Monday, February 28, 2011

compilation time!

look at us being productive in uk daylight hours!
feels weird man.
anyway, by popular demand, here is a new epee on bandcamp for youwall

this is a scrapbook collection of everything we released last year that wasn't thru alcopop; here is an explanatory tracklisty:

1 with who, who and what i've got (springtime freebie)
2 a kings heath story (all new studio recording)
3 199x (old competition prize)
4 jfnv (old competition prize)
5 tru punx (whiskas remix)
6 santa fucking claus (christmas freebie)
7 yr loved, drummed (juniors remix)

its £4. what a bargain-potato.

remember our exorcism project? if this all wasn't good enough, everyone who buys this pack from in the next 2 weeks (up till 14/3) will be entered into a hypothetical prize hat to receive one of 15 all new plush neuroses as made by teh awesome sarah grayley.

okayssssss back to the world of making a new album, BYE!

Monday, February 21, 2011

you shoulda put a ring on it

happy nick and louise getting married week =
unhappy cos that means stagecoach can't play any of the shows with us week.

i wish my friends would stop getting married. not only does it make me feel REALLY OLD but it messes up our scheduling too.

stupid love ruining things.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Press Release

I fucking hate press releases. There's nothing more embarrassing than the language of jaded PR guys trying to hype stuff to jaded press guys. It's like hyperbole top trumps, with modifiers for how bitter each player is.

I'm almost 80% bitter, and for a long time i found the best/worst examples of press releases hilarious. Sometimes they'd come from experienced adults convinced that a few snazzy adjectives and a very liberal approach to what exactly constitutes "national radio airplay" would convince, and sometimes they'd come from the bands themselves, a sort of desperate grammatical nightmare parody full of unfulfillable promises to outshine their idols. (ps our singers left now but WE STILL ROCK!!!!!!) I don't read them anymore. I did one too many, i read one for a friends (awesome) band that made me burst out laughing and something broke in my head.

What made it worse is that this band were not new or trying especially to break new ground. They'd just had the misfortune to have someone who employed someone who employed someone who thought it'd be best to sell them in time honoured hyperbole manner, and, as a result, everyone on their industry mailing list had been sent 3 paragraphs that made these gentle unpretentious musicians look like some bastard cross between lads-on-tour and improv feedback nights, when, y'know, they sound like pavement like the rest of us.

i think this is irony: the point of press releases is to show how ass achingly relevant the act is, but the language has evolved to the point that whatever they're promoting almost become irrelevant. It's the wave of hype and presales that drives the industry, and it's pretty much unavoidable.

So yeh, they're fucked from the outset cos everyone writing them has to outbullshit each other, and they're fucked at the end because the people that have to read them generally have a lot more experience reading them and dismantling the bullshit. All press releases should be standardised into a multiple choice questionnaire and being dishonest on it should mean losing a finger. Here you are, music industry, i've done it for you:

for the artist:

please clearly print the name of your act.

what are you promoting (tour/new music/rerelease/pretentious gimmick)

do you feel it's a significant improvement over your previous attempts
(yes/no/pretty much more of the same)

are you photogenic (yes/no/specialist only)

Do you have any media exploitable ties eg famous father/celebrity partner (yes/no/no but open to negotiation)

How important is this release in relation to sustaining a career (make or break time/doing it for the love/just a little something for the fans)

Are you aware of the power the press has over your career? (yes, we try do our own pr/whatevs, it's just about the music man/just try it darling i'm going to be star)

How do you take to public criticism (I ignores all my press/I will be snidey on my blog/I will blackball you and everyone you work with)

For the management

Am I going to gain social kudos by dropping this information into conversation?
(yes totally, a lot of people more important and powerful than yourself already are/maybe if you use phrases such as "underrated" or "up and coming"/absolutely not, people will think you're weird)

Do you think this venture is going to be a success?
(guaranteed money maker/bit of a gamble/i honestly couldn't care less)

What is the chance of any exploitable and quotable negative occurrence during this venture eg police arrest/drug overdose?
(nothing, all danger is carefully stagemanaged/might push a suicide attempt out if things go mainstream/it's like a fucking timebomb thats going to shoot out shards of tabloid-orgasm)

If i choose not to publicise this act, how will it affect future relationships between us?
(that's perfectly fine, one must be true to self/well don't expect any favours if things go well/i will blackball you and everyone you work with)

Awesome. Solving the problems of the music business one joint at a time. Unfortuate that we can't go back in time and plant this so it comes into effect at the point before i start finding things that used to be funny sad, and get all depressed that i'm getting old and am still impatient at the world.

