GIG – Hurray For the Riff Raff at The Railway Inn -Thursday 23rd March 2017

horray-for-the-riff-raffHurray for the Riff Raff is an American folk-blues and Americana band from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Segarra was raised by her aunt Nereida in the Bronx where she developed an early appreciation for doo-wop and Motown. She is of Puerto Rican descent.

Segarra became a regular attendee of hardcore punk shows at ABC No Rio when she was young.She left her home in the Bronx at age 17, spending time crossing North America, hopping freight trains.

After two self-released albums, 2008’s It Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You and 2010’s Young Blood Blues, Hurray for the Riff Raff released a self-titled CD composed of Segarra’s favorite songs from those records on Loose Music in Europe on March 21, 2011. Tracks from the band’s debut release received airplay on BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music.

In February 2011, the band were featured in an article in The Times, based around the HBO TV series, Treme, with their track “Daniella” being listed in their selection of New Orleans’ essential songs.

In May 2012, Hurray for the Riff Raff released Look Out Mama on their own label, Born to Win Records. No Depression said it “sounds like something The Band would’ve had playing on a Victorola while making Music From Big Pink in Woodstock.”

In December 2016 they announced their new record ‘The Navigator’ on Pitchfork with the first single “Rican Beach.” The album will be released on March 10, 2017 on ATO Records.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

GIG – Declan McKenna at The Wedgewood Rooms -Wednesday 22nd March 2017

declan-mckennaDeclan Benedict McKenna (born 24 December 1998) is an English singer, songwriter, and musician best known for winning the Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition in 2015. McKenna’s first single, the self-released “Brazil”, reached number one on Sirius XM Radio’s Alt Nation Alt 18 Countdown for 23 January 2016, and stayed there for three weeks. The song reached number 16 on the Alternative Songs chart.

McKenna writes his own songs and usually performs all his own instruments.

BBC News called “Brazil” an extraordinarily mature song for a 16-year-old songwriter.

Matt Wilkinson at NME called it “one of the best songs” of 2015, and had high praise for McKenna’s second single, “Paracetamol”, as well. Jon Lyons of ThisNewBand.com called “Brazil” “a catchy song no doubt”, and also noted that it was “a sharp critique on sports, money and power.”

Some music critics have tempered their praise of McKenna. Critic Matt Wilkinson called McKenna’s London gigs surprisingly good, if “rough around the edges”. Jon Lyons has observed that as of November 2015, McKenna’s songs seemed to indicate an artist still experimenting with bands and styles of music which have influenced him. He felt McKenna was still “searching for his own sound right in front of the crowd. An artist is being born note by note.” Andy Welch, music critic for The Bristol Post, said McKenna was “one to watch” displaying “lots of early, ragged promise”.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

GIG – Nathan Grisdale at The Joiners -Thursday 16th March 2017

nathan-grisdaleManchester-based singer/songwriter Nathan Grisdale began his musical project following a string of requests from his large online fan base.

His passion was initially born out of a desire to help other people, and he built up his online presence with videos that attempted to discuss and remedy his follower’s worries and fears.

These videos were soon turned into songs, and Grisdale took the challenge of taking on intimate and challenging subjects and turning them into cathartic, meaningful tracks.

His soulful voice is often backed by sparse and simple melodies, and his single, “Only One,” reached the U.K. Top 100 singles chart.

From Apple Music website

 

 

GIG – Benjamin Francis Leftwich at The Wedgewood Rooms -Wednesday 15th March 2017

benjamin-francis-leftwichBenjamin Francis Leftwich (born 4 September 1989) is an English singer-songwriter from York. Leftwich released his first album ‘Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm in 2011 which peaked at #35 on the UK charts. In February 2016 he announced his next album ‘After the Rain’ on his Facebook page, set to release on 19 August 2016.

Leftwich began playing at the age of ten and grew up listening to The Rolling Stones and Nina Simone; later discovering Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, and Elliott Smith. He cites Arcade Fire, Ryan Adams, and Bruce Springsteen as inspirations

Leftwich’s debut album, the Ian Grimble-produced Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm, was released in July 2011. The Fly called it “a majestic debut” The Skinny, while the Sunday Express called it “lovely”. Hazel Sheffield, writing in The Guardian, gave it a 3/5 rating, as did David Pollock, writing for The Scotsman, who drew comparisons to Damien Rice and José González. 

Leftwich’s “Shine” was named Spotify’s most addictive track of 2014, the most repeat-played song of the year. In 2015, Benjamin Francis Leftwich co-wrote “Grow” with British artist Frances which featured in the Amazon UK TV advert.

