<
Archive
Thursday, July 10th, 2014

I first came across Alabama legend G-Mane in 2010, which seems like another era already. I connected with the sound instantly. Somewhere between Nate Dogg and Pimp C, it had style, soul, substance, swag, swang and superior storytelling in abundance. I made me want to learn to drive again so I could cruise around in some great boat of  a vehicle banging it. It was his Sex, Drugs And Money tape, on which he hit a beat that sampled Tom Petty, same song I sampled on Show The Joint.

So, despite coming from entirely different places, we were already united by music. That is the power of recorded sound, brothers and sisters. And a few years later, he hit me up on twitter for some beats, and I sent him some, and he liked the one that sampled Mercury Rev, and asked me to rap on it with him, and lo, there it was, Anglesey to Alabama, united in sound for eternity.

Splash.

And now its been released, as part of his brand new album In God We Trust, which you can stream above, and purchase here. Its G Mane, so you already know its another beautiful collection of timeless rap music. Dude is as consistent as consistent comes. I’m working on some new shit for him right now, so you can look forward to more cross cultural country classics. Amen.

MEANWHILE IN WALES!

I have been continuing to run on my beach, go for walks every morning, and spend happy, happy times with my girl and my son. I’ve also been drawing more one off albums sleeves for people, so get yours while you still can. Oh, and I do believe MIDNITEMEN just got their first official remix commission from a legendary artist. Can’t wait for you to hear it.

Speaking of which, I do believe there’ll be a new transmission today…

OVER AND OUT.

SPLASH!

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 13.27.04

— Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Help The Aged

When you live in a city, you sometimes find yourself wondering where all the old people are. Well, I finally found them. They’re all in Rhos On Sea. Drinking tea in the shopping centre. Sitting in bus stops, not waiting for buses. Playing the accordion and signing ole-timey war songs. Perched on plastic chairs on the promenade eating ice creams. Lounging on benches looking out at the sea. Walking hand in hand along the beachfront. Staring at lurid headlines on the front pages of the tabloids in Morrissons. Nearly running me and Hercules over in large automobiles. All day, every day.

I noticed an old couple the other day as I was wheeling Hercules out of the drive in the cheap and convenient airport pushchair that replaced his old Hummer Quinny Buzz. They were shuffling along, he looming Lurch-like, leaning lugubriously into a stroller (I think that’s what they call them. Sort of metal frame contraption with wheels). His tiny wife trudging alongside him grimly. Eyes fixed straight ahead, they moved slowly, oh so slowly, towards the seafront. I looked down at Hercules, him at the start, and them, them at the end, and thought how cruel life is, to give everything when it can’t be understood then take it all away when finally it can.

We headed supermarketward, pretty seaside Rhos giving way to the identikit British town familiarity of  New Colwyn, nodding at bleary eyed old drunks sucking down Superkings outside the Weatherspoons, once an elegant cinema, wide open for business at 9:00 am. Bulbous smoking explosions of red veins and resignation slopping out of checkered collars, shaking like leaf debris in the cool morning breeze.

We crossed the road. A car was coming towards us in the distance. Faintly I heard the sound of its horn.

The early drunks’ sober old schoolchums were filing into the town centre, gathering around the emergent market stalls, browsing the  giant bags

of sweets an dogfood and fake Beats By Dre and the canvas prints of bootleg Batman mashups, trickling into the myriad charity shops to rummage through things their friends gave away, or their friends children gave away when their friends died. Colwyn Bay has more charity shops than it does anything, pubs, banks, bus stops, smackheads. Every other shop on the high street is a charity shop, and the rest are pound shops if they’re not a Bargain Booze or a Pawn Shop or a mobile phone shop advertising no-credit check handsets made by exotic sounding brands. Or The Bloody Manshop, that sells men’s shirts and coats in a kaleidoscope of beige and grey and sick and magnolia, and has been having a closing down sale since we first came here four months ago.

In Morrissons old men hovered around the newspaper rack, peering at typically cheery and inpirational Red Top headlines, before picking up The Daily Mail and wandering off.

An excited old couple approached us by the £1 croissants bin, resplendent in matching biscuit coloured sweaters. “Hiya,” said Hercules, happily.