Anyway, the point of this whole post is this: Long times ago, we decided that there should be one over-riding factor that should dictate how all press releases are written: you shouldn't be ashamed to show it to your fans. Cos they're the ones who'll see the most holes; who'll know which bits are exaggeration and whats conspicuous by its absence. If they can read it and not cringe, then you can be sure that the message yr sending is in on the same frequency as those meant to recieve it.

In our experience, at least 60% of press cuttings about our band come directly from our press releases. So yeh. We havn't really done one for a while, we're in a pretty lucky position, the first time since ever, of having a pr guy and a label and management that we trust to speak on our behalf. Until last week when said management suggest that, with all the regional press we've done and with New Fun coming up, we could probably do with one, cos, apparently, not everyone in the world knows who we are yet.

So, as per old dictum, here preserved is our official press release thing. Please read and not cringe.

Hello. This is supposed to be one of those awkward 3rd person resumes that read like a CV whilst attempting to convince you how vital and relevant the band is. I've wasted many curious, then morbidly curious hours reading band press releases; I guess if yr reading this then you have too, and you've long since become immune to the hyperbole and wary of the language of omission. There's nothing here that isn't google-able for more detail or opinions, and we'd hope to be judged on our band and not our ability to write convincing prose. So with that in mind, here is me trying to write an unbiased and neutral summary of something that means more to me and my two friends than anything else, ever, ever. Fuck the 3rd person tho.

Our band is called Johnny Foreigner. We're from Birmingham. You can read what you want into that. We've been a band since 2006. We've released 5 eps, 2 albums and 10 singles. We've lost track of how many shows we've played. We've toured in 4 continents, done enough major festivals to impress girls and guitar techs alike, been wowed and appalled by The Music Biz and we're still here, bedazzled by what we've achieved and in love with the future.

We play what we'd mostly describe as college rock, with occasional bursts of electronica or alt-country or anything else that seems like a good idea at 5 in the morning. We're at that 3rd album stage where we're learning to relax, but we're also learning to be more abrasive. I quite don't know why I feel so obliged to point that out; but so many of the bands we've loved have got to this point and lost their spark, and from our completely subjective viewpoint at least, we still have demons to exorcise.

We write songs about our lives and the things that occur around us. It's the same dull everyday (or mostly night) things that pass through everyone's mind, only more overdramatic. girls, drink, distance, closeness, hope and defeat. We don't think too hard about how songs are going to sound.

Our artwork is always drawn by our friend lewes herriot. You may have realised we have a theme.

We seem to garner a lot of press from the way we treat our fans and how open we are about the machinations of the industry we exist in. We grew up on limited edition glittery 7"s, american imports, record store gossip and pre-broadband downloads. Being young and in love with our favourite bands was like being in a gang, the shows like joyous drunken family reunions. Being able to soundtrack peoples lives is an amazing privilege, and the bands were always at the least courteous and friendly as we'd shakily mumble thanks for a signed setlist. We've been on the other side of the barrier for a while now and it never gets any less flattering. The best bands feel personal, and it's no parlour trick or marketing campaign. We're using the same channels available to everyone else, and I think it's pretty sad that we stick out mostly thru lack of competition; To our minds, this is what a band should do.

We release our records with Alcopop. When our last label became a mess of corporate facepalm, we avoided the subject for a year. We put a record out ourselves, paid for by presales. Like bitter divorcees, we talked about how we didn't need anyone else. We were right but we were lonely. We've always had respect for Alcopop and BSM, we're in love with many of their bands. We share some good friends and everything we heard about Jack made us want to be on their roster. He understands what we're doing and why, and, less personally, sees the decline of The Music Industry and value of songs as an excuse to put more effort and imagination and FUN into the end physical product. Alcopop are everthing we'd want from a record label apart from A Giant Bag of Someone Else's Money; but we've all been broke since long before we started this.

