News From The North 75

4 04 2011

As some folk may already know, for the last three years I’ve written a column in Hot Press devoted to covering bands from Northern Ireland. Here’s one of the more recent missives…

News

Words: Edwin McFee

It’s “new release” fortnight up here in the north at the moment and it seems as if everyone has something to flog. So, without further ado, let’s get to it. First up, Belfast’s decidedly modish four-piece the Vals are preparing to unveil a brand new double A-side single (‘Look To The One/Emily O’). Featuring the inimitable Mr Henry McCullough (formerly of Wings) the slab of wax is penciled in for an early May date, so get saving your pennies now. The band will no doubt be off on another European festival jaunt this summer and we’ll of course keep you posted.

Next up, if, like this writer, you enjoy a bit of action in the squared circle (I swear that isn’t half as dirty as it looks on paper) then you’ll want to check out the new video for the Bonnevilles’ latest salvo of sleazy blues punk ‘Good Suits And Fightin’ Boots,’ which features some Mexican style Lucha Libre wrestling. Made by the hugely imaginative filmmaker Sean Duncan (AKA Red Cap Productions http://www.redcap-productions.com) the clip and single are available on April 7. The band also play a launch gig that night in the Menagerie, Belfast and well worth checking out it is too.

A Plastic Rose (another of Mr Duncan’s previous conquests spookily enough) are planning to still go ahead will the launch gig for their latest mini album The Promise Notes on March 31 despite being stuck down with an illness that forced them to cut short their recent UK tour. Featuring a sterling line-up consisting of Axis Of and Colenso Parade, the action kicks off in the Limelight, Belfast and fingers crossed they’ll have kicked whatever ails them by then. In the meantime, you can catch Red Cap Productions video for ‘Oceans’ via this very link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ejjw97A5cio.

Recent signings to the near mythic rock label Metal Blade Records, Darkest Era release their new album The Last Caress Of Light on March 26 and play a launch gig in the Limelight, Belfast that evening. Kicking off at 5pm, it’s £5 in and also on the bill are Sirocco and Sorrowfall. Darkest Era’s sound is a sabre-rattling blend of Lizzy and Maiden and the few tracks we’ve heard from their debut are pulse-racing power metal anthems, so expect big things. For more on the Enniskillen/Belfast mob, check out  www.darkestera.com.

Finally, we’d like to offer a quick congratulations to Two Door Cinema Club who scooped the Choice Music Prize. As regular readers of the column will know, I’ve championed them for years, so I’m especially pleased to see them get the recognition they deserve. From little acorns…





Final Hot Press NI News Column Of 2010

16 12 2010

Here’s a reprint of my final Hot Press NI news column of the year!

News

Words: Edwin McFee

Christmas comes a little early this week for music lovers in the North thanks to a project named You Are Music. Master-minded by the people behind A Plastic Rose and Di Di Mau Records, the travelling showcase tour intends to provide some sonic excitement all across the country as well as hopefully encouraging more people to get involved in the scene in any shape or form they fancy. At the moment they have a nine show jaunt in the works and the dates for your diary are as follows (deep breath):

Dec 4-Mojo Fury, Cashier No. 9, the Jane Bradfords and John D’Arcy play at the Cellar bar in Draperstown while Fragments, Anna Purna, Chocolate Love Factory and the unfortunately named Love Sausage Disorder appear at the Common Rooms in Dungannon. Dec 16-Kasper Rosa, Colly Strings and Once Before Take Off play at the Top of the Town in Omagh. Dec 17-Silhouette, the Rupture Dogs, Paul Shelvin and Kasper Rosa perform at the Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast. Dec 18-A Plastic Rose, Axis Of, Key of Atlas, Colly Strings and Pretty Child Backfire appear at the Mandela Hall in Belfast. Dec 22-Gacys Threads and A Northern Light are in Dicey’s, Strabane and finally, on Christmas Eve Eve (that’s Dec 23 for all of you who didn’t grow up watching Zig and Zag on the Den) Fighting with Wire, Treble M, Echo Falls, Dr Gonzo and Where the Noise Lives are in the Nerve Centre, Derry, Bomb City 7, Before Machines, Jifubuki and Off the Reservation are in the Retro, Portrush and And So I Watch You From Afar, Team Fresh and More Than Conquerors play a very special show in the Hideout, Warrenpoint.

For more information on the events (and for details on how you can become involved) check out their website www.youaremusic.co.uk.

Next up, it’s with a heavy heart that we announce that No Mean City have went their separate ways nearly a year to the day since they first formed. Despite being nominated in this very magazine’s Hot for 2010 list and playing festivals such as Download, Sonisphere and T in the Park, the old “musical differences” has reared its ugly head and they’ve sadly decided to call it a day. We’d like to wish all the members the best of luck for the future and we’re now off to listen to ‘Gone Too Soon’ by Mickey Jackson. Sniff.

But before we leave you, keep your ears out for a new band called Silence Convicts (www.myspace.com/silenceconvicts) featuring members of the Lobotomies and Gacys Threads to name but too. They’ve only just formed, but I’ve a feeling they’ll start 2011 with a bang…





Church Of Noise 3

19 05 2010

Here’s more Church of Noise action, reprinted from the Big List.

