Sounds Around Town : 19th – 25th April

27503378_1049985821809631_747397107544723842_o.jpgIt’s a controversial issue for sure and at the risk of sounding like one of these music snobs that you always hear about, I am going to raise the point anyway. You could consider covers and tributes as the mass entertainment of the live gigging circuit and original music as the way to ensure that things keep moving forward. Both are required. The former largely keeps venues and music pubs in business these days, the latter feeds into the wider music system and bigger, further flung venues to keep musical evolution a going concern. I only mention this because this week I have been unable to find many original gigs to fill this column and that does beg the question that without that input of new creativity what does the future look like? Is new music taking place outside the traditional live venue circuit? Are we locked into a rose-tinted era of comfort and familiarity? Where will new music come from if not the small, grassroots venues? Enough speculation, on to business.

Blues is on the menu at The Beehive tonight as Built For Comfort offer up the sound of traditional Chicago blues with a few detours through the Memphis and New Orleans scene, expect sultry guitars, organ flourishes (steady) and some solid grooving music. Also following a traditional route but this time down an English folk pathway Splat The Rat take rustic songs from the days of yore and update them for the modern audience at The Victoria.

The one totally original show I could find this week takes place at The Tuppenny and features the welcome return of Phil Cooper (pictured) as he promotes his most excellent and highly recommended new album Thoughts and Observations. He blends the likes of Crowded House and David Gray’s deft pop through his own enlightening songs. Also on the bill is Sarah C. Ryan and her own take on folk and roots infused guitar pop.

Friday sees two helpings of old-school rock for your enjoyment. Firstly at The Victoria Rorke’s Drift and Black Rose line up a set of iconic numbers from the halcyon days of the genre delivered with all the power and the glory of those original bands. Those of a less nervous disposition might wish to head over to The Swiss Chalet for a slice of The Chaos Brothers. They aim to “play the Three Chords of Freedom to an unsuspecting and largely uncaring world” but the reality is that they generally play punk, rock, glam and metal to a rowdy and drunken gathering.

If something smoother and more considered is required then The Soul Man at The Grove’s Company Inn is the gig for you, especially if the golden age of soul, Wilson Pickett, Sam Cooke, The Drifters and the like is your cup of honeyed sonic tea. The Ultimate Band bring the wide appeal of the function band and a diverse and infectious mix of music to The Queen’s Tap whilst Monkey Dolls at The Castle play songs which you probably know but are less likely to hear from your average cover band.

Nuttyness pay tribute to Camden Town’s finest skanking, 2-tone revivalists, Madness, at The Victoria on Saturday so expect a night of ska-pop fun and frolics and all the hits and iconic songs that you know and love. Also playing some groovesome and accessible tunes is Felix and the Funk who will be filling the Haydon Wick Club with all the iconic sonic moments from funk (natch) pop, soul, reggae, dance and disco. Rugs will be cut, wigs will be flipped and dance floors filled.

Funk and rock pair up at The Queen’s Tap as Patsy Gamble and Wishbone Ash’s Muddy Manninen mix up groove, blues, funk, rock and soul into covers and originals at The Queen’s Tap as they lead Hipkiss through their musical moves, Penfold break out the party tunes at The Castle and Stripped take things down a notch or two with acoustic renditions of all your favourites at The Manor.

The Coleview Community Centre starts two days of music with Locarno Beat’s 60’s hits package followed by Get Carter’s pop rock and indie covers on Sunday. Also on Sunday The Revolvers will be bringing a touch of ska to The Duke of Edinburgh.

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Sounds Around Town : 12th – 18th April

28424743_10155915861331226_1393889535826029831_o.jpgTonight is all about out of town friends returning to deliver some original and awesome music. Firstly at The Tuppenny there is a night of chilled, ambient and often otherworldly sounds from Moleville and TriAmi. The former is the side project of Familiars front man Steve Skinley and revolves around deft piano, lo-fi electronica and resonant, heart felt vocals, whilst the latter uses similar minimalist instrumentation to create hushed dreamscapes filled with sumptuous harmonies.

David Celia and Marla (pictured), have come a bit further, Canada and Germany respectively, and they make a very welcome return to The Beehive. Both are wonderfully accomplished singer-songwriters who wander such diverse routes as folk, country, pop and beguiling generic pathways of their own making, the shows are always a really special experience and should not be missed by any discerning music fan.

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Sounds Around Town : 5th – 11th April

iu.jpegThis week begins with a wonderful slice of emerging indie talent as Modern Age Music bring Dirty Orange (pictured) to The Castle. This London based trio play jolting, energetic and raw guitar anthems that sees them advancing the same sonic qualities that put Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes on the map. The night also sees a wealth of local talent lined up before them, GETRZ provide an array of euphoric, serrated-edged indie, The Harlers provide searing, blues-infused garage rock and Xadium bring an eclectic mesh of grunge, post-hardcore and funky-punk to tonight’s show.

If you are looking for something less testosterone driven and revelling more in the songs that you already know and love then The Queen’s Tap is the place and the sonic shenanigans of Toxic Girls is the soundtrack for the evening.

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Sounds Around Town : 29th March – 4th April

706278_10151048704753039_833851308_oThe big noise this week, quite literally in this case, has to be that it is Easter Bank Holiday which mean’s that it is time for this years VicFest. As always this celebration of local and regional, cutting edge original music takes place over four generically themed sessions and tonight The Victoria presents a wonderful array of young and happening Indie bands.

Getrz lead the charge with their brand of high octane and deftly delivered wide screen indie, Sweet Tooth head up from Bristol to deliver some eclectic and wonderfully soulful indie-pop and We Are Parkas are a trashy take on the Manchester sound. Opening the night is the sweet sound of The Basement Club.

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Sounds Around Town : 15th – 21st March

sweetchunks-band-800x450Thursday, as always, is the night for original music and one of the most interesting line-ups to have graced the parish in a while can be found at The Tuppenny. The Blunderbuss Press is a strange and quixotic duo who blend Old World alt-folk with New World quirky Americana and sing songs whose lyrics wouldn’t seem out of place on a Bonzo Dog Band album. Support comes from Cursor Major, a band whose accessible indie-pop meets post-punkery has graced Swindon as a full band in the past but who will be rendering their songs into more a manageable, stripped back form on this occasion. If you want wonky pop and the sort of indie music which isn’t checking its hair in the mirror every ten minutes, then this is the show for you.

Indie of a more fashionable form can be found at The Victoria as a whole host of local movers and shakers line up behind This Feeling’s club night. These nights are aimed at bringing the newest and most happening bands to a wider audience and before This Feeling resident DJ’s remind us of great music past, it is the turn of those bands seeking to join that list. The Sulks paint with a wide, almost neo-psychedelic, sonic palette whilst Shore and GETRZ both thread some deft post-punk references through forward thinking takes on widescreen indie.

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Sounds Around Town : 8th – 14th March

Ginger Wildheart albumMaybe not the best known band name in the music world, but to many The Wildhearts are simply rock and roll legends. Creating a sound which felt like The Beatles crashing head first into Metallica, they rocked harder and played harder than most and have often paid the price for their full throttle lifestyle. Front man Ginger (pictured)has led a varied musical life between and since the bands regular breaks, playing with the likes of Michael Monroe, guesting in place of Jason Ringenberg in The Scorchers and over a decades worth of albums under his own name.

Tonight he brings the musical fruits of his latest album, the country and folk inspired Ghost In The Tanglewood, to The Victoria. Today’s Ginger is more reflective than before and the songs deal with many of the challenges he has personally faced, though universally relatable ones, but you know that even with the foot off the pedal somewhat, Ginger is a brilliant and engaging live act.

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Sounds Around Town : 1st – 7th March

17884323_2000823670141482_4213892188950281230_nThere does seem to be a upswell of strangeness going on in town at the moment. Last week saw the marvellously unique, cinematic, drone infused art attacks of Stereocilia sneak into the parish for a small but well attended show and tonight those lovely chaps at Liquid Library, who have been responsible for some really artistically left field musical events over the last few months, bring more oddness to The Victoria.

Fort Boyard! promise much more than 90’s French endurance game show references, expect punkadelic improv and synth-dub experimentation. Support comes from the schizophrenic blends of sonic brutalism and anti-folk acoustica of Tremelo Ghosts and the fuzz drenched noise-scapes of Zero Gravity Tea Ceremony, who you have to love for the name alone. I know this isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of darjeeling but I think as lunatic fringes go, I’m glad that the town is getting weird around the edges again.

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