Sunday, November 4, 2012

Detroit 4/11/2012

I have a bad throat.

That's right, BBC news, CNN, Al-Jaazera and the South Grimsby Stoat & Echo - I have a bad throat, so hold the feng-shui'd clitty-slapping front page and get my (I imagine) bruised larynx pressed into the pressed and pressing news agenda of your impressionable readers. Get John Simpson(*1) down to the scene in a helicopter and film him interviewing tearful fans as they flee the scene of my face. "How do you feel, madam?" "Megafied, John.". Yes, you've got your fucking hurricanes and rape gaffes and other minor dramas of the $6 billion race to change precisely nothing and the molten, slowing echoes of the Arab Spring and Luis Suarez(*2) and aubergine pesto and genetically engineered yawns and right-on goat herders dictating to bankers how they can (or can't) spend their blood money and fuck that and elephants being sick on ghosts and (hashtag) everything.

I have a bad throat and the world keeps turning. A shit complaint, in a carbon-based realm of cancers, curses and Piers Morgan but my day-to-day now revolves almost entirely around a process of medication as the business of fun and rock and roll and the greatest holiday men (and wombed men) could ever know throws it's shapes across our lives.

To rewind (figuratively). I never wanted to be a singer, vocalist, vox-iter, shouter, frontman or preening bolstered bell-end, I wanted to be a guitar player. Play, stare, feign disinterest, then slink off before the memories are fully formed. Effort - the enemy of good sense (Singers don't stay in bed late like guitarists, they're always up early writing letters of complaint to arms manufacturers or dressing neighbourhood children as jungle animals to celebrate various religious festivities). My first show, I wore a yellow t-shirt (poorly advised with my skin tone - I looked like a racist tomato) and hated every minute. Later, I loved it, because when people (and I use that term loosely) sang my words they would shittify them as such a remarkable rate it was as if they had been sent from heaven to break my heart. So, y'know, you (well, I - or perhaps you as well) keep going and life fills in the gaps. Eventually you (I/you/we/it/Chris) write some good songs and the whole thing comes to a point in a moment (or sequence of moments) where it all feels worthwhile and crisp and pure and right and the acceptance of others (most others - loved ones are peculiar) means so little as to be acutely welcome when eventually expressed. 

"You love our band? Thankyou. So do I. I give my life to it. "(*3)

When the band that became (for want of any better name turning up in time) future of the left started I was completely past any notion of wanting to hear my horrible fucking voice crucify any more of the semi-decent melodies I was occasionally capable of writing. I'd listen back to demos or rehearsal tapes and cringe at the predictable and limited range of sounds that one man can make (unles he is being attacked by balloons) but more than that I was sick of spending most touring days in a state of waking dread, frowning through sniffs and blue with despair the second anybody in the vicinity coughed or complained about a sore throat. I wanted to be a guitar player, real but hidden, safe in the knowledge that I'd be easily capable of completing my stage role unless I happened to be attacked by a circular saw or blinded by a sudden snowfall. 

The fact that I'm sitting here now, snug in the van as we race away from Detroit, communicating with Julia by mime (she's getting pretty good at interpreting it, despite the laughter(*4)) and everyone else by typing on my iphone should illustrate perfectly how well I hold to my resolutions. The New York show, in the well-meaning but utterly inappropriate Europa blew my throat as I over-compensated against it's tin-can maw and I now struggle with the barest syllable. Cleveland was suprisingly triumphant, lifted from hoarseness by a wonderful crowd but a Sunday night in a pretty-good Detroit exposed the upper-mid frailities (that particularly effects Arming Eritrea) without the fall-back of a writhing mass of humanity to distract me from the truth. Chicago tomorrow. Famed, cold, impassive Chicago- they write histories there, I've heard. I'll sing a good fuck there or die trying. 

I stood on a stage once, in Melbourne, and literally could not sing a note. The death of close family members aside, it was the worst moment of an average life spent fighting the inevitable onslaught of physics. Three hundred people staring at my fat face as I motioned to Jack to stop the song (I forget which one - it was a rock show and I dare say quite warm) because there was no human sound to give, not even a whisper. Those people (YOU people, who knows) had paid to see us (*5) and, thousands of miles from home, I shrugged and walked away.

