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Monday, 30 July 2012

EH1 LIVE.....Five of the best venues presenting 50 of the best bands!


It's not always about the bands, you need to have a great venue to play in too.....or in this case five great venues.  This years EH1 LIVE takes place on Sunday 16th September celebrating some of the best unsigned music in Scotland today.  This years venues are The Liquid Rooms, Electric Circus, Whistlebinkies, Cabaret Voltaire and last but by no means least Bannermans hosting over 50 bands throughout the day and into the evening.


Liquid Room LogoSo first venue on the list is The Liquid Rooms.....


For over 10 years The Liquid Room has been entertaining music fans in and around Scotland by hosting gigs and events 7 days a week , 365 days a year. They're proud to have worked with artists from every music genre ; from Hip Hop to Rock, Country to Pop and have seen Dj’s from around the globe grace their stage for some phenomenal club nights.  After being closed for refurbishment for almost 2 years, they're happy to be back bigger and better than ever. Technically we have installed a bespoke and state of the art sound and lighting system yet unseen in any venue of our size in the UK.  With artists as diverse as Hip Hoppers De La Soul, Black Eyed Peas and Dizzee Rascal to rockers Snow Patrol, Stiff Little Fingers and The View gracing their stage it truly is among the creme de la creme of venues not just in Scotland but UK wide.

"Photography by The Artificial Asylum - www.facebook.com/TheArtificialAsylum

Next up is Electric Circus.....with it's 7 luxurious private karaoke rooms, a huge variety of live music on their stage, unashamedly upbeat and light hearted club nights and a huge array of party options and relaxed classes to suit every occasion and any number of guests.

Vic Galloway of BBC Radio Scotland said - “Electric Circus is a state-of-the-art, new music venue in my hometown city of Edinburgh, catering for everything from bangin’ club culture to sweaty rock n’roll. Its another great addition to the Capital’s growing live scene with touring bands and local acts rolling up on a nightly basis. The interior decor is a wild, technicoloured clash of tattoo style murals, new-wave neon and classy monochrome all fighting for your attention with the wall of TV screens and personal karaoke booths. I’ve seen many bands, DJ-ed loads and had the occasional beverage or 2 in Electric Circus, and always have a great time. The staff are friendly and doormen polite – what more could you want?”


AdvertThird on the list is Whistlebinkies..... running for over ten years, Whistlebinkies Live Music Bar continues to host Edinburgh’s longest running Open Mic night.  Every Monday from 9pm to 3am Whistlebinkies becomes a place for you to perform.

Whistle Binkies live music bar, EdinburghEvery Tuesday 4 bands are invited onto the Whistlebinkies Stage to showcase their music to a packed house with a view to booking future gigs. With free entry and 2 Tiger beers for £5 this great value night brings a varied crowd that includes spotters, agents, managers and record label reps. 
 Whistlebinkies provides a backline that comprises of Yamaha Stage Advantage Drum Kit, Ashdown MAG 410 Bass Head and Cabinet, Marshall AVT 150 Guitar Head and Cabinet
In addition we provide PA, engineer, all mics, D.I.’s and leads.


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Fourth up is Cabaret Voltaire..... a celebration of jiggery pokery spanning two floors and making the arduous journey down the steep hill of Blair St a worthwhile venture.
Cab Vol basically resides in a cave. It is ideal for finding nooks and crannies to plonk yourself down, squeeze up, budge up, move along, let me in, you are sitting on my jacket, your elbow is in my ribs, it's your turn to go to the bar...

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A place where things go bump in the night. Although perhaps BUMP is more appropriate given the sound system. An audio stage for the best in local Scottish DJ talent, as well the best that Stelios and his Easy Jet can fly in from around the musical globe. Drinks prices that make a tenner go further than usual and help you loosen up and sidestep to the dancefloor.



