Archive for the ‘Luke Haines’ Category

Tuesday 30th July 2013 – Day off in London
Last full day in London and it’s pouring with rain in the morning. We had breakfast at Oscars on Pitshanger Lane. We had to pop into Ealing in the afternoon so I could speak to my bank (they are all as bad as each other, but mine’s the worst). We ate lunch at a nice little French-style bistro called ‘Cote’ to get us in the mood for Paris and I did a spot more shopping. In the evening we went out to see Luke Haines play at The Borderline (just off Tottenham Court Road). His support act, Blue Balloon (Robert) was superb. Just a guitar vocal set, which was really beautiful. He also used some kind of pedal to create a bass drum sound too, which was very effective.
When we get back we’ll definitely be paying a visit to his label’s site to purchase the LP. I loved every track he played but stand out tracks ‘Lead Balloon’ & ‘The Fractured Lullaby of Holly Jealous’ can both be found on his SoundCloud page:

Blue Balloon at The Borderline

Blue Balloon at The Borderline

Luke was amazing (as expected)! His new LP ‘Rock and Roll Animals’ was released on Monday 29th of July, so these songs have not been in the public domain for very long at all, however his loyal fans had obviously been listening to it for the past 24 hours as there were a fair few in the audience who were singing along. Essentially (as I understand it anyway), the new LP is a rock-opera style concept album, re-imagining Gene Vincent, Jimmy Pursey and Nick Lowe (as a badger), all ‘rock and roll’ animals in the woods. The tracks had a familiar feel, with a lot of humour in the lyrics and I can’t wait to get home and listen to the record in full. Luke played all the instrumental parts on the night – not always at the same time, and also treated us to a passage from ‘Give The Anarchist A Cigarette’ by Mick Farran, who sadly passed away just a few days before (27th July), after collapsing while performing with the Deviants at the Borderline Club in London. Mick had written about his hero-worship and the physical decline of Gene Vincent and the passage Luke read was pretty sad and thought provoking. I’ve not read the book but will be sure to add it to my long list of ‘must read at some point’ books. There was a special guest appearance from Kendo Nagasaki, who brought liver sausage sandwiches to pass round, and for the encore Luke played ‘Baader Meinhof’ and ‘Lenny Valentino’ – a treat indeed.
We were back home by midnight fully inspired by the great music we’ve seen / heard tonight. Next stop Paris.

Luke Haines / Kendo Nagasaki

Luke Haines / Kendo Nagasaki

Wednesday 31st July 2013 – Travel Day
Got up and packed away all our stuff. We were sorry to say good-bye to London as this trip has been amazing. Great catching up with friends and family, great to discover great new bands and great to play shows to brand new audiences.
Paris bound: we got a lift into Ealing Common station from our ‘flatmate’ Martin, checked the large drum bag in at St Pancras, ate lunch at Ed’s Diner at Euston station and before we could say ‘une, deux, trois’ we were standing in the reception of the brand new and super shiny Belushi’s at Gare du Nord.

AlexisSs & Carrie on the Eurostar

AlexisSs & Carrie on the Eurostar

Now, those that know us, know our love for Belushi’s and St Christopher’s Inn’s, so this may seem a little sycophantic, but holy cow this is an amazing building. From the entrance, through reception and into the main bar (complete with a stage above it), I can safely say the newest hostel in their collection is going to be a winner…and that’s before we get to the staff – I love it! I knew I would but now we’re here I don’t know how we’ll be able to leave. We’ve got a lovely private room on the 2nd floor, complete with it’s own bathroom… what are the squatting laws are in France? To be honest the security guards, although lovely, are pretty huge so it’s probably best not to out-stay our welcome.
Belushi's GDN

Belushi’s GDN

We met up with Belushi’s friends Ali, Ben & Laetitia, were introduced to the bar manager Nick (who reminded us of the lovely Mark G from the old days of Edinburgh Belushi’s) played a couple of tunes at the ‘open mic’ and then it was time a little wander round the area (it’s close to midnight but still very, very warm) and then off to bed.
Je t’aime Paris!

