Monday, 30 September 2013

Tonight at The Musician, Leicester (30/9): Gloryhammer (feat. Christopher Bowes of Alestorm) + Darkest Era + Dendera

Live In Leicester presents

Gloryhammer (feat. Christopher Bowes of Alestorm)
Monday 30th September
plus Darkest Era and Dendera
Scotland - A highland realm of mystery, wonder, and epic battles from an ancient time, shrouded by magical mists. A time of dragons and wizards, and enchanted weapons. These are the legends of the Kingdom of Fife, when the great hero Angus McFife waged an epic war against the evil wizard Zargothrax, to free the people of Dundee in the name of glory and steel. These are the legends of GLORYHAMMER!

The 'Heroic Fantasy Power Metal' band GLORYHAMMER is the new project formed by Christopher Bowes, the mastermind behind pirate-metal sensation ALESTORM, with a desire to explore the more symphonic and epic side of metal. The band's debut concept album 'TALES FROM THE KINGDOM OF FIFE', released in March 2013, is telling a story based in an alternate-history medieval Scotland, where magic and dark sorcery reigns supreme. GLORYHAMMER is a band like no other... PREPARE FOR EPIC BATTLES!

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

Ship drawings from Port of Leith go on display at Trinity House

Hundreds of old drawings of ships which visited Scotland in the inter-war years are going on display at an Edinburgh museum.

An old suitcase containing 15 sketchbooks was handed in to Trinity House in Leith.

The drawings, in ink, pencil and watercolour, are the work of artist Hector French.

They can be viewed by the public as part of Doors Open Days taking place this weekend.

Historic Scotland said the drawings shed new light on Scotland's maritime past.

Little is known about the life of Hector French, a lithographer who lived near the Port of Leith, once one of the most important ports in Europe.

'Skilled artist'

For decades he kept a detailed pictorial record of the ships which came and went.

He recorded the names of the merchant ships on his drawings, as well as the countries they came from.

Some of the ships were later sunk in WWII convoys, and the drawings show that French returned to them to add up-to-date details.

In one case he wrote "torpedoed" just two months after completing the sketch.

Hugh Morrison, collections registrar at Historic Scotland, said: "This is an incredibly exciting find. Not only are these drawings technically accomplished, but they provide a fascinating and unique record of the Port of Leith during an interesting period in its history.

"They offer us a detailed pictorial record of the ships which came and went between the wars and during WWII, when a photographic record would have been restricted.

"It is poignant that some of those ships were torpedoed not long after they were sketched in Leith by Hector French. He was clearly a very skilled artist, but since we have no other record of his work it appears that he simply sketched at the docks for his own interest."

Pauline McCloy, a national co-ordinator of Doors Open Days, said: "Whilst we nationally welcome lots of buildings and events to join our festival programme each year, little moments of happenstance like this bring the real meaning of Doors Open Days to life - the discovery of something new that may have been right under our noses all along.

"The discovery of a new part of history, of a new or unusual artefact, of a man sketching the changing world around him and saving them in a suitcase - it's like revealing a long-lost treasure that can tell us all a little bit more about the history of Scotland and the talent and skill of its people."

Source: BBC

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Review: The Pillar – Songs From The Hollow

The Pillar – Songs From The Hollow (Independent)
Utah quintet The Pillar recorded their second album (their debut “Fragmented Moments” came out in 2012) in their home state, in a local studio, self-funding the project and releasing it without the assistance of a record label or any outside help. They should be proud of themselves – “Songs From The Hollow” is well written and played, and the production is tight and plays to their many strengths.

Musically, they seem happiest when they’re mixing things up. A quick look at their Facebook page reveals a list of influences that include Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Conor Oberst, Neil Young, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Crosby Stills and Nash, and it’s to their credit that they bring these diverse stimuli together to produce such a focused recording. There’s a singular artistic vision running throughout the album’s dozen tracks that allows them to retain a consistency, whether they’re riffing hard or exploring folkier material.

Long songs dominate the album - all but two of them are over five minutes – and as a result, nothing feels rushed or prematurely concluded. They begin with “Your Luck”, which borrows from both grunge and the jam band tradition, before “Connecticut Calling” changes the album’s course with a choppy ska-esque rhythm guitar dominating. It’s extremely effective. “My Darling” could almost be filed under Americana – via Blind Melon – were it not for the underlying threat of explosive guitars, and “Own Up” blends earthy rock with progressive chops.
Phil S.