Dirty DistrictBannermans Bar is Edinburgh’s premier music venue, located in the heart of the city. Hosting bands and solo artists six nights a week, They are dedicated to bringing you the very best in up-and-coming local talent, rising national stars and famous acts from around the world. Every genre of music is welcome, and they pride ourselves on providing everything a band needs for a performance with a full backline, 5K P.A. and lighting rig, and some of the best sound engineers in town. No other venue in town does as much for the local scene as they do, a fact borne out by the sheer number of bands and promoters that keep coming back. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff are always happy to help out with any of your requirements or needs, so if you’re simply grabbing a quiet pint in the afternoon, having a big night out, playing or putting on your first gig, or even just curious, go and check them out – you won’t be disappointed!


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Holy Pistol Club.....Shooting for the stars.....

_Q2Q3791 (1).jpgHOLY PISTOL CLUB are one of the most dynamic, enthusiastic and exciting bands to come out of Scotland and burst on to the music scene in years.  They were also Ralph's first and favourite band so it's about time I expanded on things.  


530837_331073830280906_171069756281315_872607_370725248_n.jpgFormed in 2011 from the ashes of three bands the life-long friends have now set about bringing their own unique passionate, enigmatic and sleazy twist on Rock n Roll.  During their short time together the powerful five piece band  have played to packed crowds throughout the UK and have received critical acclaim from some of the biggest names in the music industry.  Now they find themselves with the world at their feet and with their swagger, self-belief, catchy songs and an unstoppable desire to entertain.


                         



In their previous forms the talented lads have dazzled thousands of music-lovers at festivals including T in the Park, Rockness, DownloadGo North and the sadly defunct Live at Loch Lomond.  More recently HPC have developed a strong cult following throughout the Glasgow music scene and have enthralled audiences during their performances in the 02 Academy and one of the countries premiere music venues King Tut's. They were even invited down to London to play with Ralph's main dude, the inimitable Mr  Alan McGhee.  In 2012 the group played to their most captive audience to date (literally) when they staged a sizzling cell-out gig in HMP Shotts - a maximum security complex for serious adult male offenders & will be back to play to a bigger audience late 2012.  With so much skill and passion it's just a matter of time before you see the name Holy Pistol Club in lights... Ralph's Life has featured them in the Top Ten Bands to play T in the Park and will be pushing them for next years BBC Introducing Stage.

                         


They're playing some menacing, addictive and anthemic Rock 'n' Roll, in an Oasis stylee certainly but with their own very firmly placed stamp on it......and news just in is.....they've been nominated for Best Alt/Indie act in the Scottish National Music Awards which will delight their large local following.

                          

      






Me I'm stickin' the headphones on and gettin' the head noddin with a bit of 'Closer'.....love the guitar intro.....






Friday, 27 July 2012

Something for the Weekend.....This weeks top read blogged band chart

Get real Snuggles there's
no way Rhianna's
goin' in just  'cause she
sings wi' a big robot
OK bands you know the score by now....
the more hits your blog gets by the fans, the higher up the chart you go.....so Tweet it, Facebook it.....and generally expose yourself.....


Straight in at this weeks Top Spot with 'Step Off The Ledge.....


1: The King and Queen of Sorry






Young up and coming Scottish band.....Ralph's one to watch.....


2: Boot Magna





After a successful gig at the O2 Academy Islington last night.....


3: Jumped the Gun






In the chart with a bullet Scottish singer songwriter Shona Maguire AKA.....


4: Plum






Still in the chart after three weeks and a firm festival favourite this year.....


5: Stanley Odd






Playing in Manchester next week and ready to release new UK tour news.....


6: Modern Faces






Hanging on in there after their recent Art and Vandals EP release.....


7: Silver Story






With only five days to go they're still at Number 1 in The Beat 100 chart with Sub Stomp.....


8: Sub Couple


                        



Holding their place after a spot on the BBC radio 6 
Steve Lamacq show.....


9: PAWS






Hanging on in there after much festival and radio acclaim and playing Electric Circus 5th Aug.....


