Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Small Town America Podcast

Small Town America asked us to do a takeover of their regular Public Service Blogcast - find it here.

Public Service Blogcast Episode 57
46 minutes 38 seconds
Recorded 20/10/09

00.48 Graffiti Island - Headhunters (from Sisters EP - Sister Phunk)
Japandroids - Wet Hair (from Post-Nothing album - Polyvinyl)
Tap Tap - Queen Of Hearts (from On My Way album - Stolen Recordings)
Becoming Real - Let The Right One In
Gold Panda - Like Totally (from Phatom Channel Presents...Part 2 album)
Spectrals - Don't Mind
A Grave With No Name - And We Parted Ways At Mt Jade (from Mountain Debris album – No Pain In Pop)
The Twilight Sad - I Became A Prostitute (from Forget The Night Ahead album - Fat Cat)
Fair Ohs - Almost Island (from Sex Is Disgusting split vinyl)

Our own podcasts will be making a return soon enough - watch this space - - - - - >

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Male Bonding Single Launch In Pictures

As the post below indicates, Saturday was the day we officially celebrated the release of the Male Bonding/Eat Skull 7". I'd be lying if i said i was surprised by how many people turned up - i knew it would be busy. Below are some choice shots of the night, taken from a variety of disposable cameras we passed around and then some from Sean Carpenter of Disposable Youth - a good man.

This is what fun looks like in Dalston.

Ryan Tough Love looking like Ryan Tough Love.

Before it went a bit messy.


Matt Favours for Sailors in the middle of singing "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy (not really).

Kevin Male Bonding and Wesley Let's Wrestle sharing a moment*

This crowd nearly broke sound, which would've sucked, but their intentions were pure.*

Male Bonding and Wesley. I have no idea what was happening here, as I couldn't see a thing*

This girl was intense.*

And she did not rest...

* All Sean's work - more here

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Male Bonding/Eat Skull Single Launch

Saturday 12th September @ The Stags Head, 55 Orsman Rd, Dalston

We've hooked up with MB's own label Paradise Vendors Inc to host a launch party to mark the release of the above mentioned Male Bonding and Eat Skull 7". Because Eat Skull live in Portland, sadly they're not able to make the trip, but there will be other great bands and even a comedian compere. It's even free! Just read this:


Graffiti Island/Italian Beach Babes
Sexbeat Tough Love
8:30 - late

FREE entry

Don't Go Home With Your Hard On

Sunday 13th September @ Old Blue Last, Shoreditch

First night at the Old Blue Last since the epic all day 4th birthday celebrations in July. It's also the day after the Male Bonding single launch. It's going to be an intense weekend. Details:

Tough Love DJs8:30pm-12:30am

William on XFM

Wiliam recently recorded thier second session for John Kennedy's Xposure show on XFM. Listen to a track tonight on the show from 10pm.

Friday, 14 August 2009

William at New Slang

William played New Slang at McClusky's in Kingston last night. I went along.

It took me a long time to get there on the train. The guard tried to fine me as my travelcard didn't cover the journey. I managed to negotiate my way out of it because I'm very good at playing dumb.

I helped William load-in. The venue is massive. A cold sterile nightclub (when empty) with ostentatious furnishings. Banquet records who put on the night were lovely throughout. They had about 20 staff working and were always keen to help out.

They put on a lovely rider and were very apologetic for the initial poor turn out, which was unnecessary as the place soon filled up.

William played;

South of the Border

I think it was in that order. They were so good they made boys kiss each other in the front row. God knows what was happening in the back row.

The next band on were Hatcham Social who I had to miss so that I got home at a resonable hour for a school night. Which is a shame because they sounded like they'd be fun when they were soundchecking.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Upcoming William Gigs

William are playing some gigs soon. I thought some of you might like to know.

10 Aug 2009 @ The Old Blue Last w/Tubelord Shoreditch, London

13 Aug 2009 @ New Slang @ McCluskys w/Hatcham Social, Kingston

27 Oct 2009 @ MADAME JOJO’S (WHITE HEAT) w/Japandroids Soho, London

Thursday, 30 July 2009

It's My Party And I'll Cry If I Want To

Last Saturday was the Tough Love birthday party. We were 4 years old. I don't need to say this all again. It's all written below. i wrote about the day for another website, but unfortunately the article got pulled because of the credit crunch, global warming and pig flu. There wasn't really much they could do. Circumstance is a bitch. But because the internet is the land of opportunity, I'm able to self-publish like a true radicalist. Just don't call me a crusty, OK! Photos come courtesy of the gregarious Kevin O'Neill (that's those with the flare set to HIGH) and equally lovely Naomi Goggin (that's those with Favours for Sailors looking handsome and the crowd getting wild. More here). Thanks, y'll.

