Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Kickstarter Plea - F.Stokes

Just a quick plea to ask everyone to go back the Kickstarter project on the following link:

There are some top rewards but more importantly you're helping something that is potentially brilliant get out there. There is more information about it on the end of that link so please check it out. Not much left to raise so get in whilst you can. If you are unfamiliar with F.Stokes here's a little video from YouTube that lets you see how raw this guy is.



If He's Not Your Homeboy Or Your Boyfriend, What Is Toussaint Morrison?

The last week or two my stereo has been dominated by two albums, Toussaint Morrison is Not My Boyfriend and Toussaint Morrison is Not My Homeboy. During this time I have come to the conclusion that Toussaint Morrison really deserves to be far better known than he is (unless he's actually really well known outside of Wales and we're just late to the party). He's one of those artists that I genuinely believe could be huge if given the right exposure, if people sat down and listened I've every confidence they'd discover something they'd like.

Now from checking out what this guy has out there I'm led to believe that he's been around for a moment, as a member of The Blend and Lazlo Supreme and releasing the afore mentioned albums (mixtapes actually) under his own name. He's also a 3-time national slam poet according to his Bandcamp so Toussaint's been putting in the work. 

Being from North Wales and not having many people I know that are into a lot of the music I'm into means it can be hard to discover new stuff in my preferred genres, don't get me wrong my mates have recommended a ton of great bands for me to check and without them I'd have no BRMC, Cooper Temple Clause, Raveonettes, etc in my life so it's not a shabby situation to be in. The problem is without my friends being into  my preferred genres, without any real music scene to really speak of round here, and without a music shop to go and discover things in within a reasonable distance from me, it can be very hard to be exposed to new music. There are essentially three ways I find new artists:-

1) I hit up websites like Rapreviews and randomly click on albums and see if I stumble across anything decent.

2) I see what customers on Amazon, iTunes and all of those type of places are picking up as well as whichever album I last purchased. For instance, when I was first put on to El-P's Fantastic Damage (which was a huge record for me in terms of me discovering shit) I checked and started discovering all of the Def Jux stuff, which in turn took me to things like Babbletron and then Cool Calm Pete.

3) I see what artists I like have been working on and who they've been working with, I check out bands I see them mention in interviews (which is why it forms a large part of the interviews I do on here), or see tweets of what they may be listening to. 

Once I find artists in any of the three ways I've touched on above I tend to jot the names down on scrap pieces of paper or enter them on my mobile and every so often I sit at the computer and have a listen to whatever snippets I can find online and if I get into it I'll order what I can get my hands on. This is how I found Toussaint Morrison. I think I initially saw his name on Rapreviews in a year end list (actually I googled it and now know I did) and so I put his name in the notepad on my phone along with a couple of others. A few weeks back I checked a couple of the acts and whilst searching for some songs of Toussaint's to hear, I was taken to his Bandcamp page. Two mixtapes on there, both as free downloads! Now as this guy is giving that shit away for free, rather than listen to a track or two on YouTube, I decided to give the downloads a try in their entirety. If it isn't costing me anything but my time then it's worth a go, especially as my time is so cheap. I am extremely glad I did because this dude has a little of everything going on.

The first thing that got me was that the man has a set of pipes on him, I've always got time for someone that can belt a track out so when I heard the opening to the following song I was well and truly sold.

As you will have noticed from that track he's not shabby in the rapping department either and to be perfectly honest that track is way off the standard his rapping tends to be at (don't get me wrong though, it's still dope on that track). The blend of the tremendous singing and tight rapping is great to hear and having it coming from just one dude makes it all the more enjoyable.

The other thing that I latched onto was the subject the dude spits about. Altered Beast, Street Fighter, Donnie Yen, X-Men, or Pro Wrestling are all fair game. That's something I can personally connect to. I've mentioned before that I'm quite far removed from the world most of my favourite musicians inhabit, I'm not exactly the intended audience for most of it (although Afrika did say that people should listen to music that isn't meant for them) and I guess aside from clever wordplay or raw beats, there is a voyeuristic pleasure in hearing things so different to my experiences. With Toussaint Morrison I can share some of the points of reference.

So no surprises this time fellas
Y'all get the guards I'm going in for Zelda
Go ahead, kiss ya cross, fight it through
But I'm risk it all and I put that on Hyrule.

I grew up on things like Zelda, I can actually relate to that and what's not to like about good music you can relate to? As these are mixtapes you will recognise some of the beats, I won't spoil everything for you but even Radiohead serve as a great backing track, there is a little of everything on display here.

