God Is In The TV: MIXTAPE: Ben P Scott’s ’2013: The Best Of’

Now for my final post of 2013, and also my favourite time of the year. The day that my annual ‘Best Of’ compilation is created. I began making these in 1997 and haven;t stopped since. In 2010 and 2011, I made 100 track, 6 part compilations. But I’ve decided to slim them down to the bare essentials over the last couple of years! This year I began the process while listening back to all the best albums of 2013, picking out the finest tracks and noting them down. Then after adding lots more songs to the contenders list, I slimmed it down to about 100 songs. That then became 50, and then a high level of quality control was needed in order to trim off a few songs so the compilation would fit onto 2 CDs. So here they are, the best tracks of the year. There are loads more that I didn’t have room for, proving that 2013 was indeed an amazing year for music. Unless you were listening to what was in the charts that is…

Happy New Year to all readers, bands, artists, labels, PR people and others who have supported God Is In The TV and RW/FF over the last year. May 2014 bring you all the very best.


via Ben P Scott God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/12/31/mixtape-ben-p-scotts-2013-the-best-of/

God Is In The TV: GIITTV’s Gigs of 2013

As we rush head long into a new year, our intrepid writers countdown their favourite live experiences of 2013! Happy New Year & Enjoy!

Michael James Hall’s Gigs of 2013


1. Television performing Marquee Moon – ATP End of an Era Part 1 –Camber Sands, Sussex

While reviews of the UK dates leading up to this performance were ambivalent, depicting the band as worn, unenthusiastic, even lazy, this was one of the definitive ATP performances of its history and my show of the year. Opening with a transcendent, reaching ‘Venus’ and closing, of course with that crushingly brilliant title song the band were rapturously received and rightly so – one of the best, most addictive, delicious albums of all time played by master musicians who seemed genuinely pleased to be there. A lightning strike moment of perfection where all the stars aligned perfectly one afternoon in Pontin’s.

2. Superchunk – ATP End of an Era Part 2 –Camber Sands, Sussex

At the final UK ATP weekender there was more than a little melancholy in the air. Superchunk raised spirits and brought unbridled joy to Stage 1 on the Sunday evening as they performed 60 minutes of spine-tingling, emotive power-pop with as much precision, pace and passion as they were doing 20 years ago. The double-header of ‘Slack Motherfucker’ and ‘Hyper Enough’ to close was my most purely enjoyable, mortality-forgetting moment of the musical year. Superchunk are just the absolute best in the world at what they do.

3. Swans – Primavera –Barcelona

Captured in part on Michael Gira’s recent limited edition, hand-packaged CD ‘Not Here/Not Now’, this was the night Swans took the hot Barcelona night and battered it into trance-like submission. An almost religious experience (as usual) this was a two hour stretch of the artist’s hand toward some unknowable higher power. There’s poetry, there’s violence, there’s damaged beauty and finally there’s bliss. That’s the kind of power Swans have.

4. Nick Cave w/ Sharon Van Etten – Beacon Theatre –New York

Early in his run of already legendary live shows this year Cave absolutely owned the Upper East Side’s legendary theatre. Sexually charged theatrics, searing versions of his very finest songs (The Mercy Seat, Jack The Ripper, From Her To Eternity etc. etc.) and the perfect support in Ms Van Etten who lulled averyone into a delightful but false sense of security with her glistening, sad pop music before Cave and The Bad Seeds took to the stage with destruction and domination in mind.

5. Mark Kozelek – Union Chapel –London

Just a couple of hours after the announcement of Lou Reed’s death, one of his musical disciples took to the stage in the reverent atmosphere of Union Chapel. Visibly upset, he put on a near two-hour show that included covers of both ‘Caroline Says’ and ‘The Kids’. Clearly in deeply reflective mood Kozelek told a sweet little tale about the sadly deceased Sun Kil Moon drummer Tim Mooney that ended in a hushed room watching Koz fight back the tears. He also dedicated a song to his old friend, also deceased, John Hughes and told a heartwarming tale about how Hughes had saved his career. Sadness and reminiscence aside this was a stunning show – almost entirely made up of brand new songs from the forthcoming ‘Benji’ album his voice, his playing, his delivery – all enchanting, entirely spellbinding.

6. Bob Mould – Primavera – Barcelona

He played most of Sugar’s ‘Copper Blue’ then some stormers from his new record, then a fistful of Husker Du favourites. It was fucking ridiculous.

7. Manic Street Preachers – Newport Centre –Newport, Wales

A rammed homecoming show, a fantastic new album to promote and ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ played second on the set list. Masterful gig, masterful band.

8. Shellac – Netil House –Hackney, London

Though they’ve been trotting this set out for what feels like decades it never gets tired – the band are magnetic, truly charming and they play like men possessed, always.

9. Hookworms – Electric Ballroom -Camden, London

Sad to say the only ‘new’ band on the list. Supporting the lunk-headed Pissed Jeans was a chore well below them but they shone regardless – droning, aggressive, tuneful, beautiful.

10. Low – Green Man Festival –Glanusk, Wales

One of the better live bands over the last decade or so played a blinder against the setting of the beautiful mountains of Glanusk. Slow, sad and simple their melancholia peaked with a glimmering rendition of Neil Young’s ‘Down By The River’. Michael James Hall


Simon Godley’s Gigs of 2013


1. The Rolling Stones – Glastonbury

Forget all about the overblown pomp surrounding this show, the associated money and the fact that these are men of pensionable age extolling the many virtues of youthful rebellion, desire and sexual conquest. The music that The Rolling Stones continue to produce live is still one of the most genuinely intense and exhilarating experiences you are ever likely to have and as the rest of the weekend unfolds it becomes even more apparent that they are still the greatest rock n roll band in the world today.


