Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Inherent Vice & The Trip

The other day I stumbled across a new film called Inherent Vice. Basically a stoner private investigator gets mixed up in a psychedelic who dunnit. The film was enjoyable enough with a very strong cast (Josh Brolin, Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon etc) and a cracking soundtrack.

About half way through watching it I was reminded of the brilliant album / mix The Trip By Dj Dexter which was released on Melting Pot Music in 2013. Then I thought share it.

So here is Side A to get you started - Dj Dexter - The Trip - Side A

Happy listening

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Cut Records

I wanted to mention this rather nice label that has been releasing electronic music since 2011. The latest release is a deep techno workout from an artist called Midnight JJ called the quiet room ep.

Up until recently releases were free however, the brains behind the operation Alex Cowles has gone down the subscription route in an effort to protect the labels and the artists who contributes future. It's worth mentioning that for $1 per month (no it isn't a typo) you get a brand new release delivered straight to your inbox. It is also worth mentioning that if you sign up you get access to the entire back catalogue of releases. There are 24 at this point ranging from super chilled to 4am dance floor destroyers.

A couple of places to start - Essay - love and air & ActRaiser - Shadow Boxing

If you have $1 to spare each month then I can think of at least one very good place to spend it...

For more info - Cut Records

Monday, 30 June 2014

One post per summer...

It must seem that way but we can assure you that it is quality over quantity (honest)..... So lots of things have happened and a significant amount of water has gone under a shed load of bridges.

In summary:

  • We all went to Barcelona and had lots of fun.
  • Blunts and Sondek went to the rather mental Sonar festival (there was meant to be an extensive post about that as well)
  • brazil banks went on tour with the craziness that is The Diamond Family Archive.

  • Winter came and went.
The radio shows continued with the usual devil may care approach and we all moved like a rocket ship into 2014...

and so, brazil banks is on tour in Germany.

sondek went to malaga for some R & R.

and blunts is going to watch a cycling race up north....

happy summer everybody x

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Our E.P Project

I guess I should probably play you some of the music then................
(click the month for the download page hmmm?)

January 2013 e.p

This was recorded last autumn and was originally used as a limited CD run for the 2012 five date tour as described in the last post.

 This one started life as an improvised session of drums and guitar which was cooked up the Diamond Family shed studio. Bits, bobs and other players were added and one day we'll find a brass band to play on it.

 March 2013 e.p

Close To The Grave was recorded in my kitchen and then finished off in the shed. The Morning Singin O came from the same session as the January e.p.

These three tracks were recorded on the last night of our April 2013 UK tour (more on that adventure coming up) at Bowden House, Totnes. We'd played eleven shows without a night off and, without throwing any spoilers out there, were on the pyschological edge! The Totnes set was hazy, super-psychedlic and a very fitting end to a splendid tour. If you listen carefully you can a toddler shouting and a bumbling door-person kicking the cash bowl. And that's psychrock and roll for you right there.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

2012 - You Were The Best Of Years And The Exmouth Of Years

So after the festivals we played a couple more shows to end the summer. One was part of the Totnes festival and was at the rival radio station venue again. We were in support of a local band who were so dreadful that I very nearly had a stern talk with them all, one by one, after their set. It really just wasn't on.
I had to use their drumset which was bolted onto a metal frame that looked both heavy-duty and worringly cheap in equal measure. I played a song with the opening act and sure enough a chunk of the frame broke half way through and I was showered with bits of metal piping and cymbals. Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish. What's worse is that no-one seemed to notice.
We played a creaking and spooky set, really ambient and brooding. The fans were won over, including the dreadful headline band who wouldn't stop enthusing about our sound and bought a CD.
I couldn't stop enthusing about the keyboard player who had decided to wear a cape.
And to cap it all off the barman wouldn't do us a deal on some carry-outs and we had to pay £3.80 per bottle of beer.
Its doesn't get any better than this..............
We did have a crazy gig on the books but the weather and energy levels saw the bassist and I both call in sick.
Bullet dodged.
The gig was part of a Woodland Olympics event that would involve axe-throwing, charcoal burning, tree felling, axe throwing, archery and some more axe-throwing.
Our main man played this one solo and was faced with a stage that was a muddy hill, some rather challenging weather and a crowd that was indifferent (although they all swore that they loved it afterwards - hmmm, would you trust a hipster woodsman? I wouldn't. Anyone who works for a digital media company in Dartmouth AND goes birch tapping on the weekends needs to be well swerved.)
Next up was a gig that will go down in history as a thing in this blog.
We played a set at the Acoustica Festival which was held at the Phoenix Centre, Exeter. We had the full line-up including the man on harmonium/cornet/fx/backing vocals. It was odd because the soundman was setting up the microphones and soundchecking the entire system in front of a packed and silent room.

