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Ham Sandwich and State- Tower Records

March 6, 2008

Well this lingering cold has finally decided to up its game today- left work early since I was feeling feverish…but of course there being some live music to listen to I just had to go there first.

Went down to Tower at 1 for Ham Sandwich who were playing for the launch of the State music magazine.  I don’t particularly like media events, so was good to see that there wasn’t major branding all over the shop but just enough to know that it was State.  I recognized Aoife on the way in so had a quick chat with her about the post-blog-awards-remembering-people problem! 

Good crowd for Tower and after listening to Ham Sandwich I must say that they are good- I haven’t managed to catch them over the last year and only knew them from their songs on the radio which are catchy.  Great that it was acoustic- I have always thought that a good measure of a band is the quality of their acoustic material and Niamh and Podge have excellent voices with the energy to carry the songs along with just the guitars and keyboard there.  Really thought the song St. Christopher was outstanding and after listening to the album version again I think I actually prefer the acoustic one.  As part of the set they did covers for REM and Goldfrapp to tie in with the interviews in State- these were only ok and while not exactly gimmicky I think they should have stayed with their own material.

Said a quick congrats to Niall on the website and the bloogie before I left.  The website is pretty well done I must say- aesthetically pleasing, clear, and easy to navigate so you can find the material you are looking for quickly.

After having a look at the print version- it is well done as well and has a good feel to it.  Physically I like the feel of the paper and the fact that the cover is slightly heavier so will take a bit of knocking around without the cover being ripped off.  The layout is quite good- clear and defined columns so that it is easy to see where the articles start and continue so no need for headhunting by byline pics which thankfully are absent.  I also like the fact that almost all of the ads have their own page so that when you are reading the articles you don’t have to skip around them.  Was great to see that the majority of the magazine is music related but I was a bit surprised to see the sections for books and dvds- and I really don’t need something like Anger Mangement at the end.  The writing itself is quite good- but not surprised since the cv’s of the contributors are quite well known. 

Now saying all that, I admit that I am not usually a music magazine person- for me the best thing to do is just listen to the music and make up my own mind instead of reading articles and reviews.  This is from being burnt quite a few times in the old days before free cds and streaming music- there would be glowing comments and reviews for a particular group and when I actually heard the music I wondered which hard drug the reviewer had taken since the music bore no correlation to the review. 

I suppose for a fair review I should have a look at the newly designed Hot Press for comparison…but I think that for readers who are only after music that State is going to be a preferred purchase. 

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