Saturday, November 16, 2013

The South West Music Awards 2013

So that was the South West Music Awards 2013. 

It took place at 'Charlie's Live Lounge' a new club thats by the Pizza hut in Cowick street. As you go in you get the feeling that normally its a venue that plays dance music to boys and girls in track suits and Burberry Caps. 

A truly horrid venue where they charge £10.70 for 1 glass of wine and one bottle of Kopperberg. while trying to order a lemonade and blackcurrent the barman had no idea what blackcurrant was in any way shape or form. The PA was appalling, you could not hear a single word for the first few hours as the mic was distorting to buggery. The locals were getting restless as they had nowhere to sit, many who had travelled a fair way to get there. 

Far less movers and shakers there than usual but good to chat to a few of the great and the good such as Jackson Cooper, Adam Isaacs, Chris Mockridge, Marie Belsten, Lee and Lisa Fletcher, Andy Botterill, Andrew Padfield and Sarah Woodward as well as the Sirens girls, Mozura,  the Reigning Days chaps and a few others that my brain cant quite remember the day after! And the Exeter local records guy had a stand there the ONLY local music exhibit there, and I think I was the only person from a band there doing any kind of form of active promotion by touting round promos of the new Secrets For September CD. 

Myself with the 2 Andys

It was a shame it was a Friday, as that’s a giging day for most musicians, and TSWMA is not an event that is big enough yet to warrant cancelling a gig to attend. 

Rev Hammer did a great job of comparing this year, being local he gets it and while John Robb is a pro being a Manc he thinks there is nothing in the world of music past the M62. Though Mr Robbs sarcasm was missed. People got awards, how it was voted and judged is very questionable but if you play in Exeter a lot, or have something to do with Phonic then you have a good chance of winning something. 

I was asked to present best folk award, and I had a speech all prepared but because the PA was so poor I didn't really say much at all. 

The event was on two floors as it was in a club rather than a venue (and last years venue was spot on), downstairs were several bands playing where they had a really decent sounding PA and felt like a much better place to hang out than the main event. 

The awards came through, some of my friends like Billy Bottle, Lee Fletcher and John Govier all won a gong. After the interval where Carnivala did a great set,

Above Carnivala

I was called upon to back Irish singer Olive de Ville for a 10 minute 4 song set. This was the first time that myself and Dave had played together outside the Secrets For September environment. Thankfully by that time the PA was starting to sound a little better though there was no actual sound operator present for the whole set. But we managed to get through it all ok and had there been a better PA there in a decent room (ie like last year) then it would have been quite good. 

Myself, Dave Holwill and Olive De Ville

The rest of the evening was more awards, half the attendees by this time had gone home, and not long after I did the same. 

There was no real dramas like the first one with short angry man from Wang Chung, but this time it did feel that the event was really a parody of itself. They got it pretty much spot on last year. If there is one next year a few lessons need to be learned. The award selection needs more transparency, a better venue needs to be sourced, the event needs to be on a non gig day and some proper media involvement.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Back in the saddle..

On Saturday night I played my first solo set for a very long time. 

It was a short set just 4 songs, but was the first time in the 20 years that I have been playing there that I have played at the Cavern as a solo artist. 

The set was

Broken Child (All Living Fear song 2012)
Blue Sky (All Living Fear song 1996)
To Behold (Secrets For September song 2010)
Tomorrow (All Living Fear song 1993)

The last song Tomorrow I first performed with All Living Fear at the Cavern almost to the day 20 years ago as I had just written it while at work in one of the local music shops. As a result of this show I have been asked to play at a few more gigs, and its inspired me that in 2014 I might just finally make a solo recording. watch this space. 

The guitar I used was my little Epiphone travel guitar its got a great sound and hardly takes up any room at all.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Late Show 27th September 2013

Last week was 3 from The Wall (Another Brick 1, Hey You and Run Like Hell) 

This week was about People coming to the area and redressing the Balance

1) Jethro Tull - Bouree (from This Was as Martin Barre playing Tavistock)

2) The Cult - Love Removal Machine (steve Brown version) as the Cult are playing Exeter Uni Soon

3) Focus - Anonymous 1 (they are playing Tavistock, Falmouth and Bristol)

and finally 

4) David Gilmour - No Way (Redressing the Roger Waters Pink Floyd Balance!)

Monday, August 26, 2013

National Pastime - Run With Me Now - Produced and remixed by Me.

Here is something new. I was asked to play on the new recordings by Exeters ‘National Pastime’ well I didn’t really have the time but I did offer to do a remix.

The song on offer was one they had played live as Falling Trees called ‘Run with me now’ when played live it had a bit of a Cure sound to it.

When I got the recording to work with I was rather shocked it was 140 bpm and sounded nothing like the song that was played live.

Anyhow the first thing I did was to try and make it sound like the song I had heard before. So I halved the tempo and all I used was the vocals. I wrote new music and then went about editing the vocals where I sliced them up to fit in the sections that I felt best. On the choruses I took the first one and the second one and doubled them up and added lots of delay and reverb to give it a big sound. This in on the released as Remix 2.

Then I went back to the song and decided to produce a version more to the original. So I extended the drums by about a minute as there was no breaks or fills anywhere I wanted to put some in. Then I placed the vocals back in and re recorded all of the rest of the instrumentation. As well as adding keyboards and acoustic guitar. Think this one finished off the best. 

There is a review of the EP here. 

And another review here 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Late Show - 2nd August 2013

As I had just supported Mostly ASutumn thought Id pick one of theres, plus new songs from the Morrisons and the US/Canadian band the Never Evers. 

Mostly Autumn - Drops of the Sun
The Morrisons - Captured in a Jar
The Morrisons - 1000 Miles Away
The Never Evers - Cheap Thrills (Debut UK radio appearance)

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Late Show BBC radio 5th April 2013

Doing this before it happens but Im talking about 2 new LPs, David Bowie 'The Next Day' and Eric Claptons 'Old Sock' both wonderful items of vinyl. 

From Clatopn his renditions of 'Goodnight Irene' (Leadbelly) and 'Still Got The Blues' (Gary Moore). 

Then from Bowie 'The Next Day' and 'Ill Take You There' 

All corkers tonight.

BBC Radio Late Show 29th March 2013

Some random tunes and chat this week. 

First off a Song called 'Queen and Country' by Jethro Tull from the album 'War Child' I had actually not heard this LP until the day and though this was a bit good. 

Then a song from the Second David Crosby and Graham Nash LP 'Wind on the Water' with the song 'Love Work Out'. 

Then I thought to finish a bit of Genesis from the prog to pop transition LP 'And then there were three' with 'Ballad of Big' great tune that. 

With lots of banter in between!

Saturday, February 09, 2013

DADA Records :(

Last Monday I was very sad to see my one my favourite record shops DADA in Chiswick has closed down it was full of gret stuff at good prices and they have the knack of finding good new old stock for example I found new copies of Skins Hasta La Vista Baby album that has been out of print since the 90s and Spear of Destinys CD version of Outlands, again new on the virgin label.

They also had great selection of Jazz and new vinyl. It will be missed. 

Radio Devon Tunes 8th February 2013

So we had a bit of a mixed bag this week.

On Monday I was in Sister Ray record shop in London, I’d never been there before and I bought a few goodies, while I was there they were playing this rather good sounding album it turned out to be the new ish album from Smoke Fairies called Blood Speaks so I bought it, and played the song Take me down where you go.

After this we talked about music falling out of copyright one album being the debut from Bob Dylan that has since been re issued by several labels, one is called Not Now Music and it has a mono and stereo mix of the album plus a couple bonus tracks one being a slightly longer version of Corina Corina that was on Freewheeling Bob Dylan and has not been released on anything else apparently.

Then I took a listen to a post Peter Green version of Oh Well by Fleetwood Mac from the 1980 Live album, seeing as there was only one guitar on it they pulled off quite a decent version, and I have never heard this version on the radio before so thought id spin that too.