Review: The Stepkids – Troubadour

The Stepkids – Troubadour (Stones Throw Records)
Following 2011’s electro-soul filled eponymous debut (which was placed No.25 in Mojo’s Top 50 albums of 2011), “Troubadour” spins another eccentric web of electro fusion and polished pop. Again taking inspiration from classic soul, funk, ‘80s chart fodder and psychedelia, and cutting it with a slightly left-field edge makes for something interesting and also extremely commercial.

“Desert in the Dark” and “Moving Pictures” are crowd-pleasing party pieces, “The Lottery” scratches Weather Report jazz-funk into its Todd Rundgren-style vocal, whilst “Symmetry” creates a new meeting point between Luther Vandross and Pink Floyd! The Prince-like funk of "Sweet Salvation" and the squelchy polyrhythms of "Bitter Bug" have seen the light of day previously on the "Sweet Salvation EP", released in October 2012.

The Connecticut trio of former session musicians, Tim Walsh (drums), Jeff Gitelman (guitar) and Dan Edinberg (bass) share vocal duties. Their words are sometimes a little cheesy, with unimaginative couplets - which they acknowledge as a weakness - but their musical craft and unusual combinations, and inclusions (like the banjo on “Memoirs of Grey”) more than make up for it.

This weekend at The Musician, Leicester: Hell's Addiction (Sat.) / Terry Reid (Sun.)

Cheeseweasel Promotions presents

Saturday 28th September

Hell's Addiction
plus The Midnight Dogs and Priests Of Hiroshima
Hell's Addiction deliver classic no-bullshit rock 'n' roll in a style that draws comparison with the likes of AC/DC, Guns N' Roses and Mötley Crüe.

Expect powerful live perfomances, gritty vocals, screaming Marshall stacks, thundering bass and powerhouse drumming.

Crowd-pleasers like 'Let The Good Times Roll', 'Feels like Rock 'n Roll' and the debut single 'Alcohol' will leave you under no illusion as to where the band's passions lie.

"Hell's Addiction have packed a rock n roll punch so forceful that it will leave you wondering which decade you’re in." - Home Grown Rock

Sunday 29th September

Terry Reid
£12adv £14door
plus Kevin Hewick
Terry Reid, or Superlungs as he's affectionately known, is without doubt one of the greatest rock/soul voices this country has ever produced or is indeed likely to.

The legend is of turning down the front man's job with Led Zeppelin, recommending his mate Robert Plant instead, a similar offer and rebuff to Deep Purple, of Aretha Franklin's statement that The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Terry Reid were the best England had to offer in 1968, of two World Tours with The Rolling Stones, US tours with Cream and UK tours with Jethro Tull and Fleetwood Mac.

All true, but the full story includes numerous collaborations with Graham Nash, covers of Reid songs by Marianne Faithfull, The Hollies, The Raconteurs, film soundtracks and a catalogue of 6 studio albums, including the seminal album 'The River' plus much more besides. Don't miss this chance to see a true Musician's Musician and a legend to boot.

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

Review: Thousand Faces – S/T

Thousand Faces – S/T (Independent)
Led by singer-songwriter-guitarist-bassist-producer Evan McCulloch, New York City’s Thousand Faces play a hybrid form of folk-rock, which incorporates various contemporary sounds and styles. With a core membership of three – McCulloch together with Ryan Stokes (vocals, guitar) and Brian Adler (drums, percussion) – Thousand Faces are joined on the recording by several guest musicians, who add trumpet, saxophone and backing vocals. As a result, the music they make is complex and multi-layered, and suits repeated listening.

McCulloch’s a writer with plenty to say and with the perfect voice to say it. His rich, emotionally open tones give added resonance to his songs and the musicians around him provide plenty of space for his words to come to life - and those words invariably take centre stage.

The album begins with the faultless “Luminous” – its almost dreamlike narrative takes the listener on a journey that Jim Jarmusch should look into filming. I’d pay to watch it. Stokes plays some fine guitar throughout the track, infusing a Spanish flavour, which was unexpected but works incredibly well. “You Shine” wanders into Coldplay territory, but McCulloch ups the soul quota, and its stripped back instrumentation keeps the song grounded. “Open Door” taps straight into the new folk-rock sound, and fans of Fleet Foxes and the Mumfords should check it out, pronto. Indeed, it soars in a most satisfying manner, and the combination of vocals and guitar is almost magical.
Phil S.

Review: R. Stevie Moore – Personal Appeal

R. Stevie Moore – Personal Appeal (Care In the Community Records)
R. Stevie Moore is a DIY underground icon who, since 1968, has released over 400 albums on cassette or CD-R, primarily on his own label. “Personal Appeal” is a compilation (number 42), which selects work spanning 1973–2001 – so the 15 tracks included are only the slightest tip of the iceberg. In recent years, his work has been compiled by avid fans Ariel Pink (2011) and Tim Burgess (2012).

Esoteric, outsider, unhinged, wild, bizarre, eccentric are all words that could be used to describe Moore and his work, but also philosophic, observational, political, exploratory and cynical would do just as well, and he seems to draw influence from anything and everything.

He clearly holds the work of Brian Wilson in high regard and “I’ve Begun to Fall in Love” is not only is sung in high registers, but shares the same protagonist as “Caroline No”, though it’s laced with a Zappa-esque cadence.

The fallibility of the recording process itself is lampooned in “Structure of Love”, where he reveals the reason for the music stopping as a splicing issue - which is resolved before the tune recommences!
“The Picture”, a voyeuristic tale of masturbation, that deems the picture in question as a more than adequate replacement for the terminated relationship.

“Quarter Peep Show” is a moog meets country absurdist hoedown, “Treat Me” melds free jazz with garage pop, and “Copy Me” cleverly has the lo-fi drum-machinations of a photocopier.

There is much amusement to be sought in Moore’s abstract and madcap juxtapositions but there’s also a great passion for popular music and a deal to be revered.

Christine McVie rejoins Fleetwood Mac on stage at O2

Singer Christine McVie rejoined her Fleetwood Mac bandmates on stage for the first time in 15 years at London's O2 arena.

She came out on stage for a rendition of the band's hit Don't Stop, a song she wrote for the band in 1977.

Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks had earlier promised McVie would join the band for two UK dates, although she could not confirm which concerts.

McVie was part of the band from the 1970s to the '90s.

There was an enthusiastic reception from the crowd when she was introduced to the stage at the O2.

Anthony Rosner, who was in the audience and filmed McVie's appearance, said: "There had been rumours she was going to appear on stage but after she didn't appear the night before, I think everyone had brushed off the idea, and then as soon as everyone saw her on stage, everyone was off their seats and filled with excitement."

Founding Fleetwood Mac member Peter Green - who left the group in 1970 - was also in the crowd for the concert, receiving a dedication for the song Landslide from Nicks.

McVie, born Christine Perfect, married Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie and joined the group in 1971, moving from the UK to the US.

The couple divorced in 1976 but both remained in the band, producing some of their biggest critical and commercial successes, including the album Rumours, which sold 19 million copies in the US.

She left the band in 1998, returning to the UK and largely keeping out of the limelight.

Following the announcement of the current Fleetwood Mac world tour, Nicks said McVie did not want to fly to America so there was little chance of her rejoining the band.

But she later told BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour that McVie would join them on stage at a couple of UK gigs.

Source: BBC

Friday, 27 September 2013

Review: Polecat Rodeo – The First Strange Town

Polecat Rodeo – The First Strange Town (Independent)
Polecat Rodeo are a Houston, Texas-based country-folk-roots-Americana trio, comprising of Blake Abbott (lead guitar and vocals), Ben Sawicki (rhythm guitar, mandolin, vocals) and Dan Fields (harmonica, pipes and vocals). Their take on their chosen genre is varied, as are their themes, which include homesickness, camp cooking and the weather, and there’s no doubting the emphasis they place on old-fashioned storytelling.

Their back-to-basics instrumentation provides plenty of rustic charm and is the perfect setting for their songs. Though they’re not adverse to cranking things up and playing some full-on country rock - “Justine” being the prime example. Abbott plays a rip-roaring solo some two thirds in and the song rolls along like a classic Charlie Chesterman number. Very cool song, too.

