News From The North Week 46

27 01 2010

After a brief break for crimbo, my NI news column in Hot Press is back in action. The latest issue is onsale in a  few days, so here’s the words from the previous issue to keep you entertained.


Words: Edwin McFee

As it’s the New Year we thought it best to kick start it with some good news-namely the fantastic Silhouette winning the first prize at a battle of the bands in Warrenpoint last week. If you haven’t managed to see them yet, the band are the brainchild of Shauna Tohill and employ a cello, double bass and whatever instrument comes to mind mixing Dresden Dolls, Kate Bush and Tegan and Sara influences and coming up with something else entirely. By winning first prize, Silhouette scooped £2500 worth of booty which included the release of her first single via VM Records and we’ll keep you posted about release dates etc. By the way, if anyone from the Silhouette camp wants to send us over some leftover bubbly, then post it to us c/o Hot Press

On January 24, the Green Party’s North Down candidate for the upcoming Westminster election Steven Agnew is organizing a fundraiser in Auntie Annie’s, Belfast. What’s this got to do with music we hear you cry. Well, the bash is called the Wee Green Man Festival and features Axis Of and Adebisi Shank playing live and there’s also a DJ set from Not Squares so we think it’s relevant (plus Mr Agnew loves the Murder City Devils, which can only be a good thing). The cover charge is a £5 donation and for more information visit Should be a fun night.

Talking about showcase gigs, the ninth “Big Gig” takes place this Jan 22 at the Spring and Airbrake, Belfast and features a world beating line-up featuring a returning Yakuza (who play their first show in over a year) plucky contenders Before Machines and a headline slot by the inimitable Dirty Stevie. The Dirt are currently knee deep recording their debut record which will hopefully see the light of day this year and as it’s the first time they’ve ever headlined in the venue they’ll be chomping at the bit to pop their cherries in style (apologies for the mental image there folks). Admission is £4 and doors are at 9pm.

Finally, General Fiasco have revealed that they will release the mighty ‘Ever So Shy’ as a single on March 8 via Infectious Records. Possibly the band’s best song to date, the track should see the trio capitalize on their momentum quicker than James Corden chasing after the last chicken wing in the bucket and we wish them all the best. Their debut album ‘Buildings’ is slated for a March 22 release and judging by what we’ve heard from the sampler, it’s going to be a belter.

An Open Letter To St Nicholas

24 12 2009

I’m winding down for the Crimbo break and about to head back home to Newry, but before that I’ll leave you all with a special message courtesy of the Murder City Devils (and if you’re into the Devils, check out the blog next week where I reveal what I got in my copy of Feather Bed Whiskey Blanket!)

Happy Christmas dudes.

Turbo Fruits NME Review

1 12 2009

Here’s a reprint of my review of the ace Turbo Fruits record that ran in the NME last week. I’m particularly proud of this one coz I managed to get in mentions of the Murder City Devils and RFTC.

Turbo Fruits

Echo Kid

(Ark Recordings)


It’s been a decidedly difficult decade for devotees of sleazy rock ‘n’ roll. Thanks to the untimely demise of torchbearers such as the Murder City Devils and Rocket from the Crypt at the start of the noughties, there’s more life round Dracula’s house these days than there is in that once fertile scene. However, all that might change with the release of ‘Echo Kid,’ Tennessee tearaways Turbo Fruits’ second stab at success.

Springing from the over-active imagination of former Be Your Own Pet guitar slinger Jonas Stein, the record is a testament to just how inspirational teenage kicks can be. Comprising of 12 tracks, ‘Echo Kid’ wears its Dead Boys and Marc Bolan influences on its tattered flannel sleeve, but whereas their debut may have been a little too preoccupied with drugs-this one’s all about the hugs (of the sexy kind of course).

Starting with a riff ripped right out of RFTC/Night Marchers mainman John Reiss’ songbook (‘International Language of Love’), the record begins a little bit like a Ritalin fuelled brat and it doesn’t let up for 35minutes. While many of the tracks possess that same spazz-core energy of Stein’s former outfit, it has to be said that they’re also a lot more refined than anything he’s written before (well, he has turned 21 after all…). ‘Naked With You’ is packed with layers of sugar sweet harmonies, ‘Hold Me’ is a loved up, waltzing sea shanty and ‘Get Up Get On Down (Tonight)’ sounds like they whipped out their Ouija boards and enlisted a zombie Eddie Cochran to provide the retro guitar licks.

 Lyrically speaking we’re talking Ramone influences rather than Rimbaud (“What happened girl/You used to take care of me/Now you’ve got a new boy/ Who’s big and scares me” croons Jonas in his best Bolan impression on ‘My Stupid Heart’) and very rarely do we catch a glimpse into the trio’s real lives. But that’s ok, as this record is all about escapism and raising the tempo while lowering the tone. For all its slightly brainless subject matter, ‘Echo Kid’ is still as much fun as watching your worst enemy get punched in the nards by Ricky Hatton  though and by the climax of album closer ‘Broadzilla’ it’s clear that Turbo Fruits have delivered a very tasty treat indeed. So what are you waiting for? Dig in.  Edwin McFee

Download: 1) ‘Naked With You,’ 2) ‘Lotta Lotta Ladies,’ 3) ‘My Stupid Heart’



I Drank the Wine and I Threw Away the Rose

2 12 2008

Today I’ve spent my morning hunting down new bands and chasing up things that I should’ve ages ago. My first point of call was this new Hellcat Records (a label I adore) band Civet. Four girls playing buzzsaw punk is always a great thing in my book, but when I listened to their cover of the Murder City Devils’ ‘I Drank the Wine’ played at breakneck speed I was hooked. Yeah, I know, I’ve got four Murder City-themed tattoos so I’m probably biased, but Civet kick more arse than a Ricky Hatton highlight reel.