This is my favourite thing on the internet today.

January 23, 2015

Playlist: Dive Slow, May 16th 2014

June 5, 2014


Haven’t posted one of these for a while. So, I figure, I should. Here’s what I played, in the mix, at May’s Dive Slow – the night I put on once-monthly at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton. For this night I was joined by The Invisible‘s Dave Okumu, who delivered a most-excellent guest set. Future Dive Slow dates for your diaries…

June 20 – just me!
July 18 – just me!
August 22 – something of a summer party with Ghostpoet and full supporting bill, more details soon!

Entry is always free. Here’s May’s set…

JJ – ‘My Life’
Lil Wayne – ‘Lollipop’
Run The Jewels – ’36” Chain’ (Blue Sky Black Death remix)
Oddisee – ‘Another’s Grind’
Heems – ‘Tell Me’
Childish Gambino – ‘American Royalty’
Guilty Simpson/Quakers – ‘Fitta Happier’
Shabazz Palaces – ‘They Come In Gold’
Ratking – ‘So Sick Stories’
Bishop Nehru – ‘Mobb Dizzle’
Souls Of Mischief – ’93 Til Infinity’
Kendrick Lamar – ‘The Recipe’
Joey Bada$$ – ’95 Til Infinity’
Mac Miller – ‘Watching Movies’
Chuck Inglish – ‘Came Thru’
Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Hive’
Dr Dre – ‘Let Me Ride’
Masta Ace – ‘Sittin’ On Chrome’ (J Dilla remix)
J Dilla – ‘Baby’
9th Wonder – ‘Now I’m Being Cool’
Madlib + Freddie Gibbs – ‘Deeper’
Madvillain – ‘Accordion’
JJ DOOM – ‘Winter Blues’
Dr Octagon – ‘Blue Flowers’
Company Flow – ‘8 Steps To Perfection’
Killer Mike – ‘Southern Fried’
Big Boi – ‘In The A’
Pharoahe Monch – ‘Simon Says’
Schoolboy Q – ‘Nightmare On Figg St’
A$AP Rocky – ‘Peso’
Jessie Ware – ‘Devotion’ (Distinction remix)
Tycho x Three Six Mafia – ‘Who Run It’ (Hudson Mohawke mix)

– – –

Dave Played Here

– – –

Q-Tip – ‘Breathe And Stop’
Kanye West / Jay Z – ‘N In Paris’
Kanye West – ‘Gold Digger’
Pharrell – ‘Can I Have It Like That’
Kelis + ODB – ‘Got Your Money’
Mariah Carey + ODB – ‘Fantasy’
Dr Dre – ‘Still DRE’
Snoop Dogg – ‘Tha Shiznit’
Kendrick Lamar – ‘Backseat Freestyle’
Lizzo – ‘Batches & Cookies’
OutKast – ‘Ms Jackson’
Kelis – ‘Millionaire’
Frank Ocean – ‘Pyramids’
Iggy Azalea – ‘Fancy’
M.I.A. – ‘Bad Girls’ (remix w/ Missy + Rye Rye)
TNGHT – ‘Buggin’
Evian Christ – ‘Propellor’
Mala – ‘Curfew’
DJ Rashad – ‘Let U Know’
Moderat – ‘Bad Kingdom’
Machinedrum – ‘Gunshotta’
Lee Bannon – ‘Prime/Decent’
Lone – ‘As A Child’
Jon Hopkins – ‘Open Eye Signal’
Fuck Buttons – ‘Surf Solar’
65daysofstatic – ‘Tiger Girl’
Errors – ‘Pleasure Palaces’
Robag Wruhme – ‘Tupla Ovi’
LCD Soundsystem – ‘All My Friends’

Book me to DJ at your show. I am cheap. Twitter.




Playlist: Dive Slow, December 14 2012

January 14, 2013

Oh, hi there.

Me playing records at people is something I like to do. I do it once a month at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar in Brighton. I call this night Dive Slow. Forthcoming dates for your diary: January 18, February 8 and March 15. Links take you to Facebook event pages. These nights are free, and run from around 9pm.

For December’s night, the most splendid gentleman Ghostpoet played a terrifically high-tempo guest set, which had the (capacity, I should think, judging by the sweat) crowd bouncing like never before at a Dive Slow night. It was excellent times. In February Woodpecker Wooliams is calling in for a guest set. Will her selections be as max-BPM? You’ll have to come on down to find out.

