New-ish song, St Patrick’s Day, Proud Camden and recent activity!

Hello, apologies for not posting in a while. Thankfully it’s been a productive few weeks. For starters, new material has been coming along nicely, and as a preview, here is a rough webcam video of one of them: Circus. Some may have heard me do this live but I am still yet to get a great recording of it; this will do for now.

Also, last Saturday I was lucky enough to play at the wonderful Proud bar in Camden. It was an afternoon show which drew in a huge crowd of Camden shoppers, all of whom were incredibly attentive. I must note how fantastic the staff were in supporting the acts. The venue also had one of the best sound engineer’s I’ve ever worked with, which made all the difference in my performance. Of course, thanks to the friends and supporters from Harrow and central London, plus a certain eccentric who came all the way from Brighton.

proud

After the gig I also managed to flog a few copies of The Mesmerist E.P which is now available on disc:

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And can be downloaded here.

Finally, a special mention to The Brighton tavern, and everyone who performed there on St Patrick’s Day last Sunday. I hadn’t organised a show like that in a long time, and it could not have gone better. You can check out all who performed by clicking on their names listed below:

Will Worth

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Chloe Giacometti

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Brían McNamara

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It truly was a fantastic night. Thanks also to Lee Cherry who kindly made Live recordings of the whole night, which will be played on Radio Free Brighton in the coming weeks. I will keep you posted on who, and when, artists are being played.

Phew – long post indeed. That’s all for now, more gig dates and tunes coming soon. Much love to you all!

New Demo – The Mesmerist E.P.

Lots of background noise in the pub unfortunately

Well after all the Christmas, new year and touring Ireland excitement, it’s back to normality here at Lazy Morse. But no! Things should never be normal – there are always fresh things to grumble about, nice things to drink, and parties to throw people out of. Over the past few month I have been recording a basic demo with my friend and fellow musician Will Worth. It’s just me and the guitar, nothing too fancy, but I hope you enjoy it and see it as a sign of what’s to come. So please do enjoy: The Mesmerist E.P.!

 

“Tower” Live video from winter tour of Ireland

In the small village of Liscannor, Ireland, my family own a small cottage. I’ve visited the cottage at least once a year since being a kid and I spent loads of time there exploring a tower ruins and its surrounding fields and rocks looking over Liscannor bay. I wrote a song about it, and was really happy to get the chance to make a live video recording during a short winter tour of Ireland’s west coast this year. Please enjoy this video of a quarter Irishman, a big tower of stone and a very windy day.

I will be writing another blog soon about the full “Folk Off Tour”  during which this was filmed. Here we all are looking super cold and baddass:

Image of Tour Buddies

Tomorrow I will be putting up a post about my new demo, stay tuned!

Crooked Fingers Gig Review

That’s right, this site isn’t all about me!

With commitments to working late in a pub, playing my own gigs and having little money, it’s become rarer and rarer that I manage to go and see a band I truly love. I should really have written a review of the wonderful Tallest Man on Earth playing at Saint Bartholomew’s Church back in October, but alas, its been a little too long now. I will briefly say what a fantastic and unique performance that was, with Kristian Matsson performing completely solo, his gruff voice and intricate guitar work echoing out into the huge, brick church. It was a beautiful and haunting performance, and a gig I will never forget.

The latest artists I have had the pleasure of seeing in Brighton are the North Carolina band Crooked Fingers. Fronted by Eric Bachman (of 90’s indie rock band Archers of Loaf), the band has an ever changing line-up and a sound that is always evolving. Their latest album, Breaks in the Armour, was released last year in America, and the band are in the UK promoting and releasing it for us lucky Brits. I’d seen a few local bands at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar but never anyone from the US, and certainly never anyone I had been following for over 5 years, so I was particularly excited about this gig. When arriving at the small basement venue I was initially surprised, and worried, by how sadly empty it was – but it ended up being an incredibly intimate and moving show.

