All Roads Lead To fRome #3 – First announcement, early bird and give away!

THE SHOWS JUST KEEP ROLLING’ 

This time, it’s our annual Love-In with “Hit Or Miss” shows aka Rob Dahl aka, MR Buckfast. 

Date for your diary is Saturday 23rd June 2018, at the Cheese & Grain, Frome. 

This is an uber special initial announcement, not only because we haven’t announced the headliners and already this is a strong line up, but also because Blueneck are doing something special. 

For those who don’t know them, let me introduce Bristol based, EMI-signed, much-bigger-in-Europe-than-in-blightly BLUENECK are one of those seminal bands that came out just before Thought-Forms but trod a similar postrock, avant garde path. 

ARLTFI was first introduced to them by then Moles venue manager, Steve Wheedon back in 2004, who gave me their album, Scars Of The Midwest. It blew me away, around the same time I was getting into bands like Youthmovies, Hope Of The States, iLikeTrains and the like. 

ANYWAY, I digress, as for this show only, they will be performing their seminal 2nd album “The Fallen Host” in it’s entirety. Better still, the first 200 ticket holders will receive a FREE copy of the CD album too. So your £10 goes a long way…

Which reminds me, early bird tickets are £10, until we announce our headliners, at which point they’ll revert to £15. Tickets can be purchased via this link on the CAG website, https://cheeseandgrain.ticketsolve.com/shows/873584400. 

OK, so the rest of the line up is equally as exciting. After being booked to perform last year and falling sick at the 11th hour, we finally mark the belated welcome to Heartwork. I promise he won’t play every Swindon pop punk show this year, but he’s been due a show way out west, and has promised to turn up this time. 

Marking his first show for Sheer (and his first for Hit Or Miss)  in years, in a rarer than hens teeth full-band performance, we’re delighted to announce that BEN MARWOOD will be performing the acoustic stage. Thinking about it is already bringing a tear to my eye. I cannot wait for that. 

Lastly completing this initial announcement is underground EMO hero, Brightr (formally Gnarwolves tour manager) and noise juggernauts Deaf Horse from Bristol. 

So there you have it. I hope that was as exciting for you, as it was for me. Many thanks to Rob Dahl for the late night no-you-hang-up, phone conversations, we’re onto a winner this year! 

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Sheer Music #AOTY 2017

It’s that time of the year again, #TeamSheer run through their favourite albums of the year. Turns out after reading last years top 10 again, I’ve listened to a lot more music this year, and I’m much happier for it. You can head over to TheColourOfVinyl to see the run downs, but here’s my list, with explanations… Let’s get cracking.

10. Gnarwoles – Outsiders (BSM)

My first listen of the album was “difficult second album” after Chronicles of Gnarnia simply bolted the first EPs together, before their self titled debut proper, both absolute belters. So this was always going to be a tough ask, but after repeated listens the album not only stood up, but became a bit of a fav. 10 tracks, 30 minutes and a Placebo parody.

Their set at 2000 Trees was absolute killer too. A band hitting their stride.

 

9. Kamikaze Girls – Seafoam (BSM)

This duo came out of nowhere for me. I hadn’t bothered with the earlier EP (you can’t listen to everything) but I found myself with some spare cutter burning a hole, and decided to pick it up, and from the off I loved it. First listen, I loved the tones, the songs, the message. For me it was pure, as I knew nothing else about the band, so it was with subtle intrigue I also caught their set at 2000 Trees, and they were superb.

They have promised to play for us at some point too………..

 

8. Heartwork – Things I Wish I’d Said (Aaahh!! Real Records)

Dan O’Dell crowd funded this debut album, and in no small part that came form a lot of the regulars that come to our shows in both Devizes and Swindon. Dan has done a lot of shows for us, supported some great acts and really built himself a nice niche in our local scene. Heartwork’s last EPs were more than splendid so finally having an album to really express himself on, Things I Wish I’d Said, was a huge step up and step forward, which is hugely encouraging of things to come. 

Whisper it… there may be a second album, and a full band show in 2018. 

 

7. And So I Watch You From Afar – The Endless Shimmering (Sargent House)

Now on their 5th album and no real reinventions of their sound here, this album is still a glorious cacophony of noise. I recently caught them at Bristol’s Thekla, supported by Gallops, and it was a fantastic show. The best parts of this album easily stack up with their back catalogue. 

 

6. Paul Draper – Spooky Action (K-Scope)

I was a HUGE Mansun fan. Apparently not as crazy as some, but crazy enough to pledge to vault recordings being pressed up. A looooong time ago Paul, Mansun’s front man admitted that he had material for a solo album, and that it would be called Spooky Action. I waited patiently for it’s release, and finally this year it saw the light of day.

To be honest, I struggled with it to begin with. The singles were excellent, but first impressions of the album didn’t instantly satisfy me. After speaking to the only other Mansun freak I knew, Phil Cooper, I stumbled across the reason why. I kept wanting it to sound like Mansun, and obviously it doesn’t. There’s no Chad. Once overcoming this obstacle, I “got” the album, and I loved it. Perhaps not quite as much as I loved Mansun albums, but certainly up there. Shortly after, I managed to catch Paul Draper on his solo tour. A tour that was mired by ill-conceived comments on social media before it even started, gave me an internal tussle over how I felt about art and artist, but I managed to settle that with myself, and enjoyed the gig. Hearing those Mansun songs made me pine for the band soooo bad, but hearing his own material made me realise all was good. After that tour Paul announced another solo tour and a live performance for the debut Mansun album, forgoing any support slots. Amazing idea, and dream come true for super fans.

I’m going with Phil, and we will have a whale of a time.

 

5. Gallops – Bronze Mystic (Blood & Biscuits)

Ahhh, now this is a band. I first caught Gallops at the International Bicycle Convention at the Barbican. They were performing in the foyer, and they were utterly awesome! A live drummer, syncopated guitars and keys, a beast of a drummer, a wall of noise. Epic. I bought the EP, 7″ and double LP, and then they split in 2013. Fast forward 4 years, and the band have reformed, recorded a new album, and then toured with ASIWYFA. The 4 year gap was worth it, as they’ve lost none of their power, despite a line up change.

 

4. Alpha Male Tea Party – Health (Big Scary Monsters) 

This was another stab in the dark, having had some extra moula in my pocket I decided to plunge for this, and I’m glad I did. More in the vein of ASIWYFA, Gallops, That Fucking Tank etc style, a sound that could only have been made by a northern band, Alpha Male came with sounds and tones never heard before, and a penchant for tunes.

There wasn’t a single duff track on the album, and the epic album closer, complete with repetitive vocal line was just glorious. I even managed to sneak a live show in Trowbridge in as a warm up to their Arc Tan Gent performance. What make the whole shabang even better is that they are thoroughly, thoroughly bloody lovely people.

 

3. Ben Marwood – Get Found (Xtra Mile) 

Ahhhh Ben & I go waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy back, to just after his first EP (that upon checking has been white washed from his history!), right back to the beginning of Sheer Music some 14 years ago. We met on a band forum (remember those?) and I fell in love. Skip forward 14 years and without doubt we are listening to a musician that’s fully & comfortably grown into his sound, but still hinting at more to come. Stand out track of Ben’s year is arguably “Safe Mode” and that wasn’t even on this excellent 3rd album!

 

2. Japandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life (Anti-)

The album opens with the stunning line “she kissed me like a chorus” and doesn’t let up over their standard 8 track records. Another band not to reinvent their sound, but instead focus on delivering quality and a distilled perfect version of what they are. To me this is inspirational road trip music, that equally soundtracks a night time city-scape as it does a daytime desert drive. This record makes me want to ditch everything, pick up my car keys and find an adventure. Powerful stuff.

 

1. TALL SHIPS – IMPRESSIONS (FatCat Records) 

I pre-ordered this album the day it was available. 2x LP with etching on side 4. Super-uber limited edition vinyl! It’s an investment! This is a band that will go down cherished in the annuals of British rock. A bit of a grower on me, as it took a number of listens to get under my skin (a familiar theme this year… maybe you need to try a little harder to get better rewards?). At times I wanted more bombast, at others I wanted the songs to get going quicker, but upon repeated plays I realised that each song was just perfect in it’s own way. I’m literally still spinning this album daily, along with a few others above and it still sounds fresh. 

