Our first single. Contains an acoustic cover of "Maps" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Video directed by Jack King.

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Apr 06 2014
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North America Week 3

The next four days of our trip were spent in New York City. Having last been in 2006 on a family holiday, I was excited to be returning on my own terms. We were all giddy as we approached the city and its famous skyline rose into view. My advice to our party of not looking up if you don’t want to look like a tourist fell on deaf ears as chins after chin faced skyward upon our release from the van. Having parked and loaded in to the evening’s venue, food was agenda item one. Katz’s, one of New York’s most famous delis and the very same one where Harry met Sally was the destination of choice with many a mountainous salt beef sandwich as the order of the day. These were delicious if somewhat expensive, but with hunger sated and sound check complete we were free to roam Manhattan for a few hours.

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Katz’s Deli; so good they named it twice.

With Washington Square conquered that afternoon, our attention returned to the job at hand. Proving its credentials as the city that never sleeps, we were due on at 11pm, after a band featuring Ezra ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ Miller on drums. With the celebrity shenanigans out of the way we bestrode the stage and played an energetic set that held the crowd’s attention throughout. I had New Yorkers down as disinterested arm-crossers especially for out-of-town, let alone out-of-country bands; luckily I couldn’t have been more wrong.

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New Yorkers begging for change.

The next day was spent learning our New York City cover and filming it on the frozen doorstep of our wonderful hosts (thanks Valerie Gritsch!), after which we sped figuratively but not illegally into Brooklyn for the latest Sofar Sounds gig. This one was in a warehouse apartment in Williamsburg. For the unaware, ‘Billyburg’ is home to most of New York’s hippest hipsters, a la Dalston or Peckham or wherever else they’ve moved to in London these days. As a hipster hive, said apartment was complete with fixed gear bikes hanging from the walls, a bottle opener that looked like a fish, an open-plan office space and ironic hand sanitiser gel. As if things couldn’t get any cooler, the couple whose apartment we were in had adopted a dog without any teeth. 

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The least hip ornaments in the apartment that night.

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I never found out if ‘Original Fresh’ meant penis-scented.

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I’d be as glum as this toothless dog if my diet consisted solely of soup.

Wednesday was that rarest of tour things, a day off. There were no gigs, no sessions and no interviews; New York City was at our mercy. We splintered into various groups (all of them non-violent and a-political), some taking in Chelsea’s elevated walking garden, others heading to Times Square and Central Park, whilst I went on my thrift store tour of Brooklyn in an attempt to replenish a flagging wardrobe and get a haircut, that I eventually got from a large Russian lady (conversation topic: winning the lottery). Despite our varied coordinates we were all victims to a fierce, biting wind howling in straight from the Atlantic.

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Ben had underestimated the size of his new keyboard.

We reconvened in the evening for a visit to the Comedy Cellar, where after waiting in the polar temperatures for longer than necessary we were treated to a bill featuring comics who all seemed to have appeared on Saturday Night Live, but none of whom were Tina Fey or Will Ferrell, unfortunately. They had us chuckling nonetheless, and we headed home in good spirits that helped ease the confusion that reigned on the subway journey back to the van.

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Our wagon was ready for battle.

Our final day involved a gig at Cameo that went well. After the show we headed to a laundrette to do some much-needed washing, followed by our final drink in Barcade, where alcohol and classic arcade games join forces and conspire to rid you of all your remaining cash. New York then was a blast and felt strangely familiar; fast paced, over-priced and ever so slightly surly, I realised I enjoyed it so much as it was much like home in London, the whole world (people-wise) in one city with seemingly infinite possibilities.  

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New Yorkers in all their glory.

Soon we awoke and with a final bagel in our bellies headed to Pittsburgh and the tour’s best-named venue, the Smiling Moose. Our Lonely Planet guidebook once again used the word ‘rugged’ to mean ‘working class’, exuding a simmering snobbery when informing us that Pittsburgh isn’t as rough as it used to be. The Moose was in a slightly alternative part of town with vegan cafes and the like, and featured the smallest cubicle I’ve ever had the pleasure of endorsing. The gig was great fun and a fair chunk of the crowd knew the words, which we found mind-boggling. Amongst them was Dean, the barbecue baron of Nashville (not his official title), who was back in his hometown for the weekend and accepted us weary travellers into his palatial abode for the night.

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TKAK rocking the Moose. That is not a euphemism.

Next came Cleveland, Ohio, and the first snow of the tour. There was a barrage of the stuff that made loading into and out of the venue quite a challenge. This show, at the wonderfully named Grog Shop, was notable for featuring some of our keenest fans thus far, some of who had travelled up to five hours to see us having thought we wouldn’t make it to the USA for quite some time, if ever. They were bellowing the words along with every track, making our in-crowd rendition of Bloody Shirt the equivalent to a rowdy lock-in.

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Here’s the smallest and most belligerent-looking snowman I’ve ever seen.

The final date before joining Bastille took place in Chicago, the windy city that on this occasion was surprisingly still. Fine artist Nick Hoar arrived to add yet another joker to our pack and the gig itself was a solid warm up for those to come. It also foreshadowed the weeks to come when Dan arrived mid-set, half the room turning 180 degrees and speeding towards him like vultures to a sun-baked carcass. He sang Choices with us which was a treat and a fine way to finish the week before the queues would lengthen, the crowds would swell, and the screams would deafen, standard fare for the world that Bastille inhabit.

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The ‘Sensible Portions’ tag line was a complete lie. 

I’ll be back soon with fourth instalment.

Until there, farewell.

^JP


Apr 01 2014
52 notes

North America Week 2

Our second week began in Dallas where we played for our board at a hotel surrounded by turtles. After a few laps of the pool we played an acoustic set to assembled guests, followed by an evening of tabletop pool playing that improved steadily with every subsequent trip to the bar. Said bar was home to the least friendly American we have met so far, but thankfully these are rare.

For the intrigued, this is what a gig in a hotel looks like. 

The next day was spent travelling to Little Rock in Arkansas. Arriving hungry at 10pm, we prowled the local streets in search of treats and fared so badly that we ended up ordering pizzas to our rooms. A TV dinner followed, with the half-the-price-it-is-at-home Dominos providing the perfect accompaniment to documentaries about some of America’s most notorious gangsters. I’ve not done anything more quintessential American than this just yet, so that felt great.

They don’t mess around in Little Rock. 

When we awoke we returned to Nashville where we’d kicked off week one. What followed was a gig to a scattering of people, albeit a well-received one if this review is anything to go by. The next day we had the pleasure of enjoying yet another a barbecue, prepared by the host of that evening’s Sofar Sounds gig. Dean was a barbecue behemoth, resplendent with tongs the size of my face and an immaculate, manly apron. He’d gathered all the bands that were playing that evening for this meaty lunch, which was a lovely touch. I’d not had beer as the first drink of the day since a stag do in 2011, but in the southern sun and with such great company it tasted much less wrong than it felt.

Dean and his young apprentices. 

It was with bloated bellies that we headed back to our host’s flat to shoot the latest balcony session on the roof of her block. After schlepping our gear up ten flights of stairs, we were ready to film when a smartly dressed lady emerged to show a potential tenant around. Her face made it plain that we were as welcome as a vegan in a dairy. Moments later her superior (taller, smarter, less facially challenged) strode onto the rooftop and announced that filming the session wouldn’t be possible unless we paid a $1,000 fee. After counting our combined dimes we realised we were 98% short of the total. We politely declined to pay and returned downstairs to our host’s far smaller, far noisier balcony, where the efforts of local traffic and an over-excited jackhammer failed to prevent us recording a gem that you’ll all see soon.

Our original skyline, prior to ejection.

Two dejected bandmates on the small and lonesome second balcony.

That evening we returned to the site of the barbecue via the airport where we picked up Wolf James Photography, assuming the gig was there. We soon discovered we’d gone to the wrong place and felt like Ben must have when he got his own birthday wrong. We arrived at the correct venue in the nick of time and thankfully Dean was very cool about the whole thing. Our set went down well and we were pleased to be a part of the first ever Sofar Sounds in Nashville.

Taffel kept quiet as as everyone blamed everyone else for the mistake. 

A 5am start greeted us the next day like a kick to the collective scrotums and ovum’s of our touring party. Richmond, Virginia, where much of the US Civil War was fought, was our destination and I utilised the art of sleeping to severely shorten the 13-hour journey. Once we’d arrived we had a stroll, taking in the mighty Mississippi river and the picturesque Belle Isle, which soon lost its looks when we read that it was once a Prisoner of War camp from 1861-63. The gig that followed featured a small and seated crowd, but every show is a great way to warm up for the main event with our buddies Bastille so we powered on regardless.

 

We had a tremendous time on the No Fun River Walk.

Philadelphia, not named after the famous cream cheese spread, was a rugged city and our next stop. We were here to continue our Sofar Sounds tour of America, this time in a more bohemian area called Fishtown. The set was met with wild (drunk) applause and we shared the stage with the excellent locals Maitland, alongside Prides, who’d come all the way from Glasgow to reap the post-SXSW rewards of the eastern states.