“Did you see us, at the lights, we could have killed you,” gushed the male part of the arrangement. “At the lights,” agreed the lady side, peering out from under his left elbow giddily. “We put the brakes on. Could have killed you. And the little one. Didn’t you see us?”

“Hiya,” said Hercules.

I said I saw them, yes, and I was pretty sure they were very far away at the time, perhaps I was experiencing time in slow motion, that happens sometimes, but thank you for not killing us, sorry for any concern. I gave them both half a hug each.

“No harm done,” said the man, who looked a little like Ron Swanson’s dad, I realised, “we’re all safe now.”

“Bye,” said Hercules, scrunching his hands in their general direction, five minutes after they’d wandered off up the cheese isle.

Mobility

There’s a railway bridge by our house. Hercules likes to shout when we go under it, playing with the reverb, listening to the echo. “HIYA! HIYA! HIYA!”

The old couple from earlier were in front of us, he  worrying the roof with his head, leaning into his stroller, she at his hips.

“HIYA! said Hercules.

They turned, and she smiled. I’d never seen her smile before. “Hello young man,” she said. “Those are lovely shoes you have.”

“HIYA!” agreed Hercules, merrily. His shoes were very cool. They looked like blue crocodiles.

We passed them, under the bridge, as a train rumbled overhead. Hercules loves the train. We see it out the kitchen window every day. “BUP!” he shouts, pointing. “TRAIN,” I’ll say. “TRAIN.” “Bup,” he agrees sagely.

There was horrible sound, a sort of dry crack, and I turned around and the tall old man was laid out on the floor across his tiny wife, his stroller tumbling into the road, their arms dangling off the side of the pavement. “You stupid, stupid,” she screamed. “Stupid, stupid old man!” She lay thrashing beneath his weight, cursing him, as I parked Hercules and ran to them. With some effort I pulled the man to his knees. He seemed to weigh as much as car. He felt like metal girders swaddled with cloth. His eyes were brimming, violent bright blue fish holes in Eskimo Town. Incomprehensible high pitched protestations fell from his paper lips as his wife lay on the pavement, finger aimed at him like a crossbow, “Stupid! Stupid old Man!”  He looked as crushed, as utterly defeated and humiliated as I’ve ever seen a fellow, there in my arms, on his knees, almost up to my neck, this

great tall man, still handsome, shit, I thought, he probably used to box, probably fought in a war, saw radios and TVs get invented and men walk on the moon, now he’s on his knees under a trainbridge in the early days of the 21st Century unable to move, drowning in the contempt of his wife.

He stayed like that, on his knees, up to my neck, in my arms. I didn’t know what to do. Why wouldn’t he stand up?  Then I remembered the stroller, out in the road. I felt like the worst person in the word. Somehow,  I managed to get him to his feet, and keep him up there as I retrieved the stroller and leant them both against the wall. He looked at me blankly then down at his wife, still cursing her “fool” husband. I offered her my hands and started to pull her up, then suddenly what felt like fifty people appeared from out of nowhere, arms all around her, lifting her up, like a pop star at a festival.

The old man leant against the wall, shaking softly. Blood spilled from a tear in his paper cheek. The townsfolk gathered around them, a warm embrace of genuine and friendly concern.

“You OK fella?” “You alright luv?” “You’ll need stitches.” “Needa lift to the hospital?” “Let me get my car.” “”You need to phone anyone?”

“Well done mate,” one said to me.

“You’re a good lad,” said the little lady, smiling again. “Thank you. Go to your boy.”

“Hiya,” said Hercules.

— Monday, July 7th, 2014

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

midnitemen-kate-bush-venn-main

GOOD NEWS! Those righteous droogs at The Quietus have intercepted afresh transmission from MIDNITEMEN, believed to the the first of a rumoured WEEKLY REMIX ONSLAUGHT, in the shape of this very peakwave KATE BUSH reworking. Read about it over there, and listen to it right here.

DOPE HUH? Get your free download on the FB page or the MIDNITESITE. And let me know what you’d like to hear MIDNITEMEN tackle. I am interested in these things. Someone on FB suggested Interesting Drug by Morrissey. My kingdom for an accapella…

Back on Earth, I totally trod in a jellyfish last night whilst out running along my beloved beach, and lo, I did KEEP ON RUNNING without missing a STEP cos that’s how I get down right now. Amen.

— Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Batz Inda Belfry – Seaweed

Harking back to a time when music videos were mini movies and cost a billion pounds, behold ye this ultra ambitious Kubrick-inspired visual for the debut single from my ole pal Envy and her Mancunian partner in rhyme Onedaful. NORTH GOT NEXT!

RiFF RAFF – Introducing The Icon

The Neon Icon welcomes you to his world.  ”A relentless and spectacular three minute barrage of vivid, visual, visceral freestyle rap over some classic beefed up Bomb Squad-esque 90s industrial rap production,” as I described this rack thusly in my Quietus review. Dope video too.

Zane Lowe meets…. Rick Rubin

Say what you like about Lowe’s fawning interview style, but this is a rare and fascinating look into the world of one of the 20th century’s most influential beards.

King Los – Woke Up Like Dat

Love this song. And the video reminds me of LA, where I’ll be returning soon.

Everlast – “Folsom Prison Blues” Martyr Inc. Records

Whitey Ford gets out the greenscreen and appears on the Johnny Cash show, to perform a break-infused cover of the Cash classic, and it is SHOCKINGLY DOPE (and way better than anything Eminem’s done in the past decade).

Most of the videos were MVs this week, huh? I been crate digging and working on my library is why. See you next week!

BONUS:

Peaches and Gonzales – Red Leather

I never saw this before, probably cos it wasn’t shown on UK TV when it came out in 200 and we didn’t have streaming internets video then. Weird huh? Anyway, this is great, and has Chilly in a belly top in it, HISTORICAL.

 

— Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 23.11.07

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot. So I totally got chased up and down the beach by polices without realising it the other night.

What it was, I was going for a run along the illegal beach out the front of my house, which has been closed for months cos they’ve dumped tons of new sand on it and bulldozers push that sand around a bit in the daytime. Nothing’s going on at nighttime, so I don’t see any problem in jumping the fence and running along the shore through the surf with my headphones on, listening to my new mixes or an episode of Red Ice. The sun’s dying in a smouldering sky full of fluffy pink embers, the ocean rolls out into a neon infinity crowned with windmills like some dystopian sixties paperback cover. Basically, its super inspirational and good exercise.

So anyway, I run a mile or two up one way, where a security guard tells me how I shouldn’t be on the beach and I need to go walk back along the road, and I tell him I do this every night and I live just over yonder and anyway I haven’t got any shoes on so walking on the road would be lame. So he’s like, oh alright then, you’re not doing any harm are yer, and I’m like cheers buddy, and he’s like, see ya tommorrer, and I run back down the other way and am about to climb back over the fence when I’m struck with a great idea for a chorus for this bit of music I wrote earlier that I’ve had on loop in my headphones the whole time. So I wade out into the ocean, until the sea’s up to my knees, with this thing in my headphones, and the sun’s died, and the ocean is ink, a vast wet Lovecraftian bruise, and the sky’s the colour they used for Batman’s cloak in eighties DC comics, bleeding into the ocean, and this chorus is sounding amazing, and I’m listening to it, and singing it, and kind of letting it build itself and recording it into evernote, and the tide’s coming in an its up to my waist now, and getting higher, and I’m spinning around singing this thing over and letting it build, and then its done, it has made itself know, and I wade back to shore.

I’ve got all my energy back now, so I think, fuck it, I’m gonna run up and down the beach again. So I pivot on my heel and sprint off through the surf. Out the corner of my eye I can see some shadowy figures up on the promenade pointing at me, but I’ve got my headphones on and I’m used to people pointing at me, so I ignore them and sprint off up the beach.

On my way back down again, I notice these weird shadowy things in front of me, and initially I think they’re driftwood or something, but they’re moving, and they’ve got lights on them, and now I can see they’re definitely moving directly towards me.

I think, of great, some local meatheads are gonna try it now, amazing. I rehearse some boxing moves in my head, but worry that since I haven’t boxed for a while I might be getting it wrong. Maybe they’re just interested, I decide, maybe they just wanna hang out with an interesting motherfucker like myself. So I slow my running down and let them meet me, all like, alright lads, what’s cracking?

