Sheer Music’s #AOTY List

So a week or so ago our poster designer & SnapChat administrator Rob Escott prined all our #AOTY lists, and whilst it was fun to read them all, I do like to elaborate a little further as to why my list was as it was… So here goes…

2016 was a difficult year for me musically, since the change of job (ironically) into an admin role at distributor, Discovery Records, I have learnt an awful lot more about music, just not in my usual field of interest. I now have more than a passing appreciation of Jazz, Country and World music. The world music side of things has really opened my eyes. There’s some amazing music out there that I would never of given a chance / come across normally. The side affect of this is that I haven’t had much chance to listen to my regular interest of music. 

Thus, it was much more difficult to list the albums I loved / listened to. I actually had to look through other lists of records released this year to remind myself what I had been listening to…(!) So, here is my list and reasoning, for anyone interested…

download 10. Animal Collective – Painting With (Domino)

I got into Animal Collective on the Strawberry Jam album, loved Merriweather Post Pavillion, didn’t bother with Centipede Hz, so with bated breath I delved into Painting With. Opening track FloriDada got panned critically because it wasn’t particularly subtle. Or subtle at all. “OK we get it, you’re inspired by Dadaism” the press cried, all I cared about was, is it fun & catchy? It became a bonding song between my daughter & I. She played it more than me. I used to come home after work and she’d put it on, and we’d dance to it, which when you dance as crazy as my daughter did, 3 minutes is a loooong time. This record wasn’t nearly as good as the previous two I owned, but for that one song alone it makes the list. 

download-19. Beans On Toast – Spanner In The Works (Xtra Mile)

Another year and another album from Jay, released on his birthday. Once you’ve heard a Beans On Toast album, you’ve heard them all right? Well maybe but he has a clear idea of what he’s doing, and on SITW’s Jay raised his bar, he made everything more fun, more sweet, more twee. It’s Jay as we know and love him, but like MORE as we know and love him. He also played for us in May and August, so we were always going to be bias! 

download-1 8. Chris T-T – 9 Green Songs (Xtra Mile

Ahhh, Chris. Chris announced his new political direction with this record. Despite Corbyn, he moved even further left? Something like that. Anyway, the record came with belters such as Worst Government Ever and Love Me I’m a Liberal. Chris played a record 4 times for me in one calendar year, hitting Devizes twice, Bath and Frome for my first ever day festival. His set in Frome was one of the best I had seen him play. Controlled a crowd and gave us what we wanted, the hits. Ha. He turns 20-years-in-the-business next year, and will be doing more shows for us to celebrate. This one will be extra special, and I hope to see you all there! It’s in Trowbridge, on a grand piano. True story!

download-27. Yndi Halda – Under Summer (BSM)

Their first record, Enjoy.Eternal.Bliss was #PostRock heaven. A British band, doing the genre as good as anyone else. Eloquent, beautiful, subtle. This second record was a long time in the waiting, but when it arrived, it sank straight in, like an old friend. I once was obsessed with Post Rock. I believed it to be the natural conclusion of all music. Like classical music for a future generation, or something. Anyway, this was my post rock record of the year, well… until #4…

download-3

6. Ducking Punches – Fizzy Brain (Xtra Mile)

Dan Allan aka Ducking Punches played our Xmas show in 2015. Not long before the release of this beaut. Quite possibly the best acoustic style punk rock record released this year. They absolutely smashed it out of the park on this record, every song is a stand out. Belter after belter that you just want to shout at the top of your lungs. Dan often wears his heart on his sleeve a lot, so you know where you stand. He shares a lot and with this record he shared his heart. I fell in love at the first listen. 

download-45. Johnny Foreigner – Mono No Aware (Alcopop!)

OK so their last album, You Can Do Better, was like my fav evvr! So much so I got a tattoo. Like my fav band evvr! OK, I have a lot of favourite bands ever, but I only have one tattoo. This album had bangers, but it took me a fair few listens to really get into it. I’m not sure why, production perhaps? I don’t know, all I know is our friends Songs Of Praise put them on in Swindon, we went, we sang, we danced, we were largely the only ones there and it was still the absolute best of times! 

download-5 4. Thought-Forms – Songs About Drowning (Invada)

I could write an essay about this. But I’ll summarise. This is TT’s 3rd proper full length, the follow up to the also excellent Ghost Mountain. It’s more post rock, but this time we see the band expand to include a bassist and crucially vocals. There’s a clear development in sound, in my ears a debt of Sonic Youth included this time round. And the best bit? They’re still so young. They’ve already toured the world with Portishead and 65daysofstatic, been included in film sound tracks and more besides. This is a band just discovering their stride, and if that doesn’t excite you, nothing about British roots music does. 

download-6 3. Beach Slang – Loud Brash Of Teenage Feelings
(BSM)

I CAN’T BELIEVE DAN LEFT THIS OUT OF HIS LIST!

A great record, by a great band. It largely continued the theme and style of its predecessor, but when something is so perfect, why change a winning formula? Unbelievably I haven’t seen them live, but will be rectifying that in 2017, when they visit The Exchange in Bristol. I’ll see you down the front. 

alcopop2. Tellison – Live On A Boat On The Thames (Alcopop!)

OK, so not technically a formal release, with like, you know a CD and vinyl to show for it. In fact, I don’t even know if it even made the general public, but this live recording made by Gareth Nicholas basically encapsulated everything we’re about. At almost last minute we dragged a PA up to London in our cars, managed to organise a recording AND managed to wing it in style. The recording came out superb (all Gareth’s fault). It was all about live music, friends and experiences. We came out tighter, fitter and richer for the experience. Maybe one day you’ll hear it too. 

1. Chris Farren – Can’t Die (Side One Dummy)download-1

This record didn’t hang about. 29 minutes the 11 tracks come in at, less than 3 minutes each. And it’s glorious POP. It’s the sum of all Chris’s previous parts, distilled into what I think is his perfect vision. Uncomplicated, catchy, glorious pop. All the ingredients are there, Americanisms, his voice, twee synths, little “whoops” here and there and just HAPPYNESS with massive choruses!

 

So there you have it. Looking back at last years list I don’t think 2016 has been as strong for me personally, but 2017 already looks great, with the new JAPANDROIDS album on the way. Chris T-T‘s 20 year anniversary thing, the new Tall Ships and Gnarwolves too record and so much more than I’ve forgotten because my mind is mush and I’m horribly out of the loop. 

We also have some huge live bookings to announce (Cassette Boy – live VJ show!), Emily Barker, Gaz Brookfield, a festival or two, and that there guy from wayyy back when. 2016 sucked on many levels, let’s never go back. 

Honourable mentions to… Conrad Keeley (loads of tracks, not really a balanced album) Future Of The Left (hated it, such a disappointment) The Joy Formidable (“not as good as their last one”) Savages (I enjoyed it) Metronomy (Was missing a gaping Oscar Cash hole) Christian Fitness (we get the idea now…) Pixies (Surprisingly good) Mogwai (seems like they release an album a year…) White Lung (we new to me, it was all right) 

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Top Ten’s and lists of 2014.

Did it all go according to plan? Well no, not at any rate. After reading back last years nominations and recommendations for the forthcoming year I can already see that Tangled Hair didn’t deliver anything and there was a bunch of stuff I didn’t even consider. Let’s fire up iTunes and remind myself what went on this year…

MY TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2014.

fit 10. christen fitness – i am scared of everything that isn’t me 

Probably the first time I bought into a crowd funded thing. Not sure why I hadn’t before, and I didn’t really feel that helpful about the whole thing after. Nevertheless Falco aka Future Of The Left front man continued in his still-sounds-like-Mclusky post Mclusky slew of musical output. This time with a bang on form and witty self release under the title, christen fitness.

