Groovers on Manoeuvres

The rants and raves of a music fan in Swindon.

Spotlight on – Dead Royalties

10153990_596827327066350_1150367045_nIt seems very apt that in a week when every music publication worth its salt is reminiscing on the god-like legacy of Kurt Cobain, to feature a band who have picked up the grunge torch and refashioned it in their own image. After cutting his teeth in math-rockers Sailors and later Russian Blue, Alex Share’s considerable abilities to create infectious hook lines and riffs shows no sign of waning. Far from it and the proof of that can be found on their e.p. Hormones, which is released tomorrow via Secret Chord Records.

 

It is a collection of songs that are forged from the same head on clash of pop sensibility and primordial rock and roll urges that was at the heart of the grunge scene but if you think that the band are mere copyists or heading down a rose-tinted nostalgia trip, then think again.  Whilst the core sound may doff its cap to labels such as Sub-Pop, their earlier math-pop experimentations still linger around the periphery creating wonderful fine detail and throw away, one-time only musical tricks that most bands would feel the need to build a whole song around. So grunge it may be, but if so, it is grunge with a university education.

 

As a three-piece there is a wonderful economy to the band, no room for showboating and everyone required to earn their musical keep; no fuss, no frippery, just a band getting on with the job at hand.  And considering that most of the songs on the record sound like possible singles, especially Bring out Your Dead, Sex Sells and the song that got them their record deal, Drug Cartel, it is looking like the band have already set their own benchmark very high indeed.

Sounds Around Town: 10th – 16th April

1374371_626819517396714_494436571_nIf you type the letters S M E and L into Google the first thing that is returned as the most common search in the world is Smells Like Teen Spirit, a song that is just about 23 years old. Why do I bring this up? Well, it is twenty years ago since Kurt Cobain took his own life but still he is all around us. In many ways Nirvana, and the grunge scene it was part of, was the last musical style that seemed to really change the musical landscape. Like hip-hop, punk and rock’n’rock before it, the impact was immeasurable, but what have the last twenty years given us? Whilst great music has continued to be made, why haven’t we seen the radical changes in music that previous revolutionary movements would suggest?

 

If you are waiting for answers, I don’t really have them. Maybe it is the fact that music is so “on-demand” it’s like Christmas everyday and you can have whatever music you want, when you want it, largely for free. Maybe it’s time to fight back and make a scene, it all it’s meanings. Grunge, Hip-Hop, rave, baggy, punk all grew from small acorns, maybe it’s time to get behind live music again, storm the barricades of apathy and make something happen…maybe even in Swindon.  Still, enough of the rhetoric.

 

Starting out at Riffs Bar, tonight is one for the rock fans and All Ears Avow lead the musical charge. Having risen from the ashes of progressive metal maestros Mortdelamer but now with an eye on a snappier alt-rock delivery, the band elegantly blend the dexterity of their previous incarnation with the accessibility of the latter. Support comes from pop-punkers Highly Personal and

Cavalier, a band that with just a few shows under their belt are already sounding on a lot of the right peoples radars.

 

The Beehive will be hosting the dustbowl era Americana of The Open Secrets who will make you feel like you are sipping whisky in a bar in North Carolina with Ryan Adams jamming Carter Family tunes in the background. Reginald Road will be playing roots rock reggae at The Queens Tap and The Beaujacks come all the way over from Eindhoven to treat The Victoria to everything from Led Zeppelin to The Rolling Stones to ZZ Top.

 

Fans of psychedelic blues and highly charged R’n’B will want to be at The Rolleston on Friday for Snatch It Back and if a further reference point were needed the band features original Groundhogs drummer Ken Pustelnik so you will have some idea what to expect. At the Royal Oak, The Cover Addicts will be playing hits from the 50’s to the present day.

 

Out at Riffs Bar Acoustic Sessions Jenny Bracey and Sadie Fleming feature, though as usual any details of the show are a closely guarded secret so I suggest you contact the venue for further information.

 

What I can be a bit more certain about is the event that they have at the venue on the Saturday. In an effort to help fund a trip to Kenya for the Younite Outreach Project and continue it’s objective of helping improve the lives of those less fortunate, there is a fund raising show featuring British Harlem, a  wonderful blend of punk infused, quintessentially English indie with soulful transatlantic vibes. Also on the bill are Theo Altieri, Bianca Polizzi, The Primaveras, The Debuts and The Illustrations. Great music and a worthy cause.

 

More great original music is to be had at The Castle with the return of The Racket (pictured). Back out as a five piece, the band known for their uncompromising, last gang in town attitude, punked up indie cool and cocky live swagger will come as breath of….sweaty, cigarette fumed, booze soaked air.

 

The Victoria has a tribute to Texas groove-metallers Pantera and at The Rolleston The Dark Eyes “bridge the gap between rock and pop with originals and covers.” Their words not mine. More covers are to be had at The Woodlands Edge with Switch.

 

Sunday sees Ezio return to The Victoria a band that specialize in emotive, deep and meaningful music and lyrics that are honest and which will strike a chord (pardon the pun) with the audience.

Live and Local – 02 April 14

 

swindon105_5logo-300x186This we have an interview with The Shudders talking about their forthcoming album and an exclusive first play of one track from that album.

We have the Top Ten featuring Kate Bush. Music by Swindon or Swindon connected bands Credo, Andy Sears, James Daubney, Aural Candy and Zetan Spore.

 

Link Here

Spotlight on Mind Museum

onebloodlowres1Even thought they are a Bristol based outfit, through their working relationship with Swindon based Secret Chord Records, Mind Museum are slowly becoming part of the local circuit.  Couple this with the fact that the most common complaint I hear from the heavy rock fraternity around the town is that there is a severe lack of new, original bands being courted by our venues, it would seem that Mind Museum have arrived on our radars with fortuitous timing.

 

Although maybe not ticking enough boxes for the old school, classic rock die-hards, their eclectic blend of influences from Biffy Clyro, At The Drive In and Muse to less obvious, darker undercurrents of The Cure and Nirvana means that the resulting alt-rock creation is both retrospectively influenced and forward looking.

 

Their latest e.p. One Blood, becomes commercially available this week and it’s ten tracks are a real lesson in how to make music that is both heavy yet approachable, something that is too often missing in a genre that seems to revere speed and power over accessibility. It goes without saying that they have the heavy weaponry to hand when needs be but this is tempered by a bag of accessories that range from ear-worming riffs, gang choruses, a brilliant understanding of musical dynamic, not to mention killer songs. It is this musical arsenal that means that they whilst they are working in a genre with a fan base that favours the stroppy teenager, they continue to create music that is mature and has universal appeal.

 

It is a mix of post-punk sensibilities, grunge scene ethics and straighter, yet clever rock drives that has coalesced into a sound that will pave the way for the future of heavier music.

Sounds Around Town: 3rd – 9th April

1488783_10152289534731684_309147990_n….so then I said to my editor, “So what are you going to do, not edit out a whole 170 word introductory paragraph just because you don’t agree with it’s sentiment? As if! And anyone reading the previous paragraph will surely agree with me anyway. Right, enough controversy and on with the musical recommendations and there is lots on offer this week.

 

Songs of Praise at The Victoria, tonight, is a bit of a deconstructed, alt-pop, leftfield, difficult to describe…thingy, of a show. Vienna Ditto is a two-piece outfit that veer between mesmerising sci-fi blues and dance-rock riffs with added atmospheric and ambient electronica, a bit like Portishead writing a Tarantino soundtrack. Also on the bill are Super Squarecloud, purveyors of warped pop and strange adventures in time signatures, plus The Clementines a newish musical vehicle driven by a whole bunch of people who used to be called Crash and The (Bandi)Coots.

 

More dance vibes emanate from The Beehive when Zetan Spore land their mothership  to spread their cosmic message through the medium of Psy-trance music, an intoxicating blend of psychedelic dance, searing guitars, tribal breaks and a tsunami of energy and positivity.

 

There can’t be many people around that haven’t heard about Shaun Buswell’s Underground Orchestra Challenge, which saw him hire, rehearse and write the music for a full orchestra recruited from commuters on the underground. Before the show heads off to the Edinburgh Fringe you have a chance to experience his PowerPoint style presentation of the whole project at The Wyvern Theatre. You also get free entry into the Indisposition of David Philips which is showing directly afterwards as part of Madame Renard’s Mini Fringe Festival.

 

Friday brings in a couple of acoustic offerings, firstly at Riffs Bar where the sometimes floating, sometimes buoyant, but always impressive music of Rob Lear is sharing the night with the similarly joyous, spiritual and absorbing Real Raj. If you prefer to stay in the heart of town then The Regent’s Acoustic Circus will feature Jimmy Moore, Benji Clements and The Crown Jewels.

 

Elsewhere NewQuay Times bring low-slung Americana to The Queens Tap and Ode and The Bebops will be attempting to answer the age-old question “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose its Flavour on The Bedpost Overnight?” through the medium of audience participation skiffle at The Victoria. Louder options come in the shape of slick ska from The Nomarks at The Beehive and the masters of mayhem, riotous rhythm and boozy blues, The Hamsters From Hell will be laying waste to The Rolleston and it’s near vicinity.

 

If you are of the heavy rock and metal persuasion then there is only one place for you to be on Saturday as a host of bands line up for an all-dayer at Basement 73. Metal is the main order of the day with Malefice, Sleep Inertia, Harmony Disorder and many more satisfying the needs of the pure metalhead whilst some variation comes from the dark, post-punk of Strength in Blunders, the grungier edge of Burnthru and Boss Cloth, the cross genre blends of The Damned and The Dirty and impressive alt-rock of All Ears Avow.

Apart from that it is all slightly less boundary pushing with The Victoria hosting a tribute to AC/DC, The Ashford Road Club featuring the songs of Adele, The Great Nothing playing rock covers at The Queens Tap and Built For Comfort treating The Rolleston to some Chicago blues classics.

 

If you want to get out and get some fresh air on Sunday then a stroll to the bandstand in the Old Town Gardens will reward you with something a bit special. Skins and Strings (pictured) are a two-piece instrumental set up who mix the exotic sound of tabla drums with pastoral acoustic guitar, the perfect musical blend of orient and occident.

 

Similarly exotic sounds can be found at The Check Inn in Wroughton with the Latin infused, acoustic jazz of Gilmore’n’Jaz. If something more “in your face” as the youth of today might say, is required then the fired up, electric blues standards of The Lewis Creavan Band at The White Hart might be the answer.

 

Finally the musical week ends in perfect fashion at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday with another outing for Benji Clements whose skilful and soulful blends of groove-laden and funky standards and originals is a great way the to take your mind off of the midweek blues.

Songs of Praise Presents: Vienna Ditto, Super Squarecloud and The Clemintines.

59575_817453441614511_312049589_n“Songs of Praise at The Victoria, this Thursday, is a bit of a deconstructed, alt-pop, leftfield, difficult to describe…thingy, of a show. Vienna Ditto is a two-piece outfit that veer between mesmerising sci-fi blues and dance-rock riffs with added atmospheric and ambient electronica, a bit like Portishead writing a Tarantino soundtrack. Also on the bill are Super Squarecloud, purveyors of warped pop and strange adventures in time signatures, plus The Clementines a newish musical vehicle driven by a whole bunch of people who used to be called Crash and The (Bandi)Coots.”

 

 

event page here

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