Monday, 10 December 2012

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Into The Wild

I went for a jog today. Well, I say jog, but realistically it was a more of a hungover walk and coughing session (note to self: maybe smoke less?). I ended up in a field at some point and stumbled across a derelict skeleton of a barn or something similar nearby to a grimy, brick construct that looked like it could easily have been some sort of drug hovel, and then saw a somebody leave wearing what looked like a balaclava, and legged it. Anyway, I took some incredibly generic photos.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A Cover: 'Poke'

A beautiful song by a beautiful band. I hope one day I'll be able to do it justice, but right now I just don't posses the exquisitely poignant tones of Scott Hutchison. And I'm not Scottish. Regrettably.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

A Cover: 'My Backwards Walk'

I can't be arsed to write any more Daily Shuffles right now because I have too many real things to write at the moment. In the meantime, here's a rough-and-ready cover of Frightened Rabbit's My Backwards Walk:

Friday, 23 November 2012

An Original Song: 'Sea'

I should start writing The Daily Shuffle again so that nobody can read it, but in the meantime here's a song I've just made.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Daily Shuffle #10: Avril Lavigne

My World
by Avril Lavigne, from the Canadian pop-rock goddess' 2002 album Let Go.

Who didn't have a crush on Avril Lavigne?

Built around an almost sickeningly upbeat guitar chord sequence, My World is a sanguine confession (I never spend much less than an hour / washing my hair in the shower) of all the things that make Avril, Avril. If this song was a drink it would be a mug of warm Canadian snow drizzled in maple syrup.

Who cares?
Whilst I have perhaps somewhat deluded images of Lavigne as a cool-kid skater-girl punk rocker with flowers in her hair, this song is poppy to the extreme and will probably appeal to anyone into early noughties pop (rock?).

Friday, 16 November 2012

The Daily Shuffle #9: Jimmy Eat World

by Jimmy Eat World, from their 2004 album Futures.

Named after a drawing created in an act of revenge by one of rhythm guitarist Tom Linton's siblings, Jimmy Eat World are another American 'punk', 'emo' band I remember being bandied about at parties and such as I was growing up.

is a rebellious anthem against somebody or something, founded on a bed of overdriven power-chord rhythms and dispersed with punchy riffs and guitar melodies, above which frontman Jim Adkin sings about the absence of anything wrong in a catchy pop-hook filled style that harks to the likes of a heavier All-American Rejects.

Who cares?
For fans of late 90's to early 2000's  American 'punk' rock, see also: All-American Rejects, Blink-182, Something Corporate, Yellowcard, etc.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Daily Shuffle #8: Billy Talent

Fallen Leaves
by Billy Talent from their 2006 album Billy Talent II.

It's one of those songs everybody's heard at some point, I think I was quite into the band for a bit, and seem to remember seeing them briefly at Reading Festival... in 2009..? Maybe.

Fallen Leaves' definitive spiky opening riff makes way for Ben Kowalewicz's (the band's frontman, not, regrettably, named Billy Talent as I had always erroneously presumed) equally bristly angst-ridden vocals, before a burly power chord rhythm kicks-in sustaining the song through the verses and chorus until the song climaxes in a brief but punchy guitar solo. If the song is indeed dealing with 'fallen leaves', they would, I imagine, be leaves of a most unpleasant and vexing variety, as they appear to have angered the band to the point of feeling obligated to compose a musical testament to their foliage-fuelled rage.

So what?
For fans 'Punk' Pop Rock of the likes of Green Day and Sum 41.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Daily Shuffle #7: Corinne Bailey Rae

A cover of Bob Marley's Is This Love? by Corinne Bailey Rae

I've never heard this song before.

Bailey Rae's dulcet vocals compliment this soulful classic perfectly, and coupled with the piano, give the rendition a smooth and polished feel.

Who cares?
For fans of soul, Bob Marley, and Corinne Bailey Rae.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Daily Shuffle #6: Withered Hand

(It's A) Wonderful Lie by Withered Hands taken from their 2012 EP Inbetweens.

Bluntly put: because it was there (on the internet).

(It's A) Wonderful Lie is a lament about something or other in which main-man Dan Wilson croons in melancholy tones above a swaying guitar backing, just a pinch of piano and some suitably dejected violins.

Who cares?
For fans of early Bright Eyes.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Daily Shuffle #5: Björn Kleinhenz

The Year Of The Adder by Björn Kleinhenz taken from his 2010 album Head Held High In Fearsome Pride.

I discovered Björn Kleinhenz through Spotify and despite barely being able to correctly pronounce his name, felt inclined to check out more of his stuff.

The Year Of The Adder
is an entirely instrumental affair, focussing on Kleinhenz's guitar playing which showcases a variety of fingerpicking, strummed chords and single-string melodies. The result is a brief but pleasingly contrapuntal amalgamation of guitar melodies demonstrating Kleinhenz's love of the instrument.

Who cares?
For fans of Swedish folky singer-songwriter sorta stuff. Black Water is a good song (with vocals and all) to check out. If you particularly enjoyed the guitar in this song, you might enjoy the superb six-stringed stylings of Leo Kottke

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Daily Shuffle #4: The Maccabees

Grew Up At Midnight by The Maccabees from their newest and truly beautiful effort Given To The Wild.

I actually bought this album and have treasured it to the extent that I've so far avoided taking the CD out of its original packaging and been forced to download it, in order to actually listen to it. Which is just ridiculous.

Shimmering guitars tiptoe amongst Orlando Weeke's crooning falsetto as he paints a picture of a tranquil midnight scene of musical serenity, before the song is borne along by warm bass and hearty drums to a glorious crescendo.

Who cares?
You probably should. The whole album is exquisite. If I had to draw a few comparisons (which I do) I'd say Given To The Wild hints at the likes of Wild Beasts, Dry The River and Bombay Bicycle Club.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Daily Shuffle #3: Owl City

Meteor Shower by Owl City. From Owl City's (A.K.A Adam Young) second album Ocean Eyes.

I'm not really sure... I guess I'd describe Owl City as a bit of a guilty pleasure, only I'm not totally convinced as to how much pleasure I actually derive from listening to them...

Pleasantly over-produced. If you really crank it up and get an earful of the plethora of various quaint samples going on, it's suspiciously nice. If I had to liken this song to a dish, I'd say it was like an over-manufactured sponge cake topped with synth sauce and sprinkled with beeps. As always, Young's just singing about some girl or something.

Who cares?
For fans of self-obsessed auto-tuned hipster bedroom pop. Best listened to whilst duck-facing. If you're looking for similar but far superior synth-pop stylings with less autotune, have a gander at Passion Pit.

Friday, 9 November 2012

The Daily Shuffle #2: The Steals

Stay in Silence by The Steals.

I received their (debut?) album Static Kingdom as a free surprise gift (not sure if it was intentional) when I bought another CD from Amazon.

Stay in Silence is a haunting folk tapestry of sombre, ritualistic drum beats, shimmering guitars and melancholic female vocals which climbs towards a crescendo of glistening chimes, earthy guitars and crashing cymbals, before trailing away into a stream of reverberating string melodies.

Who cares?
For fans of the music of moody folk urchins. The vocal style and tribal drum beats particularly remind me of the likes of Bayou.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Daily Shuffle #1: a rummage around in my iTunes library

I thought it would be a novel idea to write a daily blog post based on a random song in my music library, discussing why I have it (or shouldn't), why it's good (or isn't) and why you should get it (or why you probably shouldn't get it). The rules are simple, I have to use the first song that comes up when I press the shuffle button; this could be anything (not literally anything) from Abba to Bach, The Beatles to The Zoo Duet (I'm not even really sure who they are, but they're in there). So, without any further ados, I present you... *clicks shuffle with great trepidation*

Avalanche by S. Carey. A drummer and a singer in Bon Iver, Sean Carey released his debut Album All We Grow in 2010, recorded under the watchful eye of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon at Carey's home and Vernon's studio. Avalanche actually comes from his latest EP offering Hoyas, released earlier this year. 


Needless to say, I discovered the musical stylings of S. Carey through the beloved Bon Iver. 