In as much as we plan ahead, this year we'll be touring the UK, then mainland Europe, then releasing our 3rd album. For once, the name has come first but it would be jinxing everything to tell anyone just yet. It's going to be awesome tho.

Thanks for taking an interest, I hope you are convinced.

vs the arts

shitbeard is gone.

Hello April, have a tourette;

> > 2nd Edinburgh - Haddowfest
> > 3rd Edinburgh - Haddowfest (matinee show)
> > 18th Wakefield - The Hop
> > 19th Aberdeen - Cafe Drummonds
> > 20th Glasgow - Nice n Sleazy (+Stagecoach)
> > 22nd Nottingham - Bodega Social
> > 23rd Preston - Mad Ferret (+Stagecoach)
> > 24th Milton Keynes - Sno Bar>
> > 26th Birmingham - Hare & Hounds St (+Stagecoach & Pandas and People)
> > 27th Liverpool - The Shipping Forecast (+Stagecoach)
> > 28th Manchester - Night & Day St (+Stagecoach)
> > 29th Stoke - Underground
> > 30th Wimbledon - Grove Tavern

won't you come out with us? We don't have much in the way of supports yet and we're old and out of touch. So if anyone has any suggestions or would like to promote themselves for opening bands then write to us at the bottom of this page with links and we'll see if they meet our insanely high expectations. let us know which gig too, our geography is shit.

also while i'm here: We're doing this album, see. and we need to start thinking about artwork. we've probably taken the interactive photo thing as far as we can go. at least, without transplanting extra arms onto our bodies that are solely devoted to cutting and drawing. but, y'know, it would also seem kinda rude to leave you guys out of the process after we welcomed yr nudie pics last time.


I made a list of one line descriptions, of an image from each of the Fantastic New Songs that we're making.

What you lovely people have to do (please), is go take a photo that matches one or many or all of them. We haven't really planned this out too much, we havent even though of formatting or actual product yet. The idea is to build up a bank of images that we (lewes ((HI LEWES)) ) can draw over, so each song has it's own collage of photos that all tangentially relate to the subject matter as interpreted by the targeted product demographic. It's like some 4th wall breaking metatree. it doesn't have to make sense anyway, its art.

There's 15 songs/briefs in all. I'm not going to put the list here, to Preserve The Mystique of the record itself and also partly cos i quite like the idea of a secret artwork circle. We'll do some sort of prize for those that submit a full set, and maybe have a dinner party.

Are you interested? obviously,hi res is best, but don't let the quality dictate. usual disclaimers; no money but full credit, and we'll ask yr permission to use it in any other context. Please don't submit anything that could get us into legal trouble, unless its urbex stuff, which we totally encourage (and rarely ends in arrests or charges)

also, we'll handle everything digitally, so you don't have to part with money for our expense and even people who live on the moon can take part. does the internet go to the moon?

so, if you want to be involved, write to, and we'll send you the briefs. title yr message "I'M DOING THE PHOTOGRAPHY FOR YOU LADS" so it doesn't get lost amongst offers of free ipads and shit pr..

the worst thing about making the ep sleeves was building up this awesome room of record sleeves, like some kind of exhibit, then packing them into boxes where they'd all go live seperate lives. this is like the opposite of that; everythings going to be together forever, thus balance is restored. ok awesomes thanks for yr time. more gigs and release news soooon


Tuesday, February 8, 2011



well that was mildly interesting. apologies to the apparently quite freaked out topshop marketing folks. it was never our intention to initiate mass brand slagging; we often find ourselves facing mini moral dilemmas like this one and we thought it'd be a fun experiment to see what our particular demographic would do in our place. also, pie charts are rad.

kinda pleased that the positive side won out, even more pleased to be like

the original birds devonshire custard factory encompassed the whole block, not just the two buildings we know it as today. Our studio is on the far side of that block, so there could Very Plausibly be a secret tunnel leading to the stage. OMG AS IF.

anyways here is the the whole event eerily predicted by annoyingly tiny poster.

tsdr: tuesday 8th march, custard factory. text CTRL5 to 83338, get a secret code or something, and watch us burst out of a tunnel and play new songs.

