Need Somebody Tonight

Do you go to gigs on your own?

Is it very sad?

I suspect the answer to those questions is “No” and “Yes” (in that order); but when faced with being unable to persuade any of your usually reliable cronies to come out, what do you do?

The Holloways

So, unable to convince anyone that a night out with the Holloways was worth a tenner, I thought “Bugger that, I’m going anyway!” and strode off to the Guild Hall, on my todd and only slightly self conscious. I like the Holloways. I bought their album last year and have enjoyed it regularly ever since, so I can’t really understand why they still seem pretty much unknown outside the web pages of trendy youth magazines. They write catchy, charming pop songs and there’s always a little more room for a band that can do that, I reckon…

Fortunately for my credibility and self respect, a friend of mine was amongst a rather disappointing turn out (although, bizarrely, one of the punters who did venture out was Dean Ryan). We spent the evening drinking and passing judgement on not one, not two but three fairly middling support bands, the only one of whom deserve a mention were Hereford’s, Rupert & the Robbers, who may be worth looking out for again.

(Reading through that again, I see that it implies that I spent the evening drinking with GRFC’s man at the helm, which is I’m afraid not true. Although I was tempted to ask him his opinion on music during rugby matches…)

Apart from local celebrity-spotting, it was turning into quite a long evening by the time the Holloways shambled on stage, and to be honest my mind was beginning to wander. Fortunately, (again) the Holloways were pretty good and came on looking determined to have a good time, despite the gaps on the floor. And so they did, playing most of the songs from So This Is Great Britain and a few that were new to me. They bounced around in fine fashion, engaged everyone with some energetic witty pop and managed to get a pretty clean sound (not something everyone manages at the Guild Hall).

On this occasion, I managed to avoid another Rifles-style fiasco and successfully recorded all of the set. And so I have a few selections for your pleasure:


Fuck Ups

Two Left Feet

Good Brain

Clearly anyone with half a brain is a fan of the great and enigmatic Lee “Scratch” Perry. I do indeed have half a brain, so it follows…

A mere 72 years old, Scratch has now released three albums this year (and who’s to say there won’t be a Christmas release). I don’t yet have The Mighty Upsetter, but the other two (Repentance and Scratch Came, Scratch Saw, Scratch Conquered) are belters.

And I’ve just come across Eternal Thunder. A site lovingly put together by one Mick Sleeper which features, amongst other things, a great bunch of hour-long mixes, apparently sanctioned by the man himself and free to download. I’m not usually a fan of mixes (I’m trying to avoid saying “mash up”), but these ones really work and are a very funky way to meander away an hour or so…

Pay him a visit…

A Frozen Act of Sorrow

When you’ve sat and watched Jools Holland’s increasingly uninteresting show enough times (or indeed listened to any of the BBC’s output) you begin to think that you’ve pretty much heard everything there is to hear now. That music’s getting… well… a bit dull. Maybe it’s time you stopped wasting your money and started to get into Box-Set DVDs. Christmas is coming, after all…

And then you stumble across something way out there, which makes you realise that for all the broadcasters’ claims, mainstream music is still pretty conservative and by and large not very good.

Avoidance Theory

This evening, I was ambling along one of the Internet’s many blind alleys (and rather enjoying it), when I landed on Schmat Records site. Never seen it before, and from reading the rather poignant recent posts, not likely to see much more from it. From what I can tell, Bryan, the label’s proprietor has lost faith in his place in the music machine and has stopped funding any more releases. I always think this is a shame; for me it’s labels like this that keep it all fresh. I shall enjoy having a look through the back catalogue.

There is one new release, however – a completely free download EP, Calico Cliché by a band called Avoidance Theory. Free albums are often not very good (to be frank), but the four tracks available here are just beautiful; acoustic, dreamy, sometimes steamy, sometimes poignant, but always just a little quirky.

The band is in fact Bryan, himself and Linda, is based in San Francisco, and has its own band website, where the inquisitive listener can lay his or her hands on more tracks by the pair.

At first listen, the Calico Cliché tracks are the better ones, and my favourite track is this one, with its marvellously goofy fade out sequence:

Break and Follow

But this is rather a nice track from the “Shape of Trees” album

Neck of the Woods

You can get the free Calico Cliché EP here and a pot full of other MP3s from the band here.

I See Your Keys Hanging in the Same Place…

Emusic are all over this lot…

The Rural Alberta Advantage

And to be honest fair play to them. It’s a cracking album they’ve put together although they are still apparently unsigned. I’m not going to try to compete with the mighty Yancy Strickler on RAA.

What he said.

