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…





News From The North Week 42

21 10 2009

Here’s a reprint of my NI news column from Hot Press Vol 33 Issue 19. Enjoy.

News

Words: Edwin McFee

They may have taken their sweet time making it, but this fortnight we’re pleased to announce that one of NI’s best live bands Pocket Billiards will unleash their debut album onto the unsuspecting public. Formed in 2002, the Billiards have went through more line-up changes than Guns ‘N’ Roses, but they’ve still remained one of the most high octane unsigned bands the country has to offer and this writer is pleased to report that their self titled album is one of the best records of the year. The ska-loving nine-piece launch their master-piece by playing a gig in the Black Box in Belfast on Oct 10 with support from Team Fresh, Axis Of and Aggressors BC and admission is a mere £5, so make sure you check out what is sure to be a great night. For more information on how you can pick up a copy of their seminal slab of wax then click on www.myspace.com/pocketbilliards.

Speaking of new albums, by the time you read this you’ll be able to get your mitts on the debut offering (Sticks And Stones) from the Vals too. Released on Oct 5, the opus can be bought via mail order giants such as Play.com, Amazon and all the rest and while we have yet to hear a copy, we’re expecting good things. The band have also made a rather swish looking video for their track ‘Too Many People’ and you can watch it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPNEeprzxBU.

Up and comers the Vires are the latest local act to sign with the Audio-Ill label. After beating off stiff competition (make your own jokes there folks, that one’s too easy) in a Battle of the Bands, they scooped a two year contract and three year publishing deal. Hot Press will of course keep you up to date on the band’s activities when we get them but for now have a listen to their songs by visiting this website-www.myspace.com/thevires.

Finally the none more mighty Yakuza have made an ace clip for their track ‘West Of The Best’ courtesy of Red Cap Productions. Taken from their forthcoming album, the video features our heroes playing inside cardboard boxes that are adorned in fairy lights, signing along the dotted line for some be-suited business moguls (the horror!) and generally indulging in some of the best acting we’ve seen since Leprechaun In The Hood went straight to DVD. It’s definitely worth a look, so check it out here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhqEeQn7j0c&feature=player_embedded.