Ben finds his long lost brother in a living room in Philadelphia. 

As we headed north the temperature dropped faster than a hooker’s drawers and before we knew it we were in Boston. This was the first full band gig since Austin that felt proper as there was a decent, standing crowd. Support act Grey Season were an awesome local band playing a sort of folk punk not dissimilar to local heroes the Dropkick Murphys, only less gruff and with more mandolin and banjo. I particularly enjoyed the melodic wanderings of their bassist, alongside a beer called Hop Devil that I sipped far too many of. Loading out of the venue was a harrowing experience as we were downwind of sub zero gale that could’ve proved lethal were it not for the booze jackets we were all wearing. It seemed as if this ice blast was doing its level best to kick us out of town and down to New York City.

The fireflies of Boston were outrageous exhibitionists.

I’ll regale you of our week in New York and beyond in not too long.

Until then, adios.

^JP


Mar 22 2014
23 notes

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Los Angeles… We’re heading to Bardot on April 14th for ‘School Nights’
It’s a free show & we’d love to see you if you can make it, RSVP here to get on the list: http://bit.ly/1lMFbSi

Los Angeles… We’re heading to Bardot on April 14th for ‘School Nights’

It’s a free show & we’d love to see you if you can make it, RSVP here to get on the list: http://bit.ly/1lMFbSi


Mar 19 2014
66 notes

North American Tour week 1

Our first week of our seven in North America has been a frantic affair but we’ve many stories to tell. Now that South By South West is over and done with I felt the first blog was due.

 We began at Heathrow on Sunday 7th March, where after mummifying our guitars and a few cases with baggage wrapping, we ate a fried breakfast whose price to size/quality graph featured a strong negative correlation. The waitress almost threw a tantrum at our request to split the bill, something we have yet to encounter over here, where the service is sublime and the tipping reflects this.

Taffel demonstrates the travelling stoner look, with mummified bag to the left.

Taffel unwrapped his birthday presents with an unusual ferocity. 

The flights themselves were relatively painless, despite their length. The excitement felt by all kept us in high spirits, despite essentially travelling back in time. I had a mild seizure upon our arrival after discovering that the airline had put my bag on the flight after the one we actually flew on. Once I’d recovered we had soon arrived in our hotel in Nashville. After so long confined in tin cans 30,000 feet up in the air it was great to be able to spread all four limbs as far as possible on a master bed. Taffel and I then ordered a burger that instantly became the best we’d ever had (this has happened thrice since). I managed to have an accident with a freakishly high-pressured ketchup sachet that exploded into my face, hair and onto the mirror behind me. This gave me the appearance of a gunshot victim before I’d even had the chance to irritate any American into drawing a weapon.

Ketchup: Heinz, face: model’s own.

After a dab down we headed into town to a bar called Soulshine that upon entry smelled like a cheese factory. The music that had drawn us took the form of a blues jam night and the standard was ferociously high. Every fifth male in Nashville looked like ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill in a trucker hat and all were steeped in the blues. After a couple of hours we fell into bed and attempted to cheat the jet lag.

Picture drawn by me in the van. 

The next day we picked up the mighty vessel we will call home until 1st May. With its plush leather seats and onboard wifi, this is a van like none we’ve driven before and we’re pretty pleased with it. The fact that we were still saying that after a 14 hour journey down to Austin is testament to its charms.

On Tuesday we ventured into town for our first taste of SXSW. After a remarkably smooth accreditation process we were in need of sustenance. Several of our party had heard that the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was a decent eatery and a branch was was conveniently located just over the road. Unfortunately, IHOP was a major let down. Luckily the food since has been a blur of supreme medium rare beef and all things Mexican, which we’re now very well acquainted with after meeting some East LA Latino homeboys who gave us a detailed description of all their native food stuffs. They also promised us that they’d have our backs if we ever came to hang with them in their part of town. Having since discovered that their hood is about as safe Compton or Watts, we’ll be passing them up on their gracious offer.

American cuisine at its finest.

