Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015 Summary, birthdays and the future

Now firstly, apologies for the image above, taken at our first Christmas outing.  To me Ian's camera seems to have badly smoothed our skin. His camera needs to dial back the Gaussian blur in future.

Love is Overdrive

So here was are at the end of 2015.   

The Hair Thieves started and the band name registered in December 2000 as an outlet for tunes that I had been writing whilst teaching myself Cubase.

It started with the release in 2001 of Baited Breath a song I had written back in 1994 whilst at University, (later re-recorded on EP2) before the first proper Hair Thieves tune "Girl With Two Names".

So happy 15th birthday to The Hair Thieves.   I'm not convinced I thought I would still be doing this fifteen years later, but I'm very happy that I am still doing this.

Of course the plan in 2000 was to release an album.  Something we have not yet done. I doubt we ever will (unless it is a best of compilation). Seven EPs is obviously more than an albums worth of material.

EP1 was recorded 10 years ago in November 2005, when I took a week off work to write and record it.  It was nearing completion, when I asked Ian to join the band. 

So happy 10th anniversay to Ian for being in the band.

2015 saw us release EP7 into the world.  We are very happy with it.

You can purchase it (including physical copies) from our Bandcamp store, or Amazon, iTunes, or stream it in Spotify, Deezer etc.

2016 will be the 10th Anniversary of EP1 being released. 

So what else do we have planned for 2016.

Personally, now we live in the same town, I'd like to start playing live again.. It has been a while.

EP8 is starting to shape up.  We have run out of old songs that we want to re-record (one has been on the other seven EPs).  So this will be the first EP with 100% new material.

At the moment, we have five or six songs on the go, at various states of completion, including an interesting song where we don't actually play anything on it.  More on that gem in an upcoming blog piece.

I'm optimistic EP8 will have five songs on it.

I'm going to be doing FAWM again in February, where I attempt to write fourteen songs in twenty eight days.   In 2015, I managed nine songs, including "Love is Overdrive" off EP7 and "The Distance" off EP8, both in collaboration with Ian.

So we shall see if any of those make it as Hair Thieves tunes.

So hopefully, you will all have a great Christmas and a wonderful 2016.



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Rollasoc's Top Ten albums 2015 - Part 3

So I lied, it is the same length as last year, just in a different order.

Back to the list

5 - Bruce Soord - 

The Pineapple Thief front man has released an album of lighter tunes, from the recent TPT and Wisdom of Crowds albums.   Slightly reminiscent of the acoustic bonus TPT albums with hints of The smashing pumpkins in places.  It hasn't been out long, else it might have been higher on my list.

Starting to worry the Bruce and his various bands keep getting higher on my recent lists than the prpg god that is Steven Wilson.

4. Heidi Browne - White Rabbits

Local Shropshire musician and winner of the UKs 2014's open mic competition, Heidicame back with her third album.   Autocannibal is one of my favourite tunes of the year.  The title track is also great. 

3. Of Monsters & Men - Beneath the skin..

E got me into those after writing a bit of tune with a tom groove.   He said he'd been listening to Of monsters and men and felt inspired. So he played me Crystals.

I have probably listened to this once a day since I got the album (other than weekends).

We also went to see them last month.  

Plus one of their tunes was used in the trailer for the excellent Jessica Jones series.   Rumour has it, they have a part in the next season of Game of Thrones.

2 Vennart -The Demon Joke.

Anyone who knows me, should know, I am a massive Oceansize fan.   It was a sad day in the Rollasoc household when they split. 

But Mike Vennart is back after his stint as touring guitarist for Biffy Clyro with a new album, with two ex Oceansize members, Gambler and Mr Durose. 

"Operate" is probably my favourite tune of 2015.   E wasn't impressed when I took his Of Monsters and Men verse tom groove songs and bolted in the drums from "Operate" for the chorus.  Trust me it was epic.

Now "Don't forget the joker" when it was previewed before the album was released, did worry me.  It wasn't until it was heard in context with the rest of the album, that I started liking it.

So the album is part beauty, part filth.  Which was exactly what was expected and it didn't disapoint.

1. Paper Aeroplanes - Joy

Now along with Vennart, I seem to have signed copies of both these albums.

It was really hard to pick between Vennart and Paper Aeroplanes, given I listen to each of them most days.

But I think Paper Aeroplanes just inch it, possibly since I managed to catch them live in Shrewsbury earlier in the year, possibly since it has been out a little longer and has managed to stay in my consciousness for longer, possibly due to the beauty and quality of songs like Emily, race you home and Guessing game.  

It is a beautiful album.

So there is my list of top ten albums for 2015.   

Got one last top tip for 2016

Beth Prior -  Debut album out in January 2015.  Little Acts of Kindness

Have a happy Christmas and see you in the new Year.  (or tommorrow if you read the blog, for the year's round up).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Rollasoc's Top Ten Albums Part 2

Right, here is my top ten albums for the year.    Think I should have swapped Duran Duran and Passenger around.  Maybe not?

10 Duran Duran - Paper Gods

Not exactly a return to form, but probably their most enjoyable album since Astronaut.  Still think Andy should rejoin and force them to release Reportage.

Still listen to the re-issue of Rio more than I do this.  Which is probably not a good sign.

9 - I am the Morning - From the House of arts

The only live album in the top ten.    Russian classical prog rockers I am the morning, released a live album to finance their next album.  Looking forward to that in 2016.

8. Sexwitch

Another album I have on vinyl only.  But have been listening to it alot on Spotify.
A collaboration between Natasha Khan (Bat for lashes), Toy and Dan Carey.

Very hypnotic, good to listen to at work.

7.- Steven Wilson - Hand Cannot Erase

Probably should be higher in the list, but by this stage in the list, it is mostly sorted by how often I listen to the album.    Conceptually, not sure I get the album entirely.  The deluxe box is something very special though, as is the surround mix.

6 - Jean Michel Jarre - Electronica 1 - The Time machine.

Been an appreciative fan of JMM since the '80s. My brother Paul was the bigger fan and we were lucky enough to see him when he did Destination Docklands.

Really haven't kept up with his music for the last decade (Aero was the last thing I bough) or so, but heard he was doing two albums collaborating with artists old (Tangerine Dream, Vince Clarke, Laurie Anderson, Pete Townsend etc) and new (Little boots, Moby, fuck buttons etc), so was intregued.

I've been pleasently surprised how good this album is, obviously with the collaborations it is quite diverse in styles.  Looking forward to part 2 in 2016.

So this is the end of part 2. More tomorrow..

Monday, December 21, 2015

Rollasoc's Top Ten albums 2015 - Part 1. The nearlys

I will try to make this an even shorter post than last years three part list.

I am going to keep this list to albums I have physically purchased and not to albums that I have streamed on Spotify.   If I don't like it enough to buy it, then I don't think it should be on the list.

I believe I have bought nineteen or twenty albums this year in physical form

Didn't make the list

1. Muse  - Drones - Nothing wrong with it, just not as good as their first two albums.
2. Idlewild - Everything ever written - I preordered this and it came with a acoustic live album,  I pla the acoustic album a lot.  This not so much.   I think the songs are fine, just don't like the production on it.

Honerable Mentions.

1. Loft - Empires - Cornish rock at its finest. Disqualified from the list by being download only.   Great 7 tracks though.

I really want to steal their raw files and have a go at mixing them.

2. Steven Wilson - Transience

Released on vinyl only and with my record player broken, I have yet to play this.  It did come with a download code, which I might download once I open the vinyl.  It does have a new version of Lazerus on it, which I have been known to play every now and again live.

3, Jessica Graae - Sea Dream.

A member of FAWM.   She released an album on bandcamp in the Autumn.  I decided to go for the physical copy, lush folk rock.

4. Bjork - Vulnicura -   Should be higher in the list, but some of the songs are quite long and I stupidly put this album in the car, which restarts the last song everytime you start the engine (and the forward button doesn't work).  So given I have a 3-6 minute trip to work. I can end up listening to the same song for a week.  So I'm a bit fed up of this.

Great use of electronics and orchestration.  Looking forward to the new mix without the electronics.

5 Iron Maiden - The book of Souls -   The first maiden album I have bought in more than a decade.
Quite long.

6. Hozier - Shock horror, something you might have heard of.  Occasionally, I listen to the chart music on Spotify.  I really liked this song.  Album is a bit hit and miss.

7. Dave Kerzer - New World (Deluxe version)

I'm sure he sent me the download in 2014, the officially the physical copies didn't ship until 2015.

Some old school prog, that doesn't hide its influences.   For a double album that is really long, I really don't struggle to listen to this in its entirity.  Plus Dave in his day job at Esoundz has been a top notch guy with good customer service since I started buying products from him, probably 15 years ago.  So good luck to him.

8. Passenger - Whispers 2

 Another beautiful album from Passenger, this time all proceeds going to charity.  Think I might have made a mistake not putting this into the top ten.

Tips for 2016.

1. The Anchoress - Confessions of a romance novelist.

Released in January, so looking forward to this collaboration between Catherine A.D and Mansun's Paul Draper.

2. Paul Draper - Spooky Distance

The companion album to The Anchoress, Catherine A.D. plays on this.  So far only one track has been leaked, at the Mansun Convention in 2014, plus some snippets by Paul.

So that is my two tips (other than my solo album, if I ever finish it. ha ha).

So tomorrow the top ten begins in ernest.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Love Is Overdrive Video

Well EP7 is almost amongst us.

It will be released on November 20th.

You can preorder it from our Bandcamp site.   It will be on Spotify, Amazon and all other streaming and download sites shortly thereafter.

We have made a video for the lead track.  "Love is Overdrive".  

We had such a laugh shooting the video.  Hopefully, that will come across in the video and everyone takes it in the silly way we intended.  It is made up of lots of the 800+ photos we took on Sunday afternoon.

We are rather pleased with how it turned out.

In other news.   December, I believe, is the official 15th Anniversary of The Hair Thieves.  So Chris might go out and play some very old Hair Thieves songs during the month at open mic nights in and around Shropshire.

We have four of five songs now in various states of finishing for EP8.   More news about that in the coming months, with holidays coming up and Christmas, it will be slow going until the new year.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Love is....

making a music video....

The big house move has occurred and we have reconvened working again on EP7 and beyond.

Last weekend, we shot 800+ still images for a music video for the song "Love is Overdrive".

We had such a laugh shooting the video.  Hopefully, that will come across in the video and everyone takes it in the silly way we intended.

Hopefully, the video will be ready to be shown to the world as soon as the EP has been mastered and approved.

Mastering of EP7 is taking place this week.  Artwork is yet to be decided.  I'd imagine we will release this either late October or early November.

We have started work on EP8.

We still have "The Distance" left over from the writing session in February.  Chris has resurrected a happy tune from 2010, which we have started working on and E has two ideas for new songs that he is toying with.   

Which just leaves the instrumental to write.  Which may or may not be Reverie Part 1 (given we have already released part 2).

Due to work commitements, E was unable to join Chris when he played a thirty minute set at Bridgnorth Music Festival last week (photo courtesy of Ashley John Roberts).  So yes last week was busy!

So now we both live in the same town, hopefully, we will get out an play a bit more often live.

Things are currently good in The Hair Thieves world. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Noise Trade - Free Download


We have released our first three EPs on the noisetrade website.

Noisetrade allows fans to download the albums (or in our case EPs) for free or donate a tip.  So it is all very simple.

Over the last couple of years, I discovered some good bands from the site and downloaded some free music (and later gone back and tipped some of the artists).

We are planning on putting the other three EPs on over the next month or so.

Elsewhere, mixing of EP7 has been going on behind the scenes, during our hiatus. 

Due to festivals coming up and a solo gig we we reconvene for final mix approval plus tea and cookies in early September and plan the release, EP cover and possible video ideas.

Writing sessions for EP8 will commence also.  (We have one song in the bag already).

So we will be back soon!



Thursday, July 9, 2015

Mid Summer Update

We have finished writing and recording EP7!

Due to house moves, holidays and festival season, we are unlikely to do much work on the mixing, until we reconvene in September.  So I think we will be looking at a late Autumn, early December release.

E has started mixing a few of the tunes. The final tune, I started mixing at the weekend.  So a couple more iterations of the mix to follow in the next week or so.

So over the coming months, I am going to work on the artwork and try and produce an animated video for one of the songs.

I am also going to work on some solo material.  Things left over from old Hair Thieves sessions that were abandoned or things in weird tunings or timings.

So we will be back in September with more news and a finished EP!!!

Have a good summer.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Shorewards - Live Video

Searching through my hard drive today, I came across this video.  It was taken a few years ago when we played Bridgnorth music festival.

Not too shabby a performance.  

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Downing Tools

We are getting close to shutting down the recording progress for the summer, due to house moves.  Finally after almost ten years together, we will be living in the same town.

Hopefully, this might mean the return of us playing live, even if only at a few local open mics.  What this will mean is no more 36 mile round trips to recording sessions.  So less time driving, more time writing and recording.

EP7 is almost three quarters there.   Two songs ("Love is Overdrive" & "Epic Song") are ready for mixing, (other than possibility of adding additional backing vocals to one if we need it).

The third tune (as seen in the images) is making good progress and in a first for us, uses some royalty free samples. In addition, there isn't a guitar in sight either.

Hopefully this will be ready for mixing in the week. 

On every EP there is a difficult track.  This appears to be track 2.  This is currently called "Drowning in Air". 

It started as an electronic track.  Which wasn't working, it is currently turning more orchestral, which in turn doesn't work at the tempo of the electronic track, (at which the vocals were recorded).

So a complete re-recording will be in order during the band downtime by me(given he has to sing it).

So there we have it.  Close but no cigar.  We have possibly one more recording session, before we take a break.   Hopefully, we will reconvene in the Autumn and get EP7 out of the door, shortly there after or at least before the end of the year.

I'm off to start re-recording "Drowning in Air".



Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Well it has been a little while since the last blog post.

February was mostly taken up with Chris doing FAWM.  Where he attempted to write 14 songs in 28 days.  He managed 10 songs.  Two of which will be future Hair Thieves songs.

The first, "The Distance" was demo'd in the last blog post.  I think we are possible keeping that back for EP8.  

The second song is called "Love is Overdrive".  Which will be on EP7.  It is pretty much written now, just needs re-recording, which I started doing over the weekend, in a different key to the demo on the Soundcloud.

March was taken up with holidays and some work finalising the instrumetal for EP7.  See the video above for E practicing a guitar part for the ending.

So EP7 progress is being made.  Two songs written and in the process of being recorded.

One song in a partial written state and our usual re-record an old song, not started, but we know which song it will be and will possibly be the last old song to be re-recorded, since we have run out of ones we want to re-record.

So over the next month, we are going to crack on with EP7.  It probably won't be finished until Autumn, so location changes may be in order soon, so we might end up downing tools for a couple of months over the summer.  We shall see how things pan out.

Personally, I'm getting itchy fingers to go out and start playing live again, even if it is only open mic nights.  So time to get the acoustic out and start practicing a new set of tunes.



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Distance (Demo)

Demo of a tune written for Fawm 2015. Basically we set ourselves a very short period of time to write and demo (as simply as possible) a song. So this was written in about 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon and then played with for a couple of hours two days later. Vocals are a composite of some vocals recorded on one day and others on another day. It is demo.... It was written using EZKeys as a tool to come up with the chord sequence. We aim to re-record this from scratch / replace / amend / change the r&b piano ballad. So it might end up similar or totally different. We shall see over time.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Rollasoc's Top Ten Albums of 2014 - Part 3

So part 3.   Hits and misses.

Biggest Disappointment of the year:   Elbow - The take of and landing of everything.

Being a huge fan of the first three albums, I feel a gradually quality drop off over the last couple of albums.  This one, I have listened to probably 20+ times and I couldn't name a single song off it, let alone hum any of it.   Shame really.

Great Hope for 2015:    The Anchoress

 As a huge Mansun fan, any project that Paul Draper is a part of is of interest. I'd previously been unaware of Catherine A.Ds work.  This is a great slice of anti pop.  Good tune, great melodies.  Looking forward to the album (plus Paul Draper's solo album....) 

Plus it is not often that an EP comes with a free Mills and Boon book (mine is called A world of Difference!)

Disqualified from the top ten:
1. Erica Nockalls - EN2
     Should be in the top five. Disqualified on account of not having a video.  So nothing to link to.

Possibly less bonkers than her debut "Imminent Room", this is a  more sweary, cutting, harder, heavier, faster, angrier Erica, with moments of beauty just to disorientate and confuse you.

Plus "Whatever makes your heart bleed" is possibly one of my favourite tunes of the year.

Nearly Made the top Ten:

On another day any of these might have made my top ten.

1. John Wesley - Disconnect

John Wesley is probably best known as the touring guitarist for Porcupine Tree, of which there are several nods to on this album.    Everytime I play it, I think I should listen to it more often. One bonus is Alex Lifeson on Once a Warrior.

2. Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's modern boxes

Famous posterchild for being released on the bitorrent network. This did inspire us to release our EP6 onto Bittorrent.  We were presently surrprised how many people downloaded the full package of EP and video.

I have to be in the mood for this, sometimes it just irrates me, other times it is just stunning.

3. Ed Sheeran - X

I went to see Ed Sheeran a couple of years ago.  For one bloke with a loop pedal, I was blown away.
I was worried that this album would be terrible after his great debut.  I would be interested to hear the album he scrapped before coming up with this.

It does have some dodgy moments (Sing what is the point of Pharrell Williams on this), but that might just be too many tracks on the deluxe version.

4. Royal Blood - Royal Blood

Great album, but does make me want to go and listen to Death from Above 1979 afterwards. Sorry.

Worst album I've listened to:  
Katy B - Little Red.

The thing with spotify is most things are on there. So when I get the urge to listen to the number one album.  I can.  A single song on its own is fine, but a whole album was painful.

At least I tried listening to something different.