Stripped down to just two members – Bachman on Spanish guitar accompanied by the occasional subtle electric guitar and a female singer – this simple line-up really highlighted the quality of Bachman’s songs and guitar work, proving just as powerful a solo (almost) as they do on record with the full band. An early highlight was “Man o’ War” with delicate, finger-picked guitar work, and Bachman’s gruff and soft voice, providing a fine opening to the show. The stand-out track from the new album, “Bad Blood“, had the same raw energy it has on record with excellent harmonies and catchy hooks. The unbelievably pretty duet “Sleep All Summer” provided an amazing mid-set moment, but the main highlights were when the pair stepped off the stage and played completely unplugged. Fan favourite “New Drink for the Old Drunk” sounded better than ever stripped down to just Spanish guitar and un-amplified vocals, and “So Long Savannah’s” semi-hopeful lyrics and slidey guitar was another highlight. Bringing the set to a heartbreaking close was another older track, “You Must Build a Fire“, also done completely unplugged, with Bachman standing alone in a half-circle of loyal fans – proving that a good old fashioned acoustic love song can still move and bring a room full of people to silence.

Crooked Fingers are an excellent band and lovely people (Bachman was kind enough to have a chat afterwards and give me a set-list) and I highly recommend you check them out. I hope they will return to the UK soon. Check them out!

November/December show dates

Hello all, lots of fun gigs coming up in the next couple of months, plus a full EP. Here are the confirmed gigs coming up over the next few months:

Wednesday 28th November 7pm: Hush Hush Anniversary gig at The White Rabbit. Event page here

Wednesday 12th December 8pm: Iron Duke Christmas special, Brighton. Event page here

Thursday 13th December: Fiddlers Elbow, Brighton 9pm.

Sunday 16th December: Headlining Hush Hush at the White Rabbit, Brighton 9pm. Event page here

Thursday 20th December: Christma Folk Off! Fiddler’s Elbow, Brighton

Thursday 27th December: Dolan’s, Limerick, Ireland. Event Page here

Friday 28th December: Joseph McHugh’s, Liscannor, Ireland

Saturday 29th December: Roisin Dubh, Galway, Ireland. Event Page here

And a much later but still booked gig, Wednesday 30th January: Off The Cuff sessions at the Pull and Pump, Brighton.

That’s it for now, should be more announced soon. Until then, enjoy a little preview of the upcoming EP here!

 

Recording E.P!

Afternoon everybody, I have been busy doing some recording recently for an upcoming E.P. I will be giving these out at most gigs and, on a side note, on the mini Ireland tour which myself and some other great musicians will be doing in December; more details on that soon! Just thought I would share some recording pictures to show you all how painfully busy I have been.

Live on Mixcloud and the Radio!

Afternoon world. For those who weren’t listening last night here is a link to last night’s live music at Medusa bar. If you’re not already aware, through the magic of the internet we have found a way to stream gigs/open mics/rituals/whatever live on the internet, so anyone can listen around the world! The shows are streamed live on Radiofree Brighton. After that, they can be heard on mixcloud here. So click on the link and hear the likes of Paul McKeown, Darcy EastwoodClaude Nteye and, of course, yours truly.

Eurogamer Expo 2012, Part 2

Eurogamer Expo, part 2

Far Cry 3

Do we really need another huge open world game to lose our lives to? Do we really need another digital landscape to explore, when the real world offers such beautiful sights and wonders? Do we really need to be able to slaughter pigs and sharks with a crossbow? Well, when it comes with as much style and polish as Far Cry offers, it turns out that yes, actually, we do. I shall admit I am very new to the Far Cry franchise and its universe, but I have always heard it was incredible and right up my street. We only got about ten minutes with Far Cry 3 at a time, but we had so much fun that at the end of the day we queued up for another go.

Those brief ten minutes were an absolute blast and demonstrated a huge amount of potential for the full game. The landscape they have created is simply stunning, and I could clearly see for miles and miles, acres of land that I wanted to explore… just as the mean Eurogamer staff members told us our time was up and had to drag me kicking and screaming out of the building.

What really struck me about Far Cry 3 is how well everything worked. It’s all very well having a beautiful, massive open world, but it is rare that a game manages to get nearly everything right in it. A huge sandbox game with slick, first person shooter gameplay and brilliant body physics? We don’t see many games that pull of all these things together. As much as I adore both Fallout and Grand Theft Auto, and though they offer incredibly enjoyable open worlds with great physics engines, there is a lot to be improved when it comes to shooting and combat controls. Far Cry 3 appears to have nailed both, whilst also having beautiful attention to detail and surprisingly good first person driving controls. And you can fight sharks. In fact, another stand out feature of Far Cry 3 for me was the sense of survival and unpredictability. As you are thrown out into the mad world, you have no idea what band of murdering psychopaths or alligators or tigers are lurking just over the hill. This truly is a harsh and hostile environment which will take tactics, and skill, to survive in.

If Far Cry 3 lives up to its potential, we may be in for something very special indeed.

Borderlands 2

From the short go I had, I didn’t get to know too much about Borderlands 2 – but what I saw was fun. As this game is available now there were no queues, so my associate and I got straight on for a bit of good old fashioned split screen co-op. I love split screen. I love any game where you can still play sitting next to your buddy on the couch in your underpants. Ahem. Either way, Borderlands 2 is great fun, offering the same unique graphics and animations that you would expect from the series and giving you plenty of scope for exploring and looting. The shooting is also fantastically fluid and it seems the objectives can be tackled in a number of ways depending on who you are playing with. Once I get around to completing Borderlands I will definitely be buying Borderlands 2. Pretty please, Santa?

Dishonored

The game that everybody is (or should be) talking about at Eurogamer is Arkane Studios’ Dishonoured. You are a gifted assassin, who once was the bodyguard of an empress, but is framed for her murder. You are forced to seek revenge on the scumbags who conspired against you, using a combination of stealth, magic, brutal melee and shooting gameplay. I will go back to gameplay in a moment, but one of Dishonored’s most unique and intriguing features its setting. The game is set in the fictional industrial city of Dunwall, modelled after seventeenth century London, with the fashion and architecture combining steampunk and Victorian styles, plus some bizarre futuristic machinery. It really has to be seen to be believed and is incredibly hard to describe, so this may help…

Yes…wtf indeed.

And just check out the costumes!

Unique, polished, beautiful. In short, Dishonored looks like nothing else out at the moment, and its refreshing to see a game that isn’t a sequel, reboot or a continuation of another universe. Here, we have a developer taking a chance and introducing us to a fresh and original game world, and I for one cannot wait to explore it.

All this prettiness would mean nothing, though, if the game didn’t play well – and thankfully, from the session I had with it, it certainly does. The game features many elements of gameplay which are indeed familiar, but which come together to create a unique experience. Stealth is a very important mechanic here, and in the particular level I played, stealth seemed the best option, as the waves of guards that came my way when I blew my cover were pretty tough. So you have a variety of sneak attacks at your disposal, as well some long distance darts and guns to play with. Dishonored really seems to aim to please all styles of gamers, and the big draw is that all missions can be achieved in a number of ways; there is no set path, no set weapon you must use. It is entirely up to you.

Whilst not quite open world, the game is a sandbox in the sense that all the levels provide a number of paths. Want to sneak down alleyways and stay in the darkness? Go ahead. Want to grappling-hook your way onto the rooftops and attack from above? Sure, go for it. Want to turn yourself into a rat, scuttle down the street and round the corner to check the cost is clear? Yeah su…wait, pardon? Yes, that’s right, you can indeed turn into a rat and sneak around – or you can use the “Devouring Swarm” power and just send a bunch of rats to gobble up your enemies (in a gloriously gory animation). You also have the powers of “Possession” (which lets you possess other characters so you can, for instance, possess a bad guy and throw them off a building), “Bend Time” (Sounds awesome, doesn’t it) and “Blink” (which is a short distance teleportation ability). The game also features a levelling up system which reportedly allows you to become quite the baddass as the game develops.  As well as all this, the game has some great little details, like being able to listen in on conversations from a distance, and look through keyholes to check that a room is clear. There is so much more to Dishonored that I couldn’t possibly cover it all here, but from what I’ve seen, it looks to be one of the most unique and exciting releases of the year.

Eurogamer Expo 2012

Whilst this website will be primarily for music, I will be putting the odd post up about my other musings; in this case, the Eurogamer Expo!

Eurogamer Expo 2012

Last Sunday I was lucky enough to attend the Eurogamer Expo at Earls Court. Much like a trip to a theme park, one queues up for a while and gets ten minutes on the attraction which, in this case, is all the latest video games coming our way this Christmas. Over the next few days I will be posting up some accounts of what I saw at the show, so do enjoy!

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Back to the same old future.

In the programme for Eurogamer 2012 the main reassurance about Call of Duty was that, this time, it would be different! Treyarch, the game developers, were reinventing the franchise, trying out brand new ideas and, most importantly, “not playing it safe”. In other words, it was to be a Call of Duty experience like not other. From what I saw, yes, the futuristic setting and some new multiplayer modes do spice things up a little. Players are introduced to high-tec guns and airships, and a look into the future of warfare. For me however, this looks like the same old COD engine with a new, futuristic lick of paint. Despite not seeing the campaign, I would bet my Xbox and guitar on it being roughly 6-7 hours long, with “cinematic” set pieces (oh, how I’ve grown to hate that word) and a linear level design. Surely, in terms of gameplay, firing a chain lazer gun out of an airship is still the same as firing a regular chain gun out of a helicopter or harrier jet. I may be a grumpy bastard, but COD being relocated to the future isn’t quite sufficient to get me excited enough to fork out fifty pounds. But as we all know, COD isn’t about the single player at all. In fact, it may as well not exist. Treyarch have arguably developed the simplest, most perfect multiplayer FPS experience out there, which despite not doing anything new or drastic, still continues to entertain even the most cynical gamers like myself.

Of course there is also the Zombie mode, which I did not get to see properly, but it does looks as though it will provide a larger map with a more varied experience, plus an interesting feature which allows players to take a bus across the map. There are now three zombie modes: the classic ‘survival mode’ (which we all know and love), plus ‘grief’ and ‘transit’. I am most excited about transit as it reportedly involves a more open-world approach to zombies, featuring a huge map which players can traverse either on foot or by bus, adding a plethora of interesting tactical and exploration elements to the formula.

So, zombies, as always, sounds terrific. The rest of the game, as always, feels very similar. But that may not be a bad thing. Maybe in COD’s case it’s the familiarity that we all love. Maybe I just love to bitch and moan about things. Either way, you can’t beat a classic, delicious piece of cod.

Also, as this should really be an account of the Eurogamer Expo and not a game review (or should it? This is a first for me) I will also mention that the royal round table of cod was undeniably cool. Sadly I haven’t moved into the smart phone age yet so do not have a picture. Sorry folks.

Doom 3: BFG Edition

Classic impending Doom from ID software.

Few games have made blowing the shit out of demons from hell more entertaining than the Doom franchise. Often regarded as the first truly great first person shooter, it has more than earned the legendary status it has today. Doom 3, whilst not without its flaws, was a fantastic, and often terrifying, update for the franchise. At Eurogamer this year, eager gamers got to try out the much anticipated BFG edition – and as part of a section for which one didn’t have to queue, it was a welcome addition. This version doesn’t bring too much new, but offers slightly enhanced graphics and faster gameplay. It does, however, bring one thing which works wonderfully; stalking dark corridors, with a pistol and torch, in 3D! I’ve never been a fan of this gimmick in gaming or cinema, but with a game like Doom 3, 3D is put to fantastic, pant-pissingly good use. Especially when you add headphones and your bastard mate continuously grabbing you on the shoulder from behind whilst playing. OK, that bastard mate was me. Sorry Ash.

As well as all of this you get both Doom and Doom 2 to go with it; a pretty great package if you ask me.

Carmageddon

Another controversial classic! Carmageddon caused outrage for its violent driving gameplay which awarded players points for knocking down pedestrians causing an awful, bloody mess. At one point the game was edited so that the pedestrians had green blood, which apparently made it all OK. But, sick minded gore hounds rejoice! Carmageddon is back in all its red-blooded glory on iphones and ipads – so now, cartoon mass murder can be played on the move! God help us. Honestly, I thought this little application having its own stand at Eurogamer was a bit unnecessary, but it did provide a nice nostalgia trip, a reminder of the games that parents used to go ape about, once upon a time. Compared to the realistic violence we have nowadays, Carmageddon is like a video game of wacky races. In terms of gameplay, this version runs pretty much the same as the old. Whilst it seemed slightly awkward to me, I am sure that players more accustomed with touch screen gaming will have a blast.

More Eurogamer talk to come in the next few days!