10: Fat Goth











Thursday, 26 July 2012

Plum.....Jam Hot


Back in July last year I acquired a taste for fine female voices after listening to Kathryn Marsh so I turned my nose in the direction of Plum, the alter ego of Edinburgh based Shona Maguire.  As one of Scotlands few female electronic producers, she'd just released a concept album 'The Seed' to much critical acclaim .

Big news  last November was a new single 'Smile' from the album, with the 'B' side the result of a Tweet Ralph can remember seeing on Twitter some time back where she'd collaborated with top dubstepper TeKlo on the track, taking them both out their comfort zone.....





Because Smile is such a heavy track, I wanted to explore the realm of Dubstep some more for the B-side, and TeKlo was the perfect fit” Plum explains. “It was a fascinating creative process. We started from nothing, and spent a lot of time discussing ideas. But eventually we got something we could both get excited about and it just flowed from there”.  












After weeks of different versions, Plum and TeKlo retreated to a secret countryside studio and finished the track at 6am following an intensely creative studio session. 

The beautifully tense "Rainbow" was the result, taking ideas from Acid House, Dubstep and Metal, trapping them into a corner, with Plum’s lush vocals gluing it all together.  Plum’s album The Seed was released in April 2012, and with the release of Smile as the album’s second single - a unique take on dubstep/electronica, which was co-produced by Kyle MacKenzie (Dirty Disco/El Hatred) – Plum was keen to push her creative boundaries even further.

It's an intense, addictive track and definitely a bit of musically lateral thinking for Plum.








here's the mean and moody video for 'Smile' created by Ralph's favourite Independent Scottish Video Production Company 'wakeupadvice'.









The title track of 'The Seed' jumps at you with a thumping almost Stranglers like (Peaches) bass and drum beat before Plum's thrillingly clear vocal kicks in. Some say PJ Harvey, I'm getting hints of Bjork especially in the hauntingly lovely 'Meadow of Weeds'.  

Whereas 'The Seed' is in your face from the first note, 'Meadow of Weeds carries you along on a river of vocal loveliness. 

Myriad is a more mainstream crowd pleaser piece of electronica with Plum's vocals maintaining their Scottishness (nae bad thing) in the same way the aforementioned 

Bjork's vocals appeal.



Image of The Seed

The album which was crowd funded is based around the concept of an idea, from the planting of it's seed, through its growth to its point of fruition (mirrored nicely in the stunning animation work on 'The Seed' video d
irected, filmed and edited by Greg Hoyna  and written and produced by Jim Wolff, Jordan Laird and Michael Kinlan from Leith Records ).



         

   



Not Defunct!
Already a well respected member of the electronic music community, Plum has previously released 2 EP’s on the now defunct LA based label Summer Rain and was the only female artist to be signed to the prestigious (but sadly also defunct) Benbecula Records, releasing her debut album ‘Different Skin’ through them in 2009. Pulling together the collective influences of artists such The Knife, Goldfrapp and PJ Harvey, Plum has created a sound that slots perfectly into the current music scene along side (or a bit above) contemporaries like Exit Music or Niki and the Dove.




Now you know me.....no long winded up ma own arse reviews, I'll let you make your own mind up from all the fancy links I've put on, however I've not had 'The Seed' off the jukebox laptop thingy connected to ma headphones for ages so I'd recommend you all go and do the same.  It's only £8 from Plum's online shop (some other nice stuff there...tell her Ralph sent you and see if she'll cut you a deal) where her first two albums are also available (although no surprises, 'The Whispering Chamber' is still sold out).






So what's the latest...well she's just been and gone and got herself nominated in the Best Electronic category of The Scottish Alternative Music Awards 2013.....


Not only has there never been a solo female winner at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs), but Edinburgh-based musician Plum has just become the first female ever to be nominated in the Best Electronic category.



Speaking on being shortlisted for the Scottish Alternative Music Awards Plum said:
“I am absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for this award. Female electronic music producers are very rare right now, so I hope that my shortlisting inspires other female artists to produce great electronic music and compete with the best."


“My latest album, The Seed, was entirely funded by my fans, so it is great to be able to reward them for their dedication by securing honours like this.”