2. Bob Dylan – Blackpool Opera House

Much has been said about the disrepair of the singer’s voice, how shot it has become, how it has been reduced to some indecipherable croak. Here it sounds exactly as it is, an indefatigable instrument that has been immersed in more than fifty years of experience; half a century of heart, hope, humanity and history. Things may well have changed but this is the voice of Bob Dylan. It is still the voice of a generation. Cherish it while you still can.


3. Dexys – Stockton Weekender

As Rowland and his excellent vocal and personal foil Pete Williams leave the stage to rapturous applause and the closing bars of ‘This Is What She’s Like’, the euphoria of Dexys’ performance is tinged with the sadness of knowing that the Stockton Weekender is finally over for another year. Yet amongst this regret is the firm belief that through detailed planning, clear organisation and the maintenance of a careful balance between promoting local and national artists Stockton Weekender has once more delivered the most successful of music festivals.


4. Terry Reid – The Duchess, York

You do sense that Terry Reid can see both the paradox and irony of having juxtaposed ‘Stairway To Heaven’ with ‘Rich Kid Blues’. Though the Led Zeppelin connection (and a very similar experience with Deep Purple years later) is the context in which his career is almost always placed, it is clearly something that has neither defined his music nor his life. You can still hear exactly why Jimmy Page wanted him as lead vocalist for his new band for Reid still possesses one of the greatest soul-inspired voices in contemporary music, resting as it does on an axis somewhere between vintage Otis Redding and Steve Marriott. But transcending even that incredible instrument of his is the fact that Terry Reid is afree, independent spirit and natural born survivor. Reid, who has lived in California for the past 36 years, returns to this country in May to play some more dates. Do yourself a huge favour and go and see him.



5. Spiritualized – Holmfirth Picturedrome

6. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Newcastle Arena

By this time the performance has moved into a different stratosphere, an altogether higher plane of experience, as Neil Young and Crazy Horse plot a zigzagged map across both his and their formidable back pages from the still burning after all these years fires of ‘Mr Soul and ‘Cinnamon Girl’  to the more recently resuscitated Re-Ac-Tor album track ‘Surfer Joe and Moe The Sleaze’, before signing off with a life-affirming blast of ‘Hey Hey My My (Into The Black)’and its now immortal lines of “it’s better to burn out, ’cause rust never sleeps, the king is gone, but he’s not forgotten”. Fortunately this king has not yet gone, and you sense that he will never be forgotten. But time is running out for us all and you would be well advised to catch him and what is the world’s greatest backing band whilst you still can.


7. Michael Nyman – Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

This was ultimately far much more than mere music from and for film. It was a remarkable, occasionally brilliant aural and visual representation of the concepts of accident and chance, brought to life through the imagination of one man. That man was, and is Michael Nyman. And as if to underline the sheer normality which formed the basis to this vision after his performance he stayed behind to sign a few CDs before promptly dashing off to catch his train home.


8. Pea Sea – The Basement, York

Whatever a musician should look like, he patently does not. And whilst he may have been touched by a myriad of influences from David Byrne to Will Oldham he does not sound like all the rest. Like the title of the forthcoming album, he operates in an area that lies somewhere in between, but one that occupies its very own space. To experience his songs is to open a dusty old treasure chest of personal recollections and allow them to come to life. But it is perhaps on one of the three songs that he covers tonight, Simon Joyner’s “When She Drops Her Veil”, that the sheer effortless beauty of the vehicle that is Pea Sea is at its finest. It brings to a close a quite perfect evening during which the incredulity of so few people being here is consumed by the euphoria that only experiencing such exquisite music in an intimate live setting can truly bring.


9. Lulu James – The Faversham, Leeds

By now it feels like a long haul back up to The Faversham and it is one that will require the benefit of automated transport, but it is a journey that proves to be so worthwhile. Lulu James packs into twenty minutes what ultimately proves to be the show of the day. It is an exercise in how to marry sassy showmanship with new-age soul and one of the best super lunged voices this side of her namesake Etta. It is a towering performance, remarkable in how she manages to get from nought to sixty in such a short space of time before signing off with an inspirational walk through her forthcoming single and would-be dance floor classic Creation Of Love.


10. Jenn Bostic/Emma Stevens – Fibbers, York 

‘Missin’ A Man’, an extremely powerful ‘Give Me Back My Pride’ and the closing ‘Not Yet’ – which packs an almost exultant emotional punch – are three songs that signpost the listener to some of the darker clouds that have hung over Bostic’s life, but it is surely ‘Jealous of the Angels’ that forms the centrepiece of this sadness. Since appropriated by thousands of the bereaved as an unofficial anthem for their loss, it is a song inspired by the death of Bostic’s father in an automobile accident when she was only ten years old.  In less capable hands it could be an overly sentimental outpouring of grief yet here it is a genuinely moving tour de force. Accompanying herself on piano and performed in an otherwise complete and rapt silence, Bostic imbues the song’s fundamental suffering with colossal feelings of solace and sanguinity.

And it is this tie that ultimately binds Jenn Bostic and Emma Stevens together. For all of the differences that their musical styles may possess and for all of the sadness that may continue to touch their individual lives, their music is infused with a firm belief in the power of love and deep hope for the future.



Keira Brown’s Gigs of 2013


Yo La Tengo – 31st October, Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik (Iceland Airwaves)
Headlining the Thursday night at Airwaves, a young but vibrant Icelandic festival, were New Jersey rockers, Yo La Tengo, admitting to it being their debut at this festival, as part of an outrageously long UK tour. They were as any fan of YLT would expect: unpredictably intense. Ira, with a plentiful supply of guitars on stage to pick from (or for him to pick), was frequently intercepting guitars in a fashion that suggested a clear attention deficit. 

Albeit clear that only the die-hard hipsters and buffs were going to still be around at the end of this set (there was a fantastic element of self-indulgence present, with a set that went well beyond it’s allocated time) this was a gig on an epic scale. It really set the tone for a tour that looked like it would keep it’s fans on their toes, as it appeared that Ira had not rehearsed, reminding me of the improvisational style of Damo Suzuki. One thing lacking though was a nicer homage to Lou Reed, considering their past performances. 
Bjork – 8th March, Le Zenith, Porte de Pantin, Nr Paris
For a year predominantly filled with watching Icelandic artists on stage, it was certainly given it’s benchmark with this one early in the year. In a venue just outside of Paris, with a layout akin to a Mexican wrestling ring, the audience were given a fantastic view of this surreal performance no matter where they were sat. And considering that Bjork herself was sporting a fat suit and colorful wig, amidst a choir of Icelandic children, resembling elves of folklore, there was much to keep the visual senses stimulated. 
With a setlist heavy with new Biophilia album/app tracks, including the wonderful narration by the unexpected but equally eccentric David Attenborough, this was a fabulous opportunity to hear the not yet exhausted Bjork. Don’t get me wrong; there were a few Volta tracks as well as well-knowns such as Pagan Poetry and Where is the Line, and these were certainly not to be scoffed at. 
Sigur Ros – 18th October, Maida Vale Studios, London 
It is true when they say that nothing quite compares to the intimate gig, in which there are only maybe like seventy of you in a room with an epic band, which you admire. Now throw in the fact that it’s at midday on a Fridayafternoon, then also throw in some Icelandic artwork, intimate lightbulbs on stands and a living room rug, and then on top of ought else it is Sigur Ros, a band which can only be described as unique. 
With a set that included Stormur, Kveikur and Glosoli, flawlessly performed for a recording, within this ambient, snug setting, our only groan was about having to stand for the entirety of this gig for a band whose tracks average a length of approximately seven or eight minutes. It was, however, worth every groan. 
Mum – Friday 1st Nov, Frirkirkjan, Reykjavik, (Iceland Airwaves)
For a band I knew little about apart from the odd listen to Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy, I was transformed by this idyllic Winter gig. Understanding that it had been a lengthly period of time since they had last played in this town, the queue to enter this venue (which was a church that saw Iceland’s first gay couple wed) was extensive to put it lightly. As many had not been as lucky as I (being one of the last forty to enter the building) there were red rosy faces eagerly peering into the windows; those inside were intermittently cleaning the steam from these windows so that these eager faces could gaze into this fantastic sight of the classically avant garde. 
Múm’s striking performance fuelled with strings, electronic glitch beats and soft vocals had a pronounced effect on it’s audience, comparable to opium, as one by one, their crowd were slowly drifting off into an Icelandic sleep, their nightmares filled with Nordic folklore no doubt. 

 Ben P Scott’s Gigs of 2013

1. Suede – Bristol Academy

2. James/Echo And The Bunnymen – Bristol Colston Hall

3. I Am Kloot – Bristol Trinity

4. The Fall – Bristol Trinity 

5. Sparks – Bristol Academy

6. Django Django/Miles Kane/Palma Violets – Bristol Academy

7. Frenzy – Bradford-On-Avon 

8. Thought Forms/Teeth Of The Sea/Esben And The Witch – Bristol Exchange

9. Sam Lee – Bristol Folkhouse

10. Hell Death Fury – Bradford-On-Avon

David Edwards’s gigs of 2013

Glastonbury Festival 2013 - Day 3

1. Portishead – Glastonbury

Grown men and women are hugging and kissing each other with sheer joy as Gibbons’ soaring cries (actually on the verge of breaking now) echo out over the field. It has been one of the most ethereally beautiful tracks ever recorded for so long but it has never been sung like it is tonight. And then, as the furious electronic clatter and clamour of ‘We Carry On’ envelopes the crowd like a gloved hand, something quite remarkable happens. Putting down her Becks beer and her cigarette, Beth suddenly and instinctively darts down the staircase and begins working her way along the crowd: embracing and shaking hands – the crowd in rapt amazement at this gesture of emotion from one of music’s most shy and reluctant singers. And then, as the crowd erupts in acclaim at the final close, Beth appears back at the microphone – face in creases of joy and shrugging with incredulity. “Thank you so much” she stutters. And then, almost unbelievably “I hope it was alright“. At those words, any remaining sinews holding your heart together finally break and fly apart. No Beth, it wasn’t alright. Far from it. It was one of the finest and most singularly striking performances to grace the fields of Glastonbury. Or any field, hall or stage for that matter. There are so many superlatives that could have been comfortably hung on this performance. One will do for here and now in summation: Special. Truly, truly special. And if these are the moments that life is made of then this particular memory will loom – black, gold, flawless and beautiful – above so many years and performances to come.


2. Sigur Ros – Manchester Apollo

3. Public Image Ltd. – Glastonbury

4. The National – Manchester Apollo

5. Arcade Fire – Blackpool Empress Ballroom


Mike Hughes’s Gigs of 2013

Chvrches, Young Fathers- Sound Control, Manchester

That there are only maybe four songs that you might have heard on radio sessions doesn’t in any way affect the instinctive feeling of familiarity. Alongside any feelings of coziness, it’s heady and exhilarating stuff. The crowd are not yet at the stage of chanting every word back, but there’s clearly a lot of love for them in the room; the strange sight of indie-bloke gig-goers, who would on any other occasion be rooted to the spot gazing at their shoes, tonight dancing in the third row.


KATE NASH, The Tuts – East Village Arts Club, Liverpool

I’ve not known an artist in recent years so effortlessly able to polarise opinion amongst my indier-than-thou circle of friends. At the same time it’s hard to think of many musicians that are impressing me more, and even harder to list the very small number that I simply enjoy right now as much as I do Kate Nash.



They went off, they came back, and they played ‘Alala’ followed by ‘Art Bitch’ – “Lick lick lick my art-tit / Suck suck suck my art-hole” has to be the ultimate singalong chant. The played out with ‘I’ve Seen You Drunk Gurl’, their single from a couple of months ago. The rapping chant gives Ana chance to front it up there alongside Lovefoxxx. Along with the other new track, the crazy fiesta of ‘Hangover’, it gives notice that the new album, only weeks away, will be a no compromise party animal. ‘Drunk Gurl’, ‘Hangover’, drink anyone? That was one hell of a gig, twenty four hours later I’m aching all over from the dancing – that’s the effect CSS can have on you.



Thirteen brilliant songs, no encore. It was somehow fitting that they closed with‘Girls Like Us’ which shares a name and a sensibility with the otherwise unrelated song by the Julie Ruin, Kathleen Hanna’s band of the moment. Without coming out with any mystic clap-trap about carrying some R-grrl torch, it’s a nice connection.

Still convinced that I’ve seen the future? Fuck yeah!


The Joy Formidable- Ritz Ballroom, Manchester

Much as I was enjoying my eyrie, it was time to move, and I hustled back down stairs, hugging the wall, my camera over my head granting me safe passage to a gap I’d spotted on the barrier extreme stage right. I was in time for the finger wagging telling off, then to see Ritzy climb down into the pit to exchange hugs with more of the faithful. The band came to the end of their official set list, went off, came back and played a beautiful encore of ‘Forest Serenade’, a time-slowing version of ‘Wolf’s Law’s title track before letting loose on their classic ‘Whirring’, most of which Ritzy played stood on Matt’s drum kit, before climbing over to finish the gig with a resounding whack of that massive gong that gets lugged around to be hit precisely once per concert.

Bill Cummings’s Gigs of 2013


1. Martin Rossiter  -Clwb, Ifor Bach Cardiff

At a time when some music is transient and artists are often governed by trends, bandwagons, their labels and the need for congratulation, eight years out of the business appears to have only clarified Martin Rossiter’s need to create art for himself. Shorn of affectation, with just voice and piano, he produced one of the most towering solo records I’ve heard in a long time. Tonight it’s an achievement matched by his wonderful stage craft and captivating voice. The Morrisseycomparisons are too obvious but this sensitive, wonderful artist has carved his own niche and has let us into his life: I for one don’t want his voice to leave us again.

2. Akala – Moon Club, Cardiff

‘You can keep the charts all I want is your hearts’ Akala chants as he climbs the side of the stage offering his mic to call and response of the front row during the bluesy licks, drum fills and soulful crescendos of closer ‘Find No Enemy’. A searing burnt manifesto, a critique of ‘urban’ music culture that concentrates on‘tits and arse’ that forgets its blues history (Miles Davis, Hendrix, Billie Holliday) and celebrates ‘Clowns that swing their dicks around’ that Akala is the absolute antithesis of all of these commercialised stereotypes, that his voice is raw and authentic, his music stripped back to the old school, his words brutal and challenging of the class divide, all of this makes him one of the most important figures in UK Hip hop in 2013. And tonight in this dark corner of Cardiff he is our empowering leader.


3. Laurence Made Me Cry – Buffalo Bar, Cardiff

Gorgeous songwriting from Cardiff resident Jo Whitby and her assorted cast of contributors including Alone, Pulco and others. All framed in a delicious backdrop interspersed with movie, found and animated footage…

4. Manic Street Preachers – Newport Centre
Sweaty, dark, and crammed, we couldn’t move despite that it was another great gig from the Welsh rock survivors.We are treated to an eclectic set-list featuring some of their more atmospheric works and a smattering of their new album. James’s acoustic rendition of ‘The Everlasting’ has stuck with me…

5. Quiet Marauder – The Moon Club, Cardiff
Insane tomfoolery from Cardiff’s most anarchic anti-folk supergroup, kitchen utensils, murder, Burt Reynold’s Masks, the male psyche these guys and gals had it all!

via Bill Cummings God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/12/31/giittvs-gigs-of-2013/

God Is In The TV: Who are we gonna be rooting for in 2014? Writer’s Hints, Tips and Allegations…

It’s fair to say we have been a tad disappointed by the safeness of some of the Tips for 2014 lists we’ve eye’d so far, anyway here’s the first in our selection of emerging new artists for next year. Unlike some tail chasing lists we aren’t really saying they will all be massive(what does that matter anymore anyhow?) in some kind of self fulfilling mantra,  but we are saying they have the potential ability and sound to demand your attention in the next twelve months.

First up our very own Linn Branson a lady with her finger on the throbbing pulse of new music picks out one to watch:
If a band’s chances of success could be judged solely on live performance alone, then the gritty and primal London garage/psych rock four-piece Crows are already heads above the rest of the pack. Exciting, raw, intense, and in frontman James Cox they have a figure who just craves one’s attention, with his menacingly forbidding persona and banshee wails. With two singles – ‘Frankish Empire’ and the masterly thumping stomper  ‘Silver Tongues’ – produced by Hookworms’ MJ this year, promoters alerted by word-of-mouth on their exciting live, already sorting out slots for 2014, and the burgeoning support from many factions of the music press, Crows are one band that everyone should make a point of seeing at least once in 2014. (Linn Branson)
2014 Music Tips from Peter Dysart our man in the States:
Fresh off their debut release of 2013 “A is for Alpine”, ALPINE slip past the easy descriptions whilst remained firmly greased in the ether. Is it pop rock? Math rock? Femme pop? Does it matter? Listening to ALPINE is the practical application of Feynman’s Double Slit Paradox — a single band simultaneously existing and performing in multiple musical universes — and all to the delight of an appreciative and growing fan base. Supported by tight but atmospheric compositions and punchy rhythms, the lovely Lou James and Phoebe Baker are like two diving swallows, crisscrossing each other on vocals. Back in Melbourne, Australia and busy writing and recording their sophomore effort, this lovely band are my ones to watch for 2014.(Peter Dysart)  
Nordic Giants
My early prediction is that Nordic Giants will be very big in a few years, though perhaps not in the typical fashion of rock and roll fame and fortune. Rather, Nordic Giants are composing epically conceived and often heart pounding multi-media presentation ala Public Service Broadcasting, whilst collecting some of the best vocal talent along the way. Expect more slow building compositions that swell and crash down with a panoramic delight, as these giants expand the boundaries of art rock to create a new sonic and cinematic landscape.      
Panda Riot   In what I earnestly hope is not another revival of “Bands with Crystal in Their Name” fiasco, Chicago-based Panda Riot have beamed back from the year 2037 to bridge an interesting gap between the dreamy electropop and minimalist shoegaze realms. They’ve splashed down somewhere in the middle with lilting vocals and deafeningly delightful results. Their new release “Northern Automatic Music” should quickly solidify fan interest. Crank up the chorus of “Amanda in the Clouds” — it is simply brilliant, delivering angular chord changes from a haunting wall of fuzz effect. Another easy pick for “bands to watch.”   presentsforsally
Presents for Sally
Yes, another era of gazing is at hand. We’ve already heard from The Fauns, but here’s Presents for Sally. Sporting dancing beats and loads of echo-reverb and walls of melting fuzz, Presents for Sally is fully reminiscent of all the best things we recall the first time around but with something new and fresh in the mix. GIITTV Editor Bill Cummings reveals the first of his selection of nods for 2014.
PAWWS (note the extra W) is the moniker of Londoner Lucy Taylor, who delivers shudderingly fantastic slithers of sensuous soulful electro that will illuminate 2014. Prime cuts are the swooping heartbreak of ‘Time To Say Goodbye’ and pulsing ‘Slow Love’. Lucy’s and deliciously whispy mid falsetto allied to her dexterous backdrops lingers somewhere between Kate Bush’s artfulness, Alison Goldfrapp’s skill and Kylie’s pop playfulness. Futuristic yet timeless: PAWWS sound is just as at home swaying on the dancefloor as it is soundtracking the come down, which after all is what the best disco tracks of the 70s and ’80s, excelled at. www.soundcloud.com/pawws www.pawwsmusic.co.uk

Finally a heads up from Louise Ali about Russian Gun Dogs an act rooted in their surroundings who want to snatch your hearts!

Do the best bands come out of nowhere? Maybe as far as your general music consuming public is concerned, yes. One moment a band is in complete obscurity – they might as well not even walk the face of this earth – then suddenly they achieve that most prized of all things: a spot on the Radio 1 playlist, a top 40 hit, the gigs sell out. But no band ever comes from nowhere. They always come from somewhere. Russian Gun Dogs are a band who are acutely aware of where they come from. You can hear it in their music and you can see it written on their faces. For they are ‘Coventry kids’ – you know, that place just outside Birmingham, in the West Midlands (I know you’re doing the accent in your head), that was bombed to bits in the Second World War. Oh yeah, Coventry. Now what else is that famous for? Well, there’s the declining fortunes of Coventry City Football Club (RGD are big supporters), who don’t even play their home matches in the city anymore, something that riles the band as much as anyone else. And, of course, there is the city’s rich musical heritage: Two ToneSkaThe SpecialsThe SelecterThe PrimitivesThe Enemy… need I go on?
It is this sense of geography and of history that makes Russian Gun Dogs undeniably a Coventry band down to their bones. But what is also evident is their absolute passion for what they do – and a glint of ambition in their eyes to mobilise their forces and take over the world.   The Gun Dogs – led by Wireless Operator (lead singer and frontman) Paul Watters – are a tight, well-rehearsed outfit with that thing that surely all music labels desire: an image, a complete package of not only amazingly good songs – some of them truly anthemic – but a sense of direction that is evident in everything from their logo to their stylised band images and the cover artwork of their two, self-financed, independent single releases to date.   Survive is an anthem of struggle in the face of adversity that highlights our inability, at times, to question what is inherently wrong (‘None of this seems right, but who am I?’) andSurrender is an anthem of the heart, where the singer pleads for the listener to wave a white flag of submission to his affections (I’m sure many fans will). RGD ‘trade in dark-wave indie’. Thought has gone into how they pitch themselves to their future fans and in their group photos they undoubtedly look like an indie band: a motley crew of varying heights and haircuts staring blankly but intensely at the camera.
All of the band’s ‘Wing Commanders’ have an equitable and vital role to play in what you sense is a band as tight in their relationships with one another as they are in their musical renditions. Newest band member, drummer Kirk Savage, provides a driving rhythm for the Gun Dogs’ upbeat tracks and a sultry backing beat for the band’s darker numbers. Bassist Tom Bailey delivers pounding, bouncing bass lines that pull RGD’s sound together and pin it to the floor, at times reminiscent of Peter Hook on the band’s notably new wave inspired tracks. These appear to ooze influences from Joy Division through to fellow Midlanders, Editors. It’s perhaps not surprising to find out, then, that RGD have spent time in the studio with producer, Gavin Monaghan. Russian Gun Dogs are, at their heart, a guitar driven band, with minimalist but killer guitar hooks and shimmering guitar crescendos, provided by Phil Morley, both in evidence in their, as yet unreleased, back catalogue. Meanwhile, the band’s perfect integration of a more electronic sound courtesy of the melodic synthesised lines of Tom Goodwin is becoming more and more evident as RGD’s sound evolves. No more so is this in evidence than on the band’s first chosen single release, Survive, which unashamedly drips with pretty keyboard melodies.   But it is their frontman who is undoubtedly the Squad Commander of these talented recruits. As well as being lead vocalist and chief lyricist, you sense that Watters – a fine art graduate from a former polytechnic (well, he had to be, really) – is the driving force of the band’s direction and ambition. Here is someone who has very probably had to defend his hometown, his background, his choice of educational establishment and his football club on numerous occasions. But then, the maligned often demonstrate the most pride in their roots. Russian Gun Dogs have convinced Coventrians of their greatness, the label ‘Coventry heroes’ being frequently used in local press reviews. They were selected as a BBC Introducing act for Coventry and Warwickshire last year and shared a stage with the likes ofMallory Knox and Maximo Park at this year’s record attendanceGodiva Festival. There, they proved their ability to connect with someone across a field of hundreds (for that is where this writer first saw them) just as well as in the small, dark side rooms of city centre music venues.
During a recent short set supporting The Pigeon Detectives at Coventry’s Kasbah, much like a manager decides not to select his most experienced players for a friendly, RGD used the opportunity to try out some new material and carefully packaged it with their singles to test their audible direction. Although older tracks like Lights – a sexy, post punk love song – were sadly missing, new songs like Invincible slotted neatly alongside their established ones. But the move towards a more-rounded sound, where guitar and synth fire in equal rounds, is definitely evident. In fact, when they’re not observational, quite a lot of Russian Gun Dogs’ lyrics concern affairs of the heart, so maybe these guys are lovers, not fighters, after all: heroes with a heart. And they certainly wear their hearts on their sleeves as much as they do their commitment to the band, each other and CCFC (see Watters’ band tattoo and his arm scribblings at the Godiva Festival). It’s not exactly’4 REAL’ but it still shows passion and no fear of showing it. So, RGD, we await your next tactical move in your propaganda campaign to win hearts and minds. 2014 could be the time of your life. (Louise Ali) Russian Gun Dogs on Facebook Russian Gun Dogs on Twitter

