Monday, 16 December 2013

TWENTY THIRTEEN

Oh look, I'm drunk. Lets review a reasonably busy year. As I sit here, 'Shimmy Shimmy' from the new album sits on the free end of year CD with long time Silvery supporters Vive Le Rock magazine which is nice. 2013 started off nicely with the commission for a Silvery soundtrack to 'Gelato Go Home' - a splendid animation by the Trunk team behind a couple of our super pop videos. It premiered on Channel 4 in the summer to glowing reviews, especially the strangely melancholic 70s ambient / motorik music contained within. No plans to release that piece yet as you know Silvery are keen on filling up that Anthology boxset in a few years time. Do look out for continued screenings of it on TV and the festival circuit.
 
Another track destined for the SILVERYTHOLOGY was a strangely sombre version recorded one rehearsal of David Bowie's 'After All'. Hardly the song to get the party started anyway, I like to think we squeezed the last bit of life out of it. It was made for the super Podrophenia radio show and lo and behold, was promoted via the official Bowie website. An honour to think he knows we crucified a song he probably doesn't remember recording.
 
2 extra curricular recordings that may not turn up on the SILVERYTHOLOGY that featured Silvery fingerprints were released officially this year. Firstly, a long awaited remix for our Asian pop megastar pal Jay 'dropped' late summer and signed off on a promise for us to do something together that goes back about 7 years. Indeed, as long ago as the hazy Jazz After Dark fan club shows and the legendary (in some circles) Silvery electric bass turned up at one of Jay's MJ tribute shows at the Hippodrome standing in for Slash's axe. It's a funny old world. One part hip hop, and one part Austin Powers lounge pastiche, you can picture the puzzled looks on the faces of the Silvery and Jay faithful alike.
 
In October, hidden on the flipside of the new The Fierce & The Dead single ' Ark' you would have found a piece of non site specific melancholic nostalgious chordular instigation on vocal abstractulisation upon the returned loop of reverbulated guitar featuring the weary yet alluring tones of our James and axe totalling of TFATD guitar man Matt Stevens. As avant garde pickle pops go, it's decent. Hopefully a signal to bigger abstractions and head scratchings later on, primarily to annoy. Again, we've been talking about doing something for years so that feels like a nice gentle shutting of the door.
 
A big Silvery release this year, namely the official 3rd album 'Etiquette' in August which some people will have you believe is the best Silvery album. 3 albums in 5 years? Not bad. Especially considering all the tunes were written over the course of 2 week long spell in two consecutive summers. After some frankly dark thoughts about just how ridiculous the whole charade of releasing records is, and doing the ridiculous dance of driving up to Manchester to play some songs badly live on the radio, AND realising that you've finally made your way through the ENTIRITY of London's most likely new Silvery recruits, the band dutifully uploaded the album for free (well, pay what you want) to the Facebook page via Bandcamp. Like those days when you'd get those collections of Silvery demos uploaded that would be taken back down quickly the next morning when they'd sobered up. Predictably, the album didn't set the world alight, but made it's money back almost immediately and closed the door on a really really nasty few years. What do you mean there's a new album? You should've liked the FB page, dude. It certainly contains some of the best Silvery songs, and develops the sound (well, turning up the room mics on the drums). I like to think there is some excellent footage of us doing 'The Ronald Opus' on some Dutch TV show in 1974. Likewise, I'm pretty sure Suede played 'Life & Non-Life' when I saw them back in '92.
 
'In The Hall Of The Mountain King' was uploaded to Soundcloud as a Halloween treat and to preview the proposed instrumental EP which had been selected as our Christmas release (we firmly believe no one wants to hear Silvery actually sing anymore) which would've be out on 2nd December. In reality, just some odds and ends we had lying around but we do like giving the faithful free stuff. Maybe I'll have finished looking through the demo shoebox under my bed in time for Easter.
 
Oh, and also a reissue the LEGENDARY 'Christmas Is Easy' EP from 2012. Singer James had a baby boy too in October. He's called Obolus Harrison Ford which might explain why the pop thing doesn't seem that important anymore. See you in 2014 loves. X

Thursday, 22 August 2013

ETIQUETTE

Finally, and in keeping with our strange habit of only releasing albums in August, 'Etiquette' is out. It is available as a pay what you wish (including nothing!) download on our Bandcamp page HERE.

