News From The North Week 111 (Hot Press)

22 10 2012

Here’s a reprint of my NI music news column that runs every fortnight in Hot Press. Yes, there’s a back-log of these.Sozzles!

News

Words: Edwin McFee

By the time you get your grubby little hands on this latest issue, NI’s favourite sons Therapy? will have just finished unleashing their very own day of rockening at the Tall Ships in Dublin. Now, if you read that last sentence and are currently lamenting your decision not to visit Ireland’s capital to see the trio unleash hell itself in the form of barbed riffs and songs about James Joyce doing dirty things with Andy Cairns’ sister, then fret no more faithful readers, as it has literally just been announced at the time of writing that the boys will be playing a headline show in Belfast at the Empire Music Hall on October 4.

 

Topping the bill at the always ace Gifted Live extravaganzas, the gig will be the first time Therapy? have played in the venue since their near mythic date in 2000 and this full-on set should see airings of some of their new material from current LP A Brief Crack Of Light,so it’s shaping up to be a bit special. Also on the bill are Fighting With Wire, the Original Rudeboys, Silhouette, Jason Clarke and Robert Vincent and there will be special recorded appearances from Mojo Fury and more. Admission is a mere £10 and for more info check out giftedlive.com. See you down the front.

 

Next up, well thought of Bangor indie types Kowalski have bagged themselves the support slot on the Cast of Cheers’ upcoming Irish tour. Kicking off in Whelan’s, Dublin on Sep 19, the rest of the dates include Roisin Dubh, Galway (Sep 20) Dolan’s, Limerick (Sep 21), the Forum, Waterford (Sep 22), the Pavilion, Cork (Sep 23) and the Limelight, Belfast (Sep 24). The band will also be joining Two Door Cinema Club for seven dates on their European tour this November and for a full run down check out twodoorcinemaclub.com.

 

The organisers behind the immense Belfast Culture Night have revealed some details on this year’s shin-dig (which takes place on Sep 21). The mighty Kasper Rosa, Eatenbybears and Parachutes Over Paris all play a sure to incendiary show at the Black Box in the city and to keep updated on the event visit culturenightbelfast.com.

 

Finally this fortnight, news has just broken that the Answer have inked a deal with Napalm Records. Yes folks, the legendary home of all things loud and lairy now have Cormac and the boys in their stable and in a group statement they said:

 

“We’re very excited to be given this opportunity and can’t wait to get started. 2013 belongs to THE ANSWER…you heard it here first!”





News From The North Week 107

9 08 2012

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

News

Words: Edwin McFee

In just a few days time, the lion’s share of regular readers of this column will no doubt be preparing to straddle the Sperrin Mountains in Co. Derry and break themselves off a piece of metaphorical rock ‘n’ roll action at the Glasgowbury festival. Featuring a bill consisting of some of this island’s brightest and best acts, the bash will be headlined by Therapy? and just recently the Larne/Ballyclare-born boys revealed that they will be debuting a slightly altered line-up for the July 21 event. Yes readers, standing in (temporarily, mind) for long-term tub thumper Neil Cooper is Alan Lynn, who you may remember beats the shit out of things for those riff-laden berserkers LaFaro.

 

A few days ago I caught up with bassist Michael McKeegan and he explained the situation:

 

“I suppose the biggest bit of news is that Alan from LaFaro will be drumming with us!” offered the Evil Priest. “Neil’s had to sit out a few shows due to a longstanding family commitment so (with Neil’s help and LaFaro’s blessing) we head-hunted the best young drummer around to fill in. We’ve been rehearsing and it sounds fantastic, he definitely will be doing the songs justice. Aim to maim…that’s the plan.”

 

So there you have it folks. If you’re making the trip to Draperstown you’ll be witnessing a wee bit of history and if you’re not going, well…consider me very disappointed in your actions. For more info visit glasgowbury.com. See you down the front.

