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Last night I played a gig sans Pete (who sadly has been afflicted with a serious about of real life in recent weeks).

Despite the icy conditions, I struggled out to the Zenith Bar in Islington, and played a set that included a few Comrade Robot songs, and also Two out of Three by Meatloaf and an old folk song named ‘The Trees They Do Grow High’.

Also on the bill, in no particular order, were:

5 Minute Pop Promo

Any act described as ‘folktastic prog-folk’ is going to get my vote. They arrived late, so only got to play two songs after me, but I really enjoyed this pleasant duo – a bit like Simon and Garfunkel, if Paul Simon took unreasonable delight in the death of celebrities.

Annoyingly, and for reasons that escape me, they don’t have their own website. So I can only give you a link to their myspace: here

Nicky Taylor

Nicky doesn’t have a website either, but she does have a video on youtube, of course a myspace, and music that can be bought from itunes.

Her music was nice, mellow and melodic, and reminded me of 1970s singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell. Here’s a video:

I don’t want to give a bad review, so I won’t mention the act that followed them and caused us to leave.

What I will mention is something I don’t get – Why don’t these artists have their own websites? I wanted to include some pictures of 5 Minute Pop Promo, but the only pictures are on Myspace, which I can’t link to directly. A good website would have a press section and I could get straight at a picture. Nicky has music on itunes, but hasn’t included a link directly to it on her myspace.

Both of these are good artists. I really enjoyed their sets and want to spread the word, but they’re not making it easy for me!

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All has been quiet on the Comrade Robot front, due to  real life getting in the way. Pete is still dealing with certain aspects of real life, and so this might turn out to be a solo gig:

(Yes, I know. We’re billed as ‘We’ll Write’. Hopefully this will not happen again.)

The Zenith bar can be found on this map, and this website

Fret ye not, I can still belt out a tune or two on my own. As if to prove this point, I’ve begun work on a solo project.

Spinning the Compass – which is supposed to be Steampunk themed and contain longer songs with more twiddley guitar parts than would be found in a Comrade Robot recording.

That’s my plan anyway. Two songs there for you to hear, more to follow.

I hope to see you next Sunday, and I wish you a pleasant and gluttonous winterval.

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I filmed this (rather badly) over the summer, but for some reason never got round to uploading it.

Here’s the first rehearsal of ‘Follow Man’:

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This morning I have been recording far too many guitar layers:

Improvs - Minimalism

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The last couple of days have consisted of nothing but web design, and I am rather knackered.

To get me through this marathon bout of webigami, I have taken inspiration from several sources:-

1. Bandcamp, Soundcloud and the Portability of Music

This is a post by Steve Lawson, solo bass player extraordinaire. In it he talks about bandcamp and how a great a tool it is.

You upload your tunes in CD-quality audio format, and then they make all the different resolutions of file that people might want, and let you decide what to do with them, which ones to charge for, how to licence the music, and then redesign the page. The results are then embeddable, sharable and sellable. It’s brilliant. If you’re selling MP3s online, you need BandCamp. Simple As.

He’s right, it’s great, and so I have been uploading Comrade Robot music to it and I’m pretty impressed so far.

Here is some of Mr Lawson’s music:

2. Ben Walker’s Website

I interviewed Ben for my songwriting website a while ago, and I’ve been consistently impressed with how well he does the internet. He knows all about how twitter should work, and his site is attractive and easy to use. I also think his songs are great, and really funny.

Here’s his latest album, which claims not to be one.

3. Matt Stevens’ Echo

Another indie musician who does the internet well, and who makes great music. Matt clearly listens to a lot fo the same guitarists as me. In particular I can hear a lot of Robert Fripp in his playing, which can only be a good thing. Listening to his stuff has also given me a hankering to go and buy a looping pedal at some point…

Here’s some music:



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Righty dokey, we’re off (that’s not the final album cover by the way, just a temporary one).

As you can see, Comraderobot.com is up and running. So far I’ve created a myspace page, a facebook page, a bandcamp account (excited about that one) and got the fans’ area sorted (all those old b-sides will be uploaded soon).

There are loads of things that need to be sorted with the site still. Most of the pages don’t work properly. Bare with me, they will get sorted.

If you want to download Songs for the End of the World, all you need to do is sign up to the mailing list using the form on the homepage of www.comraderobot.com

Thanks for listening. Gimme a couple of days and the site will be sorted!

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Yes, at long last, thanks to a brand new power supply, my desktop is back from the dead.

This means I can finally get on to the last little fiddley bits for Songs for the End of the World (you can get a copy of that for free by the way, have a look at the fans’ area after joining the mailing list).

Yes, I know I’ve already claimed to have finished the album, but you know how it is. Art is never finished, only abandoned.

Anyway, over the next few weeks something  is going to happen. This site is going to vanish, and We’ll Write will vanish, to be replaced by … something very similar.

Yup, name change, new web-things, all that. Watch this space.

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Last Thursday we played a gig at the White Hart pub near Whitechapel. We were last and had the not unusual experience of playing to a largely empty pub as most of the previous acts and their friends/fans left before we started playing, or halfway through. We were left only with the people who had come to see us, who are lovely, but aren’t that numerous.

We did get to play to some new people, but I have to admit the experience left me a little frustrated. We’ve played quite a few gigs on the acoustic circuit in London, with several promoters and even with the best of them, there is a theme:

  • The acts are all treated as individual mini-shows, rather than the whole night being a show
  • Promoters tally up how many fans each act brings along, and if you’re very lucky you might bring enough people to earn your train fare for the night.
  • Before the gig happens it is almost impossible to find the other acts online. Last gig we played after Mercy who has a great voice and was very enjoyable, another act called Branded Number 1 who I still can’t find on the internet, and some great acts in the open mic before the main show. I would have liked to hear their stuff before the gig, but even in this internet age there seem to be very few acts doing the internet thing even vaguely right.

The upshot is that half the people on these gigs never play to anyone new, and might as well have invited their friends to their front room and performed there.

This all leaves me thinking we should try doing things a little differently and find ways to encourage co-operation between acts. This may involve my pursuading Pete that we should start promoting or co-promoting our own gigs.

Name!

Also, we’re thinking of changing our name, as the well known On a Friday once did. Not sure what to yet, but what with the new album complete, it seems time for a reset on what we’re doing.

More soon, so watch this space.

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‘Fun and Fantasy with Robot’ is apparently the English motto of RobotLand in South Korea.  

The Escapist informs me that building giant robot statues is all the rage in that part of the world. As well as the new monster in South Korea, there are also robot statues in Tokyo and Kobe.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘What if some nascent skynet is diddling with the plans, causing our far Eastern cousins to unwittingly construct an army of skyscraper sized death machines?’

I’m afraid. I’m very afraid.

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PSSSSSST!

Don’t tell anyone else, but we’ve finished our album. The artwork isn’t ready, but the music is.

There’s a zip file in the fans’ area. It’s a big file, but these are new remastered versions of our songs, most of them significantly different to the versions you can find elsewhere on the site.

To download it, join the mailing list and use the password we send you to log into the fans’ area.


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