You'll notice our other two previous albums are there too - kindly linked from the Blow Up Records Bandcamp page. You'll have to pay for them though if you don't have them already.

They make a nice little trilogy and one I've very proud of. What next then? People have been asking about getting the new album on a disc of some sort. I'm not sure about that. Perhaps a tape cassette issue would be nice?

Why is it free? In this day and age, why the hell not? Giving away a 14 track album for free is our big gutsy artistic statement in these dire times. Silvery, the band who like to give. And now, apart from a few previous joke releases on our Bandcamp page (the 'London Riots 2011' is still talked about in some quarters, and the 'Christmas Is Easy' EP ruined the festive season for lots of people), I'm thinking this is a good way forward to get the music to you, directly from us.

That is unless some moneybags comes along. Offers to the usual address. Over & out. XX

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

ETIQUETTE

Well well. I write this for you during a strangely active week in the Silvery camp. You will have no doubt heard the exclusive cover of David Bowie's super sombre 'After All' on the officially Bowie-Tweeted-n-Facebooked Podrophenia radio show, and we are just about to see the broadcast of the fairly surreal 'Gelato Go Home' animation on Channel 4 to which Silvery provided the electronic (or is that motorik?) retro Euro disco soundtrack. In the meantime, we provided a link to a track from the new album HERE and invited people to make a video for it. All this just as the first video 'Horrors' made the Top 25 animated videos ever list on Creative Blog. That was by the same talented chaps who did the 'Horrors' and 'Naked & The Dead' videos. Amazing.

Anyway, the new album is nearly finished. A few tweaks here and there as you'd expect, and some amusing sleevenotes are all it needs now. The final track (the 8 minute 'Life & Nonlife) is the only track that needs a final mix. It's all sounding fantastic, living up to and hopefully exceeding the previous 2 albums. It will be titled 'Etiquette'. What a pretty word, but also what a brutal idea. Musically you've heard most of it before of course, but the addition of some pedal steel, brass and woodwind, Glitter Band guitar and whatever vintage synths we could find should be enough to keep the interest up. And the minidiscs of found Silvery sounds gets raided again.
 
Lyrically too we're in new territory. Let's just say that 'You Answered Your Own Question' is not the most wordy of the songs. And 'Aokigahara Jive' is a bugger to sing. I'll give you a track by track rundown when it's mastered, which I hope should be in the next couple of weeks. Or months knowing us. By the way, that picture up there might be the cover unless I can sort out something better. We discard the photo of me in a dress already, but the 4 astronauts outfits in the box in the corner might come into play.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH

Been accidently overdoing the Bowie on here a bit recently. Nothing wrong with that. Here's a treat. I've started doing a proper version if this that features the complete story, but this 30 minute first effort will do for now, just to see if it works and because I doubt I'll finish the proper one. In the style of one of those old He Man tape and book sets, the SILVERY 'The Man Who Fell To Earth' audio adventure megamix. There's been many versions of Walter Trevis' 1963 Sci Fi novel over the years, and this tries to bring them all together using elements from the film (yes, the Bowie one), the music from the film by among others Stomu Yamashta and John Phillips (quite hard to find anywhere these days), an 80s audiobook (excuse the tape hiss), tracks from Bowie's 'Low' album (which as you may have suspected, stems partly from his own aborted film soundtrack), a late 90s American musical version (!) and the 1987 TV movie. Yes it's a mess, but hey, what on here isn't? I also began sticking in some contempory Bowie interview bits and bobs too for the hell of it which probably ruins it. So I guess ride the levels right and enjoy! P.S. I've been enjoying the new album much more than the previous slighty cynical entry probably lets on. 'So She' is just sooooooo good.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

THE NEXT DAY


I was supposed to write a  short piece about the new record but it appears someone else got there first. Bugger. It's a 6.5 out of 10 from me. Aladdin Sane is a 9, Low is an 8, Scary Monsters is an 8 and Tin Machine II is a 6 just to give you a sense of scale. Here's my rather lame listening notes with poor spelling and all. Spell check broke you see. Indeed, I'll be surprised if it posts at all. EDIT: Oh it has.

