Tag Archive: king in mirrors (the)


1513283_506512192781069_1956845908_nA week may be a long time in politics but 10 years is certainly a long time in gig promotion and that’s how long Songs of Praise has been going. Blimey! Conceived as a way to support and promote the local original scene it has, under a revolving door of visionaries, music snobs, geeks and fantasists become one of the corner stones of original music in Swindon. Tonight it is time to celebrate that fact with a showcase of great bands and party at the Victoria and you are all invited.

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12185145_10154363415624251_8963479377626763271_oCheck out a great review from arch music fan and blogger Dave Rose here

Also a great set of photo’s from the night courtesy of Paul Jellings here

10550149_579920588783850_7595782547218567099_oI would say that quality over quantity is the best way to describe this weeks offerings, either that or venues are being less than forward in advertising their musical wares, but let’s not get me started on that one again.

The first Thursday of the month at The Victoria is the spiritual home of Songs of Praise and ten years down the line and that night is still delivering the goods; original music for the more musically broad-minded amongst you and tonight those goods take the form of 3 very original alt-rock bands. If last decade’s alt-rock was defined by the frankly appalling Limp Bizkit or worse the corporate, grunge by numbers of Puddle of Mudd, then the current grassroots movement is more than redressing the balance and you can catch the best of them tonight.

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544560_586659531391273_2070667669_nAs time goes on music seems to get more and more compartmentalised, ever more exotic labels and terms seem to come into play to create demarcation between music styles. Now, I grew up musically in the 80’s and things were quite tribal then, in any given pub the mod would be glaring at the punk, the metaller would be chatting to the glam rocker out of solidarity, the new wave kids would be geeking over the forthcoming Bunnymen album and the two goths would be sipping cider and black in the shadows. That was a world that made some kind of sense to me. Recently I have had to struggle which such subgenres as Djent apparently not a village in Tunisia (recycled joke alert!) Math-core, Gyp-hop, Vedic Metal, Sadcore, and a host of other niche scenes. Where will it end?

 

One band that can be found in a very small genre, possibly its only inhabitants, are those glorious purveyors of Puzzle-pop…for want of a better description, Oui Legionniares, a soundclash of the best bits of pop, indie and punk reassembled in strange and intriguing ways. They can be found tonight at The Victoria sandwiched between shimmering, shoegazing vibes of Sahara Heights and headliners Yves equally exotic soundscapes.

 

Another wonderful fusion of styles can be found at The Beehive as Mambo Jambo weave together the distinctive sounds of bluegrass, Latin, Caribbean, New Orleans, Balkan, jazz, folk and more besides into a sunny and vibrant feast of music.

 

And in the “if you like that, you’ll like this” department, and staying at The Beehive for a moment, on Friday you will find Grubby Jack the renowned local fast folk trio who mix fiendish banjo with high velocity fiddle-breaks to deliver classic celtic and Appalachian styles.

 

Other options will suit rock fans but they will have to choose between the hard-rocking electric blues of The Lewis Creavan Band at The Rolleston or the classic metal showcase of Metalhead at The Victoria.

 

One of the most important bands of my formative years can be found at Level 3 on Saturday as The Men They Couldn’t Hang provide the headline act to celebrate Charred Hearts front man, Dermot Fullers 50th Birthday bash. This is a semi-private affair with entry by ticket only but how often do I get to talk about the outfit that made me want to join a band in this column? (Yes, they have a lot to answer for!)

 

Similarly raucous folk and roll can be found with celtic, cider punk, party animals Mick O’Toole in The Rolleston, think The Pogues meet The Clash and prepare to dance the night away. And talking of “the last gang in town” you can catch a tribute to them in the guise of Radio Clash at The Victoria.

 

 

So with the old punk posse well catered for we can cast our eyes out towards Riffs Bar and a bit of an old boys reunion. Blueprint’s heyday may have been around 15 years ago but that hasn’t stopped them dusting off the instruments and hitting the stage once more. Support comes from 80’s underground pop referencing The King In Mirrors and indie rock stalwarts Rocket Box.

 

Fans of slick, 70’s pop should head along to The Swiss Chalet as vocal duo Abbaholics relive the hits of…well, I’m sure you can work out where they are coming from.

 

Things get a bit quiet until Wednesday when you can catch two solo acts at The Roaring Donkey whose bands have played a major part in local music over the years, Neil Mercer (Rumour Shed, Dacoits, Seven Years on) and Dave Corrigan (good Things Happen In Bad Towns, Spacehopper.)

 

And to end on a real bang, at the same time Gnarwolves return to The Victoria courtesy of Sheer Music. Infectious, abrasive, sing-along punk at it’s finest. Support comes from the equally punchy Boxkite and opening the night is the more saccharine pop-punk of As The Sun Sleeps.

