Sunday, 30 August 2015

Thisclose in America - a brief shake down part .1

A brief look at our tour round the USA in words and pictures, part II to follow, Ow!


Big crowd and hot response. Venue was a night club and we played on the floor. Some cool support bands including Beach Mover and Rawfilth. Lotus Fucker smashed it with their new line up, young and hungry (except for Donkey and Mickey Malone obvs), and they played a cover song of xSAXONx for me and Nips which was really special- love those guys! Dethfox are worth a special mention as well straight up Rudimentary Peni worship which was a lot of fun. Vegan hot dogs for sale outside, so I paired a couple up with alcohol-free beer to make a start on my US beer gut.

Baltimore is pretty run down in places and its easy to see why so much stuff is kicking off here, rich poor divide is startlingly evident from neighborhood to neighborhood.


Crustier crowd, small bar/club with shitty PA. Human Mania and Dethfox opened the gig, good bands, good sets. Smaller crowd but good response despite mistakes from us. Gig ran on a bit late so the crowd was smaller for Active Minds but they had a great reaction from those left over and played a few encores.

Best experience of the town was hanging with a local gadgie outside the gig. The lad must have been 18, mussing a bunch of teeth, smoking like a chimney and was strolling around topless at 10.30pm just seeing what the craic was. He thought Scotland was in Finland and showed me some videos of Finnish jack-ass on his phone. nice kid.


Sweat box Discharge themed (you could buy Cal cocktails at the bar) venue for the kick-off night of the Philly punx picnic 2015 - cool! lots of really noisy dis-bands including one with a couple of ex-Lotus Fuckers - nice to see a familiar face! We played pretty badly, mistakes in most songs, but I think we got away with it, crowd was digging it anyway.

But after the gig we went to a local bar,me and Dan had a $4 Chinese take away then we played some jenga with our pal Katie from Boston who had joined us for a few days. Band digs were clean and full AC, I actually had to sleep with jammies on, and we had a chance to do laundry in the am, clean sock bliss!


Only real 'basement' show of the tour, a really small basement in a suburban area - we had to set the merch up on top of the PA mixing desk and hang the t-shirts behind the drums! Went a wander to get some space and so missed the first band but got to shoot the shit with a couple of local punks and Jimbo outside the local store, slamming a bottle of my tour tipple O'Douls alcohol free - ow!

Neutron Rats were great, cool to see band I'd seen last time I was in the states still killing it. We played next, small crowd and weird 'space' we did our best to rip it up despite the water leaking into the basement because of the now torrential downpour raging outside. Active Minds got their set cut short by the cops turning up which was a bummer as one super-fan from the 80's had traveled 6 hours to see them or something crazy like that.

We crashed with a lad  who was into old UK bands like External Menace and The Threats - cool! I found a nook behind his sofa with the AM boys and zoned out from the drinking session drone.


It took a long time to get here so I made a start on the Dee Snider autobiography I picked up in Albany for $5. Once we found the venue we headed to Veg Galaxy, a vegan restaurant which had been bigged up by Catie and Nibbler as thee place to eat. The food was ok but we had to choose in a rush and have it take-out because we we in a rush (turns out of course we wernt!) so I don't think I got the full experience (except the killer price tag!).

Active Minds rocking the gallery!

The venue was an arts space where a PA had been set up in one of the rooms, so no fancy lighting or stage. Lotus Fucker joined us again and tore it up opening the gig, cant wait to bring these kids to Scotland next year, then we ran through our set, plenty mistakes but the crowd were digging it which lessened the blow. After us Active Minds and Peacebreakers played - missed them both because I was yacking with the promoter Eric about 1980's Discharge, a conversation we continued until about 3am.

When we woke up Eric took our Dunkin Donuts order and got us 'breakfast' in - legend! Check out his fanzine its really good

Some of the killer bands we played with on this stretch of the tour:

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Chapter III - are you ready?

Finally we (Thisclose) are able to offer our new LP for sale on both LP and CD formats!

The LP is a special 'promo version' that we intended for the launch gig back in June, but the vinyl never arrived in time. Edition of 45 copies in standard deluxe inner and outer sleeves plus a promo sheet, 4 promo photos and a sticker - £10 - EDIT 30/8/15 - SOLD OUT!

The CD is basically a compilation of everything that wasn't on our first CD so in addition to the new Chapter III LP it includes the tracks from the One Foot In the Grave LP, the 7" on Noise Punk, the split 7" with Active Minds and a comp track. The CD comes with an A3 poster/lyric sheet with info about every song included on the CD - £5

you can order either of these direct through the Thisclose bandcamp page or if you would like to order multiple copies or items and save on postage shoot me a message and we can work it out

Monday, 24 August 2015

Radio Rodney Episode 11

11th episode of my rock radio show up and streaming, check it out here

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Thisclose - Chapter III

It feels to me like it took forever for this LP, our third full length as Thisclose, to come together, but after holding the vinyl LP in my hands I think its fair to say that 10 months from conception (i.e. writing the songs) to delivery is pretty good in the post record-store-day-nightmare era.

There were a lot of ideas thrown into the pot for this LP, and it is undeniably a progression from One Foot In The Grave (which had 14 tracks, Chapter III has only 8 but both have the same run time, 25 mins) and while I am extremly happy and proud of the results when I listen back I am acutely aware that time and money restraints  meant that not all of my visions for the record were possible this time round. Maybe next time eh?

Anyway, you can stream it on the bandcamp just now and the physical vinyl LPs and CDs should be available to buy through the bandcamp page in a week or so if you like that kinda thing.

keep the candle burning, ow!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Crammond Island of Punk 2015

Another year, another Crammond, great mix of bands, everything running on time, no violence, good summer vibes!

Apart from the bands highlights included Jam from Gluerash singing Van Halens 'Jump' but changing the words to "Jam, my name is Jam, oh oh oh oh oh my name is Jam", the new line up of the Happy Spastics and some banging acapella renditions of Anthrax standards 'Indians' and 'Caught in a Mosh' on the bus home. Nice one Greg, smae again next year please, ow!



early crowd


The Signal

Mr T 34

Cramond Fixture pt. 1

Cramond Fixture pt. 2

Some Gadgies

Active Minds making use of the back stage area


Active Minds

Active Minds 
Active Minds

Soo Ma Roo Ya Kun!

Happy Spastics




Sunday, 9 August 2015

Enforcer and Wolf - Glasgow - October 11

two bangers for the price of one - see you there!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

home made enrgy bars energy bars

Super simple, super delicious, super cheap. follow the recipe below to make your own energy boosting hunger banishers. The recipe is so simple you can add whatever powders and potions you like in your 'sports bar' (no not those kind of of powders and potions or that kind of sports bar) and they will keep happily stored in a sealed box in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Of course they are vegan, free from processed sugars, blah blah blah blah, the good stuff!

1 + 1/2 cup chopped figs

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup cashews

6/7 tbsp hemp powder

any spices or whatever to taste (ginger, coconut, coco powder etc)


soak the figs for at least 30 mins, i use warm water

grind the nuts to dust in your food processor/blender then remove

when figs are ready remove from water (keep some of the water) chop off the hard stalks then blast in the food processor till paste like.

mix figs, nuts and everything else together in a bowl

press into a baking dish then place in the freezer for an hour

take out the freezer, cut into slices then store in the fridge.

the bars will probably be a little softer than shop bought ones, I use a little plastic tub to carry mine around.

Edinburgh Vegan Festival 2015

I ventured out with the family today to what I believe was Edinburgh's first ever Vegan Festival, and I have to say that although it had it faults we had a great time. The first thing to mention is how busy it was, the hotel function room venue was absolutely mobbed out, there must have been thousands through the door, and it was fantastic to see so much interest from the people of Edinburgh in veganism! The down side of this of course was that there were massive queues to get in, with some people waiting over an hour to be admitted, the hot food stalls running out of produce, and again long queues to get what little there was available. There was a tremendous selection of cakes and confectionery, some being of a much higher standard than others (special mention to the awesome Missy's Vegan Cupcakes, was great to get some of their legendary tiffin to take home again), but not many savory items, or indeed 'healthy' items and this lack of a health focus was something that I felt was really missing from the day. While I certainly not against vegan cakes, if you had come to this event as a new vegan or someone who was interested in the vegan diet you might have left think all vegans eat is expensive chocolates! There were many stalls from animal charities and vegan groups (though I don't think the vegan society themselves were present?) and a few stalls with 'alternative' health products. In addition to stuff to spend money on there was also several talks on vegan issues, though the one we attended felt a bit more like a sales seminar for essential oils.

cool posters for quick reference and educating
the wee one later on - £2 each

We had a good time, chatting with friends and sampling a lot of chocolates, cakes and sweets we could never justify buying ( too expensive or you could make em at home yerself easy enough) but I left a little deflated that there had not been more of a focus on why veganism is such a positive lifestyle choice both for yourself and the planet, and that it is not in the slightest (as one flyer I saw suggested) difficult. Cooking demonstrations and weekly meal plans? What to buy and where? Free nutritional and dietary advice? vegetable/salad tasters? Recipe swap workshops? All simple positive activities that would have made the day feel a bit more like a celebration and a bit less like a pricey bakesale.

the legendary tiffin - yum!

