NEW EP - Lost In Translation

When bands/artists are floundering creatively they usually plunder the archives in a pitiful attempt to remind their dwindling fanbase that they still exist. Adam Boucher & The Dead Set are no different and so I present you ‘Lost In Translation’, four songs dusted off and released to a tidal wave of indifference.


Click here for the new EP - Lost In Translation

To be ever so slightly more serious though, these four songs were recorded during the sessions for our last EP ‘Beginners' but were left off the final release. At some point during the recording, as the final touches were being added, it became clear to me that the album's worth of material we were recording would be better condensed into a much more concise EP. Releasing an album for the sake of it seemed a bit stupid. As a result I chose not to take them to the mixing stage or spend any more time tinkering with them. In hindsight that was definitely a smart move. Not because they're not good songs, but they didn't really fit the overall feel of what became 'Beginners'.

These songs have a bit more of a normal rock sound and feature the original Dead Set rhythm section - Steve Zsolnai on drums and Jon Zarych on bass. Naomi Scott makes an appearance adding keys and synth on one song too. To me at least, these songs showcase how the original line up sounded - a little more groove based and less raw/punky than what came after. These are also fairly old songs now that all date back to my days playing purely solo acoustic. I think ‘Growing Up & Getting Out’ was actually the first song Jon, Steve and I ever played together too. Ah, the memories.

I’d always intended to release these four songs at a later date but never got round to it. One day though I stumbled on the rough reference mixes from the early sessions and was pleasantly surprised at how good they sounded. I got Steve Good at The Vatican to mix and master them and here we are. Four new recordings for your listening pleasure.

Cal Ryder did the artwork for Beginners and one of her early sketches for that, which didn’t quite fit the mood of the songs on the final EP, now seemed perfect for this release. So, I got in touch and asked her to finish the sketch off. I think you’ll agree that yet again, she came up with something truly excellent.

Anyway, that’s a little bit of background for you. It’s a pay-what-you-want download release (You can enter zero and get it for free if you want). We’ve been drumerless for ages now and it feels like it may be a while before you hear anything new from us, so please download and enjoy this EP and feel free to share it with your friends.

On this record Adam Boucher & The Dead Set are: 

Adam Boucher - Guitar/Vocals 
Jon Zarych - Bass 
Steve Zsolnai - Drums 
Naomi Scott - Piano/Synth 

All songs written by Adam Boucher and arranged by Adam Boucher & The Dead Set 
Yesterday contains a line taken from ‘Half A Person’ by The Smiths. I await Morrissey threatening to sue me… 
The final verse in ‘Somewhere In Between’ is taken from ‘Sound System’ by Operation Ivy. I don’t imagine Jesse Michaels will try to sue though as he seems like a pretty nice guy. 

Recorded by Adam Boucher, Jon Zarych & Naomi Scott at various points in time between August 2011 and February 2012. 
Mixed and mastered by Steve Good at Vatican Studios, London.

Artwork by Cal Ryder
zu-bean records - ZBR-015
Currently having fun with this drummer who replied to our advert…

Currently having fun with this drummer who replied to our advert…





Having ripped it up supporting Jamie Lenman at the end of last year, the mighty Oxygen Thief kicks off 2014 on tour with label mates and new chums Chris T-T & The Hoodrats.
This video is a little taster of what they’re all about.
If you wanna see for yourself - check ‘em out on these dates:

Thur 9 Jan EXETER Cavern Club
Sat 11 Jan BRIGHTON Bermuda Triangle **
Sun 12 Jan OXFORD Truck Store (instore)
Tue 14 Jan MANCHESTER Gullivers
Thu 16 Jan SOUTHAMPTON Joiners Arms
Fri 17 Jan BRISTOL Thekla
Sun 19 Jan LONDON Lexington

Buy the mini album ‘Accidents Do Not Happen They Are Caused’ here:


Seconded. You’d do well to check out the new Oxygen Thief full band mini-album if you haven’t already!

(via famousfriendsfashiondrunks)


A Farewell To Harrington - Free download

So, Day 7. Track 7. A free download of ‘A Farewell To Harrington’. The final track off of Beginners.

Another old song, which first appeared on the EP of the same name in 2007 (It’s also been on the 2010 band demos and At War With Melody, so I must really like it!).