"This weekend the label celebrated it’s fourth birthday with an all day party at the Old Blue Last. Seven bands, loads of DJs and a fanzine swap workshop. Sounds great, right? Well yeah, but also no. Thanks to the New Plague, we lost a band, a DJ and a photographer to illness before the day had even started. Pig Flu is closing in. We are all doomed. But thankfully, I managed to weather the storm by drinking an intense chocolate milkshake and crushing anxiety with a mile high sugar rush that was better than drugs. My head was in the clouds, even if I was nervous everything was going to go tits up. And then the bands started and it got really busy. Ridiculously busy. Because there’s no money in running an independent label, you have to do it for love (and the girls too, which is a different kind of love). But this was definitely hard work, more like when I spent a summer digging holes for a man obsessed with bikes than rock and roll glamour.

We worked the door for eight hours solid, as well as sorting out lost equipment and band rider demands. This was all done sober too, because have you ever tried counting money when drunk? You have to tattoo numbers on your arms every three seconds because memory and alcohol are not conducive and your life slowly turns into the film Momento. But fortunately, there was some cash to count. The night sold out (obviously amazing), but this then meant turning away hot Italian girls who aren’t used to being told no. The kind of girls I struggle to say no to; anyone would struggle to say no to. It felt like a moral dilemma, although according the bouncers at the venue, there’s no such thing as morals when there’s a low cut top and a suggestive look involved. I was stronger.

Just as it looked as if we might coast to victory, there were four power cuts that lasted for a total of two hours. The room was plunged into accusing silence and darkness, and for two brief minutes I considered turning the night into a murder mystery and killing myself. With the venue curfew closing in, we were faced with the very real proposition of having to refund everyone’s money. My little heart was fluttering like a hummingbird having a panic attack, especially as I’d already paid half the bands. Then suddenly, as if by magic (or what they now call ‘electricity’), power was restored. Favours for Sailors took to the stage to play their last ever gig, replete with overenthusiastic man-child crowd surfing, stage invasions and witty asides. Finishing with their Ramones aping anthem “C U Next Tuesday”, they stepped from the oily stage leaving us with the final words “that proves conclusively that there is no such thing as free will”. It was an emotional moment, and I was holding back the tears as I was accosted by appreciative drunken men and 18 year-old-girls reveling in the glory of the night. The girls certainly helped.

Running a record label is bloody hard work. It’s also the best thing in the world."

Friday, 24 July 2009

TLV 032 - Favours for Sailors

So we asked Favours to come up with the 100 individual titles for TLV 032. We whittled their profanity and depravity down to this final selection:

you've been framed by Allah
in the drink
for brine is the glory
the deaf sea
why the why not?
what why?
waifs beneath the waves
worst and foremost
laxative scene
the rum diaries
3/4 midlands
20,000 leagues above you head
the problems will find you
one hundred beers of solitude
nothing to output
backwards insight
be gone foul band
guilty of doing nothing
more animal than beast
we never tried to not try
no thrills
b-ee-r moth
pervert from now on (since you're gone)
the coastguard always knocks twice
fucking innuendo
the paramol of animals
cooking with valium
pervert's vision
googling mirror never lies
How to get fat and effluence people
My first time in Kettering
Lunchtime special
Spurious Fun
Fuck black bears we are the crystal wolves
There is a dead person in your bed
Ghouls Fold
3 Bears in a bag
The Pigs! Live in your Garden!
Je suis le Queen
FFS play William's greatest hits
Honey corpse
terrible becomes bearable
culture went north
give it up for martin jackson
infinite hiatus
for sex call 999
does this hearse have a hot tub?
loving you is easy cos you're easy
Nice church Jesus
Maltese Supremacy
Merchant of Penis
Stupid Cat.
I can't find the light switch
Blood Worms
Whats the difference between David Cameron...
Armoured Cocoon
Hey Lou Reed!
Iron Fisht
Ironed Curtain
A tomb with a view
Face in the Fridge
Peter's Cooked
Never met a prick that likes Pavement
Verlaine and Pollard - Rock Detectives
Je Suis Timidé et mal de Téte
Liar Hydrant
Punch me in the face
Please kill me
I'm already dead
Live Animals!
Brothers in Harms
For Fucks Sake
Come Die With Me
Brothers in Arms
Art of Trance
Nautical by Nature
That Fatwah isn't Funny Anymore
The Abysmal
Allah or Nothing
Gash Diet
The Label Said: "Be Creative"
Avant Jazz
Generic Statement
Dead at the Fly, Oxford St
Past Drunk
It's too late to apologise, sorry
Dudley Whore
Tourettes De France
Schoolboy Error
Shoolgirl Error
Clean One For My Mum
This is it
Who's the Nanny?
Pig Seeks Garden
Major Label Debut
Free Phil Spector

These tapes are selling really well and we expect that they will sell out on Saturday so order one from the shop now.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

TLV 032 - Favours for Sailors - Demos

As previously mentioned, Favours for Sailors have sadly decided to go their separate ways, playing their final show at our 4th birthday party this coming Saturday at the Old Blue Last, London. This means that we’ll never have the chance to release their debut album proper. However, we are able to do the next best thing. The band were a productive lot and managed to record a number of demos that never saw the light of day. Given the quality of the song writing, we thought it a good idea to right this wrong. So, we’ve collected together a selection of 13 of the best recordings on a cassette tape. It reminds me of the first Silver Jews album; all ramshackle charm and pearly wisdom. If you loved the band, you might struggle to make it through “Night Alone” without shedding a little tear or two.