 

 

Special mentions to Tellison for their re-issue of their debut album Contact! Contact!, and to Oceansize for their re-issue of Effloresce. UBER special mention to Mark Morriss for his 3rd solo album, “Look Up” that I rightly couldn’t include in the top 10 because I’m on it. Hand claps and oohs & arrs, and you know, that would be bias. 

Some awesome EPs released this year, certainly being lead by Southampton’s Sean McGowan. His vinyl EP Graft and Grief was a belter.

So that’s it. What does 2018 hold in store? You know, with everything else going on, I have no idea what’s due…. but I’m sure I’ll catch up.

See you at Xmas x x 

Will Varley to reschedule November date

Will Varley, the Kingston based troubadour has had to cancel his performance in Devizes on Friday November 7th, but has offered to reschedule for later in the year.

I apologies to all of those who were super excited to see him, we were too, but we’re hoping to announce a December date later this week. 

Now performing on November the 7th will be Shaun Buswell on his small jaunt with Swedish indie pop act, Last Box of Sparklers. See Shauns words about them below.

Led by Erik Gunnar Nyberg, created in 2011 when his former band, the soul pop outfit The Flaming Moes, combusted. Putting the fast-paced pop songs to rest, he slowly started crafting a wider variety of slower and more pronounced indie pop music, still with one foot in the Swedish melodic language, but now with more attention to production detail than before. This has resulted in 4 EPs, one album, and the recent double-sided single, “Cat Power Girl / G R O W L ! ! !” Erik has recently started performing his songs live, usually with just his quiet voice and his Squier Jaguar guitar.

 

Those of you who have any form of memory and passing interest in Devizes music, will remember Shaun from his performance in Devizes earlier this year, at St Mary’s Church. Shaun will be performing with a version of his normal band, with various musicians playing unplugged to give a really natural feel. 

Entry to the show is still FREE and will still present the highest quality of original,  live music going. Beat that. 

In other news;

A HUGE thank you to all who came to the anniversary shows in Swindon (Decade) and Devizes (Jonah). They cost a lot to put on and we broke even. Thanks to everyone who bought the t-shirt, you can see a regularly updating gallery of “Mooshs in tshirts” over on our Facebook page. You can still pick up tee’s over on our Bandcamp. There will be a review of the Decade show over on MixtapePress very shortly, while there is a live recording of Jonah on our Soundcloud

 SOLEMN SUN MAKE a return: One time Fantasy Radio sessionists  and  regular Sheer performers / favourites, Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun, changed their name and released a  new EP. You can read what fellow co-promoter Rob Escott thinks about it over at The Colour Of Vinyl. Personally I don’t quite see what all the fuss was about over the change of name, but perhaps this is just the beginning. Go wrap your ears around it anyway and judge for yourself. 

 DAVE McPHERSON ticket sales continue to trickle through via SeeTickets but we haven’t had a sausage from WeGotTickets – Either way,  as ever with these things, tickets are from outside of the area – I am always genuinely impressed to see where people travel from for shows. I guess it’s not rocket science to appreciate that, since I travel for shows myself. Anyway, we have people from Bath, Bristol and Frome currently making the trip to Devizes. And I thank those who have already bought tickets – though they’re unlikely to read this. 

AND finally, Devizes Festival committee meetings have kicked off again – We are looking for new members, potentially for someone to take on our contract responsibility? If that sounds like a direction to want to work in, drop me a message. Otherwise we have started programming for 2015, and it’s looking strong already!

KIERAN 

We’re back & set to feature on BBC West Introducing

After a long summer break, we were back this weekend gone, with two shows run by local musicians before beginning the promotion run in for Decade and Jonah Matranga.

Friday night saw Barney Goodall bid farewell to Devizes, before heading back to Liverpool to finish the last year of his course. Good luck Barney and all who sail in him. 

That night featured a number of impromptu performances from member of the audience, including local Jazz singer, Linda Nordlund and regular theatre performer Chris Palmer in Barney’s set. There was also a breath taking set from Luke De-Sciscio. Which is a regular occurrence from the young lad now. 

Saturday night was daddy Lamb, aka Tim Henly’s 50th birthday and possibly the UK’s crassest performer, Kunt And The Gang, head up The Lamb. 

Naturally Kunt was in fine fettle, with his new songs possibly going to another depth of depravity (Our Youtube video is to follow…) Needless to say, what happened in that room, stays in that room. 

And what a room. Jonn King has worked tirelessly to re-imagine the performance space. He offered me a 100 and 1 different ideas, and I think we’ve managed to get the best out of the room now – If you’re interested, head over to the Facebook page HERE, and take a look at the gallery.

 

However, the weekend wasn’t where it all started. Thursday night I made a 4 hour round trip to Bristol (yes, 4 hours. I hate driving round Bristol. It’s traffic is enough to test even the best of patiences.) to record a 20 minute interview with Rich and Sam of BBC West Introducing. 

I haven’t really had much to do with those fella’s since the shake up of the Wiltshire Introducing, despite my best attempts. So I took 10 years worth of my posters, reviews and general press cuttings to prove to them what I’m about. I’m glad I did, as we pawed over them at great length and had much mutual love for many south-west bands, with Safetyword coming out near the top. 

This interview will be aired on Saturday 27th September, from 8pm. Listen to the whole session as there will be some ace music, a sessionist (not sure who yet) and maybe even a rare Safetyword plug and play! You will find all sorts of opinions on what’s happening with the Swindon scene and where it’s all heading.

 

Friday was Frank Turner in Bath. I met a whole bunch of gig friends before hand at The Nest. We drank, were merry and had a good sing song. We discussed Moles still seemingly far off re-opening, mourned a lost friend and agreed it was probably the hottest gig we’ve ever been to. Bath Pavillions need some air-conditioning. 

 

All in all, it’s good to be back. Focussed on the upcoming Decade gig in Swindon (Tickets HERE and HERE) having a genuine bona fide musical legend in Jonah Matranga coming to Devizes and looking forward to announcing the Xmas party show. 

So here’s to the underground music scene, all who make it a great place. Cheers. 

Kieran 

 

Decade perform at Swindon’s Level 3 on Thursday 2nd October. This is a 14+ show. Tickets available on door.

Jonah Matranga (Far / Onelinedrawing) performs at The Lamb, Devizes on Friday 3rd October. That will be a 16+ show. Tickets available on door.

The last 3 months in a quick review…

It’s been nearly 3 months since I last updated, sorry for the lack of information as I was off gallivanting.

June saw Devizes Festival ( 3 weeks in June) hit town, and I did 23 ish events in 21 days. Highlights included Howard Marks, the ejection and subsequent slating in the Gazette & Herald. (Can’t please them all, some good points in your review, you kinda missed the point though and I managed to ruffle a few feathers in a conservative town.) Mr B (awful sound but great venue and performance). And that crazy Mrs B Nice who was on another planet. Great comedy, and those 3 previous acts all had similar names, which caused chaos.

Ian Hopkins went sick, as you all know, but is back on his feet and rejoining the Festival committee after this years Wash Up meeting next week. Hooray!

I managed to prove myself with a few events, and have much grander, exciting plans for next year. Watch this space come September, and I’ll start to roll out a few hints. It’s going to be proper exciting.

 

The shortest of breaks was filled with  a complete surprise party for both Matthew Adams and I, (Late June) reaching our 30th & 31st birthdays respectively. Thrown by Nicky Stalham and Zoe Moore, it included an El Mariachi Mexican band, loads of Tequila, Mexican’s and Mexican’ts, friends and family, and then someone being sick in a pub toilet, which I waited around drinking coffee until 3am sobering up enough to drive home, because a taxi wouldn’t allow a sick person in the back. EPIC.

 

Then came 2 huge Swindon shows, The Computers & Gnarwolves. (early July) Both shows really brought the good times back to Swindon. I don’t like to blow my trumpet, but these were my biggest shows in terms of finance ever, and it really paid off. Great to see some big bands back in town, and I’ll be looking to continue doing more, provided we get the right offers. Check out the video below of Gnarwolves, along with these two awesome reviews. Especially the comment about the sound at Gnarwolves, which was done through a fog of sickness, Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. ThisIsWiltshire review & Hit The Scene review.

 

After that was a weekend of no sleep, continued sickness, paracetamol and 2000 TREES. (Mid July) My first ever full weekend at Trees (yes, really – I’m normally working at venues as it clashed with Fieldview in the past, OR doing warm up shows for this very festival!) was glorious. The Thursday saw the best bands of my past 6 months of promoting. Retrospective Soundtrack Players, Oxygen Thief and Ben Marwood all having played Swindon’s Victoria for me prior, and all sharing the same backing band was quite special. TRSP’s managed to reduce me to tears, and Ben Marwood also managed e tear. Later that evening saw JoFo play a proper indie rock racket, which made me smile more than their Bath show I managed to rescue after Moles burnt down. Gnarwolves finished off my affiliation with that day in proper style – If it wasn’t for the fact this day alone is the returning bands from the previous year, their set would guarantee them a place on next years bill. Ace.

Zoe, Rob, Meelie and I caught Dan Le Sac for the first time, since I missed them at the Frank Turner support at Wembley, instead opting for the Kingston instore show with Jim Lockey (hardcore). They didn’t disappoint, but it was also announced that they will be parting ways soon, so it was probably my one and only time of seeing them. Fiddlesticks.

The next two days followed in the same routine, late nights, busking slots, Dave McPherson popping up everywhere, AWESOME sets from The Bronx, The Computers and finished off in style with Crazy Arm. Jim Lockey announced their name change into Solemn Sun – I met all the rad dudes from across the country I rarely get to see, Adam Boucher, B-Sydes, Anthony Barlow, Lonely Tourist, Felix Hagen, Barry Dolan, Rick Marwood, Ben Marwood, Kevin BSM Records, and Jack Alcopop, Drop Out Dan etc and I spent time with Steve Hooper and his Mrs and the excellent Jodie from Bristol / Live Music Scene, to seemed to know even more people than I.

Shout outs to the Devizes massive (Luke, Dan and Alex) and all the Swindon crew (too many to name… but special mentions to Jake and Samuel)

Upon our return, and after a shower (or two) Rob Escott of The Colour Of Vinyl (link on your right) and I got down to reviewing the festival, via his session on Melksham Town Sound, which you can listen again via this link on Mixcloud, or check out our Pictures of our adventures on the Sheer Facebook page.

Proper excellent weekend, that gave us the post festival, festival blues. Hate returning to work and longing for it all to kick off again.

Which didn’t take long as PROFESSOR ELEMENTAL hit Devizes, in the amazing surroundings of St Mary’s Church / Arts Centre. The Prof’ went down extremely well, loved the town and the venue and what we are trying to achieve. Visually the place was arresting – Pictures on the Sheer facebook page – We had people travel from Swansea, Gloucester, Guildford, Poole and Bournemouth for the show(!) and our electro-swing DJ went on later than Devizes premier pub/club The Crown.

Check out this video, taken by an audience member…

 

In the mean time, I’ve had in the 10 year anniversary t-shirt image in. Designed by young, fledging graphic designer, Sharna Mollett – It will be available to purchase / pre-order very soon, with an ETA of late September for printing. Check out the design below. Mock up was created by Alex Fruen of Original Glory, who is also handling the digitalisation of a hand drawn image. Skills.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 17.43.24

 

FINALLY, the first job I had after all that had blown over, was to announce the first of the September shows, in the shape of KUNT & THE GANG. (links on the gigs tab, to your right, if you’re viewing this on the website!) and our final show of the Summer at the Stratton Stroll this Saturday.

Then it’s a genuine 6 or 7 week break from all things musical and organisational, whilst I write the promotion plan for Devizes Festival 2015, have a summer off with friends, start the first of the Bad Film Nights, give the in-laws a thank you curry for all the child minding and perhaps a wee late minute holiday away too.

See y’all in September’

KIERAN J MOORE

You can lead a Horse to water…. Underage Music Month

For the past decade I’ve largely concerned myself with the youth of Devizes & Wiltshire – Mostly in a Jo Whiley “suck their energy and stay young” type of way, but as I have passed the threshold of 30, it’s becoming much more of a struggle to remain on the level of an aloof teenager and harder still to tell them why they should take an interest in their local music scene – You’re either interested or your not. 

Thus, today I’m passing on a message; 

April is Underage Music Month and BBC Introducing in the West is on the look-out for the most creative young musicians in the area. 

If you’re under 18 years old and making music then please email underagemusicmonth@bbc.co.uk or tweet us @bbcintrowest using the hashtag #underagemusicmonth. Or maybe you know someone who’s being creative with music, but not getting the recognition they deserve? Richard and I (Sam Bonham) want to find the most creative young musicians in the West Country throughout April.  

It’s another way to get involved, and a relatively straight forward one too, so join in. I hope those of you who saw our tweets, entered the Larmer Tree Festivals competition too, good luck to those that did. 

SHOWCASE

If you’re Wiltshire based and looking for gigs, you could do yourself a favour and drop Abe Juggins an email – He is currently booking a series of gigs on Fridays in May at The Bell By The Green, in aid of the Devizes Showcase. It’s filling up, but there are spaces. Check out the Sheer Music Facepage for more information. I’ve seen the festival brochure, and he get’s a lovely mention. 

GILBERT & SULLIVAN!

Not that I’m even remotely bothered by my age (I stress that I’m not again, despite the constant commentary…) but  there is something quite cool about the idea of singing Gilbert & Sullivan. If you feel the same way, well then GOOD NEWS, White Horse Opera are looking for chaps to sing. A wry smile to anyone who thought of Sideshow Bob attempting to murder Bart Simpson, at the mention of Gilbert & Sullivan, but if that is what it takes…. 

Drop Barbara Gompels an email and offer your services!

 

We do have some great news to announce in due course, regarding our 10 year anniversary show, local awards, Devizes Festival and more – just keep reading! 

KIERAN

>insert, Smarty pants, new year blog title, here<

Well howdy 2014, you came around quick. We’re already half way through January before I’ve even mentioned anything that’s happening this year. 

I never bother with new years eve, call me grumpy, but you count down to midnight, have a quick snog, continue getting too drunk and wonder what all the fuss was about. I love a pointless celebration as much as the next person, I just don’t like paying inflated door prices just to drink in my regular boozer! I much prefer Christmas, as you get all the gaudy, unnecessery decorations that go with it , that’s how you celebrate.

What does 2014 have in store for us then?

My gigs start this Friday the 17th January at The Lamb, in St Johns Street Devizes. With Cambridge, underground performer B SYDES. A performance less suggestive of his quaint love for the traditional single, and more a stroke of coincidence that his name is Ben Sydes. 

What I like about Ben is his ability to play nice and chunky, avoiding any clichés that would normally befall your regular singer songwriters. You’ll have to listen, he’ll drown you out. He’s also a handsome chap, capable of growing better stubble than me. Check that out here.

A further look ahead yields these results… 

Jan 31st           AL O’KANE
– Excellent  roots, crossover bluesy, folk, acoustic
Feb 7th            JON AMOR + Rhiannon Mair
– This pair need little introduction.

Feb 21st           NO FIXED ABODE
– Proper traditional knit your own breakfast, Irish folk.
Feb 28th         THOMAS FORD           
– This guy is UNREAL. Best described as a One Man Blues Trio. Ace.

Mar 7th                 Secret Chord Records
– Swindon’s 
independent label sets out the best of their roster.

Mar 14th         BOB BOWLES
– If you can shout it out, he can play it!

Mar 21st              TEDDY LIGHT
– Well, there isn’t enough room for the Teddy White band is there?

Thurs   Apr 24th GAZ BROOKFIELD – He’s back on tour, but this is a Thursday, write that down!

All the info on these gigs can be found on the gigs tab of the website, on your right >>>>>>> And in all our regular social networking stuffz
Twitter: @sheer_musicsoundcloud.com/sheermusicinstagram.com/sheer_music

TONIGHT you will be able to hear my dulcet chords on MELKSHAM TOWN SOUND. I’m \gatecrashing the air with my cohort Rob Escott. He’ll be playing what I bribe him to play and with any luck we’ll be announcing a few more shows too. Tune in from 8pm on line.

That’s all for now, until next time, toodle pip!