Friday, January 30

...And the winner of the Norwegian grammy goes to...Farmers Market!!!

Yes that's right! Farmers Market are now the proud winners of a Norwegian Grammy award, the most prestigious award in the field of music. The category in which they won was the "Open Class" award and their delightful album Surfin USSR (which came out last year on Ipecac) was narrowed down from seventy seven records and then nominated with just three others; a contemporary composer, a female folk fiddle player and the princess of Norway (who apparently made an album of religious hymns (no I am not kidding!)...the rest is history!

Many of the prize winners were not shown on TV but Farmers Market's speech was shown across the whole of Norway (and probably some of Sweden too!) so now they are big stars in their homeland.

Right, I am off to go ice-fishing with Stian from the band and celebrate their win in true Norwegian style.


Thursday, January 29

Hawnay Troof "Front My Hope" video premiere, Mai Shi remix, tours and more!

2008 proved to be a landmark year for Hawnay Troof. “Connection”, stand-out track on the super-charged 2008 album Islands Of Ayle (Southern) beat out Bjork as the #2 Indie Video of the Year on MTV2 and became the #1 Video on MTVU. Hawnay Troof was also one of the biggest show stealers at this years Parklife Festival in Australia – so much so that his slot was moved to playing right before Parklife’s headliner, Peaches!

But 2008 wasn’t all that easy going. HT’s rental car was taken by police in Arizona and he came close to death while driving alone through an ice storm. There were also dog bites, broken down planes, and stitches. We’re pretty sure all this means is that 2009 will be crazy too.
Now we are proud to announce the video premiere for “Front My Hope”! Directed by Vice Cooler, during one of his six days off during his four month world tour, the video stars Cooler as a roman elite being backed up by three of the bay areas biggest personalities: party blogger Manjari Doxey (as a guitar playing squirrel), RVCA big wig Jen Snyder (as a panda shredder), and local lunatic Rory Rabut (as an angry, skating, sax playing snowman). It was filmed the same day that he directed the Deerhoof "Offend Maggie" video.

Be sure to also check out the Mae Shi's remix of “Front My Hope”, Hawnay Troof’s new club remix for Ssion, and HT’s laugh out loud 2008 tour summary. Cooler also has art currently showcasing and for sale in the “Melt Yo’ Face Off!” exhibit at the Kaleid Gallery in San Jose, California.

The lovable Vice Cooler aka Hawnay Troof is on tour in the US of A with High Places, Telepathe, + Matt And Kim, the dates can be found on HT's myspace.

Pump it up!

Wednesday, January 28

Tartufi sign to Southern Records!!!

We at Southern Records HQ have had our beady eyes on the San Francisco duo Tartufi for some time now. In that time I have managed to collect all their previous recordings, conduct extensive research into their back-story and develop myself into a fully fledged super fan!

Finally, we can confirm that Tartufi had been signed to Southern Records and that we will be releasing their next album in spring this year. This is seriously exciting!!! I just cannot believe that they have not yet taken over the world with their progressive and innovative indie and noise music.

One drum kit, one guitar and razor sharp vocals pile on top of one another with great precision to create dense songs drenched with abstract abrasion - littered with lush harmonies. We are so proud to be unleashing Tartufi to the world and with such a fine album. Here is what the band had to say about the signing:

After months of searching for just the right home for their new album, Lynne and Brian a saw a light on in the far off cabin at Southern Records. A kind maiden at Southern welcomed them in, sat them beside the hearth, and fed them delicious English soup and beer. Well worn from their travels the two musicians listened intently as the label maiden told them tales of battles fought, won, and lost in the kingdom of Indierocklandia. Her eyes were true and her words sure. Their amulet- the one the wizard of the glenn gave them to reveal trickery- confirmed that she was pure of heart. She invited them to stay. They accepted and and together Lynne and Brian placed the only copy of Nests of Waves and Wire on the great oak table. This is where our story begins.....Tartufi is thrilled to announce that they have just signed to Southern Records.

Nests of Waves and Wire is scheduled to be released in Spring 2009. A European tour will coincide with the release and a U.S. tour will follow soon thereafter.

Photo credit: Lydia Daniller

Tuesday, January 27

A live review | Lucky Dragons

Last night I experienced something incredible when I went to watch Lucky Dragons at the Luminaire. This was not their first time performing over in the UK but it was my first time watching them, although to say that I watched them is inaccurate for I became a participant in their magical musical circuit board. I was one of the improvisers who was lucky enough to get the chance to handle their remarkable instruments.

