We’re really really excited to finally announce our first album! It’s called Some Things Last Longer than You and will be out September 9th via total babes Specialist Subject Records (UK/EU) and Old Flame Records (USA).
The first single, Sincere, is streaming below. Have a listen and tell all yr friends.
Specialist Subject Mega Tour, Day 9: Cardiff – London – The End
Posted 15th May 2016
First time on the floor this tour and probably the best sleep I’ve had. Wait outside the loo for my turn, Jay later appears from it cackling and says “Good Luck”. We all forfeit showering in favour of Wetherspoon’s breakfast. Huss meticulously orders the vegan options for PB and is annoyed when the portions come out a lot smaller than he’d hoped. I have five hash browns (substitute for eggs) and he looks envious. Mwahaha. Caves and SP turn up a little later and get their food just as we’re going. It’s uncertain whether we’ll see SP again as they’re not playing the show with us tonight, so we do a quick round of hugs. Iona tries to convince me to send her our just mastered record, I have to decline as Nicola, Dean and I have strictly enforced the ‘only family and labels’ rule until it gets released; everything in me wants to play it to everyone though, it’s pretty tough not to relent.
Back on the road, pretty uneventful drive, apart from seeing a tiny wee sausage dog in the back basket of someone’s motorbike and El throwing a tomato out the window into the back of someone’s van. We stop at me and Nicola’s flat to drop off some suitcases, then head to pick up Lucinda (Kamikaze Girls/Lady Fuzz) who’s going to be stepping in for El on their Euro tour, which they’re embarking on first thing tomorrow. On to DIY Space after the usual London North to South traffic. Dave, Sue and Ian from Everything Sucks are there already and order Village Pizza for all of us which is fucking ace (the box comes in useful later as a setlist). People start filtering in from about 6. Plenty bands for yr cash tonight. Our friend Quinn’s band Steinbeck are up first, followed by Grand-Pop (Lou on the tubs goddamn so good) and Honey Joy. Peebs play to a big old hyper singing crowd and they smash it. I made the mistake of drinking a large Club Mate and it sends me into an anxious jittery tailspin. A couple of beers seem to counteract the caffeine surge but now I’m just well nervous. I see a familiar face walk through the door who I haven’t seen in 6 years, my friend Shira who is over from LA on vacation and has made the trip down for the show which is really lovely.
We play another of what I think is one of my favourite shows ever, once again with Zach Potentials and Laura Ankles down the front (if you guys could be at every show ever that would be great thanks). Everyone in the room tonight just seems in the best mood and it makes for a super fun set. We finish with Spice Girls and it’s definitely the best one of the whole tour, punctuated at the end with Dean doing a Carrie Browstein-esque jump followed by a Carrie Brownstein-esque fall.
After the set I catch up with Shira and we reminisce about touring together 10 years ago (I was an honorary member of her band when their drummer dropped out of the tour we were both on). I geek out with Zach about horror films (Arrow Video, Troma and Gremlins in particular). I bump into Giles from Great Cynics who’s been having FOMO seeing pics of the Spesh Sub tour and all the swimming we’ve been doing. Caves slay then we slowly but surely start loading out. We say our goodbyes to PB and Dean and ride back to our flat where Caves and SP are also staying. Nicola gets the beers in and we stay up for a while shooting the shit and listening to tunes. Everyone tries to persuade us to play them the album. We nearly relent but stay strong. Minty spills wine on the carpet which he and Iona clean up with salt. They did a great job to be fair, although now we have a salty carpet, and no that’s not a euphemism. This morning I went out to get ingredients and Nicola made us all breakfast. After some showers and coffees, Caves and SP load out and we say our goodbyes. The tour WhatsApp group is still active with everyone missing each other.
So this is the end, my only friend, the end. I just want to say thanks times a million squillion to everybody who put us on, put us up, put up with us, fed us, got us drunk and showed us a fantastic time. Thanks to everyone who came out to the shows and said hello. Thanks to Andrew and Kay for putting out our records. Thanks to Huss for booking the shows and sorting all the logistical shit and driving. Thanks to Phil for driving the other van with our gear in it. Last but not least, thanks to Caves, Personal Best and Shit Present for being some of the best bands and best humans we could wish to spend time with and watch play every night. It’s been really really fucking cool. Ta mates.
