First Tuesday Former Pupils Nottingham Sounds

New Notts Music Explosion!

There are a whole new bunch of great Notts music coming out in the next few months, some of it from First Tuesday members, former pupils and collaborators.

Following up his excellent Aeon album Scor-Zay-Zee is releasing the Gangsta Wraps (Take The Throne) EP on Sep 30th.

Copper and Lace the debut album from Americana masters The Most Ugly Child is out on 25th Nov. Mountain Schmountain‘s second album Skate Chills is already out (check out the Dewey Decimal video).

Simon Curd (of Mou Schmou) did the artwork for my new EP and Mark Nelson mixed it. Mark’s band Amazing Planes have a single Good Thing out now from their forthcoming album Lost In Translation.

Joe Strange‘s long awaited album A History Of Birds should be out any day now as should the Garlic EP from Sea Monster Eyes

If you catch The Edi Johnston Bit performing live you’ll be able to get your hands on his ukelele-powered comedy hip hop EP Rock Paper Scissors right now. A digital release is coming soon is out now on Bandcamp!

Speaking of hip hop – the crazy/prolific Bru-C has a fantastic track called Marimba which he’s gonna make downloadable when it reaches 10k plays – which surely isn’t going to take long.

And last, but not least, my EP Everything In The World Is Fighting Everything In The Sky will be out Nov 1st. You heard it here first.


First Tuesday Former Pupils Nottingham Sounds

Sea Monster Eyes: They’re Laughing At Me [Live And Unplugged]

Here’s former pupil and First Tuesday Alumni Fill Grafton playing Filthy’s Open Mic Night with fellow Sea Monster Eyes guitarist Geoff Carlin

And here’s a preview of a track from their forthcoming EP ‘Garlic’

Photo: Rachel McClean. Video: Hugh Gunningham

First Tuesday Former Pupils Nottingham Sounds Set Lists

First Tuesday Songwriting Group On The Road

Last week the First Tuesday Songwriting Group descended en masse upon the Spotlight Open Mic hosted by Alexa Hawksworth at Filthy’s Bar.

Rachel McClean, Matt Wood and Dan Wright (The Most Ugly Child) all did sets and Phil Grafton brought along fellow Sea Monster Eyes guitarist Geoff Carlin for a hilarious bout of crazy tunes and self-heckling.

We. Had. A. Blast. The event runs every week at is highly recommended.

Former Pupils Live Video Nottingham Sounds

Sea Monster Eyes: Live In The Studio

I’ve been writing a song with Phil from Sea Monster Eyes. Today we started recording it,  using a borrowed acoustic that’s worth more than all my other guitars put together. I got to hear rough mixes of SME’s upcoming album (it’s awesome) too.  And Phil is the only person I know who owns an oil painting of himself.

Sea Monster Eyes are playing this Sunday at the Nottingham Riverside festival. Here’s the band doing a live radio session

Former Pupils Nottingham Sounds Showing Up

Too Many Bands – So Little Time

Today’s theme is getting interrupted by great music. I REALLY should have been editing tracks for my ‘kids album’ Dig Down Deep To Normal but…

….on the way to work I was listening to Injured Birds only to find lead singer Sam had started following me on twitter. His tweets are as witty as his lyrics…

…in one lesson we wheeled out Hotel California by The Eagles. Great ‘circle of fifths’ chord profession and wonderful harmony solo. Talking about Jake Bugg‘s ‘flamenco’ guitar lesson led to Rodrigo y Gabriela

On the way home I was listening to one of my favourite FAWMers Adam Follett (ex-lead singer of Sheffield band Cats For Peru). When I got home I downloaded Matt Wood‘s song Love Is

Then after an hour at home out to see Sea Monster Eyes (who get better every time I see them) at the Tap And Tumbler (great, great venue) supported by the best saw player I’ve ever seen and the brilliant and slightly threatening John Marriott


Tenuous self promotion warning – here’s my song Brother Bull, with backing vocals from Si and Phil from Sea Monster Eyes and mastered by the insanely gifted John Paul Braddock who did the Injured Birds album.


Horribly DeFAWMed (Slight Return)

Here’s 4 songs plus interviews from Sea Monster Eyes – a great band (featuring 3 former pupils) who have grown into amazing prolific songwriters

FAWM Report

Yesterday I finished FAWM 2014. Well actually I finished this morning at 2:25. Given the level of illness, physical injury and general mental imbalance that FAWM can generate I think I got off pretty lightly this year. I wrote, co-wrote or collaborated on 24 songs in 28 days. I’m going to spend March revising the demos (including an album full of songs co-written with young pupils) and rolling them out here on

I’m toying with a 3 month cycle of
writing like mad
demoing and releasing
going through old ideas editing and working on raw material.

We’ll see.


Over Feb I posted 28 songwriting tips derived from the Beatles on Beatles Songwriting Academyget them here

Aaron Krerowicz is a blogger musicologist who I have a strong suspicion is WAY SMARTER than me. He has a Beatles blog and another on the music of Star Wars. Did you know some of the most famous themes appear to be ‘borrowed’ from another film? Check it out.

Nicholas Tozier my blogging buddy from Maine wrote a piece about songwriting so moving I almost cried. I love getting songwriting idea from unusual sources so his ‘Song Written‘ post on poet Sylvia Plath was right up my street. It covers points like There’s no romance in being a “tortured genius” and this brilliant quote about finishing the songs you start

By the time of her death, on 11 February 1963 Sylvia Plath had written a large bulk of poetry. To my knowledge, she never scrapped any of her poetic efforts. With one or two exceptions, she brought every piece she worked on to some final form acceptable to her, rejecting at most the odd verse, or a false head or a false tail. Her attitude to her verse was artisan-like: if she couldn’t get a table out of the material, she was quite happy to get a chair, or even a toy. (From Ted Hughes’s introduction to The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath)

Some of my FAWM songs might only end up being a chair or a toy (or even an opportunity to teach a young person how to ‘make a chair’) but I’m sure writing all these songs strengthens me as a writer.


A Blog's Life Top 10 Totally Off Topic

10 Things I Loved In 2013

Releasing my first ever solo EP Let’s Build An Airport was the major milestone for me but here’s 10 other highlights of the year.

The Rise of LFC

The massive turnaround in all areas of Liverpool Football Club, but especially the performance of SAS, the blossoming of Suarez into one of the best players in the world and of course the fall of Man Utd.

Discovering Cormac McCarthy

6 books 2 plays and 3 films so far. His lean style, profound dialogue, dark subject matter and old testament overtones create books that sink deep into your psyche.

Nottingham Music Thrives

Though posterboy Jake Bugg and new signings Indiana and Saint Raymond grab the headlines, they really are the tip of the iceberg. Nottingham continues to thrive and newer bands like Sea Monster Eyes, Privateers, Field Studies and Injured Birds excite me the most.


Mysterious Mostar is the partron saint of the Skyless LFC fan and the underground prophet of the match highlights videos. Thank you – whoever you are!

Bill Bailey does Billy Bragg for Billy Bragg

Brain Pickings

Addictive and profound – sign up for Maria Popova’s newsletter

Whole Lotta Helter Skelter

I interviewed Soundhog here. His mashup and video are both things of beauty.

Bad Lip Reading

Along with Honest Trailers and How It Should Have Ended, BLR supplied the lols.

Carragher & Neville Double Act

Sky turned MUFC’s most hated player into a universally respected pundit a few seasons ago. This year they did it again with LFC’s Jamie Carragher and created an entertaining and knowledgable double act.

Arctic Monkeys Regain Their Mojo

After two classic albums and two dour and miserable affairs it seems like the clouds are lifting and the Monkeys have a spring in their step once more.

Click on the links for my top 10 music, books and films of 2013

Former Pupils Nottingham Sounds

3 Awesome Videos From Nottingham Artists

Nottingham is getting a well deserved reputation for exciting new music but some artists extend that to making great videos too. Here are 3 of the best.

Boat You Row – Seas Monster Eyes (Directed by Rob Gravenor)

Featuring former members of Tastebuds and Zadkiel, Sea Monster Eyes’ debut video won the grand prize at the 2Weeks2Make It 2013 film festival.

Hands Up If You Are Lost – We Show Up On Radar (Directed by Tom Walsh)

Andy Wright has a long history of making great videos but this is a high point

Two Devils – Dog Is Dead (Directed by Prano Bailey-Bond)

A much higher budget than the other two, but stunningly inventive all the same