Dive Slow, when I’m behind the decks, is pro-hip hop and beats and that. Electro fizzes and rap burps. To give you a flavour of what to expect should you head its way this month, next, or in March, here is December’s playlist…

Big Boi

Chilly Gonzales – Rap Race
Big Boi (pictured, just up there) – The Thickets
Joey Bada$$ – World Domination
Madvillian – Accordion
JJ DOOM – Winter Blues
Dels – You Live In My Head
Drake – Club Paradise
Schoolboy Q – Raymond 1969
Earl Sweatshirt – Chum
Action Bronson – The Symbol
Kool AD – Oooh
Oddisee – Another’s Grind
Main Attrakionz – Do It For The Bay
Curren$y – Smoke Break
A$AP Rocky – Peso
Freddie Gibbs – Oil Money
Hodgy Beats – Bullshittin’
MOP – Ante Up (9th Wonder blend)
Busta Rhymes – Woo Hah (J Dilla remix)
J Dilla – Baby
9th Wonder – Now I’m Being Cool
J Rocc – Stay Fresh
House Shoes – Crazy
Paul White – One of Life’s Pleasures
Childish Gambino/Danny Brown – Toxic
Terry Urban – You’re No Good For Me (Biggie/Lana Del Rey)
Angel Haze – New York
Nas – Life’s a Bitch (Hudson Mohawke blend)
Nas – The Don
M.I.A. – Bad Girls (remix w/ Missy Elliott, Rye Rye)
TNGHT – Buggin’
Hudson Mohawke – Overnight
Children of the Night – Kids From Queens
Supreme Cuts/Haleek Maul – M00N
Tyler, the Creator – Yonkers
Killer Mike – Southern Fried
Big KRIT – Country Rap Tunes
Big Boi – Lines
Kanye West/Jay-Z – N in Paris
Schoolboy Q – Nightmare on Figg Street
Kendrick Lamar – Backstreet Freestyle
Young Fathers – Rumbling
El-P – Drones Over Brooklyn
Aesop Rock – Zero Dark Thirty
Quakers – Fitta Happier
The Pharcyde – Runnin (Philippians remix)
Beastie Boys – Intergalactic (KMD blend)
Jay-Z/Jimi Hendrix – A Watchtower Problem (Nasty P mix)

GHOSTPOET SET WENT HERE (and as a result it was a case of hits ’til close)…

Kanye West – Gold Digger
Pharrell Williams – Frontin’
N*E*R*D – Lapdance
Big Boi – Shutterbug
OutKast – Ms Jackson
Roots Manuva – Witness
Dizzee rascal – Fix Up, Look Sharp
Pharoahe Monch – Simon Says
Nas – It Ain’t Hard To Tell
Montel Jordan – This Is How We Do It
M.I.A. – Paper Planes (Diplo mix)
Warren G/Nate Dogg – Regulate

And for the final 30 mins, a Beastie Boys mega-mix in tribute to the late MCA…

Sure Shot
Body Movin’
Hey Ladies
Get It Together
3 MCs and 1 DJ
Brass Monkey
Fight For Your Right
An Open Letter to NYC

Book me to DJ your club/night/gig/festival. I come really cheap. On Twitter.

BBC Album Reviews – why we cover what we cover when we cover it

May 8, 2012

Since I became album reviews editor for BBC Online in the summer of 2009, I’ve operated a fairly strict system for ‘qualifying’ new releases for review on the site. With a limited budget and 13 genres to cover, it’s essential that I don’t commission a stack of indie/rock releases just because they’re there (and we all know there are lots there, every single week) at the expense of covering one vitally important jazz album, or a reggae LP of significance. The simplest way I have found of ‘qualifying’ reviews is by questioning the teams at the shows playing music on the BBC – the recommenders.

Here, you can find all of the BBC Album Reviews’ current recommenders. Note that some are seasonal, and that some are for now defunct shows. Most regularly tick over, though.

I think (I hope!) this is fairly visible on the site. The vast majority of reviews (over 90% of them in the last three-month period I assessed) will carry a recommendation stamp, linking to other recommended releases by the recommender in question. Here is an example of how this appears on a review page (under ‘Featured On…’).