Avalanche is a placid ethereal wash of piano, synth and vocal harmonies, with just a hint of Woods-esque auto-tuned vocals. 4/5

Who cares?
You'll probably like this if you're a Bon Iver fan. I'd also recommend listening to his very tranquil and rather minimalist, almost Reich-esque in places, In The Dirt,

Monday, 30 July 2012

Musical Notes #3: Steam Powered Giraffe

Hailing from San Diego, the Steampunk three-piece (six if you count 'their humans') look as if they've just stepped out of a Boosh episode as the alter-egos of The Hitcher. Musically, their banjo, mandolin and various other folk-instrument-driven melodies bring to mind the likes of Hundred Little Reasons, whilst their soothing vocal harmonies in Honeybee allude to the stylings of Good Old War crossed with Isbells and a West End Musical (because to liken them to the Beatles would be cheating). Anyway, check out their video for Honeybee:

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


I found a jam-jar full of badges in the attic, so I made this Gif. 

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Happy Chocolate Day / Merry Easter

I can only hope that no one else received cannibalistic chocolate for Easter...

Friday, 30 March 2012

Cash Crane

Forget investing money in stocks, I invest mine in storks.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Let's Busk Shit Up!

It has always been a whimsical aspiration of mine to busk my way around the world; travelling the globe with no more that a beaten-up guitar by my side. I've arguably achieved part of that ambition, but I'm yet to even apply for a passport. Having played a handful of gigs with previous bands and music projects, busking seemed like a logical progression: particularly as my current location Winchester is one of the few cities in the country in which you're free to busk without a permit. To make the whole experience more enjoyable (both for me and the defenceless passers-by) I enlisted the help of housemates Theo, James, Becky and Brett to sing and pitch in with various guitar playing and cajón (or 'drum-box') expertise. The city-goers would be in for treat. Of course, we carefully considered a suitable song-list for the day (based primarily on songs we already knew the lyrics to) and dutifully practiced in preparation for the gig – at times even playing our instruments simultaneously. Of course, whilst practice makes perfect, spontaneity and improvisation would give the performance a real edge, and so, to add an element of uncertainty to the event, we drank heavily before the day.

The next memory in mind centres around waking up at six in the morning on Saturday with the sickly scent of budget cider in my nostrils and realising I had no recollection of how or when I came to be lying in my bed: always a thoroughly reassuring start to my day. Not long (enough) later I awoke to a thunderous banging at the door which I can only liken to that of a furiously impatient housemate trying to punch down my the door. Or Brett, trying to punch down my door. I would use the normal cliches to describe how I 'groggily staggered out of bed' but they make my actions sound far too elegant.

A short practice and a Starbuck's mug of Asda's finest Smart Price instant coffee later and the newly-formed band of House 106 was skipping down the sunny hillside to Winchester town, singing along to a ukulele as they went. Well, at least, we travelled on foot and
had a ukulele. Theo and I had also taken the liberty of donning braces and trilbies to give our musical outfit a more troubadour-esque flare.

After searching for a spot amongst the hoards of shoppers and fellow (and far more competent) buskers, we settled on a sunny and rather more
relaxed location. We set down the drum box and lay open a guitar case – tossing in some shrapnel in true busker style. A few false-starts and a lot of unsure mumbling later, we were away, Theo and Becky crooning along to Hallelujah whilst I picked hesitantly at the ukulele. To say we 'got into the swing of things' feels like an ambitious phrase, but I think it would be a fair to say that we 'got into some sort of swing of things' and went so far as to gather a stationary audience at times – particularly keen onlooker's going so far as to photograph and even film our antics. The majority of our profits came from an apparently endless stream of children ushered by likely-pitying parents to 'go and put a shiny coin in the nice band's hat.'

On balance, things went quite well. We didn't set the world on fire with our music, but then we did avoid being set on fire for our music. We may not yet be up to the challenge of busking our way across any oceans, but there's a chance that at the end of the day we could all afford a coffee. Between us. 