It’s a strictly limited release, with only 100 copies made. It’s just £3 and each tape will come with it’s own individual title. We’ll also send you a link to download the songs from our website. Here’s the tracklisting:

Side A:
1. “Down In The Panty Mine”
2. “Bad Dad”
3. “Brokeback Futon”
4. “Rod Stewart“
5. “Have A Drink You Fucking Idiot”
6. “Shy Times/I Would Rather Go Blind”

Side B:
1. “Connoisseur of Sunsets”
2. “Capua!“
3. “Hanging From The Christmas Tree”
4. “Last Chance”
5. “Die or Get Rich Trying”
6. “Showers of Prowess”
7. “Night Alone”

Sample track "Capua!" available for download here The tape can be purchased from the shop.

Monday, 13 July 2009

We are 4

Tough Love Records 4th Birthday Party
Saturday 25th July @ the Old Blue Last, London

Four years ago we started this messy thing. Seems like something worth celebrating to us. The 25th July also marks one year of Tough Love in London, since it was at the end of last year's celebrations in Coventry that we packed our bags and headed Dick Whittington-like to the capital. Living in Wood Green, I can report that the streets are actually paved with dog mess, not gold. Crushing realisation. That aside, it's been amazing. Come help us celebrate with our all day event at the Old Blue Last, London.

In one respect, it will be a bittersweet affair, as it'll also be the final ever Favours for Sailors gig. News stories have already started cropping up on various websites about the band splitting. I think the general reaction has been one of shock. The four nautical bad boys have decided to part ways as they are 'unsure of how to keep the indie rock dynamic interesting and fresh in our current incarnation'. Seems fair reasoning. So, they're going out with a bang at our birthday - it's my party and i'll cry if i want to (i'll want to). Excitingly, there will be special Favours for Sailors goodies available on the night (hint: new music). There will not be any open caskets, although there's likely to be some dead media and Jon may throw his brain into the crowd...

It's not just about Favours for Sailors though, as we've lined up a whole host of bands to help celebrate the momentous day.

Favours for Sailors -
William -
Munch Munch -
Gold Panda -
The Bridge Gang -
Young British Artists -
Young Athletes League -

No Pain in Pop DJ's, Tough Love DJ's and More Guest DJ's TBC.
Downstairs will be a special Zineswap workshop

Doors open at 1600 till late.

Advanced tickets are available for £5 from Be warned, these will sell out. We will keep a reserve of tickets on the door, but recommend you get there early if you want to guarantee getting in.

Monday, 6 July 2009

(Post)Modern Life Is Rubbish

I went to see Blur on Friday. I did it to make me feel better about that awful news posted below. It did make me feel better, even if just for a few hours. Because i now have a job writing for Platform, I also reviewed the gig. Well, it's a review of sorts. Platform have had to edit it slightly, because i do not understand the notion of word counts and because my big mouth also translates to the page. But copied in below is my full, unedited review.

"In a brazen and frankly unnecessary attempt to win over the crowd, tonight Damon Albarn jokes about this show being the first to go on sale, cannily implying that those present are the real Blur fans. But he’s not talking to me. I don’t deserve that. I waited until an entire twenty-four hours before the start of the show to arrange a reduced-price ticket. I’m such a tourist. I can’t even decide on my favourite Blur album.

But as if to spite my flagrancy, things don’t go quite to plan and I almost get bitten hard on my tight arse. By the time I arrive at Hyde Park, my friend with the spare ticket is already inside the arena and I spend the next hour and a half getting both her answer phone and increasingly, childishly anxious. There’s a mobile phone black spot playing havoc with my heart and threatening to crush the realisation of a long held teenage dream. As cultural imperialists Vampire Weekend take to the stage, I decide to panic-buy a ticket from a couple who’ve been lucky enough to win backstage passes. Hate them. Just as we complete the transaction, my phone begins to ring. Great timing. It must be a tout conspiracy. I accelerate from zero to one-too-many tickets faster than an LA ambulance with a dead popstar inside. But at least I’m guaranteed to get in now.

As I make my way to the bar, I embarrassingly realise the hole in my cut-offs thinks it’s a charity and has decided to donate all of my money to the grass; a grass that’s populated by such a high proportion of twats I start to think I may have bought a ticket for an Oasis concert instead. Fantastic. Showers of Tuborg bottles filled with piss fly through the crowd, hitting boring people in their fat faces. This makes me feel a little better. All it needs to do now is start raining.

