EP now on iTunes/Apple music

Hi,

Just a quick post to say we’re on Apple Music and iTunes now, so you can stream or purchase on your iPhones/iPads/desktops/laptops.

Our EP will be appearing in other stores and on streaming sites such as Spotify soon as well.

Reminder: we have a gig tonight, at the Sebright Arms, London. Playing with brilliant cult folk hero Nick Garrie and art-pop duo Raf and O. We’re selling merch!! Hopefully see you there.

 

 

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EP out this week! Gig this Saturday!

Our EP, Somewhat Cracked is out this week. You can currently get it from Bandcamp for a steal here.

More exciting is the fact that we now have the physical copies of the EP, and it looks great (though we do say so ourselves):

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We’re only selling the CDs at gigs for now. Speaking of which, we have a show at the Sebright Arms in London on the 12th March. We’re on first, followed my electronic duo Raf and O and cult folky Nick Garrie (a nice, diverse lineup). Tickets are available here, hopefully we’ll see you there.

We’re so proud to have our first EP out. If you get a chance to listen, let us know what you think.

Oh, and we have our first review (and second interview) online as well. Read them here.

It’s been a while…

Studio

I haven’t posted on here for a while (a lot of stuff has been going on, including preparing for imminent fatherhood), but at least we have plenty of news to share.

We’ve played a couple of great shows in London – one at the Miller near London Bridge, another at Rye Wax in Peckham. We had a great turnout at both gigs and people seemed to like us. Thanks to everyone that came along.

We’ve got some gigs coming up in February and March, but things might be a bit quiet in December and January (due to aforementioned baby arrival)

We’ve also been busy writing, developing and recording songs. We spent a few days recording four tracks for our first EP at Squarehead studios in North Kent in early November. The EP was produced by Rob Wilks, who is drummer in the band Story Books, who we’re all big fans of.

We’re really happy with the end results – some of the tracks capture a similar sound to us live, but with two of the tracks, we experimented a bit and tried out a few things. They’re currently on Soundcloud and have had a reasonably good response so far. The EP will be out in digital and physical formats early in the New Year.

We plan to do a couple of videos for our songs as well, not sure when we’ll get round to that yet,  but we’ll post updates on our progress, as well as future gigs and info on the new EP, as the days go on.

Mark

Our first ever interview is online(?!)

Crazy as it seems, there’s an interview with us online, for Pennyblackmusic. You can read it here.

You maybe wondering how a band managed to get an interview having been together less than three months. Cards on the table – we know the people who run that site – they also put gigs on in London, Manchester and Glasgow. They’re doing a series about new bands over the course of the year to see how much each achieves in those 12 months.

They asked us to participate, basically on the strength of the crappy, unrepresentative demos we have on our Soundcloud, and we agreed to take part.

So yes, it’s ridiculous in some ways that a band that has achieved as little as we have has been interviewed for a blog, but it’s an interesting idea for a feature series and I for one will be following it.

A bit about Pennyblack – it’s a passion project of two guys, Richard and John, who grew up on the indie of the 80s. It started as an online shop with articles and reviews, and slowly the articles took over.

John and Richard like to do things the way they like it, which means a retro aesthetic and updates twice a month. What’s great about their site is the content – they run interviews with established and new musicians that get really under the skin of who they are as people – musicians often reveal things about themselves and their music that you won’t read anywhere else. Definitely worth checking out.

 

Friday 45 – Wipers, Youth of America

This isn’t a single, really, but it is an incredible song. The title track of Wipers’ second album clocks in at 10 intense minutes, driven through out by a simple, krautrock-like two-note baseline. The track certainly owes something to Neu! and their ilk, but comes cloaked in the fuzz and rage of the US punk scene.

Wipers never really got much recognition at the time, and although their reputation has grown over time, they’re still a bit of a cult act. The band didn’t fit in with the hardcore punk scene – their songs were too long and too varied to appeal to that audience.

But the Portland, Oregon band was a massive influence on the more creative hardcore punks that diverted away from three chord thrash as the 80s wore on. Bands such as the Melvins and Dinosaur Jr cited them as influences, and they were a really big influence on Nirvana.

Kurt Cobain listed their first three records – Is This Real?, Youth of America and Over the Edge – among his top 50 albums of all time. The band also covered a couple of songs from Is This Real?: Return of the Rat and D-7.

There are a lot more melodic, immediate songs I could have chosen from Wipers, not to mention much, much shorter, but Youth of America really is the band at its creative peak. It’s not the easiest listen, but it’s pretty damn exciting.

Starting a band 2: getting on the web

Last week, we did our first interview for a blog. We’re a three-month old band.

