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undereducated

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i am winston echo

(this is my blog so i get to say whatever i like. have a quick look and you'll see there's mp3s available, if you want to listen to them try streaming by all means but sometimes it doesn't work too well, in which case right click and save and listen at yr leisure. also, if you find that yr in a position to get upset at me posting these mp3s and would like them taken down then please let me know and i'll chop em ok? also also, go and buy music as well cheapskates) look at the rest of my site
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Tough Punx!

:)
Sometimes everything's quite good.  Even though I feel ill, pretty bad, with flu and aching body parts and a vague sense of being at death's door (a bit over the top, maybe), in spite of all of this some days just work out pretty well.  Friday was one of those days.  I played a show at the Labour Club with Foxes and Little Cosmonaut who were both very good, and you can read a bit about them if you look through some older posts.  Unlike some other shows, my set went quite well.  Sure I screwed up a few songs but that's just what I do, but overall I really enjoyed and it seemed like most of the audience did too.  EXCEPT, except for a couple of guys sat right next to the stage.  They'd had a few drinks, got a little rowdy, and, they were punks.  Y'know, real punks.  Like with the spiky hair and combats and Doc Martins.  (For the record, I'm not sure exactly how punk you can really call these kind of fashion choices, these kids still have to go into shops and buy these clothes and they still try and look just like 1977.  What's the difference between this and the Mod revival?)  Punk kids are tough and that means they don't like twee indie pop and they can certainly shout louder than I can.  Hey it's all in good fun, I wasn't too bothered by it all really. 

Now, 'punk rock' has never really appealed too much to me.  I love The Ramones, but I always found the British take on the genre a little too caught up in spitting and safety pins and standard guitar to get too excited (I'm sure it was great being there at the time but in retrospect it just doesn't appeal to me.)  I've always been more interested in punk as an idea, as opposed to a genre or fashion trend.  The idea of doing what you love and using the resources you have available to get it done.  That being said, I do love some really good, fast and loud pop with a bit of punk thrown in. These 2 mp3s are by bands who I don't really know much about at all, I simply stumbled across their websites by chance and found that the songs totally stuck with me.  So have a listen to Dumb Haircuts and The Coathangers.

Dumb Haircuts - Kill The Trees

The Coathangers - Shut Tha Fuck Up


Posted by winston at 7:50 PM GMT
Tuesday, 20 February 2007
To Brighton on Autopilot

Last year I read the Graham Greene book Brighton Rock, and very good it was too. Painting a scary and violent picture of the Brighton criminal underworld from the pier to the racecourse. On the weekend I went to Brighton and didn't see any of that, though I did get shouted at by some woman who seemed to be pretty messed up for midday on a sunday (y'know, probably on crack or smack or The Knack or something.)

I had gone down to see my good friends The Retro Spankees (see my 'Friends (part 1)' post) playing on their tour with my arch-enemies Das Wanderlust with Bearsuit headlining. Whilst I was at university I was totally in love with Bearsuit, constantly worrying about wearing out their 7"s (and this was way before they graduated to them shiny discs), but never ever getting the chance to see them live. I knew every note of those early singles and it was always exciting to hear of a new release. However, whenever I do get to see them now I kind of feel a bit sad about it all. It's great to hear the songs and it's lovely to see them playing but it I think maybe it reminds me of how cynical I've become recently. I'd have loved for them to be dead famous right now but I don't think it's ever going to happen, and I think it's almost as if they'll never stop doing what they did 6 years ago, but they'll also never really do much more than that. I think it would also help if the crowd at whatever Bearsuit show I'm at appeared to love them half as much as me, atmosphere can be such a downer. I know it's not really fair to feel nostalgic about something that's still current but that's how it is.

God I'm a miserable bastard. SO to cheer myself up a bit I looked up the video for Steven F***ing Spielberg, which is Bearsuit's most recent single and is also fucking ace, so maybe I should just keep my big mouth shut. They're still better than just about everyone else.

Oh, and I just found this, it's a recording of the Bearsuit track Poor Prince Neal for a John Peel session in July 2001. I think it was their 1st session but I can't be sure. This track was also released on a compilation for the GoJonnyGoGoGoGo label.

Bearsuit - Poor Prince Neal

Also last friday I played my show with Blood Red Shoes. It was a bit of a disaster. Sometimes I'm really really rubbish. I just can't get over it when people in the audience are obviously not interested. I don't normally go looking for these kind of support slots but I made an exception this time and I kind of regret it. Blood Red Shoes were good though, and I think they're gonna be a big deal this year.

To remind myself that I'm not always rubbish I dug out a couple of my own songs to post on here, neither of which are widely available but can be found if you look hard enough. Firstly we have a song called 'Minxie & The Experiment' which is part of my somewhat half-arsed Songs For Everyone Project. It's one of the newer songs to enter my live set. The other song is 'Untitled Song For Kooky' which was written for my good friends at Kooky Discs for their 10th anniversary compilation. It's a smart little one, name-checking every band they've released up until this point. It was recorded by Mr Phil of Kooky in his study with all his techy stuff that I don't understand.

