Friday, 18 November 2016

Somewhere in Europe

The world seems to be in a pretty miserable place right now. Here is something that may cheer up some of you Saloon fans.

Found it on a video tape labelled simply 'Somewhere in Europe' and now uploaded to YouTube, a full Saloon live set. It's the band playing in Paris at The Guinette Pirate. Not entirely sure when as we played there at least three times,  I think this was probably us playing on 14/04/02 where with Satan’s Fingers (who featured members of Herman Dune). Pretty sure we headlined. The video and the sound are a bit out of synch, and I think two of the songs I've posted onto YouTube before, but hey, it gives a great flavour of the band at the time. 


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

New album by The Leaf Library: Versions


Matt's band The Leaf Library have a new album out soon, made up of remixes of tracks from 'Daylight Versions' by some absolutely terrific artists. I probably won't be able to do the description justice, so here is the press release in full...


The Leaf Library are pleased to announce Versions, an album of remixes by various artists including Cavern of Anti-Matter (Tim Gane from Stereolab), Isnaj Dui (Katie English of Littlebow), Greeen Linez, Far Rainbow (Robert Barry), and A New Line(Related) and The Declining Winter (Hood alumni Andrew Johnson and Richard Adams, respectively) amongst many others.

The remixes are all based on tracks taken from The Leaf Library’s acclaimed 2015 album Daylight Versions and will be released as a download and a limited edition CD. Each CD will feature handmade artwork by a different artist or writer, acting as a remix of the original artwork.

The ten tracks twist the original’s melancholy seaside drones into new and further out-there shapes. Cavern of Anti-Matter turn the droning flood epic Acre into a skipping, bright trip along the autobahn towards Harmonia’s forest retreat, whilst Greeen Linez (Matt ‘A Taut Line’ Line, and Chris Greenberg from Hong Kong in the 60s) shift Slow Spring into a Balearic, two stepping gem.

Two ex-members of cult Domino band Hood provide their own takes, with A New Line (Related) bringing a gauzy club throb to Evening Gather’s shimmering drift, and The Declining Winter (with Chris Tenz) adding speaker-busting dub weight to Slow Spring. Far Rainbow and Isnaj Dui both bring the droning and textured best out of Evening Gathers and Acre, respectively.

Other remixers include Deerful, Firestations, Bit Cloudy and Pilgrm.

Pre-order the album here: https://theleaflibrary.bandcamp.com/album/versions


Definitely worth a trip to bandcamp methinks. Loon fans, make sure to pick you your copy soon!





Monday, 5 September 2016


Interview for Hybrid Magazine (October 2000)


While clearing out my computer I found this Saloon interview with Hybrid Magazine from the States from way-back in October 2000 before we recorded the first album. It doesn't seem to be on the web any more so I thought I would post it here. Enjoy, as they say.

1. How long has saloon been around?


Amanda: We’ve been together for about two and a half years now, which is quite a long time for five people to stay together when you think about it. We've known each other for so long it seems weird looking back on the early days when we were all so different (some of us were a lot shier then!). Yet, as a band we haven't really changed that much at all. Although our musical tastes and influences have developed, our jobs, hobbies, friends and where we live have changed; we have never lost the reason why we are in the band or why we enjoy making- music together. That's my excuse for making an absolute racket anyway!

Ubiquitous Moog

2. How did you guys form, meet up, start the band?


Amanda: The idea for the band was born in late 1997, but the line up wasn't officially completed until early 1998. Originally, Adam and Mike had the idea to start a band. They knew of Alison who was playing viola in another band and did a bit of what Adam calls "inspired poaching"! They advertised for a female singer (having as many girls in the band as possible was definitely their main priority!), And this is how I met them. Matt joined a couple of months later, similarly through an advert. We did our first gig a month or so after Matt joined and we haven't stopped since.

Adam: One of the things I’m most proud of is that our sound arrived fully formed and we’ve literally just been nurturing and feeding it. I’d written a handful of songs that were too good to play in my old band, so Mike and myself put together a group that could do them justice. Some of those songs like “Spacer” and “I am the cheese” we still play now.

Matt: I stumbled in one day with my guitar, unable to play a note, but pretty handy with a bit of feedback. I got the job.

3. I hear Stereolab, Velvet Underground and Tindersticks in your singles, what are the actual influences that produced your sound?


Adam: Well we like all three of those bands, we’ve played with Stereolab which was great because we definitely share the same sort of audience. In fact live we must even look quite a bit like them (girls, guitars, moogs) although according to one magazine we look like The Corrs!

I have a really fond memories of us in our first year sitting around the kitchen table with a bottle of red wine listening to the likes of Etienne deCrecy, Spiritualized, Fairport Convention, Graham Coxon while stuffing envelopes. I think evenings like that, listening to loads of different music, really helped to give us our voice.

Matt: All of the above and more. Adam’s choice proves that we’re influenced in equal parts by electronic and guitar music. Most of it resides in the leftfield, my influences at the moment include stuff like Tarwater, Plaid, Yo La Tengo, DJ Shadow and Broadcast.

4. What's a typical audience at one of your shows?


Adam: Sad old men, weedy indie boys, shy indie girls with plastic hair-clips. People like us really.

Mike: A few of my mates who’ve come straight from work propping up the bar and heckling.

Matt: People on the fringes of music (and good taste).

5. How helpful is it to be played on John Peel's show?


Amanda: We've been very lucky because John has now played three (or is it four?) of our singles. It's a dream come true actually. It really gives me confidence that all the hard work does eventually pay off sometimes and that people are finally able to hear our records. It is a brilliant way of getting your music heard by people who are on the same wavelength as us. It's a great way of attracting attention and gaining fans (we have had lovely responses from people all over, even in America who heard the songs via the Internet). Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have the same effect on the industry as it has on the fans.

Matt: It’s really fantastic and it gives us loads of confidence. When I was at college I used to tape the John Peel show each night and listen to each tape for weeks after. I couldn’t even tell you the amount of bands that I’ve got into through his show, and if someone gets into Saloon in the same way then that’s amazing.

6. Has the Internet benefited the band at all?


Mike: We set up virtually all of our tour with Mahogany and Curtis Newton on e-mail, we met Alan (Bearos) through the web, and we’ve been visited in the UK by Dan from Germany who met me on the Broadcast website, and has recently set up a Saloon chatroom for other fans.

Matt: It’s easier to have an argument via email than on the telephone. There are generally less recriminations.

Adam: Email is a godsend. It means I don’t have to talk to anyone all day. Fantastic!

7. Is Saloon destined for stardom?


Adam: It’s strange because occasionally now we get recognised, people shouting at us on the tube or coming up to us at gigs. I think our music has got quite a crossover appeal; indie kids like it, some dance fans like it (probably because it’s electronic with no pretence at being indie-dance urgh!) Because 90% of the stuff has got a good pop tune that you can sing in the shower, I’m sure there is more appeal for the man on the street than say Add N to (X) or Spiritualized (i.e. the stuff we listen to when we go home.

But stardom is not our aim, we’re too proud of our integrity. At the moment we’re into making pop music but if the urge arises to make something in another form – say a double album of feedback and ringing power-drill noises- then we will and we could still call it a Saloon record. Despite how hard-working and reliable we are, it would have to be a brave record label to sign us but I know we’ve more than enough faith and ambition to make it worth their while.

8. Are there any plans for a debut album?


Amanda: Plans for the album are currently in the pipeline. I think that we are hoping to have a finished recording in about six months time. We are negotiating with Andrew from Mahogany about helping to produce it with us, which would be great fun. But we are very eager and very inspired to get something done, it is merely a matter of sorting out studios etc

Mike: It’s going to happen.

9. Are you a better live band or studio band?


Amanda: I think that our music has developed so that it does work very well live. We do have the usual and occasional problems that every band experiences, such as bad sound, bad engineers, quiet vocals and loud guitars, but as far as performance goes we gel a lot better when we are on stage together. We are getting better, but in the past we have found the studio more of a challenge, probably because we have more experience on the stage than in the studio. That is not to say that we have given up on recording though. It is very important to us. Playing live is great fun, but the best way of getting yourself heard is getting your records out there. The album is definitely of precedence to us all and we are all determined to crack the recording process.

Mike: I think we’re a better rehearsing band.

10. Any last thoughts for the interview


Mike: Look after yourselves, and each other.

Matt: If you see a new band, or hear a new band then buy one of their records, email them, let them know that you’re into them. This is the way that unique and individual music survives.

Adam: You only live once, so make it worth your while. It’s human nature for someone to fuck you over for their own gain, just keep your head down, stay resolute, keep pushing at it and your time will come. Most importantly, get an alarm clock.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Winter Light

It has been many months since I last posted on here, not because of how quiet things have been, but because we have all been so busy. 2015 has been a great year for ex-members of Saloon, with Alison, Matt and myself all having released well received records this year.

But any success is always tempered by a degree of sadness, as we think about the friends and family we have loved and lost on our travels; none more so than at this time in November, when we remember Mike and his wife Sara who are no longer with us.

A few weeks ago Paul from Track and Field sent me a copy of a letter from his archives. It was the letter that Mike sent to Track and Field as an introduction to Saloon; at the time we badly wanted to play their club because it was so damned cool and we were sick of playing terrible gigs every time we came to London. Little did we know that Track and Field had already seen us when we supported Stereolab and couldn’t really see the point in Saloon. Still, the letter must have made a difference, as within the next few years we went on to play countless Track and Field shows and release three albums with them. Anyway here is the letter for you to enjoy. 

Missing you Smoughts!



Friday, 17 April 2015

Recording Artist Rod Cromwell

 Other Projects


It has been a busy few weeks. My new album has been out for over a month now and I have still not officially announced the release on here. I tried writing a lengthy blog post about it, but just can't find the time to finish it, so here is the quick version.

So you know, the album is out in the shops, called RODNEY CROMWELL 'Age of Anxiety' released on the Happy Robots label on CD and digitally:

The limited CD is distributed by Cargo Records http://www.cargorecords.co.uk
AMAZON http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00T4V5HT0
Also download on iTunes https://itun.es/gb/bspm5
Buy direct and receive bonus goodies:
http://www.happyrobots.co.uk

It has been favourably compared to early-OMD, Giorgio Moroder and Krafwerk (I think in terms of its sound rather than its cultural impact). The record has had really good airplay, with plays on the Gideon Coe show on BBC 6 Music, multiple plays on several Radio 3 in Spain and on loads of synthpop shows and other radio shows (all of whom I will thank again properly at a later date). Oh and somehow two songs are on heavy rotation on Croydon FM. So muchos respect there.  

Thanks to everyone who has played, bought and said nice things about it. It has been very much appreciated! I will write some more about it I'm sure. Oh and feel free to follow Happy Robots on the Facebook. You can hear it on Spotify too, although obviously we would prefer you to buy it.



What else to report:

Alison's band 'The Left Outsides' have a new album 'The Shape of Things to Come' out on 8th May which itself is getting some great airplay. Follow all their news too on Facebook. I've not heard it yet but I'm sure it will be really good.

Indietracks 2015
Matt I know is in the studio at the moment with The Leaf Library working on their new album. And both The Leaf Library and Rodney Cromwell will be appearing at the Indietracks festival this 24-26th



July.  It's the first announced gig for Rodney Cromwell so many thanks in advance to Indietracks for taking a punt and booking me.

On the Saloon front, I've renewed the Soundcloud subscription so all the old stuff is available again. Gideon Coe played two songs from the first Peel Session last night (that is the 16th April 2015). Gideon has played that session several times so many thanks for that Gid.

Lastly I've been emailing a chap James who was in the band Postalowa who we played with once in Norwich. As well as having a great Mixcloud show Tall Ships Radio Club, he has a band Broads who Saloon fans may be interested in. Our chat also enabled me to find the details on the 2003 gig in Norfolk which I've added to the Saloon timeline. As keeper of the archives and master of the data this stuff matters OK.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Kicker Without Conspiracy


Our friends and former label mates Kicker, with whom Saloon played countless gigs, have finally gone and got themselves a Soundcloud. Their great singles album is up there already.



 Their 'Get Rid of Him / Turning Left' single still is one of my favourite 7"'s, which I still spin on the rare occasions when I can get the wife and kids out of the living room.

Other 'news' I have done a bit of work on the various Happy Robots websites - the full Happy Robots back catalogue is now available from our Bandcamp,  there has been a fair bit of activity on our Facebook, we have a label Soundcloud that includes unheard before rarities and we have a new YouTube (because I lost the password to the old one.) We don't have a Twitter as the last one was compromised by Russian hackers. I can't really be arsed with twitter anyway.



Wednesday, 28 January 2015

New records, new fruits of the 'loon.


It has been a while since our last update. The reason being, well we have been rather busy. 
2015 has been dubbed the year of the Saloon comeback! Ex-members of Saloon have, we hope, three new records out this year, so Loonatics start saving your pennies…(please)….here is the news so far....


RODNEY CROMWELL (Adam)  
Age of Anxiety

The album that I have been tinkering with for about for several years is finally finished. It is very much an extension of sonic area explored with Arthur & Martha (it features Alice / Martha on a couple of tracks too). It is an album of ten songs propelled by hissy analog synths, cheap vocoders, toy instruments, crackly samples, bass riffery and – errr - more analog synths. 

Although the title is a nod to 80's electro (Age of Chance and/or Age of Consent by Bronski Beat) its themes are those of love, loss, grief, paranoia, euphoria in our modern post millennial world of over connection and tribulation That sounds quite ominous - it’s really just a silly indie disco record.  

I’m releasing it under the Rodney Cromwell name – which is a moniker I used once before, during the Saloon days, when I recoded a song Radaghast the Brown for a Lord of the Rings tribute album on Bearos. It is to be released on CD / digital download on 9th March 2015 and distributed by the good people at Cargo Records. The lovely cover was designed by ‘our Matt’. And it will be the first release in five years on the Happy Robots label; hopefully – if we break even – we will be able to put out some more releases (by other bands) in the near future! …oh and you will be able to buy it on our website as well as in the shops and on iTunes.   

Adam


THE LEAF LIBRARY (Matt and Co)  
Daylight Versions

Second album time! We’re halfway through recording another album at Studio Klank in north London – it’s a lovely place, and they’ve even let us build a little shrine on the wall above the mixing desk (the full Happy Robots back catalogue to the first person to name them all...).

It’s all shaping up nicely thanks with tons of guitars, a bit of synth and some piano, lots of drones, some pedal steel and a ride cymbal orchestra all recorded so far. It’ll hopefully feature contributions from some of our mates too including members of The Clientele / Amor de Dias, The Drink, The Left Outsides and Singing Adams. And horns! There are definitely going to be some horns on there too.

The album is called ‘Daylight Versions’ and is inspired by (variously) the sea, commuting, the Suffolk coast, Walthamstow marshes and death. It’ll be out on vinyl via Where It’s At Is Where You Are some point this year. Happy listening.

Matt



That’s all for now. Hopefully more soon. Do get in touch if you need to know any more.