

The Record Shop is an initiative in Tottenham aiming to give a platform to local youths who want to record their own music.

It's a wee studio which enables people to waltz in off the street and into a record booth which is a pretty vibes creation especially in these ends where opportunities like this are few and far between.

We quizzed Mary from the initiative for the latest issue of the Tottenham Community Press.

Get it here 

Bright lights, big city



Spring was big. It always is. But this year particularly so. Here are some things we saw, we heard and inserted into our gobs. Delicious...
Little and large

Breakfast for din dins

The Seven Sisters snail

'chicken experts' - trust!

'Do you not think she's a bit hot?' 

Fuck you Goldman

Livers

Yes boss

Lost Map Records on Soho Radio

Just before we fucked off for far away climes, we did a Soho Radio show as M magazine with Lost Map Records.

Lost Map, for those not in the know, is an indie label located on the remote Isle of Eigg and run by Pictish Trail. We had Lost Map artists Rozi Plain and Manuela in over the two hour show that was something of a shambles when it came to chat and links. Hopefully this was more endearing than hateful although it is hard to say as I'm too scared to listen back. Some highlights were continually pronouncing 'Rozi' as 'Rosie' and Rosie also booting a hole in the studio desk. Ouch. Listen back below if you dare...
 

An interview with his highness, Julian Cope

Months off are few and far between if not none existent now we're all kinda fully fledged grown ups . But we've just come back off one with our kid and it was totally mega. So it's time for a 'catch up'...

While we were away, wheels continued rolling, one of which was this interview with former Teardrop Explode Julian Cope dropping on the internet. A little like a lead balloon as no one really noticed but whatever, this was one of the best half hours ever with a dude who has lived a life totally unhinged.

From heavy LSD consumption to an intense love for old stones, to dressing like, as he says, 'Odin's biker', Copey has done pretty much everything while keeping the tuneage heavy and uniquely him. His latest LP, Drunken Songs, is just that, a collection of ditties about getting back on the sauce. What a hero! Click the link and dig into a chinwag with the number one arch druid...

Julian Cope feature.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

The Circle


Dystopian futures are the subject of more books and films than you can wave an evil robot's finger at yet Dave Eggers' The Circle manages to construct one all freshly sinister from the dream reality of working for the ultimate Silicon Valley giant.

The job the book's main protagonist lands sounds wunderbar if your idea of bean bags, a great canteen, working on a 'campus' and sharing your every move is the one.

But the reality is a company acting as a nightmarish collision of Google, Amazon and Facebook conducting the ultimate invasion of privacy into their workers' lives. Eek, eek and eek again.  

Akin to the Circle, our office at work has tried to create its own 'ultimate work life' space but reassuringly, there's nothing too sinister about the mess they've actually made. Instead, after a year or two, the reality is that the toilets don't work, there aren't enough lifts and every time you eat porridge in the canteen you get charged a new, weirdly different amount of dosh. Creepy watching perfection is someway off thank fuck.

Dig The Circle here.

Fifi Rong on Soho Radio

We were back on Soho Radio the other week with the ace Fifi Rong. If you've heard the latest Skepta album, then she's the first voice you'll hear while she's also worked with electronic legends Yello. Have a listen below... it's less gaff fuelled than usual...

Oh dear oh dear oh dear



It's been quite the year so far... 

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Richard Norris

We were on Soho Radio this week with ace producer Richard Norris.

You may know Richard from his various excursions into electronic music under a range of different aliases. From his early days in chart botherers, The Grid to more recent work as half of Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve alongside Erol Alkan and as another 50 percent of Circle Sky, he's had his hands in more musical pies than an aural Gregg's.

So we were excited to have him on Soho Radio for our wee show. You can listen below which begins fairly rustily but then gets going about ten minutes in. I'm a fucking nervous bastard when confronted with a microphone...

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Verity Lane

As you may know, Tottenham is our new ends and the Tottenham Community Press has become another outlet for words and vibes in the N17 postcode. We've been attempting to keep up with the pulse in a place where the pulse is getting stronger by the day.

For this second issue, we tracked down a local composer Verity Lane specialising in dreaming up music using traditional Japanese instruments. She's playing gigs in the vicinity and you should check out her steeze. Listen below and we'll link the interview here when it lands...


This is not fake news


A lot has been popping in the N17 hood since last September but while Audrey Dre is in the house there's still time for breakfasts, pints and pasties. Perhaps just not quite as many as before. But we are persevering. Her endeavours can remain a little offline but here's what we're been doing alongside her... brap brap?
Delicious

Sculpture Park vibes

When you sign outside the box,then your passport gets rejected... again and again and again

Sustenance

A very, very long pork scratching

Late night vibes in Tottenham waiting for the locksmith man

An extremely poncy array of drinks

Greggs in the home

Perhaps the best sandwich in the world

Drinking like lunatics


Shura - in a few words, don't bother mate

Kebabishhhh

Just frying some mushy peas pissed up

There's a mouse in the urinal and its staring right at me

Night times in N17

Yes you can come to Lanzarote for xmas

Yummmmy

Cock head

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Can you taste it

It's too late to say happy new year but happy new year nonetheless. Great music has been bubbling and bubbling until it runneth over through 2016 and spilling into the new 2017. There’s been almost too much good stuff to move and here’s what has been keeping us locked, loaded, locked and loaded...