Last song of the evening, with all this talk about the new Jimi Hendrix album, or more just an album of slightly different takes of songs that are already out there I dug out my Nine To The Universe album that came out in 1980 made up of jams from 1969 this LP is one of the few that never made it to CD, shame as there is some cracking stuff on here and I picked the title track, though being nearly nine minutes long I came in after the first drum solo.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

BBC Radio Devon Late Show picks 1st February 2013

So this week it was the anniverary of the first 7” single released by RCA in America in 1949 so I thought I would pick a few 7” themes.

Firstly an old EP called ‘Jam Session At RCA’ with the likes of Fats Waller and Bunny Berigan and Tommy Dorsey playing ‘The Blues’. This was recorded in 1937 and the ep probably came out in the 50s but it was the oldest RCA disc I have.

Then it was the new Adam Ant single ‘Cool Zombie’ this song takes a few listens but does grow in time, and the artwork on the single is great.

After that I flip to CD to play Something in the Way by Nirvana as on this week in 1992 the album Nevermind got to no 1 in the UK album charts for the second time, no mean feat and it’s a fantastic track.

Lastly, on BBC Spotlight this week there was a feature on independent record shops and on the BBC Spotlight Facebook page people were sending in their first albums. One person mentioned Cosmos Factory by Credence Clearwater Revival  a favourite of mine for many years, so I thought I’d play their take on Marvin Gayes’s I heard it through the grapevine. One of the great cover versions.

And that was it for the week.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

BBC Radio Playlist for 25th January 2013

Well this week on BBC radio Devon I had a true mixed bag of tunes to play.
First off was the opening track ‘All that patience brings’ from the debut CD album by ‘Laurence made me Cry’ AKA Jo Whitby, I saw LMMC at a gig in Cardiff a couple of years ago where they were on the same bill as my friend Erin Lang, it was a great gig so I very much looked forward to the album that does not disappoint one little bit. 

Following that was a CD re issue of the Trader Horn album ‘Morning way’, an almost impossible album to find, and a great mix of acoustic folk inspired tunes by miss Jusy Dyble and Jackie McAuley. I picked the title track a wonderful song.

The band that had the most feedback was Exeter’s ‘Hurricane Horse’ I picked a track from the bands debut cd ‘Reflections’ they have a great Neil Young inspired country rock sounds. The song picked ‘Fog of Confusion’.

Last was my vinyl pick this was ‘Michael viners Incredible Bongo Band’ from the album ‘Bongo rock’ and his take on the track ‘Apache’ of course made famous by ‘The Shadows’. This was a LP that was a flop at the time, but by the rise of sampling by bands like The Beastie Boys it has a cult status and has since been re issued.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Secrets back on stage..

Thursday night and Secrets For September took to the stage for the first time this year. It was an informal kind of show at the Picturehouse and it was just myself and Ellie for this one. 

As we are working on the new EP we thought it a good idea to play some of the songs from the ep.

The Set went

To Behold
The Man From Torquay
Letting Go
Friends Forever

We played pretty well though I must confess I had a senior moment during reflections and played the chorus back to front. Still the gig was a good start to the year. 


All Living Fear - Some Great Reviews

Well I thought id post a couple reviews of the All Living Fear album I'm genuinely very touched that the album has met with such favorable reaction.

This is one from 'This is Gothic Rock'

All Living Fear - Coming Home (2012)

All Living Fear
Coming Home
Danger Noise Rec.

