Ten Years Ago Today

25 09 2012

Hard to believe this time 10years ago I made these.I have to say, the last decade has been a dream and I feel lucky/proud to tick off basically everything/everyone on my “to do” list.Really looking forward to the next 10plus years ahead too.Oh, and if anyone tells you that you “can’t” do what you want with your life, tell them your pal Edwin says they’re full of shit.Up the Irons.

Big thanks to Martin for the artwork too.


Rocket Gabba Gabba

24 09 2012


News From The North 109

22 09 2012

Here’s a reprint of my NI music news column that runs every fortnight in Hot Press.


Words: Edwin McFee

Fresh from kicking many an ass and taking their respective names at Glasgowbury, the incendiary Empty Lungs continue their rise to NI rock royalty this fortnight with the news that they’re set to support San Franciso punks Dead To Me on their up-coming Irish tour.  Kicking off on Aug 18 at Fibber Magee’s, Dublin, the four-piece also share the stage with the Fat Wreck Chords signed Americans in the Warzone Centre, Belfast on Aug 19 and both dates are recommended for anyone with even a shred of interest in impassioned punk and rock. Generous souls that they are, Empty Lungs have just recently made their ace single ‘Identity Lost’ (plus two other songs) available for free too and you can snag them at emptylungs.bandcamp.com. Doooo iiiiittttt.


Next up, irrepressible alt-rock trio Axis Of have just unveiled their plans for their total domination of Ireland. Dubbed the 32 Counties tour and inspired by Irish artists, poets, writers, creatives and musicians through the centuries (nope, I’m don’t really know what they mean by that either), the band perform at least one show in each county over the next three months or so and some of the key dates for your respective diaries include Harrison’s, Dundalk (Aug 10), Voodoo, Belfast (Aug 11) and the “we’re not sure how they’re going to manage it” four gigs in four counties on one day event that takes place at Essaness Music, Kilkenny, TBC, Wexford, John Palmer Music, Waterford and Belly Bang, Tipperary on Aug 25. The boys will also be announcing extra gigs over the next few months to tie in with their up-coming release of their debut album Finding St. Kilda and for more details visit axisof.co.uk.


Snow Patrol frontman and all-round local lad made good Gary Lightbody has confirmed he’s just filmed a bit part for Sky Atlantic’s battles and boobies TV show Game Of Thrones. Filmed in the north, the popular (though slightly pervy) programme is a bit of a hit with the general public and while the singer didn’t dish too much dirt on his role he took to Facebook to post up a suitably muddy looking photo of himself. Nice…


Finally this fortnight I’ve just enough room to tell you noise rockers Comply Or Die and Mudbitch have teamed up to play three dates down south this August. Kicking off on the 9th at Fibber Magee’s, Dublin, the bands then play Fred Zeppelin’s, Cork on Aug 10 and the Blind Pig, Limerick on Aug 11 so if you’re in the area check them out as they rule the proverbial school.

Fame At Last…..

21 09 2012

Picked up the new Hot Press last week and spotted I got mentioned in the Phantom pages.I feel like a bearded,tattooed Grainne Seoige.

Metal Hammer Review: Bullet ‘Full Pull

20 09 2012

Here’s a reprint of my review of the new Bullet record that ran in Metal Hammer.




Full Pull is the bizarre but occasionally brilliant new album from Swedish hard rock act Bullet and it follows hot on the heels of last year’s Euro mainstream chart bothering third opus Highway Pirates. A much more melodic affair than previous outings, the band’s decision to hire producers for the first time (namely Hellacopters’ kingpin Nicke Andersson and former Dismember tub thumper Fred Estby) was a wise one and the late 70s/early 80s inspired choruses are as catchy as an STD during Fresher’s Week. Featuring a loud and lairy live feel to their raunch ‘n’ roll numbers, frontman Hell Hofer’s gargled falsettos may sound a little strange at first, but once you get two or three tracks in, his “Mer-Man from Masters of the Universe sings AC/DC” style (particularly on the title track and the anthemic Rolling Home) fits the OTT guitar solos perfectly. While the likes of In Heat can be a little heavy on the Rose Tattoo-isms, for the most part Bullet’s fourth effort hits the target more often than misses it. [7]


Blogging A Dead Horse Is 4!

11 09 2012

Yes readers, the blog that spawned a million (alright, about 8) imitators has, not surprisingly out-lasted them all.

To celebrate my personal patch of cyber space’s fourth year I thought I’d post up my favourite interview of 2012 which Ms Shirley Manson from Garbage (which originally ran in Hot Press). She was awful nice.

Trash Talk

Ahead of the release of their comeback album Not Your Kind Of People, Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson talks to Edwin McFee about break-downs, major label bust-ups and why she’s over the moon to be bucking the trends.


When most people get the so-called “seven year itch,” it’s safe to say that it results in break-ups, multiple mid-life crises, Eastenders-esque melt-downs and more for all involved. For the eternal round pegs in the square hole that is multi-million selling alt rock icons Garbage though, it has inspired the four-piece to reconnect with each other after their self-imposed hiatus and their soon to be released fifth album Not Your Kind Of People showcases a band that hasn’t missed a beat despite their near decade long absence.


“I can assure you, we’re missed many beats,” insists the band’s frontwoman Shirley Manson, before treating us to her infamous, and decidedly dirty laugh. “We’ve always known we’d regroup. I’m a dramatic person-but I’m also pragmatic at this point. We’re never gonna go ‘We’re done.’ It’s so stupid to make these massive proclamations about your band and your relationships and things that you love. We never said we’re done-we said we’re taking a break, you know?”


Recorded and self-produced in LA, their new album is the sound of a band who are eager to get back to their best after enduring a difficult few years and the singer tells us that going their separate ways on the short-lived world tour for their album Bleed Like Me in 2005 helped give them all a feeling of freedom to do what they wanted too.


“What was great about taking seven years off (and being more or less forgotten about) was we felt we could come to the table and do what we were good at and not have to be a young buck on the street trying to make that all important first impression. We’re not professing to be sonic pioneers in 2012. Fuck that, we don’t have to do that anymore. We don’t have to justify our existence.”


Released on their own label STUNVOLUME and indeed, on their own terms, Not Your Kind Of People sees the band break away from the clutches of major labels and for Shirley, the escape from that world was something that both her and fellow members Butch Vig, Steve Marker and Duke Erikson really needed.


“The great thing about a major label system is that when it’s working there’s no better way to get your music out to a massive audience-it’s inarguable,” begins the font-lady. “However, when it’s not working it can be really oppressive and create obstacles and rob you of your joy and that’s what happened to us. It’s very liberating now and it’s great to be free of the massive stupidity that you find sometimes in a major label system. Great things will never come from those joyless environments.


“The thing was, we never wanted to be involved with major labels,” she continues. “When we first started out in ’94 we were on an indie label and they got bought over by the majors and we were sold like a piece of sausage meat which psychologically, for people like us, was so damaging. It was devastating. I guess it ultimately wore us all down and you know what- I’ve just hit on it in this very last minute-I think as a band we got collectively depressed and that’s why we had to come off the road seven years ago.”


Determined to have one more bite of the cherry, Garbage dipped into a joint bank account that they set up when the likes of singles ‘Stupid Girl,’ ‘Only Happy When It Rains’ and more made them both household names and icons for the alternative generation and they used that cash to fund an album that they felt like they had to make.


“Maybe nobody gives a fuck anymore, but we needed to make this record,” considers the singer. “When we came off the road we had lost something. We lost our passion and excitement. We had really gotten beaten down and I felt determined to reignite thatjoy. So, basically, I stopped listening to new, contemporary music and went back to all my old vinyl and all those old records that had fired my imagination. I listened to Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie, Kaleidoscope by the Banshees, my first Clash record and more amazing albums and I got excited again. I just wanted to throw off any of those limitations that we maybe felt and have fun. We didn’t worry about whether this has been done before or whether it sounds a bit like Siouxsie. Instead I was just like-‘Fuck it, it this comesout and it sounds a bit like Siouxsie, I’m gonna fucking use it coz she’s cool as shit!”


