Thursday, October 20, 2016

All Years Leaving 2016

Attention Brum based peeps. This Friday/Saturday sees the annual All Years Leaving Festival and as usual it's stuffed full of some of the best new bands around. Anywhere. Fact. It's kind of like SXSW...just in Kings Heath (well that's south of Brum isn't it...geography never was my strong point). Tickets for the whole thing cost just £25 (which probably just about buys a falafel at Glasto these days) and quite frankly it's worth paying that just to see Hooten Tennis Club play Katy-Anne Bellis and Table Scraps play...well...anything really.

PS: Looks like weekend and Saturday tickets are all gone but you can grab the last few Friday tickets here if you're faster than Bradley Wiggins on speed.

Tourists - Drive

Spanking new music from hotly tipped Torquay five piece Tourists (I'm guessing living where they do they're something the band's well used to) courtesy of synth-tastic new single Drive. Featuring the kind of catchy 80s tinged chorus that'd be right at home on the soundtrack of a John Hughes (RIP) classic (even the vid has a bit of a Weird Science vibe) the band saves the best till last still my beating heart...a ruddy sax solo. God I love a sax solo. Why more bands (M83 being one of the few exceptions these days) don't use a little/a lot of brass is a mystery to me. Anyway, dust off your rah rah skirt (and that's just the chaps), pump up the volume and bop till you drop.

Drive is out on November 4th. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Islet - Liquid Half Moon

Had the great pleasure of seeing Islet way back in 2010 (ahhh, going to gigs...I remember that) and, as is the way sadly, gradually let them slip into the darkest recesses of what's left of my brain. Seeing a mention of their new single in NME sent me shuffling to the old laptop to give it a 'spin' and it's a darn fine slice of dreamy oddball psych. Fans of Conan Mockasin will heartily approve...that's me then. Bravo.  

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Captain Sensible - There Are More Snakes Than Ladders

Heard this last night for the first time in a decade or three. I've had a bit of a soft spot for Captain Sensible ever since seeing him do a suitably OTT version of Happy Talk on Top Of The Pops back in '82 (good grief) but I'd forgotten this one. For a silly pop song it's a pretty good summary of life's rich tapestry and the brief guitar solo (Sensible's actually a genuinely brilliant guitarist) is well worth the wait too. Chart nerds might be interested to note that it reached the dizzy heights of number 57 in 1984 which is quite frankly a national disgrace.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Yello, is it me you're looking for

Chuffed to hear new stuff from Yello, grandfathers of quirky electronic dance pop and quite possibly the oddest pairing in musical history. Formed way back in 1979 the lead singer, Dieter Meier, now a mere 71 years young, is amongst other things a millionaire industrialist, conceptual artist and owner of his own chocolate factory. Former truck driver Boris Blank is a self taught musical genius and one of the pioneers of sampling back in the days when it involved an awful lot of tape, a razor blade and some glue. Together they've recorded 13 albums and scored one of the most unique chart hits ever with The Race, all 13 minutes and 23 seconds of it. Brilliantly bonkers they're just about to make their proper live debut with a short series of concerts in Berlin. Tantalisingly there's talk of some UK dates at some point too.

PS: On a personal note I was lucky enough to meet the charming and dapper Mr Meier at a low key record signing at HMV in Brighton way back in 1991 and I practically begged him to play live one day. And now, a mere quarter of a century later, voila! Everything comes to he who waits eh?

PPS: Here's one of their classic tracks coupled with some scenes from a movie that never fails to make me feel 15 again (which takes some doing these days) Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Altogether now..."Bueller...Bueller...Beuller..."

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The CPM and direct!

Recorded live last Sunday at Sunday Xpress, more punk than a pocket full of Pistols, classier than The Clash and savager than's The CPM Connection.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sunday Xpress - this Sunday!

Attention Midlands peeps (and peeps from further afield who can get their raggedy old/young/middle aged arses to Digbeth), this Sunday sees the start of another series of Sunday Xpress’s and it’s a typically strong bill with The Dollcanoes and the inspirational The CPM Connection along with a new name to me, The Retinal Circus, intriguingly billed as ‘multi-layered multi-dimensional music’. The whole thing kicks off at 5pm with a couple of hours of anything goes open mic mayhem before the bands take to the stage at 7pm. And. It’s. All. Ruddy. Free. 

I’m stuffed full of admiration for the Sunday Xpress posse and everyone who performs there so pop along and show ‘em some love. Good times guaranteed or your money back. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

(Rumble) Strips it up and start again

For an all too brief moment in the mid noughties it looked as though The Rumble Strips blend of Dexys brass-vado and soul (great on record, three flavours of awesome live) might just make it but sadly it wasn’t too be and the band faded away without so much as a whimper back in 2010. Fast forward six years though and seemingly out of the blue they’re back, back, back with a series of new tracks recorded on a floating lighthouse in East London. Yes, really.

So far half a dozen songs have been uploaded to Spotify and You Tube with a similar number still tantalisingly to come. Happily lead Strip Charlie Waller’s slightly battered and bruised but still defiant outlook on life’s still firmly in place, notably in the gloriously doomed romanticism of Around The World in which he plans to write a shit song, sell it to an ad agency and then use the money to buy a car to drive him and his/a girl around the world until he’s had enough at which both he and the car will conk out (of course he puts it so much better than this which is why he’s in a band and I’m in a small room rocking gently backwards and forwards). As business plans go it’s not a bad idea but personally I’d prefer it if the wonderful listening public bought the band’s ruddy records instead (once they get round to pressing some that is). In the meantime some live dates are promised later this year (HINT: PLAY EXETER PLEASE), watch this space. 

PS: Here's a prime slice of early Rumble Strips for you too. Enjoy.