Updated schedule for Paris:
2/8/13 = Belushi’s Paris (Canal)
3/8/13 = Belushi’s Paris GDN (afternoon show)
3/8/13 = LE VIEUX LÉON (from 9pm)
4/8/13 = Belushi’s Paris GDN (from 9pm)
4/8/13 = secret after hours show in the 19th (message for details)

Monday 29th July 2013
Gig 6 – The Dublin Castle, London

A pretty relaxing start to the day despite Alexis having to do more work. We had lunch at a little Mexican place on Bond Street (Ealing) and a wee wander round the shops before sorting out the gear for tonight’s show at The Dublin Castle.
“If I was an MP, the Dublin Castle would be registered as my second home.”
– 6Music DJ Steve Lamacq

This is the gig I’ve been most excited about (although it’ll need to go some to better Power’s Bar) as the venue has an amazing history of showcasing live music and loads of bands that we count as an influence have played there at some point including, The Tindersticks, Madness, Billy Bragg.
“The Dublin Castle is one of London’s most famous pubs and venue. Any aspiring band should, or has, passed through the doors in to the backroom to play.”
– someone on the internet

Alexis @ The Dublin Castle

Alexis @ The Dublin Castle

On the way to sound-check we picked up tickets to see Luke Haines @ The Borderline for tomorrow night (our last night in London before we head over to Paris). Got set up and found out that there are only 3 bands playing tonight & that we’d actually been booked as the headliners (boom). The other two bands on the bill were The Oceans Above (Nuneaton/Milton Keynes based melodic rock) & Dressmaker (London based noise makers) – we enjoyed both acts very much even though they were very different from each other and ourselves.
Dressmaker played first and delivered a full on brutal assault to the ears. Visually arresting and sonically ruthless this was quite a way to start the evening’s entertainment. It wasn’t till we were chatting after their set that we discovered this was their first ever gig, which I think impressed me even more… watch this space, if these guys don’t break everything in their way I’m sure we’ll all be hearing more about them soon.
Dressmaker @ The Dublin Castle

Dressmaker @ The Dublin Castle

Next up were The Oceans Above, a much more melodic band with lovely harmonies and a very catchy forthcoming single ‘I’m Gone’ which they recently recorded in London at Fortress Studios with the excellent Justin Hill (former front-man of SikTh) – it really is a superb track and I can’t wait to hear the production.
The Oceans Above @ The Dublin Castle

The Oceans Above @ The Dublin Castle

We had a lovely surprise guest at the show in the form of CAT member Phil Morphett. CAT is a collective we joined ages ago and have had some very satisfying collaborations so far – check out the Pixelpusher videos for the Savage Sound System.
Phil is a producer and seemed to enjoy our set – I have a feeling that there may be a new remix or two on the way in the not so distant future.
CAT meeting in London

CAT meeting in London

So that’s us finished with London gigs for this tour – it really has been a blast & we’d like to say a huge “Thank-you” to everyone who has been there to support us on this leg – promoters, fellow artists, friends and family… next stop France.

Next gig: Thursday 1st August @ Belushi’s GDN, Paris
If you haven’t seen their new bar yet, check it out:

Monday 31st December 2012

My first blog was published on June 3rd 2011 and was inspired by a trip to Liverpool Sound City @ the end of May that year. Since then I have posted on acts from various genres including; electronica, alt.rock, hip-hop and folk as well as the continuing adventures of Sacre Noir. Along the way I have discovered a multitude of artists from far and wide, who have each brought a little bit of brightness to my listening habits.
At the end of 2011 I started doing a ‘Best of…’ list but never quite got round to posting it, this year I’ve decided to bring you my top picks for Best live videos of 2012 and also the top releases that I have been involved in too.
I’ve also done a top 5 run down of my fave albums of the year for The Sound Project, which was very difficult as there have been so many great releases this year – check it out here:

So in no particular order my choices for the Best live videos of 2012 are…

Delilah – Love You So (live from KOKO, London)

One of my favourite vocalists of the moment, Delilah continues to shine & is growing her loyal following by delivering amazing performances in the studio and on the stage. Her gig at KOKO, London this year was followed by a host of great videos from the show, but this one is definitely my favourite.

Kimbra – Settle Down (live SXSW 2012 Spotify Sessions)

This performance of “Settle Down” was shot in the front yard of the Spotify House at SXSW back in March. I love this arrangement and think the simple use of sampling / looping is a very effective way of breaking down the track.