That EP was recorded live at a place called Monkey Chews in Camden by Joel Armsden of eARmusic. I think every acoustic act in London around that time went and played at Monkey Chews, paid their £10 or £15 (I forget how much now) and got a three tracking recording emailed over to them a few days later. I remember every fucker at that gig had postcards, flyers and cd-r’s and were leaving them on all the tables. Shame there wasn’t a single actual punter in the room. It was literally just the acts playing to each other and trying to network. But, saying that, Joel was a nice guy and did a decent job on the recording. More than can be said for a lot of sound guys/promoters, especially in London.

One thing I didn’t realise until going back through old footage for this is that it was at some point around the time I wrote this song that I stopped singing in an American accent. Praise the fucking (imaginary) lord! I just discovered this video recorded in 2006 where the song is clearly very new and I’m still struggling with pitch and phrasing, but the accent is gone, replaced by my best and much more comfortable Billy Bragg/70’s English punk band voice. For me, as someone who never intended to sing, let alone be a solo act, it was all I could do for years just to sing at all, let alone think about how I should phrase things and what my natural singing voice should be like. I think the accent thing annoys me much more than it would most people though. We’re all so used to British singers affecting an American twang. Hell, even Billy Bragg switches between the two accents depending on the song. 

So, lyrically, this one is all over the place. I tend to sum it up by saying that it’s pretty much a song about that time in my life, which is suitably vague. At the time I’d not very long since moved in with my girlfriend, learnt to drive, got my first car (Called Harry) and passed my test. If I remember rightly, the song was nameless for ages and then an absolute cunt drove into my car at a red light and wrote it off. Since learning to drive and getting my first car were fairly big things in my life (mainly as it meant being much more free to get to gigs out of town) I decided to name the song in honour of the car and when I put the EP out, I decided to put him on the cover. I guess that event bookended my life at that point and from there it wasn’t very long before we upped sticks and moved to London.

At that time I was also playing a lot of gigs around town and making friends amongst what little there was of a music scene in Bournemouth. For a period of time it seemed that every decent gig I played or attended was at a place called The Green Room (the video above is from a gig there). It was in the back of a pub called The Portland Hotel, right near AFC Bournemouth’s stadium, in a crummy part of town. It had the bonus of having one of the best soundmen around in Chris Young (Get this: He’d put bass frequencies in the mix for solo acoustic acts AND give you a kick ass monitor mix too!) and they’d let anyone put on pretty much anything. I had many a great night there. Mentioning it in the song was probably my first attempt at a bit of Clash-like self-created myth making. I don’t think anybody who isn’t from Bournemouth and familiar with the music scene gets it though. Perhaps a bit too niche? That’d make a good pull quote for my music actually!

A few other lyrical points:

- “I grew up in house where no one knew quite what to say or how to say it, so it went unsaid.” - I really like this lyric. While my parents did an awesome job of raising me (seriously, my childhood was almost devoid of any drama. I just remember lots of fun) my family doesn’t really communicate. At all. I don’t recall feelings ever being discussed. I don’t think we’re the least bit unique in that way, but it obviously has an influence.

- “Growing up in the eighties…” - The first few lines of the song were very sincere, so I decided to chuck in a stupid line that doesn’t really mean anything. I mean, the shorts were too tight though. What were people thinking? 

- “Girl right next to me” - Obviously referring to my girlfriend. This is a Goo Goo Dolls reference to a song off their Superstar Carwash album. I love The Goo Goo Dolls (well everything up to and including Gutterflower and then they went a bit rubbish with only glimpses of their old brilliance) and John Reznick was a huge influence on me, mainly in making me explore alternate tunings (Ani Difranco was also a huge influence for this), which is really how I managed to stumble into songwriting.

- “And it’s not that bad to be ugly, you should try it some time” - Growing up I really feel like I had no concept of ugliness. My parents did a great job of keeping the horrors of the world away from me. Too good a job and I’m sure that feeds into my awkwardness and anxieties. I’m not trying to suggest massive suffering here though. We’ve all got shit to deal with. I’m not a looker. I’ve come to accept that. I think when you accept your lot, there’s a freedom in that. Work on the things you can change. Be a better person. Explore the things that excite you. Be around people who make you happy. It makes me think of this scene from Almost Famous. I’d rather be on this side of the story even if there’s nobody paying any attention (As a side note, I sampled two quotes from this very scene on a song called ‘Out At Any Time’ way back in the day):

The lines about playing to a room full of morons and being called a sellout when the label markets me at trendy kids is obviously tongue-in-cheek, but underlying it is an understanding that the music I play and the delivery of it is clearly destined to be quite underground. I’m generally quite confused by the concept of mass appeal anyway and albums selling millions of copies. To me it’s perfectly viable that a song/artist/album could have a limited appeal. When bands used to sell 15 million copies (you know, back when people still paid for music) you could bet that 14 million of those sales were people buying it because it had been hyped and the other 1 million were the people who genuinely connected with it. 

Steve is the drummer on the ‘Beginners’ EP recording. Pretty much from the first time we practiced it, Steve just instinctively knew the right feel for this song. It’s basically the same chords the whole way through and its strength is in the ebb and flow of the delivery. Solo, this one can be a absolute bitch to get right. With the band it opened things up so much and the drums are a huge part of the success of it. I didn’t immediately realise how good a drummer Steve was when we first started practicing. There was a period of a month or so where he couldn’t practice though and on short notice someone else filled in and it was then I realised all of the subtle things he was doing, particularly on this song.

By contrast, Johnny never really understood this one. We got close, explaining that it needs to lay back a little, let it breath and ebb and flow, but he almost always just machine-gunned his way through it. Due to how the song is structured, anything faster than the tempo you hear on the EP and I’ve got no space to actually breath between verses/phrases. Johnny was almost always exceptionally faster. Here’s two videos to illustrate my point and show how great Steve is as far as playing for the song goes. The first is a band practice with Jon and Steve from 2009 while we were still working on the songs (including Jon doing backing vocals). The second is the first gig of the new lineup with Naomi and Johnny in 2011. I think we just about survived Johnny’s tempo, but any faster and we may as well have been a skramz band!

Naomi’s input here on the EP is also hugely important. Specifically for the backing vocal. If I remember correctly, this song was the first thing she sent back. When I heard the vocal it was a real ‘hairs standing up on the back of your neck’ moment. I remember solo’ing the track and listening really intently to it. Just brilliant. It’s a very simple part but it just fit so well and sounded damn near perfect. I’m really lucky to have had her in the band.

She also provided the piano part which can be heard in the background. I remember when she sent the tracks over she said something like “You know when you said “Do whatever you want”? Well I took that to mean “make it sound like Elton John”. Hope that’s ok”. I was suitably apprehensive and assumed I’d just not end up using the part, but it fit really well. It ended up a little more buried in the final mix than I’d have liked, but it really adds a great little extra groove to the song and it’s at its optimum given all the other stuff that’s going on. 

This song is also another one from the early days where I relied a lot more on my capo and altered tunings. This one is a capo on the fourth fret and DADGBD. I think Naomi pointed out at practice once that while I might be using capos and weird tunings, the basic chord progressions I use are the same. Basically like a fancy, slower Ramones, but with songs about anxiety instead of sniffing glue.

One final thing to note: This is the first (and so far only) song of mine to get it’s own ‘fan’ video. A video with more views than most of what I’ve uploaded myself too! Thanks Jamie!

I just watched the video back and other than the appearance of Jimmy Saville (who’d have known eh Jamie?!) it’s a great little video.

On this recording Adam Boucher & The Dead Set is:

Adam Boucher - Guitar, Vocals 
Naomi Scott - Bass, Piano, Vocals 
Steve Zsolnai - Drums


I may not be the best at communication but I’m trying, a little more with every day. 
See I grew up in house where no one knew quite what to say or how to say it, so it went unsaid. 
And growing up in the eighties, it left its mark on me. 
I think the shorts were too tight. 
I know the shorts were too tight. 

I’m getting comfortable in my skin. With my girl right next to me. 
And it’s not that bad to be ugly, you should try it some time. 
It takes a weight off my shoulders. Gives me time to focus on important things in life. 

So here’s to the shy kid I used to be. He had his part to play but now i’m moving on. 

I’m gonna hit the road. Play to a room full of morons and that is what is known as paying your dues. 
Maybe I’ll write a hit album and the label will market me at all of the trendy kids. 
And you’ll call me a sell out and I’ll shoot myself. 

