30 Days Of Music, Day 6 - A Song That Reminds Me Of Somewhere.

Ah, which one to choose? 

OK, let's dig back into my teenage years. This ones massively evocative, and it reminds me of The Trading Estate in Berwick Upon Tweed. We lived in a little new-build middle-class estate on one side of it, and the town was on the other... it was about a 40 minute walk, I guess, from one to the other. I used to do it regularly, and in my mid teens, it was invariably late at night, with my then ever-present portable stereo, with one blown speaker, playing The Cure. or occasionally Napalm Death, or The Pixies. But mostly, The Cure. 
Just the sound of the intro to this song brings back the smell of pastry, hops and diesel fumes that permeated the trading estate. The feeling of utter bewilderment that accompanied the two occasions on which I attempted to traverse it stoned (one of which involved me walking around it for hours and hours... it didn't feel like hours, but I left home at about 2am and arrived at my destination after dawn...) That trading estate is significant for me in other more salubrious ways - it was where I failed - then later passed - my driving test. Good times. 
So here it is - One Hundred Years by The Cure - the open track from Pornography. I had a TDK D90 with this on one side and The Head On The Door on the other. 
I could only find a live version (endless live versions!) on Youtube, here's my favourite of them 
But it's the studio version that actually has smells attached - here it is on Spotify

Anti-Racist Instrumental Music - Thoughts On Grace And Gratitude

Back around the time of the 2004 European Elections, I was utterly incensed by the appearance of UKIP - the UK Independence Party. 

Their figurehead was the patently ridiculous Robert Killroy-Silk - a man who actually had a past in real politics, but having been sacked from his various TV and newspaper roles for being an ill-thought-out racist loon, he turned his hand to the plight of the White And Wealthy - a whole load of aging British overwhelmingly-white millionaires blaming the world's poorest people for all their imagined problems. 

I blogged about it extensively - a lot about UKIP, and a bit about the BNP who at the time were less mainstream than now in their profile (though their neo-fascist intentions and policies haven't changed a bit).

But I was also in the process of making a record, and my thinking about the state of play with the ungrateful bastards in UKIP changed the course of the record. I realised that ranting about what arse-holes they were/are was only part of the picture, and that recognising what was wrong and being the opposite was also a big part of being the change you want to see happen. 

So, given that they were so ungrateful for all that they had - I set about making a record themed on all the things in life I was grateful for. And called it Grace And Gratitude - Grace being 'unmerited favour' - of all the things in my own life I was grateful for, I realised that I - like the UKIP dickheads - hadn't earned any of them. 

The track list for the most part speaks for itself, and when listening to the album again on a train through Holland last weekend (I hadn't listened to it in a couple of years) I once again felt those same feelings. Overwhelming Gratitude for what I had, and a desire to see that sense of Grace/Serendipity/Luck permeate the political arena in the UK, where we vote knowing that we're SO lucky, and we owe it to the poor both here and abroad to vote with them in mind. 

Here's the album - it's lots of people's favourite of mine - have a listen, feel free to download it and pay anything - any amount you see fit, what you can afford, what you think it's worth. Enjoy it, pass it onto your friends:

http://music.stevelawson.net/album/grace-and-gratitude">Grace And Gratitude by Steve Lawson http://music.stevelawson.net/album/grace-and-gratitude">Grace And Gratitude by Steve Lawson

Silje Nergaard with Pat Metheny - Tell Me Where You're Going


I've been finally reunited with my not unsubstantial vinyl collection. Well, most of it - some of it is with a friend who was supposed to be selling it for me about 2 years ago, and hasn't as yet, so I'll have to get that back too. But the rest of it is in our hallway. It's only here til I can get rid of it - sell it, donate it to charity shops, swap it for cakes or cruelty-free nail varnish. Whatever. 

But it does mean that I'm being reminded of both the good and the bad music I bought back in my vinyl-addiction days. 

And one of the best records I ever bought was the 12" single of this - Tell Me Where You're Going. I bought it cos it was about 50p and had Pat Metheny's name on the cover. But once I got it I played it, and played it, and played it. It's a beautiful song, and makes me yearn for Pat to do more work with pop singers. 

It's also worth noting that it's five and a half minutes long - people don't generally write or play five and a half minute pop songs these days. Perhaps because they don't write songs that deserve that amount of exploration. Or celebration. 

Whatever, this is outstanding. Enjoy. 

Things I Learned Today

I've just found out, by looking at a friend's blog, that the iTunes store has short weblinks. Who else knew? And if you did, why didn't you tell me? :) 

Anyway, it means that, should you want to go and listen to or buy my music on iTunes, you can just click on 

http://www.itunes.com/stevelawson to take you there. 

or indeed, to find Lo's tunes, 

So there you go. Things I didn't know until today. 


Miriam Jones' Solitary Songs

Been meaning to post about these for ages. Miriam Jones, as I've mentioned before, is one of my favourite singer/songwriters, and someone I'm really proud to play with. I've posted the EP of hers that I played on before... 

Anyway, for most of the last year, she's been doing a 'song a month, written, recorded and released on her own' kinda project, called the Solitary Songs. A few of them I've played live with her (the slide part I sometimes play on Helicopter is particularly fun ;) ) 

But here they are, just her and a guitar. They're awesome. Y'all should download them. Srsly. 

http://miriamjones.bandcamp.com/album/the-solitary-songs">Come Clean (April) by Miriam Jones http://miriamjones.bandcamp.com/album/the-solitary-songs">Come Clean (April) by Miriam Jones

Steve and Lobelia Live In Nebraska EP now on Bandcamp!

Yay! Finally, thanks to the great help of Kevin Quickle, I've managed to get the Live In Nebraska EP up to bandcamp for proper magic high res download. 

This is very exciting - every time we've pressed CDs of this, they've sold out in just 2 or 3 gigs - so much so that we didn't even have a copy to rip to put up on Bandcamp (Bandcamp requires CD-quality WAVs, not the high-res MP3s I had that were for sale in my old online shop...) 

So here it is - it's one of the musical things I'm most proud of that I've done, and captures just how well we were playing on that US tour really well. It's a great recording, thanks to us actually playing the show in a recording studio - Power Base Studios in Wisner, Nebraska. Great job done by Dan Kane on sound. 

Here it is - listen, share it, embed any of the tracks that you particularly like in your own blog posts if you wish, and if you want to download it, pay whatever you think it's worth. 

Undying Inc. - Indian Extreme Metal Band.

OK, Andrew Dubber tweeted about these guys a few days ago - I opened the website, and left the tab open for later perusal. I wouldn't have left it this long if I'd known. Wow. Seriously great band - supremely heavy, scary, screamy, shouty extreme metal. Like Meshuggah, Cavalera Conspiracy and Pantera thrown into one band. Outstanding.

Here's their myspace player - check out the page at http://myspace.com/undyinginc4 -

[EDIT - OK, so Myspace don't let you embed the player - they replace it with a video of some octopuses. Ah well - click the link below to check them out ]


Waiting For Flapjack - the soundtrack

Finally recorded something I like! Yay!

It's a pretty low res recording, cos I did it on my Nokia N97, just using the voice recorder, but given that, it's actually pretty good :)

The loop was recorded and I was playing over it, then decided to record it, so I stopped it, hit record and re-triggered the loop. Everything else is as I played it...

Enjoy - this is the sound of waiting. :)

Free music from Steve Coleman

Over the last couple of days, I've been checking out some music from Steve Coleman. He's someone I've heard a lot about over the years, but hadn't actually listened to til now. 

He's recently made a massive amount of his back catalogue free to download from his site. There's a load of really incredible music in there! (thanks to @philwbass for the tip-off!)

Check it out at http://www.m-base.com/download.html - as well as his essay about why he's making it available for free at http://www.m-base.com/give_away.html 

I hope Steve discovers BandCamp soon - it's perfect for what he's doing here, and would give us the chance to send him something for the music if we want to. Which would be nice. As well as the much higher res files without him carrying the bandwidth costs... (the files on Steve's site are 128K MP3s) 

Anyway, get 'em, they're amazing. 

Collecting together this year's musical experiments Pt 1

This year, I haven't put out any 'official' music. No album, no EP - nothing. End of last year was the Lawson/Dodds/Wood album, which I'm hugely proud of. 

But I have been documenting some of my experiments along the way, most notably with Audioboo and Vimeo, but also and a Youtube video or two. 

So here are some of the Audioboos, for you and I to both recap as I think about recording a new solo album in the near future. I'll add the Video stuff to a later post.