Lyrics – Hair trigger

I just realised that it was a thing once-upon-a-time that I would type lyrics of as yet unreleased songs into this box on this webpage and hit ‘Publish’ and then you would read them. Well my friends it is now a thing again!

Before I hit you with the lyrics to a song which literally got recorded today (and literally got written this week – oops), I’d better give you a run-down of what has been up.

There’s been a longer than usual break in releases, for which I apologise. But it’s about to get good really soon. We recorded a new Roo’s Radio track back in May and it’s very very close to release (we’re just sorting out the artwork). Then we took a break in June because of various things. This means that there will be two songs recorded in July, to catch up. So there’ll be three songs along in a closer space of time than you’re used to. Which will make up for the bigger gap I hope.

Anyway, once again I wasn’t as organised as I had hoped I might be, so I’ve ended up writing and recording a song in less than a week. I’ve generally been pleased when this has happened in the past. And I think I am again. So without further ado, please enjoy (or not. But hopefully do) the lyrics to Hair Trigger

Hair trigger
Just what is this supposed to be? It’s really not enough to be setting me off
This barely veiled hostility; a dagger right in front of me – tell me to stop
Just tell me one more time
And I will try

Just what were you expecting me to say?
I would have had this any other way
Believe me it’s not easy, believe me it’s not straight
Believe me I’m not done with this today

With all of my excuses, all the apathy and enmity burning me up
I’m finding less and less of who I want to be and I’ve had enough
I think I’ve had my fill
And I won’t lie

Does it really make it better?

We need to talk

Hey there.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

I’m not keeping to a predictable routine with this. At all. Oh dear. I think we can at least all agree that the important thing is that I’m getting the music out every month. On that note I recorded the 15th song since this started last week. Which is pretty pleasing.

I’ve also started spreading my love around some of those lesser sites that are not this blog. And I’m also spreading the musical love around lesser stores that are not my bandcamp store.

With the non-music store things I try to make sure that everyone gets something a little bit different. And I also try to make sure that this place is the best place for all the info. Similarly, my bandcamp store offers free downloads and full information about the songs including the lyrics.

I think that’s about all I’ve got.

Make sure you check out my latest two releases:

Colours to the mast (download)
Doubleplusungood (download)

Happy new year! And happy new music!

Happy new year! We made it!

This week I released the 12th track that we recorded in 2016.

Here it is!

I’m just going to carry right on in 2017 and see where this all takes me. My apologies for not maintaining as constant a presence on here as possibly I could have. Lots to do and posting blogs slid down the list of priorities. I’ll do my best to keep going though.

See you soon.

Catching up

Well gosh it’s been a busy old time. Not all with music unfortunately. Although I’m well aware that we’re overdue a couple of tracks at this point.

Worry ye not. They’re in the pipeline. Someone Else’s Problem is currently being mastered and will drop any day now. I also have an instrumental version of that, that I’m working out what to do with.

And then we were in the studio a few weeks ago to record But That’s Just Me… This will be the first Pedestrian zero single featuring someone else on lead vocals the whole way through. That’s a bit different, but I’m liking it.

I’ll be popping back with some lyrics for that and some studio pictures for both.

Then next week Roo’s Radio are back in the studio. And the funny thing there is we’re not actually sure what we’re doing yet. So I should get on that.

We’ll talk soon.

So much so much…

Hello I’m back. There’s a bit of a backlog I’m afraid. I’m pretty sure I still owe you photos from two studio sessions, lyrics for the next song, possibly a NAGfest post? And of course it’s getting closer to new music time. Hooray.

Part of the reason for this little backlog is busyness at work. But another reason is that I went to my first Glastonbury last weekend. And what fun it was.

To start with, Jack and myself rode 30ish miles from Bristol on Thursday. This was almost as bad an idea as it sounds, but despite my slight lack of fitness, we made it and it was enormously fun. And it meant we were able to have free hot showers all weekend.