"Can you hit the snare please?" CRACK THWACK SNAP CRACK BLAM BLAP
"And can you play the floor tom please?" DUM DOM BOM BOM DUM DUM DOM

....much, much later....

"And could I have some of the keyboard please? No, not that one, no, the other one, no, no, yep! thats the one."


And the crowd sat there, all lovely and attentive. It was heartwarming and horrible at the same time.
Anyway, an hour later we played a scorcher of a show. One of the best sets in the history of this formation. Fantastic power and dynamic. You could hear a pin drop in between songs as the crowd hung on the last gasps of each note. It was a wonder. It was a bit odd when we finished the unannounced last song and the crowd couldn't figure out if we'd actually finished or if we were doing some post-rock pausing thing.
We weren't.
Eventually someone twigged and started off the clapping which swept through room like a brushfire and we were triumphant and then we went and had a beer by ourselves (and I waited for people to come and tell us how cool we are like I do after every show).

The next gig was at Falmouth University as part of a music industry seminar. This was a strange event as we turned up to the campus on Saturday morning when the all students were fast asleep rendering the enormous facility all a bit lonely sci-fi. The main man was "in discussion" with one of the lecturers and the lecturer also happens to be the man who plays harmonium with our band so it was all a bit like two mates talking about home-made albums, DIY record companies and fringe-of-industry activity which is exactly what these two are and were. There was just an audience present.
So we played a great two-piece set afterwards and there were free pasties and beers which is why I love the Cornish folk.

Next we had a little tour, five dates across the south of the land. We started with a Totnes Thursday show in a beautiful venue called The Barrelhouse. High ceilings, old leather armchairs and beautiful lampshades abound. The L-shape room does present a battle as the comfy sofas are down the end of bit but the PA points at the other bit. Should have moved the PA I suppose. Not many people showed up for this, perhaps a result of the hammering rain that had fallen from the sky for the whole day and evening. We played really well and sold a few records which was great but I was hoping that the good people of my town would all be there to see our greatness and from that day forth treat me with reverence and awe when passing in the street.
I'm spotting a theme.
The Friday saw us play at The Grain Barge in Bristol. This is a great venue, housed in the lower level of a permantly docked boat. Bar upstairs, venue downstairs. Cramped and full of hipsters, just the way we like it. If disaster strikes and it sinks on a Friday night there'll be one hundred less bobble hats/ironic Hitler moustaches in the world.
The support acts ranged from dull to frightening but we'd been bumped to headliners (thanks The Flu) which was great as the crowd were a sozzled bunch and we smashed them out of the park.

"Where are you from?"
"We're from Outer Space!!!!"

Krazy nights.

The next gig was in a great music pub in Stroud. The owners were super-cool and fed us some awesome fried chicken before we played two sets. As we had a lot of time to fill there were lots of extended songs, some psych wig-out stuff and some new ideas knocking around. A really good gig and a really good crowd. We kipped in the pub after a cheeky lock in and scarpered when the cleaners arrived in the morning.

The next one was in Farnham at a venue called The Barn. Bass man and main man had both gone to art college in Farnham and I grew up just a few miles down the road so there were loads of friends and family there, all crammed into a tiny but amazing loft space above a bar. Two great support acts, no space for cat-swinging, sleep deprivatrion and Red Stripe all combined to make this the best gig we've played. I had a proper trance-out moment where I awoke seemingly playing a drumset in front of loads of people and then rememberewd how and why. I love it when that happens.
The crowd went wild and I couldn't stop hugging my family because I love them dearly and all of the Red Stripe was starting to bare its teeth. I vowed to form a White Stripes reggae covers band called The Red Stripes and then I vowed to never do that ever.

The final show saw us jettison the bass player like a sand bag from a disaster-stricken hot air balloon and head to the Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton. A music themed bar and hotel with crazy pop art and music culture references all over the place, rooms decorated by genre and a devilish cocktail menu, its fair to say we were looking forward to this one. The main man had worked there for a few years so he had lots of smiling faces around and I managed to get a few of my Brighton-based mates to come along. All in it was a lovely night - we played a fairly restrained set as the hotel is surrounded by expensive residential buildings but still managed to rock-out a bit. Just enough.
I can't remember if we hit the town or stayed in the hotel bar so it must have been a pretty good night whichever way it went.
The tour wrapped up we headed back to comforting Devon, light of pocket, weak of pallour and enthused with The Power Of Rocking Out!

