Tag Archives: algernon cadwallader

Bad Scene, NME’s Fault

As you may have previously read, I have been listening to a lot of Joie De Vivre. As it was confirmed by their recent brilliant gig in Brighton they are incredibly awesome. They have been described by many people as ’90’s emo revivalists’ which is fair, they do play in that Mineral-esque style. But the word ‘Revivalists’ got me thinking. To revive something than surely it has to die or go away in the first place. Emo did quite clearly die, but when? I can think of what a lot of people would reply but I think it may have happened before anyone started to panic at disco’s and the such.

A little while ago, after the Is this thing on? top 100 emo songs had finished, I was going through some old stuff and found something I’d been keeping hold of for 10 years. Something which had pissed me off so badly at the time that I thought must buy it, keep it, stash it in a drawer and then find it 10 years later to be pissed off by it again. The offending item was a copy of the NME from January 2002, harmless enough you may think but this issue of the New Musical Express just so happened to piss all over everything I was still very much in to at that point. The NME had done an EMO issue!!!

Anyone who has ever read the NME knows to take a lot of what they print with a pinch of salt. The amount of hype they apply to things is shocking at times, the same year they published this issue they had declared the Vines first album as the greatest debut album ever made?!? I mean, come on!! The NME wasn’t aimed at me, I read it from time to time to keep up and mainly because the gig adverts were quite handy back in the days that the internet worked as well as my back does. I was happy that they didn’t cover bands that I was in to, we didn’t need it to. We had other ways and means to find bands to fall in love with, like talking to each other and going to shows and talking to people there. And it wasn’t just the fact that they were going to write about bands that I liked but it was the manner in which they were going to do it.

At first glance you can see that it’s not going to be good. Look at the front cover:

What posessed them to make it look like a fanzine? They must have been trying to appeal to those that were already in to these bands whilst simultaneously educating those that weren’t. This didn’t work at all. It looks as authentic as those t-shirts that touts would sell on the streets outside venues in London when big bands were playing. Trying to make it look like they had made the cover by printing out the words and then using scissors, glue and a photocopier when it was obviously done by someone on a computer.

Opening the issue and turning to the middle you find 11 pages dedicated to Emo. Which is quite a lot, they are giving it a fair crack and I guess the first bit does an ok job. It begins with a page entitled what is emo? and goes on to explain a loose history mentioning bands like Rites of Spring and Heroin, predicts that Hundred Reasons and New End Original will soon be household names and finishes by surmising that Emo will be the death of nu-metal and will “steal punk rock back from the neanderthals.” The next 2 pages are given over to an interview with Jimmy Eat World which is fair enough, I love Jimmy Eat World and have done since the late 90’s. I never begrudged them getting a lot of attention and popularity as it never seemed to affect their ability to put out good records, although it was annoying when the audience at their shows would start to get younger and younger and would ignore anything pre Bleed American that the band would play. It’s the next few pages that really started to piss me off. (Well actually the next page was an ad for Telewest Broadband which boasted that you would soon be able to download “12 mp3 tracks in just 15.6 minutes”!! Woah!!! it was the pages after that were annoying)

The next 2 pages explore the world of emo. On the right of the page are a list of influential albums which include Embrace, Moss Icon and Texas Is The Reason so you start to think oh ok, maybe this won’t be so bad. But on the left the NME saw it fit to start ripping the piss out of the whole thing so then you think, oh right so they don’t get it then. Of course they don’t, this is the NME. They like to cover things so they can say that they have but they also love to slag things off so they can appear to know better than anyone. Nme loved to do this, build something up then tear it apart, which makes them no better than any tabloid newspaper. With Emo they did it in the same issue. The top of the page states “emo: the rules” and explains that basically all you have to do is cry. Open up, find yourself, dress like a librarian and cry some more whether you are in the crowd at a show or in the band themselves. “You can’t be in an emo band without crying, rolling around on the floor and beating yourself in the chest”. The only time I ever saw a band member cry at a show was when my old band supported Kneejerk in London and their singer/bass player, one Frank Turner, dropped to his knees at the end of the set with tears clearly running down his cheeks. This wasn’t a regular occurance, of course it wasn’t and Nme knew this. The fact that underground punk music of any of it’s many varieties was about community and being able to do it yourselves without the help of mainstream media was not enough of a story for them to fill an 11 page feature.

