Bye Bye 2012

31 12 2012

Yes kids, it’s that time again where we wave buh bye to the year and welcome in a new one. Instead of words this NYE,  I’ve decided to post up some pictures which sum up the last 12 months before finishing off with my top 20 LPs of 2012.

Thanks to all the bands, promoters, PRs and mates who hooked me up with records, gigs and good times.Here’s to 2013.

2012: The Year In Photos (And The Odd You Tube Link)

May 13, 2012. I’ll remember this day until they put me in a pine box.Kinda crazy to think that long after we’re dead, people will still be able to see us on this footage of City winning their first Premier league title. Can you spot me and my Da? Handy hint: We’re under the giant purple arrow….

Chilling like villains backstage at the Odyssey with the WWE alongside my brother and nephew.Also-big thanks to the Celtic Warrior Sheamus for hooking us up and being an absolute hero.

Here’s a clip of Therapy? playing ‘Exiles’ at the Tall Ships in Dublin this summer.Y’know…I might refer to myself as “the wonderful Edwin McFee” for the duration of 2013 (the quality’s amazing, eh…..?). Mad props to the Therapy? boys.

My fanzine, Generation Why, (which started the ball rolling on this mental job of mine) celebrated its tenth birthday.

There was a lot of party rocking in a variety of different places with a number of different people this year.Here’s to more adventures.

I finally got that Iron Maiden mask I’ve always wanted.

…and that Betty Banner tattoo I’ve always been looking for too.

And lastly (but certainly not, um, leastly…) here’s my Top 20 LPs of 2012.It’s been a great year for records and hopefully 2013 will be just as good. Happy New Year and Up the Irons!

1) Therapy? ‘A Brief Crack Of Light’

2) Gallows ‘Gallows’

3) Hot Water Music ‘Exister’

4) Best Coast ‘The Only Place’

5) The Gaslight Anthem ‘Handwritten’

6) Wolfsbane ‘Wolfsbane Saves The World’

7) Triggerman ‘Hail To The River Gods’

8) JD McPherson ‘Signs And Signifiers’

9) Cloud Nothings ‘Attack On Memory’

10) Hour Of 13 ‘333’

11) Cheap Freaks ‘Bury Them All’

12) The Jim Jones Revue ‘The Savage Heart’

13) Bobby Conn ‘Macaroni’

14) James Levy And The Blood Red Rose ‘Pray To Be Free’

15) Mystery Jets ‘Radlands’

16) DZ Deathrays ‘Bloodstreams’

17) Master And Dog ‘Master And Dog’

18) Band Of Horses ‘Mirage Rock’

19) Baby Woodrose ‘Third Eye Surgery’

20) Alabama Shakes ‘Boys & Girls’

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Master And Dog Q And A (The Big List)

27 10 2012

Here’s a reprint of a Q and A with Master and Dog that ran in the Big List.

Master & Dog Q and A

Continuing our catch-up with some of the music scene’s latest and greatest acts, this month we meet Phil D’Alton, multi-instrumentalist for those un-pigeonhole-able heroes Master & Dog ahead of the release of their second album. Enjoy. 

 

Hi Phil and welcome to the Big List. First off, your second [self-titled] record is out now. Can you tell us a little bit about it? 

Phil: “Thanks for having me! The second record took about a year to make. We had been talking about it pretty much from when we finished our first record as John, Shelly and the Creatures back in 2010. We started it back in May 2011. At the time we were all broke so we pooled together what little money we had and rented a couple of rooms in an old building in Belfast and set up our own recording studio. We spend a couple of months building walls, painting, running cables etc. Myself and Walter from the band now run it as a business.”

 

It sounds like the infamous “difficult second album syndrome” well and truly passed you by this time. Was it an easy process making the record?

“For the most part, it wasn’t a hugely difficult process. Myself, Walter and Ger write the songs and most of the time we do this separately so there was no huge pressure on one person. There were a few songs that we had been playing live for a while (our first single ‘Canada’ being one of them) so they were pretty easy to put down. The rest of the tracks were brand new so there was quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing involved with them. We were quite strict on ourselves (for the most part) about not over-thinking anything too much and tried to go with our first instincts.”

 

You (relatively) recently added multi-instrumentalist Sharon Thompson to the band. Was it easy transition or did it take a while to get everything and indeed everyone gelling together?

“It was extremely easy. Our drummer Kev knew her and suggested we give her a try. We knew it would work straight off. She knew how to play the songs better than us at the first rehearsal. It was a bit embarrassing for us to be honest and made us all up our game.