The winners of the Scottish Alternative Music Awards are voted for by the public - from Monday 11 February, fans can vote for their favourite shortlisted acts to win an award at: http://officialsama.co.uk.




She will be releasing her next EP, Betsy Thunder, in June 2013, along with live dance performances resulting from a residency with Edinburgh’s Dance Base due to take part in March 2013.

Uniquely for an unsigned act, Plum already has a group of ├╝ber-fans who follow her every move and have even been known to die their hair in support of the artist, as well as baking cupcakes topped with edible Plum logos to hand out at live gigs. Her music has also already been used on the BBC’s Lip Service and a Scottish Government anti-knife-crime advertisement. She can even count 2013 Brit Award Nominee Goyte and Canadian rap-legend Buck 65 among her fans.





Here's a wee favourite of mine recorded in The Rockhopper Caravan at Go North
           

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

King and Queen of Sorry....listen and you wont be!



So last year as I was checking out the twittering and doing my usual link clicking when tweeps recommend stuff, I heard 'Traffic Lights' from the debut EP 'Step Off The Ledge' by The King and Queen of Sorry. Jack Rusell by name inquisitive by nature I went sniffing for more info and the very lovely Kathryn Marsh filled me in on some details of what's behind and in front for the duo, completed by guitarist Rhod Williams




The band name came about when they both realised they spent far too much apologising to each other about delays in the recording process, with Kathryn remarking that they were the King & Queen Of Sorry and the name stuck. Their sound can best be described as acoustic pop with influences from the burgeoning UK/US scene & folk tinged balladry (like The Fallows or the more upbeat and funkier Merrylees).  Production on the EP is handled by Jan Buchholz (Hamburg) and guest piano/strings are courtesy of Giz Davies (Sound Boutique, London) and all songs are written by the accomplished Mr Rhod Williams. 






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Rhod and Kathryn hail from the small welsh town of Abergavenny, and along with Giz, attended the same secondary school, played at similar venues and hung about on the same local music scene, before all moving to different parts of the UK. In November 2009, Rhod's 40th birthday gift from his wife, was a day in a recording studio. The invite was extended to all of his old school friend musicians, including Kathryn and Giz.  Rhod and Kathryn rehearsed their track quietly in one of the studio corridors and realised they had something complimentary going on and so the idea of an acoustic duo was born.








Kathryn said: "the reasoning for this stripped back sound is simple: rather than rely upon a myriad of effects which are so easy to rely upon in this digital age, the songs are recorded pretty much as live."  

The duo always attempt to wring every ounce of emotion from their instruments and let the listener focus on Kathryn's soaring alto vocal style.  





Well this works for me as Kathryn's crystal clear vocals are an absolute delight, augmented by the assured but relaxed strumming of Rhod.  On 33 to 45 there's a very retro feel, back to the days when Joni Mitchell was queen and Kathryn gives her more than a run for her money.   The vocals on Open Door have a Sharleen Spiteri feel (no bad thing from where I'm listening) and one you shut your eyes, and let Kathryn's silky vocals sooth you.



As a band they are well experienced as artists in their own right although public performances at the moment are still rare.  They have however garnered airplay on Krystal Radio, playing 'Traffic Lights' with favourable comment.  More radio companies have expressed an interest in giving the tracks the airplay they deserve and I've featured some of Kathryn's solo work as well as 'Traffic Lights' on Ralph's own show on RadioKC.

 
They have received acclaim in the Six String Bliss Podcast & on the Six String Bliss forum, where they received favourable comparison to indie folk/pop duo She and Him (they're the band Zoey Deschanel wishes she was in). Their ‘Step Off The Ledge’ E.P. received a 4 out of 5 star review in Music Review Unsigned.  Future plans are to increase profile of the band by way of more radio airplay & reviews of the E.P. 