It’s not a perfect system. Sometimes a recommendation will be withdrawn – this is most common with the 6 Music Album of the Day, when events in the industry necessitate the reassessing of the schedule. Sometimes I will assume a forthcoming album will receive a recommendation, but then – due to poor/non-existent radio plugging, or purely because the album turns out to be a shocker – it falls between the network cracks and runs without a stamp. Just occasionally I’ll have an album covered that I know won’t connect with radio, but that I feel really warrants coverage, but in these situations I tend to write the piece(s) so as not to spend any of my freelancer budget.

But, mostly, the system works. And many a PR (those who I communicate with regularly) is on board with this set-up, and appreciates that for their current release to get covered on the BBC Music pages, it’s going to need somebody on radio liking it enough to put their name to it. This also promotes synergy between online and on-air coverage, and I hope that those who land on a review via a search might click through to see what else that recommender is playing on their show(s).

If you’re a PR and this had never quite clicked with you, I hope I’ve managed to clear things up. I know, I know: this album has got great reviews from The Fly, Rock Sound and NME. I know: Absolute Radio is going nuts for it. And I know: I owe it to myself to give it the coverage it deserves. But if World Routes isn’t saying yes to a review stamp, and it’s the only show playing the artist in question, we’re not going to get anywhere fast.

It should be stressed that this is my system. Another album reviews editor, he or she that fills my boots when I move along, may think differently. But right now this ensures we cover what the BBC music radio networks are promoting, expanding this enthusiasm from FM sounds to wi-fi receivers. I think it works quite splendidly, and (touch wood) there’s not really been a ‘big’ release we’ve missed in nearly three years. Jason Mraz? Yeah yeah, it’s on my desk…

Deaf Club’s ‘Sunday’ – new single released today

February 20, 2012

Backed by ‘Mirrors’. Listen to both tracks on Soundcloud. Buy from iTunes/Amazon.
Tour dates on Facebook

Here ends this advertisement for something good.

Notes from the Mercury Prize

September 7, 2011

By now, you’ll know that PJ Harvey has become the first artist to win the Mercury Prize for a second time, her Let England Shake the pick of the shortlisted 12 at last night’s awards do in London. (Read a review of the album on the BBC, here.) I was at the awards – here’s how it went down, from where I was standing. (Times are estimates only – these are my observations and opinions only, not those of the BBC!)

19.00 – In. No fizz yet. Sort it out, Mercurys.

19.04 – Jools is saying something. Presumably about music. It’s hard to tell as the suits clink their glasses across the tables below us – us being the press scumbags and hangers-on assembled on the balcony. I could really do with a drink.

19.05 – Ghostpoet’s in the building. He’s wearing his trademark pork pie hat indoors. My mum, she wouldn’t like that. Thinks it’s rude to wear a hat indoors.

19.07 – Tinie Tempah is the first performer of the night. “The one and only Tinie Tempah,” announces Jools, ramming his face between the cheeks of a nominated artist for the first time tonight. Thank fuck he’s the one and only, think several of the assembled onlookers. (Okay, perhaps just me.) Mr Tempah plays a medley of his chart hits. Few in the room seem to care. This man is not going home with the Mercury.

19.11 – Anna Calvi now. Like Tempah (and, later, Katy B) she’s dressed in black and red. Danger colours, those. Perhaps we’re in for a fiery performance. Or, perhaps, she’ll just shout for a bit while that friend of hers manhandles a squeezy wheezy box. I’ve never got the fuss surrounding Calvi – an adequate guitarist with some okay songs, but nothing more to these ears. And it must be weird for her tonight, performing in the shadow of PJ Harvey – an artist who’s done what Calvi’s doing for the past 20 years or so, and much better. Calvi’s album has no chance of winning.

19.15 – Jools runs us through all of the nominated albums. Everything is “fantastic” or “wonderful”, of course – this is the way of Jools. Still, he’s a national treasure, the sole televisual window onto the wider musical world for a large percentage of the British public, so I can forgive the sycophancy (and besides, if he’s not going to say these albums and artists are great, who is?). The biggest cheers seem to be for Katy B and Ghostpoet. But that might just be because of where I’m stood.

