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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Ded Rabbit


Now Ralph's never been averse to something a bit different, so when he caught a snippet of Ded Rabbit recently he decided to investigate further.  Four brothers from Yorkshire who've made their way up to the Highlands of Scotland and had a major dose of The Average White Band rub off on the way.  They're probably the freshest, funkiest thing on the Scottish music scene at the moment bringing us everything from Indie Jazz  and Alt Rock interspersed with a liberal dose of old school Funk.






It's fair to say that Ded Rabbit tick every Indie box and their last EP 'Ice Cream' garnered much critical acclaim.  With big chief Eoin at the back holding things steady on drums, Donal laying out the funk on bass, Fergus providing the catchy melodies and infectious riffs on lead guitar and showman Eugene at the front providing his lyrical anecdotes, cool sax and drunk dad dancing, Ded Rabbit have been gathering support across the country. With many independent radio stations picking up on the boys it was only a matter of time before others caught on, as a recent nod from Jim Gellatly confirmed when he featured them on his unsigned podcast.





Ded Rabbit are up for Best Newcomer in The Scottish Alternative Music Awards and now that voting has closed I'll make no secret that I put my cross in their collective box.  They're up against some sound opposition, however if it goes on pure unadulterated nobody does what they do originality they'll walk it.


 






Upcoming gigs......
















Tingle In The Netherlands








After checking out Scottish Electronica producers Plum and Fiona Soe Paing Ralph thought it was time to turn his attention to some electro/pop a bit nearer to home so here's Tingle In The Netherlands from Manchester.  If you're expecting doom 'n' gloom heavy synths think again.  





Their lyrical narratives are certainly 'different' and to prove the point  I quote a line from 'The Housewives Lament' from their debut album released on the Nerve Echo label.....'Why Can't You Write Something Nice For A Change'.....

"I'm shagging the milkman...and I'm shagging him good."  

It's a tale of angst ridden female revenge best served cold on a bed of light, clean, crisp synth in a Ladytron stylee..... Depeche Mode with a sense of humour and the vocalisations of The Flying Lizards.











The entity that is Tingle In The Netherlands comprises poet HelĂȘn Thomas and electronic musician Owen J and they've been honing their craft since 2009.  While Owen creates the majority of the music HelĂȘn provides most; but not all, of the lyrics as well as contributing some vocal melodies.








Their first EP, ‘Prostitute's Handbag’ was released in 2010 and included a remix by Atomizer of the title track ‘Prostitute's Handbag’ which reached number 11 in the Dandelion Radio Festive Fifty 2010.  There are obvious comparisons to be made (which I'll avoid) but their quirky lyrics and tightly produced music are quite unique.









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Tingle In The Netherlands eclectic sound has led to them being played at numerous events and clubs including Club Lash and Analogue Trash at Legends, Manchester.  Bed Supperclub Bangkok, The Whitby Goth Weekend and numerous clubs in London, Berlin and Tokyo. They've been played on the radio in the US and Argentina, Dandelion Radio in the UK, local radio in Manchester and have been asked to create a mix for The Garden of Earthly Delights on CRMK Radio.  Although they've performed at Ste McCabe’s Pussywhipped event in Manchester they consider ourselves to be a studio band so sadly, at the moment they don't have any plans to perform live.








Ralph's advice.....go buy yourself a copy of 'Why Can't You Write Something Nice For A Change'.....have a listen to 'Prostitutes Handbag' because with lyrics like "Made in China - Bought with Vagina" it's the most fun you can have with your headphones and clothes on!











Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Steve Heron




What's the connection between Johnny Marr and Edinburgh singer/songwriter Steve Heron I hear you ask?  Well I'll tell you...They both play guitar and Steve Heron likes Johnny Marr who's just brought out a solo record and a video after 25 years and Steve's about to release his new single 'Picturesque' and a video at a launch party in Edinburgh's Sneaky Pete's on the 29th of March...what's the chances?

Steve's guitar style is as Scottish infused as Johnny's is Manchester although there's inflections of Bernie Sumner in the likes of the heartfelt and heartrending 'Eleanor'.....if 'Picturesque' betters it we're in for a real treat.....it's the kind of song James Blunt wishes he could write.  








PhotoSince putting out his first album late in 2010, the acquisition of a band and the release of the critically acclaimed 'Domino Mask' EP in 2011 we're now seeing Steve blossom into a major force on not only the Edinburgh Indie music scene but, following in the footsteps of some of the acts he has played alongside (SAMA Best Live Act nominees OK Social Club, the increasingly popular Stanley Odd and the seemingly always in the US, Admiral Fallow) he's becoming firmly established as a must see Scotland-wide.



 




Prior to the video launch gig he's appearing at Slouch in Glasgow on Sunday 3rd March and Teviot in Edinburgh on Thursday 14th march.  The video launch party is in Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh on the 29th March and follows that up with The Big 30 gig in Edinburgh's City Cafe on Saturday May 18th and Glasgow's 13th Note on Friday 7th June.  Beg borrow and steal if you must but don't miss a chance to catch them live with support by Universal Thee.

Steve Heron - Guitar, Bass, Vox, Keyboard and Ebow
Angus McGuire - Bass
Simon Gibb - Drums
Alan Lamb - Guitar,Keys and Vox




Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Paul Freeman





Paul Freeman has spent over ten years in the music business but as far as his current project is concerned he can be considered a 'new' artist.  He's releasing a solo album in the spring called 'The King of False Alarms' and it will be the first of two which will feature both his acoustic side and a more solid band based tracks

So what's he been doing for the last ten years?  

Well he's been very much in demand in the US as Jeff Barrett the Heavenly recordings supremo took him under his wing.  As a result, even before his 18th birthday, Paul was moving within some of the most intimate, and influential, circles in the music industry in America. 




Paul Freeman

By 20, he and a friend, Findlay Brown, had formed a group, Boedekka, a band that had started out as a kind of modern day Simon & Garfunkel, but that soon turned into something louder, heavier and more psychedelic. They signed to Boy George’s More Protein label, and were steadily going places when Paul’s songwriting reputation began to precede him. After three years of working with Brown, he suddenly found himself penning songs for a post-Take That, pre-comeback Mark Owen.







Paul said “It was a fascinating period for him as back then, Mark was trying to reinvent himself, and make an individual statement.”  They wrote a couple of Top 20 hits together, as well as hatching ideas that Owen would later see to fruition on Take That’s The Circus album. By now, Paul had relocated to Los Angeles, where he played guitar with Shania Twain and later James Blunt, the latter requesting his services on a song of his called 'You’re Beautiful'.


“That kept me in rent money for several years…you can have your own opinion about his music – everybody does! – but James is a lovely, lovely human being.”
Paul was also at work on a selection of his own songs, which he eventually self-released as an EP. For something that didn’t have the weight of a major record label marketing team behind it, the EP nevertheless went out far into the world and proved a steady seller, a regular on the US iTunes chart, and eventually topping an impressive 60,000 sales. 



Clive Davis signed him to BMG in early 2009 and as he was exiting BMG a year later, he kindly released Paul from his contract, and with the master tapes in his possession, he was now able to start afresh. “A major relief,” he says.  He sacked his manager in favour of self-management, and heading out on a succession of US tours, opening for the likes of Los Lobos, Brandi Carlile,Joe Cocker and Todd Rundgren-who said "If there was any justice Paul Freeman would be a household name,but then so would I-so there’s no justice."


He's toured Southeast Asia then returned home, to Santa Monica, to regular games of golf and football and ended up knocking a few balls around with fellow Brit Robbie Williams, who he became friends with. Life was good.  But momentum for his music was building, and Paul began to crave a return home.In mid 2011 , he signed to U E R in the UK (“to make the album I always wanted to make”) and was handpicked to support Roger Daltrey on his British and US tours which took him through to the end of 2011.




In late March 2012 Daltrey asked Paul at short notice to fill in for his usual guitar player at a charity show in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.  Paul flew in from Los Angeles,rehearsed the next day learning around 20 songs, ,and the following day found himself onstage at a packed Albert Hall, perfoming his new single Tightrope and then backing Roger Daltrey, Amy McDonald, Steve Winwood and jamming with Ronnie Wood.



That brings us full circle to now, with Paul's album release imminent and his assault on the UK music scene about to start, perhaps he may be considered a 'new' artist but he's got the pedigree of a seasoned professional.  At the moment there are no gigs announced, however as soon as I know you will!




Cole Stacey & Joseph O'Keefe





Now you may have noticed Ralph's been sticking in a few Indie Folk tips of late and this blog is no exception and seeing as Ralph now has his own radio show based in Paris he's bringing you news of the European tour by Cole Stacey and Joseph O'Keefe which just by chance sees them visiting aforesaid French city. The tour follows on the release of a critically acclaimed debut  album collaboration by Cole and Joseph called 'On Hire'





They are highly acclaimed musicians in their own right having supported the likes of Midge Ure, Cara Dillon, Martin Simpson and Razorlight's Johnny Borrell.  

