News From The North Week 52

26 04 2010

Here’s the NI band news from the previous issue of Hot Press. Enjoy.


Words: Edwin McFee

By the time you read this, the Beat Poets will be just back from South by Southwest and are currently gearing up to release their superb new single ‘One By One’ on April 19 via all major download sites. Last month we had a sneaky listen to the track and it’s definitely one of the boys’ best, making us even more eager to get a hold of their debut record once they put the finishing touches to it. The band have just confirmed dates at the Square Peg, Warrenpoint (April 17) and the Spring and Airbrake, Belfast (April 23) and are also playing alongside the Saw Doctors and General Fiasco at the Lark in the Park, Moira (May 1) too. For more Beat Poets action check out

Remember last fortnight we were moaning about not receiving a copy of the LaFaro album? Well, while we’re still sans their debut slab of wax, we can reveal that they’ve announced more tour dates, which is great news if you didn’t manage to snag a ticket for their launch on April 26 in the Menagerie in Belfast. The new dates are April 27 at the Menagerie and May 16 at the INF in Warrenpoint and we’re sure there’s more to follow in the coming weeks.

 Good news for anyone thinking about going to the Pigstock festival in Killinchy. While original headliners LaFaro have sadly had to pull out due to touring commitments, A Plastic Rose have stepped in to close proceedings. Taking place on May 29, the bash also features the likes of Swanee River, Pocket Billiards, Mojo Fury, the Lowly Knights, Gentry Morris and more on the bill and it looks like it’s should be a great day out. Tickets cost £20 and are available from the official website

The Smoking Hearts NME Review

23 04 2010

‘Pride of Nowhere’ is easily my favourite album of the year so far, so here’s a wee reprint of the review I did for NME that ran in the paper a few weeks ago.


The Smoking Hearts

‘Pride Of Nowhere’ (George Street)

Sounding like the kind of band who’d make sweet love to your sister and then thieve your Poison Idea records afterwards, London-based sleaze punks The Smoking Hearts’ debut ‘Pride Of Nowhere’ is 29 minutes of mayhem that kicks more ass than a Steven Seagal highlight reel. Utterly monstrous from start to finish, their brand of Valient Thorr or Zeke-esque guitar-mangling marks them out as worthy contenders to take Gallows’ Kings Of British Punk crown. The likes of ‘Daddy’s Little Disaster’ are so potent they could provoke Ken Barlow to shave his head, get inked up and jump in the pit. Frank Carter had better watch his back.

Edwin McFee

8 out of 10

Iron Maiden Play 02, Dublin, July 30

9 04 2010
Yes readers, the excitement levels here in Castle McFee are at fever pitch with the news that Maiden are playing Dublin on July 30. Having spent most of this week looking at flights to Belgium, Italy etc just to see them, I’m now faced with the prospect of  watching my favourite band just down the road. This is what they call “a result” I believe.
I’ve also requested interview time with the band too, so today has already turned out rosy.
Up the Irons!
Iron Maiden confirm DUBLIN, IRELAND concert – fanclub presale starts Tuesday
Published: April 8, 2010
Iron Maiden will open the European leg of their Final Frontier World Tour on Friday 30 July at the O2 in Dublin, with very special guests Heaven & Hell.

Tickets will go on sale next Friday 16th April at 9.00am, with a special pre-sale for members of the Iron Maiden Fan Club starting on Tuesday 13th April at 9am.

The tour takes its name from their forthcoming new studio album, ‘The Final Frontier’, which is expected be released in the late summer of this year.

Following shows in USA and Canada, the Final Frontier World Tour will travel to Europe for a few selected major festival and stadium shows with the band planning to continue to many other countries in 2011.

Stay tuned for full details of an Iron Maiden Fan Club trip to Dublin, coming later today!

Therapy? To Play All Of ‘Troublegum’ At Sonisphere

7 04 2010


Yes readers, Therapy? (pictured above, being interviewed in my house) have announced they’ll play the whole of ”Troublegum’ at this year’s UK leg of Sonisphere. While I’ve always been more of an ‘Infernal Love’ man than a ”Troublegum’ bloke, the prospect of hearing the likes of ‘Femtex,’ and ‘Brainsaw’ live has definitely brightened this writer’s day up (fuck knows how they’ll do ‘Unrequited’ though) and it looks like Therapy?’s 20th anniversery plans are coming together nicely.

Spookily enough, it was just a few days ago I decided I’d definitely be hitting the festival and after a bit of detective work I see they’re playing the same day as Maiden (August 1), so I’m a very happy bunny. For more info on the festival check out

Pledge: A Tribute To Kerbdog Liner Notes

7 04 2010

Last month saw the release of Pledge: A Tribute To Kerbdog via Stressed Sumo Records. Now regular readers of my blog will know that I wrote some liner notes for the disk and I thought it’d be cool to reprint them up on the blog. The record itself is ace. Some of the renditions of the likes of ‘Dry Riser’ and  ‘Mexican Wave’ are great and I urge anyone who was into the band to pick it up.

Anyway, enough of the hard sell. Here’s my liner notes plus a video for ‘Mexican Wave’ from the lads themselves. R.I.P.

In Memory of Kerbdog

I’ll always remember the first time I met Kerbdog. It was via a long forgotten late night rock show on ITV called Noisy Mothers and despite the god awful moniker, it was actually a great way to keep up with new acts (don’t judge me). Anyway, on this particular night my brother and I caught the clip for ‘End of Green’ by Kilkenny’s finest and while the video itself won’t win any awards, the song was a revelation. It was the vocals that struck me first-all impassioned and seemingly out of sync with the rest of the band. Then that sledge hammer riff really kicked in and I knew from then on in that my diet of Maiden, Lizzy and Ozzy just wouldn’t be enough to nourish my bones.

 I remember playing the song to my band at the time and demanding (yes, I was one of those teenagers) that we cover/rip off the track. Our version sucked harder than Annabel Chong of course, but it didn’t really matter, we were having fun. A few weeks later I sold some unwanted tapes and comics to the nearest mug I could find and bought the band’s debut. It was one of my first introductions to so-called “Alternative” music and I couldn’t get enough. Hell, I even took my love for the band as far as hunting down some dodgy specs and cardigans to ape the unlikely style icon that was fellow short-sighted leftie Cormac Battle, but that’s a story for another time…

It’s no secret that Kerbdog never really got their day in the sun (despite their punchy follow up ‘On The Turn’ seeming to have “success” stamped all over it) but to the lucky ones who actually make the effort of hunting down the true hidden treasures, they leave behind a legacy of potent and perverted pop rock songs that will live on long after their untimely demise in the late 90s. In a perfect world we’d all love to hear another record, but for now I’ll settle for those all too rare reunion gigs where I can dance just like those cheesy dudes from the ‘Mexican Wave’ video. Ok, now you can judge me…

Edwin McFee is a music journalist and writes for NME, Hot Press and AU

News From the North Double Dose

6 04 2010

To make up for missing a fortnight-here’s a double dose of NI band news that ran in previous issues of Hot Press. Don’t say I’m not good to you.


Words: Edwin McFee

Vol 34 Issue 04

This fortnight we’ve mostly been freezing our unmentionables off and been grumbling about the fact that February sucks ass, so in a bid to look on the brighter side of life we’ve decided to turn our attentions this issue to June 5, 2010. Why June 5 you ask? Well that’s the date when NI’s biggest band (no, not D-Ream, Snow Patrol you fools) play a very special homecoming show in Ward Park, Bangor. This is only one of a handful of outdoor shows the band will play all year and to make it extra special they’ve roped in General Fiasco for support duties. By that stage, GF will be dominating the world from their secret underground bunker if their debut record Buildings is anything to go by (out March 22 via Infectious Records) and keep your peepers peeled to this column for more news on the show as and when we get it.

For the past few years, NI’s finest alt rockers Yakuza have sadly been indulging in a bit of Odin-Sleep, but much like that one eyed all-father of Norse mythology (see-we can do high brow references when we want to) the four-piece have returned with a vengeance in 2010 and have been playing a gaggle of great gigs as a warm up for the release of their second album (which we’ve yet to hear hint hint…). In addition to their live activity, they’ve also made a new video for their song ‘What Were They, Psychos?’ which was directed by Darren McNanney (who also provided the album artwork for their first slab of wax One Nation Under Awed) and suitably insane it is too. If you want to watch the clip for yourself then check out this link

 Staying roughly on topic for once, everyone’s new favourite band Two Door Cinema Club have made a great video for their superb single ‘Undercover Martyn.’ Adored by the likes of Kanye West (who we’ve heard loves the Bangor trio as much as he likes making an arsehole out of himself on live TV shows) and Mark Hoppus from Blink 182 (y’know, the one who isn’t covered in tattoos or in Angles and Airwaves) Two Door can do no wrong right now and their video is pretty special. Check it out here

Finally if you haven’t heard enough about music videos-then we’ve got good news for you. Producers of a new local TV show are on the hunt for new and exciting clips from unsigned bands. All you have to do to get involved is email with a link to your video along with full contact details and that’s that. Simples.