The cartoon cut outs of an emo boy and girl on the opposite page, pictured above, were enough to make you stop reading and wasting your time. It was one thing to try and be part of the scene by making the issue look like a fanzine and then namedrop some cool bands but then to make out that we were all a bunch of twats was just a joke. And it didn’t stop there.

The next page is a feature about Rival Schools, which lavishes them with praise, compares them to Nirvana and oddly boasts about how they are playing an NME show supporting Nickelback??!!?!? On the right of this page is the Are You Emo quiz. A test designed to prove to you that if you answer C to each question then you a definitely an emo. No questions like do you like emo music? or what’s your favourite Promise Ring album? No, just pointless questions to pint out that being in to emo means that you are shallow and fashion obsessed which to me is the NME in a nutshell.

Over the page is a feature about underground emo bands, such as Jets to Brazil, Garrison, The Get Up Kids and the Mars Volta (?!?), in which each band denies to have any link with emo whatsoever. And this is where you start to understand why emo died in the first place. No band liked to be called emo when it was the underground and zines calling them so, now that the mainstream press were doing the same there was no way these bands were going to accept it. Some quite clearly fought against it, The Get Up Kids and The Promise Ring both started making albums that sounded nothing like what had preceeded them. Bands that had barely any of the talent of these older bands started to break out and make money, partly because they were willing to play ball and then you have the grunge explosion of the 90’s all over again, although to a lesser extent. Those that were originally in to it moved on to other things. The last pages of the feature are about Hundred Reasons but I’d given up by then.

A few years later I was suckered in to this again. I noticed an NME front page declaring that emo was back. I was curious, what could they mean? I read the article which instructed me to check out a couple of bands, I hadn’t heard a good new emo band for some time and was willing to give it a shot. So, like they said I typed Fall Out Boy and Panic At The Disco into google and found their Myspace pages and oh my god. NME you fucking bastards, I can’t believe I fell for this. I slumped to the ground and wept, wept like the bastard they had accused me of being. Not really, I didn’t cry, they would have bloody loved that.

It seems ok to say you like emo again now. It has completely reverted back to how it was in the 90’s with bands playing amazingly brilliant music and people using word of mouth to find out about new bands. I just really hope it stays this way this time. I don’t know what i’d do if I walked past a newsagents and saw Algernon Cadwallader on the front cover of the NME. Please let that never happen.

I’ll stop my whining now. Thanks for reading xx

www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog

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THE ‘IS THIS THING ON?’ TOP 100 EMO SONGS OF ALL TIME PART 9 (20-11)

#emo100

Previously on the Top 100 emo songs of all time…….

100 – Reggie and the full effect – Thanx for stayin

99 – Roadside Monument – Sunken Anchor

98 – Boilermaker – Slow Down

97 – Hundred reasons – If I could

96 – Jets to Brazil – Chinatown

95 – Coping – F For now

94 – Inside – Ray Brower

93 – Basement – Grayscale

92 – The Jazz June – Viva La speed metal

91 – Everyone Everywhere – I feel fine by Everyone Everywhere

90 – Hunter Gatherer – Low standards for high fives

89 – Football, etc. – Safety

88 – Race Car Riot – Raincheck

87 – Taking Back Sunday – Bike scene

86 – Leiah – Tiglio

85 – Brandtson – Still life

84 – Polar Bear Club – Bottled wind

83 – Starmarket – Losing track

82 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Guitar and video games

81 – Grade – Stolen bikes ride faster

80 – Bob Tilton – September

79 – The Autumn Year – Little lost words

78 – Koufax – Going to happen

77 – Wavelets – Julio won’t get out of the car

76 – The Get Up Kids – Forgive and Forget

75 – Hot Rod Circuit – At nature’s mercy

74 – The Appleseed Cast – Steps and numbers

73 – Stapleton – International departures

72 – New End Original – Lukewarm

71 – Hundred Hands – A Replay

70 – Knapsack – Cellophane

69 – Elliott – Dionysus Burning

68 – The Lapse – We Must Move Backwards To Progress

67 – Owls – Everyone Is My Friend

66 – Suis La Lune – Quiet, Pull The Strings!