But it doesn’t. The sky stays so blue its like it was drawn in to evoke the sense of hope of the New Labour 90s boom Blur are inexorably tied to. Because, as relevant as Blur have remained, tonight is all about the past. It’s a nostalgia trip which Blur embrace unashamedly, airing a selection of songs from each one of their seven albums. For the most part, time has been incredibly kind to their back catalogue (although “She’s So High” still sounds like the first song they ever wrote) and, in particular, Alex James. The more bourgeois he becomes, the better he looks. I have a man crush. If that’s what a champagne addiction does for you, then hook some Moet to my veins now. Sadly, the same can’t be said for poor Dave Rowntree, the torment of time emphasised by a devious camera man who decides to provide a big screen close up of his overflowing mid-rift and animated jowls at exactly the point Damon utters the fateful “all the seams are splitting ” line from “Tracey Jacks”. It can’t be a coincidence and it’s not the only time that this words ring eerily true tonight.

We all know we’re going to die of something this summer (thanks, The Media), but if it’s to be soundtracked by “This Is A Low”, then it’ll be a beautiful final communal sunset, even when the mass sing-a-long sounds like aural pig flu. It’s an anthem for Broken Britain, sung along to by all the people that keep breaking it. It’s like all the characters Damon has created in his lyrics are standing there in the crowd screaming back at him, like a musical “Lunar Park”. Thank God he didn’t create Patrick Bateman. Nevertheless, I could quite easily go the rest of my life without ever again hearing some fat HMV indie dad with sunburn and an over designed River Island T shirt bellow along to “Tender” like he’s never heard music before. It’s like drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa, but less funny and with more BO. It’s Ernold Same’s one gig of the year. But it must be a beautiful moment for the band. Damon in particular appears visibly moved by the reception they receive, although he’s manned up a little after going Gwyneth Paltrow at Glastonbury. It probably also makes him feel better to know that he’s not the only one here who can’t sing very well and he certainly looks only slightly less trampy than his fans.

But, as populist as Blur are, this isn’t an Oasis gig. The crowd might be mainly 18-to-over-30-and-off-their-fuckin-heads, but at least what they’re here for is much more intelligent than gigs this size generally are. They close with what’s probably the best final encore ever in “For Tomorrow” and “The Universal”. Those songs still hit hard, perhaps harder than ever before. It’s almost as if they were always written for this moment. As if they’d consciously written their own history from the start.
Strategically wading through a carpet of plastic bottles as we leave, the chorus to that final song is looping in my head and all I can think is “fuck, they’re the band The Beatles could’ve been”. Ask me what my favourite Blur album is now. I’d have to say The Best of Blur. That’s what it was tonight."

And sorry for the terrible title for the post. If only i was as clever as i thought i was.

A Message from Favours for Sailors

Dear FFS fans,

Sad news: our ship has been boarded by pirates, who have executed the crow's nest and made the starboard walk the plank. The rumours are true – FAVOURS FOR SAILORS HAVE DECIDED TO CALL IT A DAY.

However, we have ONE MORE GIG, at Tough Love's fourth birthday party, 25 July, at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch. More details here
We'd like to thank everyone who bought our music, or ever came to a gig, especially those who came to several, and particularly to those who seemed to come to every show. Sorry if we were ever shambolic (but you didn't notice, right?).

Special thanks also to Tough Love for releasing and promoting our mini-album Furious Sons, to Sally for designing the album artwork and to Rory for doing such a good job recording it.Here's an anodyne statement for a press release: 'We're unsure of how to keep the indie rock dynamic interesting and fresh in our current incarnation'.

We will be posting a load of unreleased songs as soon as we can decide which ones won't land us with a string of libel cases.

The Furious Sons EP is available from

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Don't Go Home With Your Hard-On June


Sunday 11th June @ Old Blue Last, London

After a break in May because of ATPs and Primavera and holidays andheatwaves, we're back once again like the renegade master. This monthis a purposeful reflection of the unfeasibly awesome weather we'vebeen using as an excuse to not do any work - i.e. sounds like summer (I wrote this before it started pissing it down like a Hidden Cameras song).

The details:

Sunny Day Sets Fire
Elephant 6 style indie pop that the NME are convinced is made by wizards.

A Classic Education
Orchestral and grand and swirling, this is epic indie, in the vein of Arcade Fire, The National and Fanfarlo. Not bad associations, them.

Empty Set
Tom's final gig before he moves to Sweden to be a real full blown actual scientist (rather than just singing about being one).

Tough Love DJs, 8:30pm-12:30am and FREE entry

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Situationists (2005-2009) R.I.P

I never wanted to write this. I don’t suppose there are many obituaries that do want to be written. So young and still so far to go! But yes, sadly Situationists have decided to go their separate ways, playing their final gig at The Harley in Sheffield last Thursday. Perhaps this should be seen as a posthumous love letter rather than an obit though, because we’ve definitely loved this band as hard as any other over the last four years, big or small, famous or otherwise. There’s slightly embarrassing LastFM stats to prove it, if proof is what you need.

But, as upset as we are, maybe this was the way it was always meant to be. There has always been an air of melancholy piercing through even their most sprightly pop songs. Listening through their back catalogue now, it’s as if they were consciously foretelling their own demise, writing their own ending from the start - “What will we do when our luck runs out?” (“Onwards and Upwards”), “These plans are flawed” (“Somersaults”), “Please don’t put your faith in this fortune that can’t last forever” (“Comprende!”), “This is torturous, but so satisfying when it’s over” (“Bag of Nerves”). So young and yet so full of heartache! Like all the best bands, they had a startling ability to balance the romance of youth with a subtle, keening sadness. Those things always go together well, because they’re true. Just don’t call it emo, OK?! And don’t forget all of those interlocking guitars, like lines on a map spiralling off into infinity, meaning just one thing: possibility. Up and down that motorway, in that practice room, up on that festival stage, to millions on Channel 4, anything was possible.

And so it's because of this that we're deeply saddened by the fact we never got a chance to release a full-blown Situationists album. Never had a chance at presenting them to the wider world on a grander scale. Their songs deserved that platform, but more importantly, as both musicians and people, they deserved it too. But we - because we did all of this together, always - can be proud of what we did achieve: two beautifully packaged EPs of indiepop gold, two free download singles, a Japanese album and too many life-affirming gigs to recall in their entirety. And fortunately, if there’s any silver lining at all, there’s one final fanfare, one triumphant swansong that undoubtedly proves they were taken in their prime.

Recorded and produced by Nick (what a talent!) in the first few months of 2009 at their own studio, Grazie Infinite completes the triptych of EPs we had planned from the start. Unfortunately, this record won't be seeing a physical release, so we've decided to "do a Radiohead" and offer a option. Put simply, if you choose to, you can download the four-track EP for free from our main site. Alternatively, if you deem it worthy, you can also contribute a small payment by clicking on the designated button.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy the new songs and it would be fitting to send the band away with a little money for all their efforts. The artwork was once again designed by Ralph, who’s forging a real talent for design - get in contact with him through the band’s MySpace if you’d like him to do some work for you (please don't give up playing drums though, Ralph!)


  1. Calluses
  2. Old Silent Movie
  3. Bag of Nerves
  4. Somersaults

So, that’s that. Thanks Dan, Nick, Ralph and Sam (and Andy) for being awesome. It was only ever the best of times all of the time. Ah, bittersweet emotion! Please start making music again, thank you! The final words are yours, boys, because you already said it better than I ever could: “windows down, spirits up, pollen surging through my blood, streaming tears from swollen eyes, but we’re all smiles”.

Friday, 15 May 2009

All Tomorrow's Hangovers (At Once And In Quick Succession)

We’re sitting in the chalet our friends won at the pub quiz at last December’s Nightmare Before Christmas and revelling in the indie kudos. Amongst the typical ATP fare of episodes of The Day Today and people using beer boxes to create robot masks, talk turns to Neil Young’s ill-fated 1982 album Trans. Having not heard it before, someone slips the CD into the chalet’s DVD player and enlightens me. It transpires that Neil Young had heard DEVO and thought it a good idea to pretend to be them, singing about Computer Cowboys and Transformer Men through a vocoder. It’s a unique, if unfathomable experience. Looking at the absurd, anachronistic album cover, featuring two cars from different eras passing each other in a Tron-style haze, someone else notes that it’s “half future, half past”. It’s a perfect ATP moment and as good a description for the uninitiated as to what happens on that Minehead beachfront thrice yearly as can be expected.

Alongside the cheap plastic paraphernalia that adorns the numerous shops scattered across the Butlin’s site and torturous drinking sessions that turn that same site into a mess of ruined bodies, ATP is fundamentally about one thing: new experiences. With the growing success of their canonising Don’t Look Back series and consistent attempt to bring young, interesting acts to these shores, ATP is effectively the front cover of Trans incarnate. Such a claim should come as no surprise, given that the festival takes its name from a song by arguably histories most retroactively canonised band. With a line up half chosen by ATP, half selected by the attending paying customers, the list of acts reveals the fans are as aware of the festival’s purpose as the organisers themselves, even if there was a poorly judged effort to have a fortunately unavailable MGMT play. Democracy: know your place.

As an initial point, it’s maybe worth noting that as good as ATP is, it’s not an unmitigated success, although admittedly, failures are to be expected when you fly so close to the sun. Spiritualized may divide the stage with their white/black, heaven/hell style clothing, but not my opinion. They’re sounding increasingly staid and dated now. Whereas once it was transcendent, now all J. Spaceman’s rocket ship can do is take us all the way back to 1997. With access to a rocket ship, you’d think he’d prefer to go somewhere more interesting. There are other notable embarrassments too. Powerful and sharp on past records, live, !!! are an amorphous mess of jam band mentality and Factory Records cut offs, coming off like James’ Tim Booth fronting a bad (read: even worse) Flowered Up. So cringe worthy and deluded is frontman Nic Offer’s faux-shamanic shtick, that his desire to assert his ‘funkiness’ and bad Dad dancing serves only to convince that he may be made entirely from hemp and self-satisfaction. The Big Chill beckons.

But for all said bands’ poor appropriation of former glories, there are several others on hand to remind just how deep the well for great alternative music runs. While The Jesus Lizard and DEVO are primal and joyful in equal measure, it’s the intensity of a reformed Sleep that truly shakes Butlins to its plastic core.

A stoner rock band from the early nineties, infamous for blowing their shot at commercial success by signing to London Records then subsequently delivering a 60 minute album containing just one song, Sleep play the entirety of 1992’s Holy Mountain, in what is my first encountering of the band and their first show since splitting at the end of the century. For those, unlike myself, cool enough to recall them first time around, it’s a long awaited reformation and is met with a sea of requisite devil horns and fan worship intensity.

Quite simply, Sleep are the loudest thing I’ve ever heard. The stage is kitted from floor to ceiling with amps, constructed from a backline rented from Thin Lizzy, no less. This is stadium equipment transposed to a holiday resort bingo hall and the result is heavy, dense and at times, uncomfortably physical. As the deep end of the bass and constant squall of the guitars spiral off into the ether, the air in the room becomes so thick you can almost climb it. It’s like a ladder of sound and dope smoke.

Playing for what seems like an eternity, the encore lasts almost as long as the set itself. But it doesn’t diminish the moment. Their impact remains intensely overwhelming; their relatively uncelebrated place in history a mystery. With the room so busy, TV screens monitor the action to provide those seeking sanctuary from the noise at the back a better view. It feels like an alternative Live Aid, with one notable difference. Instead of asserting sanctimonious guilt trip rhetoric, it’s the monolithic nature of the music that the world has no choice but to be moved by, even if it was only my world. But in this century of self, it’s seems a fitting moment.

So, if Sleep are the sound of yesterday reanimated today, then it’s to Grizzly Bear, Fuck Buttons and, most strikingly, HEALTH that we catch a glimpse of the future. All three bands air new material from highly anticipated follow-up records and on this weekend’s showing, the latter half of 2009 will bear witness to some important albums.

The multi-part, reverb-heavy harmonies of Grizzly Bear lull and charm like a Coney Island fairground waltz, while Fuck Buttons continue to push their take on noise to increasingly epic, euphoric levels. But HEALTH, playing only the fourth slot of the festival, set the benchmark.

Whereas their first album was a metallic cacophony of primal percussion, the new songs are more expansive and accessible. On new single “Die Slow” for example, they embrace both the softness of the incongruently melodic vocals and the ‘disco’ element channelled on their highly successful remix album to arresting effect. While HEALTH don’t so much care for song structure in any traditional sense, much like Sleep, it’s their sound, and the recreation of it live, that truly resonates. Texture is integral, and with a bass that sounds like a wounded robot dinosaur and a relentless set list with few pauses, either for the crowd or themselves, it’s an immersive experience. HEALTH may be tied to the parochial cool of L.A.’s Smell scene, but with performances and material like this, they’ll easily transcend any such associations.

With its increasingly London-trendy crowd, ATP is admittedly zeitgeist friendly and slowly developing into its own hipster institution. While fashion may be transient and capricious by nature, with such careful consideration of the past and inquisitive embracing of the future, it still remains the most innovative of UK festivals (Supersonic included). Now all we can hope for is Neil Young and Trans next year. Don’t Look Back To The Future, anyone?

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Old friends, new records

For you avid Tough Love followers, both of you, you’ll be familiar with the names Calories and Youves. It would probably help if I said that Youves were up until not too long ago called Mirror! Mirror!. Well, dear reader, I mention both bands in a recommendation for you to purchase their latest releases.

Calories debut album Adventuring (Small Town America) has been on the Tough Love stereo continually since we received an advance copy a while back. I was intending to review the album but I realised that I’m not very good at that. And Tom, Pete and John would get all embarrassed by the gushing praise anyway. It’s a plain and simple recommendation to go buy it (from here) and catch them live on one of their many, many tour dates.

Similarly, those Nuneaton based rapscallions Youves have blown us away with Cardiovascular (Holy Roar). Building on the promise they showed with the release we put out, Cardiovascular is a 7-song call to arms of pulsating energy. With song titles like Fully Erect Serve and Protect, Bigorexic, Another Djemba Djemba and My High Horse is a Penny Farthing and THAT artwork you wont be disappointed. Buy it here or catch them at one of the venues listed on their myspace.

There’s no Don’t go Home this month because of ATP, ATP and ATP. We will be back on 14th June with Sunny Day Sets Fire, A Classic Education and The Empty Set. The July gig (25th) will mark our fourth birthday (we’re getting on a bit) and a very special line up is being put together and it’ll knock your moccasins off.

And one more thing, wtf, seriously wtf.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Last night I had a dream about you

Situationists - TLV 029 - Digital Love/Whisky and Water (aspx remix)
Available on the Tough Love Selecter now

As some of you may know, Situationists have decided to go their separate ways, playing their final show in Sheffield at the Harley on Thursday (14th). It's a bitter disappointment that we never had the chance to release an album by the band. However, there's some consolation in that they've recorded several new songs, which will see the light of day very soon.
In the meantime, we're giving away a free download from our site which features a newly recorded version of their cover of Daft Punk's "Digital Love" and an INCREDIBLE remix of perhaps their best song "Whiskey & Water" by The Aspirins For My Children.
To access the songs, just follow the simple steps below
2. Click on the Selecter tab
3. Enter the code 'thissongisfrench'
4. Download

Slightly Delighted EP Launch Party
The aforementioned Situationists played at the Slightly Delighted EP launch of label mates William last Friday (1st May). Favours for Sailors completed the line up and our friend Gary Keenan has captured the rock posturing here
In other news, you can download the lead track from William's new mini album from This Is Fake DIY:

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Don't Go Home With Your Hard On @ Old Blue Last, London

It's that time of the month again that changes every month. Keeping you on your toes like kissing a tall girl.