We have too many new songs now, we need a whiteboard. thanks for partaking in our slightly bitter survey. More than anything i think this proves how easy it is to be angry on the internet, but i'm proud we illicit such a wide spread of opinions, it was like watching all the thoughts in our brains manifest themselves on facebook. eurghhhh.

next interactive game is called "roadie" and we'll meet you by the side of the stage after our set to start; each of you is assigned a flightcase or amplifier, and has to walk with it to our lockup, whereupon you get to shout "I've Been Conned!" and are declared the winner.

As a distraction i get to walk next to you droning on about how i'm not really as swayed as everyone else about Brendan Caldwells writing, but A Game Journo Story is the most fun indie computer game i've played in fucking forever. I'll probably go on about this one bit where your companion falls out with you because you put the killers on in a pub jukebox.


other new to you news:

we'll be posting some more shows up in the next few days more UK including revised scotland dates. and maybe EUROPE but that might be a secret for now. but all the other dates leaking onto the interwebs are probably true

WE TOTALLY NEED A GRAND PIANO FOR OUR NEW ALBUM! seriously, does anyone in the birminghams know how we can get a couple of hours alone with a grand piano? just me, jun, and the worlds smallest 8track. we're hoping someone at The Rep likes our band but we'll settle for anywhere mildly illegal as long as it sounds, um, grand. write us up here with ideas:

and lastly, album creation is going well, thanks for asking. we've tracked drums for 5 songs, I've sent my guitar off to a wizard to get refretted, and we have a title and everything. after the jaw-droppingly exciting news that dana made their new album with ross robinson, we were going to dress dom up as a different ross every month, but it seemed like too much effort and dom didn't look too impressed. still; open in paint:

(ross noble)


Sunday, February 6, 2011

cones as boathangers

guys its fucking happened again. gig-raped. see this? guess who never agreed to the show? we were all like; "topshop? urrr we'll get back to you on that one..."

instead of throwing our toys out the pram again, thought it might as well be interactive band time. SO, you beautiful wise people to which we entrust so much, tell us right here, should we play the show? here are some points to aid you:


1) the custard factory is literally the next block from our studio. we could walk our entire backline there in about 15 minutes.

2) frankie and his heartstrings are super lovely people and always fun to hang out with.

3) the tickets are the same price as a text message

4) it might be outside over the pool. do they still do that? that'd be a pretty sweet evening.

5) huw stephens made the mix cd they're playing inbetween bands.

5) the posters are already up!


1) we're not being paid for it

2) its right in the middle of when juniors out of IRL work, so we'd planned bulk work our album. we'd lose a few days to rehearse a set. or maybe a day if we just play new songs.

3) its topshop. its student party written in wacky font.

4) it might be inside the med bar. do they still do that? that'd be a pretty horrendous sounding evening.

5) we never said yes, godsdammit.

so tell us lovers, if you were us, WHAT DO WE DO? people of birmingham, for once, you count for double.. topshop have been pretty kind to us in the past, which should count for something even if it is brand cross pollination at its most crass. i doubt anyone at topshop knows or cares that we all think people that try and buy into a culture via massmarket branded clothing are fucking idiots.

kinda pissed off we're expected to do it for free but practically we can do it cheap, and it's pretty much free to get in which counts for a lot (especially if we can sort out merch for then)

so having donned our haircuts and made a decision as to THE RIGHT THING TO DO, please click here to go back to where you came from and commentthing yr answer underneath our statusthing. we'll make a pie chart of the results and eat the biggest slice..

thank you in advance and i hope yr all having a fun sunday. i've just discovered this:

and will be spending the rest of the night finishing the first series and pretending not to refresh facebook.