The Hickensian is the journal of Jon Hicks, one half of Hicksdesign.

Troika #14: Reading Festival

Troika #14: Reading Festival

Welcome back to Troika after a lovely summer break! Hope you all had a good one too.

Last weekend, Family Hicks went to the Reading Festival for a day. Now that the children are 12 and 14, we’ve been doing a few gigs with them, and thought it was time to try a proper festival, and the Saturday Reading line-up had something for all of us.

I was looking forward to seeing bands I knew well like Metallica, Royal Blood and Baroness, but I thought for this Troika that I would cover the bands that I ‘discovered’ at Reading.

  1. ‘Happy Song’ – Bring me the Horizon (contains sweary swears)
    Sheffields’ Bring me the Horizon are one of my daughters favourite bands, not to mention fashion label (lead singer Ollie Sykes runs Drop Dead clothing). Up until Reading, I’d never heard anything of theirs that I really enjoyed, and despite some choice comments that Ollie made to the crowd, this opening number was so gutsy it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was that good! Nothing to with the fact that all their new album artwork is based on Pictograms…
  2. ‘All the Sad Young Men’ – Spector
    This song turned up on my first ever Spotify Discover playlist, and at the time I thought Frederick Macpherson’s vocals sound very much like Tom Smith from the band Editors. Spector played the NME/Radio 1 tent mid afternoon and having seen them live I moved away from the Editors comparison. Very clever lyrically, and a visually a very different band!
  3. ‘Tryer, you’ – And So I Watch You From Afar
    As I arrived early to get a good position to see Baroness, I caught the very last song of ‘And So I Watch From Afar’s set. They’re a four-piece from Belfast who occupy a space not a million miles away from Explosions in the Sky, in the sense that they do mainly guitar-based instrumentals. They were definitely a good live band, and kicked myself for not seeing the whole set.

There were of course, lots of bands that I missed that day, so perhaps I’ll do a ‘best bands I didn’t see at Reading 2015’ one day?

How to get this episode

Listen using the player above, download Troika #14: Reading Festival as an mp3, Subscribe to Troika with an RSS reader or via iTunes.

All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.

Record covers - August

Here are a few record covers that have caught my eye in August, enjoy!

John Grant – Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

The world is a beautiful place and I am no longer afraid to die – January 10th 2014

Blackalicious – Imani Vol1

Troika #13: Oooph!

Troika #13: Oooph!

Graham Fellows has already appeared on Troika in his ‘Brian Appleton’ guise, but he’s most known for the Yahama-driven genius of versatile singer-songwriter John Shuttleworth from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. You may have heard classics like ‘Pigeons in Flight’ and ‘Y Reg’, but if you’ve never come across him before, here’s your first taster!

Graham came up with this character while working for Chappell Music in the 80s. Some demo tapes were sent in that inspired the music style, and the voice and mannerisms were based on people he knew in Sheffield. As well touring and recording as John, he has a Radio 4 show ‘The Shuttleworths’, on which he performs all the voices: his Wife Mary and her friend Joan Chitty, daughter Karen and son Darren, and not forgetting next door neighbour and sole agent Ken Worthington.

There’s a lovely innocence to the character and the humour is very gentle – the rudest he’s ever been is a song called ‘Eggs and Gammon’, which is about flatulence. I’m sure Mr Fellows will get sick of doing John (he may already be at the point) but I’ll always be a big fan!

  1. Mutiny over the Bounty
    Mars of Slough! You’ve really done it now! John was so horrified when they stopped putting a cardboard tray in the Bounty, losing vital protection. John’s finest protest song.
  2. Two Margarines
    We’ve all been there – two tubs of margarine (or low fat spread) in the fridge, one should be the ‘current’ and the other is the ‘backup’. But what happens when both are open? Two on the go?! It’s a nightmare scenario!
  3. I can’t go back to savoury now
    A melancholy ballad about starting to eat pudding, and then realising that there is still main course available. You can’t go back! This is one I regularly sing to the family. In fact, its my ringtone.

For more information on John Shuttleworth, visit his official website

How to get this episode

Listen using the player above, download Troika #13: Oooph! as an mp3, Subscribe to Troika with an RSS reader or via iTunes.

All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.

Troika #12: Le Tour!

Troika #12: Le Tour!

I had planned a different Troika for #12, but I was so late getting it ready, I was going to miss the fact that the Tour de France starts this weekend! So that will become #13, and here is my rather hurried tribute to the annual cycling pantomime that is the Tour!

  1. ‘Tour de France’ by Alexis Roche
    This one is apparently a bit rude, but it’s in French.
  2. ‘Tour de France’ by Benôit Charest
    From the fantastic Belleville Rendezvous soundtrack.
  3. ‘Tour de France’ by Señor Coconut
    As I’ve mentioned before, I can’t abide Kraftwerks’ ‘Tour de France’, but this is a cover version I can really get behind!

How to get this episode

Listen using the player above, download Troika #12: Le Tour! as an mp3, Subscribe to Troika with an RSS reader or via iTunes.

All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.

Troika #11: All about the Bassists

Troika #11: All about the Bassists

Hello peoples! This Troika is all about the bassists!

Squarepusher (real name Tom Jenkinson) is mad multi-instrumentalist as well as mentalist. His music swerves from smooth electronica jazz to drum and bass, to (quite frankly) an unlistenable avant-garde load of bobbins. Mostly its somewhere in the middle! There is even an album ‘Solo Electric Bass’ that does what it says on the tin, but it’s in tracks like Hello Meow that I really enjoy his bass playing. Particularly that bass solo!

Les Claypool of Primus is one of those musicians that took the bass into weirder territory. I’d thought all slap bass sounded like Level 42 until I heard him play. He made sounds with that bass that I never thought possible, and raised it from being a ‘hidden at the side’ role in a band to the main instrument. So much so, he was the one that really inspired to want to be a bassist. I never stuck at it, but I still like Primus.

I couldn’t do this list without Flea, and while I could’ve played something lesser known like Atoms for Peace (a collaboration with Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich), I’ve gone for an overplayed, you’ve heard it jillions of times already Red Hot Chilli Peppers song, By the Way. Because its great.

  1. ‘Hello Meow’ – Squarepusher
  2. ‘Jerry was a race car driver’ – Primus
  3. ‘By the Way’ – Red Hot Chilli Peppers

This was one of the hardest Troika’s to do, in terms of all the ones I left out. I could’ve included Jaco Pastorius, Paul McCartney, Melissa Auf de Maur, Steve Lawson to name but a few. They may be on future podcasts though :)

How to get this episode

Listen using the player above, download Troika #11: All about the Bassists as an mp3, Subscribe to Troika with an RSS reader or via iTunes.

All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.

The Hickensian is the journal of Jon Hicks, one half of the creative partnership Hicksdesign. Take a look at the work we do.

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