Specialist Subject Mega Tour, Day 8: Exmouth – Cardiff
Posted 14th May 2016
Awoke to the smells of Ben cooking breakfast downstairs, have a wander down to find Iona’s dad playing Personal Best on the stereo, Kate is loving it (“If you don’t love your own songs then why bother?” – she has a point). Iona’s dad makes freshly squeezed apple and beetroot juice for everyone which I’m sure is a sentence I’ve never said on any other tour. We’ve got a mastering proof back from the masterful Joe C so Dean and I give it a listen. Everyone gets showered, Thom and Minty discover how weak the glasses are that they were obsessing over last night and conclude marijuana probably played a significant part. The table gets laid and Ben dishes up what is probably the best vegetarian/vegan breakfast I’ve ever eaten: mushroom fritatta, tofu scramble, potatoes, homemade paprika ketchup (which Minty initially thinks is soup). Seriously it’s the cats pyjamas and everyone is pretty blown away. It’s a short drive today so we spend a bit of time pottering about in the garden. As well as the skulls in Iona’s parents place, there’s also an actual real proper human skeleton which makes for a creepy photo op. Hamish takes a dip in a naturally occurring jacuzzi, some people play football, I try to not get hit with the football.
We finally pack up and leave, driving a little further down the road to reservoir. Lou, Hamish, Huss, Phil, Minty, Dean and I take a dip. It’s a fair bit nicer than the Loch but still my nipples could slice through a wall. After chilling for a bit we get back on the road towards Cardiff. We stop at a services and park next to a van full of lads on a wahey-lads-lads-lads road trip. One of them has a shirt that says ‘Proper Gent’; “The only proper gent is a dead gent” says Jay. We start pulling away to see my swim shorts in a crumpled pile on the ground outside. It was funny but you had to be there.
We arrive at the venue in Cardiff to be told that a band playing across the road had missed their set so are jumping on to the end of our bill. Not sure what they’re like but we’ll see. Gavin and co from DIY Cardiff have made us chilli and put cute notes on the lids (the one I remember is “No Meat. No Wheat. No Soy. Enjoy!”) There’s also lots of beers in the band area, cannae complain. The sound at this place (Half Moon Club) is really good and is fed through the speakers in the band/merch room too. I sit and listen to Shit Present before going through to check them out IRL. We’re up next, all starts well but my snare breaks halfway through Avalanche, so Ben quickly lends me his one; I think he is the ‘proper gent’ and deserves that shirt I mentioned back there (remember?) Nicola mentions that it’s because of Friday The 13th; I don’t believe in that stuff but I’d totally forgotten about it, so now she mentions it, I’m convinced something else is going to wrong. Nicola forgets half the words to Late Bloomer and improvises some, good save. That’s about all the fuck ups I think, not too shabby. Spice Girls cover (finally gave it away soz) is met with the most confused response of all tour. There’s a guy looking at me with disdain throughout. PB and Caves play after us and sound phenomenal, I’m starting to feel ill again so I spend most of the rest of the eve sunken into a squishy chair.
At the end we have to do a quick load out because of the aforementioned 5th extra band that are now playing. We hear their first song whilst lugging the gear out, it’s a pretty direct rip of Summer Nights from Grease but with zero hint of irony. Soz to be mean but c’mon mates. Outside, the queue at Clwb Ifor Bach is getting lairy and various machismo-dripping muscle-boys are puffing their chests out at each other. Hamish dons a yellow hi-vis jacket and helps back Phil’s van out. We’re staying at a different house to Caves and SP tonight which is a bummer but we’re all pretty knackered so secretly glad. We’re led to our home for the night: student accommodation with a shower in every room. The girl whose place it is and whose name I’ve forgotten (Jay just informed me that it’s Jessie) shows us to her room where El, Kate, Nicola, Huss and I are kipping. Dean hits the hay, Jay joins us for a glass of wine, I eat a packet of bombay mix. This is probably the worst bedtime snack and I wouldn’t advise it.
Last show tonight and a home town one for us at DIY Space For London. Check back tomorrow, maybe I’ll cry or something. Place your bets….. NOW.
Specialist Subject Mega Tour, Day 7: Exmouth Boat Party
Posted 13th May 2016
Woke up to my first proper hangover of tour. Went to shower and startled Kathleen’s lodger. Tigerbread the cat is milling about being ridiculously affectionate. Kathleen is downstairs prepping a tray of 30 Linda MC’s and buttering 30 slices of bread. 15 showers and sausage butties later and we’re off, not before everyone giving Kathleen a big old round of applause for being so solid. Hangover gets a little worse, El gives me a Berocca and it fades surprisingly fast.
We stop at Gloucester Services which is the poshest thing I’ve ever seen by the side of the road since the time I saw the royal family hitchhiking (Dean helped with that one, thanks mate). Not much vegan stuff but Kate manages to find a safe pie. Nicola goes off to do a phone interview with Resonance FM and the rest of us sit outside and geek out about our favorite beers and pubs. Dean pretends to be my lawyer, I’m not sure why.
Huss powers on to Exmouth. When we get there Nicola mistakes a street called Shelley Reach as being Smelly Reach and a tirade of foul jokes and dirty laughter follows. Finally we see the boat that everyone’s been giddy with excitement about all day. I’m just relieved it has a toilet and a bar. Kay from Spesh Sub is there waiting with burritos for us. Load in, set up, beer. Punters arrive around 7 and we set off for sea.
Loads of pics are taken including a Polaroid from Phil with Andrew Spesh Sub looking like a ghost. PB then us. I’ve never played a show in the middle of the sea before. Not gonna lie, it was pretty amazing and pretty distracting… it’s difficult to concentrate on playing when the scenery is so epic. Dean points out that we sailed past what looked like a mountain during the ‘top of the mountain lyric’ in Avalanche. Halfway through Let Me In he points to a bloke pottering about by himself on an island which makes me laugh and fuck up. As you can imagine, everyone’s banter is pretty boat related. As night falls the scenery gets even better and the sky is full of the best colours. Our crew is buzzing and I think everyone counts themselves pretty lucky to be a part of something this cool. Us Doe’s have a little emosh “how ace is this” moment on the top deck.
We return to shore around 10.30 and load out. El Morgan goads everyone, including the ship’s captain (he refused), to play ‘Kick Your Height’ with varying results. We get going and stop at Tesco. Ben is cooking everyone breakfast in the morning so is stocking up on ingredients. Check out all his yummy creations on Instagram: @worththesalt. We’re staying with Iona’s parents who live in a big remote house with loads of land and plenty of sleeping room. There’s actual proper human skulls in the living room. I don’t know about you but I love a good skull. Everyone starts cracking on with booze. Hamish discovers a fart gun which leads to a solid 30 minutes of Doe and PB in fits of cry-laughter. Thom and Minty find a pair of glasses and are fascinated with the intense prescription (the glasses are actually pretty mild, they’re just high). I work my way through a bottle of wine and finally head upstairs to another three-in-the-bed Doe situation. I clamber in and managed to crush Dean’s legs with my clumsiness. I lay down and get pretty bummed out knowing this tour is going to end soon and we’ll have to return to our normal lives with jobs and responsibilities, which brings on all kinds of weird anxiety dreams. Oh well.
Specialist Subject Mega Tour, Day 6: Edinburgh – Leeds
Posted 12th May 2016
To my joy, everyone starts gradually waking up and I get to talk to people. I did enjoy the snore tennis between Kate and El though. Jay is teaching himself German. None of the phrases are particularly useful. Some examples: “Dean is wearing a hat in the sun”, “That’s my daughter, not my grandmother” and “Jake, sit down, you’re making the place look untidy.” After getting our shit together and leaving Raph’s we headed to Tesco. Amongst other things, I got a bottle of port – we’re staying at Kathleen’s tonight and it’s become a bit of a tradition. After some incessant pestering, Huss finally gave in and took us to Toby Carvery. We had a sweet waitress who asked to be educated on veganism. I ate too much.
Back on the road to Leeds. Dean does a van fart that smells of burgers, shortly followed by one from Nicola that smells like ready salted crisps. El, Jay, Dean and Nicola play the ‘draw a bit of a person then fold it over and pass it on’ game. Every drawing ends up with at least seven penises and a few of them feature Huss’ face as different body parts. We send off our album mixes for mastering which is a really wonderful feeling; all three of us are pretty particular/anal/obsessive so to have finally reached this stage is a bit of a weight off our shoulders (and off of Matt Johnson’s who made the thing and graciously but firmly dealt with all our pernickity notes like a champ).
We get to the Brudenell, El gets a beer in and is excited about the Sierra Nevada on draught, as am I. The sound guy reacts like a knob to the fact we don’t have a bass. Get over it pal (the sound was good though so thanks too). In the backstage bit I watched Nic and Ben play table tennis and ate a samosa. Some mates start arriving including the aforementioned Kathleen and Matt. Nicola, Kate, Ben and Lou do an interview with Jamie and Harriet from Start A Riot. PB aren’t on for 20 mins but that doesn’t stop Huss yanking Kate out of the interview to get ready – if you know Huss then you know what a stickler he is for time. Kate tells a story onstage about sending their Tiger Trap cover to Rose Melberg via WeTransfer, getting the notification that she’d downloaded but never getting a reply. We played next and had a fucking blast – this is now my second fave show. Did the cover again and I feel like we’re nailing it now. It’s funny watching the expressions on people’s faces as they gradually realise what it is and there’s been some pretty great singalong action happening.
Went and did some merch and hung out with Matt. It’s the first time we’ve seen him since our intensive 5 day album recording and whilst that was super fun, it’s also good to hang with him in a different environment now the record is done. He’s a very sweet and funny human and it’s a pleasure to be in his company. There, I said it. Ashley from Lady Fuzz is there too flogging zines (it’s a great read FYI so buy one yeah?) SP play, Ben looks sweaty (you would too if you thumped the tubs as hard as he does.)
After the show all fifteen of us pile back to Kathleen’s place and proceed to get drunk on various beer, port, wine and whiskey. Kathleen is an excellent human and knows just how to host bands. She’s truly multi-talented and does a million things, one of them is driving tours – she drove our last one in October and we can highly recommend her so hit her up (no bros pls). We’re joined in the living room by Stanley, a rad dog who hasn’t learned quite how to be a dog yet. I drank some of Kate’s whiskey and I’m not sure how much of a good idea that was. I confess to Nicola that this tour is the closest I’ve come to smoking in the 2.5 years since I quit. I won’t though, I hope? People start turning in, I stay up with peeps for a bit until the drunkness hits me proper. I clamber into the middle of a bed already occupied by Nicola and Dean, not knowing which one of them to spoon first.
Exmouth today. We’re playing on a boat a FUCKING BOAT I TELL YOU.
Specialist Subject Mega Tour, Day 5: Glasgow – Edinburgh
Posted 11th May 2016
Woke up in darkness (literally not emotionally). Needed a piss but no one was up and I didn’t have a key card so held it in until Huss appeared, alerting me to 5 spare key cards sitting on the table. Doy. Had hostel breakfast with Huss, Dean and Jay which for me consisted of powdered eggs taking a swim in some beans. The hostel breakfast area has one of those big revolving toasting machines. Iona put cheese on her bread before putting it on the conveyor belt. The cheese fell off onto the grill and started burning, but still, good idea in theory.
Went and mucked about by the river for a bit, some of us went to H&M for some swim shorts. We got back in the van and everyone’s collective heart melted at the sight of the world’s most adorable puppy out the window. On Iona’s recommendation we all set off for Buchanan Castle, an abandoned derelict castle that is structurally questionable and you have to climb a fence to get into. Structurally questionable is maybe a little kind… half of the fucker isn’t there and it’s been taken over by greenery. It’s all kinds of cool though, even if the ground feels like it’s going to give way on you any second.
