Tag Archives: Music

Arbor Lights – Hatherton Lake: A review (of sorts)

Arbor Lights debut album came out yesterday and today Matt Elton – guitarist in the band tweeted:

So I thought I’d oblige. Now there are some things you should know first.

  1. I’m biased (I’m related to exactly half the members, in fact recently married to one)
  2. I’m not really a review writer, or a writer of any kind for that matter
  3. I don’t like Post Rock as a rule (give me something I can sing along to any day)

Point 3 may negate point one, we’ll see.

Hatherton Lake

Arbor Lights are a band of 4 named after the bar they first met in, which in turn was named after the Arboretum it was situated down the road from. Hatherton Lake, Arbor Lights debut album offering continues the theme, titled after the lake situated within the Arboretum.

Recorded and mixed by Michael Clarke at his studio in Hockley, Birmingham, the industrial backdrop of the area lends itself well to the tracks on this album. The opening track The Silent City could almost be a sound track to that area, reverberating guitars into uplifting melodies and a beat to nod your head to, in fact intended or otherwise the inner sleeves art work, the city skyline features the dominating BT tower synonymous with the area.

The other four tracks that make up this album Interstellar, Damascus, Sillohettes & The Mayor and the Diver all take you on a journey that the more musical aficionados amongst you will understand (I’ve read that in enough reviews to know that’s a good thing to say, yes?). Differing from other Post Rock albums 4 of the 5 tracks come in under the 10 minutes mark – which trust me is a good thing – The reason I don’t like Post Rock as a rule is I get bored part way through, by 12 minutes in I’m all yes, yes, move along next track please…. The shorter length and the clear melodies of the tracks mean I can listen and enjoy, although in truth I much prefer to see them live…..and seriously boys, Where’s the singer??  😉

 Listen for yourself and make up your own mind

My Mix Tape

I have been “eavesdropping” in on a conversation on twitter regarding mix tapes,  Dan Slee has done a wonderful job of summing up the “history” of mix tapes so I don’t have to but I love the whole idea of them being the original Social Media – THE way to share in the 90’s and it got me thinking about some of the tapes I received as teen as Dan puts it:

They could be a love letter, a  sign of friendship or the grandstanding of musical knowledge.

…and I couldn’t have put it better myself.

When I was in senior school I used to swap mix tapes with my friend Jess. We were, in our opinion, the optimum of cool and shared  a mutual love of all the artists and bands the supposed “in crowd” hated, Nirvana, Hole, PJ Harvey, Chilli Peppers, to name a few and with our mix tapes playing through the earphones of our walkman we looked down upon the lesser beings with our musical snobbery. It cemented our friendship and I went on to purchase some of my favourite albums on the back of tracks Jess  included on those now long lost c90’s.

Yet the most impressive mix tape I have ever received wasn’t a tape at all, it was a CD and while I’m sure it started out as a “grandstanding of musical knowledge”   it turned into the greatest love letter I have ever received….

In Steph's Honour

“In Steph’s Honour” given to me by James in December 2005  – 4 months before we became us. He told me then it was an “education” as we liked some of the same music, but he  has since admitted that he was trying to  impress me a little and I have to admit it did!!

Disk 1 – The Rock Show

  1. One Armed Scissor (At The Drive-In)
  2. A Box Full Of Sharp Objects (The Used)
  3. Vessel & Vine (The Lucky Nine)
  4. 57 (Biffy Clyro)
  5. If You Don’t, Don’t (Jimmy Eat World)
  6. The Sign (Foo Fighters)
  7. The Graduate (Third Eye Blind)
  8. Corduroy (Pearl Jam)
  9. Sad and Lonely (Secret Machines)
  10. Stockholm Syndrome (Muse)
  11. My Tortured Soul (Probot)
  12. Superunknown (Soundgarden)
  13. Inspire (Cave In)
  14. (I Am) What I Am Not (Idlewild)
  15. I’m Not Okay (My Chemical Romance)
  16. Beating Heart Baby (Head Automatica)

Disk 2 – Late Night Ditties

  1. Wishlist (Pearl Jam)
  2. I Never Came (QOTSA)
  3. Blue and Yellow (The Used)
  4. Switching Off (Elbow)
  5. Between The Bars (Elliot Smith)
  6. Pink Bullets (The Shins)
  7. Walking On A Wire (The Get Up Kids)
  8. The Light And The Sound (Rocky Votolato)
  9. Scary Mary ( Biffy Clyro)
  10. And Then You Kissed Me (The Cardigans)
  11. Drop (Clarkesville)
  12. Amie (Damien Rice)
  13. Those Crimson Tears (Ed Harcourt)
  14. El Capitain (acoustic) (Idlewild)
  15. The Sun (Joseph Arthur)
  16. Title and Registration (Death Cab For Cutie)
  17. My Sundown (Jimmy Eat World)

Four years and a bit years on I still haven’t made this track listing a playlist on iTunes or on Spotify because nothing compares to the feeling of finding this CD off the shelf , remebering just how much effort went into it and putting it into the player and dancing around my living room. It is such shame that with digital music this is a dying art,  and while Philip John is correct when he wrote that “Spotify needs to get social” I doubt a shared play-list on Spotify or a recommendation on Mflow would have the same feel good impact as picking up something tangible and knowing that someone made it just for you!

Rogue States

James’ cousin’s band Rogue States released their début E.P Lights last year, and to go with it they shot an amazing music video.

The boys organised the shoot themselves, with drummer Stuart Baxter Wilkinson directing, long time friend of his Tim Larcombe behind the camera as director of photographer and the props (lamps and rugs) being stolen borrowed from their wives, girlfriends, friends, cousins, aunts, uncles houses.

It was shot mid February 2009 in the FREEZING cold Rainbow Warehouse in Digbeth, Birmingham – I’m pushing home the point of how cold it was as in one close up of lead singer Michael you can  see the breathe he’s exhaling. Poor boys couldn’t even get the place heated – but in fairness is does add something to those scenes

Excitingly Q have just picked up on the video and are now showing it on rotation on their music channel in the UK,  Sky 364 and Virgin 338, and I urge you all to check it out….


…And if you enjoyed that you can come see them live at one of their upcoming dates in London, Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

Rogue States


Nearly every teenage boy at some point has strutted his stuff playing air guitar in front of the mirror, delusions of grandeur reflected in eyes and dreamed of being a rock star.

90% never pick up an instrument.

5% decide it’s not for then and turn to computer games for amusement.

3% try and then give up after their first few testosterone fuelled gigs citing “artistic differences” as a reason to quit

1% will go on and on trying, jumping from place to place trying their luck at becoming the next big thing, but never really hanging around long enough to make it work.

Then there is the last 1% that will hang in there, persistently playing to the same crowd in the same venues with the same band members over and over again until maybe if they are lucky they will get the break they have laboured for, the break they deserve…

…hopefully these guys will be getting their break soon! They’ve worked so hard, for so long they deserve it.


With support dates with Razorlight, the lovely Andy Burrows (formally of Razorlight) signing them to his new record label “Evelyn B” and the imminent release of their debut EP “Kings of the Ghost Town Mile” things are looking up,

Lets hope this upward trend lasts and they get some major label interest soon and in the meantime check them out!