All the songs are pretty catchy (driven on by a ridiculously busy drummer) but fortunately the most beguiling one of all “Don’t Haunt This Place” is available as a free download from their site (or, indeed, here if you can’t be bothered)

Don’t Haunt This Place

Frank, AB

In the Summertime

I’m not going to claim this as a PP exclusive, but this is an album that’ll get a good few mentions in end-of-year lists. (Or mine anyway…)

You’re so in a hurry, you make it hard to breathe

About a month ago I made a post about Tom Petty fans the Lonelyhearts, and reading through it now I realise I made no mention of the band’s label, Three Ring Records. I feel I owe them an apology, really, because their site (here) has got a good few downloads to snag, and it’s turning into a bit of a goldmine. There’s some great stuff there.

Music For Animals

You hear references made to the eighties, these days, as if they were a great lost of decade, full of long-neglected gems. But to be honest, people, it wasn’t great. A bit of a train-wreck, as far as I’m concerned. But, having said that … there’s something of the eighties about San Francisco’s Music For Animals. And I rather like it.

I’ve listened to some of their tracks and I just can’t put my finger on who it is they remind me of (maybe Teardrop Explodes?), but I really like their punchy guitar hooks and driving rhythms.

Watch this…

As I’ve mentioned, they’re signed to Three Ring Records and have an album out last year. They also released an EP this September, and both releases are available here.

And if you’re not sure, there’s a load of tracks you can stream from their own site or from Last.FM (I’m only just catching up on this…). I’ve also dug up two free downloads for your listening pleasure…


Love Love Love

Just the feeling of an empty place deteriorating

There’s something funny going on here – I can’t believe it’s already more than a week since I last posted, and a week since the Rifles came to Gloucester. Honestly, you turn your back, and it’s Sunday already…

Anyway, last weekend saw the visit of East London’s the Rifles to our modest little province, and to be honest, I was gagging for it. Hadn’t seen any music for, well, ages, and having persuaded my friend Tom to join with me, I was looking forward to a good night.

We arrived too late to see much of the first band, local chaps Peppermint Hunting Lodge. I’m generally in favour of bands who manage to incorporate names of sweets into their names – visions of eccentric, quirky Psychedelia spring to mind – so I was disappointed to have missed them, but friends tell me that this wasn’t really what they were about and that they weren’t really up to much…

Next on were a group calling themselves Operator Six, who despite coming down from the frozen North (Bradford) seemed to bring a load of fans with them, and fortunately their own video camera man. They played a series of tight, energetic songs that suggested a lot of self-confidence and a certain knowingness. They didn’t really look like a support band. I really liked them to be honest, and I was pleased to see that there are a number of their tracks available as singles on Emusic. I shall be taking those…

I say “fortunately” because I recorded a few of their songs and all of the Rifles set, but I can only think I put my mic jack in the wrong hole in my IRiver… Anyway, cack-handedness means I have nothing. A real shame.

But, “fortunately”, on YouTube someone has posted two songs from the set. Here we go.

The Rifles

Unfortunately, a search for Rifles and Gloucester on YouTube only brings a few happy memories of the Cherry and Whites at Ashton Gate, which although always worth a watch is not what we’re here for. It does bring me onto the name, though. I don’t think it really does them any favours, to be honest. More than one person that I tried to persuade to come along with me thought that they were a Jam tribute band, and the general vibe about the Rifles seems to be that they are unashamed Weller acolytes. But, to be fair, everyone is these days, why tie yourself down like that?

Whatever, they also played a great set, cranking out a succession of strong, choppy mod-ish pop songs that were high on energy and full of sing-along choruses. There were also some cracking cost-effective guitar breaks that I really liked from Lucas Crowther. I always reckon the sight of glasses flying across the hall is generally a good sign for a gig (plastic glasses, you understand, mostly drained), and such was the evening. And at the front, well it was all kicking off, as they say.

I think originally, the tour was arranged to promote The Rifles second album, but it looks like that’s not ready yet, although there is an EP you get previews of in exchange for your email address, here. The pace dropped a little with the acoustic part of their set – “Spend a Lifetime” and “Narrow Minded Social Club” – and a few of their new songs, but listening to them now, I reckon the new album’s going to be worth hearing.

You probably all know and own a copy of their first album, so there’s not much point in posting anything from it. but there are also a couple of downloads from older stuff available online, including the title track of “No Love Lost”, which somehow didn’t make the cut, though for the life of me I can’t see why – it’s a belter…

No Love Lost


Anyway, as I said, no recordings, but here’s my favourite song, Local Boy, which was the final song in a rousing encore, and is kind of appropriate as we come up to Remembrance Day…