They hope to tour the music extensively once more people are aware of the great music they make. Their recent inclusion in an Indie Compilation album 'Indievidual' by Hourglass Music (the recording arm of The Online Festival) is proof positive that their music definitely is getting noticed!

email: kathryn.marsh@orange.net or rhodwilliams@hotmail.co.uk All 4 tracks from their first E.P. 'Step Off The Ledge' can be downloaded for free from http://kingandqueenofsorry.bandcamp.com/.

They're friendly Tweeps too so have a listen and give 'em a tweet on @KingAndQueenOfS they'd love to hear from you.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Titan the Robot.....St Helens will never be the same again!

Titan The Robot

So here's a thing you don't see too often in St Helens town centre.....an eight foot shiny robot......yes folks the wonder that is Titan the Robot will be wandering Church Square this Saturday 28th July at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

Titan on Daybreak Titan the Robot, the 8ft mechanical star of TV shows like Big Brother, Daybreak and The Gadget Show, will arrive in Church Square on Saturday 
28 July for three, 
completely free  
town centre shows.


On stage with JLS Karate Kid v Titan. Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith         
The mighty walking, talking robot - who sings ballads, dances and talks - will be performing three 30-minute shows at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.


Will Smith poses for a picture with Titan Titan's unique blend of comedy, street theatre and music have made him a star attraction at events ranging from the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix to a range of UK film premieres.


He's also worked alongside superstars including Rihanna, Will Smith and Jackie Chan and has travelled the world - making appearances in countries such as the USA, Dubai, China, Vietnam and Thailand.


        



Titan was built by Cyberstein Robots, taking creator Nik Fielding four and a half years to develop. He made his first public outing at the Glastonbury Festival in 2004.
So if you're at a loose end with the kids to amuse anywhere in the vicinity of St Helens come and see the dancing robot.....no not this one by London group Sub Couple currently at No2 in The Beat 100 charts.....press play to watch the robot dance!

                

This one.....the one.....the only.....

Titan The Robot

                          

Titan at the Premier of 

          


                                 





needless to say many thanks to anyone I've pinched pictures from for this blog that I make no money from.....any complaints and I'll be happy to remove them and pinch some more from elsewhere.....love Ralph the Jack Russell x

Jumped the Gun......front runners!


Jumped The Gun
  
Jumped The Gun are an indie rock band with an obsession for melody and introspective lyrics which leaves you feeling that honest song writing is not dead. The band comprises of Glaswegian singer and song writer Steve Clarke (which explains why everyone seems to refer to the band as Scottish), Italian bass player Mattia Milan, English Lead guitarist Rob Payne & drummer Ryan Pincott .



 Recordings with Paul Tipler (Idlewild, The Charlatans), Pedro Ferreira (Stereophonics) and Andy Savours (The Killers, Mumford n Sons) have yielded two Demos of the week from BBC Radio and Unsigned Band of the week on Gary Crowley’s BBC London Calling.  The band has been picked up by Producer Sam Williams (SuperGrass) and together they are currently collaborating & recording to develop their highly anticipated debut album.  Prior to that they are playing a showcase gig at The O2 Academy alongside Andy Cortez, Silverbox, The Vans, Citadel and Yeallow.


So I stuck the old headphones on and had a listen.  'Jumped' The Gun is a real addictive crowd pleaser, similar in style to The Draymin's anthemic Heart Attack which is always guaranteed to get the joint jumpin'.  The chorus    of 'Jumped The Gun' will have the O2 fans behind them from the first line.  And it looks like they've carried that vibe on through to 'Revolution In The Red' another catchy take the crowd with you tune, with Steve Clarke's vocals dominating.  'Wage A War' is a bit more mellow with Ryan Pincott's punchy drum beat pushing this one along. If their song writing is this strong throughout the album we're in for a treat and they're in for a long career.....so take the chance to see them for a measly six quid (they'll steal the show and your heart) before you've got to stump up £90 for a Festival ticket and sit in a tent in the rain with a pair of flowery wellies and soggy natchos!


Jar Music Live presents Plug'd In Showcase


The O2 Academy Islington on 25th of July presented by Jar Music Live. Tickets are only £6 so do not miss this chance to see the guys live and loud!