So where does that leave me? Guess I’ll be playing The Green Room, to a few of my friends and I’ll be wondering what might have been. 

See I’m a punk rock geek. Proud of the fact. Ugly as sin and with a foul mouth to match. And you won’t se me on tv any time soon. I’ll be playing to no one at The Green Room.

A Farewell To Harrington - Free download


Exceptions - Free download

Day 6. Track 6. A free download of Exceptions from the Beginners EP.

A very old song, which first appeared on Hee Haw back in 2005. Written a week or so before I went in to Active Music in Bournemouth to record. It’s been a staple of most gigs ever since. An example of my earlier songs utilising a capo and an altered tuning. This one is a capo on the 6th fret and EADGCE.
This is my skewed version of a love song. When I think of love songs that I like or really mean anything, I tend to think of things like ‘Brickbat'  by Billy Bragg rather than some gooey ‘Baby, you mean the world’ schtick. I’ve been with my girlfriend for 10 years now and this song still rings true for me. I’ll spare you the ‘meaning’ since I think it’s fairly obvious.

This is the first appearance on the Beginners EP of the one and only Steve Zsolnai on drums. Unlike the previous tracks where Johnny really got what I was after, Steve totally nailed this song. Johnny’s version was fine, but Steve just had the kind of feel that was needed from day one. A big difference recording wise was that Johnny recorded on his own to a click a track, whereas Steve recorded without a click and with me playing guitar at the same time. I think it gives a bit more flow and a sense of urgency, which was needed for the song.
Here’s an early version of the song with the original line-up. Again, taken from our second ever gig. A little ropey in places but what are you going to do? Eh? I mean, I bet you’re only skim reading this out of politeness right? I hate you! (I don’t)…

And here’s another video of the song. This time from the first gig with Johnny and Naomi:

In terms of the bass part, I had to pick between two very strong, but quite different parts. For ages, I heard the song exclusively with Jon’s bassline but I eventually opted for Naomi’s as it just felt that little bit more right for this EP version, especially with the extra instrumentation that wound up on it. Naomi added piano and synth parts which gave it a much bigger sound. Couple that with there being 4 guitars at one point and it’s quite a busy arrangement. 
The lead guitar part after the chorus was suggested by Jon. He felt the song needed something to keep up the momentum. I was against it, but gave it a try anyway, using a wah plug-in set to about halfway and just came up with the lead line. Jon was right. He often is.

Recording the EP:
Since it seems I have less to say about this track, I thought I’d write a bit on how Beginners was recorded.

The original plan for the EP was to record the 4 or 5 songs that the new lineup had practiced, do it really quick and then put it up online for free, sort of like we did for the 2010 demos. I have a Roland V-drum kit, so I was going to have Johnny come round and we’d just record the sound out of the kit, then I’d add guide guitar and vocals and send them over to Naomi to record bass. Had that happened, it would’ve sounded utterly shit so I’m glad that never happened. Basically this is what the drums would’ve sounded like:

I did some test recordings with the vdrum kit and like the above example, it sounded shocking, but that’s what you get with the built in sounds from a budget kit. I have a Mac running Pro Tools and an M-Box audio interface, which has midi-in. The drumkit has midi-out so I suddenly found myself looking at triggering samples via the kit and I was suitably impressed with how much better it sounded. Once I knew I could get a decent sound that way, things sort of grew from there and the idea of doing a better recording came up.

Unfortunately, time dragged on and Johnny wasn’t available for a few months to practice or record, so that’s when I hatched the plan to have Steve come back in and record all the drums that he’d done when he was in the band. At worst it’d be a good trial run and at best I’d have some songs finished with him playing on them that I could use. Naomi recorded all her parts and I decided to get Jon back to record some of his bass parts too, especially as some of the songs recorded with Steve hadn’t been worked on with the new lineup.
It took fucking ages to complete. Drums were the easiest and quickest and Naomi’s parts were done really quickly too. I spent ages working on guitar tone and vocals and must’ve sung/played these songs to death trying to get a good performance and decent sound. That took up the most amount of the time as I was doing it on evenings or on weekends and had no fucking idea what I was doing. 