It still sounds like Mclusky no matter what he does. Is it in his raging voice, over driven guitars and bass or just the razor sharp lyrics?

ll 9. Metronomy – Love Letters

Left field suggestion from me, as you’d just assume I’d only be picking from the underground and acts I have a passing connection with, but I go pick a top 10 electro-pop act. I pre-ordered the Metronomy album on CD, and immediately regretted not spending the extra for the vinyl. With this came the opportunity to pre-order tickets to an intimate début showing of the record in Brighton’s Old Market venue. I went, it was magical and I had breakfast with Chris T-T.

The record itself continued much in the vein as previous efforts. Electro indie-pop, with the song Reservoir being a particular stand out.


adebisi8. Adebisi Shank – This Is The Third Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank

I missed them at 2000 Trees in 2013, I didn’t get to see them live, but you just KNEW they were amazing. Then they split up. It’s solid fun, fun, FUN from ecstatic dramatic opener “World In Harmony”, which I guess is what they think the world would sound like, if it were in fact in harmony. The album never lets go of the throttle, every song an electro pop blitzkrieg – absolutely fabulous stuff.

 

horde 7. Mongol Horde- Mongol horde

Mr Frank Turner got the opportunity to scream his guts out again, as much mooted hardcore / punk band, with well documented best pal, Ben Dawson surfaced. It featured 13 tracks and clocked in at 36 minutes. This years Devizes Festival meant I missed their performance an Bristol’s Fleece where, according to my Facebook and Twitter feed, everyone I knew was attending.

My professionalism paid off after a blistering motorway run to Portsmouth saw me arrive at the venue 2 hours early and get introduced to Reuben drummer, Guy Davis. Happy with that, I sneaked a Chinese in one of Southsea’s many public green spaces, watched the bands set, which wasn’t long enough for the headline billing and thus included no less than 4 covers. All of them heavy and I couldn’t make out a word… (Set list Here)

The album is ace, with Blistering Blue Barnacles being the obvious-addition-to-any-punk-playlist-since.

islandcalled 6. Emperor Yes! – An Island Called Earth

I had the pleasure of managing to sneak these Londoners onto a bill in Swindon as part of their album tour. A trio of keyboards, more keyboards, drums and a guitar (which is largely hidden away) gives you a clue to their sound. Lush and squelchy keys make songs all about space and aliens and such like. In an electro-power-pop kind of way. SO MUCH FUN, and brilliant live.

Their front man runs / owns a studio, where he has recorded the likes of Ash and Emmy The Great, is the live FOH sound engineer for post-rock / noise band Three Trapped Tigers and happened to be one of Tim Wheelers childhood friends. He manages all that and is a complete dude, who never once stopped smiling.

Oh and did I mention the album was only pressed onto Vinyl. Of which you could purchase a uber rare / expensive one which had an actual meteorite ground into the pressing? Too cool.

(Check out a great first pump photograph of Emperor Yes! from The Victoria on our Gallery, to your right. Or click here if you’re in the email)

 

fair 5. Maybeshewill – Fair Youth 

11 tracks of perfect post rock. Summing up a genre without watering it down or trading paths too well trodden before. Lush production, and excellent arrangement all condensed down into on average, 4 minute songs. Beautiful.

I managed to catch these for the first time at 2000 Trees this year, and they smashed it. Having previously not been able to quite manage a live show for them, they are probably too big for me now – alas, my memory will always be filling that festival’s main stage with some epic soundscapes which sounded even better after the terrible r’n’b DJ in between acts.

ganalb 4. Gnarwolves – Gnarwolves

I predicted their album would be my number one this year, it isn’t, but it is on the list. Never have I been so happy to catch a band on their way up to being loved than these 3 lads from Brighton. I managed 2 shows for them this year, opening their second UK headline tour (after opening their first ever headline tour last year!) in Salisbury. That show has become local Salisbury folklore already, I then managed a Swindon show the day before they played 2000 Trees too.

That Swindon show also became the stuff of legend, a 4 band bill in the midweek? On paper it looked like it was doomed to fail, but we sold out the Victoria on a Wednesday. All the bands got paid, with Gnarwolves going home with more than they expected – Some lovely words from them followed and I, rather naively, believed we would be a shoe in for the Autumn tour. Alas we weren’t as they had outgrown us. However they did leave an absolute banger of a record in their wake.