With early reviews for their fifth album drawing favourable comparisons to their much-loved ’95 self-titled debut and festival slots, TV appearances and more coming in on a daily basis, it appears that the Garbage come-back is now officially on and while Shirley happily admits that’s she’s a little bemused by it all-she’s also over the moon about the reaction too.


“Absolutely no way did we ever think we’d endure like this,” concludes the Scot.  “I mean…how the fuck have us oddball freako nerds got to this point where we now have a back catalogue? It’s crazy. To get to almost our 20th anniversary is rare for any band-let alone a female-fronted rock band. You can count how many women who’ve done what I’ve done on physical digits. It’s really rare in this world and to be honest-I can’t believe I have ended up being one of those females who have broken that rule. It makes me feel very proud and lucky.”


Not Your Kind Of People by Garbage is out on May 11 on STUNVOLUME Records.

News From The North Week 108

7 09 2012

Here’s a reprint of my NI music news column that runs every fortnight in Hot Press.


Words: Edwin McFee

First up this fortnight, I’d like to introduce you all to a (relatively) brand spanking new band from Derry called Making Monsters that recently have set my “ace new band senses” a-tingling (well, I hope that was my “ace new band senses…..”). Indulging their inner Jean Grey and rising phoenix-like from the ashes from No Mean City and Hybrid, the female-fronted four-piece have just launched their self-titled EP and it’s recommended for fans of neck bothering, hook-laden metal. Available to buy via their website (makingmonsters.co.uk) and at gigs, the opus is worth the price of admission alone for the final two cuts ‘Sink Or Swim’ and ‘This Snake Bites’ and they stand as some of the best local tuneage I’ve heard all year. The former is a punchy, pit anthem that has a chorus to die for, while the latter is as venomous as a bite from the walking dead (and reminds this writer of ‘Head South’ by Pretty Girls Make Graves) and both feature jaw droppingly good vocals from Emma Gallagher. In short-check them out.


Next up, as I’m writing this latest missive, like many other readers, I’m regularly thigh deep in mud whilst clad in an always fetching poncho at the moment. Now before any wags leap to the conclusion that I’m trying out a new life choice inspired by 50 Shades Of Grey (#topical) I should remind you all that we’re now at the mid-way point of festival season, hence the garb. So, with that in mind, here’s a brief update on some of the north’s up-coming open air events.


Over the last few months there have been more additions to the Sunflower Fest, Hillsborough which takes place on Aug 17-19. Some of the added acts include Pocket Billiards, Runaway Go, Grainne Duffy, Clown Parlour, NI Soul Troop, Colum Sands, Suzanne Savage, Indigo Fury, the Delfinos, Yellow Car No Return, the Red Velvetines, Malaika, Bernadette Morris, the Couth, Axis Of, the Urges, My Fellow Sponges and Concrete Circus and you can check out the full line-up here sunflowerfest.co.uk.


Finally this issue, if you fancy being the last act added to the Stendhal Festival in Limavady (Aug 17-18) you better get your metaphorical skates on. Their Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/Stendhal-festival-of-art) are letting the public choose who will play alongside a line-up which already features Henry McCullough, Mundy, Mojo GoGo and more and your deadline is Aug 1. With the likes of Empty Lungs, Uber Glitterati and others all battling it out for a spot, it looks like no matter what the out-come-the public wins (yes, I went there).

Metal Hammer Album Review: Crucified Barbara

6 09 2012

Here’s a reprint of a review of the new album by Crucified Barbara that ran in last month’s Metal Hammer.