Winston Echo - Minxie & The Experiment

Winston Echo - Untitled Song For Kooky

You can also buy my new split tape with Kyla D from the Undereducated site now. It looks like this.


Posted by winston at 10:34 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 February 2007 11:01 AM GMT
Thursday, 15 February 2007
SNOW!!! RABBITS!!!

It snowed last week.  I am officially against snow.  I'll agree that it's quite pretty and I'm not all together oppose to the falling and settling of snow, I find that quite pleasant and I'd much rather be caught in a bit of light snow than a bit of light rain, but my real issue is what happens after the snow settles.  It's pretty to look and quite satisfying to walk through the first time, however, as the hours pass and more and more feet drag through the snow it turns into either a dirty grey sludge, full of car fumes and mud and gravel, or a slippery ice formed of compacted snow which can be deceptively dangerous.  I'm also not too found of sitting at the bus stop whilst teenagers stream by, all hyper and shit because they've got out of school due to the fact that teachers are just too lazy to get out of bed, trying to avoid the possibility of a snowball in the face.  Other than that I love snow.

I received a myspace message the other day from Cecile from Bordeaux, letting me know about her fantastic blog Black Candy (make sure you give it a good look), and in particular the band Lapin Machin who apparently are the best French band at the moment.  Having listened to the tracks on the blog and on their myspace I find that hard to argue with.  I just live for really lo-fi indie pop-punk, especially when they use acoustic guitar as a weapon rather than a security blanket so this is definately for me.  Now if only they'll get back to me about their CD?  Oh, and for the record, Lapin Machin translates as Rabbit Things.  So there you go.  Here's a one of their songs.

Lapin Machin - I Don't Even Even Know Why


Posted by winston at 1:49 PM GMT
Wednesday, 7 February 2007
Pay attention at the back!

On monday Undereducated put on a show.

Due to some kind of circumstances that aren't alltogether that interesting so I'll keep them to myself, I had to kill a lot of time around Northampton town.  Living in another town is really a pain in the arse.  I went to a friends' house and had some tea and flapjack and they showed me a local paper article about wild parrots being spotted in Abington Park (and a smaller article about wallabies in Sywell, which I thought was strange.)  Having nothing to do for the afternoon we decided to take a little walk in the park and see if we could spot any parrots.  And we did.  And they were lovely.  But I was convinced that they had simply escaped from the aviary they have in the park.  Who knows?

Later on after the park I headed on over to the Labour Club to prepare for the show.  I was looking forward to the night as it was the first show Undereducated had put on this year, plus I didn't have to do too much on the night (ie. didn't have to play or worry about kit or stuff)  and could try and enjoy it instead of stressing myself out like I normally do.  Well, despite a couple of hitches the night got rolling and I was only mildly stressed.  Much love must be directed at the young men that make up Stand By For Action! who did good messy things and I think pissed off a few people, which in my mind makes for great entertainment.  Mary Luxembourg & The Black Bats are ones to look out for, keeping things simple and definately taking a lot from the Riot Grrrl handbook.

What I'm really here to talk about is Vortex Rex, who flew in from Austria that very afternoon.  I didn't know too much about them at all, except that I really love their album, Powermess, which you should try and pick up from their label Fettkakao as it's a bit special.  They got a bit lost before the show, circling the horrible bus station.  This song is from their Short Attention Span EP, also on Fettkakao.

Vortex Rex - Short Attention Span

After they played I got chatting to Ilias (who is responsible for the guitars and most of the shouting in Vortex Rex)  and it turns out he has a label of his own called Sea You who're releasing a Vortex Rex remix album soon, and he handed me a copy of an EP by a band called Go Die Big City!  I was pretty excited by this as I'd been listening to their myspace on an off for nearly a year now, and I think this 7" will quickly become one of my very favourites.  If you think I'm kidding please listen to this track and tell me it isn't the best thing ever.

Go Die Big City! - Supernatural Kids Rule

They also have songs about eating brains and just hating everyone, so that's good.


Posted by winston at 6:24 PM GMT
Updated: Friday, 9 February 2007 9:13 PM GMT
Sunday, 4 February 2007
Some of us have plans
Last thursday I played my first show of the new year. It was at a place called Decades on Gold St. in Northampton, the room was nice, but I had a couple of problems with the venue. Firstly, a message to the landlord, stop kidding yourself, you're not a nightclub! Trying to escape the opressive heat of the bodies and radiator upstairs you wander downstairs only to be struck full in the face by some pounding commercial dance and unnecessary strobe lighting. Now this wouldn't have been so bad were it not for the fact that the crowd consisted of just 2 balding regulars clearly not interested in that kind of an evening out. Oh well. My second problem is more of a personal gripe that I have with a lot of places that show live bands. Now, it may just be me, but I've never thought to myself "woah, this venue is great, not only do they have average local indie rock bands playing once a week, they've also got pictures of Elvis and Liam Gallagher on the toilet walls!" This particular problem extends to Irish pubs featuring pictures of Ireland's two greatest exports, The Corrs and Sinead O'Connor.

I've got a few shows coming up, which is unusual for me because normally people don't want me to play. It's not something I get too upset about but it is nice to be asked to play a show once in a while.