10 tracks of 3 chord punk, with catchy choruses and trademark witty or poignant lyrics. Clocking in at 26 minutes, it’s on a par with Mongol Horde in packing a lot into a short space of time.

  

retocarol 3. The Retrospective Soundtrack Players – It’s A Wonderful Christmas Carol

Only released on 24th November, this record makes it onto my list because, it’s utterly fantastic. But also because *humble brag* I’ve had the album for months. Listening to the various versions develop into a fully formed record has been a joy to unfold. I remember Chris T-T tweeting about his experience working with the band on the recording of their duet, he was a gush with superlatives and all of them justified. This is the sound of a band reaching their song writing peak, flexing their ability to weave songs as Kyle manages to weave 2 stone walled classics together in such a sublime manner as he has done.

Normally you’d keep well away from material such as 1940’s film It’s A Wonderful Life. You know if you mess it up it’s going to be pointed out, but attempting to weave that story into a Dickens novel as well? That takes some serious confidence. Managing to pull it off is something else entirely.

11 tracks that manage to tell both stories at the same time, whilst also being semi-autobiographical of front man and my-brother-from-another-mother Kyle Evans, skip by with some great lyrical jokes at the bands name, the ditching of the banjo and an exploration of wider instruments all delivers a thoroughly memorable, likeable, accessible and classic Christmas album.

At time of originally writing this, they are 6th in the iTunes Christmas chart, just behind Leona Lewis. Have some of that establishment. For one week at least!

I managed to give them 2 gigs this year, and catch them in Camden for their album release show. With many many friends and associates we saw the band bash out the album, have 3 guest vocals to fill the 3 ghosts of Xmas, and I managed to shift their entire stock of the album manning their merch desk. Brilliant.


moose 2. Mooseblood – I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time

2014 was a year for retrospective Emo releases, as American Football and Mineral were both treated to re-releases and probably more if I dug into it. So it was fitting that a British band should release their début album and beat the yanks at their own game.

A heartfelt record about love, loss and regret, it’s clear the band have been through some stuff. If I had to single out lyrics, I’d be re-writing the sleeve notes here for you. Whether it’s losing his father on the song Pups “It doesn’t matter that we can’t get drunk Dad, it doesn’t mean we can’t fun. We can go out for a couple or maybe a few, it wasn’t getting drunk and low, it was being with you” makes my hair stand on end and my eyes well up. Nearly losing my Dad last year has made me susceptible to such emotional heart tugging.

This album has more besides and with every listen I commit another line to heart and imagine a warm summer, wearing only t-shirts with the blissful ignorance of youth in our steps and Instagram filters on my eyes.

It’s also an album which doesn’t let up, just absolute cracker after cracker. I want to see them live so bad, I want to stand at the front and sing along to every word and get lost in the moment. Good job they’re announcing a spring tour then isn’t it?

JoFo – You Can Do Better

jofo 1. Johnny Foreigner – You Can Do Better

 Earlier in the year Jack Alcopop quipped about releasing two records with rather negative titles, this  being one of them. JoFo’s 4th studio album, and their belting best. 10 tracks of immediate, urgent indie  rock.

 I managed to rescue their Bath gig from Moles, after it burnt down, and moved it to The Nest. It was an  average night, and I won’t point fingers, as it could have done better, but getting to help one of my favourite bands with a show, getting to watch that show will always stay with me. Fucking super professional people, super fucking cool band, super ace songs.

It was an album I spent most of this year listening to, it’s still on regular rotation now. It was released so early, I can’t believe it was 2014! It is where I go to remind myself what I have and everything I should be grateful for. Again lyrically it kills me, I’ve made my own observations and parallels and invested my emotions into this record and it has paid back in spades.

 

I follow a guy on Twitter called MIKE DIVER who tweeted this earlier in the year;MikeDiver

 

   

I completely disagree. Surely it’s down to your own interpretation of greatness? I mean Emperor Yes! was a truly GREAT record. Kyle’s wording and intertwining of those two stories? Incredible. There were lots of great records this year, there’ll be plenty more in other peoples lists that I’ll read and think, I’m going to listen to that – Some of which I will love and think are great. Maybe I’m easily pleased, maybe he’s hard to please or maybe greatness is just in the eye of the beholder.