Church of Noise

Local music news

If you’re the kind of reader who is sitting there and currently thinking to themselves, “Banbridge, what a place,” well then be prepared to get even more tingly feelings about the town as this month they’ve revealed they’re hosting their own music festival called (wait for it) Take It To The Bridge. Boasting a line-up consisting of And So I Watch You From Afar, Panama Kings, A Plastic Rose and the Complete Stone Roses (yeah, me neither….) the bash takes place at Corbet Lake on July 3. Tickets for the festival are a tasty £25 and with more acts to be announced they’re a bargain. Keep your peepers peeled on www.takeittothebridge.info for more details. We don’t know about you, but we’re already pumped about potentially getting a chicken burger out of Friar Tuck’s after the show.

 As you probably know by now, this April 23 we’ve got the ear-gasm inducing Beat Poets headlining the Big Gig at the Spring and Airbrake. Why are we telling you this again we hear you cry. Well, the four-piece are also releasing their new single ‘One By One’ on April 19 via all major download sites. The Poets are currently swanning around Texas at South by South West as this writer types this month’s missive (not that I’m jealous or anything…) and have plenty of plans coming up in the pipeline which should secure their future as one of NI’s brightest bands. Last month we got a sneaky listen to ‘One by One’ and it has a chorus to die for, so make sure you (virtually) pick up a copy.

 Duke Special and General Fiasco are teaming up on March 29 for a very special gig called Unwind Your Mind and it takes place down at the Oh Yeah centre. Currated by Across the Line (yes, those dudes on the back page of the Big List who also host a mighty fine programme on Radio Ulster) the show is aiming to raise awareness about mental well being and Wonder Villains, Panama Kings, Kowalski, Ed Zealous More than Conquerors, Axis Of and Aaron Shanley also play on the night. It’s good news for all you cheap skates too as tickets are completely free. All you have to do is visit www.bbc.co.uk/tickets and apply for them. Good luck.

Finally, if you’ve found yourself still reeling from the shock announcement of Jedward getting dropped by their record label (y’know, we really didn’t see it coming) then you can find some consolation in the news that LaFaro release their long awaited debut slab of wax on May 10 via Smalltown America and play a gig in the Menagerie in Belfast on April 26 too. Now unfortunately tickets have sold out within about three nano-seconds of going on sale, but knowing the LaFaro boys it won’t take them too long to announce more shows around the rest of the country. Of course, we’d love to be able to tell you that their self titled debut is the veritable fairy on top of the Christmas tree, but as no-one has sent us our copy yet, we haven’t a clue what to expect (apart from sledgehammer riffs and killer hooks that is) and that, my friends, is what they refer to in the business as a subtle hint…

 See y’all next month folks. Up the Irons.

 Edwin





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.

News

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  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tcma1ry63Dc.

 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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLK4oaXUuLg.

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 john.anthony@bbc.co.uk with a link to your video along with full contact details and that’s that. Simples.

News

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 www.myspace.com/captainkennedy.

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 www.takeittothebridge.info.

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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efCjRx6lNWM&feature=player_embedded. Fans of Killswitch Engage and loud noises going BOOM will love this lot, so check out www.myspace.com/ozzmium for more.





News From The North Week 40

23 09 2009

As promised in a previous blog, here’s the NI news column from the previous issue of Hot Press, Vol 33 Issue 17

 

News from the North

Words:  Edwin McFee

This October sees the return of the Hard Working Class Heroes festival in Dublin and featuring in the line up once again are a whole host of NI’s finest. Taking place from Oct 16-18 in Temple Bar, the acts that are keeping the Northern end up are A Plastic Rose (who are seemingly everywhere these days), Cutaways, Escape Act, Here Comes the Landed Gentry (who are sure to be the highlight of the whole weekend), Kowalski, Not Squares, Pocket Promise, the Vals and Yes Cadets. Despite some noticeable exceptions, it’s a pretty great bill and we’ll be filling you in on more details over the coming weeks. For now keep checking www.hwch.net for more info.

The mighty fine Oppenheimer are busy in the studio at the moment, working on album number three and they’ve come up with a rather unusual request via their website (www.oppenheimer.co.uk in case you didn’t know). The duo (who sometimes aren’t a duo, but never mind all that) want you, Joe Public, to help write two of their new songs, as Rocky from the band explains: “There will be two songs on the next album that we will write about anything you want. Anything at all.  If you want us to write a song about the time your friend fell asleep in a taxi cab on the way to watch a boxing match, and then you slapped them in the face so many times they lost feeling in their cheek for month, we’ll do it! If you want us to write a song about the tall ships visiting Belfast once every nineteen years, we’ll do it! We’ll give you a shout out on the album, a free album, free Oppenheimer gig entries and other goodies as and when we make them.” So there you have it. Personally we’re hoping they write about a handsome young Hot Press columnist from Newry and if you’d like to hear that too, then email rocky@oppenheimermusic.co.uk pronto.

Finally this fortnight, the Thrones of Roll are releasing a new EP called ‘Video Store’ by putting on a gig on Oct 23 at the Black Box in Belfast. The chaps have also made a video for the title track and it was directed by Sean Duncan and you can have a butcher’s by clicking on the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vTI5aJ3hoQ. It features the band dressed up as iconic film characters and it’s well worth a click or two.