Dec 28 2011

On The Strange Spam I Get Posted Daily In My Blog Comments..

Hello folks,

For some reason today my Twitter account has been inundated with spam messages. It’s all very odd. But it doesn’t stop there…

It never fails to astound me when I check the spam filter for my website (wonderfully provided by the Akismet plugin) at the silly nonsense that people try to post in the comments section. Now obviously there are little internet robots that trawl through google and send out auto-spam like a machine gun, but it really does make me giggle sometimes. And more often than not these spammers target photos. Very odd. Here is a little selection currently lurking in the spam box…

On my Christmas Eve post, somebody thought this would be a fitting comment

I was trying to buy a belt, based on the criteria that I wanted a % of the damage dealt converted to life, but that doesn’t appear to be a listed criteria

Okay then. Particularly enjoyed that one. Why somebody buying a belt was interested in my end of year roundup I have no idea. I also had comments about Obama and Occupy Wallstreet. As you do…

I had what at first might be construed as a kind comment on my writing style, using some kind of pidgin English

I’m sure this can be the single most info to me. And im glad reading your article. But should remark on few general things, It style is wonderful, the articles is actually excellent : D. Good job, cheers

Now what piece of gloriously-constructed prose could have prompted such a response I hear you ask? Well actually it was this picture from the Double Feature at the National:

I also had the following comment for my photo of my good friend Dave Ohm guesting with the Paintframe Band:

Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how can we communicate?

“How can we communicate?” asks ‘Fredricka Shammaa’. Erm.. how about we don’t?! Oh dear. I despair…

Quite what the point of these spam comments are I cannot fathom. Obviously I’m meant to click on some link and then they can hack my site, my Twitter account, my Facebook and post all manner of meaningless drivel on my behalf. Well, guess what? My spam filter makes quite sure that none of these little gems actually make it onto the site. Just means I get to have a giggle at them and post them here properly without the spammy links so we can all point and laugh.

Until next time… I shall save the best ones and do another naming and shaming post some other time. Hope you’re all having a nice Christmas holiday 🙂 x

Feb 11 2011

Little Alex Blog #1

Hello folks,

Firstly, just to let you know that calling out from my solo album Mandala is today’s featured free MP3 download on, so make sure you pop over there and grab yourself some free music if you don’t have the album yet. There’s a great selection of past free tracks archived on the site too so it’s well worth a visit.

Many of you will probably have noticed that over the last few days I have been beavering away setting up a bunch of pages and profiles for my new band Little Alex. This is a collaboration with Steve Alexander in which we combine the live looping of my solo project with live drums and percussion from Steve. I though it was about time I posted something here on the blog to let you know where we’re at right now.

We’ve been on Twitter for quite some time now with both myself and Steve posting. Incidentally, Steve also has his own Twitter account now so do go say Hi when you get a chance (his username is @SteveADrums). Over the last couple of days I have also started up a profile on Reverbnation which is home to our mailing list if you want to keep up to date with progress. We’ve already had a fair few people ‘like’ the Facebook page, which has been great. Last night, and only for the sake of completeness, I gritted my teeth and put together the world’s most half-arsed MySpace page. If you feel the need to visit that one, please bear in mind that I can barely get my head around it’s out-dated and glitchy interface; but at least we have the username 🙂

We’ve been busy writing new material and recording various demos at Little Alex HQ. Unfortunately we have nothing to play you at this stage because we’ve yet to play together in a proper studio with all our gear. So far Steve has been playing sampled drums in the studio due to space and noise (!) restrictions. We’re looking at having our first fully live rehearsal next week…

Now for the geek stuff. You have been warned…

My live looping rig has expended somewhat with the addition of a Pod X3 Pro and FBV shortboard thanks to the lovely folks at Line 6. I’ve hooked this up with the old faithful Lexicon MPX G2 in the effects loop which has given me access to some seriously scary sounds. The Pod feeds directly into the Looperlative LP1 which goes straight into the desk for recording. For live playing I managed to get my hands on Cass Lewis’ old touring Warwick ProTube IX which has a stereo effects loop and dual DI outputs. I’m finding that it’s becoming increasingly important to keep the bass in stereo to get the full effect from some of the more spacier sounds I now have access to.