This coming together represents a fresh outlook and Show of Hands songwriter extraordinaire Steve Knightley was heard to say "Fresh, inventive and original...one of the best albums I've heard from young songwriters in 2012."  If you're lucky enough to find yourself in Topsham on March 19th you'll catch them supporting Steve at his gig in The Globe.




The album shows a real understanding of the modern 'Indie' folk music scene with it's lyrically interesting, vocally strong and musically outstanding tracks.  They hold your interest with their storytelling and musicality and  whether you're a follower of the current folk scene or just an ardent music listener like myself you'll be spellbound.




Their tour takes them  all over the UK and Europe and I'll be taking the chance to see them performing at a newly announced July date in Bradford's premier roots music venue The Live Room in Saltaire.  



MAR 6TH SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY  PARIS (4PM) +33 (0)143 254093 

MAR 7TH  LA CAFEOTHEQUE PARIS (7PM) +33 (01) 5301 8384

MAR 13TH BRADNINCH ACOUSTIC CLUB  NR CULLOMPTON (7:30PM) 01392 882036  -Solo-

MAR 19TH    THE GLOBE -  TOPSHAM (7:30PM) 0777 155 8914  *WITH STEVE KNIGHTLEY*

MAR 20TH    THE TROUBADOUR   LONDON (10PM)  020 7370 1434

MAR 22ND    THE LOWLIGHTS NORTH SHIELDS (8PM)  0191 2576038

MAR 24TH    WEE FOLK CLUB  EDINBURGH (8PM)    0131577 2976

MAR 28TH    THE HIGH BARN  ESSEX (7:30PM) (0)1371 811 291 *SUPPORTING LISBEE STAINTON*

MAR 29TH   ESPRESSINI   FALMOUTH (7:45PM)       07890 453705

MAR 30TH    THE PRINCESS ROYAL   TAUNTON (7:45PM) 07824428136

MAR 31ST    THE BRASENOSE ARMS    CROPREDY 6PM  (0)1295 750244

APRIL 2ND   THE LIFE OF RILEY MUSIC CLUB   MARLOW       07966 131707

APRIL 3RD   GRAPEVINE @BEDFORDS  NORWICH (8PM)         01603 666869

APRIL 5TH   WOTTON UNDER EDGE ARTS CENTRE , GLOUCS (7:45PM)         07791 323 869

APRIL 6TH   BOW VILLAGE HALL , CREDITON       01363 82379

APRIL 8TH   SURYA, LONDON (9PM)     0207 561 0030

APRIL 10TH/12TH MUSIKMESSE  , GERMANY 

APRIL 13TH JOE & BEX’S WEDDING , DEVON

APRIL 16TH EXMOUTH MANOR PAVILLION, EXMOUTH (7:30PM) 07707 062347

APRIL 18TH BOSTON T.PARTY, HONITON (7:45PM) 0777 155 8914  *GUEST FOR ROB HALLIGAN*

APRIL 19TH THE SOUTHGATE INN , DEVIZES (8PM) 01380 722872

APRIL 20TH ROWNEY GREEN VILLAGE HALL , BIRMINGHAM (8PM) 07543 889 758

APRIL 27TH BRISTOL FOLK HOUSE ,BRISTOL (7:30PM) 07855 826 228 * SUPPORTING JACKIE OATS*

MAY 24TH DEVORAN PARISH CHURCH (7PM) 07765423751

MAY 25TH SOUTH MOLTON CON CLUB (8PM) 01769 572358

JUNE 5TH THE BELL (BATH FRINGE FESTIVAL)   BATH (8PM)  01225 460426

JUNE 6TH ROBIN2   WOLVERHAMPTON (8PM)  01902 401211 ***SUPPORTING MIDGE URE***

JUNE 7TH THE STABLES   MILTON KEYNES (8PM)  01908 280800 ***SUPPORTING MIDGE URE***

JUNE 8TH CASTLEWOOD VINTAGE WINE FESTIVAL  MUSBURY (ALL DAY )  01297 552068

JUNE 9TH GREYSTONES, SHEFFIELD   0114 266 5599

JUNE 14TH LE BUS PALLIDIUM PARIS   (8PM) 0145 2680 35

JULY 19TH  THE LIVE ROOM BRADFORD (8PM)  01274 589144

JULY 20TH  THE DRAWING ROOM CHESHAM (8PM)  01494 791691

JULY 21ST  HARE FEST  LEIGHTON BUZZARD (4PM)  Michael@Avn.Co.Uk 

AUG 1ST  HOT NUMBERS CAMBRIDGE (7:30PM) TBC  (01223) 359966

AUG 2ND  RHYTHM @ THE RIVERSIDE ST IVES (7:30PM)   01480 464 921



Tom Robinson played ‘Without Lisa’ from Cole & Joseph’s new album ‘On Hire’ on Saturday night on his BBC6 Music Show.  He described it as ” Just Lovely & fresh sounding, a great rendition & a lovely big sound for a duo….one of the more interesting collaborations of the year…”  

You can hear the whole show which includes tracks by Leonard Cohen, Mark Lanegan & Elbow by clicking on the link below. This follows on from earlier in the week when the same song was played on the BBC Introducing Mixtape also on BBC6 Music.









Saturday, 23 February 2013

Ralph's Chart 23.2.13



OK bands you know the score.....

the more hits your blog gets by the fans, the higher you go.....

So tweet it, Facebook it.....

and generally expose yourself.....






Now Snuggles and me have been sitting with our heads down counting the hits on each bands blog to see who's got which place.  

So here it is.....

The Top Ten Blogged Band Chart .....








No 1..... Bird



Three piece Liverpool band Bird is the creation of Adele Emmas (singer, songwriter) Sian Williams (guitar, harmonies) and Alexis Samata (drums) Together they create dark, haunting, atmospheric music which will entice you in to their magical, other worldly universe. With beautiful, siren-esque vocals, tribal, hypnotic drum beats and spellbinding guitar work, Bird are refreshingly unlike anything that's currently on the music scene.







No 2..... Plum



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.

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.....









No 3..... The Folk Remedy






Getting tired of Mumford and Sons churning out the same ole same ole? Then do what I did and take a look at The Folk Remedy from Manchester whose diversity and musicality is as refreshing as it is highly listenable.  These three musicians have merged their own different musical backgrounds into one sound, which brings out their individual personalities whilst staying true to their folk roots.








No 4..... Wullae Wright



Everybody likes to make a comparison about artistes and Ralph's old man is no exception. He heard Wullae Wright's 'Halo Effect' playing on my laptop and next thing he was wiping the dust of his collection of vinyl, dug out Led Zeppelin I and stuck it under my nose muttering....."Babe I'm Gonna Leave You".  Chance would be a fine thing some would say, however I had a listen and low and behold Wullae Wright is capturing the same raw intensity of vocals that an early Robert Plant did. 








No 5..... Wishes



Ralph's now got his own Unsigned Indie Mix show on French station Radio Kaos Caribou every Sunday 5 - 6 pm and it's thanks to listening to their eclectic mix of music that he came across Paris based band Wishes









No 6..... Calm As The Colour



So you've got to ask yourself how a band that's putting out consistently fine music and pulling in accolades from press and radio alike, still aren't quite finding their place in the hearts of the Scottish music buying public.  Calm As The Colour from The Kingdom of Fife are such a band and whilst they've only been together just under two years they've garnered compliments and airplay from the luminaries of Scottish radio and beyond.







No 7..... The Ninth Watch




After a hectic and successful years gigging in 2012, Manchester four piece The Ninth Watch are hibernating in the studio with a view to bringing you a host of new tunes and if they're as strong as the tracks they produced last year, we're in for a real treat.









No 8..... Hector Bizerk





An M.C. and a drummer...simple words for the complex musical experience that is Hector Bizerk.  Formed just over two years ago and originally comprising of  seasoned rapper Louie and equally experienced drummer Audrey Tait they've made massive inroads into the Scottish music scene. 






No 9..... The Recovery!



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The Recovery! are a five piece punk/metal/core band from Glasgow who  release their new E.P ‘Wherever Nowhere Takes Us’ on 11th February, 2013 via Indie label Cold War Legacy

The first single from the record ‘The Faint & Fragile’ is available now for free download!







No 10..... Vigo Thieves



As me old man never tires of saying, "Always great to hear a Scottish band singing like you know they're a Scottish band".  Well that certainly applies to The Vigo Thieves, just listen to the wonderful Steal Your Heart with it's almost Big Country-like intro and the thumping Heartbeats, last years video soundtrack for T in the Park has got to be a big club favourite, which is guaranteed to get the proverbial joint jumpin'.  They're up for Best Live Act at the SAMAs.