19.16 – Gwilym Simcock plays. His jazz face, to borrow from a credit card provider that isn’t sponsoring tonight’s proceedings, is priceless. He’s a very talented pianist, but really: his album’s never had a chance of winning, which begs the question of why it’s in the running. There have been better jazz albums in the last 12 months. If you must pick a ‘token’ jazz entry, at least make it one by an outfit with rather more fire in its collective belly. Honestly, this is like riding in a lift…

19.18 – …Until Simcock climbs inside his piano and starts beating it. That makes the room go up. But it might just be sympathy applause – thanks for coming, chap; see you… well, never.

19.28 – After a pause, PJ plays. She’s good, this girl. She’ll do well. A no-frills performance, but she’s an artist with nothing to prove at this stage of her career.

19.34 – King Creosote – who, later, will apparently fall into a swimming pool fully suited – plays, alongside Jon Hopkins on piano. It’s a beautiful moment; the room falls still. That pair had their odds slashed earlier in the day. A sign of success to come? Perhaps – but remember this thing isn’t decided until after these performances, when the judging panel retires to shout at each other until they reach a verdict. I wonder if all of them are ever really happy with the outcome?

19.40 – Metronomy now, with The Bay. Good choice. Good performance. Nice to see a band put a little heart into their live showing tonight. Joseph Mount encourages us to visit Devon. I have done, sir, several times. Paignton Zoo and I, we get along fine. He makes the audience laugh, which is nice. It’s be nicer still if the band’s album, The English Riviera, was to win… but a hunch says it won’t.

19.44 – When does the England match kick off?

19.45 – Oh, about now. Thanks.

19.47 – Nice chat with Gbenga from Metronomy. Apparently Lauren Laverne, who’s here tonight presenting for the BBC, fought for their album to be in the shortlist. Zane Lowe didn’t like it, he tells me. Zane, Zane… Bad form.

19.50 – Katy B. She’s good. Great performance of On a Mission. Beside me, the live-blogger fellow from The Quietus announces that she’s his pick for tonight; later, when we’re surrounded by guys and gals from Rinse (who ‘comically’ threaten to mug us), we’ll both say we’re rooting for her. She seems genuinely pleased to be part of this – as a young artist with her first album just released, I guess everything’s still an adventure for her. She’ll learn, in time. Someone tweets that Polly Jean has the best nose in rock; I counter with Katy B has the best dimples in pop. She does though. Treasures, those.

19.57 – James Blake is on. Somewhere in this noise there’s a song, I’m sure of it.

19.59 – I’m not so sure. He’s a tall lad, Mr Blake. I guess when your head’s all the way up there it’s hard to hear your mates, who are telling you: “James, put some songs on the album… James…? JAMES?! Oh, whatever… make a record that sounds like a Bon Iver remix LP.” Mr The Quietus loved his older stuff – might sound like a muso thing to say, but it’s true: Blake’s pre-album fare was much, much better than what makes up his eponymous debut. He won’t win.

20.00 – The audience seems to be in agreement. They might be quiet out of respect, like they were for King Kenny earlier. More likely they’re asleep, though.

20.07 – Ghostpoet is fantastic – loud, and loving every second of being here. Performance of the night (Cash and Carry Me Home, since you asked).

20.11 – News reaching us that Adele is not going to perform. She’s here, though.

20.15 – Grab a word with Ghostpoet. He seems thrilled to be part of this, and is drinking it in. I wish him the best – it’d be bloody fantastic if his LP, Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam, won this thing. As someone who has only just quit his nine-to-five to focus on his music, that £20,000 will go a long way. He calls me ‘Mr Diver’ too, which I like. (It’s my name, but still.)

20.19 – We’re watching a performance of Rolling in the Deep on the screens. She can sing, this Adele girl. Watch out for her. Bright future, etc.

20.20 – Adele takes to the stage to make a thank-you speech and pick up her one-of-the-final-12 trophies/toilet brushes. She makes people laugh, and snorts a little herself. She’s great, just like one of us. Only absolutely loaded.

20.24 – Everything Everything are dressed like Ghostbusters but aren’t even as entertaining as the second Ghostbusters movie – and that really sagged in places.