Who are your tips? Answers on a post card?

via Bill Cummings God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/12/31/who-are-we-gonna-be-rooting-for-in-2014-writers-hints-tips-and-allegations/

Global: Dave Hill | theguardian.com: Tomorrow’s Tube: words about the future

A selection of writers consider what happens next for the London Underground system as its 150th anniversary year comes to an end

To end my mini-series on the future of the London Underground as its 150th anniversary year draws to a close I’ve pulled together the views of a variety of experts and enthusiasts who write about the Tube. The wider context for their thoughts, as with all aspects of London’s evolution over the next couple of decades, is the need to provide a bigger and better service at the same time as national government is providing less of the money required to pay for it.

Stephen Colebourne, who writes the UK Rail blog, puts it succinctly:

The elephant in the room for transport in London is the growth of population and the resultant increase in population density. Transport for London boasts that Crossrail will add 10% to London’s transport capacity, but London’s population is growing faster. The urgent need for another one or two new Crossrail lines should not be underestimated.

This view is not out of line with Sir Peter Hendy’s comments at the Transport Times London Transport Awards night back in May, when, stressing the need for a long-term funding programme beyond 2015, he predicted that when Crossrail opens in 2018 “it will be immediately full” and that every transport network will be under “increasing strain” before the end of this decade. You can read more from Stephen on the galloping growth in demand for all rail services in London here.

Meanwhile at London Reconnections contributor Pedantic of Purley has been tracking the progress of TfL’s upgrade programme against the plan published in February 2011. His verdict? “It really must, in all reality, be considered dead.” Upgrade work hasn’t suddenly ceased, of course, but, argues Pedantic: “What seems to have happened is that the plan has been substantially deferred and altered.” Why? “The heart of the problem seems to have been money.”

Pedantic goes on to cast doubt on predictions by transport chiefs, first made last year, that London Underground would never again order a Tube train for with a cab for a driver at the front.

The hope and belief clearly was that development and delivery of the new generation deep-level tube trains would mean that trains would be specified without a driver’s cab. This would apply to all future train orders. The problem was that [what has come to be called the] New Tube for London is a major technical advancement over what we currently have, and the idea that the necessary development, placing of orders and delivery could be achieved in the timescales required ultimately turned out to be quite unrealistic, no matter how good the intention. In particular the emerging need for delivery of new trains on both the Northern Line by 2020 and the Jubilee Line by 2018 (to support extenstions and upgrades there) coupled with virtually no flexibility available to move stock around between different lines means that never ordering a train again without a driver’s cab simply wasn’t going to happen.

The politically-convenient fantasy that Boris Johnson will fatally weaken the Tube unions by bringing in “driverless trains” has therefore, according to this account, become even further divorced from reality. Even Johnson acknowledges that in any “driverless” future Tube trains will still be staffed, and no one anticipates those staff being prevented from joining unions. As one of the Underground’s most senior bosses told me earlier this year, the gap between management and Bob Crow on this aspect of the connection between staffing and passenger safety is pretty small.

The full London Reconnections piece looks at the improvements likely to occur (and otherwise) on the Bakerloo, Jubilee, Central, Victoria, Northern and Waterloo and City lines (with the Piccadilly to be examined separately soon). A further end-of-year article examines plans for the sub-surface lines.

No gathering of Tube writers would be complete without a contribution from Annie Mole, whose blog Going Underground captures the colour and culture of Tube travel so vividly. I asked her for her thoughts on what the Underground should and might be like in the future. She obliged as follows.

From the original 3.75 mile line and six stations to a system with 250 miles and 270 stations, the London Underground is much more than an enormous people-mover, it’s an icon of London. Classless, constantly changing, at times clunky and often showing its Victorian heritage, is it finally getting the respect it deserves? Upgrading the Underground after years of underinvestment is a massive challenge for all involved.