 

Next up, sticking with open air-based events, I’m particularly pleased to tell you that there has been a raft of NI additions (well, seven…) to the line-up for Electric Picnic. Leading the charge are festival stalwarts Rams’ Pocket Radio, Fighting with Wire, LaFaro, Mojo Fury, Axis Of and Master & Dog and rounding off the list are the utterly incendiary rap/punk hooligans Bomb City 7, who will no doubt steal the show at the shin-dig. The quintet of turns will play the Oxjam Wigwam and personally I think it’s only a matter of time before BC7 members Brendy and Kev play similar stages with their other projects Bee Mick See and Empty Lungs too.

 

Finally, I’ve just enough room to let you know the organisers of the annual Hard Working Class Heroes are on the lookout for acts to play at this year’s event (which takes place on Oct 4-6 across six different venues in Dublin). If you want to take part all you have to do is visit hwch.net for more details. The closing date for submissions is July 26. You have been warned…





News From The North Week 106

23 07 2012

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

News

Words: Edwin McFee

This issue I thought I’d kick off proceedings with news about this year’s Tennent’s Vital festival which takes place in Belfast on August 21-22 at Boucher Playing Fields. Some of the more elephant-minded readers among you may recall that the festival organisers recently ran a competition (UnTapped) to find two up and coming NI-based bands to play at the shin-dig and this fortnight it has been revealed that no frills rock ‘n’ rollers Trucker Diablo and hip hop hero Gerard i2 have been selected to appear on the day. Beating off 16 other performers (apologies if that sounds like something from a mucky movie by the way) both turns truly deserve the opportunity and I’d like to wish them the best of luck for the event. For more info on the festival visit tennentsvital.com.

 

Next up, it gives me great pleasure to announce that drummer with the mighty Gacys Threads and all-round prince among men Stephen Currie has lined up another immense, neck-bothering release for his label Savour Your Scene Records. Specialising in Irish hardcore and metal, the enterprising tub thumper has been in touch to let us know about the impending cassette release of Dublin band Milestones’ new mini album Entropy. The date for your diaries is July 9 and on the same night, Milestones perform at Auntie Annie’s, Belfast and support comes from Death Of A Salesman and Katabolis, so make sure you check it out. For further details on the label and their roster of acts visit savouryourscene.co.uk.

 

It’s been a while since I last gave you news on the Stendhal Festival in Limavady and in those couple of months the organsiers have fleshed out the line-up for their festival in spectacular fashion. Taking place on Aug 17-18 at Ballymully Cottage Farm, the event now boasts (deep breath) Henry McCullough, Silhouette, Trucker Diablo, Triggerman, Mundy, Pat McManus Band, Mojo GoGo, Best Boy Grip, Intermission, Lantern For A Gale, Wyldling, Peter McVeigh and many more and you can view the full list at stendhalfestival.com. The organisers are also letting the general public choose which act receives the final slot on the line-up via their Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/Stendhal-festival-of-art) so head over there after you’re done reading this.

 

Finally this fortnight, I’ve just enough room to tell you that the always incendiary Fighting With Wire have been added to the bill for the Tanglewood Festival at Narrow Water Castle (round Newry-way) on August 4. For more details have a wee click here tanglewoodmusic.co.uk.





News From The North 104

21 06 2012

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

Oh,I have some interesting news for bands from the North next week by the way…

News

Words: Edwin McFee

First up, I’d like to kick off this fortnight’s column with some Fighting with Wire news that is absolutely fandabbydozy (as the slightly creepy Scottish swingers the Krankies might say). Yes readers, the always awesome Derry trio have signed with London label Xtra Mile Recordings and their second album Colonel Blood will finally arrive on record shop shelves on Sep 24 (insert “whoops of joy” here). Recorded in Nashville in 2010, the band found themselves in a frustrating situation when Atlantic Records (their label at the time) essentially did absolutely nothing for the band and Cahir and Co. were in limbo as a result. After a spell spent pondering hanging it all up and going their separate ways, it would seem that everything’s turned out great for the well thought of rockers as not only have they escaped the clutches of their major label, but they’ve also managed to keep their record too and all you lovely people will be able to buy it this September. Nice one.

