Bismuth

 

Hello from the southern hemisphere where I have had a great time in Singapore, Melbourne and Tasmania, and am planning to go whale watching in Botany Bay (NSW) tomorrow. I won’t be back in the UK for another week. In the meantime here’s some new press shots of my friends’ band Bismuth I took a few weeks ago at the original UK Botany Bay. Joe’s sunglasses broke on the drive down to Margate, and I remembered I had these green mirrored ones in a drawer. I got them for a few euros from a vending machine in the street outside this opticians in Graz in Austria a while back. I didn’t even need sunglasses, I have prescription ones, they just looked cool and the novelty appealed. I never wore them, as they are too big for me. They’ve found a new home on Joe, who they look much better on.

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It Came From the Merch Table

So this weekend I’m putting on a little festival in Margate (more info here, and a blog post of band samples to follow). People loved the poster, so I got some merch printed up to sell at the festival, and some local friends to model it in an impromptu photo shoot. It’s currently not available online, but if we have any left after the festival it will be listed afterwards (t-shirts from 34″ to 48″ chest) . Thanks to Claire, Guy and Alex for posing.

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Bloody Head

So here’s another gig I’m helping to organise and did the poster for. This time I went for a pretty simple design. Spilt blood speaks for itself. £5.50 advance, £8 on the door.

Bloody Head

Bloody Head are friends from Nottingham, (and have some of the same members as Moloch). Doomy hardcore with a slight disco tinge. Also check out Steve’s illustration work and zines here.

Honey Ride Me a Goat

Kent experimental stalwarts. I think the first time I saw them must have been fifteen years ago, but they’re still going as strong as ever. At one time they used to do a lot of double bills with my friends Let Our Enemies Beware (a band much missed).

Allfather

Anti-fascist doom metallers from my hometown. They are also involved with running the excellent Astral Noize magazine.

Beige Palace & Dead Kaczynski

Here’s another gig poster I did (this time for a gig that’s already passed, because I’ve been so slack about updating this blog). Two mates’ bands- Beige Palace from Leeds and Dead Kaczynski from Medway. There was a huge storm in the middle of the heatwave that evening, and it took Beige Palace seven hours to do the three-four hour drive from Yorkshire, and the audience was smaller than you would have hoped due to the weather, but both bands played great sets (and are keen to come back to Margate). Enjoy the EPs below.

Enter the Vortex

So here’s the posters I designed for two gigs I’m helping to put on- one in London, the other in Margate. As per the press release “Girl Sweat is the ever-changing garage-noise project fronted by the 6ft 5” beast that is ‘Sweat’” along with the fine collection of psych and drone weirdos assembled in support. My brief for the poster was “illuminati/masons cult shit”. I hope I delivered.

FB event– Tickets £5 (early bird)/ £7 (advance)/ £9 (door)

FB event– Tickets £5.50 (advance) / £7 (door)

 

Very Friendly

Here’s some photographs I took of my friends’ band Very Friendly (an EP and hopefully album coming later this year) For a while we had intended to take some promo shots with a miserable day at the beach theme, and then the beach was suddenly covered in thick snow, so this happened over a lunch break. Harry eventually got warm again. Eventually.

Editing the photos was actually quite tricky. I took around a hundred, but with the snow flying around there were a lot with closed eyes or grimaces, and colour correction took a light hand. You have snow, water and skin, and you have to balance atmosphere with realistic skin tones.

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Dawnwalker

So I recently did some artwork for an album cover- Human Ruins by Dawnwalker (featuring Dane Cross from Sacred Son, who caused an incredible fuss last with the Black Metal fanboys with his choice of album artwork) . I did the moons and runes, and someone else did the photograph and logo. Photos courtesy of Mark from the band.

Hear a track:

January Playlist

The second half of January has been a bad time for me, with a lot of very difficult things to deal with. I’ve been low on energy for doing anything much creative. Here’s a playlist of songs I’ve been listening to lately though.

