World tour of Sheffield… extended!

Well, we had three lovely gigs in Sheffield coming up. We played one of them: our first ever appearance at the Harley, alongside Standard Fare and The School. It was bloody great. And we’ve still got three lovely gigs in Sheffield coming up. How so? Cos there’s another one now that we didn’t have before, that’s how so!

Let’s recap. On 22 July we’re playing the House vs Home all-dayer at the Red House as part of the Tramlines thing – and we now have a stage time for that: we’re on at 9pm. Then on 26 August we’re back at the Red House as part of the Sheffield Pop Weekender.

And now, popfolks, those charming people at Pull Yourself Together have asked us to open for Allo Darlin’ and This Many Boyfriends at Queens Social Club on 6 September. It’s like a global tour except all in one city!

Quite soon there should be several other items of fabulously exciting news to share with you, so keep watching this space. But in the meantime hit up the gigs page for more details of the Nothings’ summer world tour of Sheffield!

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Our summer of pop… at home in Sheffield

A view from Bole Hill across the Rivelin and Loxley valleys of north-west Sheffield

Not so long ago we went ages and ages without playing a gig in our home city. There were various reasons for this. We don’t know the right people; we don’t play horrible blokey rock or sing in an exaggerated Sheffield accent; we’re stark staring bone bloody idle… that sort of thing.

Going into this summer, by contrast, we’ve got three ace popshows coming up, and they’re all in Sheffield. Isn’t it funny how things turn out?

In June we’re supporting The School and Standard Fare for our first ever appearance at the Harley. In July we’re playing Tramlines for the first time. And in August we’ve made it on to the line-up for an excellent all-dayer. (See the gigs page for full details.)

Granted, our three Sheffield gigs have come about because of friends who we know originally from Nottingham and Manchester, and because one of them is being organised by our bass player. But if you forget about all that for a moment, and squint for a bit, it’s easy to imagine us playing a cool gig to a crowd of shrugging hipsters at the Plug a week after appearing on the front cover of Exposed while sipping cocktails made with Moonshine and Henderson’s Relish, isn’t it?

Oh, alright then. And sadly and frustratingly, we’ve had to say no to a couple of lovely gig offers elsewhere this summer too (one in London, one in Bradford).

Wherever you are, if you’re putting a gig on and you want us to play, please find our contact details and give us a shout. We might not have the right haircuts but we’ve got some pretty good songs.

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Leicester, much later

We didn’t get round to a blog post after playing at last month’s fantastic Leicester Indiepop All-Dayer. Or is it Alldayer? I’m never quite sure whether to hyphenate that or not any more. Anyway.

In short, we loved everything about it. OK, we loved everything about it except the beer at Firebug. But the beer at the Criterion and the Ale Wagon kind of made up for that. We loved the other bands (it’s kind of harsh to single anyone out but Anguish Sandwich were sensational). We loved the room: Firebug is definitely better with the stage at that end. We loved the organisation: Simon Sweeping The Nation was on top of everything and a delight to play for. We loved the crowd, because at a lot of all-dayers a lot of the punters only turn up towards the end, but in Leicester maybe three quarters of all the folk who came were there by mid-afternoon.

And we were pretty chuffed with how we played in our last gig before returning to full-on four-piece pop proportions.

A Leicester cityscape

Leicester, city of pop. Photo: kev747 (cc by-nc-sa 2.0)

I’ve always been disproportionately fond of Leicester because of the fabulous gigs I saw at the Princess Charlotte in the 1990s and 2000s, from Boyracer to the Moldy Peaches to the Hidden Cameras. So I’ve always been disproportionately keen on the idea of playing popshows there myself. The other year I played solo for the lovely people of Twesta Promotions (when the stage at Firebug was at the other end). Now at last The Sweet Nothings have played, and it was great. It feels like a mini-ambition fulfilled, a bit like when I finally got to play Hull Adelphi, all that time after seeing 14 Iced Bears and the Field Mice there.

So if anyone’s reading this in Sweden, that’s the next ambition on the list…

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Good times… in Leeds!

I wouldn’t say I’ve always had bad times in Leeds. There were just the hour-and-a-half waits for taxis in the city centre. The man taking a shit in Carpe Diem who couldn’t be bothered to close the toilet door. And the post-popshow party in Headingley that got gatecrashed by a couple of nutcases threatening to beat everyone up.

But I always say Leeds isn’t just like that – there are lots of good things and lovely people in Leeds as well. We were reminded of this the other week when we played a set at the Don’t Falter clubnight.

Don’t Falter takes place once a month at a bar called Baby Jupiter. We were a bit worried when we looked at the Baby Jupiter website, which, in a spooky echo of the lyrics from ‘Subterranean Moseley Blues’, says it’s “the coolest bar in town”. But the cool kids didn’t have rubbish hair; nor did they dance to Huey Lewis and the News. There was a lot of great pop, including a lot of great indiepop, and just about everyone we met was delightful. (And pretty. Not that it matters, but y’know.)

Don't Falter flyer

 

Mark Don’t Falter couldn’t be there, as he was tending to his wife and their newborn baby, but we were looked after excellently by Owen Don’t Falter, who was wearing a quite superlative T-shirt based on the Shipping Forecast. We played a kick-ass 25-minute set which included our brand new, fizzy, toe-tapping tune ‘If You Ever Need a Shoulder’. The place filled up most pleasingly about halfway through it (possibly just after the end of the Cribs gig at Leeds Met the same night) and we went down jolly well.

Leeds being Leeds, something had to go wrong at some point, and Amber Cars charged us 63 quid for the taxi home, having quoted us 40. But hey – we had such a fine time that even this breathtaking act of extortion failed to take the shine off the evening. Next time I think of Leeds I’ll probably think of the charming folks we met at Don’t Falter, instead of the man in Carpe Diem.

● Our next popshow will be this Saturday at the Leicester Indiepop All-Dayer with Tender Trap, MJ Hibbett & the Validators, and several more! You really ought to come.

If you’re of a West Yorkshirely persuasion, get yourself to Don’t Falter at the earliest available – it’s on the first Saturday of every month at Baby Jupiter and it’s free to get in!

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Our first single is here!

Yeah, we know. We’ve been banging on about it for most of the year. So here it is at last: our first single!

It’s a jumble of contradictions. It’s strident, fierce and full of tenderness. It’s in love with an accountant and it wants to hang the bankers. It’s 90 seconds and it’s four and a half minutes. But it’s heartfelt, real and kind. It’s got some smashing catchy tunes. And it’s got some beautiful artwork. It’s She’s an Accountant and Subterranean Moseley Blues!

artwork for Accountant/Moseley

Well now, isn’t that a thing.

It’s a compact disc released on Precordial Catch Records. It’s gonna be available to buy on our Indietracks Tour of Awesomeness. And it’ll be in online stores after that, so if you want a copy but you won’t see us live this month, keep listening and we’ll let you know how later.

Oh, and if you’re into that iTunes thing, we’ll probably do that later on at some point, when we’ve got our breath back.

Is that everything? Good. What are you waiting for? Tell your friends, hang bunting from lampposts, have a sip of something nice, and name your children after us. The future of pop music is here. And once it’s been and gone we might even think about making an album.

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Birmingham turns it round

Sweet Nothings singist person Pete Green celebrates a forthcoming gig in Birmingham with a look at indiepop in the second city

It’s not just a city of a million people: it’s the place that produced Felt and The Sea Urchins. So it always seemed to me pretty perverse that Birmingham had no indiepop scene at all when I lived there.

And I didn’t just finish university and bugger off back up north. I was there for 12 years in all, through the 1990s and 2000s. Eventually, though, I decided enough was enough and buggered off back up north. The ongoing lack of an indiepop scene was an injury, and the demolition of all my favourite pubs and cafés was adding insult to it.

I’ve been thinking over all this stuff again because The Sweet Nothings have a gig in Brum next month. It’s on Saturday 23 July, at the beginning of our Indietracks Tour of Awesomeness. And it’s at the Victoria – a lovely venue, even if the beer’s a bit expensive, but isn’t it everywhere these days?

And the fact that we’re playing this gig suggests to me that the second city has succeeded, to a significant extent, in filling its indiepop void.

Selfridges

Lots of dustbin lids stuck to a big shop in Birmingham. Photo: rudolf_schuba (cc by 2.0)

The option I could have taken back in the 2000s, but didn’t, was to stay put and do something myself to try and create a scene. Who knows: maybe I should have – DIY and all that. This task fell instead to my friend Dunc Vernon and his girlfriend Debbie, who set up a night called The Autumn Store not long after I left.

The Autumn Store put on indiepop bands. They played indiepop records. People went to it. They weren’t indiepop obsessives like me and Dunc – they liked Idlewild, but also the Delgados, but they’d never heard ‘Pristine Christine’. And they ended up dancing to it. This is as it should be.

I went back to play at The Autumn Store a few times – first on my own, then with The Sweet Nothings’ old incarnation as the Corporate Juggernaut. It was lovely every time.

And then other things started happening in Birmingham. There are nights like ATTA Grrl, which I’ve been meaning to get to since forever. There’s a really good indiepop band in Ace Bushy Striptease. There is now a little group of younger indiepop fans, who can be found every year at Indietracks being so sparkly and charming that you even stop noticing the terrible violence visited on English vowels by their Brummie accents.

Autumn Store poster

And in among all these green shoots of regrowth and renaissance is a group called The Party Planning Committee. These are the people who’ve asked us to go and play in Birmingham in July. An Indietracks warm-up gig in Birmingham in July! I don’t think we’ve met them or anything: PPC Paul saw us supporting Eux Autres there a few months back.

So my indiepop band has been asked to play an indiepop show, leading in to an indiepop festival. On my old stomping ground, which I left because there was no indiepop. And we’ve not even had to rely on favours from old friends to get the gig.

Being massively self-obsessed and everything, I can’t help thinking that all this Means Something Somehow.

Welcome back to the land of the living, Birmingham. You were missed.

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Nothings on film

Has anyone videoed us on stage? There are some older bits and bobs of live footage online from before we changed our name. But we were just wondering if any of you have pointed a shaky cameraphone at us during the Sweet Nothings era. Do shout up if you have. Pete’s two-year-old son keeps saying: “Want to watch The Sweet Nothings on the computer!” It’s ruthless brainwashing at its very cutest.

In the meantime, here’s Pete with Emma Hall from Pocketbooks and A Little Orchestra, covering ‘Young Adult Friction’ by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, at the recent Read And Shout! all-dayer in London.

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