20.30 – And now it’s Elbow. Somehow I’ve forgotten about Elbow being here – probably because Build a Rocket Boys! is so utterly underwhelming. Why’s it in the final 12? Because Guy Garvey is a Really Nice Man, that’s why. Can’t be on the strength of the LP in question – if so, clearly the panel has listened to 10 albums all year and then picked two acts on the strength of previous collections. (I might be referring to Adele here – 21 is decent, no doubt, but 6/10 decent rather than 9/10 amazing.)

20.34 – Lippy Kids is the most boring song of 2011.

20.36 – Jools arrives on stage to bury himself up Garvey’s arse. Says something about how we all love Elbow. No, Jools, we don’t. Some of us can’t work out why they’re here in the place of many other more worthy outfits. But, hell, that Guy fella is a smashing chap. Struggles to stand up straight while performing, though. He might want to see someone about that.

20.45 – In the pub. Second half of the England vs Wales match is as dull as Everything Everything were a few minutes ago.

22.02 – Back in the building. Lauren’s over there, speaking to camera. She’s with the chap who presents the 6 Music breakfast show, Sean Keaveny. That’s the same Sean Keaveny who’s failed to get the name of this award correct on his show for the past few weeks/months. An expert, then.

22.05 – Realise how weird it must be for the artists tonight, playing to a room where the majority of people assembled don’t want them to do well. They might like their records, and go to their shows elsewhere – but tonight they’re rooting for a rival.

22.09 – Another music journalist tweets simply: “Fuck Off Elbow.” To the point.

22.26 – And the winner is…

22.26.08 – PJ Harvey! Unprecedented second win for Peej. I’d love to say I’m happy with her win, but… Well, it’s a bit safe, isn’t it? An established artist triumphs again. Might have been nice to see the Mercury celebrate emerging talent a little more – but all of the shortlisted 12 benefit from this exposure, so there are no losers in the room tonight. Plus, PJ is an awesome artist whose catalogue is immense. Let England Shake is an LP I’ve not personally clicked with, but I recognise the love for it from other quarters. Many a friend has told me that it’s the best album of 2011, so…

22.32 – Right, I’m off to the pub for last orders. See ya, the #mercuryprize.

– – –

Watch performances from the night, and interviews and the like, on the BBC Music Showcase pages.

Read reviews of all the nominated albums via the BBC Music Blog.

Paul Connolly’s article on Nirvana and them not being particularly good.

September 1, 2011

You know, this one. Maybe you read it already.

Needless to say, I don’t agree with it. But, then, everyone is entitled to their opinions.

But as the lead (?) music journalist at the (hate)Mail, surely Connolly is better than this – better than an article written purely to provoke inevitable reactions from Cobain acolytes and the wider critical community alike. To reduce a band like Nirvana – an act splintered apart before their time, who I am sure had their greatest album still in them – to three songs of note is amazing. And that two of them aren’t exactly standouts in their catalogue for the ‘average’ fan – Frances Farmer… being an album cut from In Utero, and Oh, the Guilt their side of a split 7″ shared with The Jesus Lizard (yes, I have it; no, I won’t sell it to you) – is peculiar indeed: here’s a piece criticising Cobain for his attitude, praising pop hits over angst-riddled rock, yet the writer selects two seemingly arbitrary cuts rather than the far more ‘instant’ fare – All Apologies, Drain You, About a Girl, Lithium etc.

I exchanged a couple of emails with Connolly after he wrote these kind words about me: “If you’re going to accuse me of hitting fresh lows have a good, hard look at yourself, young man and the one-eyed balderdash you’re coming out with.” Ultimately, we agree to disagree (and we like a lot of the same music, it should be noted). I don’t have a problem with writing to quite deliberately cause a kerfuffle, but it seems dramatically imbalanced in this instance – Nirvana wrote pop-rock that sparkled just as easily as they did dirges for the disaffected. Just seems a bit desperate, a cry for hits amongst so many articles on Nirvana and Nevermind – the album, of course, is 20 years old this month.

Anyway, I’m just fuelling the fire here. So I’ll stop. But remember Nirvana for their great music – don’t (like you were) be swayed by one man’s remarkably reductive words. I can’t think of an album of my generation to have had the impact Nevermind did when I got a taped copy of it from a mate’s older sister when I was in the first year of senior school. Teenage dreams might well be so hard to beat – but those you have before hitting 13 can last so much longer.