GIG – Jerry Williams at The Wedgewood Rooms -Saturday 4th March 2017

jerry-williamsJerry Williams is a 21-year-old Indie pop singer songwriter from Portsmouth who draws her inspiration from her life growing up and the lives of others around her. To date Jerry has released 3 EPS, the 3rd ‘LET’S JUST FORGET IT’ was the winner of Best Produced Release of 2016 at the Unsigned Music Awards. So far Jerry has racked up over 4 million streams on Spotify and has support from the likes of Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, BBC Introducing locally and Nationally, KCRW, Amazing Radio and performed live sessions for BBC Introducing Solent and VEVO DSCVR. Online, press, and TV supporters include Wonderland Magazine, The Guardian, The 405, Clash, Fresh on the Net, Sunday Brunch, Made In Chelsea, MTV Scream and Drifters.

Jerry started writing music from the age of 12 whilst studying classical guitar in which she got to Grade 8 standard and played her first ever gig at 17 at the Eastney Cellars. Since then Jerry has supported sold out tours with Nathan Sykes, Vanessa Carlton, played at BST Hyde Park and played Various Stages at Victorious Festival. Jerry co-produces all her own material with long-time collaborator Dan Brown and has been lucky enough to work with Dan Carey (Kate Tempest, Miles Kane, Nick Mulvey) Nick Atkinson (Gabrielle Aplin), Jim Duguid (Paulo Nutini) and Slow Club who are one of her biggest musical inspirations. Jerry is actively involved in every aspect of her career and self-releases her music through her own label, Sunglasses Records.

From The Wedgewood Rooms website 

GIG – Kassassin Street at The Joiners – Wednesday 14th December 2016

kassassin-street2015 was the year that Kassassin Street broke out from their home town of Portsmouth and started spreading their infectious blend of psyche-infused indie-dance nationwide. Previously, they had established themselves in their home town – selling out the Wedgewood Rooms – and releasing two well received singles, including the anthemic indie-dance onslaught of ‘Centre Straight Atom’.
Two releases in 2015 – To Be Young and the Radio Silence EP – were supported by radio both here in theUK and in Spain, The Netherlands, Germany and the US (Jason Kramer and Brian Crow at KCRW; Shannon
Sauter at KEXP), as well being received to fantastic reviews from blogs across the board, from Indie Shuffe, When The Gramophone Rings, and Breaking More Waves (‘goes at it like two lustful lovers who haven’t
seen each other for months and doesn’t let up until it has climaxed after a glorious three minutes and forty seconds.’) amongst many others.
They played a full summer of festivals including Blissfields, Beatherder, Secret Garden Party, and Bestival.

Their festival season ended with a triumphant homecoming slot at Victorious Festival, which was described as “a truly spectacular performance” (Vulture Hound). They embarked on their first national tour in November, selling out many of the shows and ending on another sell out at the Wedgewood Rooms.

The band have spent 2016 writing new material, venturing out of Portsmouth for a handful of shows. Radio 3 in Spain flew them out for a slot at the SOS 4.8 festival after being selected via a listener poll – and hundreds of fans turned up to watch their set. The same happened at Y Not, Live at Leeds, and Koko in
London, the hard slog of the previous year paying off. They also released the electro-punky ‘Hand In My Pocket’.

Again played by their supporters at radio, the single was well reviewed by Music Ninja, Indie Shuffle, and Indie Is Not A Genre.

The rest of 2016 will be spent working on the material that will form their debut album, and before another nationwide tour in November.

http://www.kassassinstreet.com

GIG – Frightened Rabbit at The Wedgewood Rooms – Tuesday 6th December 2016

frightened_rabbitFor Scott Hutchison, the songwriting inspiration can come from anywhere.

From a Scottish sitcom about a larky soldier who’s served in Iraq. A break-up, his own usually – a recurring theme, it seems, judging by the incisive, compelling accounts of heartache sprinkled through Frightened Rabbit’s three previous albums, Sing The Greys (2006), The Midnight Organ Fight (2008) and The Winter Of Mixed Drinks (2010). A shit family Christmas that only got worse come Boxing Day. Or from a room-full of American fans mainlining a long-lost Celtic connection while also hoovering up a powerful British indie-rock band with a folk heart and a soulful love of their heritage. Frightened Rabbit are proudly Scottish, and adored on native soil, but their songs also seem to take on greater resonance and power the further from home they travel.

Ideas might have come on any one of the ten or so US tours undertaken by the band, each bigger, noisier, rowdier, more special than the last – there aren’t many British bands who can match Frightened Rabbit, formed by this thoughtful former art student nine years ago, for the level and intensity of their American success. Or they can come via a hero peer on the Scottish music scene, in this case onetime Arab Strap dipso-poet Aidan Moffat.

