Thursday, November 12, 2009

This is what Autumn does...

Darkness encroaches, even forcing me to use hated striplights at work. How do we save the "Task" video, with its imagined lush N4 ripeness? Cycle around inside the garden centre or what? Shall I employ chromakey leaves? Rotoscope the whole thing? Ah well, best finish off a Johnny Cocktail or two. See our Youtube page for previous examples.

Back in August, we recorded a cover of acapella ditty "Coma" by fellow WM Recordings artiste Bacco Baccanels. This has now been featured on the anniversary WM 100 album, which is a free download (ooo yeah!) from ...oh go on, have a click.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Is there anybody there?


"Evolving in the dark". The words of Muldaway McDoon, scientist and scholar, at the Trolley Crash of 1st April, when he interrupted his talk on Darwin to make a point about the continuing fortunes of Keshco to his minimal audience. Sadly, this is still how it feels. Our radio plays on have steadily decreased ever since they introduced the new revenue streams in the spring (another nail in the coffin, hurrah!), and nobody external to our friend group has expressed any interest in Dak. Yes we are fed up. It's just impossible these days. More and more music is piling up, everywhere, and it seems that even the modest ambition of getting our songs out there (and we're not even talking about "making it", hell no, not in this century) is unattainable. No gig offers, no radio plays, no sales, no nice comments by all the people who downloaded our songs or watched our videos - it's just tedious. (Apologies if I've offended one of the few people who've actually left a comment these last few years, they have really cheered us up.)

It's not all doom and gloom. A few waterbeds in the desert: the delightful Vombat Radio, and... well, actually, that's it right now.

I hate biorhythms.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Dak is deforested

So, the new album is finally out. Isn't it exciting? This bunch of songs has been hanging around for a long old time - some of them go back to 2002! - but we've tried to give them all a flavour of This Year's Keshco. It's been a much more collaborative effort this time, and I hope the richness of the sound reflects that.

Our problems are now manifold. Who should we try to send the CDs to? Should we approach indie music shops? Do we need a barcode? Is it worth getting a whole run professionally pressed up? If so, shouldn't the thing really be mastered by a proper engineer first? But how would we trust them to do the master we want? I well remember the time I helped out on keyboards for an alt-rock band in Leicester. They made a 7-track EP - part recorded at a studio above a Tae-Kwondo hall on the high street (OK apart from the recording guy refusing to undertake any complex overdubs), and part in a local college. Eventually, through gigging and scrimping, they got enough cash to stump up for a mastering job. Unfortunately, the bloke doing the mastering made a few bad choices (e.g. bringing up first take vocals, mixing hard left and hard right) and then they were stuck with it.

Anyway - how the heck is someone else meant to master stuff that's been done on Buzz, at home? Nary a mixing desk in sight. I've done my best with my faulty ears and my faulty stereo. Please don't be like the trench-coated dullards in Leicester city centre who once tried to sell me a faceless-looking synth album with the immortal line: "it's completely clean, there's no hiss". Yes and what about the quality of the songs, huh? No hiss. Shitehawks.

UPDATE: You can still buy Deforestation of Dak through Amazon UK (it's cheaper to buy direct from us, but hey if you're kind enough to click through and buy another product of your choice, we get a few pennies via the affiliate thingy. Hurrah!). Remember, it's on CD, not vinyl. Not vinyl! Please don't go buying what someone's mistakenly listed as a vinyl copy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

H before C (and only one K)

At Christmas, I was made aware of "I Before E (Except After C): Old-School Ways To Remember Stuff", a little hardback book that started something of a trend in retro education guides for adults worried they may be losing the skills they picked up as kids. It got me thinking...

VISITOR: What, is he going to ditch the music and become a teacher at last?

This whole business of band names.


I once played a bit in Leicester with my friend Dominic who goes under the search engine-defying name of w/trem. We were hoping to be billed as "w/trem meets keshco", a potential nightmare for bookers if we'd kept it up. Instead they billed us as "Dom & Andy", a minor if typical cop-out.

But really though. This week's Time Out announces that there will be a gig on Sunday by a band called Kescho. I'm not sure who this band is but they've been following us around. Almost every gig we do, they show up, always when the signwriters forget to put our names up. They must have been to 70% of all the gigs we've ever played. There's that other band too, Keshko. They've been billed in our place more than a dozen times now. If I ever catch those double-K charlatans...