65 – Sunday’s Best – Winter Owned

64 – CSTVT – Hiccups

63 – Vitreous Humor – Sharin’ Stone

62 – Beezewax – Dead End Kids

61 – Death Cab For Cutie – A Movie Script Ending

60 – Grown Ups – Three Day Weekend

59 – Funeral Diner – We Become Buried

58 – Snowing – I Think We’re In Minsk

57 – Imbroco – You’re My Lionkiller

56 – Maritime – Tearing Up The Oxygen

55 – Engine Down – The Offer Of Something

54 – Boy’s Life – Sight Unseen

53 – Benton Falls – All These Things

52 – Further Seems Forever – Madison Prep

51 – The Casket Lottery – Ever Since Sulfur

50 – Ghosts And Vodka – Sex Is Popular

49 – Transit – Footwork

48 – Jejune – Solar

47 – Hey Mercedes – Quality Revenge At Last

46 – Jeremy Enigk – Lewis Hollow

45 – Cursive – The Radiator Hums

44 – Joan Of Arc – Post Coitus Rock

43 – Pianos Become The Teeth – Cripples Can’t Shiver

42 – The Get Up Kids – Coming Clean

41 – At The Drive-In – Heliotrope

40 – Owen – O, Evelyn..

39 – This Beautiful Mess – Don’t Go There

38 – Rites Of Spring – Remainder

37 – Rainer Maria – Artificial Light

36 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Theo B

35 – The Gloria Record – Grace The Snow Is Here

34 – Saves The Day – Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots

33 – Penfold – M

32 – The Promise Ring – A Picture Postcard

31 – Mineral – If I Could

30 – Sense Field – Building

29 – Death Cab For Cutie – The Ice Is Getting Thinner

28 – Dashboard Confessional – Turpentine Chaser

27 – Beezewax – The Snooze Is On

26 – The Anniversary – All Things Ordinary

25 – Dismemberment Plan – What Did You Want Me To Say?

24 – The Appleseed Cast – Forever Longing The Golden Sun

23 – Far – Really Here

22 – Pop Unknown – Half Of Ninety

21 – Hot Water Music – Remedy

To read more about these tracks click HERE for numbers 100-91, HERE for no’s 90-81, HERE for no’s 80-71, HERE for no’s 70-61, HERE for no’s 60-51, HERE for no’s 50-41, HERE for 40-31, HERE for 30-21. And for some background as to why I’m doing this list click HERE

20 – Thursday – Cross Out The Eyes

 The first time I got to see Thursday play I stood there slack jawed as I was being completely blown away, it was quite early on the Saturday of the 2002 Reading festival and no other band had such an impact on me that weekend. ‘Full Collapse’ is now a classic album and ‘Cross out the eyes’ has long been my favourite song from the record, it captures all the energy from their live show and packages it nicely into 4 minutes of post hardcore greatness.

19 – Jimmy Eat World – Goodbye Sky Harbor

 Hearing ‘Clarity’ for the first time was a bit like hearing ‘Nevermind’ for the first time. An album so unbelievably brilliant that it’s bound to change everything, except that it didn’t. Jimmy Eat World obviously went on to be huge but for a while they seemed to be our best kept secret. I bought ‘Clarity’ on double blue vinyl at a Hot Water Music all dayer at the Garage in London from a distro run by the drummer from Spy vs Spy (geek points!!) and cherish it to this day. My wife walked down the aisle at our wedding to ‘For me this is heaven’! But it’s the epic 16 plus minutes of ‘Goodbye Sky Harbor’ that I love the most, I may be in a minority but I could go on listening to that end riff on repeat and never get bored. Genius.

18 – Algernon Cadwallader – Some Kind Of Cadwallader

 This band completely reaffirmed my love for music with this song, I had been in a bit of a lull a couple of years back and then downloaded this at the recommendation of a friend and it was like a slap in the face. A good slap, the best kind. It woke me up from my slumber and proved that bands around today can be just as amazingly brilliant as bands 10 or 15 years ago, I went on to find that there were many incredible new bands out there but you’ll be hard pressed to find any better than Algernon Cadwallader. ‘Some kind of Cadwallader’ is the kind of song that you simply have to listen to again several times in a row. If you have never heard it go and listen to it now, trust me on this one.