The majority of the recording was done in the spare room in my flat in Ealing. To give you an idea of size, this is  how it looked with nothing in, just after we’d packed to move:

Here’s Jon laying down some bass towards the end of the sessions:

Very much a ‘home’ studio with the emphasis on ‘home’, but it got the job done.

Here’s Johnny writing out parts or writing his Christmas list for Santa, I’m not sure which:


After a bunch of failed attempts to mix it on my own and also with Jon, I decided to get someone else to do it. Thankfully, Liam from County Trials suggested Darren Castle (also of County Trials fame) who had recorded their gang vocals for Corner Of 9 to 5 and also their demos.

We did a test of Corner of 9 to 5 to see how it’d go (by email as he wasn’t in London) and I then handed the mixing duties over to him. He did a fucking great job. None of the recording was done in a professional mindset, beyond making sure to not have things clipping all over the place. He must’ve had a massive ball-ache trying to make it all fit together sonically while accommodating my requests to have the synth part ‘a bit louder’ or ‘bring the bass out a bit’ in amongst tracks that were recorded with no real thought to how they’d sit in a mix.


It was never intended to be a pro-sounding recording and listening back it’s definitely very rough and ready and a little suspect sonically in places (my recording, not his mixing/mastering though!) but I still think it sounds pretty damn good. Lessons learned from the recording though: I’d definitely pay to record the drums in a studio, even if I then went and recorded everything else at home, and then take it in to a studio to mix. For some reason, I was trying to do it on a budget of nothing (I ended up only paying to mix/master it). Saying that, given the band was in a state of flux at the time (and the budget recording approach) that wasn’t really an option. I think the EP came out the best it could’ve given everything. It’s still the only thing I’ve recorded that I can listen back to without wincing with embarrassment…

Anyway, back to the song…

On this recording Adam Boucher & The Dead Set is:
Adam Boucher - Guitar, Vocals 
Naomi Scott - Bass, Piano, Synth 
Steve Zsolnai - Drums


Well I don’t know where along the way, but the words they came out anyway. 
And it really doesn’t matter what made them appear. 
Cos I looked at you and you looked at me. 
And suddenly it all came clear. I have never been this happy in all my life. 

And I don’t write happy songs that much. 
But here I am and I’m in love. 
So I guess that I am willing to make some exceptions. 

And I’ve come a long way from my old days. 
The shy, retiring face. Said “I’ll play the clown, just don’t put me down. I’ll stay in my place”. 

And I don’t write happy songs that much. 
But here I am and I’m in love. 
So I guess that I am willing to make some exceptions. 
And all along the way somewhere, well the words they get trapped in the air. 
And I guess that what I’m really trying to say is “I love you” 

Well I don’t know where along the way, but the words they came out anyway. 
And it really doesn’t matter what made them appear.

Argh… I’m A Numpty - Free Download

Day 5 brings you lucky people a free download of track 5 from the Beginners EP - Argh… I’m A Numpty.

A fairly old song. Another one written around the time the band was first starting and it actually appeared on both the ‘At War With Melody’ solo EP and the first band demo, which were put out at the same time.

Here’s the solo version from ‘At War With Melody’:

And here’s the band playing it at our second ever gig, at the 12 Bar (one of my absolute favourite places to play in London):

On the ‘Beginners’ EP it’s Johnny drumming. Steve’s original drums gave it more a swinging, funky vibe. Great at the time and in its own right but when Johnny came into the band, he totally nailed the punkier style I was aiming for and so that’s version I went with. Sorry Steve!

Not much to say about the recording as it was a fairly straight ahead rendition with no fuss involved. Jon plays bass on the EP version as his bassline always sounded right and mixed with Johnny’s drums I think it’s the best rhythm section for the song.