All Living Fear is a band from the UK which has been active since 1992, and has built a name in the European underground scene. And now 20 years later, founder member Matthew North presents this record “Coming Home”. It is an exquisite, relaxing, and very pleasant experience. Their music is a rich mixture of styles  : Gothic Rock, Dark wave, Alternative Rock and even some influences from Progressive Rock bands .The tracks are mid-tempo and each one has been finely crafted, the producer  (Matthew itself) did such a great work.
Mike Soundy (drums), Dave Holwill & Niall Parker (bass) , has joined forces with Matthew (Guitar, voice) to create this record. Have to mention the contribution of Roger O’Donell  (The Cure) with his Keyboards. “Broken Child” is the opener: beautiful song, very relaxing with a fine acoustic sound.”Broken Dream” is very 80’s in spirit, and it’s a fine mixture of Darkwave and Goth Rock in the vein of the Mission UK.”Feel” is melodic and catchy. ”Wait For Yesterday” is closer to the definition of Alt. Rock.”Destiny” is Gothic Rock with passion and some introspective feel.”Dark Out Here” brings more introspection and nostalgia .The title fits quite well to this great song. Then, they step on the accelerator and bring us “Breaking The Fire”. This song is a brilliant Piece of Trad Gothic Rock , ¡Fantastic track! “All Living Fear” is quite an interesting song. In this one, they displayed all of their wide range of sounds and influences from different musical styles.
All Living Fear has lots of experience. I’m pretty sure that they have influenced to some of the new bands from the European scene, hints of their sound can be found in some of them. 20 years after the foundation of the band, Matthew has decided to close the cycle of All Living Fear. “Coming Home” has been announced as the last record of the band, and it’s a closure very emotive and with great music. Hope that Matthew North has something new to offer in the near future. 
This one from Alteria Motives

CD Review: All Living Fear - Coming Home

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail
This year marks All Living Fear’s 20th anniversary together as a band.  Matthew North is the man behind All Living Fear.  They have just released Coming Home which is the culmination of over 3 years work for Matthew.  With this album Matthew is marking the end of All Living Fear, I was personally fortunate to see All Living Fear in what was maybe their final show at Whitby Goth Weekend on 3rd November 2012.  I cannot deny their set was amazing and I couldn’t help making my wallet a little lighter and walking away with a good chunk of their merch stand.
In Matthew’s own words he says “Things have really come full circle for me. This has been the most satisfying project that I have ever undertaken with All Living Fear.”  So what do we think? Read on and you shall see.

The album starts with a track called Broken Child, this starts with a beautiful melodic resonance.  Vocally calm but yet it is all that All Living Fear is known for.  Broken Child is such a great sounding track, I cannot get past the amazing sounds of the guitars as well as the superb vocals.  What a great start to this album Broken Child is.

Broken Dream starts setting up the atmosphere to perfection, again the guitar work is amazing.  It is melodic but yet it carries those riffs the guitars carried in the 80’s goth we all love and the vocals truly resonate the same feeling.  This is good goth music but yet with a wonderful careful calm feeling added.  To me if Pink Floyd could do goth music it would sound like Broken Dream.

Feel is yet another track that has been pulled kicking and screaming from the height of 80’s goth music.  It has all the elements you would expect from decent 80’s goth but yet with added All Living Fear melody and style.  The synths are perfectly intermingled with harmonic vocals and beautiful guitar riffs until the track ups its pace.  It gains additional momentum which carries through to the end of Feel.

Wait For Yesterday starts with amazing bass work followed by guitars that almost cry to you.  As the vocals come on the guitars take a step back to lightly serenade the vocal harmonies.  All I can say is, Oh My Good GOTH.  What a superb track Wait For Yesterday is.

Destiny is one track that I adore so much, the guitars carry that element of The Cure’s finest work and this echoes through the whole track.  You get Matthews signature vocals here and they are so prominent here.  The track is emotional to the max here, you really get the feeling of pain in Destiny.

Dark Out Here is just as the track titles suggest, if you close your eyes the music really paints a picture of being out in the cold.  To me it shows true talent when the culmination of the music, vocals and words are able for you to feel the song.  The painted picture is what may be a bleak one, but yet the picture is perfect in every way.

Breaking The Fire to me carries one of the some of the greatest memories of my life.  To me this track sums up a great night I had a Whitby Goth Weekend, of all the songs in the All Living Fear arsenal I must admit Breaking The Fire is my favourite.  I can be described as none the less a perfectly designed goth track.  Breaking The Fire is to me the pinnacle of All Living Fear, a work of sheer genius musically.

All Living Fear crowns of Coming Home to a tee, 20 years of musical experience summed up in one track.  Be honest I didn’t want to hear All Living Fear, the music is amazing but it marks the end of the album which I have really enjoyed.  Plus also the feeling that this may be the last we ever hear of All Living Fear is a sad thought. 

Coming Home to me is a modern gothic masterpiece which is the best that All Living Fear has ever created.  It’s a great album that leaves you sad knowing this may mark the end of such a great band.

Coming Home is available from Bandcamp or search for All Living Fear on iTunes

And last one from Jackson Cooper from the Torbay Herald

All Living Fear return with a new album recorded between 2009-2012  "Coming Home" A glorious mix of dark cure overtones with the light and shade of great songwriting . Think The Cult/ Sisters OF Mercy.
2012's line up of Matthew North ( guitar & vocals) Steve Williams ( Bass) and Michael Soundy ( Drums )  create and draw you into a world  containing just eight songs. They may not be in current musical vogue  but it makes you wish they were.
Melodic opener Broken Child sets an acoustic atmospheric tone with follow up Broken Dream kicking its quieter sibling into touch .Its guitar strides giving a defiant  two figures to its mother .Almost like a five year old growing into a teenager in the space of  5 glorious minutes. You get lost in its soul then it's over.

The albums textures and feel become more important with every listen.The gaps in the music ,breath and take on a life of its own  within the recording space.
It's the new breed dressed in old clothes.
Highlights  include the almost poppy sounding "Feel "with its simple hypnotic child like riff and "Breaking the fire" A solid drive through the rock landscape of old with its twirling guitar harmonies .Mirage rock is born and represented  on an irresistible hook shaped platter.
Forgotten how good this music can be ? Then remind yourself today, with giving it the repeat listening it deserves.Its good to hear something real before music retreats again into the digital ether . Eight tracks and no filler. Yes please I say !
Jackson Cooper( Riviera FM )
Album out now .For more details go to their Facebook page

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Last Shop Standing? Not HMV!

So HMV are calling in the receivers, is that surprising? No not really I posted a while back that it was the last straw for the last chain store standing selling second hand cds at 2 quid a pop as a lost leader.
So is filesharing to blame, is it the downloading culture, is it I tunes?
Well in my opinion its several things.

HMV.COM for a start, its web brand, sells everything in the shop cheaper due to the tax laws of being based in the Channel Islands there is no price consistency that is apart from one artist, The Beatles. The Beatles are never discounted, you pay full price for Beatles CDs and albums wherever you go. This I guess is one reason why the Beatles are still one of the bestselling bands in the world and one of the reasons that EMI stayed in business for so long.
So HMV who have The Pink Floyd Wall Box Set at 135 Quid in Exeter, 99 Quid in Plymouth and £139 online! 

As a tandem to that doing a little bit of research there are quit a few independent record shops in just Devon alone that are dong quite well. Yes most charge around a tenner as a stand price for a CD or around 15 for an LP these are reasonable prices in my book. But the special thing is that they also know the product they are selling, up until about 10 or 15 years ago the same could have been said for anyone that worked in HMV, Virgin, Our Price MVC or wherever people were passionate about the product that they sold, the same went for Comet, believe it or not I went into Comet with my dad as a kid when they sold high end Japanese HiFi, Reel To Reel tape machines and all sorts.
Sadly the high street has gone the way of the general consumer who wants rubbish and wants it cheap. Thankfully there is a strong union of real music fans that want something more substantial to listen to and don’t mind paying the proper price for it either. 

So what’s the future? 

My prediction is that music will be more and more specialist more like Art and Books, if someone really values something then they will pay for it, yes some will only want downloads or iTunes but that’s because we have a mass media culture of a throwaway society where people have fake prints on the wall and not a painting, where Ikea wins of a craftaman making something by hand.
I just hope that the indie shops are still there for me to buy my records from.
I am as far as possible going to avoid buying new music from anywhere other than the bands themselves, or indie shops, especially seeing the amount of tax pay each year.


As an addtion here are some locals shops

Exeter Local Records

The last shop (new business)
There is also Really Good Records next door

Exeter Rooter Records

Black Cat records Taunton

Phoenix Sounds Newton Abbott

The drift record shop Totness