When looking at futuristic cities science fiction writers often imagine more monorail systems – the space above our heads rather than below our feet comes into its own. Why don’t we take to the skies rather than tunnel deeper underground? I predict that we will eventually see a more overground Underground.

I’ve travelled on the elevated Skytrain in Bangkok. It’s efficient, cool, airy, light and a huge contrast to the super busy hot and frantic congested Bangkok streets. The idea of taking an elevated train over London’s West End excites me. A monorail running over Regent Street was proposed by the GLC some 45 years ago in a bid to ease congestion.

Will we ever see more elevation than the current cable car across the Thames? Or should the Underground remain underground, even though currently 55% of the Tube system is actually on the surface? What percentage of trains should run underground for the system to still be called the London Underground? Perhaps it’s time for the London OverUnderground to come into its own.

Finally, here’s an extract from a piece written early this year by Christian Wolmar, the distinguished transport commentator, author of The Subterranean Railway and Labour mayoral hopeful. Though marking the 150th anniversary of the Tube, Christian also had an eye on the future.

The Underground…has been a civilising influence [on London] even though people understandably have no affection for it when they are they are squeezed, nose to armpit, into the cramped trains. However, that is the result of the system’s very success but also, sadly, the failure to understand its value by successive generations of politicians who withheld money to invest in the system.

Remarkably, in London, by 1907, all but two of the current Tube lines had opened all built by private companies. Then, however, as funding became the responsibility of government because of the rising costs, the opportunity to build on that situation was missed. Consequently, in the following 62 years, there were only extensions into the suburbs rather than any additions to the network in central London. Indeed, even the two more recent additions, the Victoria (opened in 1969) and the Jubilee (1979 and 2000) had no new stations within the central London bounded by the Circle Line.

That means there are still significant areas of central London that have no Tube such as Chelsea and Fleet Street, and in effect London is short of a couple of lines. And again, the sceptics are being allowed to dominate the debate. Sure, Crossrail, the new tunnel under London linking Liverpool Street and Paddington stations, will be completed by the end of the decade and it will be built to a very high standard with fantastic stations, but it took 50 years from drawing board to construction.

Worse, there is nothing definite on the stocks. There is vague talk of a Crossrail 2, the old Chelsea to Hackney plan, but the Mayor, Boris Johnson, has been slow to work up plans for any major new lines, concentrating, instead, on the rather minor extension from Kennington to Battersea which, it is hoped, will be largely developer-funded. Places like Streatham, Camberwell and Harlesden, ripe for tube extensions or new lines, will remain off the wonderful Harry Beck map seemingly forever.

London, therefore, is still suffering from the failure of imagination that has dogged the history of this great invention in its homeland. The politicians are always looking at “business cases” or suggesting new lines “need to pay their way” when, in fact, it is so obvious that a healthy and growing Underground is the very basis for a health and growing London economy. Even 150 after years of success and worldwide imitation, that lesson has still to be learned.

Christian’s full article can be read here. Your wise comments on any of the contributions above are, as ever, welcome.

theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

via Global: Dave Hill | theguardian.com http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/davehillblog/2013/dec/31/london-underground-writers-on-tube-future

God Is In The TV: VIDEO: Quickbeam Reveal Latest Video

Quickbeam have just finished the video for Remember from their self-titled debut album, released earlier this year. The Glasgow based four piece has doubled in size since its 2010 inception.

This video is the result of a collaboration with Film Maker James Tew and was filmed in Glasgow’s Citizen’s Theatre. It follows an actor as he reminisces on times past.



You can pick up the album here:

via Paul Marshall God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/12/31/video-quickbeam-reveal-latest-video/

God Is In The TV: BOOK REVIEW: Letters to a Lost Poet by Olakumbi Akiwumi

Olakumbi Akiwumi, a mental health nursing student has self-published her debut book, a piece of prose, Letters to a Lost Poet, using her life experiences, literally noting her thoughts, questions and insecurities. In the style of a diary, she evokes the most delicate and insular thoughts, discussing demons, paranoia and the need to cry oneself to sleep. Is this merely for her own accord, and of no benefit to the readers? This is always an interesting question when it comes to any self-published texts, after recently speaking with the authors and founding members of the Triskele Collective, a collective of self-publishers.

Firstly, it must be noted that in an essay read recently by George Orwell titled Good Bad Books there is an valid point that the dystopian novelist and journalist makes. It being, “a good novelist may be a prodigy of self-discipline like Flaubert, or he may be an intellectual sprawl like Dickens” which I will refer back to. In this case, Orwell is suggesting that they have the urge, determination and drive to create the work or that they use their wit and intellect to drive at points that force their readers to consider new theories, thoughts, notions.

Significantly on the first read this appears as letters to archive moments in her life, as her memory has probably deteriorated from the war time time in the Sierra Leone. These seventy-two letters vary in length and seem to align with her thoughts. As you near the end of the book (and after a second re-read) it becomes apparent that this work is less of an evocation of war posing memory retention problems and more about the mental evils it has propelled.

She poses a lot of questions consistently throughout that interrogates a lot of societal expectations of women, whilst yet, placing heavy dependency on a potential partner, another half, exclaiming vain insecurities, self-esteem issues whilst sharing embarrassing anecdotes. There is also the consistent crying herself to sleep and questions of suicide throughout this text, which, no doubt considering her experiences at war would seem conceivable. However, this repetition does soon make the prose a rather predictable and banal, albeit truthful read.

Where in this equation would Akiwumi’s text fit in is a very apt question, and gives me a good basis for understanding whether she as a writer is beneficial to society to be self-publishing, as it is clear that there is an inter-dependency she gets herself from noting these thoughts, as any writer will be able to clarify. Simply noting these things is therapeutic and allows the mind to process this thinking. Clarity in writing allows the mind to digest information and experiences, making thoughts mould in a more linear fashion. Does she, as with some of the Triskele authors, break typical genre moulds or use self-publishing to avoid the pigeon-holing (in regards to marketing) or is it simply because this type of prose is not perceived to strike a positive chord with the public? Perhaps it forces them to consider this form of therapy when in a similar position but not all readers are going to gain this from her writing.