 

 

 

206225_10151457119876051_1566407449_nSo all of the big events of the summer are over. Wimbledon is now no more than a faint whiff of barley water and Glastonbury, which now seems to host every British citizen who owns a guitar, is just a talking point around the water cooler of insurance firms the length and breadth of the Home Counties. Even the World Cup is done and dusted and Brazilians everywhere are already denying it ever took place whilst assiduously avoiding buying German produce.  You have all watched the boxed set of Breaking Bad five times and it is least another month before shops start stocking up with their Christmas gift range, so what do we do now? Start going to local gigs again that’s what.

 

Unlike the acts at Glasto (ironic use of cringeworthy hipster slag) local gigs are good for the environment; the musical produce is locally sourced and puts money directly back into the local community. Plus you don’t risk the danger of having to watch Mumford and Sons!

 

What you can watch tonight, however, are three top acts at Songs of Praise at The Victoria. Headliner Theo Altieri does a neat line in indie-pop that channels a classic song writing tradition from early Beatles, through The Kinks, Paul Weller and is likely to soon be giving the Buggs and Sheerans of this world a run for their money.  Support comes from The Greasy Slicks best described as the soundtrack to a Bourbon soaked bar brawl, mixing slick and raucous blues grooves, authenticity and energy in equal measure. Opening the night are The Automanics a blend of warped swamp riffs, cosmic workouts, psychedelic interludes proggy structures and much more besides.

 

A stalwart of the acoustic music circuit is Ron Trueman Border who delivers instantly accessible songs with lyrical resonance and dexterous musical lines. He is at The Beehive.

 

The talking point for a few weeks now has been the final Tides of Change show at Level 3.  Over the past few years the band has developed into a cornerstone of the alt-rock scene and this show is to act as their swansong and wrap party all in one.  Also helping them to go out in style are the slick and forceful tones of All Ears Avow, elegant post-rock from Liberto Wolf and pop punk from Highly Personal who take the place of the previously billed Natures. Sounds like a top night for rock fans. Meanwhile upstairs at The Rolleston, Humdinger plays rock and pop covers.

 

Rock is also on the menu at The Victoria, this time of the drunken pub R’n’B variety with The Hamsters from Hell. Think Dr Feelgood after four-day bender. Think Kilburn and The High Roads stuck in traffic along Fleming Way. Actually don’t think, just drink, dance, fall over and join the party.

 

A rival party with a nautical theme…piratical even, takes place at The Beehive with the arrival of Calico Jack to these waters.  These festival favourites mix woe and wonderment, twisted tales, off kilter folk music, klezmer vibes, circus tomfoolery and general acoustic rowdiness. Not only great music but guaranteed to have you grinning from buccaneer to ear. (gedit?)

 

Saturday offers a couple of tributes. If you want to hear the music of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers then The Victoria is the place to be and head out to Riffs Bar if The Police are more your sort of thing. Going Underground at The Rolleston offer a range of post punk, ska and mod covers.

 

Winning the award for most air miles earned to get to a gig are The Very Most (pictured)who come all the way from Boise, Idaho to play The Victoria on Tuesday. A rich tapestry of post punk influences, the innocence of Belle and Sebastian and the lush Beach Boys vocal textures, this is a real must see band who probably won’t pass by this way again for a while. On tour with them is Glasgow’s The Yakuri Cable who mix synth-pop with indie guitar to wonderful effect. Opening the show is King in Mirrors who haven’t come very far at all.

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1482760_10152470476699251_1199696131_nGuess what folks? I’m back. Did you miss me? No? You fickle bunch, a new, younger writer comes along and you forget all about me, typical. I can’t say that I’m not hurt but will attempt to work through my pain by jumping straight into what is happening this week on the music front.

 

Of course the big event coming up is that evergreen explosion of music and good vibes that goes by the name of Riffstock. Yes, those lovely folks at Riffs Bar will be filling the bank holiday weekend with the best local talent beginning on Friday with the regular acoustic slot. It will be an open mic. session as usual but with some special guest slots from the hirsute Shaun Buswell, the blonde bombshell that is Bren Haze and other big names on the local acoustic scene.

 

Saturday is the start of two days of full band music, A Way With Words and Rocket Box cover the rockier end of the spectrum neatly, and there is shimmering lo-hi indie from Sahara Heights, pop-punk from Starlight City plus the classic ska and reggae sound of The Nomarks.

 

The following day again covers a lot of musical bases, from the pastoral acoustica of Rumour Shed and the harmonious Americana of The Shudders to the drum’n’bass punk of 2 Sick Monkeys stopping off at all points in between. Points as diverse as the mad scientist of indie-pop, Nudybronque,(pictured) high-octane ska from The Interceptors and the emotive psychedelia of Sister Morphine. The Monday afternoon is “Kiddstock” a kids and family day. There is a plethora of great music, more than I have room to cover here so check out their website for full details.

 

And if you decided not to join in the fun over at Riffs Bar then here are some other serving suggestions for you. Tonight punk fans will want to be at The Victoria for covers and originals with a first wave Brit-punk feel from Useless eaters and 50 Shades of Punk. If the idea of a psychobilly/R’n’B band is more your musical poison then The Beehive is the place to be to catch TNT, a band made up of ex-members of Screaming Lord Sutch and The Meteors as well as current members of Josie and The Outlaw.

 

Fans of tributes are in luck on Friday as Kins of Leon play the music of those pesky Followill siblings at The Victoria and Metalhead re-run the best bits of the metal and hard rock genre at The New Inn. If however you want something original then get yourselves to The Castle for some big riffing, infectious rock with 8 Minutes Later plus post punk informed Indie from King in Mirrors.

 

So what would happen if The Dixie Chicks and The Pogues joined forces? Well, visually it would look pretty weird but musically it would probably sound a lot like Flash Harry. These stalwarts of the Bristol scene liberally plunder the best bits of Celtic folk, new-country, blues-rock, Cajun and gypsy jazz to create outstanding and original songs. Catch them at The Rolleston. Stiff competition comes from The Beehive as The Eddy Allen Trio take an improvisational jam attitude and bend everything from folk to reggae, flamenco to rock, afro-beat, Celtic and a lot more to their will with stunning results.

 

Saturday, as is the norm, is mainly about tried and tested sounds, Peleton play covers from across the modern musical eras at The Victoria and The Rolleston plays host to Powerslaves, an Iron Maiden tribute no less. Original music can be found at The Regent in the guise of Ethemia, so if meaningful and optimistic lyrics, lush harmonies, exquisite guitar work and humorous rambling interludes are your thing, then that is the place to be.

 

SN Dubstation blend dub (naturally), reggae, hip-hop, pop and ska together into wonderful new shapes at The Victoria on Sunday whilst at the Beehive Charlie-Ann offers up some acoustic treats.

 

The final mention of the week is Louise Parker who is at Baker Street on Tuesday. Playing this show as a quartet, Louise has been lauded by critics (including the late great Humphrey Lyttleton…and if Humph’ says it’s good then you know it is) as the new, great voice in British jazz combining elements of funk, gospel and scat styles. Just what the jazz doctor ordered!

 

 

1622127_840966529263202_504818935_nWhat have the following acts got in common. Empire, Oliver Wilde, She Makes War, Black Hats, The James Warner Prophecy, Vienna Ditto, Cursor Major, Bridie Jackson and the Arbour…. Give up? Well, they are all bands that you could have seen at Songs of Praise for free that have gone on to achieve national radio play, tour with name bands or receive decent coverage in the music media. If you feel like you have missed out on some great music..and you did then you have the chance to make up for it by catching this show.

On tour from Idaho, The Very Most play Camera Obscure/Beach Boys inspired indie and are in the country touring towards the end of July.

Listen to Wond’ring 

Joining them for the full tour are Glasgow dream-poppers The Yakuri Cable who sound like this…

Listen to Adventures in 1986

And joining them for the Swindon show are our own King in Mirrors who anyone with any discerning tatse on the local scene must be aware of.

Listen to Little Voices

So if Indie, post punk or underground pop is your sort of thing then this time you can get ahead of the curve and catch these bands at a free gig, something that you won’t be able to do for long.

More Information here

1920350_537361226362832_615083738_nThe King in Mirrors should definitely win the “sticking to your guns” local music award. Long after many of their peers have either given up on music or have morphed into cover bands, Rich May is still creating sounds inspired by the bands that got him excited about music in the first place. And the result of resolutely sticking with the plan is that they have an e.p.  Little Voices, being released by Take A Nap Records even as we speak.

Just as with his last band, Baby Train, Rich knows what he wants the band to be about and the fickle hand of fashion and hipsterish “now-ness” is the last thing on his mind. That said, King in Mirrors is no nostalgic pastiche, no stuck in the past homage to his teenage record collection and although it is easy to see where his influences lie, Go-Betweens, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Cure, Orange Juice and all of that post-punk, underground pop, this is the sound of that scene not merely resurrected but moving forward into a bright and productive future.

Great pop hooks intertwine with an understated rock urgency and remind us that it is at the counterpoint of the two genres that some of the best music is made, mixing the credibility of the latter with the infectiousness and danceability of the former.

Pre-release teasers for the e.p. have been testing the market and I have to say that the title track alone easily lives up to their previous high point, Rolling in The Sun, hinting that Little Voices will be nothing short of an alt-pop master class brimming with groove and accessibility.