And Steve has been working on a brand new drum setup for the Little Alex project. It’s a much smaller kit with some more esoteric cymbals so we can have access to some really interesting colours and textures. He’s also looking at adding some toys into the mix too; kalimba and baby glockenspiel should be the next additions. We’re trying to keep electronics and samplers out of the drum rig at this stage to simplify our on stage setup, but we haven’t ruled it out entirely for the future. Here’s a little blurry shot taken by Steve this week to show the kit’s latest incarnation..

Anyway. Didn’t intend for this post to be so long! Hopefully next time I blog about the band we’ll have something to play you. We’re working towards putting together an EP to release later this year. We’re hoping to play a slot at the Limelight Music Festival at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow next month, as we will both be up there for the week working on another project. Watch this space (or one of our other many spaces) for announcements of upcoming dates.

Until then..

Jan 24 2011

Share and Share Alike…

Hello folks,

This last week I have spent quite a lot of time listening to some of the great new music that has been brought to my attention recently, mainly through the joys of Twitter and Facebook. Both regularly prove great sources of shared information, especially in the world of new music. I currently follow 804 people on Twitter, the vast majority of them are musicians and music lovers with whom I have a great deal in common musically. So what better platform to discover new music?

I thought this would be a good opportunity to blog about some of the great new music I’ve been listening to over the last couple of weeks that have been recommended via Twitter and Facebook and give you the opportunity to check out some great independent artists you may not have come across yet. And through the joys of the Bandcamp embeddable  players I can miraculously place little links direct to their music right here on the blog. Sweet…

At the end of last week I received my copy of  Disarm by She Makes War (aka Laura Kidd)

This is a fantastic album of what Laura herself describes as ‘grungey dystopian gloom-pop’. The writing is really interesting and for me brought to mind some of Skin’s solo material on the first couple of listens. I posted my favourite track NIMN from the album in the player above. Well worth checking out and her Bandcamp page offers a plethora of imaginative packages.

My second offering today come from ambient/drone artist Emmalee Crane. I really enjoyed her 2009 album Crux and have been keeping my eyes peeled for news of her latest release Formantine. It seems I entirely missed said news and today discovered the album was released in November..

Emmalee creates some beautiful ambient soundscapes using a combination of acoustic, electronic and found sounds treated with delicate processing. The review at Savaran Music and Sound describes her music as ‘ambient, orchestral drone’. The production is wonderful and helps create some of the most atmospheric and organic ambient music I’ve heard in a long time.

Purely by chance this morning I came across A Lullaby Hum For Tired Streets by Ephemetry, also via the Savaran Music blog. This is the music of Derby based musician Richard ‘Biff’ Birkin. There are only five tracks on his Bandcamp page (two of which are free downloads) and the full album isn’t due for release until later this month, but I really loved what I heard…

The first track After Catalunya (posted in the player above) and track 3 A Lullaby Hum grabbed me straight away. Again we’re in the realms of ambient acoustic music with a few folky vocal acoustic tracks thrown in. I’m really interested to see what the full album sounds like and will be keeping my eye on his Bandcamp page for updates..

Finally it was brought to my attention at a gig last night that Hannah Peel‘s new album The Broken Wave is out now. I don’t have a cunning little player for you this time so I’ll have to trust you to check out the album yourselves. It is available from the usual download sites, including eMusic.

I met Hannah last year whilst touring with Duke Special. Her music is incredibly delicate and honest. She plays a variety of instruments when she performs, most notably a little wind-up music box which she painstakingly prepares the reels for with a hole-punch before the show. Produced by Tunng’s Mike Lindsay and with a couple of tracks orchestrated by Nitin Sawhney, the album is truly stunning. The official launch party will be at The Vortex on Tuesday 8th February. Get yourself along if you’re about…

Well that’s it for now folks. I’ll probably do this again sometime in the near future. There’s so much great new music out there right now, despite what the big record labels would have you believe. You just have to know where to look…