It must be noted that the author’s poetic language is pungent throughout these letters, and that is something which makes it an interesting, vivid read, and not entirely drivel. “Dear Stranger, in a jungle of broken homes and burned bridges are angles walking in a war zone similar to the heat of hell’s fire. If my honesty is lacking then my truth is blind” is a wonderfully vivid piece of description that sets the scene clearly in the mind of the reader. The fragmented prose also sets the tone nicely, adding to the sense of dysfunction in the author/character’s life, highlighting the erraticism which so obviously exists within this author. Reminiscent of books such as Tim Burton’s The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Henry RollinsBlack Coffee Blues in its sketchy format, with bleak interjections and dark metaphors, it is shameful that the book loses its interesting description and insight. This poetic language and fragmentation reads brilliantly, which renders it a disappointment as if it were not for the repetition and questions; there is clearly potential in Akiwumi for a good novel yet.
Notably, there is no temporal understanding for the reader with this book, which personally I find a little irritating. The format would suggest that the seventy-two letters are written consecutively daily but there is nothing which confirms this, and an established time frame for these letters would assist, allowing the reader to unearth further information about the character/author.
It is also disappointing to note that there are many typos and grammatical errors in the edition that I have been sent. If we are going to argue strongly in favour of self-publishing there needs to be a rigorous approach to the writing before it goes to print; otherwise the work of other self-publishers can be undermined.

Going back to my Orwellian quote, unfortunately this would not come into the category of a good novel. The banalities may have been redeemed by a strict discipline on language; however the misprints and grammatical blunders are endemic. The concept is interesting but has not quite been deployed in the manner to keep the reader interested. However, I would add that there is talent there and perhaps it might be worth keeping an eye on future prose from this author, the lost poet may yet be found.




via Keira Brown God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/12/30/book-review-letters-to-a-lost-poet-by-olakumbi-akiwumi/

God Is In The TV: BOOK REVIEW: Purge by Nathan O’Hagan



In one particularly dark, damp corner of that monolith, that looming ziggurat – AMAZON.COM – you will find (if you search hard enough) a peculiar tribe of struggling authors selling their stories directly from the very margins of the publishing industry. These stories vary in quality and success; their authors vary in talent and sanity. But the movement is an exciting one. Paperless, inexpensive, democratised: the impact of Kindle’s ever-extending distribution options may mean that hard-working amateurs finally have a chance to achieve success on their own terms. This is vanity publishing, but without the vanity. Nathan O’Hagan’s new short story collection Purge stands precisely on this platform of potential, but does it deserve to? GIITTV explores the early outbursts of a developing writer.

Purge: from the title alone we can assume the collection will not be ‘life-affirming’. Its deadpan treatment of violent desperation, punctuated by a tone of almost inhuman detachment, will not impress Richard and Judy. Approaching the unblinking gaze of Hubert Selby Jr. (though unfortunately without the late Cubby’s spasmodic flair), O’Hagan provides near-photographic glimpses of the irrational cruelties of modern life: an obsessive paranoiac decides to live in his cupboard; two commuters reach a frantic point of interchange; a bulimic attempts to perfect his eating disorder. The motif is clear, as curtly as it sometimes appears: when the marginalised individual emerges from an alienated existence, things tend to fuck out. The way the reader feels afterwards is less straightforward. As O’Hagan repeatedly reveals to us the consequences of abandoning the vulnerable (they might actually murder us, etc.), we are left to wonder whether, ignoring our post-Christian sentimentalities, we should actually care. O’Hagan’s men-in-reaction are portrayed almost exclusively torturing themselves with unrelenting pessimism and bitterness in response to the wrongs society has dealt them. There is little evidence of stoicism, levity or sensitivity, and in that sense, most characters fall victim to a fatal lack of charisma; it is little wonder that suicide should become an irrational but predictable conclusion.

But, the partial failure of O’Hagan’s characterisation does not mean failure for the collection, or for the potential of the author. If there is one outstanding merit to the Kindle platform, it is that we are able for the first time to see the author in-development, in which sense Purge is an exciting work. To purge is to force oneself to vomit. O’Hagan’s ability to explore some of the most carefully-hidden recesses of the Self in a crisp, consistent style lends Purge a muscular quality reflecting the sturdiness of the author’s intent. It is a purging of its own: both a rejection of the social standards that uphold the phenomenon of alienation (the author’s sympathy, I would argue, is inherent), and a chucking-up of society’s half-digested contents for re-inspection. It is a purge not just in a bulimic sense, but in a medical-superstitious sense; it belongs to the tradition of blood-letting. Beyond the gore that occasionally peeks out of everyday life is something of the absurd, the disjointed, the desperate. O’Hagan delves into this unflinchingly, and resurfaces with a piece of it in his hand, openly displayed.

Purge is (in a certain sense) a perfect example of writing at-the-margins about-the-margins. It is a work of experimentation from an author still finding his voice, a fact that gives it freedom of movement whilst simultaneously placing it at the edges of the industry. Nathan O’Hagan is, for the moment, perfectly situated; his work needs honing before it is exposed to the glare of popularity. But there is potential here, and the televisual lining of the author’s style should not be ignored, especially not by the author himself. Whilst O’Hagan and others remain, for the moment, scattered across the peripheries of the industry, it will be hard work and commitment that brings them into the core. The Amazon phase puts authors to the test. They will require a strong stomach.



via Joe Bedford God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/12/26/book-review-purge-by-nathan-ohagan/