 

Speaking of well thought of rock bands, the absolutely iconic trio that is Ash celebrate their 20th birthday with a party at the Relentless Garage in London on June 17. Hosted by comedian Josie Long, the night looks like it’ll be a veritable ton of fun and any self-respecting acolyte of the pop-punkers should check it out. Happy birthday boys (and occasional girl!) and keep me some cake. In the meantime, I’ll be sitting in a corner and generally feeling grumpy because I recorded over Ash’s first demo back when I was a surly teen.

 

Next up, staying in county Down (where all the best people hail from *cough*) NI’s kings of classic rock the Answer have announced that they will perform their debut album Rise in its entirety at the Empire, Belfast on July 5. Hosted by the Gifted Live club night, also performing on the evening will be Bee Mick See, David Kitt, the Riptide Movement and Cosmo Jarvis and there’ll be recorded sets from General Fiasco, Shake! and Droids too. Admission is £10 and if you’re too cheap to attend, you can watch it all online at giftedlive.com. Well, that is if some of you cyber people can tear yourselves away from Tulisa’s home video of course…

 

Finally, news reaches us that Master and Dog have signed up with Canadian record label Matchless Minds and join a roster that includes The Man Whom, Verse Chorus Verse and Arms of the Girl. Expect their second LP to come out in September.





News From The North 101

25 05 2012

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

News

Words: Edwin McFee

While at the time of writing it may indeed be colder than a witch’s naughty bits, I’ve been reliably informed that Spring has most definitely, um, sprung, and with the news that summer is on the way it’s perhaps not surprising that many of NI’s festivals have started making some interesting rumblings recently. One of this year’s heavy hitters is most certainly the Sunflower Fest and their bill for 2012 helps make the bash one of the north’s potential best in the country. Taking place at Tubby’s Farm (just outside Hillsborough and about 20 minutes from Belfast) the three day event runs from August 17-19 inclusive and will feature four stages (the Finn McCool main stage, the Campfire Stage, the Barn and the brand new addition to the shin-dig that is the intriguingly titled Electric Disco Shed) a family area, a cinema tent and various other exciting spectacles too.

 

However, while the booking of the likes of the well regarded wordsmith that is Scroobius Pip and popular Free Staters Republic of Loose are undoubted aces up the organiser’s sleeve, it’s the NI acts that interest us the most and Sunflower Fest has assembled a great mix of artists from all walks of life. Some of the must see turns include Ben Glover, Fighting with Wire, Duke Special, Nasa Assassin, Lanterns on the Lake, the Bonnevilles, Boss Sound Manifesto and many, many more and the full list can be viewed at sunflowerfest.co.uk. Weekend camping tickets are now onsale for £49 via the Belfast Welcome Centre (as well as other approved outlets) and for a full list check out their official site.

 

Next up, it looks like Stendhal Festival are putting together a pretty stellar bill too. Taking place on Aug 17-18 at the Ballymully Cottage Farm in Limavady, the initial announcement includes Silhouette, the Gorgeous Colours, Axis Of, Furlo, Paddy Nash and the Happy Enchiladas, the Innisowen Gospel Choir and Wookalily and more will be confirmed as the months progress. For further details on the event, including tickets details, check out stendhalfestival.com.

 

Finally this fortnight, by the time you get your grubby mitts on this latest issue, Belfast-based singer/songwriter Michael Kerr will have unleashed his new EP The Australia Fund out into the wild. Influenced by classic tunesmiths such as Tom Petty, Cat Stevens and Van Morrison, the talented troubadour has been making all the right tongues wag of late and you can find out more info on him via his website michaelkerrmusic.com.





News From The North Weeks 65-66

16 11 2010

Can you believe in another couple of months I’ll have been doing my NI news column in Hot Press for three years? Time flies and all that, so here’s a bunch of recent ones for your reading pleasure.

News

Words: Edwin McFee

Vol 34 Issue 22

As we get ever closer to the unveiling of the Beat Poets’ debut album, the band continue to build up our expectations with new single ‘Gravity,’ which is another superb slice of stadium rock. Released on Nov 15, the four-piece officially launch the track with a gig at the Hideout in Warrenpoint two days before it goes on general sale via all digital platforms and they’re also currently making a video for the aforementioned tune too. Support on the night comes from the Q, Firefly and Brendan Fitzpatrick and admission is £5, so make sure you clear the diary this Nov 13 and go and support one of our brightest hopes.

Speaking of promising acts with bags of potential, the mighty Not Squares release their debut album Yeah OK on Nov 27 and play a launch gig at the Bunatee in Belfast in celebration of the release. These days, the rave/punk outfit have slimmed down to a three-piece, but they’ve not lost any of the intensity that made us fall in love with them in the first place and the record is an absolute belter. Support on the night comes from their Richter Collective label-mates Logikparty and there will also be sets from Deformative DJs and Obscene Strategists DJs too.

Also releasing their debut album this month are the soul punk behemoths that are Dirty Stevie. Nine years in the making, A Beginner’s Guide To Levitation is the culmination of months of hard work and while we haven’t received a copy yet at the time of going to press, we’re sure it’s a suitably raucous affair. The Dirt will be selling copies of the slab of wax at the launch gig at the Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast on Nov 13 and support comes from We Want Blood and Gascan Ruckas.

 Have you always fancied a career twiddling knobs? Are you one of those people who love to take established tracks and mould them into something different? Well, if your answer to those questions is “yo’ damn right” (or even just a simple “yes” for that matter) then you may be interested in General Fiasco’s latest plan to let their fans remix their sublime single ‘Ever So Shy.’ The winning entry will see their version released via the band’s record label Infectious and all you have to do to enter is click on this link http://www.tracksandfields.com/requests.php?request_id=217 for their terms and conditions. You’ve got until Nov 25 to channel your inner Baron Frankenstein, so good luck!

News

Words: Edwin McFee

Vol. 34 Issue 21

Not content with touring around Ireland (and indeed the world) celebrating 20 years in the alt rock business and releasing their first ever live record We’re Here To The End this November to boot, Larne/Ballyclare legends Therapy? are already eyeing up album number 11 in a bid to capitalize on the creative momentum gained with the mighty Crooked Timber. Yes readers, NI’s greatest export (sorry Mr Lightbody) are hatching plans for next year and as I write this very missive they are holed up in a rehearsal studio in Derby and honing their new tracks. Earlier this month, this writer caught up with the band’s frontman Andy Cairns and he had this to say about the new slab of wax.

 “We’re looking at going into the studio in March, 2011. We’ve got the bones of 14 tracks written already. We’re gonna make it a ten track album, and we have some working titles already. We want to keep in the deeper and darker vein. We had a habit over the years of making a really noisy record followed by a poppy, alternative record but we’ve got out of that. If you like stuff like ‘Unbeliever’ it’s down that alley.”

But before all that of course, we’ve got the so-called Troublegum and More shows to sate our thirst for their own unique brand of awkward rock and they play Cyprus Avenue in Cork on Oct 23 and 24 and Vicar Street, Dublin on Nov 5 so if you haven’t got a ticket yet we recommend you get one pretty sharpish for these once in a lifetime shows.

Keeping things slightly alternative, do you remember how last issue I was complaining about the lack of live action in the South Down area? Well, it seems like someone somewhere was listening as a brand new venue called the Hideout has just started operating this month in Warrenpoint. Located above Jack Ryan’s pub, the space was launched in style with a gig from Fighting with Wire last week and upcoming shows include the Vortex (featuring Bonehead ex of Oasis) on Dec 11 and And So I Watch You From Afar on Dec 23 and we’d like to wish everyone involved in the venture the best of luck.

Finally, John D’arcy and his “Great Bunch Of Lads” have released a new single via the infamous Good Vibrations label. Entitled ‘Get Over Yourself,’ the song is the singer’s finest moment to date and you can download it via his Bandcamp page here:  http://johndarcy.bandcamp.com/track/get-over-yourself.





News From The North Weeks 59 and 60

6 09 2010

Yup, it’s been a while since I posted up the Hit the North column I do for Hot Press, so here’s the last four for y’all (two today and two tomorrow) and as usual-if you’re in a band from Northern Ireland and have news for me, get in touch.