Words: Edwin McFee

Vol 34 Issue 06

On April 5, seven-piece whiskey soaked troubadours Captain Kennedy release their new double A-Side single ‘Scratch That Penny’/’Sweetest Friend’ via all major download sites as a pre-cursor to their hugely anticipated debut record which comes out in the summer. Last month Hot Press became the first ones to hear the single besides the band (yes, get us) and both tracks really are songs to fall in love to and ‘Sweetest Friend’ in particular has greatness stamped all over it, so make sure you (virtually) pick it up. For more information on the Lurgan lads and lass, check out

What are you doing on July 3rd? Well, if the answer is “Sitting around and secretly wishing there was a music festival taking place somewhere in Mid-Ulster” then your dreams have come true as Banbridge are hosting their very own open air bash. Taking place beside Corbet Lake, the event is dubbed Take It To The Bridge and features And So I Watch You From Afar, A Plastic Rose, Panama Kings and others on the line-up. Tickets for the event are £25 and for details on where you can snag some check out

LaFaro release their long awaited debut album on May 10 via Smalltown America and play a gig in the Menagerie in Belfast on April 26. Sadly tickets sold out within about three minutes of going on sale, but knowing the LaFaro boys it won’t take them too long to announce more shows around the rest of Ireland. Of course, we’d love to be able to tell you that their self titled slab of wax is the veritable cat’s pyjamas, but as no-one has sent us a copy yet we haven’t a baldy notion what to expect (we haven’t worked out if this hint is subtle or not…). Altogether now-BOOOOOOO!

Newry/Warrenpoint metallers Ozzmium have unveiled their amazing clip for ‘Worse Than Ever’ this fortnight and it’s an absolute belter of a video. In the process of making the promo they destroyed a cottage, broke some fingers, blew out their ear drums, smashed bottles, got involved in a domestic dispute and generally sweated like a fat bloke at a game of paintball to create the clip and you can watch it by clicking on the link Fans of Killswitch Engage and loud noises going BOOM will love this lot, so check out for more.

Two Door Cinema Club NME Review

2 04 2010

Here’s my review of Two Door Cinema Club’s debut that ran in the NME a few weeks ago-

Two Door Cinema Club 

 ‘Tourist History’ (Kitsune)


Up until about six months ago, the world at large could be forgiven for thinking that the only bands Northern Ireland ever churns out are of the “punk” and “rock” variety (we’re forgetting about Snow Patrol on purpose). Bangor’s Two Door Cinema Club are apparently hell-bent on proving otherwise, peddling the kind of awkward electropop that could score a million broken-hearted teenage romances given half the chance. Already bigged up by the likes of Kanye West, their debut album is a short, sharp shock to the system. Yeah, they may look like a band that would steal your library books rather than your girlfriend, but that just makes us love them even more.

Two Door’s stuttering yet spiky songs are tighter than a snake’s bumhole in a sandstorm. Each track is an economical three minutes or so and, barring the frankly barmy trumpet-led break-down at the end of album opener ‘Cigarettes In The Theatre’, the trio wisely decide to rein in their youthful exuberances for the rest of the record. Listening to the likes of the thrillingly optimistic ‘What You Know’ and ‘I Can Talk’ makes you feel like you could wrestle former WWE slaphead ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and win (of course, he’d beat the shit out of you, but it’s nice to pretend).

You can’t fault the band’s sunny outlook though. After years of touring it looks like their number has finally come up, and they’re grabbing hold of their chance with the same vigour as a 13-year-old boy getting his first feel. “Let’s make this happen girl/ You’re gonna show the world that something good can work/ And it can work for you/And you know it will” offer the lyrics to recent single ‘Something Good Can Work,’ and by the song’s end we’re willing to believe it too.

So, by thieving a guitar sound from ‘New Romance’-era Pretty Girls Make Graves and putting it alongside synthesized drumbeats and hushed vocals TDCC have created their own style, but they’ve also got a positivity that is as catchy as chlamydia at one of Belle De Jour’s ‘parties’. Don’t believe us? Try listening to the powerpop of ‘Undercover Martyn’ or album closer ‘You’re Not Stubborn’ and not feel compelled to channel your inner Brian Blessed and go out and conquer Everest. We dare you. Don’t tell the emos, but it seems like being happy is the new being sad.

Edwin McFee