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

 

GIG – Lowly at The Railway Inn- Saturday 29th October 2016

lowlyLowly is a five-piece noise pop band from Denmark. They appeared out of nowhere in April 2014 with the release of the bewitching ‘Daydreamers’. The sound, already so rich and full, was like being put under a magical spell.
Initially brought together – in hindsight I’d suggest by a visionary alchemist – purely to fulfil part of a short music project at the school they all attended, Nanna, Thomas, Steffen, Kasper and Soffie immediately found the chemistry so many musicians search years to find. The individual influences of each, so different it seemed to begin with, truly give Lowly that unique sound, one that has been developing over the course of the last year.

In the fall, Lowly released their EP “Sink Way Into Me” and the single “Fire” was described as “ABBA’s Super Trouper remixed by Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker” by Ed Nash from The Line Of Best Fit.

The music is at times intricate yet deep and sensual, the fascinating rhythms of drummer Steffen create a perfect counterpoint to the gorgeous melodies of Soffie and Nanna.

The overall effect of this in tandem with the liquid bass and keyboard lines create a set that has you on the verge of crying and dancing all at the same time. There isn’t a band out there today like them, which is thrilling. To make music that is both emotional and influential at this early stage, shows that Lowly are a band of limitless possibilities.

From The The Railway website

GIG – The Japanese House at The Joiners – Saturday 29th October 2016

the-japanese-houseBrooding with melancholic beauty, ‘Still’ serves as a perfect introduction to 19-year-old London based artist The Japanese House and her debut EP, ‘Pools To Bathe In’.

Produced by The Japanese House (Amber Bain) alongside George Daniel & Matthew Healy, ‘Pools To Bathe In’ pushes the parameters of alt pop, pulling together a host of unlikely influences to create something personal and entirely unique.
From The Joiners Website

GIG – Black Foxxes at The Joiners -Wednesday 26th October 2016

black-foxxesWith an aim to play what comes naturally, as loud as possible and with absolutely no gimmicks involved, South west three-piece Black Foxxes have pricked the ears of Kerrang!, Rock Sound, MusicWeek, The Independent and Punktastic, among many others, in their short career to date.

Their debut EP ‘Pines’ (which was released at the tail end of 2014) received praise across the board and Black Foxxes’ unique and unflinching brand of heart-wrenching rock has found continuous support from BBC Introducing in Devon, with high praise coming from BBC Devon presenter James Santer. More recently, the band’s tracks have been gaining ground at BBC Radio 1 with plays from Jen & Ally, Daniel P Carter, and Phil Taggart.

Wielding their dynamic mix of raw noise, pure melody and utterly immersive vocal breaks, Black Foxxes thrive on playing live and always ensure that everyone present will remember them, no matter what.

From bands website

PLAYLIST – ‘ Laid Low ‘ by The Naked and Famous

GIG – Gavin James at The Wedgwood Rooms -Tuesday 4th October 2016

gavin jamesGavin James is an Irish singer-songwriter. In March 2013 and March 2016, he won the Choice Music Prize Irish Song of the Year award. In July 2015, it was announced he would be a supporting act for Kodaline, Tori Kelly, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran on their tours.

James released his debut album Bitter Pill on 20 November 2015 through Warner Ireland. It was awarded Platinum certificate for sales in Ireland. Subsequently Bitter Pill has won the Choice Music Prize for Best Single released in 2015.

In May and November 2015, James appeared on James Cordon’s Late Late Show  and Jimmy Kimmel in December 2015. In January 2016 James appeared on the BBC One Show, C’est A Vous and RTE and was included in Buzzfeed’s  and The Sun’s ‘Ones to Watch 2016’ lists.

In 2016 James performed at RTÉ’s Centenary Concert to mark the 100 year anniversary of Ireland’s Easter Rising.

Spotify have announced Gavin James to be a ‘Spotify Spotlight Artist of 2016′. On January 21 James set off on his debut European headline tour, starting with three sold out back-to-back dates at the Olympia Theatre in Ireland. James travelled back to America to support Ben Rector on his US tour in March 2016. James’ cover of David Bowie’s “Changes” relaunched the new Virgin Radio UK at 11am GMT on 30 March 2016, he later performed live and was interviewed for the show.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia