Paul Goodwin


5 Jan 2016

I really have been slack about posting on here, which is a shame because it was one of my resolutions last year. Anyway, here's my 2015 summary.

Bands I saw: Tellisonx2 (and SH Davidson solo once) (great), Katie Malco (good), Belle and Sebastian (better than I expected), Andrew Jackson Jihad (so, so great), Chris T-T (great), Emily Barker and Gill Sandell (only a few songs, but they were lovely songs), The Travis Waltons (lovely). I'm hoping to do a little better this year, but the days of seeing a hundred bands a year are gone I think. Sadly. 

Last year's Resolutions

  • Do more than 5 solo performances of some sort (I have 3 booked already so it should be feasible!) - DONE
  • Finish one last record (though I have an EP in mind after this album) - DONE (you can preorder it here)
  • Write on here at least once every 2 months and if I do/go to gigs (I missed a couple this year which is a shame) - FAILED
  • Stop reading listicles and "you won't believe what happened" style articles. I might make it so my computer can't access REALLY FAILED, though they have mostly stopped being about celebrity ageing and moved on to theories about the new Star Wars film
  • Cross 2 more bands off The List (right...) - REALLY FAILED, though arguably Andrew Jackson Jihad went on the list shortly before I got a ticket. I was pretty obsessed with them in the week leading up to the gig. I saw Belle and Sebastian too who could've been on there.

This year's resolutions

  • Do more than 5 solo performances of some sort. If I managed it last year...
  • Release the record and try to at least 3/4-arse promoting it. 
  • Write on here at least once every 2 months and if I do/go to gigs (I missed almost everything I did last year I think)
  • Cross 2 more bands off The List 
  • Write a song. I managed one last year.

The list (pretty much unchanged from last year):Frightened Rabbit, The Gin Blossoms, Bruce Springsteen, Brand New, Say Anything, King Creosote and Jon Hopkins, Margot and the Nuclear So and So's, The Smith Street Band, The Retrospective Soundtrack Players, The Wrens, Jason Isbell, Waxahatchee, La Dispute, Bad Books.


Stevie Wonder to the bullshit

7 Jul 2015

I went to the best gig I've seen all year last night. Not that there have been many gigs. Not that the gigs there have been haven't been great too. Anyway. Andrew Jackson Jihad at The Portland Arms. One of those rare times where I listened to a band online simply because they were playing soon and thought they were brilliant. Their latest album, Christmas Island, is a bona fide classic I reckon. The lyrics are so good ("I am a blank page in a notebook, waiting to be filled with countless drawings of cocks"). The production isn't too far from In The Aeroplane Over The Sea in places, but I think the songs are better (are people allowed to say that?). So, I'd listened to it all day and got myself really quite excited. That's normally a recipe to be let down but if anything they were better than I was expecting. I wasn't sure how many people they'd have brought over but it was a full 5 piece band, with cello and two lots of keys.

The singer's eyebrow work (and T-shirt actually) reminded me of Rishi from Karmadillo. I never thought I'd say that about anyone.

The band seemed a little disappointed with the amount of noise the audience were making but I think once they realised everyone was loving it they were ok. I was a bit disappointed they didn't do an encore because they didn't play the song I most wanted to hear. That and the singer's tie dyed shirt were the only downsides really!  

I may have some writer's block but I'm still useful to you

7 Jun 2015

I did two lots of playing last week. I know! The first was at CB2 with Joseph Williams and SH Davidson from Tellison (officially my 13th favourite band). Joe lives in Sardinia now and still managed to put a great night on, which puts me to shame really. He's also really good, despite refusing to play my favourite song of his ("Pigeon French" - see if you can find it on the internet).

I got really into my set and people were nice enough about it. I need to stop starting with Cold Case though - I always seem to mess up the guitar.

Setlist: Cold Case, The Ghost of Paddy's Night Past, Watertight, Muscle Memory, 60 Miles With a Slow Puncture,  Heat Death. A Follly or a Fortress, Black Coffee and Bromide

Stephen was, predictably, great - plenty of songs from the forthcoming Tellison album, some from the other Tellison albums and some that I suspect won't ever be on Tellison albums on account of being a bit more light hearted.

Then on Friday night I went to the Folk Club for the first time in ages for a special night that was part of their 50th Anniversary celebrations. I remember their 40th Anniversary celebrations. I felt old then for God's sake. Anyway, this was called The Inspiration Session and the idea was you played a song that inspired you to write a song, and then that song. I don't think I've ever been directly inspired by one song from another (though Phosphorus Burn came from me failing to play Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez) so I played "Levelland" by James McMurtry (I'd never tried to play it before about half an hour before I left to go there) and "Heat Death" and then "If I Wrote You" by Dar Williams and "Edinburgh" ("this song inspired me to write better songs"). It was lovely to see everyone, and a lot of the old faces were playing. Though not as many as all that from 10 years ago.

Then the other night I saw the full version of Tellison. I reckon it's been a year since I heard a real snare drum. They sound incredible when you're in the room with them. They played most of The Hits, and sounded wonderful despite their keyboard player having left the day before and everything needing to be hastily rearranged. I wouldn't have known.


29 Mar 2015

I had a more musicy week than I've had in ages last week. I went on Cambridge 105 Radio on Sunday night, sang a few songs and had a very specific chat with the DJ about people that we both know and none of the listeners (if there were any) would've. It was fun. Bit creepy though when I turned up early and had to stand in the deserted car park next to the graveyard for ages.

For the record I played The Ghost of Paddy's Night Past, Cold Case, Muscle Memory, Phosphorus Burn following tracks from Paul Weller and Paul McCartney. The host is called Paul too. I also tried to be polite about the Folk Festival line up and went into some detail about the movements of my friend Chris Marling.

On Tuesday I did my first gig in 6 months and my first gig where a sensible amount of people were there for goodness knows how long. I was supporting Emily Barker and Gill Sandell at The Portland and despite problems with the posters and fliers and my ability to promote anything it was pretty busy, even for my set. I knew it was going to be good because the taxi on the way there had Metallica's Black Album on. You have to think that most people tell the guy to turn it off, but I told him to turn it up. I played really well, especially considering how little I play these days. Felt in total control of the guitar (except for a few dodgy strumming bits). Setlist: The Ghost of Paddy's Night Past, Watertight, This Place is Dead Anyway, A Happy Ending, Muscle Memory, Heat Death, So Finally a Love Song, Magnetic or Rhetorical, Black Coffee and Bromide, Edinburgh (wasn't going to but people called out for it). I was only able to stay for a bit of Emily and Gill but they sounded lovely, as always.

At least if I hardly ever play it's easier for me to keep up with the "writing whenever I play" resolution I made. The "finish the record" one is going to get done as well I think. Barring any last minute losses of confidence about it I think it'll be ready for mastering in a couple of weeks.

God I hate it when the clocks go forward. As if I'm not late enough for work as it is. This turned up the other day. Seems like a bargain.



4 Jan 2015

My traditional end of year post. This has been a very different year to all of the others and while very "interesting" for me, it won't be very interesting to read about much of it.

Tragically short list of bands I saw: Smallgang, Oxygen Thief (great), Chris T-T (outstanding), Kevin Devine (outstanding), Anais Mitchell (great), Cheerleader (best support band I've seen in a long time), The Hold Steady (incredible in an intimate venue).

How I did with last years resolutions:

  • Do more than 10 solo performances of some sort (think this will have to include open mics...) - I did 3... They were good though!
  • Finish one last record - no, but really frustratingly close - if anyone wants to hear where it's at and ruin the finished product for themselves (if it happens) just email me
  • Write on here at least once every 2 weeks - haha
  • Stop wasting so much time playing Hay Day on my iPhone just because it makes me feel like I'm achieving something - COMPLETE (I am playing chess a lot now but that feels worthwhile)
  • Cross 2 more bands off The List - nope, though I've crossed Courtney Barnett and Torres off because I don't really care any more. Wouldn't travel to London for example.

I thought learning to drive was one but that was the year before. Shame, cos I did that and would've completed probably a record number of resolutions.

This years resolutions are mostly mundane things involving cake and taking deep breaths, but publicly

  • Do more than 5 solo performances of some sort (I have 3 booked already so it should be feasible!)
  • Finish one last record (though I have an EP in mind after this album)
  • Write on here at least once every 2 months and if I do/go to gigs (I missed a couple this year which is a shame)
  • Stop reading listicles and "you won't believe what happened" style articles. I might make it so my computer can't access
  • Cross 2 more bands off The List (right...)

The current List: Frightened Rabbit, The Gin Blossoms, Bruce Springsteen, Brand New, Say Anything, King Creosote and Jon Hopkins, Margot and the Nuclear So and So's, The Retrospective Soundtrack Players, The Wrens, Jason Isbell, Waxahatchee, La Dispute, .

Over the parapet

15 Oct 2014

I poked my head out of the trenches of Responsible Parenting and did a gig last week, supporting John Wheeler from Hayseed Dixie. I remember seeing them on the main stage at Glastonbury years and years ago and the standard of playing (particularly by everyone but him) was outrageous. He's ended up living here, though the tour he's on is pretty extensive anyway. As ever I was on to about half the eventual audience but it went really well, especially considering I'd not touched my guitar in months, and double especially considering there was mariachi music coming out of the monitor the whole time. I sold more CDs than any other gig in years - 50 more like that and my CD mountain would be gone! Maybe it's cos I played the Get 'Em While They's Hot I Gots To Go Home To The Baby card.

Setlist (as far as I remember): The Ghost of Paddy's Night Past, Muscle Memory, Magnetic Or Rhetorical, Cold Case, Heat Death, 60 Miles With A Slow Puncture (I forgot some words! Annoying! There are about a million of them though) Closure, A Happy Ending.

Only one song off Scars! That's a bit weird - can that really be right? Progress I guess.

Back in the saddle, temporarily

15 Jun 2014

I had one of the best weekends I've had for a good while the other week. On the Friday night I did my first "proper" gig since September, at the Folk Club. We'd spent the week in The Lake District (my God it's pretty there, but the tiny roads are a bit scary for a new driver) and the drive home took 7 hours rather than the 4 that Google had predicted (admittedly there was a Nando's break in Preston, but still) meaning that not only did I not get to practice (I'd not touched my guitar for months) but also I didn't get to the gig until the doors were open. I had a bit of a play in the broom cupboard during the first act (The Broadside Boys - made a very big noise for two people, though one of them was playing a few things at once a lot of the time - they sounded great through the cupboard wall) and everything seemed ok. It felt like old times on stage. I really love the Folk Club, as comical as it can be sometimes - I don't think I'd have got through the being completely shit phase if it hadn't been for such a supportive place. There were a reasonable number of people there. I spend a lot of time not really paying attention these days (is that a getting older thing?) so it was nice to feel like I used to.

Setlist: The Ghost of Paddy's Night Past, Watertight, Magnetic or Rhetorical (no idea how I remembered all the words - I'd not planned to play it), Phosphorus Burn, This Place is Dead Anyway, Muscle Memory, Some Manic Pixie Dreamgirl Bullshit, Cold Case, Edinburgh. Encore(!): You Won't Break My Heart (half of - forgot the words, which is surprising considering I remembered all of Magnetic...), Closure.

I think Saturday was mostly spent unpacking, but on Sunday I went to Wembley to see Cambridge United finally get promoted back to the Football League. The only other game I'd been to all season was the second leg of the playoff semi-final (which was a much better atmosphere than this, what with Wembley being nowhere near the stadium The Abbey is) so I felt like a part timer, but I've watched more games than 90% of the other people there over the last decade I reckon. They were playing Gateshead, who had brought an awful lot of people too considering how far it is, how few fans they have (I think there were a lot of Newcastle United tourists) and how few people from Gateshead have ever been outside Gateshead. It was fun watching them try to use the ticket barriers on the Underground. You know that Simpsons episode where the elephant just keeps charging into other elephants? I think they must have got to the stadium early, because Baker Street was a sea of amber all morning, and there was a distinct contrast between the two entrances.


The first half was pretty terrible and felt very reminiscent of the other two times I've been to Wembley where neither team played well and Cambridge lost 1-0, but, not that surprisingly in the so obviously scripted it may as well be WWE world we live in, the ex-Gateshead player took a wonderful corner for Cambridge's first and then scored a properly incredible free kick that we were sitting right behind. It ranks in the top ten 2 second periods of my life. And I'm not sure what the others would be. One of the nicest things about Cambridge getting promoted is that their ex-manager and now Director of Football has been doing a 676 mile walk to raise money for the youth team because the FA only fund league youth teams. If you drop out of The League you lose £100,000 a year, if you get back in, you get it back. Pretty stupid, though to be fair, a copy of Harry Redknapp's autobiography has appeared in our office, and everyone involved in football seems pretty stupid. Cambridge will, I guess, have a lot of money for the youth team next year.

I did another gig this Friday at The Boat House. They are like half-empty buses. It was super last minute (I found out about it at 4). Shows how much I've been going out in the last while that they've completely remodelled the pub and I had no idea. I enjoyed all the other acts (Heartworks, Theresa Elflein and B-Sydes), and I particularly enjoyed that the crowd seemed like the kind of crowd that could deal with a 100% sad song set. I feel a bit ridiculous being all angsty at my age but what are you going to do?

Setlist: Take it All (half of - SOMEONE's (my...) mobile phone kept interfering with the mic), The Ghost of Paddy's Night Past, Watertight, Muscle Memory, Radio Silence, Heat Death (new song!), Black Coffee and Bromide.

In other news, the new album is "coming along".


Resolutions Rundown

11 May 2014

So, 4 months on, the last entry here is the one where I promise to write every 2 weeks. There are actually several half written things waiting to go (containing details of the excellent Chris T-T and Kevin Devine gigs I went to as well as lots of last year), so maybe I'll finish those at some point. The other resolutions aren't going a huge amount better (though I have learnt to drive! Third time. Failed one of them for stopping at a green light.). I stupidly passed up the chance to see Courtney Barnett by not being aware of quite how popular she was becoming and assuming the gig wouldn't sell out. I like the album and all but I've got to say I was a bit surprised she was on Jimmy Fallon. Good on her. Jason Isbell is also playing on a day I'm busy. I think the record *might* get finished though - I'm a gnat's crotchet away from finishing all the lyrics and there's not so, so much recording to do. 10 solo performances looks out of reach (I've done one, where I played a new song that's currently called "Some Manic Pixie Dreamgirl Bullshit". I say new, it's 6 months old but I've not played...).

I'm getting the time to write because I'm on a train to London to go to an event and there's not enough mobile signal to take any of my goes in the 8 concurrent chess games I'm playing on my phone. At least I've stopped with Hay Day now (a resolution ticked off!) though I do miss the feeling of achievement. This event is at Google's new offices which I'm expecting to contain Oompa Loompas. Of course it's on the day of a tube strike...

Looking back through the photos on my phone (ignoring the myriad ones of grammar errors on signage and people in Tesco wearing pyjamas) it seems like it's been a busy time again with real life stuff (decorating, gardening etc.). Who knew that gardening was such fun? You plant stuff and it grows and looks nice. Also, garden centres do amazing cheesecakes. The raspberry one I had a Fordham Nursery is probably the best I've ever had, and it wasn't even chocolate-based. There has been some culture too though.

A few weeks ago we went to see The Book of Mormon in London. I'm sure I've made my feelings about Musical Theatre clear on here many times in the past (in principle I'm with Stewart Lee but I always seem to enjoy it when I'm actually there. Even the ARU production of Footloose). This was genuinely hilarious though, and however stupid the form, seeing it done well is great. One of the main roles was being played by the understudy and you couldn't really tell. Afterwards we went to London Aquarium for the first time. They wouldn't let us take water in, which I thought was quite funny, but it's really much better than you'd expect for something on the South Bank. Lots of sharks, jellyfish and seahorses. Animals are pretty weird. It's easy to forget.



I also saw Anais Mitchell at The Portland. My opinion of her has been completely transformed since I saw her supporting Ani DiFranco (probably a scarily long time ago). It's known as "Doing a Ritter" and in both cases I think it's because they got better, but in both cases I now really like the early stuff too, so maybe it was me. I don't think so though - properly great later stuff makes you take the earlier stuff more seriously I think - I doubt I'd really care about Okkervil River's first album if they'd not done the others for example. Anyway, she was great - seemed a little bit high maintenance in the in between song talky bits (though maybe I'm projecting because she looks like Goldie Hawn) but the songs are the real thing.


"Young Man in America" is so good - the last verse just keeps on building and then when you think it's not going to build any more it builds a bit more. It did come to light that her new album "Child Ballads" is actually an album of English folk songs "collected" by a man named Child and not a load of children's ditties as I'd (for some reason) assumed. I meant to check it out, but never did. The support act was one half of Pooka who I saw more than 15 years ago at the Boat Race. She had a lovely voice but it was very much in that extremely tasteful late 90s London Acoustic style that I really hated at the time.

I've seen a few films (as we do every year we rejoined the cinema just after the bit before the Oscars when all the good films come out and haven't been since). The Grand Budapest Hotel is by far my favourite Wes Anderson film (have I gone on about how The Royal Tenenbaums is responsible for everything being crap these days?), The Wolf of Wall Street was good, if a little long (I can't believe it's a real story), Inside Llewyn Davis gets better the more I think about it, 12 Years a Slave was alright, if pretty disjointed (though I guess any attempt to fit 12 years into 2 hours is bound to be).

Other than that everything else has been mentioned in half written stuff that I will finish at some other point. There was a scare when it looked like KFC had shut, but actually they were just refitting it. A heron landed on our shed. Went to Bishop's Stortford and will be trying quite hard not to go back. Yeah.


1 Jan 2014

It's been a very busy year with real life things. So busy that music has pretty much fallen by the wayside and I've got right out of the habit of writing on here. Both are a shame because I don't feel like someone who writes songs any more, and in years to come I won't be able to look back at what I've done. Maybe I'll try and back fill it, but it won't be detailed enough to be good. Highlights were probably touring with Annie in January, Green Man festival, going to Lanzarote for some relaxation (also going to Timanfaya, which was incredible), the Okkervil River gig the other week.

"Proper" bands I've seen (only seem to be 41, despite going to a festival, though I may have missed something obvious. Normal review rules apply - if I say nothing they were alright to quite good):

Rue Royale, Kirsty McGee (great), Muncie Girls, The Sidekicks, Hop Along (not as good as the record is), Simone Felice, The Front Bottoms, Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar (very good), Gren Bartley, Shooglenifty, Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, Beck, Keston Cobblers Club, Julia Holter (sounded like Clannad), Phosphorescent (pretty good), The Pastels (charmingly ropey), Edwyn Collins (lovely), Midlake (miss their real singer), Zervas and Pepper, Ellen and the Escapades, Fossil Collective, Rozi Plain, This is The Kit, The Slow Show, Sweet Baboo (lovely), Girls Names, Low (wonderful), Villagers (ruuuubbish), Band of Horses, Woods, Local Natives (terribly dull), Anna von Hausswolff (operatic), Swans (crushing, brutal, so loud, left me feeling weird for a few days), Jeffrey Lewis and Peter Stampfel (needed more Lewis), Alessi's Ark, The Mountain Goats (genius), The Wave Pictures (on top form), Matthew Caws (great), Nadine Shah, Rhodes (from Hitchin), Okkervil River (ridiculously good).

How I did with last years resolutions:

  • Finish one last record - failed, but getting closer. I'm halfway through writing one last EP too...
  • Learn to drive - failed but I have my test in a week and a half.
  • Write on here more - nope.
  • Cross at least 2 bands off The List - completed! (The Front Bottoms and Swans).

This year's resolutions then:

  • Do more than 10 solo performances of some sort (think this will have to include open mics...)
  • Finish one last record
  • Write on here at least once every 2 weeks
  • Stop wasting so much time playing Hay Day on my iPhone just because it makes me feel like I'm achieving something
  • Cross 2 more bands off The List

The current List: Frightened Rabbit, The Gin Blossoms, Bruce Springsteen, Brand New, Say Anything, King Creosote and Jon Hopkins, Margot and the Nuclear So and So's, The Retrospective Soundtrack Players, Torres, The Wrens, Jason Isbell, Courtney Barnett.

The pirate's life for me

10 Oct 2013

I went to see The Mountain Goats at Union Chapel on Tuesday. Last time I saw them was a couple of years ago now, but was wonderful, and this time was very different but (I think) just as good. Alessi's Ark was supporting, and I've always written her off as trendy and boring, which to be fair, she didn't really dispell, but she added seemingly quite nice to the list of adjectives. One of the people I was with (I forget who, probably James from The Pony Collaboration) summed up what everyone was thinking by saying "I didn't mind listening to that". There was one song that stuck in my mind a bit about the moon or something. Think she said it was on her next EP, so I might check that out. She had a multi instrumentalist guy with her who did some quite impressive stuff in terms of coordination (playing a few instruments at once) though I'm not sure it added much in terms of atmosphere.

There was no drummer this time, and the bass amp didn't work for the first half a song ("Jenny" from the recently re-released All Hait West Texas which it turns out I love - they have so many albums that I think I've still only heard about half of their songs, and the production, much as I don't care about production, is often a bit hard to get past) but The Mountain Goats were a cut above most things I've seen. There wasn't as much as I'd been hoping for from the latest album, Transcendental Youth, which I love, but there was quite a lot from The Life Of The World To Come, which I think I might love but I have trouble identifying the songs because they're all named after obscure Bible verses. Here's a video someone took of "Jenny". I think a fair percentage of the views were me in the last couple of days.

There was some top quality storytelling and banter, especially a 5 minute discourse on American Football tactics/positions/career length (leading into another song from All Hail West Texas) and an explanation that as a Californian he's been conditioned not to shake hands with anyone on account of the germs. Also, even though I now know Woke Up New (it floored me when I heard it for the first time at the gig I mentioned above) it still gave me tingles. He used the fact that he was in a church with an attentive audience to good effect, singing really quietly when the song could take it, which is a luxury he didn't have at Koko, one of the boomier rooms in the world. 

There don't seem to be many decent new bands that have come through in the last year or three so it's nice that my old faithful ones are still setting the bar high live. I think The Mountain Goats are my litmus test for whether people like the same things about music that I do.

«previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next»