Friday, 7 September 2007


Firstly - apologies for the lateness of this entry. We couldn't access this site while we were in China, I guess because of the internet censorship over there, and for that reason it just completely slipped my mind. China - if you're reading this, I'm sorry!

We arrived in Beijing confused and under-rested. We'd had a hard night of partying in Tokyo the day before and weren't going to let early morning flights slow us down. There were two albino children on the plane who were absolutely fascinating, and lots of complicated forms to fill in before we got to customs. Even though we had official legal working visas for China, the border control guys seemed to not really speak English, so let us through without questioning our guitars and things. Olly said "we're in a band" and held up his cymbals and the man nodded politely and waved him through. The hired car that we had for the whole trip was quite entertaining, we listened to the driver's Fleetwood Mac best of literally every single journey.

On our first day we slept a lot, mostly whilst attempting to hold conversations and meet people, but at least we caught up on rest. We fell into the tourist trap of eating pizzas, which was mostly because of our tired irritability and dietry homesickness. This was probably the only meal that settled untoubled in Brendan's weary belly.

The following day - show day - we spent the morning in central Beijing, which was amazing. The Beijing accent is so noticeably different from the Taiwanese, despite them being the same language. I guess it's comparable to English and Irish, which is an especially appropriate analogy, considering the difficult political history considering the two sets of countries.

We saw Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City, both of which were indescribably stunning. Lots of Chinese people took our photo, apparently Westerners are quite rare finds.

The show was quite a success, except for a broken string and out-of-tune guitar on my part, and some loud American girls at the front of the audience who kept asking my name during quiet parts of songs. I had to go back onstage to apologise at the end of the set because we'd run out of songs and the audience demanded an encore!

The next day we went to the Great Wall, which seemed to transcend all descriptions, images, stories about itself. I was quite dumbstruck at its architecture, "this is incredible!" was all I could say for the first half of the walk. We walked for about 6km up mountainside, along parts of the wall that hadn't been rebuilt since their first conception, which was amazing. There are some big millipedes on that wall.

Chang, Katharina, Sabina (again), Suesue, Lin, Xie and Wangwen, Fleetwood Mac taxi driver, Sainkho, Miss Ma, the photographer at the show who's name I've forgotten, David.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007


We didn't get any sleep before the flight to Tokyo, so the whole endeavour was pretty tiring and stressful. Dan managed to forget to collect his luggage from the baggage collection at the airport.

I was reading about an American economist - Demming - who visited Japan shortly after the Second World War to give a series of consultations and lectures on production. He advised that goods manufacturing should be concerned with quality and perfection regardless of cost. This seems to be absolutely true for Japan, extending as far as the sound team at O-Nest, and the work that went into preparations and organization for the show. I heard, before we played, that foreign bands in Japan are often blown off stage by local opening bands, and so we were encouraged to play the best we possibly could, and to ignore our tiredness.

I also read an article about Japan's feral ravens, and how they attack grown men in Shibuya's streets. As soon as we stepped out of the van, two of them cawed aggressively from lampposts above us.

I enjoyed the show a huge amount. The opening bands were as good as we expected, and because of the lengthy and expertly-handled soundcheck, we managed to last the whole set without any major problems. I thought we played the new song especially well that day.

After we finished playing, the crowd refused to leave the venue, even after the house lights had been bought up and the sound team had started playing CD's, so we decided to do our first ever encore. My fingers and my guitar were a bloody mess, but the encore was something I'm very proud of, even though I took some convincing to actually go back onstage.

We had the day off in Tokyo on the Wednesday, which was incredible. The city is beyond words - so much happening and so much information. In some respects, it's quite comfortable not being able to read Japanese, otherwise the huge volume of words would probably be quite overwhelming. Our good friend Joe showed us some great places, and we found some really cool little bars and the Japanese equivalent of a Pound Saver in the increasingly light early hours of the morning. The Japanese kids know how to drink.

Duomo arigato: Ken, Jason, Graham, everyone else involved with the show, Joe, Shoto and Euphoria, Ovum, Eugene and Eksperimentoj, Teru and Masami and Thomason Sounds, Warsarwa Records, XTAL Records, Mark.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Taiwan II

Taiwan is one of the most amazing places I've ever been to. It seems like every single person is the most friendly and warm and welcoming I've ever come across. We are looking forward to coming back.

We played at the Formoz Festival in Taipei on Sunday evening, probably to the biggest crowd we've ever played to (Loou at the label guessed 2,000 people!), and the queue for our autgographs at the signing tent stretched as far as we could see down the hill. There are lots of photos and videos online, hopefully they'll make it into our archive soon.

We accidentally gave the festival an out-of-date setlist, which included A Song For Starlit Beaches, which we don't really play live any more. Unfortunately, the organizers had arranged a grand piano for us to play this song, and a team of about 40 Formoz staff had to lift the piano off the stage. We were embarrassed.

We did, however, get to see Yo La Tengo play at the Formoz - they were amazing.

During the day on Monday I did a special acoustic show at a coffee shop in Taipei, which I enjoyed very much. We got a chance to meet some fans and to spend some time with them. There is a band in Taipei who has a cover of Dash and Blast.

Monday's show at the Wall was amazing, everyone we spoke to about it was so enthusiastic, and the Wall staff were incredibly professional and helpful.

Thank you: everyone at the Formoz and at The Wall. Joey Su, Miyuki, Luxia, Andy, Edward, Tony and Phil Cheng, Jackie, Ira, James and Georgia.

Friday, 27 July 2007


we arrived in Taiwan hungover and under-rested, but the festival looks amazing, and there are some great people here.

It was great to meet: Sabina, Loou, Jackie, Asobi Seksu, Dean & Britta, Ken and Jason. Lots more people.

We saw Testament play, and metal horned from the side of the stage. They put on quite a show.

Hong Kong

hello all,

we arrived in Hong Kong jetlagged and boiling, but managed to save enough energy to have a lot of fun on our free day. We went to the Mon Kok market and White Noise Records (our good friend Gary's shop/distro/label), and I spent all of my money on records within the first hour of being in HK.

English bars in HK are fun, and we saw Liverpool FC drive past. I saluted Peter Crouch, but he didn't really notice or react.

The show was insane, so hot I was dripping sweat on my guitar with every movement and felt like I could barely stand when I got offstage. We had a few sound problems, but people seemed to really enjoy it - they copied my movements and shouted my name at me while we played - and we managed to play a new song that we've been working on for a little while.

we partied with our friends Nic and Gary after the show, which was a big drunken mess.

Thank you:
Gary, Wah, Nic, Ginnie, Bee, Noel and Rachel, Sapphire, A Company and Slept in Spray, George and Kim, Kennick, Winnie and everyone else.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007


we leave for Heathrow in 3 hours. Lovely lovely fun.

See you in the East.


Friday, 20 July 2007


Hooray! We leave on Tuesday!

Hong Kong first. We will be tired, but we owe it to ourselves to party in HK, so we'll fight jet-lag in the name of drunkenness.

We're putting the finishing touches on a new song that Asian audiences will be the first to hear, and on new t-shirt designs that Asian audiences will be the first to wear.

We are excited.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Asia update


I booked the flights from the UK to Hong Kong and back today! We've been busy all week with arrangements for the Asian dates, and we're very excited about it. Tomorrow we'll have confirmation for the last show we're planning, and then we can book the inter-Asian flights between shows. There will be 8 flights in all, which is a lot of time in the air. Olly's pretty nervous about it, apparently, and plans to drink a few whiskeys before take-off.

We are most excited about:
-pearl milk tea
-seeing Dickson (and hopefully ma and pa Ho) and Sapphire in Hong Kong
-meeting Loou in Taiwan, Chang in Beijing and Gary in Hong Kong
-making things up for Noel and Rachel
-drinking in Asia
-new Asian-edition t-shirts
-the coffee shop acoustic show in Taipei
-the Formoz!
-meeting Yo La Tengo and Mercury Rev
-getting picked up at the airport by people with 'yndi halda' signs
-real Chinese food in China
-yndi posters with Chinese/Cantonese/Japanese text on them
-the Happy Hotel

We are not excited about:
-13-hour flights
-distinctly non-English weather
-no Marmite
-feral Tokyo ravens
-being out-performed by Yo La Tengo and Mercury Rev
-turtle blood shots and thousand-year egg
-needing jabs
-not being able to speak any of the languages we will be encountering and having to force people to speak English

lovely lovely fun.

dates are:
26.7 - Hong Kong - Kowloon, IMNet
29.7 - Taiwan - FORMOZ
30.7 - Taiwan - Taipei, The Wall
31.7 - Japan - Tokyo, O-Nest
3.8 - China - Beijing, The Star Live

Thursday, 24 May 2007

the Far East

we're going to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and China for a short set of dates this summer! It'll just be a week's worth of big shows and festivals, not a full tour - we'll spend more time over there next year, and play Korea too.

I'll update this when we get closer to the time.

Saturday, 21 April 2007


Reims was a great success. Although we arrived at the venue too late for a soundcheck, there was a 15-strong crew to help us unload and to set up, and everything was handled with the utmost professionalism - we even had a mirror with lights around it in our private dressing room!

We had some promo photos taken for the venue's newsletter, which will hopefully find their way to us before long.

I think because of long-awaited comfort and seclusion (and amazing catering) we were allowed at the venue, we performed the best we had all tour - the stage was large enough for us to move unhindered, the sound was absolutely clear, the tech crew were infinitely helpful. i ripped all the strings off my guitar at the very end, in celebration.

After the show we had a drunken UK vs US vs France basketball match in the venue's courtyard with the Thee More Shallows guys, and the Festival Carphanaum crew. I think we won, but no-one was really counting scores, or really playing on distinct teams.

and so, we begin our long drive home (actually, Reims isn't too far away from home). We left Jack there because we hate him (actually, because he was heading to Paris for a few days before coming back home), and we left that great continent.

thank you: Jeanne, Rudolph, Dee, Chavo, Jason, everyone at the Cartonnerie


we drove far too far to get to Angouleme - especially after losing all the time needed to fix our broken-down van in Barcelona. The landscape along the way, though, was beyond beautiful.

We eventually arrived at Le Mars Attack at midnight, at the same minute at which we were booked to play, and scrambled to get set up quickly enough to play a full set. Unhappily, though, it didn't seem as if people were really listening - perhaps because the situation was too confusing for us to play as well as we should have. The select few that enjoyed the show seemed to really enjoy it, though.

The barmaid at the venue looked a little like Isabella Rosselini, and was as insane as her character in Blue Velvet.

thanks: Steve, the Pyrenees, the barmaid, Matthieu

Saturday, 14 April 2007


We left Madrid at an unreasonable hour, because Brendan and Simon's girlfriends came to meet us and see their fellas for a day after having missed them for so long. John was pretty far beyond drunk from the night before, and passed out in the passenger seat with crushed crisps all over him, so Brendan drove for about 6 hours. He was driving in the name of love, and we were all impressed (sleepily impressed, after about an hour and a half of sleep).

Dan spent the morning with his girlfriend in Madrid, and planned to get the train to Barcelona in the afternoon, but could't get the train he intended to and ended up wandering round the Madrid suburbs for a while trying to find the tiny station he had been directed to to get the next available seat. Luckily, he found it, and found us, and I soundchecked his violin for him, so all was resolved.

Sergio, the promoter, was excellent and welcoming, and we enjoyed his company very much. It was nice, also, to hear some English accents in the audience, and a Big Scary Monsters t-shirt.

The show was successful - Brendan felt it was the best of the tour so far (and shouted "FUCKING COME ON!" as we reached the final crescendo), and even though it was insanely hot onstage, we had a lot of fun.

I did a short interview after the show, the questions were: "what do you hate most about rock and roll?" and "which band would you most like to play in", which i thought were far more useful and interesting to answer than the standard "where did you get your name from?" etc.

The van broke down this morning, and we were worried about the drive to Angouleme, but I'm writing on the French motorway at the moment, and all should be ok. Brendan, Jack and Olly are wondering aloud (loudly) whether we could become a band of muscular gym-heroes (there was talk of yndi-branded powershakes and dumbells for audience members), Dan is looking confused at his engineering notes, Simon is asleep in a heap, John is navigating and driving simultaneously with admirable skill, I'm feeling the cold I seemed to have developed prettily heavily and am very much looking forward to leaving the van.

We drove through some beautiful Pireneos villages this morning.

Thanks to: Sergio, Sergio's cats, Raphael, Natalia, Rosie, Nix, Nadine, the girl who directed Dan to the station.


the start of the afternoon represented a lot of stress - the Madrid roads are apparently far too narrow to accommodate a large tour van, and the venue seemed to be absolutely nowhere. We found it, eventually, and discovered that the stage was far too small to fit our equipment on, let alone us; so, we planned (and set up equipment accordingly) to play on the floor, but as soon as we returned from our meal, we discovered that everyone in Madrid was at the show, and there wasn't even enough room to stand anywhere except the stage. We could hardly move, and it was about as hot as the sun, but we had a lot of fun, and the audience members standing close enough to hear un-amplified guitars seemed to really enjoy it. Hopefully we'll find some photographic evidence of the stage size online somewhere.

Dan's girlfriend won some money betting on a football match, and used her winnings to fly over for the show, which as a nice surprise.

Thank you: Patricia, Monik and the rest of Fika Sound, Jose-Pablo and Ragoush, Michelle.

Don Benito

There was a poster advertising the show at every corner in the Don Benito city centre, and everyone we spoke to was incredibly enthusiastic about our set. I think we signed more CDs, posters (and a couple of shirts, and a guitar that the club owner had bought specifically for us to write on!) than at any other show. We were invited to play there every day.

John, our manager, first heard our songs in Don Benito (the club owner with the guitar played him the record a few months ago), so it was an odd, but lovely coincidence, that we had a chance to play there.

Everyone in the whole town seemed to know Yiye, the promoter, and we were welcomed everywhere we went at the mention of his name.

Apparently there's a video of the show online, i'll find a link as soon as i can.

La Rochelle

might have been the oddest show we've ever played. Apparently no-one in the town had even heard of the venue (we discovered it had recently changed its name - we managed to track it down once we asked for the old name), and there was hardly anyone except tourists anywhere. The food at the venue was beautiful, but the show was a little discouraged by the small crowd. Dan enjoyed it, though. We ate some lovely food from the local market the next day, and watched massive fish eat the bits of bread we threw over the harbour walls.

thanks: Marco and everyone else, the tramps and their dog.

We took a day off after La Rochelle, partly to recover from the lack of sleep and comfort accorded by 9 days worth of shows and travelling, and partly to make the vast drive to Don Benito more realistic. We encountered an amazing French wanderer who looked like Bonnie Prince Billy and was completely insane - he was singing loudly to anyone who would listen (and actually had a pretty good voice), and joined a bewildered family's garden party (and was escorted outside), sang us a song about Somerset in French, and shouted "ahh! le chien!" at a dog with an amazingly melancholy joy that has been imitated countless times by us at every available opportunity.

Apparently, i missed a drive up a mountain while i slept in the van.

Rhâââ Lovely Festival

The Rhaaa Lovely Festival was probably the biggest show we've ever played - an 800 capacity festival alongside Crippled Black Phoenix, Pelican, Rothko and A Whisper In The Noise among others. We got lost in Liege, and missed our slot, but the lovely Bracken swapped places with us and everything was fine. We played directly before Audrey, who were absolutely amazing, definitely my favourite live show all tour. We're planning some things with that band, we'll announce details as and when we can (and it will probably involve us going to Sweden). The festival served a beer from the Belgian village of Silly called Silly Pilsner - needless to say, we all stole the dedicated Silly glasses.

I rather fell in love with: the Belgian countryside, Audrey (jag alskar dig!), Silly, the girl who made us tea (she spoke English with a French accent, made great tea and looked like Sophia Coppola - what more could you need?), the entire Rhaaa Festival, Cotil-Wodon primary school ("les enfants jouent toutes les temps!").

thanks to: all of the above, Ronald, Stephanne, Frederic, Michael, everyone else at the Rhaaa, Anna, Trevor and the rest of Pelican, Joe and the rest of Crippled Black Phoenix, Bracken, Rothko, Marie, Geert, Luke and George.


We watched a mother duck jump up a ledge too high for her ducklings as soon as we arrived in Stuttgart, and then spent the next half hour or so wondering if there was any way we could help the babies reach the top of the ledge without upsetting nature. In the end we chose not to intervene, but the ducklings were, rather heartbreakingly, still at the bottom in the morning when we left. Olly shouted "you stupid bastard!" at mother duck as we left, and an old German man looked upset, maybe thinking we meant it for him.

Apparently on Good Friday in Stuttgart, there is a rule against dancing, so the venue set up little platforms with mats for people to sit and watch. We didn't pay attention to that rule, though, and rocked out a lot.

merci: everyone at Komma, Jeremy, O Stranger Bend My Heart of Darkness, the ducks


There was nothing to complain about at all for the whole Hannover show, everything was amazing - 2 full meals when we arrived, lots of fun running around the skateboard park in the platz with the venue's dog, a fridge full of beers and chocolate, lots of warm welcomes. The show was great, too. I fell off the stage at the end and managed to trap myself in the microphone cable from the stand i accidently kicked over early (and then managed to volley back in place before it fell, impressively).

the venue had a party for us after we played, which was a lot of drunken fun.

thanks: everyone at Cafe Glocksee, Ralph, Jasmin, Daniel, Alina, the dog

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Hannover, Berlin and Braunschweig

The food, drink and location of Glocksee in Hannover are all absolutely beautiful. We're the only band playing tonight, so have taken advantage of the time when other bands would be soundchecking to write a little bit of the new song. It's coming along really well, and at the moment looking like it's going to involve a choir (except Jack is too tone-deaf to demonstrate the part he had in mind). We're excited!

Tuesday's Berlin show was really fun. We were playing on the floor, and almost decapitated people with guitar heads often, but it was so inspiring to watch an almost entirely closed-eyes, head-nodding crowd as we played. We celebrated Jack's birthday in the city after the show, which was a lot of fun. Photos to come.

thank you: Tobi, Bjorn, Marcus, Kheira, Johannes

Braunschweig reminds me rather of good old Folkestone, empty streets and strange combinations of shops. Nice pizza restaurant, though. We hadn't had much rest after the Berlin antics, but played without too many problems, and even saw a couple of faces from earlier shows in the crowd. The tour stock vinyl is almost sold out now. We had more shouts for an encore and a longer applause than we'd ever had, which sounds like we probably played well, which is great.

Dan and Bren saved the van door from falling off.

There are lots of photos online, i'll post as many as i can.

These people are great and deserve thanks: Frank, Leander, allen key chap, fat cat.


We had coffee on the banks of the Rhine, and had our first conversations in broken German. The Kulturbunker was a stunning venue - high ceilings and chairs and a theatre-style stage in a WWII bunker. The evening was a joint cinema and live music sort of affair, so we watched 2 films and another band before we played. Apparently Gregor Samsa had played at the same place a few months before us to a pretty small audience, so we were happily surprised to see a full crowd.