From the castle we drove to Loch Lomand to do some swimming. I gave Dean a piggy back and his junk fell out due to his new pink short shorts. There’s signs everywhere saying ‘No Swimming or Paddling’, Hamish goes and asks someone at the ice cream stand if there’s anywhere that we can swim, only to be met with a blank expression and confusion from the adolescent vendor (“I think that was his first time talking to another human.”) Finally settle on a spot and decide to go for it anyway. A few of us went in all the way and it was the coldest thing since iced bread. Hamish covered himself in the silt from the sea bed which looks suspiciously like faeces. The weather is still lovely, so naturally Nicola takes to the shade, a true Scot. She stands there with her hands on her hips looking out over the Loch. It sort of looks like she’s beaming with pride for her land and taking a solitary moment to drink in the scenery. She’s not though, she’s just terrified of catching fire.
Off to Edinburgh, it’s only an hour away but takes 2 cos of rubbish traffic. Raph is putting us on tonight and we pick him up on the way. He’s got individually wrapped burritos for everyone and that’s just lovely. Good snack game too, so good that Huss kept wandering off stage during PB’s set to munch on crisps. El and I discuss having shitheads in your extended family which I feel like most of us can relate to. Phil and I discuss how enjoyable smoking is; I’m 2.5 years clean but still love the smell. We play and it’s good fun, probably our second fave of the tour after Bristol. We do the super special secret cover (which is no longer very secret) and it seems to go down pretty well. Nicola’s brother is at the show and we hang out with him for a bit afterwards, being subjected to a million videos of his baby daughter (she’s super cute to be fair). I can feel myself getting ill, beer is helping. Tenants pal.
Doe and PB head back to Raph’s after some dumpster diving action, I’m grateful for the early night. I woke up before everyone else feeling a strange mixture of ill, uncomfortable and excited, desperate for conversation. Leeds today hooray.
Started the day off with a Weezer jam in Morgan and Steph’s front room – Nicola on banjo, Morgan and Jay on mandolin, Dean on guitar, everyone singing. It was beautiful and far better than anything on their new record (Dean will kill me for saying that cos he loves it and that’s totally ok, I’m sure it’s great really but I’ve made up my mind after one listen cos I’m stubborn). Stopped at Tesco for snacks then hit the road to Glasgow.
We arrived at The 13th Note early so sat upstairs and had beers. I played here 11 years ago to about 5 people and can’t remember all that much about it, but I’m stoked anyway cos it’s a venue that I used to hear about all the time via Bis. As a 10 year old in Essex I used to sit in my room and daydream about just paying it a visit one day. Dreams do come true kids, as long as you aim relatively low. Dean wandered to Forbidden Planet and returned with a Re-Action figure of Willow from Buffy. Caves and SP roll in, they’ve been to a lake for swims and we’re a little jelly. Minty and I shared a ‘Glasgow Megadeth Bloody Mary’ cos we thought it’d be lethal. It wasn’t. Load in then food – Bob the promoter had veggie/vegan chilli and tacos waiting for us and they were everything we could have hoped for.
The show was cool. Some familiar faces in attendance including our good pal Tommy Simpson, Adam formerly of Great Cop/Spoilers and Andrew Milk whose moustache is looking tremendous. The geezer from the Vaselines was there too. I probably don’t have to continue saying that Shit Present, Personal Best and Caves were ace and that I enjoyed their sets loads, but they were and I did.
After the show Huss and Phil parked the vans and we walked to our accommodation for the night: a hostel. Not just any old hostel though, a ‘VIP’ hostel with a ‘secret garden’ (also known in some parts of the country as a ‘smoking area’). It was one of my fave places I’ve stayed on tour I think. We were divvyd up into 2 ten bunk rooms and then all went exploring, most of us eventually ending up in the garden. Lou, Hamish and I discussed weird drum hardware – rack tom mounts that look like scaffolding etc – and forgotten 90’s uk indie bands – The 60ft Dolls, Seahorses, Mansun… it’s crazy what you’ll find at the back of your brain. Nicola proved once again that she is impervious to weed (seriously it’s nuts). Minty and I discussed GWAR and the death of their singer Dave Brockie (RIP Oderus). People started gradually ducking out to bed and a few of us stayed up a little longer. I’m not sure quite how we segued into it but Minty got on to telling us a fucked up tour story about seeing someone drunkenly swim across the Thames in Kingston on a hot sunny day, only to struggle and drown in the process, which the whole tour party witnessed. Ben SP let out a suitably horrified shriek, everyone finished their cider, then bedtime innit.
Edinburgh today, it’s still really lovely and warm and everyone in Scotland looks terrified of the big yellow thing in the sky, Nicola included. Maybe we’ll go to an old castle and a loch or something!! (spoiler: we totally do, come back tomoz.)
Specialist Subject Mega Tour, Day 3: Bristol – Liverpool.
Posted 9th May 2016
We had a customary breakfast at Cafe Kino, joined on our table by Kate from Personal Breakfast, Jen from Colour Me Breakfast, Sarah from Kate’s Breakfast and Daniel from Daniel vs the Breakfast. I can’t remember much of the conversation but I know She-Wee’s were discussed at length, as was urine generally. We had a group photo outside, only to look up and see Huss across the other side of the road looking glum that he had missed out.
We set off to Liverpool slightly bummed that we’d missed out on meeting Sammy’s famous dog Pickle. Nicola, Dean and I listened to our latest round of album mixes in the van and got stoked. We took a pee stop where I purchased a bottle of water, bottle of Irn Bru and some gum for the reasonable price of eight squillion pounds (actually £5.17 but still what the fuck!) Jay tried to win a Kindle in one of those machine things. Dean bought a bouncy ball, he bounced it to Nicola who missed the catch and it ended up going into the tray of tomatoes and cucumbers at the service station’s buffet. Huss went over to do damage control learning that they would now have to replace the tray. We left post haste. Dean and El played more bounce in the car park where the ball hit someone’s wheels and later ended up dropping straight into Jay’s bag.
We got to Maguire’s Pizza Bar a little before the Caves and Shit Present party bus so sat out the back in the sun with a beer and quizzed one another on band related stuff. Caves and SP arrived and joined us, then we all ate really good pizza. Iona SP discovered her pot of honey she’d bought for her voice had exploded in her bag, pulling out a pouch of baccy to find a tampon stuck to the underside. Dean and I ordered pizza dogs, one vegan one veggie. When they came out I said mine was the one with ‘normal’ cheese. I was appropriately shut down.
The show was a little on the quiet side but real fun all the same. First up was Pardon Us who were dead good, then Shit Present who settled in after some tuning/sound issues and were banging. Thom briefly mentioned Harry and the Potters during their set, prompting someone in attendance to say “They’ve got an oriental haven’t they?” which made everyone really uncomfortable. PB, then us. Just as Caves were about to play, Hamish opened up an old wound on his finger and started bleeding, improvising a temporary bandage with gaffer tape. I feel like everyone is starting to hit their stride now and it’s a pleasure getting to watch these 3 bands play every night. I’m sure I’ll get sick of it (deffo won’t).
Us and PB stayed with Morgan from Pardon Us/Down and Outs and his partner Steph. Their flat is great and has so much cool stuff everywhere. The first thing I spotted was Braindead on VHS which instantly won Nicola over – She wrote her dissertation on the representation of female zombies in horror movies from 1930 to present, Braindead features in this and is also one of her fave ever movies. I hope you enjoyed this Doe fun fact.
We sat around for a bit drinking Carlsberg and green tea, listened to Jay play the banjo and Huss doing Kermit the Frog impressions and got the giggles for an hour. Doe and Kate shared a room, we all said goodnight to her in unison like creepy horror movie children and continued to giggle until we fell asleep.
Tour makes me happy but also apprehensive because I fear at some point I’ll get bummed out out of nowhere and retreat into myself. Sometimes you just don’t know when it’s going to happen. The last tour we went on with Dogs On Acid I bought us all finger goblins in Norwich, a few days later in Sheffield I was close to tears when I lost my one (Kathleen Teadrinker got a good laugh out of it though.) This tour is so far so good and I’m really pleased to be with such nice people – I know nice is kind of a meh word but it feels fitting in this context. Remember, it’s important to be nice. I’ll give you that one for free. You’re welcome.
Glasgow today: Bis country and current home of Tommy Simpson. #tommysimpsonholdingdrinks.