 

You’ve also recently teamed up with Canadian label Matchless Minds. How’s everything going with them?

“Great. Nikki [from the label] is a great person to work with and she helps out with other things also. Hopefully the good folk over there will like our stuff when it is released.”

 

Speaking of all things North American, the video for your new single ‘Canada’ has just been released. Can you tell us a bit about making it?

“The video was made by the Bowsie Workshop in Dublin. I had randomly come across a video for the track ‘We Be Monsters’ by Tieranniesaur and it turned out that I knew Ben, the director, through friends. We met with them and they threw out loads of ideas but the ones that really stuck with us was having someone who had been left behind and having talking buildings. We left it completely up to them to do what they wanted with it. I think after meeting with them we knew that they got what we were looking for and completely trusted them to do something great. We really love it.”

 

Some of our readers may remember you as John Shelly and the Creatures. What prompted the name change?

“There are many reasons for it. I won’t bore anyone with all of them. The main reason being that people got it wrong all the time. It was always hard for people to remember and most annoyingly, people thought we were a singer/songwriter called John Shelly with a backing band called The Creatures. We never really felt comfortable with it. It was a bit risky changing it after we had a pretty successful year but you have to be able to be proud of what you do in order to do it well and be able to portray that to other people in order for them to believe you. I think we couldn’t do that with Jim, Skelly and the Preachers….”

 

Master & Dog are one of the few bands who regularly gig both sides of the border. How important is it for you to keep a good profile across the whole of Ireland?

“I don’t think it’s so much of a conscious thing with us. Two of us are from Dublin so I think it helped that we knew the scene a bit down there and it was always a good excuse for us to go home for a bit. We are looking to go much further afield this time with it. We concentrated on it quite a bit when we had a song featured on the Northern Ireland Tourist Board adverts [‘Long May You Reign’] and it made sense to do it at the time.”

 

Finally, what’s the rest of 2012 have in store for Master & Dog?

“At the moment we are releasing the album at the end of August and then we have a few gigs planned across the country. After that we are planning to go back over to the UK and also over to Germany for some gigs. Top of our priorities is to get the album out to as many people as possible and we hope that people like it.”

 

‘Master & Dog’ is out now. For more info visit masteranddog.com. 





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 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 102

31 05 2012

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

News

Words: Edwin McFee

A few months ago, you may recall we informed you about a new initiative called Untapped that was master-minded by the head honchos behind the upcoming Tennent’s Vital festival which aimed to promote the local music scene by offering four lucky acts the chance to open the main stage at this year’s shin-dig in Belfast. Well, this fortnight, the organisers have revealed the names of the final 16 turns who will be fighting it out for a much coveted slot alongside the likes of the Stone Roses, the Foo Fighters and more on August 21-22 and they’ve also confirmed that they will perform at four showcase gigs in both NI’s capital and Derry in May.

 

Kicking off in the Limelight, Belfast on May 16, Master and Dog, Gerard i2, Havana House Party and Jepettos all duke it out for a spot on the bill, then the following night in the same venue Trucker Diablo, City of Stars, Peter McVeigh and Futurescope all lay the (sonic) smack down. After that, the Tennent’s Untapped competition takes itself off to the Bound for Boston in Derry on May 23 and features Best Boy Grip, A Northern Light, Rachel Austin and Mojo Gogo battling it out, while the next night features Droids, Morning Claws, Pretty Child Backfire and Two Glass Eyes. I think you’ll all agree that the final 16 are a pleasingly diverse mix of acts from different genres and sub cultures and I’d like to wish everyone the best of luck.

 

Next up, keeping proceedings on a festival tip, the brand spanking new Link Fest in Derry have just revealed details of their line-up and the bill is as solid as the Incredible Hulk’s armchair if we do say so ourselves. Taking place on July 13-14 and at multiple venues (which include Mason’s, the Playhouse, the Castle, Bound for Boston and Gweedor) some of the acts include Our Krypton Son, By Any Means, Furlo, Wyldling, Triggerman and Making Monsters and for more details check out facebook.com/linkfest.

 

Finally this fortnight, I’ve just enough room to remind you all about ska punk deities Pocket Billiards tenth anniversary gig at the Mandela Hall, Belfast on May 12. Doubling as a release party for their second album Last Chance To Dance the show is set to be a doozy (yes, doozy) and Axis Of, Bomb City 7 and Chewing on Tinfoil are the support acts. The band have also uploaded new track ‘So Many People, So Little Time’ onto pocketbilliards.bandcamp.com and it sounds awesome, so check it out.