Tristram at Calmer

In an effort to shrug off the popular perception that this Blog is all about beards, banjos and beer, I broke with tradition somewhat when I went along to Calmer* in Cheltenham last Friday. Yes there were beards and, yes there were banjos, but for the evening I stuck resolutely to cider, and was able to kid myself that I was viewing events in an entirely different light.

Maybe not.

I haven’t been to a Calmer evening for quite a long time now, and it was very pleasant to get back into the  terrifically cool surroundings of the Slak Bar once again. And although, it’s been my feeling that the evenings have been in a bit of a decline of recent years, Friday’s fare went someway to restoring my faith in an event that used to be keenly anticipated over here.


First up was a young guitarist sporting a Byrds hair cut and skinny jeans, and leading a band that included a cellist, bassist and a busy drummer. To be honest he reminded me a bit of Fionn Regan at times, and had a number of really charming, slightly melancholic songs in his satchel. They were all arranged pretty well, and the effect of some of the cello work in particular was to leave a rather haunting feel to the set. I believe there are a couple of EPs to be had and the prospect of an album on the way too. Keep an eye on his MySpace

Anyway, have a watch… (not one of mine, but actually recorded the day after in Cardiff)

Made a few recordings, though, and they’re OK, really…


Dust Disturbed

Rhyme or Reason

Actually, they were only lined up to be the support band, but I would have been happy at that. It was a fine set. I’ll post about the second band of the night, tomorrow, I think, and leave Tristram to bask in the PP spotlight for an evening at least…

And what I found is that we’re all just sleeping around

Although I am the blessed beneficiary of  an embarrassingly good deal from Emusic (that I’m sure they would like to withdraw if they had chance…) I still find myself hoarding my credits till the end of the month and then spending them crazily to make sure I don’t lose them before the refresh date. It tends to mean that I acquire a bunch of records at the same time and take a while to sift through them.

One of the most congenial ones is this one…


I’m really enjoying the Braids record, Native Speaker, which has had some pretty decent reviews, and sounds a bit Bjork-y, a bit Cocteau Twins-y, with some pretty dubby, reverb-heavy atmospherics thrown in. It’s wistful stuff.

Braids are from Montreal and have been together for a year or so. Native Speaker is their debut record. I believe a European tour is in the offing… Here’s a video recorded by the remarkable folk at Blogotheque of their swoopingly elegant single “Lemonade”

No free downloads that I can find, but here is a Daytrotter session, which is worth getting hold of and is of course free of charge.

Finally here’s another video of the band being interviewed by some feller in Canada, who insists on smoking a pipe (but, hey, live and let live, eh?). They come across as a pretty sweet bunch, enjoying what they’re doing and determined to continue making fine music.

[I have to smile at their repeatedly describing the music as “lush” which here in Gloucester would make them sound like a piece of chocolate cake. I’m fairly sure that’s not what they mean…]

All that I know is I’m falling…

I find myself in the wholly unfamiliar (and slightly uncomfortable)  position of stumbling upon something the actual day it happens. Bloody hell!

The James Blake album is out in the UK today!  Not sure when it’ll turn up on Emusic (if at all), but I’m finally warming to Spotify, and it’s there. Sounds like a beautiful record.

Here’s the official video for The Wilhelm Scream