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.

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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.





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





Church Of Noise 2

17 05 2010

Remember I blogged about a new column I’m writing in the Big List called Church of Noise? Well I’ll be running some reprints from the last few issues over the next lock of days.

Church of Noise

Local music news.

In the real world, dressing up as feg-smoking, beer drinking, gambling bear/men and kidnapping a hot blonde chick for your own ends will more than likely get your collar felt by the old bill, but in the realm of rock ‘n’ roll-people film it and make a music video out of it instead. Thank Elvis the Black Bear Saloon are the latter eh? Yes readers, if you haven’t seen the clip for their single ‘Face The Future’ by now-here’s the deal. The video features our heroes in bear suits while generally behaving badly and driving old cars around and very good it is too. The band have finally got their furry arses in gear and released it as a proper single too and for 99 of your pennies you not only get ‘Face The Future’ but you also have a newly remixed ‘Al Bronco’ and the aforementioned video for your virtual collection. All you have to do is click on http://music.theblackbearsaloon.com/ and bob is your da’s brother. We don’t know about you, but that’s our Mother’s Day present sorted then…

It looks like March is going to be a hell of a month for local music as both Two Door Cinema Club and General Fiasco release their debut albums into the wild and we’re pleased to report that both slabs of wax are hotter than a pajama party round Megan Fox’s house. TDCC’s ‘Tourist History’ (out on March 2 via Kitsune and the launch gig takes place in the Stiff Kitten, Belfast on March 5) is possibly one of the best records this writer has heard all year and with the likes of cataracts-glasses wearing, award show wrecking Kanye West and Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus (y’know-the dude isn’t the one with the whiney voice or the bloke who looks like a human etch-a-sketch) falling over themselves to proclaim the three-piece from Bangor as the next big thing, we reckon it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world catches on too.

General Fiasco’s ‘Buildings’ (out March 22 via Infectious and the launch gig is on March 28 in the Mandela Hall, Belfast) is another thunderous 40minutes worth of teenage kicks and should see the boys scale the heights they’ve always deserved too. With a great new video for their stellar single ‘Ever So Shy’ slated for a March 8 release (if you haven’t seen it yet, check out my blog for a looky www.edwinmcfee.com) we’re predicting big things for the boys.

Another band on the cusp of something special are everyone’s favourite hard to pin down rebel rousers the Tin Pot Operation. The group (now augmented by the addition of mandolin player Daithi) are due to start work on their third record this month and are returning to their old stomping grounds of the Blueroom to start work on the much anticipated opus. Good luck chaps and chap-ess.

 Finally, fresh from the massive Belfast 4 Haiti mega-gig (yes, I’ve copyrighted the word mega-gig so don’t go robbing it) three photographers have decided to have a good old fashioned team up in order to aid the charity and are selling prints from the gigs on this link www.photoboxgallery.com/belfast4haiti. So if you’ve ever wanted a nice, frame-able photo of Yakuza, the Answer or some eijit in the crowd who’s drunk so much he looks like he’s chewed his own elbows off (while also helping a worthwhile cause) then you know what to do.

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

 Edwin





News From The North Week 52

26 04 2010

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

News

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 www.thebeatpoets.com.

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 www.pigstockfestival.co.uk.





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.