17 – Christie Front Drive – Radio

 Christie Front Drive were quite short lived but also hugely influential, just listening to this song ‘Radio’ you can hear why. You can also hear a sound that had been taken and copied/built upon by a ton of other bands. ‘Radio’ is taken from their only proper album, which is called either ‘Stereo’ or is self titled, most of their other releases were splits with other bands or as part of compilation albums. Classic mid west emo.

16 – The Promise Ring – Red & Blue Jeans

 You can’t call your blog ‘Is this thing on?’ and not give away the fact that you’re a massive Promise Ring fan. Although it is a different song from the legendary ‘Nothing Feels Good’ album that gives me goosebumps every time I listen. They played ‘Red & blue jeans’ the one time I got to see them live and the experience was bittersweet. On the one hand I was getting to see one of my all time favourite bands playing one of my favourite songs, on the other I was stood in Brixton Academy surrounded by 6000 15/16 year olds who didn’t give a toss as to who they were. They were supporting Jimmy Eat World who were riding high on the success of ‘Bleed American’ and the kids who were there had come because of that, I was amazed at the time of the limp crowd reaction to the Promise Ring. I hope that they had noticed me going nuts in the middle of the crowd and I hope that they decide to come back to the UK as part of their current reunion.

15 – Reiziger – Waitingsday

 Some record sleeves can take you instantly take you back to a special time in your life. One look at the cover of ‘Our Kodo’ by Reiziger takes me instantly back to the late 90’s with many hours spent listening/writing/talking about music in my friend Paul’s flat. ‘Waitingsday’ is the first track from that album and it is infectiously brilliant, so good that we even tried ripping off the opening shout of “Today” in my last band, The Boss. We didn’t do it any kind of justice and we should have just left it to the pro’s. Essential euro emo-core, I think/hope Reiziger are making a come back, fingers crossed.

14 – Cross My Heart – It Doesn’t Take That Many Pills To Sleep Forever

 I first heard about Cross My Heart while on a UK tour with fellow English emo band Rydell in 1999 and simply asked them the question as to what they were currently listening to and what they’d recommend. They said the best thing they had heard recently was the self titled 7 track mini album by Cross My Heart and said I should check it out. I did and was instantly in agreement with how great it was. Track 2 ‘It doesn’t take that many pills to sleep forever’ has all the bits you need to make an incredible emo song, the quiet intro with twinkly guitars, the chuggy rocking pre chorus in to the actual rocking of the chorus and screaming at the end, plus it has as emo a song title as you’re likely to find on this whole list.

13 – The Van Pelt – The Speeding Train

 This is one of the first songs I thought of when compiling this list, The Van Pelt were and still are one of the most original and individual of all the emo bands. Another song I’m sure we tried to rip off in some way or another in a previous band, ‘The Speeding Train’ takes all the bands best qualities and compiles them in to one hell of a song. The half spoken/half sung vocal style of Chris Leo with his thoughtful lyrics combines beautifully with the indie art rock backing of the band. The repetitive drum beat and the totally uplifting guitar melody of the chorus combine to outstanding effect. Absolutely love it.

12 – Texas Is The Reason – The Magic Bullet Theory

 Another band that was far too short lived, Texas is the reason still remain a much loved band today. Although they have just an EP, a couple of split singles and one full length album to their name their legacy and influence continues on. ‘The magic bullet theory’ is just one of the many fantastic songs from the classic ‘Do you know who you are?’ album. They laid down a blue print for how amazing post hardcore emo bands could be and split before they signed to a major label and ruined it all. Nice

11 – Planes Mistaken For Stars – Copper And Stars

 Back when they were angsty, powerful and melodic before moving on to being less melodic and more of just the other 2, Planes Mistaken For Stars totally blew me away with their self titled debut. ‘Copper and stars’ is your new favourite song after your first listen to it, an amazing intro paves the way for the muted guitar of the verse which with it brings the incredible voice of Gared O’Donnell. The song is just genius from then on, the chorus takes off and takes you with it and before you know it the ending is bringing you to your knee’s with it’s tender beauty. PMFS were booked to play Margate and had to cancel on the day leaving a lot of people completely bummed out, I wish I could have seen them live because I imagine it was an unbelievable experience.

Thanks again for reading this, the response so far has been overwhelming and please continue to share your thoughts with me either here or on twitter (@alex_itto). We’re nearly there, the top 10 will be posted very soon. Cheers x

I have updated the spotify playlist, click the link below to go there!!

