Whilst all the buzz around here is deservedly directed towards our friends in DECADE, I’d like to point you in the direction of Scottish singer songwriter, MARK McCABE, who released his album “A Good Way To Busy Bad News” this week on Cats? Aye! Records.
We have had the pleasure of Mark’s performances twice in Devizes, once with the equally talented Oxygen Thief back in 2012 (and their ridiculously good tour poster!) and then again last year when he tumbled into town with the lovely Ellen Cox. Both times he was magnificent, his soft, unmistakably Scottish accent delivering songs that really feel like you’re listening to something more significant than simply a guy in a room.
Songs such as Crutches and Join The Crowd, deliver with such thought provoking honesty that it’s easy to see why Mark has gained a decent buzz and reputation, not to mention the constant touring. (He’s currently off in Europe with the previously mentioned Ellen Cox)
The album was recorded on days off, over a 6 month period, with Mark recording most of the parts himself. This is not so much a remarkable feat, but it impresses me all the same that an independent act can part time record an album and deliver something as professional and great sounding as this.
I have a firm belief that this record will sit in the end of year lists, probably along with Decade and if you got 5 minutes I suggest you go and have a listen via his Bandcamp. (and download the name-your-price previous efforts too!)
Check out this live recording from when he played Devizes last, which I’m very proud of because it came out so well for a simple line out desk recording. I hope to bring him back to The Lamb / Devizes / Wiltshire at some point this year too.
Sorry for slow and lack of updates, I have a week off, sorting myself out and hope to get a good few things organised and advertised! Remember to follow us on Twitter @Sheer_Music and Instagram /Sheer_Music. I am also in the laborious process of writing, in as much detail as possible, our history since we started in 2004. I hope it will be a fun read!
You’re probably aware of ArcTanGent festival? The first festival in the UK to dedicate its self to avant garde / challenging / leftfield music? Soooo mathy, even the festivals name is a big give away.
Well basically it’s my wet dream of a line up, and frankly if you’re the sort of person who likes good, honest music and boundary pushing, envelope smashing ideas, then, well it doesn’t come better than this.
Better still, I can offer everyone £10 off a ticket this year – going from £59 down to £49 by simply purchasing from my own ticket link >> http://www.etickets.to/buy/?e=9683 <<
We’ve recently had all manner of bands from the festival play this year, including Thought-Forms, Oxygen Thief and That Fucking Tank among others, AND I know how much this band mean to us locally, but Devil Sold His Soul are also playing. Neat.
Every person who buys a ticket will redeem £10 off me at the festival, simple. If you want more info, drop me a line – kieranmoore at hotmail.co.uk.
Ben Marwood has a new album out, and I love it – Here’s why.
It’s not because he comes from my family home town of Reading, or that we met through a mutual appreciation of the band Jetplane Landing, or that we took that “meet someone off the internet” risk, which panned out nicely, rather than a bloody and viscous death rape.
No, I love Ben, because from the first instant I heard his music, I believed in it.
Listening back to the first EP I heard, his second “Give Up“, I’m still struck that this songwriter, appears to be writing songs straight from my own heart. I literally felt like, YES! I’ve Felt Like THAT, or I Believe That! (and listening back now, and comparing with the new album, his voice has improved too)
His honesty, not only in his music, but when we spoke about stuff was always genuine, it was like meeting a musical kindred spirit.
It was exactly all that, that led me to invite Ben to perform on a bill with Small Town America‘s (STA) indie-Scot’s Fickle Public in Devizes. STA are a label run by the previously mentioned Jetplane Landing.
I loved how even in his early stages still, Ben had a dedicated fan base, who would travel long distances to watch him – one such fan, Jacqui Sadler, actually filmed his performance and gave me a copy. These days were my formative promotion days too, at only my 4th or 5th gig, I was already meeting all kinds of good and honest person, the kind of people that help foster and inspire my love for putting on live music.
