Ok, so mini50 are giving away free music yet again.  It sort of comes courtesy of one of our artists Chris Tenz, or at least his involvement both musically and as producer is kind of the reason that mini50 are involved.  Anyways, basically Chris recently organised and ran a multi media event titled ‘Fragments’ in his home city of Calgary, Canada.  As a thank you to all those who attended the event Chris also prepared this 3 track recording featuring himself and 2 other artists, Nicolas Field and Joel Learoyd, who both performed at Fragments.  It comes with art by Ricky Fraser and his available from the mini50 bandcamp page on a ‘pay what you like’ basis.    The other two artists have an Elliott Smith vibe going on whilst Chris adds something a little different in between their tracks.  I’d recommend that you check it out – it’s FREE after all.

As for Chris, well he’s now in the UK, currently hanging out in London Town for a while before beginning his journey north.  He plays the Banshee Labyrinth in Edinburgh on 27th along with Graveyard Tapes and The Boats.  He will also be supporting The Boats on 24th October in Leeds so if you are down that way please check him out.

It’s weird.  He’s the first artist on mini50 other than Fraser and the CAS guys that I will have met in person as most of our artists are not based in Scotland.  So I’m really looking forward to hanging out with him, doing some filming, writing some songs and drinking some beer.

Hopefully see some of you at the show.  His album is available to pre-order now from the mini50 site but will be available at the show if you’d like to get your hands on his work early doors.

In the meantime, have a listen to ‘…and you will always be songs’ and a couple of album tracks by Chris here.  Enjoy.

Ryan Adams – Ashes And Fire

The last Ryan Adams and the Cardinals record made me very sad.  An artist who I have loved and respected for a long time had, to my ears, finally caved in to his inconsistencies and become crap.  Ever since ‘Gold’ there has always been a mixed reaction to Ryan Adams music.   I am not sure whether the blame should be levelled at Adams himself for, what often appears, an overly excessive volume of output – which, granted, has slowed pace of late – or whether due to his unquestionable talent there have been unrealistic expectations placed on him by fans and critics alike.  I also think that opinion is often divided from album to album.  For example, I love ‘29’ whilst others think it’s one of his poorer efforts and yet whilst I cannot get into ‘Jacksonville City Nights’ or ‘Easy Tiger’ others I know think these are excellent records.  Nope, for me, since ‘Demolition’ – ‘Love is Hell’, ‘Cold Roses (disc 1)’ and ‘29’ are the records which are stand outs.  The others just have a few good songs but nothing to write home about.  And then came his last offering with the Cardinals which, for somebody like me who was falling out of love with his music and losing faith, was pretty much the final nail in the coffin.

Or so I thought.

‘Ashes and Fire’ never quite reaches the highs of Adam’s at his very best.  However, it is without doubt the best thing he has done for many a year.  And it washes away the bad taste that was left in my mouth from his previous offering.   It’s kind of like he remembered how to write a good song.  And it feels so good to reconnect with his music.  I am in no doubt that this has a lot to do with the prominence of acoustic guitar and piano on this record.

Although the intro to album opener ‘Dirty Rain’ sounds idneitcal to ‘Sweet Carolina’, once the album settles down there are some amazing songs to soak up and get lost in.  ‘Come Home’, ‘Do I Wait’, ‘Save Me’, ‘Kindness’ and ‘I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say’ to name a few standouts.   There really are some gems on this record.  What’s more important though is that there are no duds.  None.  Making this, for me, the most consistent piece of music that Ryan Adams has produced since disc 1 of Cold Roses.

Perhaps Adam’s problem has been his volume of output over the years.    Perhaps it has been unrealistic expectation placed on him by doting fans and critics alike.  Whatever the reason for his inconsistencies, when he produces something this good all can be forgiven and we can remember what it is that made us fall in love with his music in the first place.  The simple fact of the matter is that on this form Ryan Adams is unquestionably brilliant.  It therefore seems like Ryan Adams lives in a bit of a vicious circle.  He produces something brilliant, raises expectations, becomes inconsistent and wayward, annoys fans and critics, pushes people to the point of despair, then, just as people are giving up he goes and produces something brilliant again and raises expectations for the next record.  Let’s hope the cycle does not repeat and the next record takes him to another level of brilliance.  I know he can do – if he can be bothered.

In the meantime, check out ‘Ashes and Fire’ when you can.  Enjoy.

Lost Again…

It’s been a really odd year musically for me.  It has been over a year since I played a live show.  And, if I am perfectly honest, I do not miss it.  Not one bit.  The forthcoming Graveyard Tapes show is exciting and yet concerning in equal measure.  I don’t feel comfortable in that environment anymore so a massive part of me does not know what to expect.  Whilst I am excited about the music that Matthew and I are creating, I am not that excited about being on stage again and having to perform in front of people.  However, I feel like it’s a necessary process so that the songs that we are working on can grow, change and develop.  Our first proper rehearsal resulted in things that were ideas going in very different directions from their original form.  And that’s kind of exciting and maybe the point behind doing some live shows.  It’s not something I intend to make a habit of.

The Graveyard Tapes EP that we were working on and that started well over a year ago has kind of fallen apart.  That is to say that some of the tracks will be considered/used for the album and others will be put aside for other purposes.  As it stands, we have a lot of work ahead of us and a long way to go before a record is complete but we’re in no rush to release something for the sake of it.  I’d rather it took 5 years and we released something brilliant than we rushed something out because we felt that we had to.  So yeah, with Graveyard Tapes there is a lot to be done.  Life gets in the way a lot.   But that’s fine by me.

Glacis wise, well I just read this   It’s nice to read something so positive about the record.  As it was a limited 50 copy release it really didn’y gey much attention or press.  And it’s always nice to read about people appreciating what you have created.  At the moment I am working away on tracks for a planned full length glacis release.  Hopefully this will involve working with Talvihorros.  That’s the plan anyway.  The biggest problem for me is my recording limitations.  I really want to record everything on a proper upright piano.  However, getting access to one is hard enough, but finding somebody capable of recording it all – and for very little reward – is even more problematic.  I do have 9 ideas in total.  I think it can come together nicely.  I just need to find the tools and the people to help me make my ideas a reality.

On top of these tracks, I am also working on the music for an animated piece done by the brilliant Jamie Mills.   It is a stunning work and I am trying to conjure up something that is fitting of such a brilliant animation.  It’s so much fun to work on – again the recording limitations are a pain.

Finally, I am working on a project called Nine Threads.  Something I cannot talk about as I don’t want the idea to be stolen by somebody else!  But it’s fun.

Anyways, hopefully 2012 will see me complete and release some music.  That’s the plan anyway.

The Stormy Seas – Morbid Desires/Tall Ships











Ok.  So I’ve always been a fan of The Stormy Seas.  Therefore, it’s really nice to finally hear some recorded music by them that showcases their musician ship in a manner which is befitting of such a talented band.  Previous recordings have been very, very rough and failed to capture the really lovely subtleties of a group who write far more interesting songs than a lot of the more “popular” Scottish folk acts kicking about.

Let’s get this right, ‘Morbid Desires’ is fast, ferocious and over as quickly as it has begun.  It’s a fearsome number of furious traditional Scottish folk music with Michael Tovey practically screaming “My mental health’s not up to scratch” as the chorus ends.  Followed by the absolutely sublime ‘Tall Ships’, where Tovey’s vocal could not be more different, this free 2 track taster is the perfect starter for ten for anyone who has never heard the band before.  And for those of us who have heard the band before, it serves as a reminder that their debut album ‘Of Rust and Loss’ due out on 14 November this year will be well worth checking out when it arrives.  If you haven’t already done so, go and check out The Stormy Seas here.  Oh and did I mention that it’s FREE?!  Enjoy.

And Now I Am Wondering…

Why, if you found your friend dead in his flat, you would take his corpse, put it in the backseat of your car whilst you and another friend cruised bars and strip clubs using the deceaseds bank card and then return the body to the flat prior to informing the police that you think your friend is dead.

Yep, this is of course the story of 2 American men who are charged with, among other things ‘abuse of a corpse’.  You see, I can understand the stealing his bank card part – well I can’t, but you know what I mean – but why would you take the body out in the car on a night out then claim “we wanted to believe that he was just asleep”.

Absolute madness.   Read about it here.











I love The Flaming Lips.  But I cannot quite figure out what a 6 hour song is all about.  I’ve read a lot about it.  I understand it’s for charity.  However, I don’t see the point in the 6 hours of it.  Maybe I will once I get my head around it.  But for now, I am thinking, when am I ever going to have time to sit and listen to 6 hours of one song let alone 6 hours of music straight and, I would probably rather play with the mental toy that comes with the track.  Bizarre.

In other news, I bought a spider man t-shirt.  Yay.