I think these albums/mixtapes were actually funded by Kickstarter so kudos to all the heads that backed this and helped get it out there for people like me to enjoy, it's a shame that I was too late to the party to be able to have helped in some way!

My words don't often do justice to the things I talk about (I just spout about stuff I like and obviously am no kind of writer) so you can have another song which is much harder than the previously featured track, the beat is a wonderfully chopped up version of Franz Ferdinand that Toussaint flows over superbly.

If you're interested in downloading the two albums please follow the links below, it'll cost you nothing so why not? I could talk about them for plenty more paragraphs but why listen to me when you can listen to the albums without cost?



Check the guy out and follow him on Twitter @2santMorrison, it's worth the effort.

Thanks for Reading


Monday, 4 February 2013

It's The Return!!!

Always expect the unexpected at a Fingathing gig.

Saturday night saw the live return of Fingathing so Wena and I headed up to Manchester to take it in. The gig took place in 2022NQ, a club/gallery type of place up in the Northern Quarter just up from Forbidden Planet. It's the kind of venue that Manchester seems to have in such abundance, a dark, cramped, sweaty, and basement-esque (like The Roadhouse) joint that seems to be so well suited to hosting gigs. Personally I love a venue with sweat covered walls, cold stone floors, and crudely painted fixtures, that's tucked away down a back alley. At the risk of sounding all hipstery, there is a real no nonsense, all about the music vibe to it that just works for me. That said, at this venue I actually felt a bit out of place. We arrived shortly after the doors opened around ten and sat there listening to the DJ, trying to pass the two hours until Fingathing took to the stage. I'm not sure if it's because everyone there seemed to be in big groups and mingling or if it was because we just clearly are not big city folk (I mean we use terms like 'big city folk') but I did feel a tad uncomfortable there for a little while, I'm sure a more outgoing person would have been fine or if we were in a little group of folk, it would have been cool but in a room full of people that either looked something like Noel Gallagher deciding he's a b-boy or just straight up well dressed, well bearded, young folk, this guy just seemed out of place...

It was no place for a Norwegian tourist.
After a couple of slowly drunk, £4 a bottle, ciders and the filling up of the place it started to feel a bit more like it should and soon enough the DJ spun his last Tribe record and gave way for the return of Fingathing. It's been 6 or so years since they played a live show so the crowd was more than ready to go on the journey The 'Thing had in store for them. For those who aren't familiar with Fingathing or aren't fortunate enough to have caught them live I should explain a little about what sets them apart. Aside from the technical wizardy from Parker and the heavy bass lines from Sneaky, there is also the visual element provided by the band's artist Chris Drury. Drury had clearly been hard at work in preparation for this comeback gig because the visuals were down right incredible. All new artwork which was every bit as insane and dope as the music. Don't believe me? Check these shots Wena took...

Tremendous stuff

Some mental imagery up there which actually makes it hard to know where to look when Fingathing are on stage. Do you watch the incredible animation, mixed with close ups of Parker and Sneaky hammering their respective instruments? Do you focus on Sneaky shredding it on his upright bass? Or do you watch Parker bobbing up and down maniacally as he smashes his MPC or cuts records to shit? To be honest in the five or six times I have seen Fingathing I've found the best thing to do is just take a step back and just hope your eyes manage to catch as much of the experience as they possibly can.

Musically we were treated to mixture of old and new, we had the perfect for a live show Head to Head which is a great showcase of how this set up works, the live dueling between the turntable and the bass is, put simply, spectacular. Classic rawness like Ffathead gave way to some of my own personal Finga favourites such as Synergy and Cluster Buster (which I've given a fair bumming to in my Big Red Nebula Band review previously). The new tracks such as Hell Raiser and Bounce seemed to really get the crowd jumping too and Man Made Monster had everyone in attendance reaching for the ceiling. Exactly how it should be. There was a track they played, which due to me standing by the Sound Techs holding a set-list I could see was called Time, which was absolutely killer. There was something about that song that evoked Velvet Underground to me, just a huge track. There was a nice outing for Walk In Space too which is a truly  wonderful live experience and possibly my favourite moment of the night! The tangents that they go off on in that song is just mind blowing and was worth the price of admission alone. Here's an old video I ripped from YouTube that shows how good this track is live. Be warned that the audio is a little off and quality not amazing but it's an awful lot better than the phone videos I took at the gig!!!

There was plenty more to enjoy and in the hope that this gig was a precursor to a full blown tour I won't spoil anything further for you. If they do tour please make sure you pick up tickets for whichever gig is closest to you because Fingathing are unlike anything else you've ever seen and are still one of the best live acts I have ever witnessed.

Catch you down front at the next one.