Friday, 28 November 2014

Podcast: An Interview With Emily Phillips

Emily Phillips is a songwriter who has written with artists like John Newman ("Cheating"), Rizzle Kicks (multiple tracks on both albums) and Jazz singer Kate Dimbleby. She got her start in music when Damon Albarn, who was her flat mate at the time, gave her a guitar and told her to write a song. Years later she has toured the world with her band Transcargo, built herself a successful career as a songwriter and started a family with husband/bandmate Ant Whiting.

Emily very kindly invited me down to the studio she and Ant work in to talk about music, creativity, Russian echo units and a rather unpleasant event involving a spider, an audience of 50 people and the man who wrote "Delilah". 

Click here to get the podcast on iTunes.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

D.D Dumbo Live At St Pancras Old Church - November 9th 2014

Churches make for odd gig venues. They're always atmospheric and interesting, not to mention acoustically superior to most buildings but they create a sense of reverence amongst an audience that, when paired with the wrong artist can detract a little from the show. Luckily for me and the other 60 or so people at D.D. Dumbo's show at the haunting, cracked and wonderful St Pancras Old Church in King's Cross, that wasn't the case here.
Having first heard of D.D Dumbo via NPR's brilliant field recording's series, I was intrigued to hear more of his rhythmic, guitar driven music and to see for myself just how his approach to live performance works.

Judging by his sparse between-song-chatter D.D Dumbo (Oliver Perry off stage) is a fairly unassuming guy. Soft spoken, polite and funny. The songs themselves though are complex, clever, and driven by almost irresistible grooves and rhythms. A lone figure on stage, Perry creates these layered and vibrant tunes from scratch using 2 drums, a modified Danelectro 12 string guitar, a loop pedal and a microphone.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Hiding In Plain Sight: The Low Sales Of The Ramones

A few months ago, Tommy Ramone passed away. The last surviving member of the original line-up of the Ramones. I could write here about the history of the band, talk about the hey-day of New York Punk, debate whether it started in America or England and go over hundreds of other points that I have far less knowledge than some other people might. Suffice to say that Tommy Ramone was a vital member of the band and without him, rock music would not be what it is today, but I'll leave the biographies and tributes to people who know more about Tommy than me. For example, Jon Wurster of Superchunk and Bob Mould's band wrote a really nice piece about Tommy and the band.

What struck me about the death of Tommy Ramone (Thomas Erdelyi outside of the band) was that he was the last living Ramone who played on the band's first record, 1976's “Ramones”. More shockingly, he was the only member who was alive to see it sell enough copies to be certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The record passed that milestone just a few weeks before his death. It's the only Ramones album, aside from 'best of' compilations, to have sold enough copies to qualify.