Marmozets – The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets

I’m sure if I read the music press I’d have known all about the Marmozets. A quick search shows there’s a bit of a “band of the moment” vibe about them. Anyhow, being (dare I say it) approaching middle age, I discovered them via the Guardian’s regular “Five new albums to try this week“! I’ve tried and I’ve very much enjoyed!

It’s a bit of a mixed bag, from the heavyish pop-punk end of things through to more discordant post-hardcore mathcore stuff, like you’d typically find me raving about. That they’ve got a female singer probably means that it’s no surprise that at times there’s that bit of a Hayley-Williams-esque Paramore major key moment to scare me, but then as long as it’s quickly offset by some complex heavy angular guitar and rhythms and some screaming lyrics, I quickly forget! In net a complex set of musical influences coming through across the album – the aforementioned Paramore, Billy Talent, the Arctics when they’re being heavy, Muse, SOAD, through to stuff far more seriously mathcore like DEP. No facsimiles though! This clearly is the Marmozets’ own sound, blending lots of stuff that’s influenced them and making it their own! Overall it’s pretty upbeat daytime music, and probably something I could get away with in the car without Mrs ® Andy turning it off, or worse turning on Radio 1!

Oh, and to add to their coolness credentials, they’re made up from two sets of siblings who formed the band at school, and have been playing since 2007.

Best track on the album for me is definitely Vibetech, which absolutely wouldn’t be out of place on a DEP album! Air drum and guitar in my study in full force when that comes on!

[spotifyplaybutton play=”spotify:album:1Xhw8tiNxVo8Z7QU4XH1Z3”]

Simbelmynë – Trillium

According to the official website …

Simbelmynë is a musical project inspired by love of ecology and awe of the natural world.

Given that it’s instrumental, I’m not sure if I can detect the ecological inspiration. However, I can detect inspiration from Opeth at the more melodic end of their canon, and that’s never a bad thing! I ended up listening to this free album, which is another thing I’m not going to complain about, by way of the drumming of the awesome Travis Orbin. He drummed on it with his session drummer hat on, and like many of his sessions recorded himself doing so for his YouTube channel.

Anyhow, why not take a listen, though I’d recommend maybe not with your best headphones on unless you get a buzz from background hiss making is sound like it was ultimately mixed down onto a C90 cassette! Apparently it’s been remixed again to improve the clarity, but I still wonder what happened during the production process!?

Dimaeon – The Blood of Millions

Been listening to this one on repeat for a few days, courtesy of the recommendation from the awesome Prog Metal Zone. It’s a debut album which is always daftly frustrating, because it means I’ve not got a back catalogue to now go and enjoy. A superb blend of progressive death and doom metal. It’s heavy but musically complex and clever with it, which is the perfect blend for me.

[spotifyplaybutton play=”spotify:album:3V7eTR9qUUSzZQSkKZXML5″]

Sampson House

As my Instagram stream proves I love brutalist architecture, and have been actively pursuing opportunities to photograph it this year. I’ve covered many of the “headline” buildings in London whilst making my way about between meetings, though still have a few to go on my list.

Why do I love brutalism? Well I’m a child of the early-70s so perhaps it was imprinted into me then. More likely it’s because I like the blend of “of its time” futurism mixed with something of stark dystopian feel. Similar reasons see me mooching around exploring derelict buildings. I’m just a post-apocalyptic vibe junkie!

Anyhow, I was heading back to the south bank over Blackfriars bridge yesterday, and decided I needed to see if I could quickly find a good angle on Sampson House. It’s a building whose literally robust architecture I’ve long enjoyed, though it’s missed by many, slightly hidden on a side street in Southwark. Hidden is perhaps an overstatement since it’s nothing if not imposingly brutal! It’s also interesting since, unlike it’s more famous brutalist brethren slightly along the south bank that in the National Theatre/Southbank Centre/Hayward Gallery that are almost totally stark concrete, Sampson House is literally more battleship like with its strong use of metal surfaces.

Practically speaking it’s a building I occasionally visit for meetings, typically when other locations have no space. I knew about it being originally constructed for one of the banks, and its use today by IBM BCRS as a location for providing business continuity capabilities to customers. As always though it was interesting to read more, and see its relative youth in brutalist terms, and next opportunity I get I’ll be checking out its Kubrickesque vibe! Here’s Johnny …

A quick Shellshock test on my MBP

If you’ve not read about Shellshock yet today, you probably should. For most people it’ll mean little in reality and the net impact will be an urgent security update, assuming they’re on OS X or Linux. Of course a different question is how overblown the press will make reports of Shellshock, given the panic they spread around Heartbleed earlier in the year!? You can always tell how good a job they’ve done at worrying people when friends and family phone you up and start with the phrase “you’re a geek … should I be worried about <insert technology issue>”.

Of course it is always concerning when a vulnerability is as long historically long lived and widespread as Shellshock seems it could be. Obvious things will be patched quickly, but there’ll be those old systems sat in the background that never will be. However, despite all the doom and gloom that will be spread about it “taking over entire websites”, the typical question of how a hacker is going to get to remotely execute said vulnerability-exploiting bash script in the first place remains!?

Starting with the most obvious, a quick check on my MBP running OSX 10.8.5 shows that it is indeed vulnerable.

bash --version
GNU bash, version 3.2.48(1)-release (x86_64-apple-darwin12)
Copyright (C) 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

And executing a standard test example …

env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable' bash -c 'echo to me stealing all your money'
to me stealing all your money

However, probably more importantly SSHing into my router running DD-WRT shows that it’s not got bash enabled.

Will be interesting to see how this one develops and whether I’ll get any phone calls!?

Hardly groundbreaking but …

The other day a colleague mentioned SouthWestTrains had finally made good on their promise of free wifi, since he now had wifi on his train up from Bournemouth. This morning I turned on my phone’s tethering for my journey to town, but was excited to see something else pop up on the available networks list too.


It’s probably a mixed blessing! The totally appalling Vodafone signal up the mainline from Southampton to Waterloo has at times been frustrating, but also regularly a great reason to go off the net. Conference calls cannot be held and I don’t even bother trying to answer inbound calls. I’d crack on with things that required me to single task. However, of course there are times when reliable internet access was sorely missed … though invariable not for work reasons.

Overall good free wifi access on the train will make a huge difference to my regular train experience. Probably should do some work now …

Only five years later

For a long time I’ve intended to get rid of my old hand coded CSS/HTML site and start using again properly. I mean for a really long time! I’ve had several half-hearted instances of WordPress on here in the past and played with other CMSes too, but as of today I’ve decided to junk everything and start again … or so this post appears to be claiming!

Time will tell!