Mark Lanegan Band – 4AD Session

Not just one track, but a mini-set of four from the Blues Funeral LP which was released in Feb. There have been 15 great videos created for the 4AD Sessions in 2012 including ones from Blonde Redhead & St Vincent that I’d also recommend checking out. The Mark Lanegan Band one is featured here because of it’s stripped back simplicity. That and the fact that Mark has one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard. The band are fantastic and the songs are true to the gritty grunge and blues records that Lanegan has previously delivered.

Tori Amos – Leather (live @ De Kruitfabriek Sessies)

Tori Amos is one of my favourite artists & has been a massive influence in not just my listening habits but also my own music. I’ve always loved her brutally honest lyrics and how she manages to deliver these in such graceful performances. This version of Leather was recorded for the Belgian TV show in September, just before she took to the road to promote her latest release ‘Gold Dust’.

Matt Corby – Brother (Balcony TV Melbourne)

Balcony TV is taking over in the world of great live video sessions. Being broadcast from all across the globe, there are so many great videos from a huge range of acts. Matt Corby was the runner-up on the 2007 series of Australian Idol. Moved to London in 2009 and was signed to Communion (the Mumford & Sons singer’s label) and has been doing great ever since. I’ve only just discovered him, but if this one video is anything to go by then I’m sold.

Regina Spektor – How (captured in The Live Room)

Another fabulous vocal delivery, this time from a live session at Electric Lady Studios in New York, by the enigmatic Regina Spektor. The song “How” originally features on her 2012 album ‘What We Saw From The Cheap Seats’.

Gary Numan – Are Friends Electric? (AllSaints Basement Sessions)

I’ve always just thought that AllSaints was a high street fashion shop. However they claim “AllSaints collections mix Culture, Fashion & Music into a powerful formula of confident clothing that expresses individuality.” The store in Berlin held the very cool ‘Basement Sessions Special’ (essentially a live band & DJ party in the shop’s basement, complete with cocktail bar and freaky dancing) during Berlin Fashion Week this year. They’ve also recorded a host of Über-cool looking videos, and I love this version of “Are Friends Electric?”.

Keaton Henson – You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are (Attic Session)

This is a lovely version of my favourite Keaton Henson track. Understated and glorious for it.

Luke Haines: Gorgeous George (live session for Guardian Music)

I love Luke’s introduction – you get the feeling it went on for ages and the peeps who edited this video probably had to do a lot of cutting. “Gorgeous George” is a track from the latest LP ‘Nine and a Half Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s & early 80s’ which I had the pleasure to see him touring this year.

The Night – Strangers (live acoustic session)

Another act new to me in 2012, The Night released this acoustic version of their FREE D/L single “Strangers” for their YouTube fans. That’s all I really know – but I really like it.

And now for the Sacre Noir releases;.
No. 5
Artist: Madhat / Brinkworth / Riddlah
Track: Think Alot
Label: UVBeatz
Genre: Hip Hop
Check out this collaboration straight from the UVBeatz lab.

No. 4
Artist: Conscious Route
Album: The Real World LP
Label: You Sonix Records / True Hold Records
Genre: Hip-Hop
Dark Places (featuring Sacre Noir)
First time collaboration for Sacre Noir & Conscious Route for this new LP released in August this year.

No. 3
Artist: Mark Deez
Album: The Oracle
Label: iLL-Legit Records
Genre: Hip-Hop
Ascension Remix (ft Sacre Noir, Prod. UVBeatz)
Released at the end of November, the new Mark Deez album features the ‘remix competition’ track. Riddlah reworked the beat & I provided a vocal hook – what a team!

No. 2
Artist: Savage Sound System
Album: Liars and Thieves Will Have It All
Label: Savage Recordings
Genre: Unclassifiable
Various appearances of the newest EP from Scotland’s most avant-garde Hip-hop / Noise / Pop collective.
Featuring vocals from Sacre Noir and D.Soul the Soulsamurai plus MC from The Riddlah, ShilohZen and Werd this release was recorded in Scotland, Canada and the USA.