 

 

TOP EP’s (evidently all very punk…)

Brawlers – I’m A Worthless Piece Of Shit

Solemn Sun – §

Woahnows – Life In Reverse

Nai Harvest – Hold Open My Head

Bloody Knees Vs. Birdskulls – Split 7″

      

And due in 2015…..?

We’ll I’ve previewed the B-Sydes record, and think that’s ACE. Frank Turner will have his post-breadkup record, record out which I hope will be a happier listen. Every year brings a new Beans On Toast record, so that’s a cert’. Ash have announce the pre-order of their album, and Nai Harvest I understand have one in the bag. All those above in the EP’s list in fact have got to be quids in for LP’s? AND rather excitedly I saw ASIWYFA’s tweet of the masters of their new record. That list alone is enough to get me excited, and that’s before I discover anything new. 

ANYWAY, there you have it. I’ve pinned my colours to the mast, and no mention of my favourite Scot’ Mark McCabe – Well his album was great too, but wayyy to sad to make it into my top 10. Not that I didn’t love it, I really did and I love him equally. 

Tune into The Colour Of Vinyltonight from 8pm to listen to Rob’s top ten and some honourable mentions of the list above. 

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

Devizes does it 3 times!

Last night was quite a special night in Devizes, little did we all know but we were in the middle of a 3 way tug-of-war for audience from 3 quality gigs, something I would usually want to avoid like the plague!

Ian Hopkins, our blues stalwart had The Strawbs at the Long Street Blues Club, Ian James has Badness and an 80’s night at the Corn Exchange, where as Sheer Music had Jon Amor and Rhiannon Mair in at The Lamb

All three gigs were effectively sold out, as Devizes proved that regular or indeed overlapping live music need not be a bad thing, or an hindrance, provided the entertainment on offer is good quality! (I say effectively, since my show was free entry, and so can’t really sell out)

All the big guns were out, we had “Big Nose Ken” Ansted, photographer extraordinaire managed to make two of the shows, Crammer Magazine scribe Chris Palmer made all 3(!) and that dude we keep seeing dancing strangely at any event that’ll allow, made the spot in front of the log fire, his own. 

Sorry for the bi-polar effect of James Brown’s Get On Up, getting played immediately as Barney Goodall finished. Barney showed poise and technical ability in his first outing for me on Piano. I love the guy, he just needs to play some happier / story songs that I know and love him for! 

Chris Worthy admits he essentially plays the same set each time, just in a different order. It’s always a pleasure to see him and Lucie out, and as Drinking Tiles proves, Chris’s old Soulswitch songs are as good as any songs Devizes musicians have produced, they’re also standing the test of time!

Rhiannon Mair absolutely stormed her 3rd Devizes performance. True to form, we have managed to build up her fan base locally and the applause she got at the end of her set was the loudest I’ve seen in The Lamb. Sorry she didn’t get chance for an encore after you begged so much – but never fear, she will be returning to Devizes in August for Party In The Park. You heard it here first!

This night had it all, eclectic music, great banter (Hey Jon, sniff your mic!) a rendition of the Top Gear Theme, a bit of Jon’s multi layering up of sound to create his backing band, before whipping out the old electric to shred the best blues you’ll hear a white man play, and this ladies and gents is why Jon is so highly regarded, because he is an absolute talent! 

On another positive note, last night was the first we had the function room bar open at a gig, and it was a welcome addition to the atmosphere, as it feels we have an entire separate, self contained venue now. The Lamb surely has to be the best venue around for this sort of thing? Be sure to come to the next show to indulge in the atmosphere!

MANY THANKS AS EVER! 

Devizes Festival goes out in style!