Lyrically, this is another song routed in low self esteem. Listening back, there’s a lot of songs with that theme! Only one person (Liam from County Trials) has ever asked who it’s about and he guessed it right too. Top marks to him. Basically, as is obvious from songs like ‘You Probably Shouldn’t Keep It All In’ I can be quite socially awkward. This song came about after going to see one of my favourite bands, Zolof The Rock And Roll Destroyer. They’re a great, fun pop-rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They did a UK tour with Mike TV and I went to see them at The Underworld. They were the headliner, but most people were there for the support acts, so when they came on it was just me and some random American girls at the front getting into it, and then the few polite gig-goers behind who were nice enough to not just fuck off early. For one song - ‘This Was All A Bad Idea’, there’s a male vocal part and they wanted someone to get up and sing it. Suddenly, they were pointing at me and asking me to get up on stage. A little too drunk (I never play gigs with more than one drink in me as I’m bad enough sober and I’d had three or four at this point) and a bit freaking out I ultimately declined and they played it minus the male vocal. I should’ve said yes, got up and made a tit out of myself. No harm would’ve come from it and I’d have no doubt had a blast. Lesson learned. 

Anyway, as a second part of the inspiration, when I speak to musicians I like/admire/whose music means a lot to me, I tend to fall into mile-a-minute awkward fanboy mode. It’s odd because I know rationally that whoever it may be is just a normal human with flaws and hangups of their own. They could even be a massive dickhead. But for some reason I can’t hold a decent normal conversation where I don’t come away feeling stupid (Even if I actually come off fine to whoever I’m talking to). So afterwards I chatted to Vinnie (the guitarist) and Rachel and they were totally lovely. Really friendly and had plenty of time to chat, even though they had to pack up their merch/equipment etc. I came away happy that I’d chatted to them and they were so nice, but I was annoyed because I didn’t get up and sing and my brain was telling me I must’ve come across like an idiot.

I wrote the song in one sitting and edited it down to the final song (give or take some changes to the vocal melody). The first draft was lyrically much more obvious and factual. That approach didn’t really work and sounded too forced, so I kept in the more vague lyrics and the others got ditched.

The first line of the chorus (‘So sick and tired of waiting’) is taken from their song ‘This Was All A Bad Idea’ as a reference to the impetus for the song and that led to the rest of the chorus falling in to place. That chorus is one of my favourite lyrics that I’ve written. I hope if they ever happen upon the song, they take that line being used as the homage it’s meant as and aren’t pissed about me using it!

The title is a play on another of their songs, ‘Argh… I’m A Pirate’, which is one of my favourite songs by them and the first song I heard when I decided to give them a listen. Sadly, their last album was back in 2007. I don’t they’ve split up, but there’s no sign of the new album they were working on and that’s a huge shame.

As yet another example of how my lyrics can been stream of consciousness and vague, the first verse and first two lines of the second are rooted in truth, albeit not explicitly giving away what I’m on about, whereas the last two lines of the second verse sort of flip things and go off an a more fictional, but still related tangent. So, the Rachel mentioned in that verse is Rachel from Zolof The Rock And Roll Destroyer. I definitely have a bit of a crush on her and somehow I wound up tying that awkwardness from the gig in with how awkward I can be around women I like. However, the line about marriage and being hung up on her isn’t serious. It’s actually meant in a light-hearted way, sort of mimicking their songwriting style and isn’t a heartfelt plea or anything. Another exaggeration for the benefit of the song.

On this recording Adam Boucher & The Dead Set are:

Adam Boucher - Guitar, Vocals 
Jon Zarych - Bass 
Johnny Yeates - Drums


So sick and tired of waiting for a boost to my self esteem. 
I’ll put it down to practice and contemplate what might have been. 
Cos if I could only think straight. Make a dick of myself less often. 
You don’t remember me, so why does it matter now? 

I guess it doesn’t matter if the devil took his eye off the detail. 
No one would even notice. I’ve got to learn to care much less. 
And if we were machines, we’d flirt in binary and make out in absolutes.

So sick and tired of waiting for a boost to my self esteem. 
I’ll put it down to practice and contemplate what might have been. 
Cos if I could only think straight. Make a dick of myself less often. 
You don’t remember me, so why does it matter now? 

I don’t get up with you, for fear of reprisal. 
Fearing that monster come sniffing for my blood. 
Rachel would you marry me? I’m kind sorta hung up on you. 
Could you ever be sorta kinda hung up on me too? 

So sick and tired of waiting for a boost to my self esteem. 
I’ll put it down to practice and contemplate what might have been. 
Cos if I could only think straight. Make a dick of myself less often. 
You don’t remember me, so why does it matter now?


Shoutyfolk punk rock from London, England.

Email: adam@adamboucher.com


Listen to the Beginners EP

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