No. 1
Artist: Sacre Noir
Album: Sinking Into Darkness
Label: Savage Recordings
Genre: Electronica
2nd full length LP – Scottish electronic and live band vibes!
Released in July the new LP has been well recieved & features the debute single “She Can’t Take It”. After the success of the Summer Tour 2012 with shows in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris & Berlin, Sacre Noir are looking forward to the New Year with a second single / video due pre-Spring, and lots more gigs both home & abroad in the pipeline.
Kepp up-to-date with all the news @

Wednesday 25th April 2012

Last week was one of the most stressful yet successful and rewarding weeks for me musically since, I don’t know when.
The stress & success both came from shooting the first ever Sacre Noir music video. Like many other ‘first time’ experiences, I was beyond nervous & apprehensive about the whole thing; the planning, delivery & execution of our ideas. Is the song even any good? Will anyone show up? Why are we even doing this…etc. Thankfully, we have a lot of very talented & creative contacts that were more than willing to share their skills to help us make this happen.

Before I go any further, I must say that both Alexis & Phil were amazing during this whole process. Not only as band member in the musical sense (although it doesn’t get said often enough how much I respect and admire both of their musical genius & contributions to Sacre Noir), but also as shoulders to cry on, stress out at and general throw diva fits around. You are both amazing & make this all worth-while!

So back to our (very) talented friends…
Firstly our film-maker was David from Boshpit productions.
Boshpit have previously delivered videos for some of Edinburgh finest bands and studios (and he’s a mate of our drummer) so who better to ask. We seemed to be pretty much on the same page from the first meeting. David really understood our concepts & themes and was an absolute pro from that first meeting right through to the end of the shoot. As I’m writing this I’m getting very excited and can’t wait to see the finished article, or even a little taster. I got to see a couple of bits on the day & they looked amazing, so watch this space for updates.
The venue & sound/lighting came with the help from Henry’s Cellar Bar & their amazingly cool engineer, Nora. We already love Nora as she has done our sound @ Henry’s many times and always makes us sound awesome, plus she really is ‘too cool for school’ so having her there for the day was excellent & helped put me @ ease a wee bit.
Make-up & hair came from the very talented Erin Culley. She had 3 characters to work with (2 ‘doll’ type characters & 1 clown) I don’t want to give too much away before the launch, but I will say “WOW that girl has a gift”! I had lots of ideas for how I wanted the characters to look & didn’t really think it would all work out, but Erin delivered everything I asked for and more. She took ideas from the cast & was able to adapt the original ideas as we went along. Erin has such a bubbly personality & was really professional, so everyone felt very comfortable with her & loved their make-up.
If it hadn’t been for these 3 lovely people, the video shoot day would NOT have gone as smoothly as it did. So, if you or anyone you know is looking for a creative team for music videos, live performance or photo shoots, get these guys.
More special thanks goes to our cast for the day – you were all amazing:
Clown – Andrew (from Kill Code Red)
Dolls – Lyndsey & Emma
Audience – TomSki, Chris Scott, Stephen Young, Lisa Naden, Fiona Neill
Also, a big thank you to Marius who was our photographer for the day & Margaret who took the behind the scenes footage. I’m sure both of these elements will shine a light on activities that I’m not even aware of yet.
So all & all making the first Sacre Noir video was one of the most stressful yet successful and rewarding musical experiences ever & I can’t wait to see the final results.
All this thinking and talking about making a music video, made me want to share a couple of excellently dark & definitely different videos that have come to my attention recently, and have been on repeat rotation since.
Firstly, ‘Good Day Today’ by David Lynch. It’s dark, moody and atmospheric in all the right ways…have a wee look:

And secondly, ‘Slides By’ which is the first single to be taken from the brand new A Band Of Buriers album entitled Filth, will be released in June.

You can buy the single from iTunes here:

Other musically rewarding experiences from last week include 2 of the best gigs I’ve been to in ages!
Wednesday 18th April, The Lemonheads @ HMV Picture House, Edinburgh
This was to be the 6th time I’d seen Evan Dando perform and it was a very special gig indeed, as the band were set to play the album ‘It’s a shame about Ray’ as a 20-year anniversary treat…and what a treat it was!
The album was played in order (minus Mrs Robinson) and Evan started by giving us few tracks first with just the acoustic guitar. During ‘All My Life’ I had a wee tear in my eye (maybe a bit over-emotional but it did feel very special) and then the band joined him for the rest of the album. We we’re also treated to a few tracks from other albums including my favourite ‘If I could talk I’d tell you”. The drummer & bass player were on fabulous form, tight as you like & loving every minute of the gig and although Evan looked a bit ‘out of it’ when he first stumbled onto the stage, he sounded amazing and gave his usual committed delivery to every song.

The Lemonheads

The Lemonheads @ HMV Picture House Edinburgh

Saturday 21st April, An Evening with Luke Haines @ The Continental, Preston
I’d never seen Luke Haines before & I’d never been to The Continental, but I’d highly recommend both as I had a great night! One man, a guitar, a Casio VL-Tone and a book (Post Everything) and a record to promote. The latter ‘Nine and a Half Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s and early ’80s’ is an excellent collection of tracks, but my favourite on the night was ‘Big Daddy Got a Casio VL-Tone’. This is a song which tells the story of what might go through the mind of the 80’s wrestler (real name: Shirley Crabtree) if he were to make music with said Casio VL-Tone. We were also treated to a short reading from ‘Post Everything’ (a very funny moment where Luke reminisced about the first National Pop Strike) and some classic tracks from previous outputs; The Auteurs and Baader-Meinhof.

Luke Haines

Luke Haines @ The Continental, Preston

A most excellent week indeed.

It has been over 2 months since the last post and after the whirlwind that comes in the form of Christmas & Hogmanay celebrations, and then the cold and dark month of January (and February), I feel ready to return to the real world once again. I like to spend this time of the year hiding away beneath many layers of clothes and amusing myself in the least energetic ways possible, so plenty of time for listening to music & re-organising the CD/Vinyl/iTunes libraries.
Last year I saw a very limited number of ‘proper’ gigs. I saw loads of unsigned/student bands, a few bands that mates are in and a pretty large helping of very cool bands that I was lucky enough to be on the same bill as…but that’s not what I’m talking about. By ‘proper’ I mean the gigs that you buy tickets for the day they go on sale and then spend the months leading up to the show listening to the entire back catalogue (including the rubbish live recordings and b-sides collections). So this year I have decided I must do better. It’s not that the multitude of unsigned acts that I saw in 2011 weren’t great and at times inspirational too, but there’s nothing like the excitement of seeing the folk you love, doing their ‘thing’ live. The anticipation of a roomful of adoring fans waiting for the headline act to take to the stage is, for me, almost as good as taking to the stage and performing myself. And it’s not that there weren’t loads of great shows I missed last year due to either being on the road myself or not paying enough attention to the listings, but there’s no point crying over missed gigs, so after a few trips to Ripping Records, the tickets are purchased & I have a few very exciting gigs coming up & I thought I’d share the delights…
Next week I’ll be attending the Little Dragon show @ The Liquid Rooms (Edinburgh). One of the best bands I discovered last year and I’m confident that this is going to be a cracker! For anyone who has missed this band check out my blog posting from July last year.
I really love both their albums and can’t wait to hear the live arrangements of these tracks that I’ve immersed myself in for the past 6 months & see what cool instruments they have with them on tour.
(2 sleeps to go)

Next month it’s gonna be Vic Godard & The Subway Sect @ The Voodoo Rooms (Edinburgh) – supported by the amazing Sexual Objects… 2 fantastically cool bands for the price of one!
I saw both these bands playing together last year @ The Citrus Club (Edinburgh) and it was a great show.
Vic Goddard & The Subway Sect (regardless of the line up) are sure to deliver their brand of post-punk with all the usual jagged jazz stylings & thumping rhythms. It’s some of the most un-pretentious music you’ll ever hear, but still very clever.
Then we have The Sexual Objects , one of Edinburgh’s finest bands without question. Fronted by the enigmatic Davey Henderson (Fire Engines, Win, Nectarine No. 9 etc) and if you don’t know their story then have a listen to this interview from a Radio station in Greece where Davey chats about the band and the music industry.

If there are still tickets for this show I suggest you get yourself along – The Voodoo Rooms (Edinburgh) 24th March 2012

And last but certainly not least in April I’ll be making the trip down south to Preston to see Luke Haines in what promises to be an amazing, intimate and one-off performance @ The New Continental.
With such a varied musical history I’m not sure where to start; The Servants and The Auteurs in the 90’s, Black Box Recorder in the 00’s or the various solo outings including his Baader-Meinhof project. I could even discuss his books (although having not read any yet that’s probably a bad idea), but I could be here all day. Instead hear are a couple of links to my favourite tracks…enjoy x