Tag Archives: rock

Aeroplane Attack – live in Southsea!

As you may recall me mentioning elsewhere and elsewhen, Aeroplane Attack – the band in which I do horrible things to guitar tones using small metal boxes full of electronic components – had our second gig this Monday just past. Here’s the pretty poster with our name on it:

And thanks to the good grace of one Matthew Emson (who seems to have appointed himself as Official Videographer of our meteoric[1] career) we have live footage of the set, too. The sound’s somewhat better in quality than the last video, though there’s not a lot of definition thanks to the hideous volume at which we play; nonetheless, it’s a plucky job for a little cameraphone, and another taste of melodic bombing-run fuzz from the mean streets of Velcro City:

And it seems we may well be playing again in a fortnight’s time – we must be doing something right. Either that, or word hasn’t gotten around to all the local promoters yet…

[ 1 – Yeah, meteoric – a bright flash and a fast fall to earth, AMIRITE? 😉 ]

Friday Photo Blogging: The Sword

Crikey, what a week. But first, meet JD Cronise – spectacularly-monikered and hirsute frontman of George R R Martin-inspired Texan thrash metallers The Sword:

JD Cronise

The Sword played at The Wedgewood Rooms on Wednesday night, and it was an excellent gig … excellent if you like ridiculously downtuned thrash riffs and lyrics that make HP Lovecraft turn in his grave, that is.

You can read my review of their new album Gods Of The Earth, which was released this week (and is streaming in full on their MySpace, too), but unfortunately I can’t share the live review with you just yet …

… because, as you may already know, I lost pretty much the entirety of yesterday as far as productivity is concerned, thanks to one of my hard drives dying on me.

The good news is that I’m up and running on an all-Linux system (Ubuntu, as you asked), and that I managed to rescue almost all of my important documents (bar a few reviews and what was to be this week’s Friday Flash, which I haven’t had the time to rewrite yet – hence the lack thereof).

Also, the magic of cloud computing means that all my emails and contacts (and certain completely irreplaceable documents) are floating out in the aether where I can retrieve them at will, just as they should be … which just goes to show I learned from the last time my hardware conspired to destroy me.

The bad news is that the drive that died appears to be definitively dead beyond any form of resurrection, so it’s time to invest in a USB external drive for backups, and to look at signing up for the ultimate security of Jungle Disk. Soon.

Writing about music

As mentioned above, saw The Sword on Wednesday and they were totally thrashtastic. Hardware death has meant I missed a scheduled article on TDP last night, but I managed to get up early enough to make this morning’s self-imposed deadline. Go me!

Writing about books

Finished and review the Solaris Book of New Science Fiction Vol 2, which I thought was on the whole a pretty decent little anthology.

Have yet to approach the Book Of The New Sun review; still stewing over how to say what I want to say. Next in the queue will almost certainly have to be Walter Jon Williams’ Implied Spaces, because everyone seems to be going nuts for it, and I loved a few of his short pieces.

Writing about other stuff

Pipeline, pipeline, pipeline; I’m too harried and hurried to go into details this week, I’m afraid.

Books and magazines seen

A double-thick issue #12 of Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest.

Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest #12 cover art

An ARC of Subterranean‘s reprint of Stephenson’s Snow Crash (though before you get too jealous, it’s not a production-grade copy, just a bound proof).


As you can see, I’m wrapping it up quickly today; the last 36 hours have been more than hectic enough, and I have yet to compile and post Friday Free Fiction at Futurismic … having lost the use of Windows Live Writer is probably the only serious regret I have about my computer dying …

… well, that and the prospect of having to re-rip a 400+ strong CD collection. Still, it’ll be fun hearing some old albums I’ve not listened to in a while.

And so, with a distinct (or at least comparative) minimum of blather, I shall bid you all a good weekend and head off for a hard-earned Friday Curry Of Justice.

Hasta luego, amigos.

Science fiction fantasy rock band!

some old punk band I smell serious memetic potential – you can blame Jeff VanderMeer*.

So – you can assemble a rock band out of science fiction authors living or dead. Who do you pick, what do they call themselves, and what’s their signature cover version? [image by flashbacks.com]


Shaper and the Mechanists

Drums: M. John Harrison. The guy’s got rhythm – rock climbing’s all about timing. Plus drummers are often way more poetic and thoughtful than the cliches would suggest.

Bass: Charlie Stross. I suspect very strongly that, given half a chance, Charlie could get his groove on in a fearsome way. Rock-star facial hair a bonus.

Keys: William Gibson. He wouldn’t do riffs and melodies so much as pads and atmospheres; a kind of post-rock approach. Will gradually accumulate a vast bank of interconnected effects and found-sound devices by poking around in Cash Converters in each town the band plays.

Rhythm guitar: Rudy Rucker. Already has experience with the instrument, and knows a good riff when he writes one. Could probably out-Townsend Pete Townsend with his power chords.

Lead guitar: Neal Stephenson. Aloof, idiosyncratic, a unique style often imitated but never duplicated. Like Charlie Stross, not averse to rock-star facial hair. Also a fan of Soundgarden, so must know what good guitar lines sound like.

Backing vox/posturing/inexplicable extra stage presence (aka “Bez“): Cory Doctorow. Give him a megaphone and a silly hat, feed him up with … er, sugary foods and caffeine? … and just let him do his thing. Guaranteed to PWN hecklers and get the crowd moving.

Lead vox/songwriter: Bruce Sterling**. He may not have the perfect voice, but every single song would be about something important, and you’d find new meaning with every listen. Inter-song banter would be awesome.

Tour manager: Hunter S Thompson. OK, so not a science fiction writer, but I figure I can have one genre-breaker. No one is going to stiff the band on a deal with HST handling the biz. Plus the band will stay largely drug-free, because all illicit substances will be “headed off at the pass”, so to speak.

A&R guy: Harlan Ellison. Typecasting, I guess.

Cover version: “We’re In This Together” – Nine Inch Nails. Simply because it’s an awesome tune.


Damn; I really want to see this band now. Maybe the band I joined recently could be the support act!

[ * Not just for this post, either – you could try to pin the decline of postmodern culture and the sub-prime crisis on him too. It wouldn’t be very fair, though, let alone true. ]

[ ** This was a foregone conclusion, of course. Fanboy is as fanboy does. ]

Friday Photo Blogging: Die So Fluid

Those of you who like my live music photography are in luck; those of you not so keen have probably been longing for periods with steady sunny weather wherein I have more time on my hands. Sorry! 🙂

This is the bizarrely-named Grog, singer and bass-player of a three-piece band called Die So Fluid:

Die So Fluid

Don’t be put off by the pseudo-goth fetish outfit; their music is straight-up chunky alt-rock, close to the metallic end as far as heaviness is concerned, and wow – she can really sing. Proper gutsy vocals, none of your Gwen Stefani schlock.

Go check ’em out on MySpazz if you don’t believe me – great band, live and on record.

Writing about music

The results of my night out in Southampton last week can be seen above, at least in part; Die So Fluid [live review] were supporting My Ruin [live review], who I also interviewed.

The pictures of the My Ruin set were unfortunately awful, thanks to a combination of poor lighting, low-end dSLR, a push-and-shove mosh pit … and my lack of ability to compensate for all three of them. Life’s a learning curve, eh?

Another busy week for CD reviews, but there’s a sort of pang about it – by Sunday, I will have finished my last weekly batch of reviews for sites other than my own.

I’ll still be writing for Subba-Cultcha and Pennyblack on an occasional basis, but I’ve reached a point where I need to devote all my music writing time to The Dreaded Press. The work is coming in steadily, and I need to stay on top of it.

But in the spirit of assessing ones achievements, it’s pretty impressive to me that in less than twelve full months writing for those two sites I’ve managed to rack up over 250 pieces of work (if you include the ones yet to be published).

You’d be forgiven for not believing me – I find it quite astonishing myself – but you can see the proof as a list of items tagged with my name at del.icio.us.


Writing about books

Minimal once again; see above. Will hopefully pick up steam again; see above. I did manage to get the latest Interzone review offers list out of the electronic door, though.

I sent a re-polished edit of my review of McDonald’s Brasyl to Andy Sawyer at Foundation; he seems pretty pleased with it, and reckons it will only need further trimming if the other pending material is equally excessive in length.

I don’t know if you remember me whining on about how immensely frustrated I was at being unable to hammer that particular leviathan of a review into shape at the time*?

Well, here’s a lesson for my self-critical facilities – with some relatively minor edits, it actually read fairly well. Amazing what a distance of a few months can make – I now understand the fiction writer’s advice about leaving stories fallow before editing them.

Currently reading Gene Wolfe’s Severian Of The Guild, and enjoying it immensely – although I can see a lot of reasons it might infuriate others. It reminds me of Mervyn Peake, though, and it’ll take a lot of frustration to dull that particular shine as far as I’m concerned.

As for analysing it from a reviewer’s perspective, however, I have no idea where I’ll even start. That said, I’ve not even finished the first book of four yet.

Other stuff

Much to the great frustration of a vocal minority of readers who have actually made a point of asking me about it**, the Great Pending Announcement will not be made today – it will be made on Monday 11th, for reasons that should become clear when the announcement is made.

But the way forward is clear and unobstructed – or at least as unobstructed as it’s going to get. Keep watching the skies. 🙂

Books and magazines seen

Zero on the fresh literature front this week, with the arguable exception of some very smutty manga from Yen Press that has no real literary merit that I can discern.

Let me be plain – I’m in no way opposed to the sale of smut (I’d be a hypocrite if I were), but sheesh – either give it a decent plot or stop pretending, y’know? An absolute endorsement of the adage that something labelled “not suitable for minors” might as well be labelled “will only be of interest to minors, mostly male”.

The end of an era twice over, too – picked up the final instalments of Doug Rushkoff’s Testament and Brian K Vaughn’s Y: The Last Man.

Y: The Last Man - cover art for issue 60

Y:TLM is a great piece of science fiction, though I’m sure the film they’re threatening to make will strip all the good bits out.

To fill the small but poignant gap that my only two running comic subscriptions have created by ending, I’ve put a couple of Warren Ellis titles on order. Yay!


It is my intent to head up to the Big Smoke by train tomorrow for TTAcon 9, a gathering of folk connected to TTA Press, be they staff or readers.

It’s being held at a pub called Filthy MacNastys near King’s Cross on Saturday 9th February – full details at the TTA website.

If you end up going along and you see me there, please make a point of saying hello – it’s nice to meet people from the intarwebs.

However, my attendance or otherwise is dependent on me clearing a bunch of writing this evening and tomorrow morning … I’m pretty sure I’m going to make it, though.


Those interested in the results of my frugality experiments will be fascinated to hear that I haven’t spent any unnecessary money since this time last week (with the obvious exception, which was declared in advance anyway).

Still not smoking, no alcohol for seven days, minor but daily exercise, early rising. It’s uncanny; I feel like I’m living someone else’s life. Part of me hopes they’ll ask for it back real soon; the other part is trying to decide how it should arrange the furniture.

But as for now I’m busy busy busy, so I’m going to wrap this up and get on with my proper work. Well, right after The Friday Curry, that is. 😉

Hasta luego, amigos.

[ * You’d be forgiven for forgetting, because I was beginning to sound like a scratched record or a particularly uninspired televangelist. ]

[ ** This actually happened. It was very flattering – and it made me realise that I’m not the only person in the world who needs to get out more. 😉 ]

Friday Photo Blogging: Stone Gods

Richie Edwards of Stone Gods is a charismatic front-man, and makes for a great subject for photography – he’s just got one of those expressive faces, I guess, and a natural propensity to pose.

However, I thought I’d put this particular photo up as an example of the “happy accident” shot.

[Sharp focus on headstock] + [blurred musician in background] = [rather striking image IMHO]:

Stone Gods

It was a good show they put on (though I wouldn’t have given you tuppence for the support band Serpico, I’m afraid).

My interview with the band went really well, too – the evidence is up at The Dreaded Press, in case you hadn’t seen it already. Discover the rock and roll secrets of the Waitrose deli counter!

Writing about music

There has been an awful lot of music writing this last week, as I’m in the transitional period between writing for other people and writing for TDP only.