It’s followed by the equally compelling “Kosse, TX”, its melodic twists linger long after the music has ended, and the songs hooks are plentiful and barbed. Radio should be all over it, but that would involve them going out and finding it, so shouldn’t be relied on. I’m a sucker for a train song, and “Wrecking Trains” doesn’t disappoint. It tells the tale of Jimmy Darby and his descent into murder and mayhem, and sounds like the sort of song Harry Smith would have put on a Folkways record, back in the ‘30s – or the New Riders Of The Purple Sage might have recorded during their initial phase.
Phil S.

Tonight at The Musician, Leicester (27/9): The Paradimes

The Paradimes
Friday 27th September
The Paradimes formed in 2011 by members of ska band El pussycat, The Specials and former members of Reggae band Stiff Naked Fools. The band play all original songs, with skanking one drop rhythms, gospel vocal harmonies and killer brass lines Studio One style. Heavily influenced by old skool legends, Toots and the Maytals, Bob Marley and Prince Buster.

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

The Dear Hunter and Anthony Green announce UK/Euro Co-Headline Tour

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Roy Harper: album, dates and a documentary film (on tonight)

Exciting times for ROY HARPER. His first album in 13 years, Man And Myth, was released this week to universal acclaim, receiving 4 and 5 star reviews heralding it as being amongst his finest work (press quotes below). In other news, Roy is the subject of an exclusive documentary film at 9pm on Sky Arts tonight. Shot mainly at his home in the Irish countryside near Cork, the film traces his intriguing career as he records the material for 'Man And Myth'. Examining the work that made him famous, respected and much loved, the film includes special interviews with fellow legendary musicians Jimmy PageRobert Plant and Johnny Marr.

Roy Harper will be playing the below UK shows next month:

Tuesday 22 October – LONDON – Royal Festival Hall (£27.50 - £40)
Friday 25 October – MANCHESTER – Bridgewater Hall (£27.50 - £40)
Sunday 27 October – BRISTOL – Colston Hall (£27.50 - £40)

Critical acclaim for Man And Myth, released this week on Bella Union:

“Harper's first album in 13 years is a magnificent, ambitious rejuvenation.”
Uncut - 9/10 (Album of the Month)

“Harper clearly isn’t subscribing to the notion that the passage of time steals musicians’ gifts and buries their mojo… He borders upon the supernatural… Still got it, Roy”.
Record Collector – 5 Stars *****

“The most erudite of songsmiths… Man and Myth is effortlessly tuneful, and swathed in allusions to Greek mythology. This is classic Harper”.
Q – 4 Stars ****

“A poetic, typically untethered set wherein bouzouki pecks and mellotron complement Roy’s latest voyage into open-tuning land.”
MOJO – 4 Stars ****

“Restless, melodic and endlessly absorbing, 'Man & Myth' is the sound of an artist at the peak of his powers”.
Sunday Express – 5 Stars ***** (Album of the Week)

“Roy Harper is on bravely impressive form. His distinctively acrobatic singing and his guitar work are powerfully confident, and several new songs compare well to his classic work from the 1970s… He's still unique.”
The Guardian – 4 Stars ****

“Roy Harper's first album in 13 years is an absolute corker on which he runs the gamut from cutting protest songs and sweet balladry to mystical folk odysseys”
The Observer – 4 Stars ****

“This fabulous collection proves that Harper’s creative flame burns brightly still... With contributions from Pete Townsend and Jonathan Wilson, the album thrives on poetic expression, winning melodies and neat guitar flourishes.”
The Sun – 4.5/5 *****

“Harper has lost none of his political fire… An album that re-establishes Harper as folk music’s ultimate enigma.”
Evening Standard – 4 Stars ****

“Harper commendably continues to bring idiosyncrasy, passion, literacy and an intense, grandiose atmosphere… This album is loaded with old gold. Hats off.”
Classic Rock – 8/10

“Roy Harper returns with his best album in decades, confirming that, in his seventies, Harper’s maverick character, poetic sensibility and singing remain undimmed and focused”.
The independent – 4 Stars ****

“These levels of candour and grandeur are rarely witnessed.”

Man And Myth is incontrovertible proof to everyone of Roy Harper’s persisting brilliance, with many hallmarks of what has singled him out since his first album 47 heady years ago. For the full backstory / bio visit Roy’s official website