Or Hutchison will take inspiration from the shortcomings he himself sees in the songs he wrote for his band’s last album.

“With The Winter Of Mixed Drinks and what I tried to do there…” begins Frightened Rabbit’s founding member and singer, “…and the things about that I didn’t like that I wanted to make better this time… The last record was purposefully open and vague in its imagery. But I wanted to write dense poetic songs again. And that was a kick off into State Hospital.”

Welcome, then, to State Hospital, a rousing, narrative tune, full of intertwining, racing guitar lines, and pulsing round a central image – “her heart beats like a breeze-block, thrown down the stairs” – written by Hutchison from a female perspective.

It serves as the curtain-raiser to a few things. A five-track EP of the same name. Frightened Rabbit’s upcoming fourth album, Pedestrian Verse, due out next year. And to the band’s new relationship with Atlantic, a deal forged eight years after Selkirk native Hutchison started the band with his drummer brother, and after three albums made with respected indie Fat Cat.

“I feel very creatively liberated on Atlantic,” says Hutchison, a man who – with bandmates Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy (guitar, bass), Andy Monaghan (guitar) and Gordon Skene (guitar, keyboards) – has almost a decade’s experience building his band, cultivating a fan-base, improving their chops, and doing these the old-fashioned way: touring.

Earlier this year, the five-piece were ready to make their fourth album. But their producer of choice wasn’t available, and Hutchison was kicking his heels. And that, too, fed into a song. Home From War was partly catalysed by the original pilot for Gary Tank Commander, a Scottish comedy that has gone on to become a cult show north of the border.

“He’s a guy back from Iraq and he’s just bouncing about, he’s got nothing to do, doesn’t know what to do with his life any more. ’Cause he’s been structured and regimented for that amount of time. It’s really funny but I found it quite interesting and sad.”

Suitably inspired, and rather than sit on their hands, in February the band hired a house in Kingussie in the Scottish Highlands, trucking a load of instruments and studio gear up from Glasgow. The then spent three weeks writing and playing and recording and writing and playing some more.

Three songs were immediate keepers: Home From War, inspired by that aimless squaddie, a Pixies-meets-Coldplay giant that’s sure to become a live favourite; Off, an intimate, chorally atmospheric tune written in one quick afternoon; and Wedding Gloves, a yarn about a couple who try to rekindle love by putting digging out and putting on their matrimonial garb. It’s narrated by Moffat, to whom Hutchison entrusted the writing of the verses.

“He totally got what I wanted,” beams Hutchison, who finagled the ex-Arab Strap man’s involvement via drunken, late-night email. “He said to me, ‘right, you want me to be a sexual Yoda?’ I was like, ‘aye, if you like!’”

Come the month of May, and Frightened Rabbit’s producer was finally available. Leo Abrahams was Brian Eno’s assistant for 11 years. So on top of being a great guitar player, he’s a man well-versed in free-thinking. “He was definitely up for shaking things up, and he has plenty of soul and understanding” – all perfect qualities for the band’s new songs and fresh perspective.

A month in Monnow Valley studio in Wales did the job. The EP’s opening two songs, State Hospital and Boxing Day – the latter a mordant yet defiant account of that Yule hell – have been pulled from those sessions.

Only State Hospital will appear on Pedestrian Verse. Hutchison is understandably keeping the just-completed album under wraps for now. But he will say that State Hospital “informed the rest of the album”, and that the bulk of the other songs “have a different atmosphere” from the remaining new songs on the EP. “I don’t know how to describe it… I mean, we did consider them all for the album, but they just didn’t work. But I was really fond of what we got out of those three weeks of creative freedom.”

Next up: an “underplay” tour, in which Frightened Rabbit purposefully slip back down a few rungs on the gig circuit ladder, playing small UK and Irish venues they’ve long since outgrown. For this British band with a huge following across the Atlantic, it’ll be a challenge, but a wholly rewarding one.

It’s just how Hutchison likes to do things – stretching himself, pushing his skills and the band, taking nothing for granted and believing, always, that there’s everything to play for. Why else give an album the title Pedestrian Verse?

“I scribbled that on the front of my notebook on the first day of writing songs for the new album,” he recalls with a smile. “It was like throwing down the gauntlet to myself. Call your album Pedestrian Verse and you just leave yourself open to people going, och, that’s a bit boring… So,” he smiles, “I couldn’t write anything dull.”

With the glorious five-track State Hospital EP, it’s the emphatic start of a job well done.

 

From Band Website