Sunday saw the finale of our 3 week music & arts festival, ended in style with self confessed Last Word In Cool with Virginia Ironsides “Growing Old Disgracefully” tour and the first time I heard a flute at one of my shows, with the Bluesy Soul duo, KYLA BROX. The flute knocked me out, and I left feeling they would be great on a bill with Jon Amor…

It was a fantastic end to a record breaking year, which opened my eyes to public speaking via Michael Wood, some wonderful food courteously of Peter Vaughn – who cooked one of the acts meals from their own published cook book (!) and quite possibly the most significant show Devizes has ever witnessed from NEW MODEL ARMY – which has gone down with fans as “one of their best, top 5 most likely”.

I was overwhelmed with the responce from people, as almost every event sold out. We were exposed to a wide range of culture and interests, which I felt privileged to be a part of and humbled by many of the acts and their feedback.

I would like to give a big shout to Abe Juggins, an immensely reliable and capable member of the crew, without whom I wouldn’t of been able to do it.

Keep your ear firmly tuned to Fantasy Radio, as Phil Dawson will be playing some live recordings of some of the shows, of which I have more to give him too. 97fm locally, or online at FantasyRadio.co.uk.

SO on to next year – Now is the time to get your suggestions, and feedback in. We’re specifically looking at suggestions to incorporate a wide range of groups and possibly covering areas we may have missed this year.

And thus, I’ll leave you with the video of Gaz, hammering it out in the Corn Exchange. Until next Year x

 

Updates all round!

1) First business of order, Friday nights shit hot punk / metal show at The Bell. It was a long time coming, but Roads To Nowhere finally played town again, even with a new line up, they absolutely nailed it. Circle pits and walls of death all round. Well done.

Orcryst opened that show to much the same crowd participation straight from the off! A big shout out to their drummer for playing the best set I’;ve seen him  play. Taught and professional – he really looked like he was pushing himself, and having fun.

Had Deliverence, played a different bill or to a more rock crowd, I believe their almost LostAlone style riffs would of impressed anyone – I was certainly impressed with the slightly new direction!

It was left to BROKEN JAW to finish the show, and they turned an already happy, bouncy crowd into a Fucking PARTY. Front man, with a wireless mic – often an over indulgence in such a small venue, was put to good effect with him standing, and sitting on tables all over the room, sitting perched a top chairs on tables, in fact climbing anything that he could muster. He even stripped down to the bare essentials and got the crowd to put money in his briefs. I shit you not – this one was superb performance.

The only thing that band lack is a studio recording, and I’m telling you now, that début is going to Rock.

2) OK in other news, three time scene hitter and friend Mr Francis Turner who was looking to #BurstTheBuble with his 5th studio album and reach the top of the album charts on Sunday, didn’t quite manage top spot, but he did Smash Will.I.Am into second space!

My sincere congratulations Frank, I doubt anyone in the industry deserves the rewards as much as you!

3) There is a new Facebook group, entitled >Wiltshire Music Scene<, and can be used to advertise gigs, wanted band members – or members for sale, gear, meet ups – what ever – If it’s musical and it’s Wiltshire – Dive Right In!

That’s all I got for now… gah!

Little Leagues new EP

Eeeek, one of my favourite bands to come to town, LITTLE LEAGUES came  over from Falmouth and played with Sailors last year and brought a trumpet player with them – they were rad. 

Last time I checked in on them, they were playing the Eden Project opening for Vaccines (Wait! Another bunch to play The Lamb! – the front man, Justin Young did in 2006.) they had just put out their 2nd little self release, A Problem Solved, and were about to have a bit of a break.

A break they had, and now they’re back with 2 tracker, FALCO, which probably has no relation to Future Of The Left front man, with the same name. 

On this release we see an updated version of a stand alone song they had on their bandcamp, Versicolour. This time round it is a touch faster and certainly more confident. Well recorded and tight as hell, it’s perfect danceable indie pop, though it appears to lack the stand out trumpets in the chorus, but a more Miles Davis-esq free form in bridge… 

The lead track of the two, Falco, opens with a bass charge and trumpet blast bursting straight from the stalls like a race horse at the Grand National, with really passionate, almost spat out lyric “ba ba ba ba ba!” “I’ve got nothing left to give!” and “Where do we go form here?” 

