Sheer Music’s AOTY 2019

I’ve put absolutely no pre-thought into writing this, it’s coming out in a spew right, now.

10 – DZ Deathrays – Positive Rising #1 (Alcopop Records)

A much more understated album than their last outing, which was an absolute banger, this was a more controlled version of the beast we knew. Their atmospheric & anthemic sound were still in place and the album did drive and punch in equal measure, but it clocked in at 9 tracks, so felt a bit quick.

 

9 – The Real Cheesemakers – Grated Hits (self release)

Wiltshire’s finest silly song writers finally delivered their debut after nearly 20(?) years in the making. Certainly, in the decade I’ve known them. It’s strongest attribute will probably be their biggest hold back from reaching potential fans. People just don’t like silly songs, despite the musical prowess backing it up, and there was plenty of muscle flexed on this record. However, if you enjoy songs about cheese, giant squids, dinosaurs and guest appearances from chap-hop stars, then this record really, really delivered, and crucially, it stood up to repeated listens. Support slots to Creed Bratton, Goldie Lookin’ Chain & Professor Elemental on the way tell their own story. Almost certainly ones to look out for, as they will be hitting that circuit hard in 2020.

8 – Hysterical Injury – Life Death Life (self release)

I was slightly worried this came out in 2018, given it was released so early in 2019. The band played a single release show for us at the Komedia in Bath at the tail end of 2018, and this album followed shortly after. It was quite different sonically from their debut. Less pedal to the metal bass riffs and balls to the wall drums, and instead were more noisy soundscapes, programmed drums and dancy bass beats. This departure was rewarded with a UK tour opening for BEAK>, which is the only review you need.

Friendly Fires - Inflorescent.png7 – Friendly Fires – Inflorescent (Polydor)

In what is probably a wild card from me, big-budget, big label, pop-dance crossover indie disco outfit, Friendly Fires came back finally with their 3rd studio album. They did not reinvent anything of their history, they just continued to release dance floor friendly indie bangers. Not a lot else needed to be added, except to say, if you wanted a feel-good dance record, this was it.

A hand-drawn globe against a white background, with an orange border on the left-hand side. The words "FATHER+OF+THE+BRIDE" encircle the globe, with "Vampire Weekend" and "Sony Music" printed above and below the globe respectively. 6 – Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride (Columbia)

A stunning return to form, after trailing off since their debut (in my opinion), probably in part due to the introduction of 3 new members. This was an album of short, sharp songs (something of a theme in my list this year), spiked with their usual sun-bleached tunes. All destined to feature on a film 4 film in the future, obviously.

 

5 – Chris Farren – Born Hot (Big Scary Monsters)

If you’re not familiar with Chris’s sound, rest assured that if you picked this record up, you’d be delving in at his very best. His voice just tells stories, and I want to hear him lilting them to us. He doesn’t reinvent himself, but he did reinvent his advertising campaign, which had us all hooked on Twitter for the course of the record.

4 – Brand New Friend – Seatbelts For Aeroplanes (Xtra Mile Recordings)

OK, so not technically released this year, but I picked it up this year at their Swindon show, opening for Sean McGowan. And fuck me, the only reason this isn’t top, is because I got the  year wrong, because THIS is the sound of the funnest band out there right now. Brand New Friend are the natural successors to Ash. Infectious sub-3 minute pop tunes, all power and glory at being barely 20 something. They were my favourite set at 2000 Trees & they tour the UK in 2020, and I will be down the front, singing my heart out.

Image result for gender role prang3 – Gender Roles – Prang (Big Scary monsters)

Haha, now this was a fun album. BSM always find the band that epitomize the underground at that precise moment in time, and with Prang, Gender Roles delivered 2019’s snapshot of the state of the scene. They looked goofy, the wrote goofy and they played goofy. I have a live recording of the opening date of the album tour, in Chippenham. It was a wicked fun show, for a wicked fun band. When Weatherstate played Trowbridge a few weeks ago, these were the band everyone was buzzing about.

