Tag Archive: super squarecloud


12279087_999483660093982_8296826872183162800_nTo quote the venerable Sir Noddy of Holder…”It’s Chriiiistmaaaas!” ‘Tis the season that conjures up so many wonderful images, clichés roasting on an open fire, TV adverts featuring useless dads, stressed mums and heart-tugging sentimentality set to a minor key rendered indie classic. It is the season that sees Barry from Human Resources on his yearly trip to the pub in his wacky matching tie and socks and his desire to show everyone else how to have a good time. But thankfully it is also a season when live music is in the ascent and very little of it is playing the seasonal card, thankfully. So with more to fit in than a (insert Christmas cliché here) it’s on with the snow….I mean show.

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12391422_1277525355607315_3290012622913158915_nThe last Songs of Praise show at The Victoria looks like this.  Wonky pop, angular indie, bearded drummers, drunken dancing and time signatures that require you to have at least 3 legs to dance to. And that is just the headliners. See you down the front for their final show in Old Town this year.

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1607111_577491689022522_3860118839849066474_nI will apologize in advance for the Shuffle-centric nature of this weeks scribbling but when over 40 music acts line up to play across 3 major venues and a host of additional bars, cafes and public places, it is inevitable that it will take up most of the space. So, The Swindon Shuffle is back for it’s ninth year and it seems only a blink of an eye that I was sat in the Winners Lounge (before it’s Legendary upgrade) on a Thursday night waiting for The Unforeseen to play the first ever slot. Tempus does indeed fugit! So, the first fringe events took place last night but as of today Shuffling begins in earnest.

The Victoria has long been one of the cornerstones of The Shuffle and so it is apt that we begin there. This session is one for those with a penchant for heavier music and is headlined by a band that have had a meteoric rise over the last year or so, A Way With Words. Other alt-rock acts on the bill include All Ears Avow and the dystopian vibes of Ghost of Machines. Between these you can catch the punk onslaught that is 2 Sick Monkeys and something with more of a blues spin from The Harlers.

Baila Coffee and Vinyl has always been a cool place to hang out during the day (where do you think I am writing this?) but now with the addition of a evening drinks license they have become part of Old Town nightlife with craft ales, a well selected wine cellar and quality spirits available and they join in the festival with sets from Matilda (minus drummer Emily who is probably doing headstands on a mountain in Outer Mongolia,) young, groove driven Indie from Polar Front and the captivating and heartfelt songs of Charlie Bath.

The Victoria second contribution comes on Friday, this time with a more eclectic and intriguing bill headed by the drifting ambience and trippy grooves of Colour The Atlas (pictured). Theo Altieri provides some effortlessly cool indie-pop and Super Squarecloud will be doing what ever it is they do – I’ve been writing about their mercurial, genre-hopping music and flagrant disregard for convention for 4 years now and I still haven’t found the adequate words! The early part of the night sees the welcome return of a couple of out-of-towners, Cursor Major who prove once and for all that kookiness is next to godliness and that blend of delicacy and dynamics that is Familiars.

Within easy shuffling distance of that (hence the name) is The Castle and their first session has a bit of a blues edge to it. Although main man Ian Doeser has long been a fixture of the Shuffle as a solo player this is, I believe, the first time that the full Hamsters From Hell have graced the event, so expect the usual sweary, tongue-in-cheek, bawdy humour set to an R’n’B backdrop. And if The Hamsters are a nod to the ghost of blues past, then The Greasy Slicks are very much about the ghost of blues future; slick, incendiary deliveries and killer riffs and acting as a sign post for where the genre is going. Also on the bill are Coasters, a punk vibe injected into Americana but whose songs trade Route 66 for the M4.

Elsewhere, The Locomotive, part of the Shuffle Fringe due to it’s outlying location in relation to the main focus of events, nevertheless plays a blinder by hosting Yves, one of the front runners of the new Indie crop of local bands and at The Rolleston you can catch Beatles tribute The Pre Fab Four.

On Saturday the music starts at midday at The Central Library where various acoustic acts including Neil Mercer and Stuart Marsh can be found playing throughout the afternoon.