 

1) Queen of Borrowed Light- Wolves in the Throne Room

I was really disappointed with the most recent Wolves in the Throne Room album. I mean I guess it’s nice that they stopped trying to be a pale copy of Brian Eno, but the new stuff was really generic. Enjoy this instead.

2) Mouth Breather- Jesus Lizard

This song is about Britt Walford from Slint. He might be great at drums and songwriting, but don’t let him mind your house. There will be plumbing incidents.

3) I Am Living Death- Institute

Great new punk/post-punk from Texas.

4) Real World- Hüsker Dü

Great old punk from Minnesota. RIP Grant Hart.

5) Cross the Breeze- Sonic Youth

6) Закрой за мной дверь (Zakroy za mnoy dver’ / Close the door behind me) – Kino

This song from the 80s is incredibly well-known in Russia. Viktor Tsoi is kind of their Bob Dylan and Kurt Cobain rolled into one. In the early 80s he was repressed for his music- they had stopped sending people to the Gulag or falsely imprisoning them in mental institutions, but if you did anything to displease the authorities suddenly you would lose your university place and your job applications would always be unsuccessful. Tsoi was kicked out of art school and given a job as janitor of his own block of flats for lyrics like “well this train isn’t going anywhere anyone wants to go” and continually pushing the very tight limits of what was allowed in public performance. By the late 80s under Gorbachev he was allowed to get away with lyrics demanding outright political change and became hugely successful in the USSR, but then died in a road accident less than a year after the Berlin Wall came down. You can see the lyrics in Russian & English here.

7) Abschied (farewell)- Nico

Nico on the other hand was a deeply unpleasant person, even if I enjoy her music. I’ve never really understood why people call the Marble Index “unlistenable” or an “ordeal”. It’s quite a soothing album really. I like the baroque style of this song- which extends to the lyrics, full of old-fashioned literary words like harren and verzehren. The words and translation are here.

8) Master Song- Leonard Cohen

I listened to Leonard Cohen non-stop when I lived in Budapest, and it fits the city and its atmosphere pretty well. I miss Hungary a lot, but no way could I live there under the current far-right (and increasingly actually fascist) government. The sooner Viktor Orbán is out the better.

9) Translate- Suuns

The soundtrack to walking over frozen rivers in the Czech Republic last year

10) Oh Yeah- Can

11) Pig- Sparklehorse

It’s still sad what happened to Mark Linkous.

12) Corpse Pose- Unwound

13) Night Goat- Melvins

14) Chromakey Dreamcoat- Boards of Canada

15) Etna- Sunn O)) & Boris

Around the Winter Solstice I always seem to want to listen to nothing but Sunn O)) and Earth. Let your ears take a soothing bath.

16) I Troldskog Faren Vild- Ulver

I like Ulver but am also aware that they are in some (many?) ways cheesy. The lyrics on this album are in Ye Olde Fairy Tale Norwegian and are actually pretty ridiculous (but let’s let them off, they were teenagers when they did this album). Enjoy them here.

Domestic Abuse Support All-dayer fundraising gig

(Tuli from Gang)

I recently went to a local gig put on by Art’s Cool raising money for the local domestic abuse support charity. It was an all-dayer, with half the lineup being local Kent bands, and the other half being from Leeds. The next day they did it all again, but in Leeds, and raising money for an education charity there. I missed the first band, but they were kind of a supergroup made up of members from the different Leeds bands. The promoter also handily made this Spotify playlist of all the bands.


 

The lighting was a bit difficult, being mostly magenta and strongly focused on one side of the stage. How easy it was to photograph the band members depended strongly on how much they moved and where they happened to be standing, and varied dramatically from act to act. When I take gig photos I like to try to have at least one photo of each band member (which can be hard with drummers positioned far back), and as flattering as possible, especially when it’s smaller bands who may not have many nice live photos of themselves. So I took, and deleted a lot of photos (and didn’t get as many usable photos of some of the bands such as Chest Pains as I would have liked). Here they are, in order of running on the day. There are links to each band’s facebook fan page in each title.

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