Notes on a brief reunion

I’ve probably mentioned before but I can’t be arsed to go through my old posts looking for the references but I played bass in a band called Sons of Itto between 2005-10, and had a lot of fun in so doing.

Anyway, the guitarist/singer, who shall henceforth be called Milo, is engaged to a lovely lady called called Jenny who I hadn’t met until yesterday. A few weeks ago, she is alleged to have said words to the effect of ‘I really wish I could have seen your band play…’

SO yesterday, she had a surprise birthday party. Milo had rounded up myself and drummer Colette (who played in the latter incarnation of the Itto) for a quick couple of jams to remind ourselves of stuff and to dust off the cobwebs, and last night we played 8 or so songs in front of an invited audience at The Chameleon Arts Cafe in Nottingham.

It was an absolute blast. The force was with us last night. I saw people taking photos and stuff so if any of those find their way to me, I’ll update this post with some.

The Chameleon is a great venue, it most reminded me of the much missed Attik in Leicester, perhaps a bit larger but much harder to find.

Also – Colette plays in two other bands, very different from each other. You Want Fox is a two piece that she does with Nat, and Punch Drunk is a three piece grunge-pop thing that, as I sit here typing and listening to it is putting me most in mind of late-80s Soul Asylum and also Husker Du. Keep an eye out for them wherever you put your eyes – I exacted a promise from her to get at least one of her bands to play Leicester so I intend to hold her to it.

But we may do another Itto thing again next year after the fun we had doing that, so I’ll pop details up the next time we have one.

One Dog Clapping – Luna Takes Asylum (The Lunatics Return)

Luna bandcamp front

So, once I finished that series I did last year, I did, as promised, put my guitar down for a bit and listen to some music other people made. But I also had sessions of listening to my archive, probably for reasons of vanity but using the excuse that I wanted to hear it to get a feel of the context of what I’d done. And one thing happened quite soon – I was listening to Are You Hanging Comfortably? from this here album here, and I was getting annoyed by it. This had always been my least favourite album, largely because it was the last of the trio of albums I’ve since come to think of as the slapdash 3, and I was going through a period of self-doubt at the time I originally finished it which will also have coloured my perception of it. But as I listened to and got annoyed by the aforementioned track, what was bugging me the most was that I thought it was a decent tune thoroughly hidden in bad recording and production. ‘Well then,’ said an all-too familiar and frequent thing I’ve come to call That Bloody Voice In My Head That Always Thinks It Bloody Knows Best, Usually When Saying I Bloody Told You So, ‘why don’t you re-record it?’

Aaaand one thing led to another and here we are.

I haven’t spent all year on it; I’ve actually concentrated on new stuff seeing as I had a guitar in my hand anyway. But I decided to lean into the Mercury Retrograde periods by focussing on this during those, and those of you who know about such things will note that one has indeed just passed, and this timing isn’t a coincidence. Well, it is, but it’s more than just the coincidence of two things happening at a similar time.

For those of you who may have heard the original, this is different in ways more than just re-recording it. The opener on the original was called Lance, Speak, Deafening. Well, Lance… met and married a song I’d only ever recorded on 4 track in the 90s called 1000 Howling Devils and they had a child and that child now opens the album. Also, the original track two just wasn’t satisfying me anymore. I therefore replaced it with a song that was not only written contemporaneously but is also coherent thematically with the album. The rest of the songs are as they were, with some or more lyrical revisions.

I’ve also done something I haven’t done before by putting a nominal charge on the album, though each track does come with its own artwork now; the lyrics decorated with my inimitable doodles, and then inverted in some program or other. I’m going to add such things to my other albums over time, so if you want those others while they’re still Name Your Price, get in there now.

It is not beyond the realms that I may update one or two other albums during future Merc-Rets. However, the next thing I’ll put out, and it may even be this year but if not will certainly be early in the next, will probably be called Influx Arena.

Finally, I am incredibly and unimaginably indebted once again to my friend Chris Hall who helped me with Tech just as a typically merc-ret thing happened and my PC went dead when I was very nearly finished with this. Thanks again, Chris!

One Dog Clapping – The Castle is Burning!

The Castle is Burning front.jpg

It is 103 weeks (I counted ’em) since I last bothered the world with music; it will be significantly fewer before I next do so – single figures, hopefully.

This is the first in a new series called ‘Meeting the Changing Landscape.’ There’s an obvious link to the first album from the previous series, but the most pertinent thing about this album is that it is my take on where I see the world at this moment in time.

The next album in the series will be about where I’m going to go, and the subsequent ones will be about how I’m going to get there.

I’m going to update the website later – it will still be a mess, but it will be a less cluttered mess with a brighter feel.

 

Gnod – Just say no…

gnodIn complete contrast to the previous two posts, here we have a whole heap of ‘AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!’ aimed right at your face.  And what a fine heap of grumpy-old-man stuff it is, too. Mind you, they’re probably a bit younger than me (I’m 46).

Gnod have made it their recent mission to try and re-politicise the alternative music scene. My own feelings on this are mixed because I have to admit I’ve never seen a tsunami turn back because of protesters on the beach, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be encouraging people to pull their heads out of their ****book feeds and actually look at the world around them and try to re-engage with other actual people, instead of relying on some commentator you will never meet to tell you that things are actually one way that suits them better than you. Also, people are actually nicer to each other when they talk to each other instead of when they argue on the internet, a pastime which only brings out one thing in people and that is the worst.

It reminds me in spirit of the last great outpourings of political music that I was aware of in the 1990s, particularly around the Criminal Justice Act that came in around that time. One of the main reasons for my mixed feelings is because the discontent from those times was one of the main reasons for Tony Blair, and I don’t believe I need to explain why we don’t want a repeat of all that, now. For all that we decry the current wave of so-called populism, it seems it was alright when he did it. But now I’m going all political and frankly I should leave that to this album, and I’m also giving the impression that I think political music is mistaken when I don’t actually think that at all.

So anyway, musically speaking, this is five tracks of loud done in the way that Gnod do loud, which is to say very well. There is rhythm and groove as is their wont, loud guitars, snarling guitars and vocals, and, er, well. You get the message.

I also wouldn’t be at all surprised if you weren’t to see this on a t-shirt or ten before the year is out.

But whilst we’re talking Gnod, I’ve also just discovered The Somnambulist’s Tale from 2012, which is completely at the opposite end of the sonic spectrum from this and demonstrates just how fucking good they have always been. And did you notice that I asterisked a particular web-resource, but left the word ‘fucking’ uncensored? Have it.

A blow on my own trumpet

frontI think I may have mentioned once or twice that I’ve been working on my own thang again. Well, this be that thang. The final details took longer to clear up than I was anticipating, but I’ve now put it up on Bandcamp and look forward to the next 18 months or so of not listening to it at all (it takes about that long for me to revisit earlier stuff due to the intensity with which it surrounds me as I prepare it for birth). I shall update the website when I’ve got the CDr side sorted for anyone who likes home made CDrs.

I was actually going to tell you about this as part of one of my chats, rather than giving it a full post, but yesterday I was contacted by the British Library about adding my catalogue to their collection. That made me figure that maybe the self-deprecation that always accompanies me putting music out really should stop now. After all, I wouldn’t put it out if I didn’t think it was worthy of being out there. These children are fully grown and can speak for themselves.

Whilst I’m blowing my own trumpet, I may as well mention my other blog that I started back in Feb which was also going to be muttered at the bottom of a chat post the next time I did a chat post. It’s where I show the world my doodles. The only words on the blog are the ones on the doodles, though there can be alot of those. If you like the sound of that sort of thing, then Seeds of Syntropy may just be up your alley.