Saturday also sees The Beehive, the only venue to have been involved in all nine years, get involved with a folk slant to their bill. Southern Harmony bring their wonderful blend of Celtic, English and Appalachian folk to the party and Ells and The Southern Wild throw in some darker folk vibes. Plummie Racket and Nick Felix will be adding a more singer-songwriter feeling to the evening.

Up the hill at The Castle, the younger set have their moment with Balloon Ascent’s accessible indie-folk creations, the shoegaze and post-punk referencing Sahara Heights building to a night of ska, reggae and infectious dance grooves from SN Dubstation, not a band that you want to miss, believe me. At The Locomotive, The Roughnecks will be blasting out their incendiary R’n”B and old-school rock and roll to entice and astound the Fleet Street crowd.

Non-Shuffle related gigs can also be found at The Victoria with Going Underground, Strictly Dan a tribute to Steely Dan at Riffs Bar, classic rock covers at The Rolleston from Bad Obsession and all your favourite songs from a new line-up Echo at The Swiss Chalet.

Sunday sees The Shuffle round off at its now traditional last day party at The Beehive. A string of solo players, Mel Hughes, Tamsin Quin and Steve Leigh get things underway before Bruce St. Bridges, the socially aware, psychedelic folk-pop of Mr Love and Justice and the sonic pick’n’mix of auralcandy move things up a gear. Last year The Shudders almost destroyed the venue with their final set of the festival and they have been given the task of attempting to do the same this year with another headline slot.

If you want something to help easy you out of the festival, the perfect gentle step back into normality comes at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday with those dapper jazz aficionados Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz.

4180_79993902739_2766341_nI have to start this column by way of an apology. Last week there was some confusion as I omitted to mention the actual venue for the Tom Hingley gig and it seemed to have suggested that it might have been taking place at a different location. I was alerted to this mistake early last Thursday when the distant, yet audible, clamour of keyboard warriors (none of whom actually went to the gig, presumably) rushing to be the first to comment online could be heard and a distant glow of their eyes lighting up made for an unusually bright morning. Obviously I apologise for any confusion caused, but here are a few phrases that might help next time. “Everybody makes mistakes,” “ It’s no good crying over spilt milk” and “It’s just a gig guide people, not a proposition from Socrates.”

 

Anyway, onwards and upwards. The Victoria begins a run of wonderful diversity tonight with a headline show from Delta Sleep. Complex layers of guitar driven melody, fluid and hypnotic bass lines, jazz tinged percussion and left field electronica are the order of the day. Support comes from two stalwarts of the local alt-rock scene, All Ears Avow and The Damned and The Dirty.

 

Have you ever looked up into the night sky and pondered that big question, are we alone in the universe? I would suggest that you are looking in the wrong place and that answers are more likely to be found in The Beehive as the Zetan Spore mother ship docks there tonight. Communicating through the medium of industrial strength psy-trance, euphoric, psychedelic waves of energy and trippy tribal beats – is this proof of alien life? Who cares, just dance.

 

The big one for Friday can be found at Level 3 as South West Indie Music present a fist full of young acts for your delectation. Sahara Heights have already made quite a name for themselves with their shimmering psychedelia and chiming shoegazey meanderings but this is a show that promises headline quality acts all night. Coco-esq skirt around similar territory but are anchored to a more conventional indie delivery and The Primeveras aim straight for underground pop cult status. Yves manage to harness that timeless alt-pop jangle that has fuelled everything from The Byrds to The Paisley Underground movement to current bands such as Desperate Journalist ad Field Mouse and they do it so well. Opening the night is Josh Wolfsohn who does a neat line in accessible and witty acoustic indie-pop.

 

The second Victoria offering of the week comes in the shape of Songs of Praise first ever, monthly Friday show. This step up to hopefully a wider platform sees the welcome return of puzzle-pop wizards Super Squarecloud who showcase some of their new material. They are joined by garage-electronica, post-punkers Candy Darling – if anyone is old enough to remember Suicide then you might want to check them out and the band name is an obvious reference to another seminal New York band. Opening the night are dream pop soundscapers Wasuremono. Indie rock covers are one the menu at The Rolleston with Vice Versa.