Swedish female four-piece Crucified Barbara continue to kick against the pricks this month with the release of their third album The Midnight Chase and it’s a record which sees the group really push their Motorhead influences to the forefront. Featuring a vocalist (Mia Coldheart) who sounds a little like Brody Dalle if she grew up listening to Hanoi Rocks rather than Refused and guitars that are reassuringly meaty, their new 11 track opus is a hook-laden affair that is (at times) more explosive than a hand grenade. Opening with the punk ‘n’ roll tinged The Crucifier, the Barbs keep proceedings hard and fast and the lion’s share of the record is a sleaze-laden romp. While admittedly we could do without the fromage-fest that is ballad Count Me In, the rest of the tracks on the release represent their strongest material to date and it’s a good purchase for those who are disillusioned with the Donnas decidedly mediocre current output and indeed anyone who adores unashamedly old school rock anthems. [7]


Glasgowbury Review (Hot Press)

4 09 2012

Here’s a reprint of my review of this year’s Glasgowbury that ran in Hot Press last month.Pic stolen from Ramsey Cardy (www.shoottothrill.co.uk)


Eagle’s Rock, Co. Derry

Featuring a rather fetching stripy circus tent serving as the new home for the G Sessions stage, an additional dance-oriented area sponsored by Red Bull and, most importantly, the strongest line-up they’ve had in their 12 year history, the self-proclaimed “small but massive” shin-dig that is Glasgowbury is rapidly maturing into something of a monster. With shed-loads of Irish acts on the bill, 2012’s festival has something for everyone and business really picks up with the arrival of the all-conquering punk-infused rock ‘n’ roll group Empty Lungs. Now a four-piece thanks to the recent arrival of guitarist Sam (“The fucker looks like Ryan Gosling and has a massive cock” offers singer Kev Jones by way of introduction) the boys are in world beating form and belt out the likes of ‘Identity Lost’ and ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ with a belief and passion that marks them out as one of the best unsigned acts on the island right now.


Donegal’s Mojo Gogo are another outfit who are on the cusp of greatness and their utterly infectious indie songs go down a treat on the main stage. Boasting a live sound that’s as solid as Godzilla’s sofa, the quartet impress thanks to numbers such as the stunning ‘Romance In The Lie’ and we’re sure this time next year they’re be much further up the bill. While the rather languid in comparison Master and Dog struggle a little following the Mojos and Katie And The Carnival’s performance suffers thanks to the elements, NI’s greatest party band Pocket Billiards arrive onstage to perk up us and they blast out some absolutely righteous sounding ska-punk, with ‘Dirty Money’ and ‘Belfast Town’ in particular sounding anthemic in the open air.


After a brief break checking out the hugely popular, Red Bull sponsored Generator Stage which saw DJs such as Viasidus and Casion spin tracks alongside local radio talent, we pop over to the Eagle’s Rock stage to check out the rootsy sounds of Farriers and their country/bluegrass-tinged songs are a perfect, chilled out precursor to the madness to come. By “madness,” we of course mean those riff lords LaFaro and their turn in the G Sessions tent is a master-class in sonic thuggery. In fact, there are more than a few punters who’ll definitely need a neck brace the next day after being pummeled by the punk metal sounds of ‘Easy Meat’ and ‘Full Tilt.’ Expect them to headline Glasgowbury sooner rather than later.


Speaking of headliners, NI legends Therapy? are left to bring the day to a close and they do it in style. Opening with the awesome one-two punch of ‘Rust’ and ‘If It Kills Me,’ the trio (which includes stand-in drummer Alan from LaFaro) are clad in suits and prowling the stage like street-walking cheetahs looking just as up for it as the crowd. It’s great to hear the likes of ‘Nausea’ being dusted off for a live airing and newies such as ‘Living In The Shadow Of A Terrible Thing’ sit happily beside the now classic noise-rock cuts ‘Meat Abstract’ and more. In short-for 70minutes the band brought the thunder and gave us the best Glasgowbury performance we’ve ever seen. File under “H” for Heroic.