New track Fa(i)l[l]ing released

Here’s our new No Side Effects track – Fa(i)l[l]ing!!

Fa(i)l[l]ing Cover (LR)

What were Ade and Tom up to this weekend?


As part of a long delayed meet up, Tom and Ade discussed life, relationships, Brexit and even managed to have a go and turning their recorded tunes into live performances. They even managed to set dates for their next proper single and album releases (ooooh).

As would be expected, the session descended into a mirage of noise at around 2am and gave birth to our new drone song – Fa(i)l[l]ing.

Enjoy!

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Grasslands makes new friends and gets out and about in Swindon

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So much is happening over here in Grasslands universe that I rarely have time to write it all up for the blog.

2016 has seen Grasslands performing live for the first time (despite having spent years and years writing and recording songs) and has even seen the addition of a new Grasslands member!!!

With three gigs under my belt, and another three on the horizon, I thought I would give you a quick update on the events of the past few months.


Gig #1 – Roaring Donkey – April ‘16
First up was an acoustic gig at the Roaring Donkey, supporting George Wilding. I experimented with some electronics for ‘The Ball Starts To Move’ which seemed to go down well. My new 12-string suffered from stage fright and decided to de-tune, so I eventually abandoned it. We have since been to counselling together to discuss what went wrong between us. Maybe I’ll recount that experience some other time.


Gig #2 – Baila Coffee & Vinyl – May ‘16
For this gig at Swindon’s best coffee shop, Baila Coffee & Vinyl and part of ‘The Renegade Sessions’ I was supporting the amazing Vienna Ditto and I decided to have a go at a full set of electronic goodness. My musical friend, Indoor Goblin, helped me out for this gig on keyboards, glockenspiel and harmonies. We thought we blew up the PA at one point, but all was good in the end. The crowning achievement of this gig was finally being able to perform ‘Ambient Groceries’.

Grasslands had so much fun performing with Indoor Goblin that she is helping me play some other gigs too. We also hope to play some music with Vienna Ditto again in the future.


Gig #3 – Desk Cowork – July ‘16
Desk Cowork had a party and Grasslands was invited. along with singer songwriter George Lewis Todd. This gig was subtler than the previous two and provided a bit of background music for various party chats and ping pong games. A few Quintessence songs from the long lost past crept out of hiding too including ‘This Train’ and ‘See You On The Otherside’. My car broke down on the way to the gig, so I taxi’d to the venue and had the opportunity to drink lots of gin in the aftermath, which is always a good thing.

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What next?
In my next blog I will detail the next set of gigs planned for Summer and Autumn.

I’d also like to thank Songs of Praise for all their support and offering me performance slots this year these guys are great!!!

Throws (reviewed by Thomas Haynes)

Dancing About Architecture

ThrowsThrows debut album documents an Icelandic adventure through a range of musical styles with soulful vocals and awkward drum beats. The resultant noises can be compared to The XX, slower Super Furry Animal numbers and The Polyphonic Spree.

Throws is a collaboration between old friends and collaborators Mike Lindsay and Sam Genders formally of Tunng’s who found themselves rekindling their friendship while meandering across the unearthly Icelandic landscape and recording songs along the way.
The album features space-laden tunes with soulful high-pitched falsettos provided by the Northern tones of Sam, which are reminiscent of Bon Ivor.

Awkward drum loops and freestyle live drumming prick your attention and stop this record fading into the background while string and key arrangements provide some warmth and depth. On first listen the album sounds grounded in folk, but you soon discover some surprises such as a bit of gospel in the opening track ‘The…

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Will these memory flashes fade? Coping with the coping mechanism

Here are some words from me for our ongoing series of blogs over at http://www.nosideeffectsmusic.com

Coping Mechanisms

Following Ade’s recent blog on loss, Tom considers how we walk through the maze of healing and tries to understand how the brain reacts to loss.


Ade’s recent blog about death and how we cope with such things has made me think about the ghosts and shadows that haunt my life. It has been almost 12 months since I separated from my wife and the pain of that event is still present. Ade wrote that ‘much in life becomes trivial and is rendered superfluous in the wake of a loved one’s permanent absence’. I have said many times that it would have been easier to cope with my wife’s death, rather than the circumstances under which we parted ways. In that scenario there would have been an end to our story, but there wasn’t one, there was just a sudden transition to a different form of life.

I…

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The Renegade Sessions are go!

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Songs of Praise - Promoters of the best in underground and grassroots live music from the west and beyond.......