Emo 100 (100-11)

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The 10 best records of 2011 (according to me)

2011 has been a very weird year!

If you’ve watched the news for more than 10 seconds at any given point during the last 12 months then you will be of the opinion that the world is ruined. What we need in these times is something to distract our worried minds, after all ignorance is indeed bliss. So, luckily, it’s been a very good year music wise. There have been so many amazing bands making amazing music that I’ve fallen behind and am still playing catch up.

This is a list of the 10 records released this year that have meant the most to me.

10 – Basement – I Wish I Could Stay Here

My favourite British band of this year and one of the only bands I actually got to see live in 2011, Basement, represent all that is good about underground music. Working towards a hardcore DIY ethic, making honest music and getting out, playing live with no hidden agenda. They released their debut full length ‘I wish I could stay here’ during the summer on Run For Cover records and it’s 10 tracks of brilliant, heartfelt post hardcore.

Click HERE to go to their site

9 – Polar Bear Club – Clash Battle Guilt Pride

Polar Bear Club brought a maturity to their sound and songwriting on this peach of an album. Still keeping the rawness of their previous output, ‘Clash Battle Guilt Pride’ saw the band come into their own. Instantly likeable, heart on their sleeve punk rock. And Jimmy Stadt has just about one of the best voices in rock and roll right now.

Click HERE to go their myspace page

8 – Touché Amoré – Parting the sea between brightness and me

‘Parting the sea….’ is 13 tracks of superb hardcore compacted in to 22 minutes. There is no messing about here, they had a job to do and they got that job done. Intense, precise, raw and powerful. A very good friend of mine, Paul (who also blogs HERE), recently stated that “Hardcore needs more hooks”. I do completely agree with that but you can definately find hooks, melody and more on this brilliant record. Touché Amoré do a brilliant job of mixing the quiet with the loud while at no point losing any of their power. 22 minutes of joy!!

Click HERE to go to their website

7 – Wavelets – Athaletics

I keep returning to this album time and time again. It’s deliciously warm charm has dug it’s claws deep into me. The songs are intricately complex and uplifting in equal measure. Embracing the indie emo sound from the late 90’s and with a perfectly lo-fi production this record sets itself apart from the over produced, copycat bands that claim to be from the same scene. And with song titles like ‘We’re really jazzed about the gig’ and ‘Bad scene, Jawbreakers fault’, how could you resist? Also has my favourite cover artwork of this year too.

Click HERE to go to their bandcamp page

6 – I am the avalanche – Avalanche United

Not many bands could leave SIX years between releasing their first and second albums and get away with it. IATA have pulled it off though, and with good reason. ‘Avalanche United’ is everything a good pop punk album should be, loud, in you face and catchy as hell. I was surprised how good an album this was, I didn’t think it would better the first album which has been on the stereo in our house consistently over the last 6 years, but that it did. They certainly deserve the adulation they receive just maybe don’t leave us hanging so long next time, huh??

Click HERE to go to their myspace

5 – Defeater – Empty Days & Sleepless nights

Defeater are setting the bar for modern hardcore bands. Environmentally conscious and socially aware, they are trying something different and succeeding. ‘Empty days & Sleepless nights’ continues with their narrative concept that begun with their debut album ‘Travels’. They back this up with brutally brilliant and infectious hardcore/post hardcore/screamo or whatever it is that describes them best. Fucking awesome is probably the best description I can give.

4 – Title Fight -Shed

Title Fight have been touring the UK recently and I am completely gutted that i’ve missed out. Their debut album, ‘Shed’, is a lesson in how fresh, honest and amazing pop punk can sound. Produced by the legend that is Walter Schreifels (Rival Schools, Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits), this is 12 punchy tracks delivered at pace with brilliantly delivered, almost screamed vocals. Watching them on youtube, they seem to stir up a stagediving frenzy every time they play live, so here’s hoping that they return to these shores sooner rather than later.

3 – Algernon Cadwallader – Parrot Flies

If I ever feel down in the dumps and it happens, this year has been hard at times, I know that if I reach for this record a smile on my face won’t be long in coming. There is something in the sound and the way that they play that brings me much pleasure, they manage to out Cap’n Jazz as the kings of Cap’n Jazz style emo pop. Not that they sound the same as other bands, they manage to bring originality and joy to the scene. Perfect indie fare that also brings to mind Built to Spill and Pavement in places. Especially at the end of the first track, ‘Springing Leaks’, when it tails off into the most gorgeous guitar solo that evokes summer like no other band could.