They played with Tall Ships in Falmouth on the same tour Russian Blue (aka Sailors) played with Tall Ships in Bristol, so they’re keeping good company – I’d love to have them back at some point too. 

DOWNLOAD THE EP FOR FREE FROM THEIR SOUNDCLOUD BELOW!

Somewhat Snakes, EP review…

This year I’ve gotten back into my Punk rock. Possibly due to the success of the, limited, amount of punk bands I’ve put on the past 12 months.

Only last week did Decade, Run From Robots and Rat Attack all play RadStock fest (which is not actually in Radstock, but a Rad Stock, as in Woodstock, festival) All 3 bands have played Devizes in the past 12 months – I do pick em’.

ANYWAY, when these sorts of bands have played in the past, it’s always been a toss up of supports, either too heavy with those hardcore metal bands, or too pop-punk. We’ve really lacked, in my opinion, some proper balls out punk rock.

Well that has changed. 

SOMEWHAT SNAKES, from Chippenham are just that – a fully fledged balls out rock and roll punk band, who have just released a 4 track demo / EP / release, via their BANDCAMP

It’s flippin’ brilliant. If you’re a fan of The Bronx, or The Computers or Blowgoat etc, then these guys really nail it across the 4 tracks. The urgency in the opening riff of Taste The Top really sets out their stall and what they’re about – fun, fast, punk rock. 

Their guitarist Jez Oehley is also the bassist in Chippenham metal band, Acts Of Brutality, and it shows in Somewhat Snakes music, although in my opinion, this is their weakest element – a couple of times they veer off into that, trying-to-sound-evil, trait that metal bands do, to sound, you know – badass. Or whatever. 

If they keep up the fun with their next release, and less of the, I Hate My Dad element, then it’s something to get excited about – I am looking forward to watching them live – Shit I can see this being off the wall, throwing them selves around, circle pitting’ – it’s that good. 

Demo cover art

Salute The Magpie unveil stonking new tune.

Salute The Magpie keep going from strength to strength, as it seems nothing is standing in their way right now.  Off the back of a hugely successful show for Club Fandango at London’s prestigious Bull And Gate venue, the band have recorded the new song, WILD – which was given it’s first airing at Club Revolver in Bath’s Porter venue.

The song, recorded at Bath university was mixed and engineered by guitarist, Jack Roberts, this tune WILD smashes the opposition and really sets out the bands stall, as the finest indie band in the area.  It also shows off Jack’s engineering ability.

The band will be announcing new shows very soon, keep an eye on their Facebook for more info.

And that was 2012… A brief run through!

If your reading this before you go out tonight, here’s a quick reminder as to why 2012 was so rad in Devizes!

First of all, all the gigs. We were spoilt for choice more often than not, be it my shows, Abe’s or the Blues and Jazz clubs respectively, there was a lot of talent through Devizes – probably one of our most solid years all round I’d say.

Specifically looking at shows, we saw Swindon ska punk band SLAGERJI smash it in June, headlining the Corn Exchange, on a bill that was shared with indie boys Nudy Bronque, who also impressed and local metal heads Black Sanctuary, who delivered all the promise they had bottled up. That was one memorable gig.

It often surprises me when people are surprised at well turned out shows, or the quality of the act on offer. Many people just don’t bother with a band or act they don’t know – so I was over the moon, when a simple buzz word of “grunge” was enough to draw out some old, friendly faces when SHE MAKES WAR, came to town. Laura Kidd happened to impress and blow away an audience who, in the most part, didn’t know who she was. For me the megaphone incident will live long in my memory of gigs at The Lamb.

Other triumphs came in the shape of seminal 90’s indie band, The Bluetones, whose front man, MARK MORRISS elbowed his way into a performance at The Lamb – to be frank, even Frank Turner didn’t have it that busy, such was the state of the room. I ended up sitting almost at Marks feet and actually missed my favourite song, just to by him a drink. Fiddle sticks. The fact that I was * probably* the youngest there also showed we have a depth of audience in Devizes too.