(us powerfully rocking out in the Hotel Pelirocco)

2012 offers us one more gig before before we draw a line underneath one of the greatest years for creeping psych folk that scholars have noted.
We played a thirty minute set at the Dartington Arts centre in front of some people who were waiting to watch a pretentious film in another studio.
There is nothing more of note except for some children shouting Queen songs into the microphone pre-show which obviously was loved by everyone.

Onwards into 2013.
(yes, I know.....)

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Interviews and What Not....... Beyond The Clones & Little Noosh

For the last few years I have been on occasion threatening to approach some of the great and good of local music and dj culture in an effort to find out why they do what they do and if possible get there opinions on all sorts of things from there favourite tune to whether they prefer vinyl to MP3.

So it was with a sudden burst of energy that I decided to approach a few dj’s / musicians with the aim of having a chat and recording it for the radio show. I remember it well….it was a chilly Sunday evening…..

The list of people I approached was small but perfectly formed and once I had sent the messages out via a combination of facebook and email it made me wonder, what if no one replies and I’m left with the realisation that no one fancies a chat about music.....

As luck would have it I received a reply from dj and promoter Blacc Jazz the very next day to say that he appreciated the message and would love a chat about music and what not. More of this later…

It then followed that I received a couple more replies over the following days. One from electronic music producer Beyond the Clones and Exeter based producer called Ashley Hanoman.
Needless to say I was pretty chuffed that a) some one had replied and b) more than one person replied.

Beyond the Clones

So, it came to pass that after a few emails and one or two false starts (entirely down to my own inability to anything quickly) I found myself, sondek and Beyond the clones in the soundart studio. Alongside this there was a brucie bonus in the form of a guest of a guest so to speak. 

Well, before the interview took place Tristan mentioned that he had been working with a singer songwriter and that it would be very cool indeed if they joined us in the studio for a chat and if all went well a live performance.

So, there I found myselfSondek, Beyond the Clones and Little Noosh all packed into the small but perfectly formed soundart radio studio. We chatted, laughed and I can honestly say had a rather good time talking a about music and inspiration. This was alongside tracks from Beyond the Clones and a genuinely beautiful live performance by Little Noosh who performed her track called The Player. 

Their was also an indication of an upcoming collaboration..... we'll keep our ears peeled for that one.

Beyond The Clones stayed on for the rest of the show and we talked live music, Jimi Hendrix and the possibility of doing it all again one day soon. 

I can safely say it was a honour and a pleasure.

The whole show from top to bottom is right here for your listening pleasure

The only feeling that was left was why we hadn’t done this earlier and that it must become a regular feature from this day forth……

In the next episode….. Blacc jazz…..

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Part 2

Welcome along to Part 2 of The Diamond Family Archive concert reports.
As 2012 draws to a close we look back fondly on the highs and lows of a year in the life of a typical gigging pysch-folk-space-rock band and attempt to peel away the layers of the rock & roll lifestyle, revealing the stark underbelly of dirty chicken, uncomfortable sofas and loud european/chart dance music.
Hold tight, here we go.

From the Brighton gig it looks like we had a few weeks off before playing our first festival of the year in Wales. How The Light Gets In is billed as a festival of ideas and features lectures on physics, theology, technology, contemporary culture and a load of other stuff probably. The site was very small and packed in behind a venue in the beautiful town of Hay-On-Wye. There were a couple of yurts for the lectures, various food stalls, two music tents and a green room tent (which I enjoyed very much). The weather was dreadful from the off and the entire weekend was spent in a downward spiral of dampness and exhaustion. Sleep was sparse due to a full-on acid casualty who wandered the campsite from 4am on the Saturday morning yelling at the top of his lungs about Mark Kennedy. He slowly convinced himself that he was the undercover copper and progressed on to some quite aggressive shouting toward anyone who tried to help him:
“How can I help you?”

Eventually some real coppers turned up and his paranoia was transferred into the back of a police van, almost certainly sending his mind spinning off into the ether of tin-foil hats and the eternal questions, “am I a robot and if I am a robot does everyone else know that I'm a robot?” and "is everyone else in the world a robot and if they are all robots do they know that they're robots and if they are robots do they know that I know that they're robots?" etc.
We were booked as secret headliners on the Saturday night and the tent was packed with an excellent crowd and two girls who were so drunk that they surely could have been watching Peter, Paul & Mary, Motorhead or The Commodores and would not have known the difference (that could be the best sound in the world). We played a really great set and it was maybe the most hazy, distorted and psychedelic that we’ve performed, before or since. The crowd went wild, etc.
We also played a little set in the other music tent the next afternoon which was OK. Nothing to shout about but still a Good Thing.
Thank you Hay-On-Wye, we like you very much.