The Next Day - Well well, a pleasant surprise after those curious lead singles (see below!). Surely an Iggy Pop song? Or at least, they used the Iggy plug ins throughout. Proto Tin Machine (a new genre?) late 80s rock. For some reason, I can imagine early INXS demos sounding like this. Believe it or not, that's a compliment. Makes me think the album was possibly recorded by Bowie alone on Garageband. Enough random lyric elements to keep the faithful swooning. A possible knowing rewite of I'm Quite Ahead Of My Time from here. And definitely an update of '87 & Cry from Never Let Me Down which shares exactly the same verses.

The Dirty Boys - Uh oh. Alarm bells. Why is this the second track? No, wait, this is excellent. Fruity sax and staccato humping. Good half chorus. Another decent track. Well done! Although not track 2. No way - a problem I've had with most of the best Bowie albums to be honest. Don't fight it! Strangely Diamond Dogs-esque but with nothing to actually shout this out. Two tracks in and this is shaping up well.

The Stars (Are Out Tonight) - You've heard this one already. Second single and similar to the weaker rockers off Reality. 'Rocker' is misleading, mind. Seems to be a rewite of Shopping For Girls off Tin Machine II but sung in the american accent of the Reality cover of Pablo Piccasso. Skip. I found the video to be a cheap shot too. I thought it was a spoof using the opening titles and clips from an unseen 80s Bowie film. Maybe that was the point? He's explored that theme in almost every video since '96. The addition of Tilda was a marketing man's wetdream, but got a big doh from those of us who had been in on that joke since she first appeared in, I dunno, The Beach?

Love Is Lost - That said, I did think the whole album was a hoax when announced back on 8th January. You see, the weeks leading up to it, the official Bowie website had been down and I assumed it had been hacked by a joker who had made up some amusing Placebo / Suede song titles. Like Love Is Lost. Oh hello. This one has Earthing keyboard instantly giving it a homely feeling. A bit plodding if I'm honest and lacking anything resembling a chorus. Perhaps a bit long at 4 minutes. I like Tin Machine, but this ends up like one of their less tracks sadly.

Where Are We Now - A newsworthy return to the charts from our pal Bowie. All at once blowing the 10 year hard fought mystique he had built up. Much has been said about that of course (It is arguably only be then last 4 or 5 year he's been inactive) and there's no room for more speculation here, although you might like to read this rather OCD discussion about Toy. A really really painfully sad song that I begrudgingly loved through a whole 2 days of News 24 items on it. A great video, so memorably described by Noel G (the man who took Rain to even greater heights) as looking like it had been directed by a cat. Straw hats and rosary beads off to all involved. I assume it was by a Hoxton art grad. For a brief moment I had hoped the whole album would be like this as he obviously has no singing voice anymore. I was wrong about that, as he is singing far better now than on any album since Earthling. Gone is the nasal whine, back is the Bowie of old. You have to think his turn on Extras made him realise he still had it. Not on this track though. Not sure what's going on there. Acting is it? Come off it.

Valentines Day - A stinker. Not sure what I'm supposed to do with this one. Plod plod plod. First truely uninspiring guitar lines of the album dressed up as rockin good time rockness. Pay them more, Mr Bowie! That will solve it!

If You Can't See Me - Much has been said about this track being like a jungle track from Earthling. It isn't. It is Like Zeroes from Never Let Me Down. But this has King Crimson wide eyed and ripping it apart. I like this, but that might just be that the vocal tone which is pretty obviously late 80s Bowie managing to make a melody fit when it doesn't quite. Nice abstract riffage and the comforting sound of the Bowie I used to listen to on rainy Sundays when all you could get in the shops was the 1966 EP and Never Let Me Down.

I'd Rather Be High - Oh God. You can imagine later era Oasis falling over themselves to write a song this ...nothing. Hey, a tune about being high... it needs a mystical hippy guitar line! And some terrible lyrics! I assume this is about Vietnam, and possibly recorded to be played over a montage of a sad Tom Hanks watching his soldier buddies getting high. In the 60s. In Vietnam. On drugs. Toss.

Boss Of Me - One of the bigger stinker in the song title department. So that's one box ticked. Smooth rock for the 80s. Oh, it's 2013. There is no need for this track. I assume this will be the next single as it is all so obvious. Lots of radio play so far, I assume as it sounds 'amazing through a decent hifi set up'. I'm hearing that argument a lot recently :o(

Dancing Out In Space - 2nd biggest stinker in the song title department. Starts like a weak Modern Love with a bad verse but has enough in the choruses to win me over. Another Tin Machine esque R'n'B blow out put through the Absolute Beginners blender. I like it, it could be an old King Bees tunes dug up like he did on Toy. Hang on, should the listener be doing this much work to like a pop tune?