Sunday, 19 February 2012

I'm So Hipshter (Because 'Hipster's' Too Mainstream)

As I write this blog post I am sitting alone in my room eating strawberry sponge cake and drinking Copella apple juice, like some sort of middle-class hermit. Perhaps 'mermit' best describes my current occupation.

I'm also listening to the Antler's take on VCR by the xx, which is probably what all the hipsters would be listening to if listening to obscure indie music wasn't so mainstream.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Classic Student Breakfast #1: Toast and Coffee

Musical Notes #2: The Migrant

I discovered The Migrant about five minutes ago and have only listened to two songs by them so far.
Nonetheless, I feel they're worthy of a blog post, if not only for the for the nice range of instruments they use; as you'll see in the video. I guess if I had to describe them, I'd say that they are Grizzly Bear-esque with a dash of Good Old War and probably some other bands I'd like to make obscure references to but can't remember the names of.

Take It!

Nothing But Clues

Monday, 23 January 2012

Uni Livin'

Are you getting too much sleep?

Do you often find it hard to drag yourself barely-clothed out of bed in the middle of the night?

Are you sick and tired of weak alarm clocks which can be deactivated at the touch of a button?

Then you need
The Self-Drilling Fire Alarm!

The Self-Drilling Fire Alarm is the latest innovation from 2MuchSleep and is being hailed by critics as the number 1 solution to sleep. The SDFA can be installed in any type of accommodation, but is proving particularly successful in university residence, where it has a 95% success rate. When you buy the SDFA you'll be getting all of these unique features:

  • 4 hour self-drilling period: the SDFA will conduct its own fire drill every 3-4 hours without any prior programming or set-up.
  • Comes with 1 piercing, atonal alarm noise already installed
  • Can also be used to detect fires (not tested)
No other fire alarm on the UK market has this many innovative features, but don't take our word for it - just look at the testimonials:

Keith, student at Brighton University:
"With the Self-Drilling Fire Alarm I was woken up every four hours and marched outside into the rain. When the alarm had finished, I returned to bed safe in the knowledge that the damn thing would be going off in another couple of hours"

Rachel, student at Sussex University:
"I'd never been a fan of alarm clocks, but with the Self-Drilling Fire Alarm I was forced to vacate my room or risk burning to a crisp. Such a great incentive!"

Brett, student at University of Winchester:
"It's gone off 3 times in my room alone! I think I'm going to start sleeping in all my clothes in preparation for the next burst! I've barely got any sleep!"

So, don't waste your time with alarm clocks and conventional fire-detecting fire alarms any longer and make a once in a lifetime investment in the SDFA today! You won't regret it.*

*Disclaimer: customers who bought the SDFA for their own accommodation were, on average, 5 times more sleep-deprived than those who didn't. 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Don't Let Misguided Politics Fuck Up The Internet : Stop SOPA & PIPA

I hit town the other night, or rather, I drunkenly staggered to town in a state of near comatose, only to find that not a single club was open. The only conclusion I can come to for this, is that they were 'blacked out' in protest of the bloody stupid and downright dystopian totalitarian offering that is the Stop Online Piracy Act. In a nutshell, the act (in conjunction with PIPA) will prohibit access to sites which are deemed to violate copyright laws, or even host links to such sites, in a manic attempt at internet censorship. Whilst directly affecting the US this filthy piece of Congress legislation extends to user-generated content on sites such as YouTube, making it possible for copy-write holders to sue for something as seemingly harmless as uploading a cover version of a song, and will cripple the internet for everyone.
American-made explanation of SOPA:

Explanation courtesy of the Guardian:
I'm sure plenty of people will rejoice on the possibility of Justin Beiber going to prison, but just think of the poor inmates!

Lastly, if SOPA gets through Congress such brilliant musical parodies as this will become a thing of the past:

HM Government Petition - UK
Official Google Petition - US
Comic and Petition - 'Get Your Censor On' - US/Non-US

Get petitioning, internet!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

What does your roach say about you? (and I don't mean the fish).