And then I see they’re not just lads, some of them are polices, and I’m like, OH SHIT, like I was a kid again and I’d done something wrong. Then I remembered I haven’t done anything wrong, and felt elated, and then I remembered that doesn’t always matter with polices, and felt mildly panicked.

OK lad what you on? asks one of the polices, which I think is a weird question, and another one says, what’re you up to then? And I’m like, oh hi dudes, I’m having a nice run along the beach thanks. And they’re like, we chased you all the way up the beach but we lost you. Fuck, you bolted off quick. We followed your footprints in the sand until they disappeared like fucking Houdini. How’d you do that?

I didn’t know how I did that.

We were shouting, they said, didn’t you hear? I pointed to the giant, battered headphones I still had on.

What were you doing in the sea? asked one. You were out there for ages. It was weird. Someone thought you were trying to kill yourself or something. I laughed, Ah ha ha! I was writing a song, I said. Its super inspirational out there you know. They looked unimpressed. You gorra do what you gorra do, shrugged one. The civilian spat on the sand. You must have done some funny acid, he said, glaring. The tall one got out a notebook and peered into my eyeballs suspiciously, like Larry David. I Larry Davided back. We stayed that way for a long, leaden moment, as the waves crashed against the shore, and a car drove past. Eventually he straightened up, and nodded. OK, he said. OK.

They insisted on walking me off the beach, back over the fence, where a pair of police cars waited on the roadside, lights flashing giddily, illuminating a gang more policemen, along with some interested locals. They were all ever so interested. I guess there isn’t much going on at midnight on a Tuesday in Rhos On Sea.

They interrogated me some more, all the questions, what’s your name, where do you live, how long have you lived here, where did you used to live, why did you come here, who do you live with, do they know you’re out, what were you doing again, are you known to us? The tall one scribbled notes in his notepad, so tall he was, his funny ole pointy polices pope hat poking a hole in a cloud. OK, he said. OK. Then they all nodded at each other, mumbling things like, better safe than sorry, and gorra be careful, and see you friday Kev, then disappeared into the night in a convoy of flashing lights.

The ocean below thrashed foaming lips against rocks and sand, and the ocean above dripped stars.

Well, I thought, if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

I put my song back on, and walked home.

— Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 16.23.18

Greetings from Rhos On Sea, AKA Suntown North Wales. First, let it be know I’ve been drawing more one-off album sleeves for folks! Get yours while they’re still available, I won’t have time soon enough. I won’t be here soon enough.

Here is pretty, pretty sweet though. Its limbo, a place between worlds, but its a beautiful, sun drenched limbo, with the beach a mere brick’s throw away. The majority of it is closed to the public for remodelling right now – many tons of sand have been piped in from elsewhere, and every day bulldozers tirelessly rearrange it – but I visit each day regardless. Sometimes with my little boy Hercules, sometimes with my little boy Hercules and my lady Charlotte, and sometimes, just myself.

We had celebrated solstice the other night by barbecuing some fishes and swimming in the sea. Like fishes. Hercy’s getting into it, after a little initial trepidation. He was laughing his little ass off today as I jumped us up and down, and he splashed his big flappy paddle hands gleefully. The sea’s just a big ole bath really.

The past few nights I’ve ventured out alone just after sundown, jumped the fence, and ran along the shore for miles like some joy crazed Rocky Horse, pounding barefoot through the surf, listening to mixes of new songs and conversations about Shakespearean Typology on my crackly ole headphones, whooping and hollering at the neon Thundercats logo horizon, seagulls scattering in front of me like bomb blast shrapnel.

LE VIEW OF DOPE

I was annoyed that the beach was shut initially, but now I’ve sussed out the times I can go there without having to worry about being bulldozed, which is most of the time really, its like having a three mile private beach. Almost every day I get to make music, practice my new skills, enjoy beautiful views and fresh air, exercise (!), and spend many happy hours with my beautiful family. Moving to Wales temporarily has turned out to be everything I hoped and more. While each day finds me eagerly checking the inbox for news on my visa application, I know I will look back on this period with great fondness in the future.

These are the good old days.

AK and HErc, RHos On Sea, Summer Solstice 2014

 

 

— Tuesday, June 24th, 2014