Glasgow has an enormous vegan festival planned for December, hopefully the bigger size will allow for a it more of the above and not just facilitate more bespoke cupcake consumption :)


I. looking for the festivals website led me to discover that Samuel 'Mr Cool' L Jackson is vegan, motherfucker!

II. The most interesting person I met today was definately 'Psycho Syd' who was selling coffee from Laos, both to drink there and ground to take home, who told me he had been diagnosed with cancer, 6 months to live, turned vegan and was still kicking 3 years later. He's got a book coming out with the whole story and I have to admit I'm tempted to hear his tale -

Friday, 7 August 2015

Scottish hardcore August 2015

I'm aware I've been posting a lot about metal lately and that is not everyone who watches the blogs bag so here's a quick heads up on a few Scottish HARDCORE acts killing it right now.

-- BOAK --

Powerviolence from Aberdeen, formed a couple of years ago now, really coming into their own, I saw them a few months ago and the progression from the previous time I'd seen them a year earlier was very evident. Taking influence from acts like Infest, Spazz and Iron Lung they make a great soundtrack to smash your head to. To date I believe they have released one 7" EP and have toured the UK at least once.


Edinburgh act taking it back to the early 80's, picking up where Poison Idea left things before heading off to metal city. Very tight live and a lot of fun, short songs, short set, short sharp shock! They have so far released a demo tape and gigged pretty heavily round Scotland, I'm sure some gigs more further afield will be forthcoming.

-- MOCH --

Again from Aberdeen (the home of all things heavy and raging it seems!) MOCH are a band I don't know too much about beyond the facts that A. they play banging as fuck Entombed/Boltthrower infuenced crust/hardcore, B. they have a 7" coming out on Distroy/At War With False Noise and C. they feature folk who played with Filthpact and Korpse.

-- VUIL --

OK I can't even go three bands without bringing up metal, but VUIl are so good! Early demos presented a more traditional black metal sound but with their latest 7" Vuil have found themselves playing a bastard hybrid of classic Accept and early Bathory - the phrase banging, coming out of Pigsy's mouth, was created for bands like this. Features Munky (ex-everything)

xC-60x VOL VII - Asian Mix

a killer night!
Through playing in bands I have had the honour of visiting several countries in the 'South East Asian' corner of the world, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and The Philippines, and the pleasure of playing with many of the best contemporary punk, hardcore and metal bands from these different nations. This post was inspired in particular by a concert in Yogjakarta, boxing day 2013, where we shared the stage with the fantastic Exhumation, and I was positive Headkrusher had played also, but according to the poster I am mistaken on that! Certainly the quality of performance and musicianship on show from the majority of the acts left the impression of a strong and diverse scene where metal, hardcore and noise acts of equal caliber could confidently share a stage together.

This post is not however going to be a look at the Yogja scene (but that is an expose that has mileage) instead I am presenting an hour's worth of 'Asian' heavy metal for your aural pleasure. I say 'Asian' because it seems more than a little ignorant to lump acts from s many culturally and historically different nations together under one banner but for the sake of  covering 'music from those places where they eat a lot of rice that you might not of heard of' I have lumped it all under the'Asian' banner - no offence intended!

The mix is a mixture of current bands I was aware of already, others recommended to me by friends in Indonesia and Malaysia, in addition to several bands I discovered through researching the web. The mix is in no way meant to represent a definitive statement of 'the best in Asian metal', merely some cool tunes pulled together to put the spotlight on a corner of the world that deserves more international attention - give it a spin and check out the bands that get your toes tapping!

xC-60x VOL VII - Asian Mix

1. Atomicdeath - Bestial Pain (Malaysia)
2. Bloodshed - Ilusi Sebuah Mimpi (Indonesia)
3. EdanE - You Don't Have to Tell Me Lies (Indonesia)
4. Head Krusher - Street War (Indonesia)
5. Kamimaze - DewaAngin (Indonesia)
6. Lobotomy - We Are Conqueror (Malaysia)
7. Magneisum - Tell Me (Japan)
8. Nightwolf - Satanik Metal Fucking Hell (abigail cover) (Malaysia)
9. Nuclear Strikes - Megastorm Eyes (Malaysia)
10. Paganfire - Wreaking Fire and Death (Philippines)
11. Sabbat - Mions Hill (Japan)
12. Vault - Victim Of Pain (Malaysia)
13. Snaggletooth - Burning Bridges (Singapore)

click the tape to download or stream the mix: