Monday, 18 March 2013

'Atom Bomb' - Book Thieves Single Release Video

I love bands who put out videos like this.

They've not sat there at home and waited until the big record label in the sky comes calling, they've actually put the effort in to not only record their tracks and get them out but spent time, lots of time doing a video.

Getting your mates down to a video shoot is one thing, orchestrating them into something reasonable is a difficult task.  Few bands and their friends record labels are capable of doing this, but the Book Thieves and Rebel Soul do this brilliantly.

Liverpool, in my opinion is the home of great music, the circuit is alive and well, the bands work hard, play hard, they are not afraid to go the whole hog and make their time playing music in a band their "BEST SHOT".

The Book Thieves are a band I've seen a few times, and whilst a lot of bands seem to hit a level they never move on from, these guys just keep getting better. They are rock of the harder variety, they have a lot of energy and don't let up.

The band are no doubt inspired by the lighter grunge style of Pearl Jam, Death Cab for Cutie, the Cornell bands and the Seattle music scene in general and they provide a great backdrop to the video.

Atom Bomb, is a  massive song, lots of power as you would expect from this band,  it easy to let a song like this get sloppy, but it's not, It's as tight as you like it, bang on the button.

The video is a walkabout affair, starting in a local street ending in a pub, the idea is good, as I said earlier getting mates to act out your videos is hard enough, getting them to do it well is almost impossible, but this is pretty close to perfect.   With the extras acting out lyrics as the camera walks by them in the street, and in the shops, it's a good idea on paper and in practice hits the mark with this reviewer.

Will Maitland - Vocals/ Guitar
Dave Sutton - Bass
Gaz Shaw - Guitar
Dan Marsh - Drums

Get onto this band, I love them,

Filmed and produced by Andrew AB. Released in association with Rebel Soul.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Hummingbirds

I love this photo of this band, they've been mentioned to me a few times on the timelines of the rich and famous social networking sites.

Without listening to the music, you can get a feeling of great music, harmonies and a knock 'em dead cheekiness that only comes around when the moon and certain star systems are aligned in a certain fashion.

So the music, which, and I say this to so many bands, is available to listen to IN FULL on their website, and the track i've picked out is "Emma".  The first thing you hear is Mumford and Sons, and to be honest I hate it when music journo's add in a known name band to relate to before actually reviewing the band in question.  The intro, hits you with (oh here we go again with another mumford and sons cover band) but then you are off on a diffierent and great individual track.

After great verse the bridge into the chorus gives it a lovely little kick into nice harmonies, the whole sound is very well recorded and I love it. It's quirky, It's upbeat, it makes me want to go and see this band live, it would be a blast, I KNOW IT WOULD.

I fully expect the bass player in the picture above to spin the bass as often as possible, it has to happen.  

This song would sit nice on main stream radio if the stations cared to stick their bonce over the huge signed acts being rammed down their throats by the corporate men of the big record companies.  I guarantee if this band stick at it they will keep on moving up the music tree.

Some other interesting tracks off their website, Back in Liverpool is a good sing along song for homecoming gigs, and The Ballad of Jon Doe stick out for me.  Some of the other songs hark too closely to the 50s/60s for me, and I think they should stick to modern style and feeling rather than hitting the old times like Bankrupt Blues.

I think they are worth their plaudits so far.

The Sundowners - Hummingbird (Single)

It's been a while, I've been away writing for various non-music related sites and media, and spending time building up my main company. However, I've got a few minutes, so thought I'd venture back onto my music blog, and do a few reviews of music that's passed through my facebook/twitter feeds over the past few months. 

The first of these is a Liverpool band called the The Sundowners.  I've seen this band play The Zanzibar on my travels, and just watching the video here, I figured it was time to put pen to paper (virtually).

A few people I know in the business have been 'bigging' these guys up, they are a 5 piece from the Wirral who play Americana style west coast rock.  I've seen a lot of quotes about the "next big thing" from Liverpool.

Fronted by singer acoustic guitar players, Niamh Rowe &  Fiona Skelly, this band live have a very solid infrastructure, backed up by electric guitars, bass and drums they push forward the big sound of Americana despite them mostly playing in Liverpool.

Hummingbird is a strong first single, produced by James & Ian Skelly from The Coral (I'm guessing some relationship with Fiona perhaps), it trundles along with a yellow-tone video reminiscent of the West Coast style.  It gives a happy feeling, when so many bands go for moody, these guys have gone for fun, when so many bands try to muddle through intricate solo's they've gone for simplicity, when so many bands are (still) trying to copy oasis and the beatles in Liverpool/Manchester, they've gone for New Acoustic Rock.

I like the funky intro, I'm a big fan of good melodies carried through songs, and this delivers, the look is good the hook is good.

I think this band are solid, but I don't think they are the finished product, this single, whilst being a cut above most unsigned bands around at the moment still needs to find that next step, that wow that will catapult them into the bigger venues and main stream music.  They are certainly capable of making it, and I look forward to their new releases over the next few months.


Friday, 2 September 2011

The Long Lost Band

The Long Lost Band : The Big Light Secret

I first spotted these guys when I was putting a festival together in early 2011, they came across as confident, in a folk style but without the traditional trappings.

I was searching for music that people in their masses don't normally get to hear, no dance, no 80s means that most radio stations in the UK won't play the music I was putting on.

That's a shame, because there is masses of music out there that people are missing en masse.  The musicianship around today is outstanding, the internet is in part responsible, people not only get to tutor themselves on the net, they can share their music there too, and that means in order to get anywhere you really have to be top drawer.

This album arrived in my inbox with the usual vigour from Stuart Anthony the Vocalist and Guitarist of the band, he is nothing but up front about his wantings!

Despite me being mad busy with my own music and writing, I really did want to review this album, but just never got the time, until now that is!

This album is a bit of a mix bag really, the start and the end are top class the rest a bit wishy washy from my point of view, the best thing about this band is that there are a couple of tracks here that really should be dancing into our ears from radio, TV  and online radio stations.

Survival and Play the Part in particular are quality items and songs I'll be listening to on my rotation regularly.

A great opening track, it has all the big band sound you expect from an acoustic rock outfit with the acoustic right up front, so many bands producers drop the acoustic right back as a rhythm instrument, but honestly, it is a front line instrument and MUST be used like that.  The song feels like its inspired by St Peppers Lonely Hearts Club songs but with a great modern twist and a pink floyd insert to boot.

A little quicker in pace and a different feeling genre this is more country in feel than the other tracks, it still keeps up the quality of the first track,   I love the low voice pitch used, so many people stay safe, but Stuart really likes to push the boat out and drop the pitch down to his low ranges!

A great spanish feel to the middle section picks the song up further  and creates a mystical sound, you are dragged away to a sunny place, a bar in the med, a place in the warm glow of the Med.

For My Sins
This is virging on anthemic rock, the electric guitar is a little to high in the mix for me, and the acoustic too far back, but the song is nice little number, travelling along well and building to a crescendo at the end of the chorus.


The Big Light Secret
Back in style with a master class of acoustic music,  with a rock edge, this song doesn't quite have the chorus of Survival or Refuge but lifts the album to a much heavier style, I'm thinking the drums could sound a lot bigger here and give this song a really massive feel.

The Hawk
Instrumentals, are great additions to album, I think sometimes bands play it too safe and need to open up, an intrumental often allows this to happen in a way that other songs can't.  They let you get to know the people in the band, and sometimes let you hum your own melody lines, a way of being in the band yourself!

This is a nice track and contains some great interludes to mull over, some smart atmospherics in the background by the electric guitars make this a quality track to relax to. 

A Tale Of Two Masters
I'm not sure about this track, it's good work, and a nice feeling but it doesn't really go anywhere for me.

There Is No Sun
 I think this is archetypal Long Lost Band, it's what they do best, they pick you up and take you somewhere else, the lyrics and the feeling of the song, absolutely fit with you and a sweeping feeling washes over you.  It take a hard day and offer's it to the devil, "take all my worries away cos I don't need them whilst i'm listening to this song" : A better mix all round on this track.

Play The Part
Again this is what the Long Lost Band do well, I think the songs on the album that are in this style stick out big time, they are all high quality, and right up my street, north america beckons for them, as this is a cracker, It feels a bit of Blind Melon & America all rolled into one, this could sit happily on any US rock station play list and I really could see myself driving down Route 66 with this on the radio. 

Stuart Anthony - Vocals, Guitar
Matt Appleton - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Oscar Armer - Bass
Greg Maddox - Drums/Percussion
For further information

Friday, 12 August 2011

Organising Festivals,

I really enjoy organising music festivals, i've done a few now, and this one is a fairly big one.  2 Stages and 20 bands over 2 days, takes some organising, myself and Tony have been working on this for a few months now, Southport Music Festival (Buskathon) in aid of Cancer Research UK

Leaving Tony to sort out the council & Police etc, (good luck with that ) I focus on getting the bands in for the day and the logistics of PA, backline, etc.  We also had to build a full 20ft stage, get hold of gazebos to cover gear and arrange access and car parking for the bands and contractors on site.

This is not so bad normally but for the fact the stages are smack in the middle of the town centre and access is a nightmare at the best of times.

This time instead of contacting bands directly, I opened it up on Facebook to any band wishing to get in touch. The response was excellent, especially off Liverpool Bands Facebook page and we were well over subscribed to start with, but, as with anything once the dates some bands dropped out, not many though I have to say.

It's always a bit of a mix bag of music when you do it this way, if I had just phoned bands up off my normal contact list, I would have :

a ) Got bands that suit my taste only really
b ) Probably picked the same bands as performed last time.

So this time I got email after email, bands i'd heard of but never seen and i've seen most in the North West, solo artists i'd never heard of, new bands that i've yet to see and even a band coming over from Manchester (Daystar) to support a GREAT CAUSE!

What struck me mostly was the sheer quality on offer, I didn't really pick the acts, they picked "themselves" and it looks like a very eclectic line up.

The first big hiccup was in May, the festival was all booked in only for it to be pulled by the council due to problems with the areas we are using, from a different festival the weekend before.  This now meant that all things booked, like PA and Bands needed to be re-arranged.  From my point of view that meant starting over again with the bands negotiating which day they can do, and also contracts with PA companies needed re-sorting.

The bands have been GREAT, they're all well up for this, and who wouldn't be, Southport is full of people on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and this concert is smack bang in the middle of town, you can't walk along lord street without seeing or hearing the bands this weekend.

Hopefully thousands will enjoy the day of music and more importantly lets hope thousands of pounds is raised for a GREAT CHARITY.

For a list of the bands giving their time for this event :


Saturday 13th August web

12:30 Evil Piccolo​ges/Evil-Piccolo/209505645​747171?sk=app_2405167945
13:30 Audio Asylum​ioasylumuk
14:30 Kahuna
15:30 Red Threads​threadsmusic
16:30 Day Star


12:00 Rob Gough​goughofficial
13:00 Just by Chance​m/
14:00 Ratty Little Fingers http://www.therattylittlef​
15:00 The53s​the53s
16:00 Kevin Critchley Outfit

Sunday 14th August
12:30 The High Vibes
13:30 The Trestles​trestles
14:30 THE VARANGIANS​angians
15:30 Dan Elson​elson
16:30 The Trinity Test​nitytest5

12:00 Miles and Rob
13:00 Side Show​ges/Side-Show/124151067635​360
14:00 Fag Ash Lil
15:00 Jackpot Golden Trio http://www.jackpotgoldenbo​
16:00 Slick Cupid​ickcupid

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Waterfront Treaddur Bay, Wales. - Vision Thing

I know I don't normally talk about my own band much on here, but i'm going to put that right, we recently had a trip out to Anglesey north Wales as part of our "Principalities that should be Countries and Other Annexed Territories Tour 2011".

The distance to the northern western reaches of the celtic nation means that I start the day driving myself in the opposite direction to meetup with the mini bus and some of the other members of the band and road crew (Roo).

The main problem with mini-bus tours and band gear is that what starts out as a large mini-bus with lots of seats soon turns into an overloaded store cupboard flying full pelt down the motorway, the image on the left is my view out the back and on the right my view out the front.

A view which for the most part mainly consisted of the rear arse of caravans.

It took about 2 1/2 hours to get out to Amlwch our base for the night at The Waterfront, after an expensive Chip shop stop in Conwy (£5.50 for Pie, Chips and Beans would have made a wiganner's heart fail) we arrived and converged with Dave and Matt who made their own way at the accomodation.

The house perched on the top of a hill at this pretty little coastal spot  is owned by a band members company and we were very lucky to get free accommodation for the duration.

"Oh no, i've told the agency a thousands times to spell the band name right".  A spinal tap moment, for us, although it was created by us, so I guess it's not quite the same.  

The accommodation was great, however, within minutes there was talk of a wander down to the shoreline and photo opportunities, we were assured by our trumpet player that it was literally minutes away, and very safe.

Within minutes we realised it was unsafe and much further than that. Either way, we took advantage of the moment to create this nice shot below.....

Thankfully, unlike Spinal Tap, the drummer didn't exeprience any fatalities and we all arrived back at the house intact, if a little knackered.

In the afternoon we even had time for a impromptu jam, whilst Si the Bass was sleeping soundly, the jam ended up in Si's bedroom and he no longer was sleeping soundly.

Once we've freshened up we made the 30 minute journey out to Treaddur Bay the venue for tonights gig.  The Waterfront is a lovely white pub in a most beautiful spot, the waves crash within 20 ft of the stage,  a venue location to die for, worth travelling behind caravans for 2 hours easy.

The night was champions league final night and the big screen was at the back of the stage, so it was.... 
drag the kit in before the match ....
watch the first half set up in the half time break  and then as soon as the game finished it was straight into our first set........

No time for sound check as we were on a mammoth 20 song, 90 minute set with a 15 minute break in between. 

It took a great start too, Micah trumpeting with the celebrations of the spanish fans in the audience, which did seem out of proportion with the fact we were in Wales.

Nonetheless, our first set went well, apart from someone coming up and asking did we know "Maggie May" which was a bit left field, as an originals band who only play 1 cover the answer was a resounding NO. Thankfully this didn't dampen us as the on stage sound was very warm and powerful indeed.

At the break people were onto us, it's very strange when you play a place with no friends in the audience you really have no idea what the reaction will be.  In the most part people were interested but a few specifically made a beline for us whilst we were cooling off and massaged our egos with superlatives we rarely get chance to hear from strangers, we even invited a few up later in the night to have a sing with us.

The second set started with a slide song "Static" we've never played live before, it felt good to give it an airing, it's always important to play album songs live at least once.  You never know what kind of reaction they will get but fun to have them played, to me it almost feels like a waste if you don't get them out there at least once.

Our set went from strength to strength and people started dancing, not just anyone, pretty much everyone in the pub by the time we got to 'Sobriety', at this point I remembered offering a sing song for some folks from the audience at the break, so Pete olbiged and offered, a few bottled out but one girl took the mantle on and Pete ran quickly through the chorus, which is pretty much just  "da da da da"

Anyhow, she was singing, people where dancing and she enjoyed it, everyone in the room was made up for the lass although her microphone did sound a bit out of tune, but that couldn't be helped.

We finished with Domino days with the audience right on us and wanting more, now normally, we have to say thanks but no thanks when encores come about, we just never thought we would get any and always shied away.  

Well NOT ANYMORE we got our instruments back on and stepped up to Beautiful Day by the Levellers, everyone was dancing everyone was singing and the night faded away into a haze.

As I drove back (designated driver), the minibus was awash with singalongs and alcohol flowing with a 3am finish on the cards and sore heads the next morning. A great trip and thanks to Martin for putting us on, lets hope we can get back there asap.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Publishers want bigger cut from downloads

Publishing companies and record labels have braced themselves for an onslaught of expensive court cases to determine how royalties are treated and calculated in the digital age.

The industry’s apprehension comes as Rob Zombie and White Zombie, Whitesnake and Dave Mason have launched a series of class-action lawsuits against Universal Music in the US arguing their contracts have erroneously counted digital downloads as sales.

The rock acts argue Universal should have specified any digital activity as licensing agreements, which would attach a significantly higher royalty payment.

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