Looking through the schedule trying to compose a list of what we did see, it occurs that we might have not actually got to very much. I have to say, I’d do it the same again if I had another chance. Despite my lack of experience, I’m pretty sure the best thing to do in most situations is enjoy yourself and your company and not worry in the slightest about what you might be missing out on…

So below is the golden list (including everyone we saw however briefly). Don’t ask me to play favourites, I can’t do it. It was a great weekend. Think I missed something great? Think I’m a muppet for seeing all of the headliners? Want to tell me about it in the comments? Tough luck cos I turned them off. Rage away internet!

Adele
Bad Sounds
Band of Horses
Bear’s Den
Billy Bragg
Braids
Christine and the Queens
Coldplay
Elle King
Emily Capell
Eska
Foy Vance
Jeff Lynne’s ELO
Kezia
Lewis and Leigh
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir
Muse
Of Monsters and Men
Ratboy
Reef
Squeeze
The Big Moon
The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Wildwood Kin
Will Varley

Dissection

What a week. I think I’d like to talk further about some these things, but being as how I’m also pretty busy this week, it will need to wait a little bit longer. Seemed right to do a brief summary though.

  • First off, on Saturday 21st we were recording dog Tired, which I believe I mentioned. Hoping for release early next week.
  • Next, Wednesday evening was a strangeday practice. The previous practice saw all of us feeling a little tired and kind of lack lustre, but this one was way better. The practice was in preparation for NAGfest. More of which later.
  • Thursday was the last NAG Open Mic. I’ve been running this open mic with Jack for 10 years. It was a really nice evening to end on, and I’m hoping to talk a bit more about that in a post dedicated to the subject.
  • Friday was a Roo’s Radio practice, again for NAGfest. It went on pretty late as we were trying to get the set ready and it had been a long time since we’d played together.
  • Saturday was the first day of NAGfest, a local music festival in its second year. Roo’s Radio were on at 6pm. Our set went really well. Paul, who had also done a lot of the organisation for NAGfest, joined us on drums, and it all felt very comfortable. Despite having not played for a while I think the songs are with us now.
  • Sunday was the second day of the festival, and strangeday were playing at 8pm. This set also went well, although I was struggling a little voice-wise due to a lot of late nights and lots of singing. We played a new song, Long defeat, which possibly went down better than all the other songs.

It was also great to catch a lot of great bands and friends at NAGfest. Jack, Ant, Steve, 3dBs Down, Ab and the Underclass, No Limit Street Band, Sam, Aaron, Hog Roast, One Day Elliott and Beer Pressure were all very cool.

Onwards

Long live the king

There’s been talk for a while now about albums being dead. Talk like that is nonsense anyway, so I’m not about to write another post decrying or supporting simplistic rubbish.

What I will say is that this has been a pretty album-happy few weeks for me. I got Beyoncé‘s Lemonade and Radiohead‘s A Moon Shaped Pool as well as pre-ordering Foy Vance‘s Wild Swan (which drops tomorrow – huzzah!) and Switchfoot‘s Where The Light Shines Through.

I’m not going to get into reviewing on here. I don’t think. But I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve heard so far.

That said, for musicians without large followings there does seem to be less incentive to put all of that time and energy into making something as cohesive as an album. Certainly it makes more sense for me to do what I’m doing in releasing singles on a roughly regular schedule (on that note, Somewhere in between is currently with the mastering guy). This keeps me, and hopefully you, more interested and is a hell of a lot less work.

We did the album thing last year, and it took roughly 850 working hours last year to get the thing finished. And that doesn’t include physical production, launch planning, marketing or the launch itself. It was totally worth it, and we have a finished product which I don’t think is on the level of international acclaim, but which we’re really proud of and very happy with.

But it was a lot of work and a lot of waiting. And there was nothing to keep the public momentum going in between. In terms of momentum for us, that took a lot of sheer willpower and planning.

