When the insatiable music junkies of London’s Indie Music Meet-Up have a gig in mind, it’s always worth a look and listen. So when it turned out to be (to me) a local gig, nay a local album launch gig of a band with glowing endorsements by the fabulous (BBC Radio) 6 Music – LOCKS – it was a done deal…

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Record Store Day 2017!

Saturday April 22nd is 2017’s Record Store Day, a date to celebrate and support independent bricks-and-mortar music outlets – very much our kind of thing then!

There’s so much great stuff being released / re-released for the occasion but we just had to knock together something by the way of our ‘If money was no object’ highlights for your consideration – just some established favourites, intriguing morsels discovered on our browsing and, more generally, musical items that chime with our overall alternative culture remit.

Below that we thought we’d drop in the vids from RSD 2017’s Champions and it’s 10th Anniversary LEGEND and you can find all of this and more at the Record Store Day website (UK, you’ll find others easily enough) and follow the celebration on Twitter via the hashtag #RSD2017!

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A Chat with Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC Part 3: On Self Image, Depression, and the Good Coming from the Bad (and Michael Jackson?!!!)

DMC - In Forbidden Planet

Part 3 of my interview with Darryl McDaniels. If you haven’t already you can read Part 1 here or Part 2 here.

When I was first planning a series of casual interviews with creators I had a mind – in keeping with the thought behind this website – to covering something of the fantastical, of the musical and of the ethical-slash-charitable. In Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC I could hardly have a better person to sit down with on all scores. We’d talked music of course and his comic’s enterprise, but I was aware also of his charitable work and was keen to find out more.

A bit of context first though, and partly we’ve already covered this in Darryl’s early love of superhero comics. Much of the rest is perhaps best explained by Darryl’s autobiography which he’s promoting while over: Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide, his memoir from the 80’s to the present day.


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Just Joans 1 Mark K’s been busy of late but he clearly felt he had to give a proper shout to some cracking bands after their Winter Sprinter gig at the Lexington. Check it and them all out below…


Tonight marks the final Winter Sprinter to be promoted by the Fortuna Pop label, this being the case because founder Sean Price has called time on the label after “20,200 releases, a mountain of debt, and very little sleep.” As a result the evening has a bit of a valedictory feel, with all of the acts performing thanking Sean Price for his efforts.

Luckily this feeling doesn’t extend to the music, and certainly not to that of Bill Botting and the Two Drink Minimums. Bill was the bass player for the already lamented (they only played their farewell gig in December) ‘Allo Darlin’, but that’s where the similarities between the two bands end. Read the rest of this entry »

A Chat with Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC Part 2: On DMC the Comic, Commercialism and Creator Responsibility

DMC #1 Part 2 of this interview with Darryl McDaniels. If you haven’t already you can read Part 1 here; link to Part 3 at the end of this page.
So DMC the comic.
What I knew already was that it’s set in an alternate 1985, the difference being that superheroes and supervillains are real and, in the tradition of Kurt Busiek’s Astro City, seem to be rough analogues of those Marvel / DC characters you know and love. The difference to those universes is that while the villains are actually villainous, more than a few of the ‘good guys’ are pretty shady as well. Enter alternate Darryl McDaniels, teacher and stand-up superhero on the street.
So how did it come about? Well it’s kind of refreshing to hear, genuine comic fan as he was and is, that it really hadn’t been Darryl’s intention.

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A Chat with Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC Part 1: On the many meanings of DMC, Hip Hop, and the appeal of Marvel Comics…

Darryl McDaniels by shoutoutny (Instagram) At about the time I launched this site Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC was making his entrance into the world of comics and, given the idea for Carabas was to cover music and comics along with other aspects of alternative culture, I kept a special eye out for what was happening with Darryl’s DMC. In November Darryl was over promoting his memoir Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide along with his comic work and I dropped by to his signing at Forbidden Planet. The next afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting him for a casual interview at The Grosvenor, on his comic, his music, depression, his charitable work and much more besides. DMC #1

Here’s that very interview in three parts.

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Carabas Jul-Dec 16 Non-Fiction Picks: Culture, Current Affairs, History, Music & Film

At Carabas we’re about many things: the fantastical certainly, but we’re more generally about championing alternative culture and counter-culture; the marvelous, the wonderful and the creative; and certainly the things that will help bring a bit more understanding into the world.

So here’s our top non-fiction book recommends from titles publishing July to December: Alternative & Street Art, Biography, celebrations of David Bowie, MusicCulture, Popular Science (General), Fact Behind the Fiction (our round-up of more Pop Science and more Non-Fiction on fantastical subjects), History, London titles and Ethical Politics / Awareness Raising titles – the vibrant, the quirky, the worthy and the enlightening. There’s something here for everyone…


CN - Oct - Street Art World CN - Jul - The Age of Bowie CN - Sep - The Mighty One
CN - Jul - I'm Buffy and You're History
CN - Aug - Scroobius Pip
CN - Aug - This is London
CN - Sep - Another Day in the Death of America

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Marvel’s Black Panther – Briefing, now with… The Prodigy? (with Video!)

CG - Ma - Sep - Black Panther V1 by Coates & Stelfreeze We’re very much about the comics and also very much about the music. So when news like this comes in we just have to jump on it.
Having a real interest in diversity in comics – not to mention his recent debut in Captain America: Civil War and upcoming solo cinematic debut in 2018 – Marvel’s The Black Panther has been very much on our radar. The latest series is by the creative team of correspondent and author Ta-Nehisi Coates and comics mainstay artist Brian Stelfreeze and already looks set to become one of those defining runs on a character (the first collected volume is due September this year).
But Marvel are also promoting the book with author commentary on where the series is, integrating that with music – this time being THE PRODIGY!
Check out what Marvel have to say below by followed by the integrated Black Panther video, then the Prodigy tune Beast With It ft. Mark the Beast on YouTube!

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This July: Lola Colt release Moonlighting!

CP - Lola Colt - Moonlight Mixing We’d been keeping an eye out for developments with LOLA COLT since TWO of our main reviewers – “from the moment Lola Colt came on I knew this was going to be a special gig” / “fresh and exciting” – waxed lyrical about them in the early days of Carabas.
Well we just heard about their next single Moonlight Mixing being released – got a bit of a tingle listening to as well – so figured we’d best get something up straight away. Here’s the publicity with the song on Soundcloud embedded below.


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Sneaky Peekers – Behind the scenes of Penny for the Workhouse’s latest EP!

CPP - PftW - Sneaky Peekers PftW 1 On the 24th June fantastic London indie-folk band Penny for the Workhouse release their 3rd EP, SNEAKY PEEKERS which they’re launching at the Good Ship Kilburn the same day: We thought we’d ask them to write something on how it all came creatively together…
So here’s a sneaky peek into the world of PftW, courtesy of songwriters Mel and Nathan!


Hello to all reading this on purpose or by accident, we are Penny For The Workhouse, a lively London band creating music to make you dance.

We’re on the verge of releasing our third EP “Sneaky Peekers” which is our loudest and rawest EP to date. Over the years we have wanted to create an EP that sounds as close to seeing us live as possible. Our first EP “Coins and Cards” which was released in 2012 is quite heavily folk influenced with acoustic guitars and lots of three way harmonies. On our second “Jack the Gunslinger and Other Tales” we started to mix the acoustic gentle sound with hints of electric. We were finding that we still weren’t replicating the energy we have on stage on record. As “Coins and Cards” and “Jack the Gunslinger” were both recorded using multi-track, this time we went loud and live! PftW 2 (scaled)

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The End of the World Running Club – Musical Influences by Adrian J Walker

CBJJ16 - DR - May - End of the World Running Club Fm Music helps me run and write, so it was only natural that it helped me write about running.
The End of The World Running Club is about Ed – an underachieving, overwhelmed husband and father – who finds himself separated from his family after the UK is devastated by an asteroid strike. With only weeks to get from Edinburgh to Cornwall before he loses them forever, his only option is to run.
Ed’s struggle is chronicled against the backdrop of a ruined country. Very few people have survived, the landscape is wiped clean, the cities are razed.
(In the words of Eddie Izzard – an inspirational runner – it’s an ‘Etch-a- Sketch’ end of the world.)

To help me create this devastation, I listened to a fair amount of ethereal, ambient music. The drones, sweeps and echoes gave me the sense of a landscape that had suddenly been emptied of life. But I also wanted to get across the feelings I associate with running – the pain, the frustration, the joy, the elation. And for that I raided my own arsenal of running tracks – I made a playlist of the music I listened to most while I wrote the book, which you can find on Spotify. Here are a few of the highlights…

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The Music behind the Relic Guild – by its author Edward Cox

CB - Jul - The Relic Guild PB Last year I wrote a piece for the Gollancz blog about how important music is to me and my writing process. This year the Grim Reaper seems to be working overtime to claim so many of our musical heroes and influences. In light of this, the piece that I wrote for Gollancz seems more pertinent because the music that touches us doesn’t die with its creators. It’s important that we continue to celebrate the work they leave behind, and also cherish the artists who are still with us and continue to inspire.
(NB. If you’d like to get more background before going on you can check out our profile of Ed here, more on his first book The Relic Guild and sequel The Cathedral of Known Things and other Gollancz titles via those links, and even read an extract from The Relic Guild here!)

Music has always been an important part of my life. I used to make my own – probably not very well, but then I wanted to be a writer, so who cares! – and if not for time constraints, I’d still be making it now. It was a lot of fun, and I remember the lifetime of hours I spent noodling around in my little studio setup very fondly. But the one thing I’ll never give up on is the passion I have for the music that I listened to. It is integral to who I am.

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A Soundtrack for Fen: a Short Story Collection by Daisy Johnson

CB - Jun - Fen Daisy Johnson’s Fen, according to publisher Jonathan Cape, “is a place where animals and people commingle and fuse, where curious metamorphoses take place, where myth and dark magic still linger. So here a teenager may starve herself into the shape of an eel. A house might fall in love with a girl. A woman might give birth to a – well what?”
It’s the kind of mercurial WTF title that nailed itself of its own accord into our June 2016 Book Recommends… And, given I was looking at some articles on music and writing, I just had to ask Daisy if she’d like to share something of that nature as relates to Fen.
Here’s what she had to say… (NB. Links to Apple Music / ITunes provided where available)

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A Q&A with Crashing Heaven author Al Robertson

CBP Jun - Crashing Heaven CB - Go - Oct 16 - Waking Hell Having read the marvellous Crashing Heaven – mass market paperback coming from Gollancz in May and the sequel Waking Hell scheduled for October – we were very keen to quiz the mind behind this “gnarly, wild AI thriller”.
Here’s what we wanted to know and what author Al Robertson had to say…
(NB. If you’d like to read more about Crashing Heaven first check out the link above and / or read our extract here!)


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Macaque Attack – The Song of the Book by The Boy from Space

11183_JKT CBP - Macaque Attack We’re all about alternative music here, and SFF as well of course. So when Gareth L Powell tweeted that a band called The Boy from Space were releasing a tune based on his cult hit Ack Ack Macaque books we were all over it.
Check out what The Boy from Space’s Guy Thompson had to say on it all… 

Some of my earliest memories involve watching TV shows and films such as The Boy From Space, Planet of the Apes and Marine Boy – Sci Fi has always been a huge part of my life. I always loved music and the first link between the two major influences in my life would be the theme music to these programmes. Music that has haunted me throughout my adult life. Read the rest of this entry »

Album Launch: 30 Goes Around the Sun – 30 Years of the Wonder Stuff!

We love the Wonder Stuff and just had to put something up to say Happy 30th Birthday and congrats on the launch of the new album! They’re also touring as part of the launch, tonight at the O2 Forum Kentish Town, then Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds and Nottingham.

From the band’s site:

CA - 30 Goes around the Sun cover “March 2016 sees The Wonder Stuff celebrate it’s 30th anniversary. Yes, 30 years since the band’s very first rehearsal in the heart of The Black Country. Since then they have sold millions of albums worldwide and continue to record and tour internationally to this day.
“To celebrate their longevity the band will not only be touring some very special shows, they are also set to release their eight studio album ’30 Goes Around The Sun’. The new album, in CD, vinyl and digital formats is available to pre-order here along with some other very limited merchandise.”
You can click the cover or here to download a copy (only £7.99!) from ITunes or visit the bands site for other buying options.


All the very best to the band and here’s to many more anniversaries and albums!




More musical greatness on Carabas…