The next gig was another festival although there was a lot less of note about this one. Sunrise Festival in Somerset was a wash-out with lakes of liquid-mud sending many punters home on the Saturday and generally making life uncomfortable for all. We played a guitar and drums set at the Bimble Inn which needed to be completely repaired after strong winds brought down some metal fencing causing a huge rip in the side of the marquee. Watching their crew trying to replace huge sides of the tent in the torrential rain, gale-force winds and knee-deep mud was quite inspiring. It inspired me to go and get a beer in the dry. Look at the photograph to see the mud.

The Bimble Inn gig was trashy, super-loud and quite wayward (as the drum/guitar sets often are) and we had a great time. We tend to play more loudly and with more experimentation when its just drums and guitar, setting up almost facing each other and really close together. There's lots of staring at what the other player is doing to try and gauge where they might take the song next, lots of bashing, smashing and sonic trashing. All good fun eh?

The next set was in the Small World tent and we were joined by our bass player for this one. After a nerve-wracking wait for our gear to be brought from the lock-up to the stage we played a lovely mellow afternoon set so the strictly horizontal crowd. I love gigs like this, gigs where you can play as downbeat and spaced out as you like. Small World is perfect for this as its a shoes-off chai cafe with rugs, fire bowls and cushions sort of place. And we made some new fans, had a song request and got a couple of connections out of it as well. Some good banter was thrown about.

Punter: "Where are you from?"
Laurence: "We're from the future!"
Me: "But only a little bit, a couple of days in the future................. It doesn't rain on Monday."

Thank you Sunrise, you were wet, uncomfortable and very dirty but a bit of good fun as well. 
Somewhere in June we played a set in a pub in Exmouth and this is the only bad gig I’ve played with The Diamond Family Archive. I think that it may have been 17th June as that’s when Netherlands played their last game of the Euro 2012 football tournament and there was definitely a really grumpy drunk guy in an orange football shirt at the bar. My folks had come down to see us play and my dad loudly waffled on about the Dutch football team’s descent into disaster whilst queuing for a beer next to the really grumpy guy in the orange shirt.
The house PA was playing extremely loud European/chart dance music to a crowd of all-day drinkers who really seemed to like their European/chart dance music. The timing was clearly spot-on for some dark and moody psychedelic folk.
I can’t stand playing a show if I know that people just want you to hurry up and go away so they can put some European/chart dance music on and this was definitely one of those nights (“PLAY SOMETHING CHEERFUL!!!”, etc). It was just a drums and guitar set but I have no idea how well we played as I was looking at my shoes in the hope that no-one would be able to pick me out should a scuffle start up after the show. Toward the end a very drunk girl clambered onstage and spent five minutes trying to explain to us about how we really did have to play that song by Tracey Chapman about the girl with the ticket because it was her friends birthday or blah blah blah. We’re not a covers band. But you have to, its her birthday blah blah blah. It doesn’t really work like that, terribly sorry. But you have to, blah, bleurgh, blah, etc. She finally left once we’d promised to play it as our last song. We then played our last song which most definitely was not by Tracy Chapman or about a ticket. Then we finished to no applause and started to pack up whereupon the girl staggers onstage and with a growled “Give me that f*ckin mic” announces her friend’s birthday before launching into a rendition of the ticket song.
Straight from the X-Factor bargain bin.
The crowd go wild.
Egged on by this wave of enthusiasm she continues with a slew of covers before being joined by a human beatboxer of all things. The punters literally cannot get enough and are cheering and dancing as if watching a breakdance battle between Elvis Presley and Jesus Christ! (proving my point that most people mostly want only what they mostly know. Or a good celebrity breakdance battle)
The party carried on as I packed up and got my parents out of there before things got ugly.
Now I know that things weren’t going to get ugly. I was more embarrassed that we’d played our music in front of a crowd who didn’t care one bit and just wanted some loud European/chart dance music or failing that a song about a ticket. I'd really wanted my folks to be stunned and amazed by this project with I love so much.
Goodbye Exmouth, I shall not return.

Next time: The end of summer and a big fat tour!