So here we are. And because it’s been a year (ish) since we went into the studio to record The Way Home, I will be posting some more about the process in the coming weeks. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the insight as much as we enjoyed making it.

Gigs gigs gigs

I still haven’t really decided how tenuous to the site theme posts on here are going to get. I mean obviously it should be music related, but how much do you care about personal stuff? How much do I care how much you care? How much do you care how much I care how much you care? And so on ad nauseum.

This is a long way of saying that I’m going to talk about gigs. On the back of going to see MxPx on Saturday.

I’m not very punk rock. I like punk rock, but not in enormous doses. I did very much enjoy going to a punk rawk show though. I must have first heard MxPx in 96 or 97, when I picked up a Move to Bremerton EP on the basis that I had heard of them in connection with Aaron Sprinkle of Poor Old Lu. Never got to hear them live though. That is, until 20 years later. It’s been about 10 years since I last went to a big punk rock gig (Less than Jake, does that count?). All I can say from looking at the crowd is that punk rockers got older. As did I, I guess. All in all though, it was a great set, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Next gig should be Foy Vance. L’il bit different, you’ll agree. I also haven’t had a chance to hear Foy yet, but I’ve only been listening to him for a year or so. Looking forward to that one too. He’s got a way with a tune that one.

Sad to report that I didn’t manage to get tickets for Radiohead at the Roundhouse, which would have been sweet as a nut (sweet like tropicana), but I did manage to get Glastonbury tickets. I also haven’t, uh, seen Glastonbury (see, it kind of fits together!) before. The line up looks pretty cool. I’m hoping that my favourite performance won’t be anything I can predict, but from the bands listed thus far it should be pretty cool to see Muse, Adele, Beck, ELO and Sigur Rós. Amongst others.

That’s where it’s at this Monday. We’ll see if we can get you some new music this week. Dependent on factors outside our control, but rest assured you’ll hear it first here.

Harmonious

I’m totally going to put this one out there without too much thought. I was driving home and two of the following list came on shuffle and I decided I would tell you all my top seven uses of harmony/backing vocals. Odds are I’ve forgotten something crucial, but the internet’s such a transient place that I don’t suppose it will matter. Today’s top seven lists are tomorrow’s discarded clickbait. Not that this place is very good at being clickbait, but you know what I mean.

(By the way, I know seven is trendy and only for clickbait, and I was originally going to do five. But then it turned into six. And then seven. That’s the way it goes folks. Sometimes I’m accidentally trendy. But never accidentally clickbait. Or deliberately.)

Anyway, there’s not much I do that isn’t harmony/backing vocal ridden. With Roo’s Radio in particular we’re all about the vocal layers. So here’s my favourite harmony/backing vocal moments in history. As ever, in no particular order.

Ben FoldsFred Jones, Part 2
This is a gorgeous song, whichever way you cut it, but when John McRae (from Cake, y’all) kicks in with his harmony I fall over. Metaphorically.

RadioheadBlack Star
Another beautiful song, with very few backing vocals actually (just the barely audible chorus one). Then in the 3rd verse the electric guitars depart leaving just bass, drums and vocals and out of nowhere this incredible harmony pops up and floors you. I realise this is another way of saying “I fall over”. And the harmony starts on the line “I keep falling over”. See how well I plan this shit?

Nitin SawhneySay Hello
Good grief I love this song. Honestly I just want to tumble into this song and float away. Then at the end you get the chorus with its multi part vocal AND this guy singing in Indian (?) comes in and then the song wins at everything.

Five Iron FrenzyOn Distant Shores
Dennis Culp is a harmony genius. If you need proof, listen to the chorus of On Distant Shores. I love this song anyway, but I have to loop the chorus (since it only happens the two times) as the backing vocal is so stunningly creative. Zoinks!

3dBs Down – (pretty much any of them)
Speaking of Zoinks, I couldn’t talk harmonies without mentioning the dBs. That I’m in a band with three lead singers is almost entirely down to them. And their arrangements are fantastic fun, very creative and so full of energy that I don’t want to fall over. I’m struggling to narrow this down, but let’s go for Quick Fix, Greatest Day or Fish Hook as prime examples. Well, if you’re going to push me, let’s go for the chorus after the solo in Fish Hook where the instruments cut out and all three vocals collide splendidly over a big fat pick scrape.

Poor Old LuSlow
I just love Aaron Sprinkle’s backing vocal part that comes in at the end here. So much so that I think I partly stole it for the end of Dream Again. Oops. That’s all I really have to say about that.

Imogen HeapHide & Seek
This song is basically all harmony. It’s lovely. My favourite part? “Ransom notes keep falling out your mouth”. Amazing.

Ok I’m all done. Did I get it wrong? Think I’m an idiot with an idiot coating? Got better suggestions? Better start a blog of your own because I turned off comments. Shazam!

Oh, also, I’m not linking you to youtube videos of these. I don’t have time. If you care, you know how search engines work. I’m a giver.

Twelve albums

There is a post going round on the social medias at the moment… Actually, I say “at the moment”, for all I know, it’s been going round for years, but I digress… again… anyway, the post is about listing twelve albums that have “stayed with you” without “over thinking or trying to be cool” and then making other people do it so that it perpetuates itself in the manner of DNA. I don’t know why twelve albums and not ten. Perhaps because you go back in time to think about the albums and Bruce Willis goes back in time in Twelve Monkeys?

I believe I have expressed my dismay at social media in general, but allow me to do so again. DISMAY. This one did make me ponder though, so I decided to do my own version on here, in my own way by actually explaining my choices a little – this basically means less people will read it, but I am very ok with that. Hi mum.

I’m not exactly known for under thinking things, so no promises there. And we all know that I don’t need to try to be cool, so we’re good there. Ho ho.

I will briefly say at this point that I do feel in certain ways my teenage years – which should be a time for glorious musical exploration – were a little hindered by a decision to “only listen to christian music”. I’m not going to explore that decision here (not yet, at any rate), but I think it was misguided and full of hypocrisy – fortunately as it turns out – in that I somehow managed to still listen to a fair amount of all kinds of music. But to my mind, at least, not enough.

I’ve decided to limit this list to only pre-2000 music (or music I heard pre-2000 I should say) as “staying with me” implies some kind of longevity. Also that makes this easier, to a certain extent.

So, in absolutely no order whatsoever:

Nirvana – Unplugged in New York
Nirvana, Unplugged in New York - CoverSadly, I first listened to Nirvana post-1994, courtesy of a copied tape of Nevermind that my dad had. This album remains my all time favourite Nirvana album. I had a copied tape of this (I have since bought the CD *and* DVD, you’ll be pleased to know) given to me by a girl I liked. Better people than me have written better things than I could about this album, but I think it’s gorgeous and vulnerable and amazing.

dc Talk – Jesus Freak
dc Talk, Jesus Freak - CoverGiven what I said earlier, this might seem a little bit of a lame and obvious choice as it’s probably one of the biggest christian albums of all time. However, I was gobsmacked when I first heard it, and I still love the songs. There’s some weird bits, and some cheesy bits, but it’s still a great album.

Peter Gabriel – So
Peter Gabriel, So - CoverThis was another of my dad’s cassettes that got a LOT of plays on the old walkman. Again, a pretty obvious choice, being PG’s “brief intersection with the life of pop stars”, but that’s the way it goes. I first paid attention to Peter Gabriel as a result of Red Rain on the Rainbow Warriors album (more of which next) and this was the album with Red Rain on it.

Various – Greenpeace: Rainbow Warriors
Various, Greenpeace: Rainbow Warriors - CoverThis is perhaps the maddest choice – a compilation album. But honestly, listening to this album was one of the first times I can remember thinking that this was what I wanted to do with myself. And there’s some corking tunes on here. Very 80s, which I’m generally not so fond of, but I’ll make an exception this time. And did I mention this was another cassette filched from my dad’s study? Doesn’t seem to be online, but I did the legwork for you and made an Apple Music playlist. Couldn’t find Balance by Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul though. EDIT: My dad made a spotify playlist in case you don’t Apple. It doesn’t have Little Steven either, but it also doesn’t have Peter Gabriel.

Paul Simon – Graceland
Paul Simon, Graceland - CoverSomeone asked me in 99/00 whether I’d heard Graceland. I said I hadn’t and was duly lent a copy, only to find out I knew it very well. I can only assume from it being played in the house/car when I was younger. I can always go back to this and enjoy it. Yes yes.

Radiohead – OK Computer
Radiohead, OK Computer - CoverI’m a fan of all stages of Radiohead. And I think all of their albums will follow me around, but OK Computer still has a special place. There’s a reason it gets held up again and again as an all time great album. The one-two punch of Electioneering followed by Climbing up the walls gets me every time.

Model Engine – The Lean Years Tradition
Model Engine, The lean years tradition - CoverHaving bemoaned my teenage music embargo, it did lead me to some of my favourite ever albums, so, as ever, it’s swings and roundabouts. Model Engine were pretty short lived, unfortunately. This was their only album (although they recorded another album and an EP in an earlier incarnation, Black Eyed Sceva), but it’s an utter stunner. Full of smart lyrics and clever music, there’s not a bad song on here.

Switchfoot – The legend of chin
The legend of chin, Switchfoot - CoverAs with Radiohead (and Five Iron Frenzy – see below), it’s theoretically tricky to pick just one album for Switchfoot. But my limiting this to pre-2000 helps. And in any case, this album is a winner. It’s forever linked with summer in my head for some reason. And it’s just full of great songs that never get old.

Meat Loaf – Bat out of hell II: Back into hell
Meat Loaf, Bat out of hell II: Back into hell - CoverI don’t remember when or how or why I had this tape, but it was one of the earlier albums I owned and I loved it. Sure, some of it is cheesy as hell (cheese out of hell?) and some of it is inexplicable (Wasted youth anyone?), and of course I imagine the first Bat out of hell is regarded as the classic of the two, but this popped into my head again recently and I had a listen and it’s still a stupidly splendid album. So it makes the cut.

Poor Old Lu – Sin
Poor Old Lu, Sin - CoverMight be running out of steam with the descriptions. Or maybe just running out of adjectives. Hopefully I haven’t repeated myself. Hopefully I haven’t repeated myself. Anyway, Poor Old Lu are a long time favourite of mine, and I bought this album without having listened to it (I did read a review) and was instantly pleased that I did. It’s very engaging from start to finish and the guitar solo on Sickly is one of my favourite ever.

Five Iron Frenzy – Our Newest Album Ever!
Five Iron Frenzy, Our Newest Album Ever! - CoverPretty much my all time favourite band. This was the first album I owned of theirs and I think the first album ever (possibly the only album ever) that I could sing to myself all the way through without the album playing (got me through a lot of long hours working at McDonald’s I can tell you). I think their latest album might just be my favourite, but this one will always be special. And the artwork is baller.

Elliot Smith – XO
Elliott Smith, XO - CoverOk, I’ll admit it, this is a bit of a cheat. I heard Waltz #2 when it was Mark and Lard’s song of the week (they were Radio 1 DJs back in the day, remember that?), but I don’t think I bought the album until after 2000. Whatever, this is a hauntingly beautiful album and Waltz #2 is almost as perfect a song as I can imagine a song being.

Well there you go. It’s good to note that this list differs from my top ten albums. But that’s definitely a matter for another post. I would like to also mention The Beatles here. My parents had the “red” and “blue” albums on vinyl and I played them a lot. And a lot of those songs have stayed with me, but I can’t say that those albums in particular stayed with me.

Bosh, done.

(All artwork images assumed to be fair use. Copyright remains with the original artist or publisher, except the cover of Graceland which is considered to be public domain)