 

I make no bones about the fact that I prefer original bands to tributes, but I have made a few detours into their world in the past. Three of their ilk have left me nostalgic for my early musical education, The Dayglo Pirates (Jethro Tull,) Limehouse Lizzy (Thin Lizzy) and Saturday night’s headliners at The Victoria, Still Marillion. Not only do you get a set of Fish-era songs delivered to perfection, this show will also feature the complete Fugazi album, which I have just realised is about 6 weeks short of its 31th anniversary. Blimey, how to feel old. This is an absolute must for fans of not only the neo-progressive movement which spawned the band, but I urge all those with discerning taste to check it out.

 

High octane, electric blues doesn’t come much more authentic than Innes Sibun (pictured), not only a powerhouse guitarist with a great band behind him but a voice that seems to channel the heartache and anguish that blues was born from. Fans of Rory Gallagher in particular should make this Rolleston show.

 

In the “if you like that, you’ll like this” department multi-award winning mainstays of the British Blues scene Joel Fisk and Jon Amor (The Hoax) play a stripped back mix of their own songs and standards at The Beehive on Sunday Afternoon.

 

The week rounds off with be-hatted, Latin-jazz aficionados, Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.

1001847_10151555930943635_1223282823_nThere is no getting away from it; this week is all about The Swindon Shuffle. I won’t dwell on it in full, there has been a fair bit of coverage already in this august (and indeed August) publication and a quick search under the obvious terms will find all the details listed up on their website. But here is a very brief walk through (or Shuffle through I guess.)

 

Following last nights opening event at The Queens Tap, the focus tonight turns to Old Town which sees the regular Songs of Praise night at The Victoria become a temple to all things mercurial pop and alt-rock (Super Squarecloud, Dead Royalties and the return of SkyBurnsRed), whilst The Roaring Donkey is the haven for culture vultures, providing a mixture of intelligent acoustica (David Marx and Steve Leigh) and poetry readings. Also happing in the vicinity is some lovely Psytrance (tribal beats meets alien dance vibes) from Zetan Spore at The Beehive and Baila, that wonderful coffee house meets old school vinyl emporium is joining the fray with music provided by hand picked DJ’s. Artist might like to note that those awfully nice people at Cradle Contemporary will be running a Sketch Crawl; artists will be wandering the venues capturing the inspiration and the spirit of the night on paper for a future exhibition.

 

Friday not only stays around Old Town with The Ocelot curated Indie night at The Victoria (incorporating the now traditional Doza opening slot plus Nudybronque and British Harlem)), the first of two mellower nights at The Castle (Familiars, Wildest Dreams) and Riffs Bar’s wonderful acoustic night joins in the fun with an open mic. night and headline slots from The Black Feathers and The Cadbury Sisters, which is a coup in anyone’s book.)

 

Saturday is a tsunami of music. The big daytime session is to be found at The Rolleston from midday, courtesy of The Academy of Music and Sound who showcase their students’ talents before the rest of the afternoon and evening mixes all genres of music from the delicate tones of Charlie Bath to the wild musical machinations of Sea Mammal, the blues infused Armchair Committee and goes out with a bang courtesy of The Ak-Poets.

 

Through out the afternoon, The In-Store Sessions sees music in Billabong, Baila, That’s Entertainment and The Central Library.

 

An eclectic mix is also to be found at The Beehive that evening (Cartoon Heroes, Swindon Samba) and another chilled session at The Castle includes an acoustic Port Erin and Colour The Atlas.

 

Sunday has a family fun day at Riffs Bar, so take the kids along and mix music and shenanigans in equal measure whilst if you are in town The Beehive is the place to be as it plays host to the Shuffle wrap party. If you have made it this far, you may as well go out in style.

 

Right, that is The Shuffle well catered for lets look at non-Shuffle related options.

 

Riffs Bar on Thursday has a great little fundraiser for the Prospect Hospice that features the slightly funky indie of The Primaveras plus The Illustrations, a band who have evolved out of a warped acoustic bedroom duo into a sharp edged outfit that both channels the past and predicts the future. Also on the bill are Abi James and Brinliegh Gallagher. Great music, great cause.

 

The bottom corner of Commercial Road comes up trumps on Friday as The Rolleston plays host to Replica, which as the name suggests are pop and rock cover band, whilst downstairs at Level 3 you can catch Floydian Doors, the only band in existence paying tribute to Cambridge progressive and LA hedonistic psychedelic rock simultaneously. Saturday’s non-Shuffle events are a tribute to Rammstein at The Victoria and Indie and rock covers from Happy Accident at The Swiss Chalet.

 

As if to prove the power of musical networking whilst playing the Mostar Blues and Rock Festival in Bosnia, members of Innes Sibun’s Band found themselves playing alongside and befriending Texas old country/blues troubadour Keegan McInroe (pictured) to the effect that he will be playing at The White Hart in Wroughton on Sunday…not normally on the direct route back home but it’s great when these things happen.

 

Finally, at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday those acoustic classical meets Latin meets jazz maestro’s Gilmore and Jaz can be found enchanting the crown. Why not join them?

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.

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

Live and Local on 105.5fm

swindon105_5logo-300x186The PRS friendly version of this weeks show. Join Sean and Dave this week as we talk to Bill Cox from Artsite and have the mercurial sounds of George Wilding in session. Music from Drew Bryant, Headcount, Super Square Cloud and Louise Latham and all the usual banter and features.

Listen to the show here

1185071_656401631049473_470672266_nA New Year, a new start. Time to select a blank canvas and start sketching a fresh picture or more relevant to this column, pick up a new instrument and play a new tune. T.S. Elliot put it well when thinking of New Year and fresh starts when he so eloquently said,

 

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice”

 

But then on the same subject of celebrating the start of a new year, Paris Hilton slightly less eloquently said,

 

“ I get half a million just to show up at parties. My life is, like, really really fun”

 

Which to me says something about how society is spiraling out of control.

 

So, in this quieter time of the year there is room to stop and reflect on what you want from the local music scene this year. It has been a time of belt tightening and cut backs, musical austerity if you like but that is not to say that we can’t do something about that. Austerity is about money, supporting music…or any art form is not, it’s about cutting your coat according to your cloth as they say. If you can’t get gigs in the few venues left operating, put your own on in alternative locations, play cafes, basements, churches, parks, house parties or art spaces. You might even consider hitting the streets and busking! Old School. Music must find a way.This year is going to be about thinking outside the box as the music scene takes the time it needs to get back on it’s feet. But remember, wherever the gig takes place, it still needs to be supported, so lets have none of the old excuses. If you are feed up by music being represented by a twerking twerp like Ms Cyrus, Nickleback (probably the worst Pearl Jam tribute band in the world) or anything that is the product of a TV show, from X-Factor to Glee, then get involved with grass roots music, whilst there is something still to get involved with.

 

Right, it may be a quiet week, but there are still a few choice cuts to be dined on. At The Victoria tonight, Secret Chord Records have a showcase of just some of the acts that they have handpicked to work with throughout the coming year, so the quality control has been done for you. Headline are the band who’s recent album seems to be as popular in Japan and New York as it is in Swindon, Super Squarecloud (pictured). A wonderful alchemizing of skewed pop, mathy interludes, time signatures that have more to do with quantum physics than music, the result is some of the most original sounds you will hear in ages. Support comes from Bristolians, Armchair Committee a band who combine the howling blues riffs of the Jack White school of cool with monumental stoner riffs and a impressively joyous noise. Opening the night Faye Rogers delicate folk palette is very much the calm before the storm.

 

Friday is the night for acoustic music, The Victoria has  Pirate Joe, a wonderful collection of improvisation, looping effects, comedy and multi-instrumentation. Support comes from the brilliant Jimmy Moore, the enigmatic Zackie Chan plus local stalwarts Hiproute.

 

At Riff’s Bar the first of the new Acoustic Sessions kicks off with Darren Hodge, who I can find almost no information about on the internet and Adam Sweet who plays bluesy acoustic rock.

 

For something a bit more rock and roll, now re-patriated with the land of his birth, David Marx brings his AK-Poets back to The Rolleston, a riot of raucous riffs and manic melodies…not to be missed.

 

Saturday sees the welcome return of Iron Hearse to The Victoria, a wonderful mix of kick-ass rock, doom infused anthems and old school metal. Warming up the crowd for them are Hot Flex and a bag of suitable covers.

 

 

And finally The Rolleston features one of the youngest and most talented electric bluesmen on the circuit, Laurence Jones who takes influence from legends such as Albert Collins and Tony McPhee. This is a player who is keeping the genre alive and fresh and marching into the 21st Century.

 

So there we go, welcome to 2014.