Sunday, 23 February 2020

Chop’s Journal - 23 Feb 2020

It’s half term and I managed to have a gig free week, which is good for my family equilibrium but less interesting for this journal entry. 

I have tidied up the blog page and added some new Hot Links to and a few related price comparison websites, over there if you’re looking at this page on a non-mobile device —-> 


The Painter - Emilie Zoé & Christian Garcia-Gaucher

Music I’m enjoying

Well, I’ve listened to a lot of Magnum & Ramones this week if I’m honest. Magnum were one of the bands I got into in the 80s having discovered Kerrang! and realising there was a world of music outside of Top Of The Pops & the Charts. I’ve enjoyed a trip down memory lane. 

The Ramones feature because a) they are flipping great, and b) I’m reading Everett True’s biography of the band (very slowly) and they make a good soundtrack. 

New music has still featured. I got the new Peggy Sue album, Vices, on pre-order and  that’s a smasher. I’ve also been enjoying the debut album from Mush. 

Other notes

With my youngest now 16, half term activities are less essential. Basically it’s all we can do to get him to put trousers on when he’s off school so suggesting a day out is met with deep scorn. However, with his GCSEs fast approach, we’d been encouraged by his art teacher to take him to a gallery to gather ideas for his final project. 

We went to the Tate Modern. He struggled with a lot of what we saw and got positively apoplectic when he saw a blue monochrome which, if I’m honest was probably fair enough. We had a nice lunch after though.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Chop’s Journal - 16th Feb 2020

A quieter week on the gig front allows me to get this entry posted on schedule. 


“Acid” - Jockstrap

Albums I’m enjoying

Mainly listened to a Lail Arad & JF Robitaille playlist this week as I wait in anticipation of their debut duo album. I’ve also been enjoying Bonny Light Horseman & Clémentine March. 

Oh, and Night Pain who were briefly Magic Mist but previously Giant Burger. They have a 5 song E.P. available on Bandcamp (via link below) for whatever you can afford. 

Gigs of the week

Lail Arad & JF Robitaille @ The Coronet Theatre (11/Feb) - Edging ever nearer the release of that debut album as a duo this was a lovely chance to see them live again and visit a venue that was new to me. They played the candlelit bar area which is marvellously quirky and the perfect setting for the style of music, though the slant of the floor was a little challenging to navigate. 

Lail & JF were in great form. They played two 45 minute sets with a few new songs, a couple of mini solo sets and plenty of older favourites. A really special night. 

Other notes

Continuing my efforts to watch more new cinema I finally saw 1917 on Friday. A really incredible film with stunning cinematography and a deeply moving story. 

Dean Charles-Chapman & George MacKay are both excellent in the lead roles and the stream of famous British actors in supporting roles a real joy. 

The one shot approach completely immersed me in the movie. I’m definitely guilty of being easily distracted these days but I was completely locked into the story unfolding. There were also at least two moments when I literally jumped out of my seat.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Chop’s Journal - 9 Feb 2020

Bit late with this partly because three gigs in a row wore me out and meant I did very little over the weekend. I have included a Top 5 though so there’s a treat for those that possibly still follow this blog for that very reason. 


I got a little obsessed with this track after hearing it via a Contraflow playlist. Turns out the album is great too. They’ve been around since 2003 but the latest release is via John Dwyer’s Castle Face label. 

Like a Comet - Eddy Current Suppression Ring 

Albums I’m enjoying

The start of the year has been full of new band discoveries largely from Twitter recommendations which is a refreshing change from my usual obsession with everything Marc Riley plays. 

I’m still very much enjoying the latest albums from Andy Shauf, The Just Joans, En Attendant Ana and Lucy Leaves

This week’s listening added the debut self-titled album from Bonny Light Horseman which features Anaïs Mitchell alongside Eric D. Johnson & Josh Kaufman. 

Gigs of the week

Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something @ The Old Blue Last (5/Feb) - Another three band freebie gig at the OBL. Openers Dutch Mustard were a bit too straight rock for me, Wahl had some interesting moments but Jemma Freeman blew me away despite only playing for 25 minutes. 

Lisa O’Neill @ Union Chapel (6/Feb) - This felt like a really special evening. Union Chapel is a great venue for the right sort of band and it really suited Lisa’s vocal. I’ve seen her about 4 times in the last year and she played just about every song I’d heard tonight with a couple of new ones too. 

Isobel Campbell @ St. Pancras Old Church (7/Feb) - A tough few years for Isobel with her album stuck in limbo due to record label issues so lovely to finally see her play solo. I went for the early show which had the benefit of giving me an early night but meant I didn’t get a solo support set from Nina Violet. A magical show all the same with a few songs from the Lanegan duo albums included and a Belle & Sebastian tune too. 

Other notes

I rarely get into spats on Twitter but this week I got blocked by, American Jazz crooner, Curtis Stigers. Turns out he doesn’t take kindly to people pointing out he might be bullying other users by encouraging his 22k followers to pile on. 

Top 5

As has become traditional I watch the Super Bowl last week and it was a great game. Got me thinking I ought to do a Top 5 Super Bowls (that I watched live) so, here it is.

NB: As far as I can remember I’ve watched   19 games starting with SB16 (1982) through to SB25 (1992), then SB45 (2011),  then SB47 (2013) through to SB54 (2020). 

  1. SB51: LI (2017) Patriots 34-28 Falcons - An incredible game with the Falcons racing into a seemingly unassailable lead by halftime before getting gradually pegged back by the Patriots in the second half and heartbreakingly end up losing in OT. The Falcons were the team of the year for me and had been thrilling in regular season. I was desperate for New England to lose but, boy, you’ve gotta hand it to them (and Belichick in particular). 
  2. SB47: XLVII (2013) Ravens 34-31 49ers - I think this SB coincided with the return to UK terrestrial telly and was a great finale to a season that I’d been able to follow properly again. Kaepernick was 49ers QB and was outstanding at this point. As good with his feet as he was passing he was a forerunner of the Mahomes / Lamar era that’s just beginning. He should be still playing in the NFL and I still hope one day he will. 
  3. SB52: LII (2018) Eagles 41-33 Patriots - After the shock of the previous SB, I wasn’t counting any chickens. The Eagles surpassed themselves to win this game despite losing starting QB to injury about 75% through the season. Nick Foyles stepped into the breach and was imperious. That trick play to allow Foyles to catch a pass from Trey Burton was sublime. 
  4. SB17: XVII (1983) Washington 27-17 Dolphins - My first live SB and first I’d watched after keeping up with the regular season as it happened. The season was shortened by a player strike and Washington seemed like plucky underdogs to me throughout which led to me picking them as my team. I particularly loved QB Joe Theissman & RB John Riggins and it was Riggins who starred claiming more yardage individually than the whole of the Dolphins team. 
  5. SB45: XLV (2011) Packers 31-25 Steelers - My memory is a bit patchy of this SB but it was a great game between two of my favourite old school teams. I stopped supporting Washington in 2018 for a number of reasons (but mainly the naming issue) and it’s the Packers I’ve now attached myself to. 

This year’s SB54 is right up there with these and could nick that 5th spot. 

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Chop’s Journal - 2nd Feb 2020

Week 4 and I might be getting the hang of this again. Worked out it’s a lot easier if I make notes as I go. 


Never Work - Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom 

Albums I’m enjoying

Loads of new albums to catch up with this week. Top of the list is “The Neon Skyline” by Andy Shauf. He is on the bill for EOTR and having previously not heard of him I’m really excited to see him do these tunes live. 

@BrinyHoof  recommended Oxford band Lucy Leave to me and I’m absolutely loving their album “Everyone is Doing so Well”. 

Another Twitter recommendation came from @WillieMcAlpine who chose a En Attendant Ana tune for #SOTW recently. Their debut album, “Juillet”, has been another source of joy this week. 

Earworm / Recommendation of the week

“I Tried and I Tried and I Failed” by Darren Hayman 

Gigs of the week

It was Independent Venue Week this week and it got off to a brilliant start with the news that Business Rates will be cut for small venues. A real boost for the venues that I love the most. I also went to two #IVW20 shows both at The Boileroom in Guildford which has the added benefit of being a 30 minute drive from home & 10:00 midweek curfew meaning I was home around 10:30 both nights. 

BC Camplight @ The Boileroom, Guildford (28/Jan) - I didn’t catch BC on his last tour so the chance to see him play a tiny venue wasn’t an opportunity I was going to pass up. BC and band were on fine form and went down well with a packed venue. BC plays Shepherds Bush Empire in November so get your tickets soon to see him in his biggest show so far. 

Support from Temples of Youth who had a really cool vibe and will definitely be worth keeping an eye on. 

Peaness @ The Boileroom, Guildford (29/Jan) - I first saw Peaness at last year’s Winter Sprinter and have loved them ever since. They released the best song about Brexit last year (Breakfast) and have already released a song of year for 2020 (Kaizen). A smaller crowd because out in the suburbs it seems people take a while to catch on to new bands but still a good turnout and the band totally won over the room. Peaness play my favourite venue, The Lexington, in May. It’s going to be a blast. 

Support tonight was from a really young Blue Jellyfish who had some lovely guitar lines and impressive song writing skills. 

Other notes

Listened to a few more of Loud & Quiet’s Music Made Me Do podcast. It is a fascinating exploration of the workings of the music industry presented by Stuart Stubbs who is a really great interviewer. Barbara Charone spoke about being PR for Madonna & many others. Eg White (formerly of Brother Beyond) was really interesting on his life as a songwriter and also managed some fantastically eloquent swearing. 

I also enjoyed an excellent band practice (sans drummer) in which we worked out two new covers fairly quickly, giving me a huge sense of achievement and making me think I’m almost getting the hang of this bass guitar lark (caveat: both tunes, whilst not particularly well known, were pretty basic but a lot of fun to play). 

Here’s a picture of me with my lovely, and way too good for my skill level, bass guitar.