Monday, 18 April 2011


What a couple of weeks its been! This time 14 days ago I was in midair, en route to New York. From there things really became a blur encompassing 3 nights and 12 meetings in the city, one new band signed, some very exciting possible deals discussed, brief excursions to Philly and Boston, the greatest converted warehouse I've ever seen, my first ever Long Island show, a never-ending hunger for steak, one sleepless one and one sleepy flight. I came crashing back into Oxford one week ago and almost immediately left again for London where this happened:

One of my favourite gigs in a very long time as Tall Ships packed out (twice over) The Social where everyone from T4's Steve Jones to radio hero Steve Lamacq and our favourite DJ/promoter, Huw Stephens, were spotted. The next two days were written off with flu before another London trip for Record Store Day, the Pink Mist launch party, the release (and all but selling out of) our debut 12" compilation, and more of the above from Tall Ships, Hymns, Rosa Valle and Teej. A truly wonderful day.

Today my US email catchup begins and hopefully ends. Tomorrow the US mailorder catchup begins and must definitely end. Wednesday is the next installment from Surf Wax America, this time headlined by Olympians doing a set of Weezer covers, and then Thursday promises another sleepless night as we leave Oxford early evening bound for a 2am ferry to Belgium for Groezrock. By the time I write on here again, I will have seen 'Full Collapse' played live in full.

Here's the new Shapes video:

Friday, 1 April 2011

April Fools!

On a morning like this when us poor, gullible folk are forced into hiding until midday, living in fear of constant pranks and obvious lies, I bring you these three simple reasons to stare at your screen and waste away a few more valuable minutes until it's safe to once against roam the internet and open your desk drawers.

1. Tall Ships - Plate Tectonics. Released on Monday as a digital single (with the first 50 purchasers via the bands Big Cartel receiving a free, hand-numbered screen print) and backed with 2 exclusive remixes, this video was put together by the band and friend, Todd Atticus.

2. Bear vs Shark - Part of a live set from Anaheim in 2004, we've gone Bear vs Shark crazy (even more so than usual) this week with the announcement of the re-released 'Right Now You're In The Best Of Hands', available on coloured 12" vinyl via our webstore. Limited to just 250 hand-numbered copies, over half the stock went in the first couple of days and it's great to see so many new people discovering this incredible band!

3. Windyman beatdown - I'm going to the US on Tuesday for a week of meetings, meetings, friendly catchups, more meetings, good food, a couple more meetings and Kevin Devine at Webster Hall. With quick trips to Philly and Boston also on the agenda (meetings, of course) it promises to be a pretty intense week. Here's a stupid video I made during my last trip when things weren't quite so "meety".

Friday, 11 March 2011

Hello Pink Mist

I came on here with the best intentions, promising myself I'd write something different to the spiel I just knocked up for the website news page. But having read that through again, it seems to quite nicely sum up what it is I'd like to say, so let's start with a lazy copy and paste job...
This has been a very long time in the making so it's with great pleasure we can finally unveil Pink Mist, the new collective formed by Big Scary Monsters alongside our friends at Holy Roar and Blood And Biscuits.

Long time fans of BSM should already be well aware of these two wonderful labels as we've worked with them in the past (with HR on the Holy Monsters split 10" and then B&B on the two Tall Ships EPs), our bands have shared the stage on numerous occasions and we've spent many a good hour winding one another up on Twitter. Pink Mist is our way of solidifying this friendship, partnering up to work on many lovely things together and providing us with more resources than ever before to continue finding and working with the best new bands from around the world. The three labels will continue to work separately as ever before, but you'll notice the PM logo cropping up on all of our releases and in time, we'll be welcoming other friends (and not just record label ones at that) into the fold, effectively creating a tiny community of DIY enthusiasts and hard-working champs.

It all kicks off on 16th April (Record Store Day) with a free entry launch party at Rota in London - lineup to be announced soon - alongside a very special pink and white 12" compilation release, featuring brand new and exclusive tracks from 12 of our bands. This is then followed in May by the first Pink Mist showcase tour featuring the awesome Three Trapped Tigers and our very own Tall Ships. The dates for which are listed at the bottom of this post.