Click HERE to go and listen at bandcamp

2 – Transit – Listen & Forgive

Transit win the 2011 award for “Album I’ve most embarrassed myself by singing along very loudly in my car to!!!”. It’s not a very prestigious title but it’s definitely an amazing record. How could you put it on and not sing along? It’s hit after hit of Pop punk goodness but with a healthy 90’s emo leaning. The Get Up Kids must’ve listened to this record and wished they could still make them as good.
They were also on the tour with Title Fight in the UK recently and by all accounts were completely amazing, so that’s more reason for me to damn my stupid back to hell. I’ll just have to console myself with another hearty singalong.

1 – Pianos become the teeth – The Lack Long After

If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog, and if you have can I just take this opportunity to say “wow, thanks and you have my pity x”, then it will come as no surprise that I have chosen ‘The lack long after’ as the best record of 2011. Pianos Become The Teeth are my current favourite band in the world and this album, to me, is an instant classic. Genuinely affecting and at times exhausting to listen to, this album stands head and shoulders above the rest this year. It is dark and heavy but also beautiful, Kyle Durfey has a voice full of pain and anguish that manages to be both powerful and fragile, sometimes even in the same song. Essential music that I can whole heartedly reccomend to anyone.

So, have I got it right? What do you think are the best records of 2011? What am I missing? Let me know.
Cheers xx

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Review: Wavelets – Athaletics

Band – Wavelets

Album – Athaletics

Label – Tiny Engines

This week, apart from trying to provide plenty of half term entertainment for our many children, I’ve been very much enjoying two new releases from the fantastic and ever reliable label Tiny Engines. I will post the review of the other one as soon as but first up is the new album by Wavelets.

Wavelets hail from Gainesville, Florida. A place synonymous with men with beards and gruff voices playing awesome music. Although Wavelets don’t play in that ‘No idea’ style, they do play great music and ‘Athaletics’ is an album that truly reflects this.
A friend of mine complained to me recently that all bands sound far too over produced these days and therefore new bands don’t have that heart that old bands had. Well, as a case in point that this is not true I will be very insistent that they check this album out.
‘Athaletics’ is a nine track album that sounds deliciously lo-fi, the kind of sound that will instantly melt your heart and remind you of how good indie emo bands can be. They have been compared to another great band Algernon Cadwallader and you can understand why, but you get a different feel listening to Wavelets. The album in many places really reminds me of ’30 degrees everywhere’ era Promise Ring. It has that same catchiness and good use of repetition in places . The songs have a nice balance of delicately complex guitar play with straight up indie pop, they also have that bittersweet emo feel that is ideal for listening to at this time of year when the days feel colder and the night comes earlier.
The vocals are packed with the right level of emotion/intensity to bring the songs alive and it’s always a joy to hear gang vocals put to such uplifting good use.

The album is rounded off by beautiful artwork and some great song titles, ‘We’re really jazzed about the gig’ and ‘Bad scene, Jawbreakers fault’ are a couple of my personal faves. In all, ‘Athaletics’ is a beautiful album proving that there is still much scope to be found in that old emo sound. It’s currently available for digital download via the Tiny Engines Bandcamp page for approximately £3.73 ($6), and you can’t say fairer than that now can you!!!?!!

Click here to go the bandcamp page

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This one time at bandcamp.com

Where did all the record shops go? In our area of east kent the amount of record shops left could be counted on the fingers of one hand, a hand with no thumb or pinkie. Unless you count the supermarkets, they sell c.d’s, c.d’s that must appeal to some people, maybe to people with taste so bland they wouldn’t dream of putting a little pepper on their beans on toast for fear of it being too spicy. So lets not count supermarkets. Basically what i’m saying is there ain’t many record shops anymore. Even HMV is barely recognisable now, part Carphone Warehouse and part Dixons with a few albums stashed away at the back out of view. The last time I went there you could pick up the Pulled Apart By Horses self titled album for a mere £25!!!! and they wonder why they have a decline in cd sales. Apparently no-one buys albums anymore, especially not guitar based ones. Rock’n’roll is dead. It must be, I read it on twitter.

Obviously, most people get their music digitally these days. I personally don’t do illegal downloads, mainly because the laptop I have can hardly function as it is, it could never handle the extra workload. Luckily a good friend introduced me to Bandcamp, or to put it another way the best website in the whole www. Before Bandcamp I used iTunes a lot. There is nothing wrong with iTunes and I still use it but it’s a bit like going in the big HMV in Oxford st all the time and not knowing that select-a-disc is round the corner in Berwick st. Please note, I’ve not been to London in a while so my references may be a bit out of date. Going on bandcamp is like going to an independent record store, a really good one that sells great music at great prices, sometimes letting you pay what you want or insisting that you have albums for free. You can always try before you buy, stream whole songs instead of just giving you 30 second soundbites. Importantly, the money you pay goes directly to the band/indie label which means that you really get to support independent music. Bands you find tag other bands/genres/labels to help you find more new music. It’s easy to find music from all over the world as well as stuff from your local scene so the next time you turn up to a local show you can do that ‘grab the mic from the singer and sing yourself’ thing which is popular these days. It really helped me get my love of new music back. It let me know that there is still a really healthy scene out there. So the way we shop for music has changed but the basics are still the same, you can whore it up at the big stores or you can go indie and still feel part of something, just now you can do it sat in your pants in that 5 minute break you allow yourself away from all the porno. If you haven’t been there then go.

Here are a few of my favourite things you can find at bandcamp:

Algernon Cadwallader – Listen to.

This is 4 tracks of absolute bliss to download completely free of charge comprising of 2 older songs and 2 from the new album ‘Parrot Flies’. I couldn’t help but be blown away by this band the first time I heard them, playing a loose Cap’n Jazz style emo full of energy and enough fun to give you a face ache. They recently toured but at the same time i was having surgery so missed out on what must have been an epic experience. Track 2 ‘Some Kind Of Cadwallader’ could be one of the best songs ever written, love love love it!!

http://algernoncadwallader.bandcamp.com/album/listen-to

Basement – Songs about the Weather

Basement are one of the best bands the UK has to offer, hailing from Ipswich they play fast, heavy emo hardcore in the vein of ‘Title Fight’. No-nonsense, no gimmicks just straight up, honest and essential, these 6 songs are on a ‘name your price’ basis with no minimum fee. They were the best band on the bill when I saw them in Margate a few months ago supporting Daylight and Hostage Calm.

http://basement.bandcamp.com/

Iron Chic – Not Like This

Iron Chic are from Long Island and play punk rock exactly as it should be played. Plenty of fist in the air choruses to brighten up the most boring of days. The kind of songs you wanna get up and jump around to. This is a complete 10 track album and again they allow you to name your price with no minimum, bargain!!

http://ironchic.bandcamp.com/album/not-like-this

Castevet (cstvt) – The Echo & The Light

This is 8 tracks of complete emo/punk brilliance. Released in 2009 on the fantastic Tiny Engines label, CSTVT play plinky fiddly emo straight from the 1990’s with a hard, fast edge. The kind of mathy excellence Braid would be making if they were still around, oh they are still around, oh well get this anyway. This is $8 which will translate to about £5.14, and worth every single penny.

http://tinyengines.bandcamp.com/album/the-echo-the-light

Snowing – I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted

Following in a similar vein to CSTVT, I had to mention this as Snowing split up a week or so ago and this a shame, a damn shame. This is a really good record. Fast, noisy, complicated indie emo with a loose DIY sound. I only got this album a month or so before they split and feel gutted that i’ll never experience Snowing in a live setting. They may be gone but this will rocking my stereo for a long time to come. 11 songs for no money, you can’t say fairer than that.

http://countyourluckystars.bandcamp.com/album/i-could-do-whatever-i-wanted-if-i-wanted

And one last mention goes to a band from Margate who, once upon a time, I was apart of. They are once again a fully functioning band that maybe coming to a town near you at some point so watch out. I haven’t seen them yet since they reformed but here is a link for the free ‘greatest hits’ comp that will transport you back to the turn of the millenium, backpacks and ponity fingers at the ready, its the Babies Three

http://babiesthree.bandcamp.com/album/tb3lp

Thanks guys, let me know what you think and any suggestions for bands I should be checking out.

Alex.

Below is a pic that should make you laugh your arse off.

20111008-094911.jpg

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