On Friday the 16th of February I'm playing with a wonderful band from Brighton called Blood Red Shoes, who are Laura and Steve. I've seen them play a bunch of times and I'm always blown away. Apparently they're gonna be dead big this year, I hope so, they really do deserve it, and besides I'd rather it was them than the usual bunch of performing arts school fuckwits. They've released some 7"s and apparently there's plans to collect them on CD for the rather quite good Jonson Family Records (who incidentally released the wonderful 2 Minute Men compilations which are really wort checking out if you're after something a bit short and special, the I'm Being Good track from 2 Minute Men 2 is one of my very very faves.) Anyway, this track isn't actually by Blood Red Shoes, but it is by Cat On Form, Steve's pre-BRS band. They were signed to Southern Records and released one great album a few years ago called Structure And Fear, all politically charged and shouty like Huggy Bear and Gang Of Four guitars and stuff. This is a live track from their Set Them On Fire With Their Own Matches single.

Cat On Form - Whip In One Hand, Gold In The Other (live)



Now, it's hardly a tour or anything but I like it when I play with bands (semi)regularly. That's why I'm quite excited about doing these couple of shows with Foxes and Little Cosmonaut, two bands full of charming young indie types from Oxford. So theres 23rd of Feb at the Labour Club, that's in Northampton, and then March 4th at the Hope in Brighton. The Brighton show is one of these 'Antifolk' type shows done by the Larry Pickleman, a very offensive Irishman with a lovely wife and kids who have to put up with him. I love playing these shows in Brighton, they are always good fun and I've got some nice friends down their so that's good. So, I saw Foxes (I'm not sure how serious they are, but I've seen them spell their name 'Foxes!' but I try and limit the number of unnecessary exclaimation marks I use!!!) play in Northampton not too long ago, and despite many many sound problems (soundmen should try and learn what they're doing before doing it sometimes) I found them to be highly enjoyable. They're kind of like a bunch of really great old fashioned indie rock bands, like The Modern Lovers or the great Beat Happening, and it's quite refreshing to see a group of kids trying not to be cool kids and trying to write great pop songs. Little Cosmonaut came to play at an Undereducated night last november and reminded me loads of Bristol's I Know I Have No Collar (I believe there are actually some DNA links between the two bands) leading with keyboards and glockenspiel and a sweet vocal (which was absent from the recordings they gave me for some reason.) I think it's the sound your casio makes inside whilst it's turned off.

Foxes - Got To Get You Into My Life (Beatles cover)

Little Cosmonaut - Untitled 1

If you can come along that'd be great, if you can't, I'll miss you...


Posted by winston at 10:32 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007 5:40 PM GMT
Saturday, 3 February 2007
Friends (part 1)

Sitting in a freezing cold ex-indoor market forces you to try and find ways to waste time. Now reading or drawing a picture was a good idea too but now I'm here typing on the laptop letting it all flow and working out what to type next not too long after I've actually typed it.

So the ex-indoor market is the new Fishmarket arts centre in Northampton. We (as in the kids at Undereducated) have opened a shop in here selling CDs and records and zines and comixxx and things, it's nice, you should come down some time!

This first post was going to be a way of introducing you to some of my good friends, mainly via youtube and a couple of mp3s. Ok? Then lets begin...

These sharp kids are called The Retro Spankees and I am really proud to be friends with them. A bunch of talented guys who never tire of my stupid half-baked antics. Seriously, I can be a really obnoxious dick sometimes and Josh, Rob, Charlie and Jo are always willing to put up with me, so for that I am nothing but grateful. The ridiculous video above is for their first single My Sonic Driver, which was relaesed a long long time ago now. I think it's pretty stupid. There is also a video floating around of a live performance of the song Rock Lobster, y'know, originally by them B52s, filmed at their album launch at the Soundhaus in Northampton.

The Retro Spankees - My Sonic Driver

The Bobby McGees are possibly one of the most irritating bands on the planet. Not because of their songs (which are lovely) and nothing to do with their personalities (which are also lovely) it's the fact they insist on wearing that stupid bloody clown make-up all the time. Look at this handsome couple, aren't they lovely? Now look at them, one step up from child mollesting party clowns! Plus they never gave me a copy of their single. They really are charmers though, as this video proves. Bless em.

Rob (and friends) is Tea & Toast Band, one of my very favourite people to watch in the world. Kind of a feral, tribal pop. Makes me feel like a boyscout and want to start a little fire in the corner of a room (but I don't) just to be part of the gang... I got to be part of the gang when T&T played at the Undereducated 4th Birthday party last autumn, I was kitted out in big white gown and yeti head and banged things on the floor whilst barking "my bicycle" over and over. It was a Jim'll Fixit moment. The following track is from the A Winter Journey ep, available from Mentalist Association. Enjoy.

Tea & Toast Band - Morning's Mount

(ps. if you're upset that you weren't included it was probably one of two reasons, either I don't like you and I don't consider you my friend, or I will get round to including you at some point. I'm just starting out, give me a break already!)


Posted by winston at 11:38 AM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 4 February 2007 5:51 PM GMT

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