You can read more about Pink Mist at, follow it on Twitter and Like it on Facebook. All of our new releases will be distributed across the UK by Essential, with European partners to be announced shortly, whilst digital releases will be handled by Believe. Physical releases are lovingly crafted by the good people at Disc Manufacturing Services and ACD/Sleeve.

Pink Mist showcase tour #1 feat. Three Trapped Tigers and Tall Ships:

14.05 - Brighton, The Great Escape
15.05 - Southampton, Talking Heads
16.05 - Cambridge, The Portland
18.05 - Birmingham, Hare and Hounds
19.05 - Cardiff, Buffalo Bar
20.05 - Liverpool, Kazimer (Sound City)
21.05 - Glasgow, GSA
22.05 - Newcastle, Head of Steam
23.05 - Manchester, Night and Day
24.05 - Sheffield, The Harley
25.05 - Leeds, Nation of Shopkeepers
26.05 - Preston, Mad Ferret
27.05 - Bristol, Start The Bus
28.05 - Meadowlands Festival, Glynde Place
31.05 - London, Cargo

So, how was that? Make sense?

Simon (Blood And Biscuits), Alex (Holy Roar) and I have had numerous "meetings" (drinks) discussing this plan over the past year and we think it's a pretty cool idea. We've each worked together on numerous projects in the past, starting with the aforementioned releases for me, as well as the last two Rolo Tomassi albums for Alex and Simon (through their roles as Rolo's co-manager and A&R at Hassle Records) and the Gallops EP, which they co-released last year. Pink Mist is a posh way of saying "hey that was fun, let's do it again" only now with a more official title, a little extra purpose and a bit of a plan.

As I briefly alluded to in the above, we hope to eventually welcome more people into the Pink Mist fold, building what will hopefully become a small community of likeminded individuals with a creative flair and passion for the DIY music scene, who can help one another out and work together with us in one big, lovely family. It's all a little Utopian right now, but the next few months will give us a fair idea of how it all fits together and in the short term, we collectively have the best part of 50 amazing releases coming at you this year!

Alex is hitting SXSW next week and I'm heading over to New York, Boston and Philadelphia at the start of April for (too many) meetings about some ridiculously exciting ideas, potential new signings and hopefully one or two routes into bringing more of our European based bands to the American shores, as we started to work on last year. Its been a brilliant start to the year and things are only going to get better from here, so keep an eye on the Pink Mist Tumblr (and of course the usual BSM channels!) for all of the latest and greatest updates.

If recent form is anything to go by, this will be my last post for a while, so I better make it a good finish. How's this grab you?

Monday, 28 February 2011

cross symbol Hymns cross symbol

†Hymns† (or, & h8224; Hymns & h8224;, as iTunes would currently have you believe) release their debut single today. 'A Punch To The Temple' and 'Invidia' are now available to buy from all good digital stores around the world or our webstore as a limited edition t-shirt bundle. The two tracks can be streamed below, for those who like to try before they buy.

Check out these pictures of the single promo sleeve, lovingly crafted by Tom at ACDSleeve. We have a very few left, which may or may not be put on sale via our Boot Sale Music webstore, when it's resurrected later this month.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love it or hate it, here are a couple of things to make this years Valentine's Day a little better for you...

1) For today only you can get 10% off all purchases at by using the voucher code lovefrombsm. Why not treat your sweetheart to that Talons 7", BSM t-shirt or Mimas CD they've been longing for?

2) In the height of romance, here are a series of 'arty' videos by the guys at Front, each featuring Hold Your Horse Is. True love. Enjoy!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

How to promote your band

Yesterday I answered a questionnaire for an online magazine about 'how to promote your band the right way'. I've mentioned my thoughts on this subject in conversation once or twice before but never put it into writing, and as this place was (as ever) desperately in need of an update, it seemed a good opportunity to quickly sum it all up...

Every band is different.

That sounds obvious, but it's something which a lot of people seem to forget when it comes to the dog eat dog world of band promotion. Quite simply, there is no fool-proof way to take your band from A (playing to 5 people in Huddersfield on a Sunday night) to B (selling out Wembley and shacking up with a celebrity), although there are plenty of wrong ways. These wrong ways should be obvious, but the phrase "don't piss people off" broadly covers the bulk of them.

Granted, every few years you get a Biffy Clyro or a Frank Turner, champions of the underground who rise and rise, giving us all something to celebrate and hope for the little guy that they could be next. These tend to become everyone's reference point and a model in which to base your own ideas, and rightly so. At the end of the day, however, these two both took very different paths to reach the level they now enjoy, with the real defining factor in both cases being their years of dedication and hard work.

These days I find too many bands looking to carbon copy others, whether it's in their sound, their artwork, their image or indeed their career path. Creativity is the key and with the music scene so over-saturated with very average bands, you need to do anything and everything you can to rise above to the top. Don't look at your idolised bands and think "well by this stage they were playing to 10 times more people than us" and definitely don't look enviously upon your friends bands and think "why are they getting this opportunity and we're not?" Every band is different.

For some this may mean constant touring, gritting your teeth and taking the quiet nights on the chin, slowly but surely building a national fanbase. For others this will mean making all of your music available for free, attempting to establish a solid online presence. In some cases it will mean signing with a label to help you out, in others it might mean staying completely independent and figuring things out for yourself. What I think is important to remember - and unfortunately often isn't - is that everyone is different. There's no set time when a band MUST have a manager, MUST put out their debut album, MUST tour overseas, or MUST go full-time. You define your own path as and when things come to you, making sensible decisions and working hard.

This isn't really going anywhere and I'm straying dangerously close to preachy territory, so should probably wrap it up. Apologies for the rant. I'll post a link to the feature when it goes live as I'm sure some of the other contributors will have different, and probably more useful, opinions on the subject.

This blog was brought to you by the music of Daytrader, the taste of Tesco Orange Squash, and the craving of a chicken bhuna.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Hold Your New Single

Hold Your Horse Is release 'Forgive And Forget' as a free digital single today. You can get it from their website

The video for the single is below. Watch carefully and you may spot Frank Turner, Entrepreneurs (Adam from Elle Milano, for those who remember that awesome band) as well as members of Stagecoach, &U&I, Reuben, Foe, Our Lost Infantry and more.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

One year on

Happy new year, everyone!

How things change in a year, hey? In January 2010 we were getting set to announce Andrew WK's square-shaped 7" single and Walter Schreifels debut album. Talons were about to set off for a week with Johnny Foreigner and Shapes were confirmed to support Glassjaw and Pulled Apart By Horses on their tour. Tall Ships were a band we had only just started speaking to, and Blakfish were still a band. I spent much of that month sitting at my computer pulling my hair out and trying to get to grips with the well scary idea of a 52 part singles club, whilst kicking myself for not taking a longer Christmas break.

Fast-forward to January 2011 and things couldn't be more different. Right now I have no new releases to announce, very little happening on the touring front, not so much as a furrowed brow over the beginning stages of our new 52 part singles club, and if anything, am struggling to adapt back to a working life after taking a 3 week festive break. It may sound like the beginning stages of a quiet year, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Equally, I couldn't be happier.

After the stress-fest that was 2010, '11 promises to be a really fun year for BSM. When I say I have no new releases to announce, this isn't quite true, I just have none I'm going to tell you about today. Right now is all about waiting for deliveries, so that the working year can really kick off, and playing festive email catchup. Once those things are underway I may have a couple of things you'll be interested in. In the mean time, here's a handful of label bits to look out for this year...
  • BSM111 will be a book. Our first (of possibly many) and arguably the best value for money music you'll find all year. It also has a clever title, but you'd need to be a bit of a superfan to get it. All will be revealed shortly.
  • The BSM 5-a-side football tournament will be back in July, hopefully bigger, better and potentially of more benefit to lots of people, than ever before. This one is at least four rum-filled meetings and many phone calls away from announcement, but I hope to have more to tell you in the spring. Training for Team BSM begins next week and I'm not even joking.
  • Technology is the name of the game this year as we look to make a few little changes and embrace a couple of services we've unfortunately struggled to find time to trial in the past. The sorry decline of Myspace started a long time ago but this looks to be the year when everyone presses the big, red 'delete account' button and moves on to digital pastures new. We're no exception and I'm disappointinly excited by the prospect of testing out a few new platforms. As it turns out, I'm a massive geek.
  • Record labels are continuously evolving and I think it's quite likely that 2011 will see the biggest step forward so far in our long-term plans. #pinkmist
The new issue of Rock Sound just arrived with a rather lovely piece on Shapes in their tips for 2011 feature, so I'm off to read that. Byeeeee

Friday, 31 December 2010

Tips for 2011

1. Gylfi Sigurdsson

2. Rum

3. Delta/Alaska

Happy new year, everyone!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

So here it is...

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Is everyone having fun?

I planned to start my Christmas holiday yesterday but have spent the past two days solidly working. I think my to-do list as finally waved the white flag, though, and my attention has now turned almost completely to the idea of watching a full series of 24 in one sitting, in real time. What's more festive than pretending to be Jack Bauer for a day?

Been meaning to post something about our xmas tour since I returned home but time has been against me and also, I don't really know where to start. An incredible week of packed (and in a couple of cases, sold) out gigs, people singing and dancing, Christmas spirit and some very fetching hats. Both Tall Ships and Tangled Hair will be back with new releases in early 2011 so keep an eye out for those. I feel good things are on the horizon for them.

We've got a crazy amount of stuff lined up for you in 2011, I think you're all gonna be pretty happy. We've just announced our '11 Collection, following on exactly where the '10 Collection leaves off in just one weeks time. There are new albums on their way from Shapes, Dad Rocks!, Kevin Devine and more, as well as the long-awaited debut EP from Men. In the past week a couple of really cool new things have been confirmed, but I'm not telling you about them until January, and there's a pretty big announcement about the future of the label and a couple of good friends of ours.

Have a good one. Take it away, Mariah...

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


It's no secret that Banquet Records is our favourite UK record shop. As if their fine taste and never-ending support of our humble little label (and the independent music scene in general) wasn't enough, they throw the best parties Kingston could ever wish for and will continue to be the lynchpin of one of this countries most thriving scenes for a long time to come.

Throughout December they're running an advent calendar, giving away awesome prizes every day. To coincide with our night at New Slang last Thursday they offered a load of free BSM MP3s and 10 bundles of CDs to lucky winners. I now have the difficult task of picking them.

Banquet's web guy, fellow Nando's lover, Man City fan and all-round dashing chap, Tom Pennington, suggested I film a video of said winners being drawn. "I'm sitting here in a dressing gown with a pink towell draped over my head, absolutely full of cold" said I. "There will be no video". Instead, I'm staying behind the comfort of my computer screen and giving you my 10 favourite entries from those posted on their website...

Muhammad Johar - for his use of smiley faces, Twitpic and video cameras

Carrie_hw - for very patiently waiting for her BSM100 order, and probably owning more BSM releases than I do now!

Ben Andrewes and Michael Webb - cos I like to imagine them fighting over the division of the prizes. Shared custordy, people.

ejolleys - for meeting someone special at a BSM gig

lee_from_winchester - for also meeting someone special at a BSM gig. And I don't mean Walter Schreifels, although he's special too

tom__ftw - cos summer '09 was my favourite, too

Scott Williams - for being a big fan... with poor taste in football teams

Greg Moore - for watching Colour play whilst standing on bins outside of a sold out venue

Rob Godley - for wordplay

Azaelgon - for absolutely breaking my heart. Get in touch, I want to send you another CD!

Thanks to everyone who entered, it was a really difficult decision and it means a lot that so many of you took the time to write such nice things. If you were there for Tall Ships and Tangled Hair on Thursday, I hope you enjoyed it. I also hope you enjoyed my little DJ set. Will Smith 'Miami'? You're welcome.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Friday, 19 November 2010

Help! I need somebody. Help! Not just anybody

Over the next 6 months BSM will be going a little quieter on the new release front as we start the build up towards our mid-2011 album campaigns and dedicate a little time to the finer things in life. Things such as updating the website, filling in tax returns, updating some very outdated systems of ours, moaning about how Christmas isn't as fun as it used to be, and scouring the world for our next wave of new signings. I'm going to need some help with one or two of these things (seriously, how do you make Christmas fun again?) and this is where you come in.