Image result for tom jenkins misery in comfort2 – Tom Jenkins – Comfort in Misery (Self Release)

Now here is an album.  Arguably the best-crafted collection of songs released in 2019, only missing my number 1 because of the repeated plays Indoor Pets got, because their’s came out earlier! Each song is an example of utterly perfect execution song writing. Even the shorter link tracks are perfectly weighted. No song grapples with another, the flow of the record was perfect, the weight of each track tempered expertly, none outstay their welcome – It’s a stunning record from start to finish. Tom took us on a journey, and it was beautiful.

1 – Indoor Pets – Be Content (Witchita)

After catching them for the first time since the name change (they played for us as Get Inuit, opening for Ash) at 2000 Trees, their performance was forever etched in my memory, not just because of the company, but because of the passionate delivery of the best collection of indie rock songs since The Pixies (for me at any rate). Their set was brief and faultless, and this album just got repeated and repeated. I’ve not seen them since, but I need to. I drove my family up the wall repeatedly playing Pro-Procrastinator. They hate it now. Oops.

Introducing… The Big Massive Orchestra

A quick reminder of what Sheer & Loathing is – it marks the approximate date of Sheer’s first-ever gig at the Football Club in Devizes in 2004. Fifteen years and 450 gigs later, we arrive at this all-afternooner, where some of the bands I have missed out on many occasions finally come to make their mark on Trowbridge and our memories! 

Kicking off at 3pm and finishing around 10pm (for live music) we have some of the best acts from across Wiltshire and national ones doing the rounds including… THE BIG MASSIVE ORCHESTRA.

Here is a band who probably needs little introduction, certainly not in the Trowbridge, Frome and Bath triangle. 

This band first came to my attention after Mr Rob Dahl of Hit Or Miss promotions booked them for All Roads Lead To Frome #2 last year. The band who then were only like, barely 16, have since turned into one of the absolute best, most exciting prospects we have going. 

A unique set up of guitar, drums, and violin, the band are able to summon some incredibly lush, deep, moving landscapes of music. It was wholly unexpected to see such an accomplished band at such a young age that it led me to liken them to Thought-Forms, who are also well known for making lush textures and soundscapes.

We’ve always looked to support youth music, be it young people or young bands, but this band seemed to skip the part where you’re a bit shit and need to learn the trade of playing live, figuring out what does and what does not work. They came out fully formed – They hadn’t even gone to music college at this point. Part of me fears of what they will be told in the classroom will change what is already an incredibly winning formula. 

This hasn’t gone unnoticed when last year the band were called up to perform at the award-winning* math / post-rock festival the ArcTanGent in Bristol and playing packed shows across the local area, hitting up and outgrowing all the local venues. 

Their recorded music is great despite there being very little of it out there, but what you can hear is on their Bandcamp. However, it is their live show that the band truly excel. It doesn’t seem quite right when they produce such a massive sound, but with two members studying either Jazz drums or classical guitar, it’s no real surprise that they’re able to function at a level higher than they’re currently performing. I mean christ, this is a band who would cover Radiohead’s Idioteque and get away with it!

The Big Massive Orchestra is a band that will undoubtedly grow and grow, and I have no doubt we will be looking back at a time in our scene that we will fondly remember that they graced us with their music. 

For more info on the band, go and like their Facebook Page, subscribe to their Youtube etc, you know how the internet works in this day & age… 

 

Sheer & Loathing In Trowvegas
@ Trowbridge Town Hall
Saturday 19th October 2019
Doors 3pm.
3.45 – 4.15 – Jezilyn Martyn
4.15 – 4.45 – and Alice
4.45 – 5.15 – Dan / The Shudders tbc
5.15 – 6pm – The Big Massive Orchestra
6pm – 6.45 – Mark McCabe
6.45 – 7.30 – Weatherstate
7.30 – 8.15 – Louise Distras
8.15 – 9pm – itoldyouiwouldeatyou
9pm – 10pm – Smokin’ Donuts (Les Carter & Doozer McDooze)

Tickets: £15 adv or £20 otd. Available direct from venue or from WeGotTickets or SeeTickets. The bands have a limited amount of cheap tickets… HTU for links and such…

* (Best toilets in 2013, Best small festival in 2018)

Sheer Music Present… Tony Wright (Terrorvision)

I do hope you appreciate reading about how and why we make the decisions we do with the shows we put on, if you don’t skip to the bottom for the vital statistics, if you like to know, read on…

The year is 2000 in the December time, and Zoe is at Salisbury college. The heavens have poured down and the whole of Salisbury plain has been flooded. The bus I am on gets routed through Orcheston and decides to plough right through what is effectively a river. Needless to say the bus conks out. 