To this end, I grabbed the first chance I could, to give Ben a significant support slot – Opening for personal favourite musician, Frank Turner. Frank was similar to me in a sense that I related to, or was inspired by his style, his words and his whole genuine approach.
Ben and Frank hit it off right away. A few more supports for me down the line, and they are firm friends. Frank actually wrote a song called PASS IT ALONG, in which he name checks Ben and states “Here’s to the ones, who have to take the stage,and sing the truth”. Frank clearly saw what I saw, and had a much better way of expressing it. I can only express it, by my love for that song and Ben’s own music.
Other people saw it too, and Ben has since got the title of nicest man in music, a thoroughly deserved one. The only reason Mr Grohl has the edge, is because his fans haven’t met Ben.
Fast forward a few years, and Ben’s on his 2nd full length. He’s played some amazing shows, toured some fantastic tours and seen some incredible sights. He’s been able to release music he believed in, bringing Barry Dolan AKA Oxygen Thief and Jim Lockey to my attention. Two further acts I’ve since fell in love with and given shows to.
His new album BACK DOWN, for me is some of his best and most important music, the culmination of nearly 9 years work – which has seen Ben perform over a dozen times for me in Devizes alone.
I don’t need to waste too much time telling you it’s an album really worth checking out. The sleeve notes did that within 30 seconds, stating that he canned the first batch of songs. Literally nothing short of brilliance made it through.
It comes in under 40 minutes too, another sure fire sign of quality. It flies past and you instantly hit play again. It has comedic moments and some dark bits, chucking in some glockenspiel and pedal steel guitar for giggles too. It’s the sound of someone having fun and making music, and frankly, It Rocks.
10/10. Sheer Music.
Here’s a nostalgic video of my first Lamb shows (The room has changed A LOT since!)
I love Ben Marwood. He played like my 3rd or 4th ever gig. I’ve given him so many shows it’s ridiculous, and I’ve watched him go from random forum bother-er, to shy international acoustic troubadour and he is still the same great guy I fell in love with.
Excellent, witty lyrics, which often make you wince or smile and an almost uncomfortable performance style renders him fucking genuine and cool.
His new album is due to drop through Xtra Mile again, one of my favourite indie’s – home to Chris TT, Jim Lockey, Frank Turner, Future Of The Left et al, and will be called BACK DOWN. I don’t yet know what the title means, I’m sure I’ll ask him at some point.
The album features 12 songs, which follows on rather nicely from his first album, Outside There’s a Curse. Only this time he feels more comfortable in his own skin, appears to have confident idea of who he is and what he sounds like. More of that american steel guitar, which sounds ace. A smattering of full band, but still the dark undertones. It’s just rad.
Check out this Ben Morse, directed video for single, UNDER LOCK & KEY, as an example…
You can pre-order the album, like I have >>HERE<< and catch him live at the album launch party at the Rising Sun Art’s Centre in Reading on Saturday May18th, with the excellent Oxygen Thief in support!
18 READING Rising Sun Arts Centre
1 LEICESTER Cookie Jar @ Crumblin’ Cookie
3 YORK The Black Swan
4 DUNDEE Cerberus Bar
5 EDINBURGH Pivo
7 CHELTENHAM Frog and Fiddle
8 BRISTOL Louisiana
Fingers crossed I’ll catch up with Harrison tomorrow, and place in his grubby mitts, 10 sampler CDs of all the upcoming shows we have at The Lamb in Devizes.
It’s 14 tracks of some seriously good, some seriously funny music – Most of the tracks are already available to download, free, from the internet, but I appreciate that not only takes time and interest to do so, and it would be difficult to search it all out, so I’ve done it for you, and whacked it all down in appearance order.
Some of this isn’t music made from local folk, though some of it is, most of it will no be familiar to you, but that is not a reason to ignore it – I’d had Frank Turner, Justin from The Vaccines and many more come to town and I’ve bust a gut to get people to come – it’s only until after these people are famous that not only do 1000’s of people claim to of been at the gig, but beg for me to get them back – like it’s that easy.
