Monday, July 15, 2024


I’ve been reading a lot of Ed Zitron lately. In his newsletters (and podcast!) he talks about things like enshittification, the rot economy, tech CEOs becoming isolated and weird… you know, all the things wrong with modern life, and I had a sort of brainwave this morning that it underpins something I’ve been thinking about the past year or so.

Around this time a year ago, I gave up my X account. Aside from all the moral and ethical concerns about supporting far-right weirdos and their new toys, the platform also became borderline unusable from a band perspective. If I can’t reach anyone, and I’m not exactly having a great time having to put up with porn bots and endless ‘discourse’, what’s the point in having this thing again? Whilst I admit there’s still no comparable site to move onto, I always had the nagging feeling in the back of my head, saying ‘do I even want a comparable site?’ - Bluesky’s cool, but it’s still small. Threads is… just Threads at this point - an overly sanitised, boring engagement bait mess. An experience comparable with arguing in an airport duty free shop, essentially where Linkedin ends and Facebook begins. Anyway, I digress.

The thing with big tech is, that throughout my life, and my career as a budding, never-quite-popular DIY musician, it’s been there to help for a large part of that. I can remember the days before broadband, before most social networks - I was there for the boom and bust of music blogs, I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe… etc. It was tough back then, and the internet alongside tech advances made a lot of it easier - I can download an mp3 and stick it on my iPod, that sort of thing. Now, however, I don’t think many would really go to bat for tech, or for social media for that matter.

Which brings me back to my point about X (it’s not twitter anymore lads, hasn’t been for quite some time) - you’d really, really struggle to find anyone enthusiastic about using it, or many other places like it. They suck, they’re run by hyper capitalist dorks who want to squeeze every penny out of you, and give you an experience that’s just-about-functional, but far from actually enjoyable. Because it’s easier and cheaper to do that. Facebook doesn’t need to innovate, it has half the world signed up to it, why would they bother now? It’s swimming in scams and AI generated slop, but they don’t care, why would they? They make more money than god on an hourly basis.

Anyway, I digress again. It got me thinking about my relationship with these things, and what joy, and/ or usefulness they give to me, to bands, to artists, to anyone even remotely creative. And the answer is always ‘yeah, not much as it happens’. They’re all a mess - confusing, restrictive, broken most of the time, awash with nazis the rest… the list goes on. So why do we bother? “oh well y’know… my fans are on there! I have to use it for ‘the biz’, I have to keep my numbers up!” - I hear stuff like that all the time, and have been known to utter it myself too. But thinking about it, really drilling down into it, it’s all bollocks. You don’t need these places - sure, they might make life an iota more easier, especially if you have a new record or a tour or something, but if you can’t reach anyone anyway, seriously… what’s the point?

It’s 2024 now, and as most of these social media places are either coalescing into a sludge of blind rage, abject tedium, or both, it’s becoming more and more apparent that you have agency now to go where you want and use what you like. That agency is so, so special - I remember the times before it was yanked away from most of us by social media companies - the thought of a band not having a Facebook page in 2013 was career suicide, and something that brought band managers I knew at the time out in hives. But now, you have the agency to do something about it - you don’t have to use Facebook, certainly not in the same way we used to use it. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do now. This rings true more for the DIY people reading this than it does someone on a label, being subtly prodded to help pay back that advance in any way they can, but it makes me even angrier when I see my fellow DIY-ers constantly having to play a game that’s rigged against them from the start, and not realising you don’t have to play it.

Spotify, by and large, is a colossal waste of time. Stop using it! It doesn’t pay fairly, it’s riddled with copycat AI generated garbage, and did I mention it doesn’t pay fairly? You can hop on over to Apple, Deezer, Youtube, Amazon, Tidal, etc. There are so many alternatives to spotify. Use them! Or Don’t! It’s up to you, it’s your agency. Don’t feel the need to constantly ‘be on’ or update stuff all the time - you’ve probably just as much luck hitting the jackpot from some kid using 3 seconds of your song on tiktok as you are trying to play the game with ‘the biz’.

I stopped even doing things like pre-orders, let alone pre-release singles and videos, because I could. I didn’t need to do it, so I stopped. Hell, you don’t even need to release on a Friday if you don’t want to. I think we should all get back a little bit to those wild west days of just doing whatever the fuck, instead of feeling the need to put little icons of social media companies in your banners - they couldn’t give the slightest shit about you, so why not do likewise?

I appreciate this does come across as a bit ‘old man yells at cloud’, and there’ll be nuances and all sorts of situations where this idealist claptrap just won’t fly, but for the sake of my sanity, please at least just take away the general vibe, the general feeling of this weird rant. Again, it’s 2024 - you do not need to do anything you don’t want to do. And if you are being told to do something you don’t want to do, at least question it. At least ask if there’s another way, because these fucking companies won’t last forever, but in some way, however small, your music will.

Monday, July 8, 2024

A little trip down memory lane

A while ago, my external hard drive crashed and took with it pretty much all the photos I had of the band from it's early-ish days, which was a huge downer. I tried to cobble together as much as I could from emails, old flickr accounts, random CDs I found underneath jackets in old offices (that actually happened) and stuff. I wasn't able to get all of it back, but I did get a bit. Anyway, the other day my old mate John Banks (he of Time Lapse & Arrivals covers, as well as a plethora of promo photos over the years) sent over a bunch of stuff he'd found on his old computers and although I've backed it all up a billion times now, I thought I'd put them up here too, if not just for my own sake than having an actually quite interesting blog post full of pictures of myself looking remarkably baby faced.

These were all from 2006-08 (I think!) certainly nothing after that anyway. Mainly in and around Manchester, as we used to play there an awful lot and John is from there, so would always show up with his Camera:

This was in the basement of a pub called the Bay Horse, no idea why we used to play there all the fucking time

The Bay Horse again, rockin' out.

Another one from the Bay Horse

This was at The Brudenell in Leeds, just before one of those pretty little tealights burned through the mouse cable and almost stopped the show. Managed to press play on Reason just before it did that, and as it was the last track, salvaged the set. Still had to put out a mini fire though haha. 

No idea where this was, but I still have that t-shirt somewhere. I used to bow the guitar quite a bit in the early days, but only started doing that in '08-ish, so I'm guessing this is from that period.

Look at how much hair I used to have! Amazing.  

No idea where this was either, but could be the Star and Garter in Manchester. Rockin' a Belle & Sebastian t-shirt there.

I forget which gig this was, but it was Upstairs at the Library in Leeds - it used to have a huge screen behind it so you'd get these cool silhouettes from time to time.

Another one from The Library. It's called The Lending Room now lol

One from St. George's Hall in Bradford. It was part of a big night they used to do monthly called BD1 Live, where cool young promoters were invited to put stuff on there. We played with I Like Trains and Falconetti at this one. Was a great night!

Haven't got a clue about this one, but my hair is a bit shorter and that isn't my guitar, so could be anwhere, any time lol

Cafe Saki in Rusholme, Manchester - possibly 2006?

Another one at Saki. It was a restaurant if memory serves, but the guys who ran it just let kids put on shows upstairs after hours. Was always a laugh.

Saki again maybe? No idea. It's most probably somewhere in Manchester. Someone wearing sandals (?!) in the background there.

From the band's first photo shoot, somewhere near Alderley Edge in the posh bit of Manchester. Used to take myself very seriously, as you can probably tell here lol.

Friday, June 21, 2024

If Not Then, Maybe Now

Back when I was putting together the last album, If Not Now When, I had a few bits that I'd recorded a while ago floating about. Mainly just 'I'm bored, so lets plug everything in and have a jam' sort of things, but I had a good few of them kicking about.

Two of them made it onto the album (Acid House Matinee and Teufelstanz), but there were a few left over that I thought sounded pretty good, but maybe didn't work in terms of the album, and wanted them to get their flowers, rather than sit stagnating on a hard drive.

So, with that in mind, I thought 'fuck it' and bobbed them out on Bandcamp as a self-contained little pay-what-you-want companion EP to the album. All three were recorded in one take each (give or take the odd overdub, or cuting out a bum note or two) and have that sort of loose, summery feel that's perfect for this time of year. 

Anyway, enjoy!

Thursday, June 6, 2024


Truth be told, when I first launched a patreon, I really didn't know what I was doing. I went full-on, overdrive and threw everything at it: you wanted production advice? I could do that! You wanted sample packs and live shows? I'll do it! Here, have long forgotten tracks from the archive, have a discount code, some merch, behind the scenes videos... the list was endless, and it took a bit of time to understand that the people that very kindly signed up to it wanted... absolutely none of that whatsoever. They wanted to show support and to maybe get first dibs on albums, and that was about it. 

I came close to just cancelling the whole thing, as I'd just started a new job and didn't really have a lot of time to dedicate to it, so felt bad that I was ripping people off by charging them every month, but once again, people just told me that they just wanted to support the band, and didn't really expect anything more. I should probably just listen more! I am an idiot. 

Anyway, so I came up with a compromise, and that was to dig into the bones of what made the Patreon so good in the first place, discard the rest and keep it super simple, which is where we are now, with this satan Patreon 2.0.

I've ditched the tiering system, so it's a flat £5 a month, and you can come and go as you please - don't think of it as a lifetime membership or anything, it's fine to just swing by for a month or two. I've kept the core things that people enjoyed, and the ones I enjoyed doing, and binned the rest. So, for your money each month, you now get:

Access and downloads to records 2 weeks before they land elsewhere, sneak peeks at up-coming records, video and audio of new live sets that me and Sophie play in the studio, discount codes on merch and physical items, Q&As, and my personal favourite: the mix series (which are sort of a hybrid between 'mix' mixes and radio shows these days)

Genuinely feels good to be able to offer all that, and I hope some of you come on over. You can sign up here, and if you've any questions, just ping me and I'll do my best to answer.

Friday, May 17, 2024

If Not Now, When

It's new (double) album time!

Also it's pay-what-you-want as it's my birthday today, so fill yr boots:

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The big squeeze

Seeing two DIY bands who are friends of mine, in completely different music scenes, both express a resigned exhaustion at the state of live music last night was a real depressing eye opener.

Both DIY, both on the hunt for gigs, both desperate to play live and meet people and do all the good stuff that comes with playing live, and both utterly fed up. Can't say I blame them either, as I'm in exactly the same boat.

Bookings ain't what they used to be, and usually if I'd get fed up at the state of things, I'd just book a load of rooms myself and just promote a tour that way, but I've been completely unable to do that this year either. Venues closing down, or ramping up prices (gigging in Glasgow went from £50 to £150 for room hire alone) means you either lose a ton of money, or you just don't bother. 

And why would you bother? Audiences are fairly thin on the ground at the moment, and only getting spread thinner due to more and more mid level bands hoovering up the only venues and promoters left, and realistically who are those venue owners going to trust to fill their places more? A balding 40 year old with dreams of getting 20 people in a room to listen to his unsigned ambient electronica, or a hot new band on a label with a booking agent whispering in their ear about how much of a push they're getting from various press outlets, etc?

It works for them, but just means myself (and the countless other bands in the same boat) have fuck all places to actually go and play. There's no sweatbox anymore, little places you can cram a few sweaty people into and have a good time for very little money, where you can try out a few new bits in a pressure free environment. It absolutely sucks.

So outside of booking a tour where I (once again) would have to book rooms, promote, do sound, the door, etc. all myself, there aren't not a lot of options. And I'm the lucky one here too, as I've amassed a fairly respectable audience for my stuff. It's not massive by any stretch, but those new bands trying to get someone to listen to them are in a really shit position:the mid level touring act brimming with industry and investment rolls into town and hoovers up all the money and audience, the huge acts like your Taylor Swifts just annihilate everything else, and you're left looking at a DIY scene with limited funds, limited spaces and limited opportunities. No wonder so many just jack it in.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Poindexter lives!

l-r: Leon (bass), Simon (keys), me (guitar)

At the weekend I met up with half of my old band from back in the old, old days of 2003ish, Johnny Poindexter. Yes, it was a stupid name for a band (I have form in this, don't forget), but it was actually supposed to be a very 'serious' post-rock band. Which is funny, because it started as just a way of me and a few pals from where I grew up to just piss about with guitars and stuff like that. 

It grew out of that and into a very po-faced post-rock band in the end though, and by 2005ish, we were gigging around Leeds, and had put out a record. It was fun, but these things never last do they? It eventually led into worriedaboutsatan though, so I do owe it quite a bit.

I'd lost touch with Leon, who played bass in the post-rock days, until Simon (who I very much am still in contact with, as he lives down the road) put together a day out around some breweries around where we live. Was really nice to see Leon again, and always nice to have a natter with Si, reminiscing about the old days and all that stuff old people do over pints.

But yeah, it's nice! Give your old pals a ring and go for a beer. consider this a PSA! Especially if you used to be in a band: just meet up and have a drink, it's great!