I know, I know- Singers are pricks. I have a bad throat. Yup. Yes. Hell, I have a bad heel as well (too much road running) and hearing which would shame a goat in a sand-storm. I also have issues with the modern craze for dance competitions and a sea-food allergy which to be honest, interests me less than it interests you. 

We're at a motel now. I'm going to put cold pizza down my trousers and drink an Amstel Light like it's a thing. Goodnight.


ps. Aside from all this I'm having a great time.

(*1) or any of the highly respected news monkeys.
(*2) a man who is brilliant at kicking a ball but less significantly less good at being a human being, if evidence is to be believed. 
(*3) i would never say or even really think this but it sure is fun to write down.
(*4) i like to think this is affectionate.
(*5) and by extension, partly me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

based on a novel of the same name

A pre-script – rebuttals of unfavourable album reviews are lame, self-serving and immature – this one is no different. Cries of bias, confusion and vanilla lack of taste are every day and I care for them not a fuck. But sometimes, one-times, a man may feel compelled to stand up (or sit, in my case) against what he feels is a great injustice and exhibit his right to reply – well, this is my time and I hope it’s not my last because, to be quite honest, I’ve really enjoyed it. Please read whilst accepting the implicit understanding that any forum-based comments of the nature of ‘if you can’t take the criticism then don’t release the record’ are even more passé than this piece itself which is to say – very passé indeed.

Dear Mr.Cohen

Many things occurred to me on reading your review of the new future of the left record 'the plot against common sense' and I would like to take this opportunity to debate with you some of the points you raise in the piece, although of course by 'debate' I mean 'shut up and listen to me'.

According to the opening line of your review I am 'something of a hero to you'. I would almost be flattered by this sentence if it were not for the level of qualification obliquely provided by the use of 'something' but will choose to skip over the ham-fisted arse-kissing of your opening and move on to deal with some of the more pertinent matters of the day.

Allow me to efuckidate in an easy-to-understand fuck-by-point manner -

As we approach the bottom of your first paragraph you refer to the 'corporate slick production on future of the left's third album' (*1) - a question, my dear friend - would this be the kind of corporate slickness you get through recording an album in 16 days (using the same methods as ever) over a six month period in studio downtime and friend-financed to the tune of £2,000 (whilst we work in temporary jobs and with credit, when available, to support our habit) or instead the kind of corporate-slickness (since, as tone indicates, we’re using the term pejoratively) a person could get from writing for a site which has run the adverts of a variety of corporations, big and small, for many years? I may not be wearing my eyeglasses at this particular moment, but I can definitely see a lovely shiny one sitting atop your review at this very moment.

Oh … it has moving pictorials and everything – quite lovely!
It must indeed be tough to attempt to write from the perspective of the anti-corporate outsider when you are, apart from the mastering engineer (Sean, who did a really good job) probably (*2) the first person involved in the whole process of making and releasing the album to get paid because of it's existence. Following your lead, I’m going to let that one ‘sink in’.

Now we've summed up, albeit with a tenuous nod to reality, the sound of the album, it's probably time to move onto the other aesthetic signifiers of the record in order to establish our burgeoning theorem more thoroughly...

... what about the cover and the goddamn title of The Plot Against Common Sense? What in god's name is the author of "Fuck This Band" doing stealing ideas from unpublished John Stossel books?’

I can only assume that ‘John Stossel’ is the kind of peculiarly North American reference that pervades the reviews which sit about websites of this type, acting as smug and impenetrable signifiers of absolutely nothing at all. I, the ‘author’, googled ‘Mr Stossel’ and can find no absolute evidence of a monopoly of commonsense on his part let alone any indication that he and I could agree that the term has any unified or even loosely defined meaning. I do, however, detect the ascribing to us of the safe, conservative values which are exhibited far more freely within your own work and again, applaud you for attempting to deal with your complicity and guilt in such a public forum.
As for the cover, well, there’s a penguin on it you stupid cunt.
Now, onto the lyrics, as the case for the defense continues.
In short(ish) - it is of incredible interest to me and, indeed, surprise to find out that 'polymers are forever' is about plastic surgery (it isn't - it's about the environmental/marine impact of plastic waste, in a customarily indirect way) that 'anchor' is in some way an unfair fight visited upon Alcoholics Anonymous (it isn't, although you got the word 'alcohol' right(*3)) and that 'a guide to men', is 'another song about pagan orgies' (wrong again, although I can understand the mere use of the word 'orgy' setting off your second grade arousal/memory triggers). Admittedly 'sorry dad, I was late for the riots' IS a song about trustafarian rioters, those fucking rotters, and is a pretty bloody funny Half Man Half Biscuit tribute at that, replete with lyrics that apparently haven't so much gone over your head as clean through it. One out of four correct is a pretty bad return for a writer on a website with so much conscious sway over the opinions of thousands of people – a simple email may have disabused you of some of these assumptions though perhaps would have only led you to other ‘facts’ on which to hang your naked bones.
On 'robocop 4 - fuck off robocop' (incidentally, for the cynical and/or interested reader I post a live video recorded at a guitar shop of the song near the end of this response, complete with full lyrics) we will simply have to agree to disagree. However, if it is truly amongst the worst songs of the year then I am a giant bat and Pitchfork a cave into which I will shit golden effigies of your face.
Sorry - too much ginger beer.
In twelve years of releasing records I have only twice felt compelled to respond, privately in those cases, and was reasonably set on a similarly benign course until two bells (figuratively speaking) resonated in the heart of the sodden internet. Firstly, obviously satisfied with the ebb and cod-ebb of your piece you tweeted a link to the review. In fine repose you sat, and introduced 'I suppose the problem is that most touring funk bands had to get sober'. Well, I see you that and raise you 'I suppose the problem is that Ian Cohen is effectively reviewing an album from ten years ago by a band that no longer exists. His burning nostalgia for a lost teenage love has been replaced by an uncontrollable hatred for her and her new, happy life even though she went to college (Masters in Ancient History, specialising in the early to mid Roman Republic) and grew into those tits like you wouldn't believe. In fact, he hates her so hard (yet helplessly) that he once applied for a Visa card in her name, badly, in order to somehow affect her credit rating and thus deny her the home she had dreamed about for so many years'.
Secondly, and rather more importantly, I was browsing a forum I occasionally visit today, a one filled with gen-u-ine music fans, the kind who wouldn't be easily swayed by invective, praise or otherwise, when I came upon the following quote in a discussion of this review -
'Still looking forward to the album, but some of those lyrics he quotes are pretty shocking. Pitchfork in well written review shocker.'

Influence laid bare, I think. A comment made in good(ish) faith on the basis of two whole quoted lines and several calamitous misinterpretations, which you'll remember that we covered in an earlier, simple module. The opposite of the truth - a construct on which to hang a glib hypothesis. I can honestly say that, whatever you think of the music, that the lyrics on 'the plot against common sense' are the best I've written (and yes - in either band) by a factor of FUCK LOADS(*4). And Ian, I don't address that last sentence to you, I address it to anybody with the good grace and faith to describe themselves as a 'fan' in as much as they trust that we love our band and know exactly what we are doing even when it doesn’t tally exactly with their tastes.
Sadly, (or not as the case may be) I suppose that this group of people does not include you but, hey, we both need to be comfortable with this. I am - are you? It's like we've reached the end of a line, you and I ... a line we walked together when I never even knew that you existed. I'm sorry. I hope you find solace in the ten-year anniversary re-release.
Andrew Falkous
ps. In reference to a couple of songs you say that I can ‘barely muster the effort’, implying, I suppose, that my heart really isn’t in the whole enterprise. Let me assure you, in the strongest possible terms, that it is.
pps. Oh, and I’m sorry that you feel so much regret for buying those Bad Religion records – that’s too bad. Still when the relevance of this tragic tale to our new album crops up, give me a shout, yeah?
ppps. Robocop 4 link up at Lyrics follow below notes.

(*1) always in lower case, mrsupernumberonefan.
(*2) I use the word 'probably' because I only assume that you are paid for your work, such as it is.
(*3) and who in the name of clunking fuck chooses Alcoholics Annonymous as a target? You really must try harder if you want to set me up as your ‘lunkhead’. Try and write more realistic characters, for a start.
(*4) don't be scared to embrace the jargon, kids.

robocop 4 - fuck off robocop

more jaws?
or jaws rebooted?
please - let's take a second to think about a future
of love
and bliss
brought to you by
wish lists
of eight year old boys who only crave explosions
being eight
they have an excuse -
they are eight!
and giant robots cannot distract them from their fate

middle aged men on a movie date
committed to mortal shame

in fact- they left improved
if Michael Bay wants a bigger house, let's help him
where you from?
where you been?
he said -
I went to Cannes once and and really did not have much
being French
they talk too much
and all those pages of subtitles kept getting stuck

1 becomes 2, 2 becomes 3
1 becomes 2, 2 becomes 3

pirates of the caribbean 47
johnny depp stars as the robot pirate
who (loses) his wife in a game of poker
and tries to win her back with hilarious consequences
at least Harry Potter has a proper story
in the sense that the characters crave an ending
if (only) to release poor Billy Corgan
from his role as the titular character's nemesis
robocop 4 is in pre-production
like robocop 3 wasn't bad enough
and George Lucas won't be kicking his heels
til he makes some money from Howard the Duck
robocop 4 is in pre-production
like robocop 3 wasn't bad enough
i hope the projectionist likes his action
motion tracked and medicated

(the first director died)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No news pre-news news.

So, that was that then.


A pretty active year, altogether, for revolution, natural disasters and the distinctly postmature death of genocidal fuckheads, England became the No.1 cricket team in the world (though at time of writing are doing their level best to unbecome the same) and somewhere in the foreground, the Murdoch media empire did its best impression of being irredeemably crippled even though it had done nothing worse than scraping its knee whilst bending over to spy on on a stranger's balls.

Odd, apparently. Mishappen. Prone to huge shifts in form and mass in rapidly changing climates.

On a personal level, 2011 saw me unemployed and missing out on a grand total of three jobs because of a tour of Australia (you try explaining to potential employers the difference between 'holiday' and 'work' when you're so desperate for money that you'd eat at McDonald's if someone paid you enough*) and am searching still, at times with hope, at times without. I ran a few half marathons (in the middle of the night), got some way through writing my first bullshit book (also in the middle of the night) and read so much Ancient and Military History that at times I felt I should be taking a chariot to rehearsal instead of a bus.

Band wise, well, we're still here, and delighted to be doing it.

Final track listing for the album (after some revisions and a quick remix for 'goals in slow motion' the masters, I'm happy to say, are being run off tomorrow) is as follows. None of these titles are working titles, incidentally. Release date, sadly (saddest for us, mind – we started recording it LAST FUCKING JUNE) is still to be confirmed.

1. sheena is a t-shirt salesman

2. failed olympic bid

3. beneath the waves an ocean

4. cosmo's ladder

5. city of exploded children

6. goals in slow motion

7. camp cappuccino

8. polymers are forever

9. robocop 4 - fuck off robocop

10. sorry dad, i was late for the riots

11. i am the least of your problems

12. a guide to men

13. anchor

14. rubber animals

15. notes on achieving orbit

Having had a break from the thing over the course of the last couple of months I can exclusively reveal that, according to me (and I trust me, implicitly) it sounds as good as I remember it. I don't want to talk the thing up because that seems desperate but I will say this – we're very, very proud, a feeling which I'm allowing to linger until the end of next month when it will be doubtless replaced by the hollow anger of the ignored and jealous. Just kidding(*2)

We're still deciding on 'singles' and, although that term seems less relevant nowadays (how about 'promotional device for radio and youtube'?) we would very much like to release them on 7” single with the obligatory exclusive b-sides and all that jazz (nb. no actual jazz). My question to you (here and on twitter/facebook) – how much is a fair price? We want this to be something you can hold, look at and, if needed, comfort, but we'd rather not go losing money we don't have in the interim.

So, in review ...

Australia was, in general, very good fun. Perth(*3) and Sydney were a delight whilst Brisbane and Meredith revelatory considering the distinct lack of sleep which preceded both shows. Only Melbourne felt strange and, despite our best efforts, lacked the atmosphere that we've come to expect from one of our favourite cities in the world. Perhaps it was just the way it felt from the stage but we felt as if we played twice as well as earlier in the year and got half the response. Proof, if proof be need be(*5) that there's no science to rock n'roll. The three UK shows were good fun as well, particularly London - despite the faintly preposterous airs and graces of Hoxton Bar and Kitchen it's actually a pretty good sounding room and we had a fine night, once the double van breakdown and most miserable in-house sound-guy(*6) in the world were taken on and vanquished to the four corners of our collective memories.

Right, I must fly. More to follow very, very soon(*7), including show and single news, record store day and some bumpf about South by South West, which it turns out we are playing after all.

(leon) best



ps. How do you like your eggs in the morning? I like mine to exist.

(*) I will happily eat a McDonald's meal if you reimburse my stomach and soul to the tune of £5,000. (*1)

(*1) an admission - twice on our tour of Australia I was forced (partly by a lack of funds but also because I was trapped in an airport and didn't feel like paying £10 for a sad, wet sandwich) to eat a grilled chicken burger from Hungry Jacks, which, for my non-Australian readers, is Burger King in all but name. Although it didn't taste too bad I could tell that the chicken had been thoroughly depressed even before being electrocuted by a robot then thrown into a seeded bap.

(*2) no, I'm not.

(*3) about half an hour before going on in Perth we were watching the pretty-damn-good-despite-the-awful-name Injured Ninja (*4) play to a room with about 30 people in it and fearing the worst – inbetween nipping upstairs to tune my chin and medicate with Doctor Jameson a few hundred appeared out of fresh air and made us feel like a real band again. Salut!!!

(*4) who reminded us a little of our good friends Science Bastard, musically if not hair-wise.

(*5) thanks 'The Day Today'.

(*6) anyone who is in a touring band will know that this is quite an accolade.

(*7) in the next few days. Promise.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Master - Mastered

On Sunday November 13th at 6.23pm the individuals known collectively as 'future of the left' left Abbey Road(*1) studios in London, England with a completed and mastered copy of their new long-form record, 'the plot against common sense'. It runs to 49 minutes and 40ish seconds and contains 15 rock songs presented in the following order-

1.sheena is a tshirt salesman

2.failed olympic bid

3.beneath the waves an ocean

4.cosmos ladder of exploded children

6.goals in slow motion cappuccino

8.polymers are forever

9.robocop 4 - fuck off robocop

10.sorry dad, i was late for the riots

11.i am the least of your problems

12.a guide to men*

13.the mercy of crows*

14.rubber animals

15.notes on achieving orbit

*these are working titles. Well, I just made them up now so I could write this out and post it - sue me(*2). Hell, I needed to tell someone who wasn't in the band about this fucking thing that we made.

Yes. Done. Done'd. Dead. I can't speak for everyone in our (never red - I HATE red) practice room but I'm incredibly proud of this record. It's got everything I ever wanted in, on and through it. I'm also proud that we got here at all after all of the fruity fucking obstacles thrown in our way. (*3) We're working through artwork ideas as we speak. Excitement. Relief. Hope. Hats. We're hoping (well, it's pretty damn certain) for a release early next year - more information on this when we have it to give you.

In other news - the ep 'polymers are forever' is out now. Buy it if you like it. Available digitally through iTunes and physically in shops(*5) or from our OWN HANDS at the following shows -

20th November Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach (No, really?) with Saturdays Kids and Science Bastard tickets

26th November Leeds, Cockpit (supports unconfirmed at this stage) tickets

29th November London, Hoxton Bar and Kitchen with Saturdays Kids and Fever Fever

Australian dates are as follows -

4th December Perth, Rosemount

6th December Brisbane, The Zoo

8th December Sydney, Annandale Hotel

9th-11th December Meredith Music Festival (sold out)

16th December Melbourne, The Corner

Ticket information for Australian shows is available here.

I should add that the London show has been sold out for a while ... another date will be announced very shortly. Oh, and in response to questions I've received from that 'Australia' ... it's highly unlikely we'll be back out there in 2012. That'd be too much, we all think.

I have to go. The cat has just played 'xi' in Scrabble(tm).



ps. The polymers EP can be streamed at for a short time, though I have no idea exactly how short that time will be.

(*1) we learned that, as worldwide brand, Abbey Road is almost as well-known as 'Marmite'. Fancy that.

(*2) on second thoughts - don't. I have NOTHING.

(*3) no jokes in this bit, sorry. A lot of people have helped our charity-shop arses through this experience but none more than our motherfuckingselves. Back-slaps and Dick-pyramids(*4) all round.

(*4) I have no idea what this is but am willing to give it a go for £5000. No flash photography.

(*5) remember shops? We had them in the eighties. They were a bit like Ebay, as I recall, but more brown.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

EP n' shake

Zero Hour.

(drum roll) ...

An EP, titled 'polymers are forever' will be released on 11th November on Remote Control (Australia) and on 14th November on XtraMile (Britain and Europe) with an initial small amount of imports being shoveled the way of the USA, that land mass which is a little to the left of Wales. Pleased doesn't quite cover it. The possibilities, literally, are end-ful.

Running order is 'polymers are forever'(*1), 'with apologies to emily pankhurst'(*2), 'new adventures', 'my wife is unhappy', 'dry hate' and ''. It has a running time somewhere in the region of twenty one minutes and is 'very nice' ((c) my mother, last week). The first three songs are taken from the album sessions (see below) whilst the final three are earlier demos we didn't have the time, money or inclination to re-record. At this stage I have no earthly idea if the EP will end up being pressed on vinyl but the chances, as ever, are dramatically increased the more people ask.

Just saying.

'polymers are forever' (the song not the entire EP) will appear on the album 'the plot against common sense', which will be released in early 2012. More about this later(*4). We are really VERY VERY HAPPY with this record, which is perhaps ONE DAY away from being finished, whenever we can fit that in; I would like to apologise in advance to my bandmates and the cat(*5) for how drunk I get upon its completion.

The following live dates are confirmed before the end of the year -

20th November Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach (No, really?) with Saturdays Kids and one more TBC tickets

26th November Leeds, Cockpit (supports unconfirmed at this stage) tickets

29th November London, Hoxton Bar and Kitchen with Saturdays Kids and Fever Fever tickets

Australian dates are as follows -

4th December Perth, Rosemount

6th December Brisbane, The Zoo

8th December Sydney, Annandale Hotel

9th-11th December Meredith Music Festival

16th December Melbourne, The Corner

Ticket information is available here. Really. Can't wait. For all of it.

I appreciate your patience. Rather than blogging (and yes, I still hate that word) throughout the year in a non-commital manner I thought it best to wait until there was something solid to tell you. 'Hey guys - big news coming IN SIX OR SEVEN MONTHS' doesn't really cut it around my face. Or, indeed, my balls.(*6)

More to fellow follow.



(*1) I have read some pretty demented comments about this song after just one radio play (and subsequent streaming). Gary Numan? Obvious Cure references? LIMP BIZKIT? None of these are things. None. Of. These. Listen again. With ears. EARS. (*3)

(*2) this is the DELIBERATE title of the song. A reviewer for a magazine, who shall remain nameless changed 'emily' to 'emmeline' on a setlist she was given earlier this year. How cute.

(*3) laptop speakers do not count.

(*4) and I ask you to interpret the word 'later' generously.(*7)

(*5) the odd seizure and shitting-on-the-doorstep episode aside, Chicken is doing well.

(*6) one balls reference per blog - new policy.

(*7) this is code for 'be patient'.