What that means in real terms is that I’m at double workload at the moment, and will be for the next few weeks. The upswing being that I’m learning what sort of capacity for work I have when pressed by circumstance – though it’s not an output rate I’d want to duplicate regularly without getting paid for it.

Another gig last night – reviewing My Ruin and Die So Fluid at Southampton Joiners.

I also did an interview with Tairrie B of My Ruin (which is apparently a rare privilege, because she’s quite bitter toward music journalism, and with good reason), and I think it went really well. She’s got a lot to say, and calls it how she sees it. Strong woman; respect is due.

Both bands put on a good show also; watch out for reviews and interviews in the next handful of days. Another good reason to be subscribed to The Dreaded Press RSS feed, no? 😉

Writing about books

Virtually nothing on the literary front; see above. My review of Swiftly is overdue as of today – I’d better get that finished by Sunday, I’m thinking.

I did manage to get the reviews section for Interzone #215 squared up and sent off, though.

Writing about other stuff

Not much writing about other stuff this week either – some scraps of poetry have been committed (as should their creator be, some might say), but I’ve not even had time to do a piece of Friday Flash Fiction this week, to my great shame.

It’s been ages since I missed a week, and I feel strangely guilty – it’s odd how quickly habits become entrenched. Still, it seems I am not alone in my shame this time.

Other tasks of a not-actually-writing nature have been simmering all week, though. Much planning and brainstorming (and wondering what the hell I’m letting myself in for) has taken place.

We’re very close to a point where I can announce this formally, but not quite there just yet. Ooooh, the suspense … 🙂

Books and magazines seen

No magazines this week, though a renewal slip turned up from F&SF, so I must have mis-remembered by last subscription date. The mystery of the seemingly infinite subscription is now solved!

My copy of Gene Wolfe’s Severian Of The Guild omnibus arrived early in the week from the folk at SF Site.


According to the post-mark it took exactly two months to make the journey by surface mail from Canada – I mention this not as a complaint, just a sort of “wow” observation*.


Anyway, enough of my whimsy. Or less of it, at least; a bit of whimsy is an acceptable safety valve in my all-out frantic life at the moment, I feel.

Indeed, it’s a definite manifestation of whimsy that saw me volunteering to play third guitar in a local shoegazer/space-rock band in times to come. I’m meeting up with my prospective band-mates on Sunday to discuss our mutual musical direction (or, as seems more likely, to spend a few hours enthusing over the various merits of obscure seventies stomp-boxes and wondering which of us was most likely to have won the hand of Belinda Butcher in marriage had we been in a position to ask for it*). More news on this when I have it.

But hey, look at the date – February 1st! Which means I’ve successfully not smoked for a whole month, which I’m pretty bloody proud of.

In addition to the health benefits (which I have yet to feel in any tangible manner, but I believe must exist), it’s a real psychological boost for my self-confidence. If I can change one aspect of my daily life with a bit of will-power, what else can I achieve with more of the same?

Hence February is going to involve experiments with frugality, and maybe even regular exercise. I know, it’s a scary thought. Probably more so for me than you, though**.

This weekend, with the exception of Sunday’s musical meeting, promises to be a monstrous writing binge for a second week in a row – I’m still trying to get ahead of myself and set up a routine with some flex built in.

However, having woken up this morning with sinuses aflame and limbs aching with the tell-tale signs of my first cold of the year, it seems unlikely that I’ll have much else to do, beyond the regular domestic tasks that the average bachelor hermit must perform for himself. Lucky, wot?

So I’ll be forgoing the usual pub jaunt this evening – which will be a good way to kick off the frugal regime of not drinking alcohol for a month, if nothing else.

But some traditions are too precious to be tossed away willy-nilly … and after all, The Friday Curry has proved efficacious in the management of cold and flu symptoms before. 😉

Have a great weekend, people – whatever you end up doing. Hasta luego!

[* Did you ever do that creative writing exercise at school, the “Day In The Life Of A Ten-pence Piece” story? I think about that book slowly crossing the Atlantic, and I want to write something similar. Might have made a good FFF piece, but alas, the time was not available.]

[** A pointless debate, really, as it’s obviously me.]

[*** That said, those of you who’ve seen me wearing shorts might be justified in flinching at the flashback.]