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.





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.

News

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 www.greenpartyni.org. 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.





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.