Thursday 31 December 2009

Onward and upwards

2009 is almost over. As is the first decade of this century. Lots of lists everywhere, looking back and remembering it being the decade of iPods, Google, Obama and Radiohead.

Personally, I'm only really interested in looking forward. Can't see the point of looking backwards, or else I'm only reminded that in the last 10 years on a national and global level we've completely failed to eradicate poverty, homelessness, the gender pay gap, global warming, bloodshed in foreign lands…I could go on. We might as well be looking back on the decade that was the 1970s, or the 1980s, or the 1990s. Hmmm.

So, like I say, I'm all for looking forward. If the next 10 years is as good to me on a personal level as the last; getting married and a complete career change being the major high points, both of which I couldn't have predicted in 1999, then I'll be a happy bunny. And it's the last 10 years that have actually taught me to look forward. As Howard Devoto said in 'Shot By Both Sides', "You live and learn, you have no choice".

Happy New Year and a progressive 2010 to all Dublog readers.

Monday 21 December 2009

This is what a year sounds like: 2009

Posted slightly earlier than normal because as of 23rd December, I'm going to be avoiding computers and the Internet for a week as Claire and I go and freeze our arses off next to the mighty North Sea.

So, here it is, my annual posting of all the music I've bought/downloaded/ripped in the last 12 months. Obviously I've listened to more than this from my existing collection, on the radio or out and about but this is what I've (largely) spent money on, been given or hired from the local library.

This year there won't be any large analysis of the list, other than to say: Animal Collective's 'Merriweather Post Pavillion' was the most disappointing release of the year (one idea repeated), closely followed by Bonnie Prince Billy's 'Beware'; Akron/Family's 'Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free' was my favourite release of the year, the one I've returned to the most, closely followed by Billy Childish's 'Archive From 1959'; Kode9 + The Spaceape's 'Memories of the Future' was the 'how did I miss that when it was originally released' revelation of the year and World Domination Enterprises' 'Let's Play Domination, The Analogue Remix' the best re-release of the year.

Various - Kickin' Hitler's Butt, Vintage Anti-Fascist Songs 1940 - 1944
Bloc Party - Intimacy
Joe Gibbs and the Professionals - African Dub All-Mighty: Chapters 1 & 2
The P Brothers - The Gas
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion
Circlesquare - Songs About Dancing and Drugs
Peter Molinari - A Virtual Landslide
The The - Infected
Spiritualized - Songs In A + E
The Stooges - The Stooges
Frank Turner - Love Ire Songs + The First Three Years
Micah P Hinson - Micah P Hinson & The Red Empire Orchestra
Various - I'm Your Fan: The Songs Of Leonard Cohen
Various - The Story Of The Blues
N.A.S.A - The Spirit Of Apollo
Various - Dark Was The Night
Iggy Pop & The Stooges - Raw Power
Various - The Imagined Village
Jah Wobble - Chinese Dub
The BPA - I Think We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat
Depeche Mode - The Best of Depeche Mode Vol 1
Kode9 - Black Sun/2 Far Gone
Various - Wire Trapper 21
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Beware
Screaming Blue Messiahs - Live at the BBC
Lou Reed - Live in Italy
Run DMC - The Best of
The Velvet Underground - VU
Micachu - Jewellery
PJ Harvey & John Parish - A Woman a Man Walked By
Lou Reed - Street Hassle
Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92
David Bowie - Aladdin Sane, Low
Bob Dylan - Dylan box set
Beastie Boys - Check Your Head, Ill Communication
Killing Joke - Killing Joke
Fugazi - Repeater + 3 Songs
Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years
Chicks On Speed - 99 cents
DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
Lou Reed - Rock n Roll Animal
Forever Delayed - Manic Street Preachers
Prince Buster - FABulous Greatest Hits
The Broken Family Band - Please and Thank You
Jeffrey Lewis and The JunkYard - 'Ere Am I
The Nightingales - Insult to Injury
Crass - Feeding The 5000
Akron/Family - Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free
David Byrne - Everything That Happens Will Happen On This Tour
Madness - The Liberty of Norton Folgate
Kronos Quartet - Floodplain
Culture - Two Sevens Clash
Lou Reed's Metal Machine Trio - The Creation Of The Universe
Iggy Pop - Preliminaires
British Sea Power - Man of Aran
White Denim - Fits
Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over The Sea
A Hawk And A Hacksaw - Darkness At Noon
The Zydepunks - Exile Waltz
Billy Childish - Archive From 1959: The Billy Childish Story
Crass - Best Before
The XX - X
Camera Obsura - My Maudlin Life
XTC - Black Sea
Iggy Pop & James Williamson - Kill City
Alan Price - O Lucky Man
Beastie Boys - Too Many Rappers
Mos Def - The Ecstatic
Arctic Monkeys - Humbug
Augustos Pablo - East of the River Nile
Rage Against The Mahine - Rage Against The Machine
Gang Of Four - Solid Gold/Another Day, Another Dollar
Junior Murvin - Police & Thieves
Burning Spear - Marcus Garvey/Garvey's Ghost 100th Anniversary
World Domination Enterprises - Let's Play Domination, The Analogue Remix
Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Warp20 (Recreated)
Warp20 (Chosen)
The Dead Weather - Horehound
Woody Guthrie - My Dusty Road
Massive Attack - Splitting The Atom EP
Thom Yorke - Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses
Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Bill Callahan - Woke On A Whaleheart
Various - 5 Years Of Hyperdub
Richard Hawley - Coles Corner, Truelove's Gutter
Sufjan Stevens - The BQE
The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace
Devendra Banhart - What Will We Be
Public Image Ltd. - John Peel Session (10th December 1979)
The Doors - The Doors, Strange Days, LA Woman
Public Image Ltd. - Flowers of Romance
Kode9 + The Spaceape - Memories of the Future
King Midas Sound - Waiting For You
Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space
Public Image Ltd. - Public Image
The Stranglers - Rattus Norvegicus
Horace Andy - Feel Good All Over, Anthology 1970 - 1976

Reality bites

Saw this on a car recently. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Darwin Fish
Darwin Year
Evolver zone
British Humanist Association

Sunday 20 December 2009

Quote of the week

"He was one of those blokes who permanently wore leather trousers. That normally indicates that the person in question is a graphic designer." Jah Wobble - Memoirs of a Geezer.

Sunday 6 December 2009

Branded in the night

I got branded last night at a gig - with a logo I created! And despite many attempts to wash it off and after having a shower this morning, it's still there. I always thought my work would come back to haunt me.

I created the logo for Antigen Records last year and have since worked on a label for a limited edition 7 inch release of Earth Mother Fucker's 'I Fuck, Therefore I Am', (due for consumption by the general public early 2010). And indeed, in applying typography to a photograph supplied by Antigen's Jason, I branded the mustachioed gentleman in the image with the Antigen logo, which, in my hungover, tattooed state this morning, fills me with a sense of irony and moustache envy.

The typography for this label was an exercise in creating a lo-fi aesthetic and I trawled both Jason's and my curling Letraset collection in order that I could capture that home-made, untutored look. This Letraset collection hasn't seen the light of day since creating record sleeves and posters for bands, pre-computer, in the late 1980s, early 1990s. In trying to emulate that vernacular, I found it was actually more difficult than I thought to try and ignore my typographic sensibilities and not worry about mistakes in kerning and baseline alignment. In fact, before training as a graphic designer, when I previously used Letraset, these mistakes would happen naturally despite my attempts otherwise. Now, I have to force them.

As for all things Antigen, they are going from strength to strength, albeit on a local, small-scale basis. The Earth Mother Fucker single is the first in a series of 7 inch lathe cut releases which will be sold both separately and in a box set. Last night saw the debut gig of These Are End Times, to my knowledge, Ipswich's only post-rock band. They are going into the studio next week to record some of their material. Likewise, Antigen's Bring Back Her Head were selling their CD at only their second gig and The Waxing Captors, who rounded off the night, were celebrating having just signed to the label and are about to start recording a CD in January 2010 for release next spring.

All this only three weeks after another successful Antigen gig, although then there wasn't a guitar in sight, featuring John Callaghan, Antigen's Henry Homesweet, Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer and Mixomatosis's last ever gig.

R.I.P. Mixomatosis.

These Are End Times
John Callaghan
Lathe cut records

Friday 4 December 2009

I'd rather (Union) Jack

Well done to the UCS Level 5 BA (Hons) Graphic Design students, and Dave, for getting their Union Jack book published. The book features variations of the Union Jack on existing 'National Weeks'. Available for £7.75 plus postage from An exhibition of imagery from the book will be on display in the lobby of University Campus Suffolk's Waterfront Building, Ipswich, from December 17th.