Picture me, balls deep with other passengers (which happens to be a future colleague, Roger Chandler of Devizes Post Office!) wading through ice cold water to get to the replacement service the other side of the river. And this was the year 2000, I mean, I had the WIDEST Nu-Metal trousers going. They weighted a ton with all that water soaked in & bike chains hanging off the side…

ANYWAY, I finally make it to Salisbury Arts Centre, meet up with Zoe and get to load in Terrorvision as part of a Salisbury College music course gig. A band I had seen the year before on the main stage at Reading and I had totally fallen for their album “Regular Urban Survivors”. 

This was the first time I had worked with a “famous” band or certainly someone successful and (in my mind) legendary. **Pop Quiz** the support band that night was co.uk, who had the belting single Big Green Bath, doing the rounds at the time. I swapped my “number 4 long sleeve t-shirt”, for their singers Spiderman Beanie, on the proviso that he worse it in the next band interview, so I could see it and make my “claim to fame” ** I can’t specifically remember who I was with that night, but I do remember being one of only 3 people who moshed for the support band. 

ANYWAY, so I got to meet and hang with Terrorvision after all the lumping was done. They were the most stellar guys. Before the show, the band were getting pumped listening to their latest record as pre-show music, to get them in the groove. (I thought this was weird, but literally had nothing to base that assumption on) 

I asked if they were going to play “Oblivion” to which the drummer said “wait and see, kid”. Which was a stupid question really because OF COURSE they were going to play Oblivion, and Perseverance and Tequila etc etc etc. 

So, that was the first proper experience I ever had, and led to a (thus far) life long fascination with live music, musicians, audiences, live shows, pre-shows, PA set ups, you name it, I had all that first experience at that one show – No one knew at the time what it would lead too… so if you want to blame someone, blame Terrorvision!! 

All together now…. WHALES AND DOLPHINS, WHALES AND DOLPHINS YEAH!!! 

**Another Pop Quiz** This show completes my own Britrock Must Be Destroyed Collection, where I’ve had each band from said tour play for us at Sheer! It only took 18 years to be realised! 

So without further ado, here are the details…

Thursday 15th November 2018
@ Level 3, Swindon
£14 adv. £18 otd. 
14+
Doors 8pm.
8.30 – 9.15 – Jim Blair (Hip Route) 
9.30 – 10.30 – TONY WRIGHT solo (Terrorvision)
10.30 – fin – 00s Rock Clubnight. 

Tickets: Available direct from Level 3 and The Victoria without booking fee, or via WeGotTickets here…> http://www.wegottickets.com/event/447059

Tony Wright L3 poster

 

Grace Petrie plays legendary local folk club

Well lap my poons, I thought I had formally told you all about Grace Petrie coming to town but I was talking a load of rubbish. 

SO RE-CAP, Grace Petrie spent 2017 mostly touring with Billy Bragg playing weeeally big venues, before heading off on a Autumn / Winter jaunt with comedian Josie Long called “A Very Lefty Xmas” and releasing her latest album “Heart First Aid Kit” 

Reigning from Leicester, I cannot help but make the link that after the cities football club won the Premier league, she continued the cities success and took it on the road. 

Very political Grace is perhaps further left or more vocal than Chris T-T. Musically she pitches somewhere around the inevitable comparison to tour mate Billy Bragg, but with the early Billy fire in her belly. I’d say, if you didn’t know her, but were a fan of Chuck SJ Hay who regularly plays for us, then you’d be in safe company with Grace. If you’re into your political folk, then Robb Johnson is your other obvious comparison. Oh & she’s a staunch Labour support, advocate & activist, so, want to hear a voice of a movement, then look no further. 

Now, since booking this show & sticking it on sale, Sheer & #GigFam favourite Gaz Brookfield has also added her to his usual Xmas Bristol gig party, this year being held at SWX. So, as per, we are slap bang in the centre of our scene. 

Grace is also a natural fit for the venues regular identity. Trowbridge Village Pump Folk club regularly hosts Grace’s peers and contemporaries. It’s unusual for us to veer so close to what they do, as I don’t like to step on their toes, but I felt confident that Grace was closely linked enough to our scene as it to not be an issue & they’ve come out in full support of our gig, so I’d like to expend my thanks to them. 

She even once did a Channel 4, Random Acts video, I’ll leave that with you here…

Now, with a run down of our headliner, let’s quickly look at the support – Jim Lockey

Jim is the same Jim from Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun. Jim & Sheer go waaaaaayyyy back to like 2004 or 5 or something. Jim has played countless shows for us, his album “Songs About Death” is a solid gold scene classic and he’s the most performed artist at 2000 Trees Festival. His shows at the forest sessions are legendary. 

For an idea of what he sounds like, here’s his cover of Bright Eyes “Landlocked Blues” still a firm favourite of mine.

I haven’t yet cleared it…. but opening the show will be non other than another Gaz linked act, and someone I’m very fond of, Chuck SJ Hay. I believe they now go by the stage name SJ Hay. Go follow & them on Instagram, and like, root about – That’s part of the fun isn’t it, discovering acts & stuff??

Friday 25th May 2018
@ The Village Pump, Trowbridge 
Doors 8pm. 
8.30 – 9 – Chuck SJ Hay
9.15 – 9.45 – Jim Lockey
10 – 11.15 – Grace Petrie
16+
Tickets £8 adv from WeGotTickets, or £10 otd. 

Join us on Facebook & Such over here….. 

Gaz Brookfield makes his Trowbridge debut…

That doesn’t seem right, does it? Gaz Brookfield the self proclaimed “land pirate” who has toured (probably) every town in our fair isle, and was based in Wiltshire for a decade or so, has yet to make an appearance in our county town?!?!

Yet my fellow compadres this is the case. Gaz has never performed in Trowbridge. Never at the Village Pump, or Stallards or even the White Hart. So now on his 5th studio album, his never-ending tour finally rolls into Trowbridge at the Town Hall Arts. Bypassing the usual pup gig entry level show you have to do when visiting a new town, Gaz jumps straight to the top of the pile, in what is arguably our nicest small venue. 

Previously in this room we’ve hosted Chris T-T, Mark Morriss, Professor Elemental and coming up we have Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer, Axes and Levellers front man, Mark Chadwick – who has previously personally invited Gaz to tour with him, so we’re very much becoming a member of that scene and establishing Town Hall Arts as a venue of choice for these sorts of artists and shows. 

As you would expect, tickets have been strong for this gig, despite it being on the unlucky day of Friday the 13th. 

You can still pick up cheap advance tickets over at WeGotTickets – We’ve seen the pre-sales and I am delighted that I know so few of them – This is going to be a totally new crowd to Sheer, to our shows and what we do, in an amazing venue and space, with amazing support in the shape of Chuck SJ Hay.

Chuck has played for us only a handful of times, but they’re an absolute talent. We haven’t seen anyone play acoustic guitar  quite so aggressively since Oxygen Thief. They’ll play a lot of angry protest songs, about gender, equality and society at large. 

to recap:

Friday 13th April 2018
Town Hall Arts, Trowbridge
Doors 8pm.
8.45 – 9.15 – Chuck SJ Hay
9.30 – 10.30 – GAZ BROOKFIELD
14+

Tickets £8 adv. £10 otd. 

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING ORIGINAL LIVE MUSIC – This is just the beginning Trowbridge, please get involved now.

AXES hit the road, and visit Trowbridge

That’s right, this Big Scary Monsters signed, art-rock, noise & rhythm London based 4 piece, featuring an Iranian and a Viking, announce a brief whistle stop tour of the UK, AND stream new material via, Feckingbahamas.com.

Once again I am over the frickin’ moon that we’ve managed to get a band of this calibre to Wiltshire. It feels even better to say County Town of Wiltshire AND the number #1 Most Up-and-Coming-place-to-live. Obviously because of all the cool shows. Natch. 

AXES are the embodiment of fun. Furiously fast guitar work, bouncy fun rhythms and just a glorious cacophony of noise. Their last album, “Glory” says it all. On the cover they’ll all riding horseback. Horseback. I’ve run out of superlatives. They’re great if you like loud fun music. 

https://weareaxes.bandcamp.com  /  http://www.weareaxes.com

Support for the show will be Bristol / Chippenham / area poly-rhythm band, HOGGS BISON

You’ll remember them for their support slot to Alpha Male Tea Party at the Village Pump last August as a warm up to ArcTanGent, apt then this show is a warm up tp math festival Portals then. 

Their debut album “Aeons” was marvellous and I’m proud as hell that we have musicians like this, following in the steps of Thought-Forms to showcase Wiltshire as a hotbed of experimental music. 

Tickets for the show are available through TicketSource, WeGottickets or direct from Town Hall Arts

Doors 8pm.
Friday 15th June 2018
Town Hall Arts, Trowbridge
8.45 – 9.15 – Hoggs Bison
9.30 – 10.30 – AXES.

16+. 

Join us on Facebook over HERE.

Axes Tour

Trowbridge Arts Centre residency announced

R2.jpg

Continue reading “Trowbridge Arts Centre residency announced”

20 year anniversary of Kurt Cobains death – Our homage.

Friday 4th April represents the 20 year anniversary eve of Kurt Cobains untimely death. Not a date you would typically want to celebrate, so consider this show more an acknowledgement of everything Nirvana achieved and gave us, and everything they were and would have continued to be.As we plough headlong into our 10th year of promoting in Devizes, we find our selves back at The Bell By The Green, one of our most regular haunts. We typically don’t do tribute shows, but this is too significant an anniversary to miss, and let’s be honest, a good Nirvana show will be a lot of fun. 

It takes guts to want to even perform live, as a tribute to a band who changed the face of music, who were a voice of a generation, it takes a whole new level of something to actually go and record a cover of said band, especially given the force and nature of Nirvana’s fans. They are a dedicated and fussy bunch. 
So, it’s with great pleasure that I announce that we have captured one of the UK’s finest tributes to Nirvana. KIRVANA come from Shropshire, that’s a fair old way to play for us. We could of got a much closer band, but as promoters it’s our job to bring the most authentic tribute bands to town and with Kirvana that is just what we have done. 
The band use the same vintage guitars and amps, that Nirvana used – To specifically capture the true sound of the band, if they sound this good live next Friday, I will be a very happy punter indeed. 

Support for the evening comes from a Devizes legend, Gary Martin and his band Audio Puppy, who will provide an authentic grunge sound, along with an alternative DJ, playing all the best rock and alternative music from the 90’s. 

Tickets are priced £10 advance from Devizes Books or WeGotTickets, or £15 on the door! This event is strictly 16+.

Doors 8pm.
8 – 9pm – Grunge & 90’s alternative DJ.
9 – 9.30pm – Audio Puppy

10 – 11.30pm – KIRVANA
 
 
Please join our Mailing list… We have a big tour announcement to make on April 2nd.>>>MAIL CHIP<<<

St Marys Art Centre, Devizes – Make this dream real.

You may have seen in the local community the proposed usage of St Mary Church in New Park Street? You can read about it on their website – http://www.stmarydevizestrust.org.uk/

This is a really exciting and massive opportunity for all of us in Devizes, get this right and we can have a purpose built, dedicated, permanent events venue like Salisbury Arts Centre in our town. Get it wrong, and we end up with nothing, or worse, another Assize Courts.

Next Thursday, the 24th October St Mary’s Trust (the trust behind this venture) have a meeting with planners at, Devizes School from 6pm – which anyone and everyone is invited to come and show their support, to hear what both trust committee and the planners have to say. 

If you have even the slightest passing interest, or perhaps are a bit nosey, I encourage you all to come and listen to the debate. Every body that turns up, is positive proof that we want this in our town, and I really want this in our town

Please sign up to the news letter on the St Mary’s Trust website. Please get involved, simply having a poster in your shop / house / car is enough to distribute the support. Or email in to Tony Scorer at Yahoo.com to voice your thoughts and support. 

I have written an outline proposal to how I would use the venue in the future, and it obviously is based around the music, but a venue like this will be able to offer a lot more. Please get behind it!

A4-Support-St-Mary-Devizes-Planning-poster

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!

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.