I fell over onstage, Olly swapped a drumstick for a photo of the world's largest cat with a girl at the show, Dan bought a new pencil sharpener, Brendan discovered that someone had changed his name to 'boob' on his personal myspace, Jack burst out of the Kulturbunker lift at a daringly high speed on a trolley, Simon threw up some more, John's likeness was historically recorded by Jack and his fine penmanship in the Kulturbunker guest book (bands who play there - look out for it).

We saw the enjoy eternal bliss vinyl for the first time, which is lovely (thanks, Scott). The new posters are finally with us, also.

Olly almost had to relieve himself into a bottle in the van, but we found an autobahn rest-stop, luckily.

On the trip to Berlin this morning we passed Slayer's tour van and custom-decorated equipment lorry. We metal-horn'd out of the windows, they flashed their headlights and honked the horn.

Tonight we celebrate Jack's geburtstag ins Berliner technoclub.

Thanks to:
Til, Uli, Timo, Thomas, Felix, Jens and housemates


Our ferry left Dover at far too early for comfort, but we had sandwiches and pizza made for us as we left. We'd spent the day before writing new material, intending to play a new song for the Europeans, but couldn't finish anything we liked enough to debut live. What we started, though, sounded exactly as we intended it to.

The venue had free tea and coffee and biscuits, and Brendan drank too many chocolate milks. We didn't have much soundcheck time, and felt under-rehearsed, but the Dutch crowd were welcoming and enthusiastic. I broke a string mid-set, and my amp made intrusive noises as i struggled to swap guitars quickly enough to continue with the song. We hardly made any mistakes, though, and everyone we spoke to seemed to really enjoy it.

Utrecht is a beautiful city, and its people some of the nicest we've met. A million thanks to Lucas, and Stefan for the great night out and beer recommendations, and to Gerben for the show (and, in fact, almost every Utrecht local that we said hello to or asked for directions from).

I'm writing on the autobahn; Brendan and Jack have their sketchbooks open, Olly is air-drumming to Jim O'Rourke, Daniel is studying, Simon is trying to dissuade his belly from throwing up a third time, John is smoking out of the window, I'm counting down the kilometres until I can leave this cramped van.

the Koln show is this evening, where the enjoy eternal bliss vinyl will finally catch up with us, hooray!

Thursday, 29 March 2007

our guitar player's namesake

jack lambert:

Madrid show confirmed

11.4 - SP - Madrid, Freeway


Tuesday, 27 March 2007

yndi halda: what women want

"i think the last time i masturbated was actually while listening to yndi. and i timed it well with the song too"
Siobhan Swords

Monday, 26 March 2007

we will bring merriment to that great continent

we're leaving for our European tour a week today. arrangements are stressful and time-consuming, but we'll be able to stop worrying soon. stop worrying and start dedicating ourselves to those long country-spanning roads ahead.
dates are:

1.4 - NL - Utrecht, dB's
2.4 - GER - Koeln, Kulturbunker Muelheim
3.4 - GER - Berlin, NBI

4.4 - GER - Braunschweig, Nexus
5.4 - GER - Hannover, Cafe Glocksee
6.4 - GER - Esslingen (Stuttgart), Komma
7.4 - BE - Cotil-Wodon (Fernelmont), Rhâââ Lovely Festival
8.4 - FR - La Rochelle, WBC

9.4 - SP - TBA

10.4 - SP - Don Benito, Rincon Pio Sound

11.4 - SP - Madrid, Freeway

12.4 - SP - Barcelona, Sala Sidecar
13.4 - FR - Angouleme, Le Mars Attack

14.4 - FR - Reims, La Cartonnerie, Festival Capharnaüm

15.4 - FR - Paris, TBA