Archive for February, 2009
Why? Well as this blog post title suggests, it’s because my girlfriend met Kris Akabusi and got me his autograph…. Awesome! See it says “Jack” (that’s me!!) Hi bud (that’s Kris!!)
It has recently been brought to my attention, via the handsome Sam Isaac who just last night supported the Spinto Band as part of their birthday celebrations, that Fierce Panda Records is 15 this year… and while no doubt there will be a milieu of tributes across the web to a label that has brought us the likes of Idlewild, Kenickie, A Hundred Reasons, 3CR, Llama Farmers, Seafood and more – I was keen to throw my own little bit of nostalgic loving towards what I see as one of the most influential labels (in my life anyway) and, quite frankly, one of those institutions that without – Alcopop (and I’m sure a lot of labels like us) may be an awful lot poorer for, if here at all…
My love affair with Mr Bongo and his lot really begun back when I was just out of 6th form, and already heavily into my alt/indie scene, I happened across the ‘Dead Cheap’ Fierce Panda sampler for 3 quid in (I believe) spinadisc records in Coventry. Already vaguely knowing the label, I snapped it up and it literally became my favourite compilation of ever. Looking back now and working it out I bought releases from 10 of the bands featured, fell in love with at least 6 of them – 3 of which were particularly passionate… And out of 15 songs that aint not bad (as the illiterate say).
Post that, more of my ‘life highlights’ that included the mighty Panda included my first year of university when, featuring them as label of the week on my student radio station, they sent me a white label test pressing (limited to 10 copies) and a load of stickers (very kind I thought), still owning a Ning 154 limited edition Panda jacket despite losing it temporarily at so many venues across the country and thinking myself continually cool in my youth knowing that getting into Panda bands was not only the way to guarantee bucket loads of indie-cool points, but also enjoy a massive hit rate of favourites in my record collection. Plus they seemed to run the label in the right way – releasing stuff they liked, doing it in a fun way – and releasing rather super merch (tea-cups, coats and polos)
And now – operating an indie label of my very co-own, it is with great love, thanks and praise indeed that I’d like to wish all at Fierce Panda a very happy fifteenth birthday. Whether they can continue to be the behemoth of great indie talent that they were after 15 years hard slog, who knows, but for me – and I imagine a whole swathe of kids who grew up in my generation – it’s “Panda for life”… Or so I once scrawled on the toilet wall of the Coventry Collosseum after a particularly epic Llama Farmer’s set anyway
It’s been a quiet day in Alcopop HQ today, before the storm no doubt, but while others amongst the industry have no doubt been a-beavering away on all sorts of musical related business, I’ve been listening to Cornershop (Lessons learned from Rocky I to Rocky III is no doubt quite the tune), wondering how I can make dishing out free MP3s sexy again (I thing I’ve got it you know) all the while planning a storming set for my DJ set at The Purple Turtle tonight in Oxford.
One exciting piece of Monday news however is that the finished artwork for goFASTERs upcoming EP, A Modern Education, has arrived courtesy of the talented Paul from Hot Club de Paris – and I think it looks rather nice. Litre upon litre of blackboard paint, and no doubt several packets of chalk down – he’s gone for that schoolyard charm, leaving me itching for a retro episode of Grange Hill (did anyone else used to watch that with their mum ). And here it is…. I hope you like!
Oh and incidentally, former Alcopop favourites (and now signed to the pretty damn ace Fear and Records) data.select.party are playing a FREE show at The Old Blue Last in London town tonight. If you’re around you should definitely go! The new album no doubt sounds awesome – and if you have an extra three sheets to spare on top of that, there are a few copies of their debut single limited to 500 (somehow) still available from the shop. Go figure…
Quite frankly you’d be mad to miss it! Now I know the EP isn’t out for a few weeks, but diaries fill up quickly in the ‘fuck-it-all, lets go crazy and dance every night cos’ if we’re not partying we may as well be dead’ climate of 2009 – so you better pick your closest gig locale and get ready to slam some indie shapes.
22 Feb – Norwich UEA w/ the Wombats
5 Mar – Kidderminster iDle Hands @ The Tap House
12 Mar – Oxford Jericho Tavern w/Arrows of Love (Ex Hush the Many)
13 Mar – Chester Telford’s Warehouse
14 Mar – Liverpool Barfly
16 Mar – Newcastle The End Bar
21 Mar – Lancaster TBC
28 Mar – Manchester Dry Bar w / the Jump Off
Look what you might miss out on if you don’t…!
I like this photo – a lot…. See a few other random shots that have collected themsleves from Alcopop related events across the net here, or send me something in yourself and no doubt it’ll be lived, loved and lavished across every online property Alcopop has a hand in…
This shot I call magnificent Matt!
God knows why we haven’t got round to ordering any in the past, but the good news for those who enjoy a nice bit of colour here and there without resorting to the spray cans – is that now you can belt a little bit of Alcopop onto every flat surface that isn’t coated in water (and even then you can try) courtesy of these here stickers…
Already starting to show their handsomely coloured faces in and around Oxfordshire, note this one (which I saw with some delight last night) so elegantly stuck to a bus timetable board. Ace.
If you want to get your hands on a few, they’ll be included free with every single online order made in the shop as of now – but if you’re penniless, recently ordered, manage a F1 racing team and want to make your helmets look good etc. feel free to drop us an email at email@example.com and I’ll send you some out.
Similarly, if you think your town would look good plastered in 100s of the things, and want a big wadge to splash liberally around, we’d much appreciate it. Just drop us a line on the same email.
Ah – what a day… Just realised Golden Axe II can be downloaded on the Wii (meaning more pelting of oddly coloured mauve skeletons with a big, badly rendered sword), two T-shirts from Unicorn Kid turned up at killer speeds – and nestled in between my weekly stock of demos came this heart-warming package from An Accidental Modernist AKA Carolyn Power from Dublin, Northern Ireland.
Always one to favour the good old British postal system ahead of MySpace links copied to every record label, magazine and PR company in the known universe (have you never heard of bcc!) telling me that they ‘love the roster and are going to blow my head off’ with whatever it is brand of power-rock that’s a lot like Pearl Jam meets Radiohead but loads better… This demo really stood out.
Not only was there a personalised letter, stickers everywhere, the use of bubblewrap because “well, bubble wrap is ace” – but the self-styled knitting aficionado had even included a hand-crafted cup warmer, no doubt ideal for an over-iced receptacle of Smirnoff Mule on a cold winters morn. Needless to say I was much delighted…!
Of course, I always make it a point to listen to every demo that comes our way anyway (that’s only polite) – so it doesn’t mean (for us at Alcopop anyway) that it stands any more chance of being picked up, and I like to think that packaging won’t sway my decision on the million and one considerations that go on whether an artist is right for us… But I think that going that extra mile will certainly thrust the name of An Accidental Modernist into various heads, and leave record type folk with a good impression of her creativity, desire and passion to show her music in the very best light.
Everyone around the music industry on big buck salaries seems to be saying that traditional recording media is dying, CD sales are crashing and no-one wants physical products anymore. I suggest those naysayers take a look at something like this as an example and ask themselves – were Carolyn to release her album with knitted cup-warmer, personalised letter and stickers everywhere, would her fans be more likely to buy it than rip it off rapidshare, or stream it for free from Spotify? Because in short, I think the answer is yes…
So it was a journey to The Joiners in Southampton last night and London in Wednesday, team Alcopop popping down to take in Copy Haho and the Xcerts at the Old Blue Last. Great gigs ahoy, a dram or two too much liquor, and getting off at the wrong train stop due to an inane, giggling woman all built into a fine night, and a very cool meeting with an even cooler band yielded some very positive release details – which will be announcing in a few weeks or so.
Meanwhile, everything’s coming along well with Alcopopular 3 (the latest in our line of slightly off the wall compilations) – which should be seeing the light of day in May, ‘launched’ at the Great Escape in Brighton indeed! Not through a gig, but something far more inventive. I don’t want to give away everything just yet, but keep an eye out- I think (hope) you might just love it.
Already confirmed to be a part of it are acoustic gentleman of pop-folk delight David Gibb, writer of “The best album since Brian Wilson’s Smile” and infinitely charming member of Stars and Sons, Paul Steel and wait for it… youthful beat troubadour Unicorn Kid – so it’s shaping up nicely. We’re currently in touch with a lot of other awesome artists, but if you have any thoughts, leave us a comment – or drop us an email.
So have a lovely weekend, get over to the BSM blog for lots of juicy tips to win you a kings ransom, and remember to spend your winnings in the Alcopop shop J Oh, and watch this – possibly the best video I’ve seen on YouTube all week! xx
It’s been a few months in coming, what with Alcopop taking some time out to celebrate Christmas, plan where we’re headed – and speak to some MOST exciting acts about their plans for this year… But it’s pretty much time to officially announce the very first release of ’09, and by gum it’s a good one. Ladies and gentleman, boys and scousers – it gives me a whole heap of Liverpool-based pleasure to announce that Alcopop’s first release of the year comes from Alcopop favourites (and sometime Wombat tour buddies) goFASTER>> – it’s an EP, it’s called A Modern Education – and it’s about time you sit down, tuck your shirt in, face the front and listen!
Back with two new members and their trademark pop-punk sound that have had rags across the country salivating with glee, the boys are bound to do it all again with this their debut EP – before probably heading off to some intergalactic based bastion of stardom… The signs are good, Gigwise suggesting gF>> are “the most exciting band to come out of Liverpool in the last year“, NME branding them “brilliant new wave punk” and Artrocker gushing “as long as bands are willing to experiment in this way we’ll all have a rosy future”.
So – the date to ink with genuine excitment in your diary is the 16th March… When all the new goFASTER>> discs will be dropping onto doormats across the country. Keep a keen eye on the blog though, as we’re set to be releasing a really awesome, very limited edition extra that’s only going to be available through Alcopop and the band (no HMV – not for you!) – which will no doubt have you salivating. I won’t say much more just now as we’re putting the finishing touches to our plan…. But I promise it will be awesome.
Now – to celebrate, go and listen to goFASTER>> with all your might on MySpace, or watch the video for their last single, Flammable Leisurewear (on Alcopop), below: