Tag Archives: beans on toast

I was basically the worst person at SXSW this year, and instead of doing what I was supposed to do, just had a good time. I mean, it was totally worth it, but I super slacked off. And last night I was organizing some stuff, and I found these old videos. This year, we had our videographer Mia Hanks with us, and she shot most of the video you’re about to see. What I love about these videos is that, just like NRBW, it is actually so horrendous that it’s endearing. It’s so fucking bad and wonderful, that you have to adore it. That’s pretty much how I’m sure people think of me, this blog and pretty much everything I’m involved with. And I’m okay with this. Check out our footage of The Strange Boys, Beans on Toast (doing an epic rap, might I add) and the awesome Johnny Flynn.

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I read some really sad news today that I thought I would share and show my support for these dudes. Although I’ve never been, I know that the Flowerpot in London is one of the best venues — it’s always free, books progressive and awesome new bands, and is partially run by NRBW dear friend and object of our great affection, Beans on Toast. Read their statement via their Twitter below:

We’re completed gutted to inform you that from 1st November The Flowerpot will no longer be at this venue – more info to follow… We’ve basically been scammed and after building a successful venue from scratch the lease has been sold from beneath our feet. We will of course be taking everything and everyone with us when we go and promise to find a new HQ quicker than you can say Jagerbomb.

Can’t wait for that to happen. Love you, Jay!

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Photo Courtesy of | Jacqui Sadler

Our favorite clubnight (okay, outside of Brighton’s Fish Fry) Communion (run by Mumford and Son’s Ben Lovett and Kevin Jones) are set to take over a buddy of NRBW’s venue, The Flowerpot in Camden, for a long run of shows later this month. The Flowerpot is probably the best venue in London, and only approximately 50% of the reson is because all shows are FREE! Communion Presents (the official name for this run of gigs in later July) are showcasing some of our favorite British acts including Brightonites Lyrebirds and The Agitator (they play every show together! geez!), Ojai’s Lissie and the ever fantastic great wonderful hilarious (Flowerpot owner!) Beans on Toast. These shows are not to be missed, and needless to say, roll up early – this shit’s gon’ get crowded.

The line up for Communion Presents is:

July 12:
Mt Desolation
The Staves
James Moss

July 16:
The Agitator

July 18:
Beans On Toast
Hot Feet
Tom Mckean And The Emporers
Monument Valle


The Flower Pot
147 Kentish Town Road
London NW1 8PB

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Welcome to one of our first previews on SXSW. It struck me the other day that in a month and a half basically everyone who is anyone is going to be showing up in Austin, TX for the best week of the year. Here’s 7 artists that I am super looking forward to seeing in ATX and I hope you’ll check them out and see them live while you can….

Avi Buffalo (Los Angeles CA)

Avi Buffalo is the ringleader/wunderkind of an awesome band that has been making waves in Los Angeles for some time now. He’s going to bring his fresh, vital, youthful sound to Austin for the first time. Personally, I prefer the boy-girl interplay of Avi Buffalo to the much more hyped version that the xx are peddling around town, but Avi’s sound has a really simply melodic, classic beauty to it that got the attention of Sup Pop and a good portion of Los Angeles. This kid and his band of children (they just graduated HS for god sakes!) have it all – it’s going to be a fun ride watching where they take it.

Avi Buffao – Whats In It For 7″

Marques Toliver (London UK-ENGLAND)

This guy is just straight up SO. TALENTED. I mentioned before that I had seen him busking on the streets of Brighton (he’s a friend of a friend) and he told me that he was playing a little pub called the George and I was flat out stunned. He plays violin like an angel. His voice works so beautifully with his instrument – its a waltz of epic proportion, I love the interplays between plucking the violin and playing it normally – he just writes wonderful songs that inspire so much emotion and are so stunning they suck the speech right out of the room. I really think SXSW is going to propel this guy to be where he deserves. I don’t know if this will appeal to people who would normally read this blog – but I can only emphatically say GO SEE HIM PLAY. You won’t regret it.

Subway Musician from Cyrus Dowlatshahi on Vimeo.

Beans on Toast (London UK-ENGLAND)

Beans on Toast has been a weird-folk-hero around town for a looong time. Prior to the end of last year, he’d never properly released anything (he gave away his tracks!) and had basically 0 internet presence – the only contact he’d had with America, that I’m aware of anyway, was two visits to SXSW (2008 & 2009 respectively). And then he released his 50-track epic-folk-masterwork ‘Standing on a Chair’ and he’s all over the place with his friends (Josh Weller, Johnny Fynn, Mumford & Sons etc etc). Seeing Beans on Toast live is scuh a pleasure – he’s got such a warm ethos, a hilarious manner and just puts on a great show. He’s definitely not the most skilled musician, but what he lacks in technically skill is made up for with his adorable grin, his songs that draw you in with wittiness and rhyme, and the fact that he literally stands on a chair.

DOWNLOAD -> Beans On Toast – I Fancy Laura Marling

Johnny Flynn (London UK-ENGLAND)

I shouldn’t have to pitch Johnny Flynn to anyone but here it goes. The man makes gorgeous folk tunes – like, really masterful ones. His debut ‘A Larum’ overflowed with beautiful gems with wise-beyond-his-25-years lyrics (sung in his mellow voice) floating over acoustic picking or backed by his country tinged band or over elegent strings. His full band shows, with the Sussex Wit, are more of a fun romp and stomp, but get ready to get your breath taken away when he performs acoustic – ‘The Wrote & The Writ’ is one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful songs I’ve heard in … well, ever. Don’t miss him.

DOWNLOAD -> Johnny Flynn – The Wrote & The Writ

Woven Bones (Austin TX)

Woven Bones is a band that I was surprised to not hear of until they opened for the Growlers. They specialize in fuzzy, primal, intense garage rock. Their live set is ramshackle in all the right places held together by Mo Tucker-esque simple, primal drums and really stong bass. Andy sings with a bit of a southern drawl but it all comes together in a really tight little package. Definitely a band to watch.

Download -> Woven Bones – Your Sorcery

Happy Birthday (Burlington VT)
It’s hard to sell a band off of only one song – that is, unless the song is like, really really great. And fortuntely, for us AND for HB, ‘Girls FM’ (the first track off their forthcoming debut) is really fucking good. It’s got an interesting hook, it’s got King Tuff’s awesome caterwaul vocals and it’s catchy as fuck. With the members, especially King Tuff’s general excellence, it’s hard to imagine this debut not being one of my favorites of the year and making a giant splash at SXSW. If you like this, check out King Tuff’s old stuff – his only album ‘Is Dead’ is actually amazing and you’ll see this kid’s got a loooot to offer. Let’s hope he took some of his garage-blues sensibilities and infused them with Happy Birthday’s stuff, yeah?

DOWNLOAD -> Happy Birthday – Girls FM

Best Coast (Los Angeles CA)
Bethany Constantino = Best Coast. While I love that her moniker says everything that I feel about East vs. West, I also love what she’s doing with Bobb Bruno on drums. Detractors will surely say she’s cashing in on the overdone lo-fi business, but I say fuck them, this is sticky-sweet lo-fi beachy goodness. ‘When I’m With You’ is pop brilliance, and her voice really melds to whatever she’s conveying in each song – raning from darling to a little rough and on ‘The Sun Was High (So Was I), well, soaring. This bitch is encapsulating a part of California that I hold near and dear to me – and it sounds so good. Don’t know what they’re like live, but I’m certainly going to be finding out.

DOWNLOAD -> Best Coast – Make You Mine

Jay has never come off as a proficient musician; not on the acoustic sessions that he has released on the internet and certainly not live. Standing on A Chair will certainly not change that perception. However, it is his ethos, it’s what he’s about that make his rudimentary songs extraordinary and worthy of listening. Having said that, the exorbitant amount of tracks on this album takes away from what it could be. When you have a jungle of 50 songs to get through, the best ones are sure to get lost in the jumble. ‘Fuck the Smoking Ban’ is a hilarious take on what was lost when smoking was banned in clubs. ‘I Fancy Laura Marling’ highlight Jay’s love for the young and talented chanteuse Laura Marling, even if it is an April-September/inappropriate kind of love. ‘M.D.M.Azing’ is a wonderful tune about new lovers who meet at a festival and bond over drugs. Another love ‘ballad’ about drugs, ‘Coke’ works wonderfully live as Jay asks everyone to raise their hands if they are addicted to cocaine, no matter who you are – everyone raises their hands. These tunes are what make Beans on Toast appealing, his mastery of a smooth, glib manner with his sardonic tone and his excellent use of rhyme.


Welcome to my top gigs of this year, 2009! I saw close to 100 which was… amazing, exciting, wonderful, whatever you want. It was tough to pick these gigs let alone put them in order but here we go….

10) Dananananaykroyd @ Dirty Dog Bar, SXSW, Austin, March 18th

Dananananaykroyd are so energetic live it’s almost unreal. They’re like the Energizer Bunny on meth or something similar and freaky. They amount of joy and humor and jumping and yelling at each gig is unreal. To add to this, this was my first show at SXSW where I got to go into a 21+ show (thnx, Sarah Pesin!) so I was even more jacked up. Hearing one of my favorite songs of the year, ‘Some Dresses’, live was just amaaazing and the Wall of Cuddles was just so excellent. Perfect way to start my SXSW 2009.


9) Fool’s Gold @ The Echo, LA, April 27th

This show just fucking expanded my mind in a completely non-stoner kind of way. Each Fool’s Gold show that I’ve been to has such a wonderful sense of community and the joy just radiates from the band to the crowd, this time it was a bunch of Echo Parque hipsters who were grooving to their ‘world music’ and sensational beats and horn sections. The freedom and structured jams are what make Fool’s Gold gigs almost spiritual but without the ‘seriousness’ of that word. This was the last night of their April residency at the Echo that launched them into national view. Rightly so.


8) King Khan & The Shrines @ The Echo, LA, May 30th

King Khan & The Shrines played two nights at the Echo in May 2009. Choosing between them was one of the toughest choices I’ve had in a long time (hello, I have an easy life!) but I think the second night trumped the first. Both had an incredible amount of energy and ridiculous outfits and organ and sax to boot. Both had King Khan being a crazy motherfucker with a voice from who knows where. What put me over the top, you ask, in favor of the second night? One of the Shrines getting up on the amp, pulling down his pants and tucking it back and waving it around during ‘I Wanna Be A Girl’. Yep, folks, that’s all it takes to sway me. Both these nights were FUCKING excellent. King Khan was one of the performers I saw most during 2009, and I bow down to him anytime I see him. So great.


7) Beans on Toast @ Friends Bar, SXSW, Austin, March 20th

Beans on Toast has one of the greatest ethos’ in music today. He’s just a street poet who stands on a chair and plays a childs guitar and sings rudimentary songs with social and political commentary with plenty of humor and an excellent penchant for rhyming. This was such a special gig. I’ve loved his hilarious music since 2006 but had no idea who he was and thought I’d never see him live and then I met him at Jay Jay Pistolet’s gig and got to get to know the man a little – he’s such a hilarious little thing (Yeah, I’ve told this story about 1500 times but STILL), and seeing him at FRIENDS Bar just was … amazing. He’s so hilarious and the entire crowd was hanging on every word. Who else could get an entire crowd (cocaine users and non alike) to raise their hands and proudly proclaim they were addicted to cocaine?


6) The Strange Boys @ The Echo, LA, June 30th

The Strange Boys have been a live favorite of mine since early 2008. They continuously blow me away with their refreshing take on Nuggets-esque Garage Rock, their cool swagger, and Sambol’s howling caterwaul. This show was particularly amazing because of the support: The Growlers. The combination of the two was just unstoppable. The Strange Boys were way on the top of their game, but it feels weird to be going on and on about it because they are always that good. I’ve never seen them perform poorly, even the time I saw them playing in front of people playing dodgeball. No joke. The second best band in America right now – behind the Growlers. Funny how that happens.


5) The Sonics @ The Echoplex, LA, August 21st

The Sonics. THE SONICS! I can’t even describe, figuratively or literally, what it was like to see these legends. IT’S THE FUCKING SONICS!!!! When they played ‘Have Love, Will Travel’, I was brought to my knees. They lumbered out of their coffins to give us an amazing early show at the Echoplex proving that the old timers (not to be confused with Alzheimers) still fucking GOT IT. They could actually play their instruments with dexterity, but that didn’t take away from the grungy, can’t-get-outta-the-garage, lo-fi before lo-fi was a real thing feel that has made the Sonics the legends that they are. Not to mention that Freddie Dennis can fucking sing. It was just deleriously amazing.


4) The Maccabees @ Komedia, Brighton, September 29th

The Maccabees played a part in bringing together one of the most important friendships of my young life during their first American tour back in 2007, so seeing them play in Brighton at a much smaller venue than they could get away with – with the important friends…. just BLEW MY MIND! They fucking stormed the Komedia and played with more confidence and energy and …. experience than I’d ever have expected from them. Their second album hadn’t done anything for me up to that point, but hearing those songs echoing live and Orlando’s expansive, unique vocals really brought it together for me and from that gig, it became one of my favorite albums of 2009.


3) Black Lips @ Glasshouse, Pomona, May 2nd

Having severly disappointed me the evening before at The El Rey, I wasn’t expecting much out of the Black Lips. I know that’s rude, but I’d seen them like 7 times in the past 13 months or something so what more could they bring to the table? However, they came out and bounced back from the shitshow that was the El Rey and rocked my world. It was singularly the most rough, dangerous Black Lips gig I’d ever been to (bruised ribs for two weeks to prove it, ROCK AND ROLL) and Jared even stepped on my head! They played everything I wanted them to play and the energy and atmosphere, while way more rough than LA was just so much more… Black Lips! I emerged drenched with sweat, severly hurt and grinning like a maniac. That’s how I always want to leave shows.


2) The Growlers @ Bootleg Theatre, LA, October 30th

I wish that I had taken photos of this gig. The costumes for the halloween gig were just incredible. But that’s to say nothing of the gig, which was just the best time I’ve ever seen the Growlers, who just like the Strange Boys are consistently consistent at being amazing. This gig was a two hour long Snake Sex special that saw Brooks Nielsen just act like a snake charmer – goading the audience into the most ridiculous dancing (MYSELF INCLUDED HOLY SHIT); and at the same time being charmed himself by Matt Taylor and the rest of the band. They played like a Greatest Hits (not their first album, just all their best ones) including ‘Underneath Our Palms Blues’ which saw me practically writhing on the floor from joy and amazement. And if my endorsement is not enough… Fab Moretti and Devendra were there. The Growlers are the best band in LA. Period.


1) Peter Doherty @ The Roundhouse, London, September 20th

I felt really weird about making this my number one gig of the year due to the fact Doherty and I have fallen out a little bit this year, but nonetheless I’d been waiting almost 5 years to see this motherfucker turn up for a show (see: France, 2006). But he did turn up and it was beyond all my wildest dreams. We were on the left-hand side of the stage and I was peering backstage and I saw this tall man in a hat lighting a fag and I just didn’t know what to do with myself! Regardless of the fact that musically, I’ve almost moved on, Pete Doherty had a very heavy hand in shaping my world for a time and shaping my musical taste, too. Hearing songs from ‘Down in Albion’ one of my most played albums EVER just killed my heart. I was sad, to see all the production that went into his show frankly because he doesn’t need it. He doesn’t need an orchestra and five people on stage and two ballet dancers. He needs a mic and a fucking old guitar. But he has what he has, and he does what he does and he charms the bees knees off of everyone. ‘Arebours’ and ‘the 32nd of December’ and ‘For Lovers’? I have been and always will be a P.Doh fan and this sealed my fate: the most excellent concert of 2009.


Another round of SXSW additions! The most excellent Beans on Toast returns for a third year in a row. Fool’s Gold’s putting in their second year and I wouldn’t be surprised if they take the festival by storm this time. Rose Elinor Dougall puts in her first year solo (she’s no longer with the Pipettes) and the newbie Nat Jenkins puts in his first year. GET EXCITED!!!

Beans on Toast (London UK-ENGLAND)
CHIEF (Los Angeles CA)
Rose Elinor Dougall (Manchester UK-ENGLAND)
Fool’s Gold (Los Angeles CA)
Nat Jenkins (London UK-ENGLAND)
The Postelles (New York NY)
Those Darlins (Murfreesboro TN)
The Veils (Bath UK-ENGLAND)
We Are Wolves (Montreal QC)

The bash will see bands and DJs taking over 11 Southsea venues on September 19.

Nu Rave Brain Wave favorite Beans on Toast is playing the bash. Also playing are London/Brighton’s Lyrebirds, Portable Infinite favorite Alessi’s Ark, The Joy Formidable, James Yuill and Brighton/Moz Favorite Doll & The Kicks (LOL I can’t believe I’m writing about them on the blog).

See Myspace.com/southseafest for more information.


Photo by Rachel S. Peters, animation by Brown Saraceno

Many moons ago, I think it must have been in 2006, I randomly downloaded a song called “Fuck the Smoking Ban” by an enigmatic singer named Beans on Toast. The first time I listened to it, I was hooked. Like, HOOKED. Immediately, I loved his smoky (“puns are the highest form of humor” – true blood) voice and his humor… So I spent about 5 minutes trying to figure out that he has never properly released anything. What an enigma, seriously. A walking, talking enigma. It’s hard enough to find his real name, or even a picture of the man (remember, this will come in handy later) so I went about finding all the freely released material he had and enjoyed it for two years.

Then, after two years of listening to him, I realized I hadn’t seen him live and probably wouldn’t…ever! But low and behold, there came a twist in my goal of seeing Beans on Toast live! He was announced to play SXSW 2009!!! Beans, did infact, play at SXSW 2008 but I wasn’t really aware of the enormity of the age restrictions and thus didn’t employ the effective use of a fake ID. I did have one, but I only used it once and it was at Buffalo Billiards and it wasn’t even to watch a band. However, it was a good night…. until we got lost in my car and ran out of gas and I was alone with a chick who was asleep and two of my favorite Scots, who then left and I basically broke into the house we were staying at to sleep. ANYWAY, back to Beans. So I was just beyond excited about seeing him perform live, although quite dismayed that it was only once. Cut to Red House Pizzaria on … Friday? I think so. Anyway, Jay Jay Pistolet was playing and we had had a nice little chat with him at his performance at the Hilton lobby and we saw the guy who was totally his handler (or, as we found out later, his manager), and we invited him over to sit with us. So we were chatting blah blah blah and then it came out… he said, “I’m playing the festival, too!” and so we asked what his band was called…. “Beans on Toast!” he said. Remember when I said I didn’t know what he looked like? Well I wasn’t lying. I couldn’t contain myself and let forth a burst of fangirlishness that hasn’t been seen this side of August 8, 2006. Luckily, he was not THAT freaked out. It was my one of my favorite moments of SXSW (another being hearing the good/bad/ugly about all festivals from him over BBQ) but it sounds kind of lame on the internets, especially if you don’t know me and don’t understand how much I adore Beans on Toast.

So that Friday we got to see him perform at the bar FRIENDS (very appropriate) and we were just BLOWN away. Like, we stumbled out of the bar (and into some other “friends” and stalkers) and were just GUSHING about how good Beans was. First of all, let me describe to you the stage set up. Empty, other than one tall bar stool. And atop the bar-stool, the little chocolate Hershey kiss that is Beans on Toast, with the microphone stretched way up high so he can sing/speak/preach/rap into it. His set was so engaging though because it’s just him and the guitar, which he admits he doesn’t play very well but that’s not really the point. His songs are SO funny and thoughtful and pointed and light-hearted and serious but they ALWAYS have an excellent rhyme scheme. To really like Beans on Toast, you have to buy into him 100% and when you do, you realize that he is a poet.

It’s funny, that I’m writing this long as fuck blog about him, because the songs (TECHNICALLY) are nothing to write home about. Yet, here I am writing what will probably end up 1,000+ words about the guy. By his own admission, most of his songs follow the same chord progression (and the same strum pattern, mostly – but that’s my 2p) and sounds a bit like Billy Bragg. So he’s not the most award-winning guitarist, but he’s witty as hell and can write a song about PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING (see ‘I Fancy Laura Marling’ or ‘No Fit Girls in NYC’) and mean it. That’s what I think is so powerful about Beans is that he is really loud and outspoken but you can tell that he means what he’s saying (unless he’s being facetious, and then WATCH OUT!). And more to the point, HIS VOICE! His voice is so excellent. I mean, it sounds like he has been drinking whiskey (or some other throat scorching drink) and smoking 2+ packs a day for his, well, entire life, but it’s got that intonation of experience, and hell, I like listening to it. He could read Walt Whitman and I’d actually want to listen to him.

To sum up, in a few words, what I elongated to 933: LISTEN TO BEANS ON TOAST. To help you achieve this end, I have uploaded MANY superb, witty, excellent, catchy, humorous, depressing, and wonderful songs by the man. You better listen to them.

Binge Drinking
Can’t Buy Me Love
Eggs Benedict
Fancy Dress Frisbee
Hippy Crack
I Fancy Laura Marling
Kate Moss’ Birthday Party
No Fit Girls in NYC
Steve Nolan & The Chinese Army
Thanks For Fucking Up The World
The Big Goodbye
The Countrys Gone to Shit
The Last Romantic Fools
The Media Circus
Today is the Tomorrow we Thought About Yesterday
Wave Goodbye to EMI
Whatever Happened to the Rubicks Cube

View some of my photos of Beans on Toast from his gig at Friends during SXSW 2009 after the jump… Continue reading