Have a read through the below and if you make it to the end still thinking "that doesn't sound too shit", get in touch and we'll have a chat.
  • Ideally I'm looking for someone based in or around Oxford who could offer up a few hours per week to come here and help with mailorders, collections and deliveries, and some online work. We have broadband internet, a spare computer and Sky Sports News. And best of all; I don't drink tea, so frankly I couldn't give a crap how good you are at making it. HOWEVER, a close friend or relative working in a local bar with potential to supply free liquor is a distinct advantage. Equally, anyone with good gambling tips will be well received.
  • Having said all of that, I'm also willing to consider people from all around the world (the alcohol and gambling thing still stands) as many of the tasks will be based online, so don't be put off if you're our one regular blog reader from Peru. I'd still love to hear from you.
  • I won't lie, some of the jobs won't be a whole lot of fun. Stuffing envelopes is tedious, as is making countless website tweaks, updating mailing lists, compiling press reports, researching and sending numerous emails to strangers you know will ignore you. These are the kind of things you'll be doing.
  • It's not all doom and gloom, though. Meeting and getting to know lots of awesome people and working closely with some brilliant bands is very rewarding, as is going to lots of gigs and getting free CDs. And if you're one of those people who gets genuinely excited about HTML, graphic design or spreadsheets, I definitely want to hear from you. A bit of work experience at an independent record label can also look good on your CV and some of the people who've previously helped out have gone on to find bigger and better paid roles elsewhere soon afterwards.
  • Not wanting to sound like an arse, but I'm going to be quite specific about the kind of person I'm looking for here. Based on previous experience, this just isn't a job for everyone, so let's save each other some time and figure that out now. What I'm after is someone who is creative, with lots of bright ideas and a willingness to work hard. If I'm going to ask you for an opinion on something and you just shrug at me, it's not going to work. A good knowledge of the industry would be a bonus but not essential. Similar rules apply with your music taste; if it's good, great, if it's bad, that's still ok, we can always talk about the weather. A fair bit of the work will be based online, ranging from updating the website to setting up and maintaining certain social network profiles, so you need to be computer literate and ideally have some knowledge of web design. You need to be contactable, honest and not a dickhead. If you're local and will be working here, the dickhead thing is doubley important, I'd also like it if you don't smell. The label is run from my flat so you may have to face occasional rants about the neighbours, Fantasy Football discussions every Friday afternoon, drop-ins from friends and family, and me leaving you to work whilst I sleep off a hangover.
I think that pretty much covers everything for now. If you're serious about helping out, get in touch and tell me a bit about yourself. Who you are, where you're based, what your interests are, any previous experience in the industry, what you feel your strengths are and, perhaps most importantly of all, what you would like to get out of this role. I don't want this to be a one-sided thing where only the label gains from your hard work, I'd like to make it a good fit where I can find jobs which will interest you and hopefully help with your future career in this crazy little industry.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Football/dogging fans...

Recognise this man?

I mean the one on the right...

Pick up the latest issue of Rock Sound magazine (with Bring Me The Horizon on the cover) and not only do you get the above joy, you'll also find a full page feature on Talons, a track of theirs on the covermount CD, and 8/10 reviews for their album and Tall Ships new EP. Bargain.


So, 2010. How was it for you?

The year couldn't have got off to a better start for us with the square-shaped (Fantasy Football funded) release of party-loving Andrew W.K.'s 7" single, which sold out in what felt like a matter of hours, quickly followed in similar fashion by the debut Tall Ships EP which also sold out. Twice. With a third pressing on the brink of disappearing, too. The release of Walter Schreifels debut solo album, his ensuing UK tour and my constant "who the hell do I think I am?!" questionning each and every time I was forced to email arguably one of the most influential people in the history of punk rock, chasing up a photo, interview or whether or not he'd remembered to book a hotel in Kingston (he hadn't) took us through the spring and into the summer with a perfect, er, spring in our step, before Chicago's Grown Ups came and kicked all of our arses with their brilliant record, 'More Songs', in May. The saddest news of the year came as Blakfish decided to call it a day, halfway through their European tour with Biffy Clyro! This unfortunately meant that the BSM 5-a-side football tournament was lacking a certain, rowdy Brummy element, but everyone coped admirably with Fear And Records eventually coming through to become the first ever double winners.

Shoes And Socks Off kept relatively quiet this year but still managed to sneak out two albums; the three CD, 40+ track, 'Don't Blame Yourself, It's In Your Blood', and the wonderful, yet confusingly titled 'Robin Hood Waiter Champion Have-Not' (including a video for each song, made for a total budget of less than £10), before hitting the road for a paltry 30 date tour in September. Kevin Devine followed up last years 5th studio album with a new EP, 'She Stayed As Steam', which featured a couple of 'Brothers Blood' recording session out-takes and saw him crash the iTunes chart, something which he later bettered with the release of his Bad Books album (a band he shares with members of Manchester Orchestra), which topped the Amazon chart in November and even found itself in the US billboard top 200!

Dad Rocks!, the solo project from Mimas front man Snævar Njáll Albertsson landed on British soil for the first time, bringing with him his delightful debut EP, a set of BSM cover songs and a handful of lovely videos, before being joined by the rest of Mimas who celebrated the release of their lovely second album in October. Another new addition to our roster, Hold Your Horse Is, released a stunning debut EP and saw their music soundtrack more than their fair share of "arty" videos for Front Magazine, whilst Adebisi Shank's awesome new record rightly got the internet all hot and bothered as they were propelled into the top 10 of the Hype Machine chart.

BSM itself 'Partied Hard' by hitting the landmark of 100 releases, celebrating with the release of a CD/DVD double pack in our most ellaborate, popup, artwork yet, before Tall Ships came back with another brilliant EP, taking it out on tour with Minus The Bear, Maps And Atlases, 65 Days of Static and more, just before Talons dropped arguably the best album of the year with the brutiful (new word alert) 'Hollow Realm'. A record every bit as crushing as you would expect from the young instrumentalists. Our final release of 2010 comes from Tellison with their long-awaited, Zane Lowe endorsed, new single, 'Collarbone', showing the world they've most definitely still got it, with the excitement rapidly building for their new album, due out early next year.

Throughout the year our '10 Collection, 52 part singles club has been speeding along, providing subscribers with a weekly dosage of great music to brighten up every Monday morning, and we've thrown a number of free parties across the country, including showcases at The Great Escape, Southsea and Swn festivals. Of course, we'll be seeing the year out in our usual style; the BSM Christmas Tour! This year it's the turn of Tall Ships and ex-Colour boys, Tangled Hair, to bring the festive spirit, as we all start turning our attention to mulled wine, Santa and then the new year, which promises, amongst other things...

The debut album from Shapes! The boys have taken much of this year off (apart from a short tour with some band called Glassjaw, of course) to write and will be heading to Sweden later this month to record it with none other than Eskil Lövström, the man behind Refused's seminal 'The Shape of Punk To Come' (the headline puns just right themselves really, don't they?). Look out for a release in the spring, alongside the debut full-length from Dad Rocks!, which may or may not feature a very awesome guest appearance, although I don't want to jinx it, so I won't tell you who just yet. Other new releases lined up for 2011 include EP's from Men and Tangled Hair, as well as our '11 Collection singles club and a book from Shoes And Socks Off.

It seems somewhat of a cliche to wrap this up by saying thanks and we couldn't have done it without you, but if you can make it to any of our xmas tour dates (below), let's raise a glass and toast the continued success of the independent music industry, and the wonderful people within it. Here's to another great year!

BSM Christmas Tour 2010 w/ Tall Ships and Tangled Hair

06.12 - Brighton, The Albert
07.12 - London, Brixton, The Rest Is Noise (free entry)
08.12 - Cambridge, Portland Arms
09.12 - Kingston, New Slang
10.12 - Bristol, Start The Bus
11.12 - Middlesbrough, Uncle Alberts (free entry)
12.12 - Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
13.12 - Sheffield, Bungalows and Bears (free entry - no Tangled Hair)

Gutten tag

Have you been to Berlin? You really should. Having spent a wonderful 5 days there, and 4 days since, weighing it up, I think it's my favourite European city. A really nice, easy-going feel to the place, loads of awesome little bars and restaurants and possibly the best atmosphere I've experienced at a football match (an important factor in international travel) made it a wonderful experience. Of course, seeing Jimmy Eat World one night and Tall Ships the next helped a little too!

Here's me and my tandem bike, mid-city tour...