We’re incredibly grateful for the opportunity to put ourselves in front of a new audience, and it was actually a fun process. I’m looking forward to seeing the results once they’re online – I’ll post a link as soon as it’s live. But we haven’t got any recordings done that actually sound like us, yet. We’ve put some basic demos online, mainly to share between ourselves than anything else, but that’s about it. And yet we’ve been interviewed, albeit as part of a series on new bands.

It’s crazy how the internet has changed things for musicians, both for better and worse. Marketing yourself online is an early part of the process. Young bands turn to the internet to find their fame as much as the gig circuit. For some, it’s even replaced the gig circuit.

When we were putting this band together, I went on some ‘join my band’ type sites to see if I could find some additional members. We tried out a few people, none quite worked out until we met Dan, who was put onto us by the guy who runs the practice space we use.

The thing I was shocked at, going on those band sites, was how many people seemed unwilling to work at building an audience. Quite a few people said something along the lines of: “I want to be in a band that build a following online before we play anywhere. Then we can avoid playing pubs or stuff like that.”

Well good for them, I wish them luck. But it seems to me that they’re missing the point of playing in pubs (and I don’t really get why that’s bad – some of the best venues to play in London are in pubs). Working your way up to larger venues by playing regularly give you a chance to hone your show, and improve your songs as you road test them. Playing the songs will become second nature, which will also result in better recordings.

We also noticed that people expected us to have really professional sounding recordings of our songs before they would consider playing with us. Basic demos of the songs didn’t seem to cut it. Making great quality recordings of your music is a lot easier these days with software such as Garageband. As a result, there is now lots of interesting and really creative music from unexpected places all over the world. But maybe for some, it’s diminished the imagination somewhat.

Don’t get me wrong – the internet is an amazing resource for independent artists. You can build a relationship with your fanbase in a way that you just couldn’t really do before the internet. You can sell your records and merch on your terms, and reach a global audience, without it costing a fortune. It’s great. All I’m saying is, it’s not the answer to everything.

So we’re going to use the internet to introduce people to our music as much as we’ll use our shows. But it’d be a mistake to see it as the easy road to a bigger fanbase.

Friday 45: The dBs – Black and White

The dBs are a criminally underrated band from an underrated genre. Power pop was a label initially applied to bands such as Big Star (probably one of the better known bands to be labelled power pop), but which was also applied to some of the more accessible acts that emerged after punk rock’s peak in 1977.

The dBs have a loose association with Big Star – guitarist and songwriter Chris Stamey was in Alex Chilton’s post- Big Star band before forming the dBs in 1978.

Black and White was the first single off the band’s debut album, Stands For Decibels, which is fantastic. Despite power pop’s association with heavily Beatles influenced bands, The dBs sound pretty timeless, and were much more experimental than most bands labelled power pop

Of the band’s two songwriters, Stamey was the more experimental, while Peter Holsapple wrote poppier material (including Black and White). The material has an edge to it, though, a gritty ‘New York’ vibe inherited from the Velvet Underground, Television and the Modern Lovers (although the band was formed in New York, all the members were from North Carolina).

Black and White is catchy, but it fizzles with punk energy. It’s a great introduction to a band you should really get to know.

Starting a band

This is my first post on this website, barely a day old. A fresh new website for a very young band.

Partisan Waves hasn’t existed for very long – about three months, tops. It’s been gesticulating for some time, and now it’s here, and we’re getting better every week.

The band might be new, but the stock of songs that we have to work with have been written over the course of a couple of years. The initial catalyst for the band occurred a year and a half ago. Paul and I have been playing music together, off and on, since we were teenagers. Though the bands we formed had the occasional flash of promise, they never really worked out, and I hadn’t really played music for a long time.

We decided to play music together again and bashed through a few cover songs at my flat. It was fun, and we talked about making it a regular thing, maybe forming a covers band or something.

It was not a particularly happy period for me at the time. My 20s were rapidly disappearing. Although I was in a happy, long-term relationship, I felt that my work life had stalled. I was back working in my home town for the first time in 10 years. I found it increasingly difficult to cope with the outside world. I withdrew. I worried the hell out of my fiancee.

But the opportunity to play music seemed to be offering a glimmer of hope. I felt compelled to do something with it. I was at home, off sick from work, when I decided to write a song about how I felt. It came together really quickly, and it seemed alright, so I recorded a very rough version and sent it to Paul. He liked it, so we decided to work on it. It made me feel better, so I kept writing.

Paul had been writing songs on and off for a few years as well. He’s also the best guitarist I know – not just technically, but creatively. It took us a while to get a drummer on board, but when Dan joined the band, everything clicked into place. Dan’s not only a great drummer, he’s a brilliant songwriter, so all three of us have been adding songs to our set list.

Now we’re refining our set, and hope to start gigging regularly pretty soon. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading about the band as it develops.

Cheers,

Mark