SXSW was a mass of humanity, with people trekking from far and wide to converge for the near-constant noises being emitted by the city. With the US music industry generally split between New York and LA (save the country hub of Nashville), Austin, Texas was a warm and welcoming middle ground where close to a thousand acts peddled their wares to any available ears. Brass bands, lone drummers and magicians lined the streets, and that was before you’d even got inside one of the myriad venues. We played a couple of sterling full shows as well as acoustic sessions, and almost featured in a Hip Hop video. No really. At an acoustic gig in a house just outside the heart of town we were peeping through the garden fence at an entire rap crew who were the absolute real deal, miming out a yard scene for their latest release. After enthusiastically inviting us to be involved they made their way over the road but unfortunately our packed schedule was against us and we just missed out on becoming the awkward-looking extras that the rest of the guests became. We did manage to complete another teen dream a few days later though, where at the same locale we played fully amped up in the front room of a house party, complete with the mythical red cups that we’ve all grown up seeing in the movies. 

Our amps, on loan from Orange, back up the local phrase that ‘everything’s bigger in Texas’ (thanks Orange!).

Taxis were hard to come by at SXSW. One night a trio of our troupe were out raving hard till late and had no option but to hitch a lift. With everyone being so much friendlier in the USA than in London, this wasn’t a problem. Here’s a transcript of what followed:

Ben (sheepishly): Can we pay you chaps $30 for a lift back to our hotel please sir?

Cody the driver (straight-faced): No problem man, but if you pull a knife on me I will shoot you.

As it turned out, Cody and his buddy Emerson were two of the coolest guys we could have hoped to meet, both self-titled ‘roughnecks’ who made a killing working on the Texan oil fields, and as such didn’t accept our money. They were also armed to the teeth, their pick up truck like an NRA convention on wheels. They came to our gig the next day and took Taffel out for several whiskeys, which resulted in him acquiring a small tattoo of the state of Texas on his upper back, which was classy.

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you Josh ‘Texas’ Taffel.

Our first week here can’t be accounted for without our accommodation getting a Trip Advisor-style mention. Austin Suites was the kind of place you would never book if you had any sort of a budget. The rooms were generally fine, although their whites wash could’ve done with around 100% extra bleach. A more pressing concern was the clientele. One man we met was a hardcore nicotine addict, asking us all nightly for a hallowed cigarette. It wasn’t until we were about to leave that we found out his name was Kevin but went by the alias of Igadda Bigadda. He claimed he’d been abducted by aliens, tried to give us drugs (‘I wanna help y’all party but don’t drive on these’) and carried a spray bottle around with him filled with chemicals that he’d aim at the eyes of any potential assailant before they could land their sucker punch. This is the type of person who hung around the gloomy, bloodstained landings of the Austin Suites hotel. As much as we’d enjoyed Austin there was definitely a part of us all that couldn’t wait to leave.

Our friend Kevin, also drawn by me in the van, who looks a lot less like Bob Dylan in reality.

We’re now heading north and if you’re an American or Canadian who fancies watching us, here’s where you can still do it:

I’ll speak to y’all soon.

^JP


Mar 16 2014
71 notes

Mar 02 2014
25 notes

Feb 17 2014
19 notes

Euro Tour blog over on Nothing but Hope and Passion

Hello everyone.

The dust has settled and I’ve written the traditional post-tour memoir, except this time a German blog called Nothing but Hope and Passion have hosted it, which seems fitting for a European tour.  

This picture contains the link to it and just about sums up how triumphant the whole thing was:

Have a read if you fancy, I know they’d love a few more hits and they’re a good bunch.

Thanks to all who made it worth the mileage, you made the our tour the opposite of silage. 

See you all soon.

^JP


Jan 31 2014
16 notes

Save the date - TKAK with Neil Young & the National

As we’ve been dashing around Europe on our tour we’ve been offered the chance to support the legend Neil Young in London’s Hyde Park this summer, alongside some other heroes of ours in the shape of the National. We’re thrilled about this and would love to see you there, so click the picture to snap up tour tickets.

Or if you’d like to propagate the link to the whole web, here it is -

http://www.axs.com/uk/events/246269/neil-young-crazy-horse-tickets/promopage/341?skin=bst&aff=AEGLIVEUK_KILLAKING_HYDEPARK_KILLAKING_31012014

More news when we’re back on home soil. 

Bye for now.

^JP


Dec 19 2013
68 notes

USA

We are pleased to announced that we’re doing this next year and we can’t wait!


Oct 25 2013
48 notes

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For our Nottingham show on Halloween we’ll be all dressed up.

Here are some of our previous efforts as a taster of what to expect.

We’d love you to join us so here’s a ticket link:

http://www.seetickets.com/venue/rescue-rooms-nottingham/1951

See you there!

For our Nottingham show on Halloween we’ll be all dressed up.

Here are some of our previous efforts as a taster of what to expect.

We’d love you to join us so here’s a ticket link:

http://www.seetickets.com/venue/rescue-rooms-nottingham/1951

See you there!


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