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