It has been in the planning stages for a while, but, as part of a wider review of what we do, how we do it, and where, we are launching, in conjunction with the top folks at Renegade Brewery, live music at the rather cool Baila Coffee & Vinyl on Victoria Road in Old Town.

baila_2522016151053But live music in a coffee shop I hear you say? Well, yes, the core of the business may be as a coffee shop, but it is the antithesis of the identikit chains which are taking over the high street, , much like us at SoP. Additionally, along with the very friendly vibe of the place there is a rather tasty vinyl rack, which follows the shops quality over quantity way of operating, stuffed full of seminal albums and underground collectibles, the cream of the leftfield, everything from rock and soul, dance and hip-hop, funk, pop and even…

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Grasslands live at the Roaring Donkey in Swindon

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Without enough practice to make him comfortable, Tom has decided to take his collection of Grasslands songs outside his studio and attempt to play them in a coherent manner to audiences of humans in places that he likes.

Here is the type of thing you can expect (backwards and sped-up, thus making it not exactly what you can expect).

Tom’s first gig is at the Roaring Donkey in Swindon on Wednesday 20th April in support of George Wilding.

Here are the full details: https://www.facebook.com/events/845523335570906/

Come and say ‘hi’ or give me a Mars Bar, it’s up to you which you want to do.

Who Cares What The Laser Says? – White Wine (reviewed by Thomas Haynes)

Here is my review of White Wine’s cool new album

Dancing About Architecture

White-Wine-Cover-2500White Wine’s new album ‘Who Cares What The Laser Says?’ is a twisted broken treat to listen to. Joe Haege’s antagonistic vocal delivery flashes over the synths and awkward beats and the lyrics are well written and delivered. His angst filled delivery is on show in the second track ‘Where’s My Line?’ (see the video below). You will also quickly assimilate the chant of ‘I’m a sick and narcissistic sycophant!’ from the track ‘Bullet Points Like Swords’.

The album title is a sentiment against technological progress, which feels well represented within both the lyrics and the soundscape of the album. Many of the drumbeats present are stop/start, which keeps you on edge as the album progresses.

There is a dark moodiness to much of Side A (I am so happy to see the two side album concept still in effect). The opening track ‘Is This Weird?’ reminds me of a…

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Who fancies a Grasslands music curated Bank Holiday?

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Are you bored this Bank Holiday Monday? Want to listen to some music? It’s been a very productive period in the cold and wet meadows where Grasslands hangs around and he’s happy to present his current musical offerings, so look no further, Grasslands can keep you occupied for hours.

No Side Effects
Over the past few months Tom has been releasing electronic music with his wildlife partner-in-crime Adrian as ‘No Side Effects’.

They have released three singles which reflect on how we all cope with this rapidly changing modern world. First up is their debut, ‘Isolation Explosion’, which is a dark synth laden mid-tempo tune with some fuzzy guitars and beat boxing.

 

Their second single ‘In Your Brain Right Now’ is a crazy jamming session built around a lecture by philosopher Sam Harris about controlling the mind.

 

Their third single ‘Dark Light’ is a synth heavy number with Tom on drumming and harmony duties. They even recorded a video for this one featuring both Tom and Ade getting blinded by strobe lights and pretending to be serious.

 

Fancy something a bit more academic? Why not check out the duos first two podcasts about social anxiety and loneliness or read the range of blog articles they have both written on these subjects.

 

Grasslands – Hidden! Ninja! Action! – Mixtape
Tom started 2016 by releasing his hour long mixtape about ninjas. The mixtape includes a range of genres from Ska to Pirate Rap and features samples of ninjas from film and TV. There’s been a lot of love for this mix so please do check it out:

Grasslands videos
Tom is warming up for his first Grasslands gig which will be at the Roaring Donkey in Swindon on the 20th April.

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As part of his practice sessions he’s put together some performance videos. The videos include: ‘The Ball Starts To Move’ one of Tom’s most popular songs; an acoustic version of ‘This Is The Way I Rationalise’ and an acoustic cover of Tasmin Archer’s ‘Sleeping Satellite’.

Grasslands EPs
Tom is just starting work on recording ‘EP3: Small Town Justice’, so now is a good time to catch up with ‘EP1: Time To Think’ and ‘EP2: My Folks Prefer The Clone’. Check them out below.

 

 

Enjoy and do subscribe for further news and check out the Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Naubinway – Adam Levy (reviewed by Thomas Haynes)

Here is my review of Adam Levy’s emotional new album

Dancing About Architecture

This is AdA16AX32QBGL._SX355_am Levy’s first solo album away from his band The Honey Dogs. For the most part, the album is a stripped back, folky affair with some subtle country elements. The songs are mid-tempo with Levy’s impressive finger picking style prominent and his soft vocals standing above the mix of acoustic guitars. However, this album is more than just folky guitars.

The stand out tracks for me are ‘Eucastrophe’ which features more production values than some of the other tracks, with its broken fairy tale-like ambient intro reminiscent of Sparklehorse and ‘Atoms never die’ features some nice ambient synthesisers (and what a brilliant lyric). ‘Potter’s Field’ is also a great track with a nice head bopping country beat.

The lyrics are complex and influenced by a very difficult time in Levy’s life: The loss of his son. His son’s striking macabra artwork is presented on the record sleeve…

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