InMe front man DAVE MCPHERSON was an another unprecedented success, his Boom Shake The Room and a secret cover of Frank Turner’s “Redemption” being high points and proof of Devizes significance on a national scale.

All that before we mention that CHRIS T-T impressed, simply by telling the audience to either shut up and listen, or leave – he wouldn’t be offended. Job done, and the entire audience was in his firm grip. A lovely rendition of Huntsman, sang along by myself and Alex Archer being one of those “you had to be there” moments.

Beans On Toast pretty much finished off the year, in spectacular style – by literally performing on a chair – clearly pointing out that we need a stage… hmm.

I personally had a year of development, with my first (small) orchestra playing for me, The Regency Belles in Hillworth Park finished off a series out outdoor gigs – which will only improve next year!

I hosted my first shows at The Furnace in Swindon, with metal giants MALEFICE swinging through, and easily the UK’s leading grunge band FIGHTING WITH WIRE also making the stop. We even had a legend of the UK’s metal scene, one former front woman of Cradle Of Filth, Sarah Jezebel Deva also hitting up Swindon. Crickey!

For the Queens Jubilee we did a 70’s punk show – few turned up – You miserable, undeserving cunts, but for those who did – it was flippin’ GREAT! I also did my first tribute night – Black Sabbath!! AND my first, dedicated night to electro + d’n’b.

I counted no less than 10 national UK tours come through Devizes, just for me – not including what ever Ian did at Long Street Blues Club did or our work with Devizes Festival. There was loads more, and if you didn’t see at least one show, you really missed out (Kunt & The Gang, Antonio Lulic, Run From Robots, Mexicofallz, Hellbound Hearts, 2 Sick Monkeys etc etc etc)

 

Other great moments for Devizes was ABE JUGGIN’S taking the bull by the horns and taking on shows at The Bell By The Green, he managed 3 gigs all of which were massively turned out. I know if I had done those shows, they wouldn’t of been as good. Abe has an unrivalled insight to the local and national Metal scene. He is an asset to  Devizes, and we should support his shows in 2013!

We had the launch of Fantasy Radio, and better still “our” own session (The Matthew Corbett Session) on Thursday nights, where we get to play local music, and cover local shows – this was supplemented with occasional (24) live sessions by Phil Dawson at Ginger Productions – including a magnificent one from JIM LOCKEY & THE SOLEMN SUN.

Our first music and arts fanzine (the first since Sheer Volume – we won’t forget your ground breaking efforts Ben Hooper!) CRAMMER started up in August, and has since previewed, reviewed and interviewed our touring acts and gigs! Not to mention all the other scenes it’s now writing about – top dog! And only 50p – Bargain!

Moonrakers Comedy Club found a new (and better!) home at The Cellar Bar beneath the Bear Hotel, bringing some huge names in Comedy to our town, the work Martin Brown does needs more recognition, he is also a real asset to our town!

 

It wasn’t all good though, I did lose money on some shows and I was shafted by a venue once. We lost BBC Radio Wiltshire Introducing, and with it, the Wiltshire-wide radio outlet for our local musicians. We temporarily lost The Bell, and The Lamb also had a substantial fire, stopping shows there for the first 3 months of the year.

There is so much more to be thankful for and to acknowledge but I just can’t remember right now – mainly due to my sickness I’ve had for the past week (Noro Virus or what ever it’s called.) So sorry for lack of updates! Do keep an eye out for what’s upcoming in 2013.

All there is left for me to say is, thanks – and I’ll see you all next year, for more of the same, quality entertainment.

Local Xmas song round up!

Jake Assirati, tackling Chris Rea’s classic! Electric guitar in one take, fun!

Adam Crosland with his own, unique, original composition, the delightful tale of Santos, the Mexican Santa. 

Alex Sears AKA “Sophomore” – and his version of the Paul McCartney classic… Pop Punk Sing-a-long massive chorus!

Barney Goodall, of On Deaf Ears, with his pop / electronic project – another original.

And finally, Smile Look Alive’s pop punk, gang chant, break down version of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.