As for Keschko, well that's just a South London attempt to make us Communist.

There is one and only one accepted variant - Eshco, our own tribute band who for reasons best known to themselves have chosen to focus purely on our 1990s output.

Anyway, ladies and gentles, I hope that, should you find yourself engaged in writing the name of our band down in the near future, you'll think of our loosening grips on sanity, and recite the following:

H before C
and only one K

It doesn't rhyme, but it might just work.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Anxiously awaiting your response

Nowadays we're (finally) pretty regular at this whole gigging lark, but back in the early days of 2006, something like this was the only request we were getting. Heh. The scam element appears to be that they send you a cheque/CC payment for the fee, then tell you the gig is cancelled and demand you pay them the money back ASAP - their original payment then bounces (of course) so you're left out of pocket. I rediscovered this upon a bit of spring cleaning, and post as a warning in case anybody else is still receiving the same scam.

- - - - - - - -

Tuesday, 31 January, 2006 2:53 PM
From: "David Irons"


I am pleased to let you know that i will be requiring your services and expertise for a My old pa birth day party.Please let me know to what extent you can be invovled in the party affair,the charges for your much needed services,the logistics invloved and your general organisation setup for my consideration.

Please do get back to me in earnest with answers to my inquiries so that we can set it up.

Below is what i would be needing your services for:

1)Live set performance
2)sound sytem
3)3 pieces band

And below are informations you need to know about the party:

1)Date:14th/15th March 2006.Time 12:30 P.M
2)Venue: our residence in London,Lea Brigde Road clapton pound E59 qd.
3)Adult birth celebration/Get together Party.
4)size:not more than 100 people
5)Its an in door party,which floor is 100 capacity.
6)Hours of playing 3 hours
7)No other band performing but you.

I would like to make it clear that the party is going to be a low profile party,we do not intend to exceed £1700 as budget for services you will be rendering,£200 for transport expenses and contigency.Please note that if you needed to be accomodated before the date we have a guest house you can stay so there will be no need for adding accomodation fee.

consequently,we would need you to give us a quote for the things we need you to take care of and your service charge so that we can arrange for payment to reach you asap so that preparation can begin in earnest as it's obvious that time it not on our side.Please be assured of our open-mindedness in our resolution to work with you.Also if there is anything we have not included to make this day a memorable one.please feel free to let us know as we require alot of your expertise and professionalism.On your arrival if you are will be performimg.

Please do get back to me in earnest with my questions and concerns,Because i have little or no time to arrange for the party because am travelling on a business assignment which i would like to make the deposit before living for my trip in other to avoid any setback in the upcoming celebration.

I am anxiously awaiting your response.

2014 update: I note this post is still quite popular, and so if you're coming here to research dodgy emails, an interesting book on scambaiting is "Dear Annick", by the Bowrunner, which is wildly funny and available from Amazon UK here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Keshco Wiki entry, 2008

What follows is the text of Keshco's entry on Wikipedia. It lasted about nine months, which I suppose is some sort of minor victory.

Keshco is a name used by a group of English artists and musicians to encompass various creative projects. These have included music CDs, short films, verse and artwork.

Keshco was formed in the mid-1990s in East Anglia, by Andrew Brain, Gareth Monger and Robert Follen. Luke Sample joined in 2006 after playing in offshoot band Bleak House.[1] Early projects included scam-baiting, notably an investigation into the business practices of The International Library of Poetry. In response to newspaper adverts making promises of fame and fortune through poetry, Keshco sent off several dozen pieces of flimsy verse, all of which received the same congratulatory letter suggesting each poem had reached the semi-final stage and would be an ideal candidate for publication - at a price.

Musically, Keshco write in many styles, including folk, electronica, psychedelia and outsider music. They display an interest in found sounds and have employed tape-splicing. Their lyrics have been recommended for their combination of grim honesty and surreal humour.[2][3]

They spent the late 1990s mainly home-recording, apart from two seasons of summer busking around East Anglia in 1998 and 1999. Their first full-length collection of music, "Earlobe Holistics", was an experiment in tape-splicing self-released on cassette with individually hand-drawn artwork. This was followed by a CD, "The Seeds Of Wom", released via in late 2000. A third collection, "Saplings Of Sop", was self-released in 2002, followed by "Softened Fingers" in 2006.

In 2006, six Keshco songs were featured on the soundtrack of "20,000 Little Reasons", an hour-long gangster film directed by Andy Wilton and produced by Once Upon A Tyne Productions. This film received showings in the North-East and on Sky channel 244.

Live performances were often backed with projections, and from 2005 the band switched to primarily electronic performance. They began to showcase Robert Follen's interest in costume and mime. Independent reviews in 2007 displayed dismay at the gap between Keshco's creativity and stature within the industry.[4] A review in London's Time Out, published on 30 January 2008 compared Keshco to White Town and Lloyd Cole.

Short films made by Keshco include various episodes of Johnny Cocktail, a series about a "lifestyle guru/private investigator", and stop-motion animations. These have been shown at film nights around the UK.[5]

Outside projects include Gareth Monger's paleo-artwork - he is a commissioned artist for Oxford Natural History Museum amongst others[6]. Robert Follen's project to amass television footage featuring himself has led to appearances on (among others) Trisha, Look East, and Secret History: Boy Soldiers Of WW1.

On 16th February 2008 Keshco recorded a live radio session for London's arts station Resonance FM[7]. They played three tracks: 'Climate Dance', 'Think Alike' and 'I am Broken, I am Alba.' A short interview followed in which Keshco were quizzed on past and forthcoming appearances.

As of August 2008, Keshco's fifth release, "Deforestation of Dak" was close to completion.[8] An 22-minute EP "Trolley Crash" on Dutch label WM Recordings appeared in mid-2008.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gazza's Super Soccer

NOTE: This is one of several reviews I wrote for a fan book of Speccy games, but lazily didn't get round to sending in. Autumnal inertia. Tonight I see the book's been finished. Ho hum!


English football was enjoying a brief resurgence in 1990 – two clubs allowed back into Europe, the semi-final run at the World Cup – and the star of the moment was cheeky, chubby Paul Gascoigne. For a while, he was everywhere. In addition to the rap singles, the board game and the coaching video, it was inevitable Gazza's name would be appropriated for a computer game. Sadly, or perhaps madly, this was the result. This slow, clunky, muddled game appeared in front of my eleven-year-old eyes, and I was horribly transfixed.

There's a limited management section that's simple enough – allowing you to name and endow (oo-er!) your players and choose their formation. You can enter a cup competition or a full league. The proof of the pudding is in the arcade action, though; and it's here the true horror of Gazza's Super Soccer is unleashed.

From the kick-off you notice a motion system that's unresponsive, often erratic and this is coupled with unintelligent selection that means you can wait long periods with no player under control. The rule book is torn up - players can take throw-ins from the middle of the pitch and even score direct from a throw – also, the throw is usually awarded to the side who kicked it out. Hats off for trying a new visual perspective – action in the centre of the pitch is side-on angled a la Match Day, but around the goalmouths changes to a head-on view, usually causing your player to lose the ball inbetween screens. The randomly-loafing players all suffer from the same poor posture and unathletic style that an uncharitable reviewer might ascribe to the game's titular star after a night on the razz (though, in Sweden, this was repackaged as Anders Limpar's Soccer – I don't know what he did to deserve this). Oh, and why does every team you face bear the names you've invented for Player 2 in friendly mode?

Sometimes players get stuck in their throwing sprites and run around with their arms behind their head as if cheering. There are times when the legend “Goal kick” appears, but play continues anyway. It's near-impossible to turn and keep possession, forcing you into the kind of hoof-fest that incumbent English boss Graham Taylor would probably have loved. In a fairer world, it would be his name attached to this unappealing, unskillful game. Yet, despite (or maybe because of) the multiple deficiencies of this bug-ridden travesty, it almost takes on a weird addictiveness as some kind of random-generator football you play in order to see how else it can be broken. Gazza On A Bender's Super Soccer.

Really though, it's this kind of latter game that hastened the demise of the Speccy – lazily coded, presumably rush-released, and with little to recommend it. There was a superior sequel, Gazza II, but that's for another day...

Read more about the astonishingly comprehensive Retro Gamer magazine (can there be a subject they haven't covered by now?), or Paul Gascoigne in his own words here (yes these are Amazon UK affiliate links - by clicking through, you can help sustain this band! Hurrah!)