The Full Round Moon:

You're open to new things, you embrace opportunity. You're carefree and you love it. You don't dwell on the risks, instead you grab life by the balls and shake it for all it's worth. Whilst your method may be frowned upon, you enjoy the rebel image it bestows upon you. You prefer tough granary over white-sliced any day. In short, you don't give a shit, and those that do aren't worth the effort.

You're a pacifist. You know every yin has its yang and you feel compelled to follow this teaching in every aspect of your life. Whilst those around you may not understand, you know within yourself that you are, in your own small why, ensuring the continued balance of all forces within the cosmos. In short, you're a modern day do-gooder, in an unbalanced world.

Bare Grills

You're a perfectionist. You strive for nonpareil in every area of your life. Whilst, to some, your obsession with intricacy and perfection appears your greatest flaw, you know the importance in betterment and feel others around you are lacking. You're known by name in your coffee shop. You live in the periphery of mainstream culture and hate cliché.

The Spiral
 You're normal, and you love it. You embrace mainstream culture and don't understand those who shun its ways. You believe the media is not out to get you that and those who think otherwise do so for the attention. You'd rather buy your groceries from a respectable high-street chain than some out-of-the-way hippy shop. You love popular music and thoroughly enjoy prime-time TV.

So, which of these are you?

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Musical Notes #1: Everything Everything

I was thinking I should come up with a recurring title for music posts... 'Musical Notes' is the best thing I've come up with in the short time I pondered the matter; as in notes on music. Maybe I should number them, too? With a # symbol because that looks cool, right? Anyway, today's 'Musical Notes' regard the addictive Everything Everything. On first listen they'll most likely strike you as weird, pretentious indie indie hipsters who all share the same hairdresser. But their sound is quirky to the point of compulsive listening, you'll find yourself relishing their odd vocal harmonies and even odder lyrics. I'd like to say the intervals in the musical composition of the songs are Renaissance-esque, but that's likely a load of bullshit. They're instrumentation is certainly Baroque-esque, however,  Two For Nero actually using a harpsichord (or, at least, harpsichord-sounding instrument) for the basis of the main riff. Enough babble. Have a listen:

Photoshop Handsome 
Home to such peculiar lyrics as 'Airbrush! What have you done with my father?!'

A nice acoustic session courtesy of The Mahogany Sessions

I'm also particularly into their song Weights at the moment.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

New Year, New Year

Happy New Year!

Before I get on to New Year - the topic of this post - I just thought I'd share the hardships I endured to be able to publish to this blog. The hardship? My Macbook's (or, affectionately, Crapbook) fancy Apple MagSafe charger broke. So, I ordered a new one off of ever-reliable Ebay, but being the impatient and resourceful human being that I am, I found myself impelled to fix the broken one. After much hammering,  plying, levering, banging and good old fashioned elbow grease (what an odd phrase that is: I never find my elbows to be greasy after physical upper body excursion), I broke into the charger so as to ambush it with a soldering iron. Without going into any more detail, the upshot was this marvellous piece of handiwork:
I'm pleased to say that it now works like a charm and hasn't caught fire. Yet.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand: New Year. For me, the most satisfying thing about New Year, is doing everything for the first time again. I'm talking about the first word of the new year (likely the word 'happy' proceeded by 'new' and the rather apt 'year'), the first thing you see, the first sound you hear etc. etc. So, here's my list of 'first things' of 2012:

1. First person to see:
My lovely, wonderful (lovely + wonderful = londerful?) girlfriend, Sophie (it crossed my mind that I could have omitted the word 'girlfriend' and then written 'and the girl's pretty nice, too')

2. First sky-based-explosion-in-close-proximity-to-a-well-known-world-landmark to see:

The omnipotent eye of London amidst an array of New Year's fireworks

3. First thing to eat (actually a packet of cheese and onion crisps, but that's kinda boring):
That morsel in my hand is a pan au chocolat

4. First thing to drink
I found this painting by Charles Wcoates after a bit of Googling (is there any other way to find things?)

5. First song to hear:

The Cribs - 'I'm A Realist'

6. First film to watch:

The Notebook

7. First book to read (or, rather, continue reading):
A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby (as I'm sure you already knew by the cover...)

First blog post to write on this blog: this one.