Artefacts For Space Travel
Signed to Stolen (the home of Pete and the Pirates and Let's Wrestle), they're a little noisy, a little psyche. And more than a little good.

The Bridge Gang
Don't call it a comeback, although that's what it is. Formerly signed to Brille, The Bridge Gang foolishly split after releasing three impeccable powerpop singles. They've since come to their senses and reformed, with this they're first gig back!

They need no introduction, but what does need saying is that their new recordings are by far the best things they've ever done. And equally exciting is that they now feature the best human ever on drums.

Sunday 19th April
Entry: FREE
Doors: 8:30pm - 12:30am
Tough Love DJs

Thursday, 19 February 2009

At the last Don't Go Home... Ryan joked (or was he being serious? So hard to tell) that in putting on both PENS and Teeth!!! we were doubling the 'quota' of women who have played Tough Love nights over the last 4(!) years. While that's not entirely accurate - maybe we pushed it into double figures? - it's true that we do unconsciously lean towards 'male' bands. I don't know why. It's a criticism that's been leveled at us in the past. But I don't see music that way, in those kind of gendered categories and I think it would be a little disingenuous to release a record made by women just for the sake of it, just as much as we'd steer clear of the tokenism in releasing a record by black musicians just so we could, y'know, 'balance things out'.

While Tough Love is mainly a distillation of two people's music taste, it doesn't completely reflect what we listen to, as I hope the recent Podcasts have made clear. This last week I've fallen head-over-heels for the new Marissa Nadler song - "River of Dirt" - that's been floating around on the more on-point blogs these last few months. Marissa Nadler is a woman. That is true. I can't deny it. And I still like it. Maybe I'm not a misogynist then? Or maybe in pointing that out, that's exactly what I become? Either way it's a pointless discussion, because what I like best about this song has nothing to do with her sex.

There are of course qualities to "River of Dirt" that may be traditionally interpreted as feminine - her beautifully tender, yearning vocals, the soft, flowing sweep of the subtle production - but in almost all European languages the word 'music' is gendered feminine, so make of that what you will. Which incidentally should be that it's all construction anyway.

The beauty of this song for me lies in the narrative, made opaque by imagery drawn from nature and an undefined recent past. It evokes a love taken for granted now diminished, existent only in faded rose-tinted memories. The moment at 2:16 when she sings "Take me back to the place of the golden slumbers, where I was happy and you were my middle name" has me welling up a little. A moment of ineffable joiussance if there ever was.

In terms of subject, it's familiar territory for sure. It's a story told many times before. Cynics may ask does the world really need another lovelorn break-up song? The answer to that question is, of course, a resounding yes. Heartbreak is as old as humanity, and so long as there are new hearts experiencing it, we're going to need new ways to hear it articulated and Nadler beautifully navigates the subject. We may all be "so painfully alone", but we're alone together and it's in songs like this you can revel in that self-indulgence. I think that's the point anyway. The comfort in being sad and all that.

I think this might well be the most emo post ever, on any blog anywhere. But y'know, tis a beautiful song and if your heart doesn't break a little when you hear it, you might want to check you have one, or at least start using the one you have got.

Marissa Nadler - "River of Dirt"

Don't Go Home With Your Hard On 3 In Photos

These have taken a few days (erm, weeks!) to post, but thanks to all that came down and made it such an amazingly fun night. The dancing at the end to "Breed" was as exciting as it was unexpected. Wow, looks like Nirvana are still pretty popular. On top of all the funtimes, it also looks as if something even more positive may have come of the night (hint: it's to do with a future TLV release). Can't reveal details just yet, but we are up high on bat wings about. Yeah, that good.

Credit to Kristian for all the beautiful photos (they'll also be appearing in Vice soon, if not already!).

Urgh, Shoreditch


Phone Home

Male Bonding

There can never be enough male bonding

Most aptly monikered band to play the night yet?


They actually did not stop smiling. I wouldn't either.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Podcast No. 5 - The Podcast About Nothing

Recent activity has been pretty thin and few. I offer no apologies. We have lives away from the Internet. I know it's a struggle to consider that possibility. We shall not be tyrannised by technology. But despite this, we have recorded another Podcast. It's our fifth. Seems hard to believe someone hasn't stopped us. Of course Im biased, but this could well be our best, musically at least. I don't know how to measure the quality of our input, but I do love these songs. And anything that contains both Silver Jews and Talking Heads was always going to set my heart on fire.

In other news, I've just finished interviewing Bill Callahan (he of Smog) for a feature in Bearded magazine. When the magazine is published, I'll post the interview here. But really, you should buy the magazine. It's a beautiful thing to own.

And in further news beyond that, Favours for Sailors are slowly becoming the biggest band in the world. Even bigger than The Bravery and Pull Tiger Tail. But not as big as MGMT. That's impossible. But yeah, Zane Lowe and Steve Lamacq have been all over them this past week. It was euphoric. It was vindication. It's only the start.


1. PENS - "Networking"
2. Wale - "The Kramer"
3. Silver Jews  -"Trains Across The Sea"
4. Apollo Ghosts - "Dobermans"
5. Palace Music - "New Partner"
6. Talking Heads - "Uh Oh, Love Has Come To Town"
7. Kotki Dwa - "Nearly Go"

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Don't Go Home With Your Hard On 3

After taking a rest in January, we're back, like Paul Newman in The Colour of Money. Yeah, that good. "What you got in there?" "Doom" Well, not quite but something equally big and messy. So, here it is:

Tough Love presents...
Don't Go Home With Your Hard-On 3 @Old Blue Last, London

- messy and bratty and a little bit naughty too. Times New Viking with more references to penises and just a little less EQ, if you like. Can you get behind that?
Male Bonding
- "The sound of homosexual panic" but with more of a hangover and less bothered. Guest on the other side of a 7" released with PENS. Incestuous. Can you get behind that?
- like Crystal Castles if they didn't have black holes for eyes - i.e. with a SOUL! Just back from The Smell in LA. I can get behind that.

FREE entry
Art School Scum DJs
Born on the Floor DJs

Here's the Facebook event, if you're into to multiplatform, transmedia interconnections.

And finally, thank you to Laura Rayner for the incredible poster.

Friday, 23 January 2009

RIP Silver Jews

This is going to read like an obituary. It shouldn't. No one has died and the unseemly and unexpected passing of Ron Asheton last week is of far more consequence and I wrote nothing about that (although perhaps because anything else would seem like a tautology after one friend's beautifully succinct appraisal of the man - "never has one person done so much with so little").

I understand this is laced with unnecessary melodrama, but the news today (from the horses mouth via the Drag City forum, cos even cowboys got the Internet) that David Berman and his Silver Jews are stepping down and out of music was a Friday morning body blow I didn't want or need. His reasons were admirable if rather obliquely expressed (what else were you expecting?), citing a desire to concentrate more on 'writing' and end the band before they inadvertently recorded "the reply to Shiny Happy People". That's a flawless argument. Really it is. But I'm going to miss them.

It's a common shibboleth that Silver Jews albums have got progressively worse. They've not. They've just changed focus, influences steeped more in country then indie aesthetic, but remaining consistently affecting and human. I'm going to miss anticipating his next line and never once getting it right. He was - he is - the antithesis of cliche and yes, the greatest lyricist of a generation. There, I've said it. I've made that qualification. If you don't know what I mean, I'm strangely envious. There's a back catalogue I'd love to hear for the first time again. And now there can be no more firsts, at least with his music anyway. What he does next is sure to enthrall me in equal measure (as with his book of poetry, Actual Air), but just like recent albums, it too will be a different experience. Whatever happens, it's likely to be charged with the usual combination of skyscraper intelligence and imperious integrity.

And so music, like football, always manage to throw up strange little ironies. It was only this week that I rediscovered Will Oldham's reinterpretation of Palace Music songs on Greatest Palace Music. Listening inattentively (you know what generation I belong to), i was drawn to something I'd not noticed before; D.C. Berman chiming in on backing vocals on "No More Workhorse Blues". I'm not going to patronise you, but there's something incredibly prescient about my rediscovery of that song. Maybe the recent end to the Jews live show freeze out and the incessant touring and pressures that followed as a result had shifted what was once a love into a chore for Berman? It's not quite been spelt out yet, but in it's own unexpected and possibly inaccurate way, that song explains enough. How typically contrary of the man that it's someone else's words doing the explaining now.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Podcast 4 - Ones to Watch 2009

BOOM! 2009, here it is. There it was more like. While we were sleeping in nursing battered bodies and "please-fuck-off-now" paunches the year started unannounced. Just as December pisses out end of year lists like a river of sunburned corpses, January is rife with predictions and theories. And somewhat less cynically, possibility. Anything can happen and probably wont, but that isn't going to stop the whining wannabe clairvoyants. And it wont stop us either.

With that in mind, here's Podcast No. 4 - these are assuming an uneasy regularity now. This time we're talking about, you know, bands worth taking note of in 2009. There's only six songs, but don't take that as a suggestion that the year will be defined by a paucity. We'd just rather listen to the sounds of our own voices then someone else's. It's called being an only child, OK? OK!

Be warned, there's more swearing in this one, particularly by Ryan and I adopt the catchphrase 'indie heat'; a terrifying notion. A terrible human being.


1. Danananaykroyd - Chrome Rainbow
2. Animal Collective vs Frankie Knuckles - Your Love My Girls
3. Situationists - Whiskey and Water (Aspirins Remix)
4. Fryars - Polystyrene
5. The Clean - Twist Top
6. Wavves - So Bored