Simply put, you never know who is going to make it famous next, so make sure you have the scene points to say “I was genuinely there”
Here’s a video of Kunt & The Gang performing at Download Festival This Year. (he get’s a ridiculous reception!)
(Please note explicit content)
On a side note, we also have a new revolving banner – if you want your event, or place advertised, drop me an image 700×200 pixels, and I’ll drop it in!
Last Saturday, 9th June – Saw Ireland’s FIGHTING WITH WIRE swing through Swindon on their national UK tour. I haven’t seen Cahir, their guitarist and lead vocalist since his “other” band Jetplane Landing played their penultimate gig in Devizes before going on hiatus nearly 5 years ago!
Their sound engineer and tour manager Conor was an absolute gent too to work with – despite problematic sound and PA issues, he never once got frustrated. Believe it or not, this was actually my first time seeing the band – I’m preety sure I hadn’t seen them before… Possibly at one of the STA all dayers – but if so, I’m struggling to remember! (I might have been under the influence at the time mind…)
It was great to catch up with the band, they are real, genuine music people – each have stories and experiences of venues, other bands, promoters and what not on the national scene to talk about, and it’s always good for a gossip! I now know which bands to check out, and which to avoid 😉
I also managed to figure out I’ve seen Cahir now play either guitar or bass in 4 bands in total, Jetplane Landing, Lafaro, Seafood and FWW…
Anyway, log story short – the Swindon show was amazing, despite it’s PA problem, which was tracked back to an insert cable… Opener Oxygen Thief, who is opening for Frank Turner in Frome in August and played the Lamb month before last, was on top form as ever – A LOT of bands could take cues from this guy about being able to speak to a crowd, and confidently open an event. Again, class act – professional and a gentleman.
The Starkers, a new jangly indie band from Swindon were also superb. They grunged their set up to be in keeping with the event, but it did nothing to take away from their totally-different-to-every-other-indie-band-in-Swindon sound. more 80’s jangle than Libertine-isms. Promising stuff.
Mr Hello & His Honesty Club were just outstanding. I think most of the audience didn’t get it. If you like walls of noise, happen to own a Part Chimp CD and love a tongue in cheeck exercise through really pretentious territory, then you will not go far wrong with Mr Hello. I’d expand more, but you really need to go see them – they’re playing for Greenman Music and Swindon Shuffle in the coming months, so you have plenty of chance.
Fighting With Wire pulled a decent crowd – a bunch there to see Cahir to a certain extent – and they didn’t disappoint. Ruddy tight, accurate and powerful – their set impressed everyone, even the newbies that were dragged down from the Vic and paid the £7 entry were impressed. They’re really isn’t a band in the UK under 40 right now doing this late 80’s / 90’s Grunge. The fact that the biggest name in that genre, Nick Raskulinecz, produced their album is testament to their quality – when their album drops it could be a game changer for the band, and I really hope it is!
Wednesday 13th June – Furnace Mountain / Devizes Festival
Devizes festival kicked off with American, Appalachian folk band, Furnace Mountain last night, to spectacular effect – their acoustic brand of Americana was just spell binding – the duel female vocals were gorgeous, the mandolin and fiddle a sight to behold.
And the sound? The sound was song thing else – I don’t think I’ve managed to make that room as clear as that in the past 6 or 7 years I’ve been using it. The ground hum was still there, but it wasn’t prominent – but the band sounded amazing.
A technique I learnt at the 12 Bar in Swindon by Newton Faulkner was to have the volume down low – forcing the audience to be polite and take notice paid off.
With their acoustic nature too much pushing of the volume would of ruined the subtle nature of their sound – and it was with this in mind, and the advice and request of the band themselves and their tour manager to get the balance just right – it really was an aural delight, with every aspect of the band really clear and even.
I thoroughly enjoyed them, enjoyed engineering them, but was left gutted when my Blackberry decided not to save the video I took to share with you all, ah well… you win some…
Firstly! Well done to Fantasy Radio for launching today, I listened to the breakfast session with Phil Dawson, it was an excellent mix of music – and firmly put the nail in Heart FM’s coffin. Where else could you request They Might Be Giants, and get away with it? They also gave shout outs to 100’s of people – awwww, now that’s a personal touch Heart can’t match!
Secondly, Audrey Aroha from Seend came to Fantasy HQ on Monday and recorded a session, which will be aired on TOMORROWS instalment of Matthew Corbett & Friends, cuming (sic) in your ears between 7 and 10pm. The session will feature a wee interview with me, along with local music from local musicians – updates on all the musical goings on in Devizes – and there is a lot of them! Along with some chat about Films and some underground cool national music. What more could you want?!
There is also a lot more sessions to come, featuring The Souperstars, Clare Kearley, Pete Assirati and Jamie Coupe among others!
Thirdly, CHIP DADDY has announced a new show in Devizes on March 16th – check out the Facebook page for more info. I’m meeting Jamie tomorrow to go through his big ideas – those boys don’t do anything by half! It’s sure to be a spectacle.
Finally – Oxygen Thief’s UK tour with Mark McCabe comes through town on Wednesday night (7th March) it’s FREE entry, and will feature the very best in underground music. Oxygen Thief aka Barry Dolan, has a new MP3 to give away from his bandcamp on Monday 5th March. Mark McCabe spent time last year touring Europe with Chris T-T and Frank Turner, of which is some video footage below. Audrey Aroha plays slap bang in the middle of them. Ooh eeer!
PS – Still stuff in the pipeline regarding Hillworth Park, Devizes Festival Showcase, Chas And Dave, Tankus The Henge AND the Rowdeford Rocks event in July all to come – this is an exciting time to be in Devizes!!
Thursday 1st March – The Royal Park Cellars, Leeds
Friday 2nd March – The Garrett, Manchester
Saturday 3rd March – The Bright House, Birmingham
Sunday 4th March – The Mother’s Ruin, Bristol
Wednesday 7th March – The Lamb, Devizes – FREE ENTRY
Thursday 8th March – The Green Park Tavern, Bath
Friday 9th March – The Port Mahon, Oxford
Saturday 10th March –
Sunday 11th March – The Cornerhouse, Cambridge.
Some background information:
Barry and Mark met at a Lexapalooza, where Mark had played a great set that Barry missed due to having to park the car on the other side of Camden. Later that day they chatted, though Barry can’t remember a lot of it as he drank far too much.
A couple of years later they shared a stage in Brighton, which was lovely.
A year or so later still they were going to tour France together, until Mark had to have some emergency surgery on his guitar hand* which put paid to that idea. They did hang out in Paris together a bit though anyway, and possibly saw Jean Michel Roux looking at ready meals in the food section of the Champs Elysées M&S.
This will be the very last tour that Oxygen Thief does with his two lower wisdom teeth intact, before an operation to have them removed due to their growing at an almost perfect 90 degree angle to the rest of his teeth. Future tours will therefore be 50% less wise, let’s enjoy this while we can.”
Mark McCabe spent most of 2011 dashing around Europe, playing with Chris T-T (another act to hit The Lamb later this year) Frank Turner (another act to have played The Lamb in the past) and PJ Bon, who has nothing to do with The Lamb.
I am personally very excited about Oxygen Thief, as I have really got into his sound over the past few releases! There will also be a ultra cool tour poster to go with the tour, so keep an eye out for that. It’s also mooted there will be a free download + video to correspond with the tour – I’ll sure you’ll catch that on the Sheer Facebook page at some point too.
Oxygen Thief live in Manchester (I think)