How Does The Grass Grow -I can't for the life of me think of the song this reminds me of. But that's all forgotten by the time the Apache steal comes in. This is probably the worst song here. Side 2 of Never Let Me Down.

(You Will) Set The World On Fire - Another 80s rocker from an old man. Nothing to recommend it. You can imagine in the sessions they though this was the most mental thing they've ever done. It really isn't it sadly. Check out A Big Hurt from Tin Machine II for this, but done better.

You Feel So Lonely You Could Die - A vaguely Doo Wop slowie. Nice. A flimsy song if I'm honest and another that could be improved endlessly with a better band and much thicker sound. Although I'm sure Visconti and Bowie are deaf by now anyway. A good song, really let down by the production. Get a choir on there, man. That would've meant loads more secrecy contracts to draw up. Yes, a good song though. And yes, those are the drums from 5 Years at the end, although the poor 1978 tour version. Why can no other drummer do that beat properly? Bring back Woody!

Heat - Bowie doing Scott Walker is always fun. This isn't fun though. And because it's not fun it is excellent. I'd still go to the bar though when he plays it at the Old Blue Last.

UK Bonus Tracks. The best tracks from the Reality sessions were on the bonus disc, so I have high hope for these.

So She - Almost the Bowie of Come And Buy My Toys. A charmingly simple motif repeated throughout the strangely sad tune. Almost like a skiffle take on Mile End by Pulp if it was on His And Hers. A wintery summer song. One of my favourites on the whole album (EDIT: Favourite along with 'Born In A UFO' from The Next Day Extra)

Plan - Not keen, especially as it was suggested it wouldn't have been out of place on Low or Station To Station. A short slab of motorik drums and 'dark' guitar varooooms. Live intro music if ever I heard it, and therefore a curious inclusion.

I'll Take You There - Fittingly, the album ends with another helping of Reality style old man rock. It screams ATTITUDE but it limps along like so many later era Bowie rockers, however wins me over with some proper Bowie singing and a classically awsome rock mid8. Like so much of the album would undoubtedly be far better with a less lame band behind it. A shame.

God Bless The Girl - From the super long Japan only version. Shifts the balance of the album to being an enjoyable listen. These extra tracks really add to the disc. This one is very good. Again very 80s, almost like his soundtrack songs from that decade. No bad thing! I like this version of the album very much.
 
Conclusion: The best songs here are far better than most of the stuff on Hours, Heathen and Reality, but not anywhere close to the majesty we were told to expect. A very very promising album that sadly fails to deliver much beyond what those same three albums gave us. I'm not too sure if I'm supposed to listen to it much or he just did it to spite the upcoming V&A exhibition (which is now instantly out of date). Although there are people out there who think this is Bowie's best album. I am genuinely happy for them and pleased he is back. I don't like the album cover. The single sleeves are good though. A nice Ziggy one for the next single plz. I like it.

Monday, 7 January 2013

BOWIE SPOOF SONGS

A couple of hours after I posted the below, Bowie announced his first new album in a decade. Sods law. I'm not really going to talk about the new single because it's all be said by my perennial pains in the internet arse - Those Who Shout Loudest. His frail voice makes it sound heartbreaking. Anyway - this is the scuppered birthday blog featuring a small collection of Bowie spoofs. "For my annual Bowie birthday post (this last one here has links to others), I was going to do a selection of bad David Bowie t shirts nicked off eBay because some are just shocking (just take a look on there - I assume most of these are by toddlers who told their mummys that they want to design clothes, have seen Labyrinth and there was never a problem them getting the money to go into business) but I decided late last night to cobble together a selection of Bowie spoof songs from various places. Hence I only found the 6 I've got so it's by no mean complete. Maybe a project for next year? HBD Jonesy, enjoy your retirement and don't worry about needing to do anything (LOL New Bowie Album Ed.) Here's the spoof songs. 30MB various bitrates featuring Flight Of The Concordes, HeeGeeBeeGees, Shirehorses, Liam Lynch, Stella Street and a peach from Horrible Histories. I doubt the little chaps watching that would've chuckled heartily at the similarity to 'Changes'."