They positioned themselves off-stage, deep in the crowd and people formed a circle around them. I managed to seat myself right in front of the action half expecting to become part of it (based on what I heard from people who had seen them before) but not expecting to experience the music in the way that I did.

Positioned next to the duo was a laptop which was not only to provide the backing music but also became a key instrument itself as Luke Fischbeck (one half of the duo also comprising Sarah Rara) literally warped the sounds live with the click of a mouse, as their performance unfolded. On the floor lay a number of percussive instruments and wires wrapped in gaffer tape which were all connected to an eight-track mixer. The duo improvised two songs with the instruments and microphones and then let the audience join in. Starting with me and a couple of others, we were shaking rods making a wonderful rattling noise which boomed over the PA. Then the fun really began as the two people either side of me were given what looked like wires covered in tape then Luke put my hands on top of each of theirs and soon an incredible high pitched treble sound bellowed, a noise which I would liken to the cacophony of sound made by a cluster of theremins with some distortion thrown in for good measure. It was truly incredible. I was a conductor in the electrical and musical sense of the word as my contact with these two people created the music the rest of the crowd were enjoying. It didn't take long for people to realise this and soon everyone was making contact with each other as part of a mass intimate musical improvisation.

Lucky Dragons passed on more of these wonderful rods to other trios connecting us in a huge circle formation, the resonance of sound was fantastic and their was not a single person in the crowd who was not beaming. Kaleidoscopic visuals supplemented the music but were unnecessary for the participants like myself because being part of this magical creation was more colourful in spirit than I can put across in words. The whole show was, well, electrifying. It was incredible how they brought people together and how everyone responded.

Dream Island Laughing Language is in my opinion a terrific album delivered by the duo last year on Upset The Rhythm but honestly, the music on the album almost belies the intricate detail in which it was created and once you see the mechanics of this process and how the music is constructed, it is fascinating. As much as I urge you to pick up a copy of this record, the musical experience of Lucky Dragons is, in my humble opinion, one which is best experienced live.

The band are touring mainland Europe right now. Tour dates can be found on the Southern Records website

Monday, January 26

Chrome Hoof shenanigans!

I am feeling pretty positive about this year, there is a lot to look forward to - great releases, great shows and events and the return of the titans Chrome Hoof, who have been confirmed to take part in a number of one-off special events in the coming months.

To begin with, on 6 Feb the Hoof and avant rockers Guapo are going to take part in a unique event at the ICA entitled Smoke. Full details can be found on the ICA website but here is a summary in the meantime:

Pump House Gallery and Implicasphere present a unique happening with live bands, DJs, smoky films, smoked delicacies and lots of smoke machines. Expect sonic and visual spectaculars from 10-piece glam death disco outfit Chrome Hoof and psychedelic compositions by Guapo. Among those spinning smoke-infused records will be DJ/producer Andrew Weatherall, Nick Stroud from JazznotJazz and Muscleheads.

Excitingly on 12 Feb Chrome Hoof will be playing at the Shockwaves NME awards show gig at Koko which will also feature headliners Simian Mobile Disco.

Also in the Chrome Hoof diary is a one off gig on March 21 at the Rich Mix in Bethnal Green The gig will feature performances from Chrome Hoof and the highly influential German experimental group Cluster and include a collaboration between the two. More news to follow on this soon.

And finally (for now...) we are a whisker away from confirming an event in connection with Marcus Coates about the demise of Elephant and Castle. This special (and rather unusual) event will be held at the end of May at the Coronet (which will be one of the only remaining landmarks in the area) and all we know at this stage is that the Hoof will be part of it!

Watch this space!

Friday, January 9

Shrinebuilder in the studio

Shrinebuilder is a project that features, in equal measure, Wino (St. Vitus, Obsessed, Hidden Hand), Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Al Cisneros (Om, Sleep), and Dale Crover (Melvins, Porn). The band will be in the studio with Toshi from January 9th through January 11th. Shrinebuilder's debut full-length is set for a summer 2009 release on Neurot Recordings.

Scott Kelly has announced that he will report live from the studio via beginning no later than Saturday, January 10th. Look for guest blogs by other members of Shrinebuilder as well as possible in-studio photos from the band.