News

Words: Edwin McFee

With Glasgowbury just around the corner (July 24 in case you didn’t already know) we thought we’d dedicate this issue’s column to some of the bands who will be appearing at the bash in Draperstown, County Derry. First up, we’ve got some good news as headliners Fighting with Wire seem to be stirring from their self-imposed slumber and it appears that their plans for album number two are coming together nicely. In a bid to prove to us all that they’ve been spending their time off wisely, they’ve posted up a studio diary from Nashville on their MySpace page (www.myspace.com/fightingwithwire) and they’re promising there’s more to come, which makes this writer a very happy bunny indeed.

FWW’s label mates LaFaro have also been indulging in web-based wonders ahead of their Glasgowbury slot and have unveiled their very own smart-phone app. If you’re into that kind of wizardry, you can now download the application for free and get news, tour dates, photos, music and more onto your mobile and it’ll keep all you nerds up to date on their activities.

 Mojo Fury frontman Michael Mormecha’s vaudeville-flavoured side project Clown Parlour have taken the unprecedented step of making their debut album The Sum Of Sounds available for free this fortnight via their Bandcamp page (http://clownparlour.bandcamp.com) and very good it is too. After wowing us all with their technicolour performance at last year’s Glasgowbury, we’re keen to see how they fare this year (considering everyone can now listen to the album at their leisure) and we’re expecting them to steal the show, so make sure you check them out.

General Fiasco are another act who are sure to get tongues wagging, especially now that their debut Buildings is out on record shop shelves. As well as doing a turn in Draperstown, the three-piece will be playing at (deep breath) Sonisphere in Knebworth, the Underage festival in London, Summer Sonic 2010 in Japan, the Frequency festival in Austria, Highfield festival in Denmark and Reading and Leeds at the end of the summer, so if you’re on your holidays and happen to be in any of those places, make sure you go and support them.

Finally, we’ll leave you with some gossip to chew on. Just recently we’ve heard that while last year’s Glasgowbury headliners And So I Watch You From Afar aren’t officially slated to appear on the bill this year, expect some sort of appearance from band members during the course of the day. Details on where and when are scarce at the time of going to press (he said mysteriously…).

News

Words: Edwin McFee

By the time you read this, your humble correspondent (and countless others) will no doubt be scrubbing off the mud and muck from Glasgowbury and generally feeling a bit bummed out that the festival season is near over. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as the West Belfast Feile (www.feilebelfast.com) is just about to kick off and on the local front they’ve got a cracking gig in the grounds of City Hall to keep us out of trouble on August 7. Featuring the likes of Mojo Fury, Axis Of and the Vals on the bill, the gig starts at 2pm.

 Now, on to news of a slightly more salacious nature. The absolute beast of a band that is Dutch Schultz have been busy beavering away behind the scenes recently and they’ve just filmed a video for their new single ‘LA Cuntfucker’ (they’re silver-tongued devils, aren’t they?). According to a band insider, the clip, which features go-go dancers and local burlesque troupe the Whistlebait Babies, was also slated to feature an appearance from local musician/actress Cara Cowan, but she pulled out fearing it would damage her image (we can’t think why….). Anyway, the track itself is a fantastically blood thirsty three minutes or so that should do well for the boys when it gets an official release date.

Lisburn based lovers of epic alternative rock Deadlights have very kindly made their ace new EP ‘Pieces. Ripcord. Words’ available to download for free this month. All you have to do to get your virtual mitts on the three track release is click on http://deadlights.bandcamp.com and it’s as simple as that. The four-piece are also streaming some new songs on their MySpace site (www.myspace.com/deadlights08) and as ever the band have a string of live dates coming up which include playing in Moira on August 5, Lisburn on August 13 and the Sunflowerfest in Hillsborough on August 20.

Speaking of festivals, the rock ‘n’ roll killing machine that is Trucker Diablo continue their quest to kick as many asses as possible by playing a show at the Rock & Blues Custom Show festival in Derbyshire on July 30. Also on the bill are legends such as Wishbone Ash and for more information check out www.rockandblues.uk.com.

Finally, it’s with a certain amount of sadness that we announce that the Black Bear Saloon have closed their metaphorical doors for good. The four-piece have decided to go their separate ways after three years together and we’d like to wish all the band members luck in their future endeavors. Now, somebody hand us a hanky. Sniff.