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Brumcast 112 'I May not be Jimi Hendrix but at least I'm not dead', the most recent show from Brumcast is now online and freely available for your listening pleasure.
Loads of mutant funk, drum n bass, death metal, hip hop, indie, punk step, chill out, space rock, poetry and Birmingham Bertie all in the same show! (Warning - some tracks my contain a few naughty words). Also features The Scarlet Harlots who are repping Brum on the Channel 4's Orange Unsigned show. The very best of luck lads!
Go to http://brumcast.podOmatic.com for download & audio stream links. Download it free and direct by right clicking here and selecting 'save as'
Here's this show's playlist :-
1. Mirror!Mirror! - Dont Mind If I Do (2:32)
2. Munchbreak - The Dirty kitchen (5:42)
3. Movement - God is on my Slide (5:10)
4. Burt Bacharak Fight Club - Durgs Inc (3:56)
5. Isokon Flats - Transit Matter (3:21)
6. When Allegiance Falls - Buried by Burdens (3:31)
7. Sub Rosa - No More Lies (5:11)
8. Girls that Scream - kill me (KORRUPTED STATE REMIX) (3:44)
9. Elmo Sexwhistle - Android (6:02)
10. Untitled Musical Project - I May not be Jimi Hendrix but at least I'm not dead (2:08)
11. And She Said... - Me (4:56)
12. Goteki - Thug Electro (4:11)
13. Old School Tie - Return of Noah (4:53)
14. Big Bren Communications - Shopping (1:26)
15. The Scarlet Harlots - A Secret (2:54)
16. Battle For Prague - 100 Feet Below (4:02)
17. The Courtesy Group - By the time I finish my sentence (3:47)
18. The $hit - Mexican Wave of Hate (2:45)
19. Interlard - Song of the Sirens (3:23)
20. Machine Boy - Flange (3:54)
21. Birmingham Bertie - What's your game? (3:37)
Brumcast RSS feed for itunes etc - http://brumcast.podOmatic.com/rss2.xml
So, continuing on my neck-breaking meanderings around our city; I come across this at the Mailbox:
It's, well, a large Christmas tree; currently standing proud and outrageously huge in front of the building site that is to be the Cube.
I will put my hands up and admit I'm a bit of an architectural snob. Or at least, that I've been architecturally spoiled - growing up in Liverpool, which hosts the most listed buildings of a UK city outside of London.
So, one of my favourite pastimes is comparing Liverpool with Birmingham - and this frequently involves architecture. Now I don't actually know anything about architecture; I'm just an ignorant aesthete: if it looks pretty and old then I like it. So I enjoy a good moan about Birmingham's boring 1960's grey suburban sprawl and general lack of aesthetic value.
Until the other day, in town, I simply looked up and realised that this is not necessarily true. Check out this beauty:
Only art can save the world.
A bit of a bold opening statement perhaps, but it's the only thing that I've seen consistently bringing people from different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities etc together.
That which has elicited such hyperbole is the Heard and not Seen project/exhibition/website/discussion/thing: the exhibition part of which is currently at the Mailbox. For God's sake, please go. It's a brilliant mixed-media, interactive set-up exploring spirituality - particularly Islam. Favourite bits include an interactive burkha and screens that respond to your movement/noise.
Recently when perusing a certain gig guide I came across a group who described themselves as 'Dystopian Space Rock' "mmm" I thought..."music genre no. 4357 has been created there". Well 'Old School Tie' are the antithesis to that particular group with music genre no. 4358 now to be known as 'Utopian Space Rock'.
I've been aware of Old School Tie for some time now, their 2006 release 'The Addict' shown some excellent potential, good solid post rock grooves with some high quality live recordings thrown in for good measure. In 2007 their 'You Borrow from Tomorrow' release cemented them (in my opinion) as aces in the genre, highly polished and melodic and worthy of comparison to groups such as 'Pelican', 'Mogwai', 'Mono' and more locally Birmingham's 'Una Corda' and 'Mothertrucker'.
When I received their new CD 'Mystery Sound Playground' I pressed the play button with some trepidation. What could this group do to surprise me now? How could they follow up 'You Borrow from Tomorrow' and keep it interesting? Well in a word 'Vocals'. So surprised was I at the quality of the vocals on this recording, I was left wondering why they kept their mouths shut for so long! If I could compare the vocal style to anyone it would probably be Coldplay's Chris Martin only less dreary and doom laden, oh yeah...and it sounds far superior!
The album has a euphoric, laid back, dreamy feel with their signature bubbling bass sound, intricate guitar melodies and layers. The drums are always holding varied rhythms on a solid medium pace which always gives the impression that the tracks are a little faster than they really are. The keyboard use throughout is used to high effect, providing that little bit extra to the sound, even providing a beautiful solo in the form of the track 'Walls' which reminds me ever so much of the striking minimalism of Brummy pianist 'Rich Batsford'. This is a 5 out of 5 album, no doubt!
Don't just take my word for it. Take a listen to them at their myspace page www.myspace.com/oldschooltie and breathe in their magnificence!
The BBC TV programme to be aired this evening on the UK's class system, hosted by John and Pauline Prescott, looks to answer a question that's been plaguing me for a while now: is it possible to have working-class values while living a middle-class lifestyle?
John Prescott claims to be able to spot who attended public school by 'their confidence, the way they speak, and the way they dress'. Not sure what he'd make of me, but I suspect on first meeting that he'd pigeon-hole me as grammar school material. In fact, I had very much a Comprehensive education, albeit within a specialist music school, and I'm very proud of the fact that my granddad at various times in his life was a miner, worked in a Singer sewing machine factory, and ended up as a foreman in a Clyde shipyard. My grannie's best friends were the offspring of Red Clydesider - hardly middle-class credentials.
Myself and my good lady have just come back from a few days in Tuscany, staying in Pisa with a trip to Florence by train (about an hour) thrown in. We went from Birmingham with a low-cost airline, which seemed unfeasibly cheap until the extras (ÃÂ£16 for booking with a debit card, ÃÂ£24 to take a case) started to pile on to the price, then it just seemed cheap. The restful trip didn't start too well when we found out that the airline has baggage weight restrictions much lower than you would normally expect, which lead to us swapping clothes between bags and at one point weighing a pair of jeans to see if they would have to be hand-luggage. After two hours of being mercilessly sold scratchcards we arrived safely, but with unresolved desire to rub coins over all silver paper we saw.
I like flying, especially now with airports so full to capacity that you get to walk out to the plane over the tarmac and feel like The Beatles or the Pope. I also really enjoyed overhearing "It looks just like Google maps" from someone looking out of the window as we took off. No doubt Google and the airline have a plan for overlaying adverts for local businesses.
I also like Italy although, at the risk of coming over all Clarkson, I've never understood the European obsession with Snoopy. The dullest character in a fairly dull comic strip, and yet the first bit of graffiti we see beside the train track is the small white hound. He's also on many a sweatshirt to be sold around tourist attractions, with his twin pillar of American marketed cartooniness Bart Simpson (the dullest character in what I'll admit is/was a brilliant show). What Bart and Snoopy are doing here is called 'Pisa Posing' or 'Pushing the Tower' - that is standing in between your mate with a camera and the tower and trying to line yourself up so it looks like you're interacting with the round leany thing.
The odd person pretends to hold it in their hand, some hug, but most either hold it up or push it over (an interesting psychological distinction, anyone want to fund a long research paper into it?). Of course, they're only trying to look as if they're doing it from the angle of their mate taking the photo. Which means the area is filled with people doing crap tai-chi. It looks like the biggest mine convention in Italy. It looks brilliant. I spent a good couple of hours taking pictures of them from the 'wrong' angle, and chuckling manically to myself. There's a Flickr group dedicated to it, as there is these days for everything.
Autumn in the city is Beijing at its best. The days are beautifully sunny, the air is fresh and clean, and everybody feels invigorated and ready for winter after their October week-long holiday. And what do Chinese people do during their October break? Hike mountains, go to the suburbs, or generally escape to anywhere that has a little fresh air. Having climbed my mountain, and survived, I spent the rest of the week in city, and completely lost! The city was eerily quiet without the horn-tooting and the singing outside my window at 6am.
Having recharged our batteries, everyone is back on full form and counting down the days until the arrival of the Kate Moss Topshop range in Beijing...or is that just me who is as excited as a kid at Christmas?
This month Avril Lavigne and Linkin Park visit Beijing, however the hoards of Linkin Park fans have been massively disappointed in finding out today that all 5 dates of their Asia tour have been cancelled due to lead singer Chester Bennington having sustained a back injury. Hopefully not due to an October holiday hiking mishap.
The rest of October looks set to be an exciting time for me. I've agreed to run a 10k marathon next Sunday, but having been so busy have not had time to train at all! Luckily I've booked myself in for a well-deserved trip to the mountains (where else), at a yoga retreat. The weekend is a 'back to basics' escape from the city, with yoga, calligraphy, chanting and drumming. Just hope they throw in a free massage, too... I think I'm going to need it after that 10k crawl to the finish line.
Welcome to Birmingham, the award-winning event city. We've just held a successful (by most accounts) Conservative Party Conference, and as we keep hearing, 500,000 Rotarians are coming to be earnest and helpful and to confer about being more so.
An event city, what does that really mean? And more to the point how do the people who live here benefit? We keep being told that the Tories brought ÃÂ£20M to Brum -- but how much of that will ever get anywhere near improving things for residents? The Rotarians are also estimated to bring ÃÂ£20M despite there being twice as many of them, well I suppose they do drink less.
Let's consider Brum as a big old boozer, like the Yenton, people who live here are the regulars; some drink in the bar (Kingstanding), some drink in the lounge (Moseley) and some only come once a week and use the bowling green and sip half a lemonade all afternoon (er, Sutton). What's this got to do with being an 'events city'?
The events venues are like the function room -- the landlord hires them out to outsiders, they spend money over the bar and help to keep the place going but they might only book at most once a year. For the regulars, all they mean are more noise, the car park being full, the bar staff being busier and sometimes running out of Skol White Top or nuts. It'll also be impossible to get a taxi home, without stepping over people in Ben Shermans who can't handle their ale.
Is get down to the Old Wharf, Oxford Street, Digbeth to see 'Miss Halliwell' who I consider to be one of Birmingham's finest groups.
The gig is totally free, so even in these hard times of the credit crunch you can get your hearing damaged with a clear conscience.
Miss Halliwell have been wowing me for some time now and their most recent release 'Pre-dateoralbum Launch Party' has cemented their place as a true Brumcast favourite. Seriously get your hands on a copy today!!! it will appeal in particular to fans of 'The Fall', indeed the legendary Mark E Smith himself was so impressed with Miss Halliwell that he asked them to support The Fall when they played at the Barfly last year. Support comes from The Clouds and The Mallory Heart so I won't be an evening for the faint hearted!
Oh and BTW a new Brumcast Lite will be coming to these pages soon!