Introducing… the Penny Sweets

Penny SweetsThis Friday evening I’m lending basslines to the Penny Sweets… a group that I saw play around six years ago in Durham in a venue not much larger than my living room.

I rather liked the gig and bought the CD, but after six years of not hearing another note, I suddenly find myself considerably back in touch with these tunes…

Check out ‘Unicorn Day’ below:

And after many weeks rehearsing in a small flat in Camden (with electronic drums, piano, violin, my bass guitar – played pretentiously with a violin bow, many many effects pedals and a good supply of condensed milk) we’re finally ready to take the show to the stage…

The gig is at The Albany in London this Friday (30th April) and we’re onstage at 9pm.

More details on facebook here.

Love Is A Wildcard

Hollie MartorellaPart of the idea behind setting up this blog was to post tracks on here as soon as they are done (instant feedback, makes me look busy etc). Last night I finished recording a track with Hollie Martorella called ‘Wildcard’…

Hollie & I met at Durham uni where we were both in the band Alba Nova. After the mysterious disappearance of a certain Mr Mankowski to the darker regions of North East England, we started to record a few acoustic tracks together, but this is the first time we have recorded something that began to resemble the previous project’s trademark sound of eerie violins, folky guitars and layered harmonies.

The track is a grower – starting out with just one voice and one guitar, it builds up over the best part of five minutes to include layers of violins and backing vocals, plus a bit of piano. However, none of it seems too intrusive – or as I put it to Hollie (who was more than slightly offended) – “None of the extra sounds coming in would wake you up… in a good way…”

Talking about Yamaha guitars with Paulo Nutini…

Miri at Yamaha HQ…well sort of…

Last month, Miri, Giles and I made the trip up to Milton Keynes to visit Yamaha HQ and record a session for a competition and to be also featured in a podcast. Whilst we weren’t particularly impressed by a rainy Milton Keynes, the Yamaha building was pretty cool. Did you know it all started when Mr Yamaha took a reed organ apart and decided he could make a better one himself? One of these early prototypes was on show in the foyer, but with a massive ‘DO NOT TOUCH’ sign unfortunately…

We were interviewed by Richard Allinson Yamaha Downloadof Radio 2 fame, and yes, he really does have a ‘radio voice’ in real life – paired with a crushing handshake – but a very nice fella. We recorded a couple of tracks, one of my favourites ‘Blue Skies’ and ‘An Invitation’ which you can hear in the (abridged) podcast below.

I’m next playing with Miri at the Watershed in Wimbledon – a home match if ever there was one – on 18th September – keep up to date and have a listen to other tracks on the myspace – myspace.com/wheresmiri.

Independents played on BBC 6music

6music_badge_introducing_03Last month, Tom Robinson had the debut radio airplay of Adam Wedd & The Independents new single ‘The Differences We Display’. It was also featured in his weekly podcast, which you can hear a shortened version of below (copyright owned by BBC etc etc).

The track was recorded on my home studio setup (bar drums & bass which was done at MI7 studios in Acton then transferred over). We spent quite a while tweaking it, re-recording bits, bringing in fancy violin ideas and messing around with banjos! I can’t remember the full names of all 8 musicians playing on the track, but special note to Tara Flynn (as seen on Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle & The Omid Djalili Show) for her backing vocal “icing”, and to the excellent Luke Sital Singh who provided backing vocals and a bit of common sense in the production department. Adam is getting married next month, so best of luck to him, but I’m sure you’ll be able to catch Adam & us Independents playing another gig soon-ish…

Hope For Planet Earth

Hope For Planet EarthHope for Planet Earth was a national tour and resource DVD featuring leading experts and thinkers on the subject of climate change; what it is, how bad and what our moral response could be. The 2009 tour finished very recently, and whilst there are currently no plans to tour again there is a resource DVD you can buy from here hopeforplanetearth.co.uk.

The show kicks off with an introduction video played on a big screen. Footage was put together by Tearfund to a piece of music I had partly created, and partly adapted from a song by Flight School that I had recorded and played on (hear them here – myspace.com/myflightschool – credit to a certain Ed Priestnall for that cool piano riff)!

It’s not exactly HD, but you can see the results below: