Friday, December 31, 2010

Albums of the year 4-1

4 HALCYON DIGEST - Deerhunter

"Desire Lines"

3 BEFORE TODAY - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

"Bright Lit Blue Skies"

2 THE AGE OF ADZ - Sufjan Stevens

"Too Much"

2010 was a good year for albums, but I think this would have led the list any year it was released. Full of interesting melody, complicated song structures, and experimental without ever being painful, I got something new out of it every time I listened. I was sorry to hear that the band ended the year by falling apart but on the basis of the quantum leap between their last record and this, I pray that they will be back.

"Can't You See"

"Locust Valley"

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Albums of the year 8-5


"Domestic Scene"

7 SM2: ABYSS IN B-MINOR - Serena-Maneesh

"I Just Want To See Your Face"

6 THE SUBURBS - Arcade Fire

"The Suburbs"

5 HAVE ONE ON ME - Joanna Newsom

"Good Intentions Paving Company"

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Albums of the year 12-9

12 AT ECHO LAKE - Woods

"Blood Dries Darker"

11 INNERSPEAKER - Tame Impala


10 SHADOWS - Teenage Fanclub

"Shock And Awe"

9 COSMOGRAMMA - Flying Lotus

"Mmm-hmm (featuring Thundercat)"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Albums of the year 16-13

16 DISCONNECT FROM DESIRE - School Of Seven Bells

"I L U"

15 AVI BUFFALO - Avi Buffalo

"What's In It For"

14 FIELD MUSIC 3 (MEASURE) - Field Music

"Them That Do Nothing"

13 GRAPPLING HOOKS - North Atlantic Oscillation

"Cell Count"

Monday, December 27, 2010

Albums of the year 20-17

20 Treats - SLEIGH BELLS

"Infinity Guitars"


"Ruth, My Sister"

18 Nerve Up - LONELADY


17 Teen Dream - BEACH HOUSE

"Silver Soul"

I couldn't embed the videos for Norway and Zebra but they're on Youtube if you want to see them

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


It frightens me when I speak to art students and graduates who don't have any concrete goals for where they want to go with their art. It terrifies me how many of them end up serving coffee and barely doing any art at all. I try to tell them to look around at what other people are doing successfully and model their approach on that.

Set a lot of short term, achievable targets, and one or two nuttier ones. Just make your mind up, no one is going to put you in prison for falling short. When you're working during the day, throwing mud at the wall and seeing what sticks in the evening will soon use up what little energy you have left. Making a decision, and knowing roughly where you're going, lets you spot specific opportunities when they arise. What's the worst that could happen?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A festive wish to all readers

It's the giving season, so here's the Christmas card for all my readers, thanking you for your kind attention in 2010. Blessings be upon your hearths!

A traditional Christmas

For me, it's not Christmas until the family sits down together to watch The Star Wars Holiday Special, the glittering jewel in the Lucasfilm canon. We all have our favourite moments, I'm sure - there's a reason that this is re-released in increasingly handsome DVD box sets every Jesustide - I just bought it on Blu-Ray!


Sunday, December 19, 2010


These were the top ten records I bought this year that weren't from this year. I hope that makes sense. Most of them are inexcusable holes in my record collection, things I missed, often things that I heard "too early" or on someone's horrible car stereo that just sounded grisly back in the day.

10 NEVER GONNA TOUCH THE GROUND - Still Flyin' (2009)
- Glorious, kaleidoscopic party music
9 STRANGE BIRD - Augie March (2004)
- Mainstream Australian hit but left of centre in the best possible way
8 HEAVEN OR LAS VEGAS - Cocteau Twins (1990)
- I thought I had enough Cocteau Twins to be honest
7 FAITHFUL - Todd Rundgren (1976)
- First side is some unnecessary covers, second side some of his best songs
6 GET BETTER - Lemuria (2008)
- At its best, sweet and concise like the early-90s Lemonheads records
5 K.K.K.K.K - Kahimi Karie (1997)
- Bought a decade ago and never played, quite splendid
- Not purchased at the time of release due to long-term resentment of £18 paid for import copy of their first, horrible album
3 ADVENTURE - Television (1978)
- Deeply underrated follow-up to Marquee Moon
2 NEW DAY RISING - Husker Du (1985)
- Used to find it a bit abrasive on the office stereo, never got past track 2, what an idiot
1 TENDER PERVERT - Momus (1988)
- Basically perfect record of its era

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Bad Machinery will be taking a week-long Christmas break starting December 27th. Now, traditionally this period was taken up by Shelley's Dr Ladysounds end-of-year list, but with Scary Go Round now over, it felt like time for something new.

So from the 27th-31st here will be some lo-fi Giant Days comics rounding up the year's ripest releases in reverse order, plus videos and the usual explanatory notes. There's a lot of dancing, a few dangerously psychedelic moments, and some appallingly off-beam analysis.

Further festive entertainment below from Reeves and Mortimer's 1991 BBC2 Christmas special, as personal favourite John Shuttleworth drops in with a seasonal song ("Christmas Orphan").

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pantheon Of Idiots

People love to wax nostalgic over the things of their youth, and fair enough. But the one fond memory I can never countenance is He-Man. He was chronic.

Preening, be-bobbed aristocrat He-Man resembles nothing so much as the kind of aryan fellow who would pound on lesser youths at school. Over-muscled and gloriously vain, clad in furry hotpants and boots and... something he bought from the garden centre... this pompous ass wails on upbeat goth Skeletor week-in, week-out - presumably for liking The Mission and Sisters Of Mercy (not sure).

I won't explore his weird cousin She-ra's transposition of the "He-Man" way to a perfect prototype of the "Mean Girls" ethos but, needless to say, I think she was in many ways worse, titting about on her bloody gymkhana pony.

He-Man: a ponce, a ninny, and worse, a BRUTE.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holier than holy

Tuesday's Christmas messages so puffed me up with joy that I neglected to post a Christmas video yesterday. So today, here are two. My two favourite Christmas songs ever*. The first showcases a giant of Caribbean folk with a peculiarly gnomic take on a classic standard.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - JOSEPH SPENCE

Now, the second video can be somewhat hard to get through. It may be a little too earnest for some people. All I can say is that, like many uncomfortable things, you get used to it the third or fourth time.

It's Christmas - GOTTA BE ANDREW!

* "Ever" may be a bit strong

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holy holy holy

Things are winding down in the run up to Christmas, so as promised, I will bring you a little something every day. First, let's get a little holy with what I can only describe as the greatest Christmas album ever made. It's VERY hot and VERY now - check out this commercial.

You can find out more about Lunge Dolphin at the THEFUDGEBABIES website and I recommend that you bookmark it three or four times.

In other news, here are a couple of recent interviews that I did, packed with mirth, merriment, making-merry, and merr (more)!

* An interview at Coilhouse

* An interview at The Comics Bureau

I will return... tomorrow!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

A must read article for the self employed!

Sorry for the lack of blog action at the moment, I'm in the midst of the pre-Christmas rush but once I return from ATP in Minehead on the 13th, there will be a flurry of blog activity - loads of end of year music things, a new Sketch Fiesta, and some end-of-year etchings.

In the meantime, here's a great article for self-employed people by Keri Smith. My favourite point is below, but they're all worth reading.

7. If you want to work on your art, work on your life. All those personality traits that aren’t working for you will come back to haunt you in your career (i.e. assertiveness, fear of conflict, fear of confrontation.) It’s all connected.