Video :: Apologies, I Have None – ‘Clapton Pond’

Apologies, I Have None have a new record coming out really soon, and it’s shaping up really well. Having already released ’60 Miles’ earlier in the year, the London-based band have just debuted another new song. ‘Clapton Pond’ is a massive tune – which is totally indicative of the band’s previous work – and the video is an absolute masterpiece. Shot by Julian G. Harding and starring Sam Russo, it feels more like a short film than a music video and is deserving of all the praise it’s getting.

Apologies, I Have None head out on a short UK tour with Crazy Arm and Great Cynics on February 29th, and are playing a few dates with, acclaimed country singer/songwriter, Austin Lucas. Shortly after, the band will embark on the release tour for, debut album, London. This is followed by a few dates with Touche Amore and Pianos Become The Teeth.

  • White Rabbit, Plymouth – Feb 29th w/Austin Lucas
  • Croft, Bristol – March 1st w/Austin Lucas
  • The Hydrant, Brighton – March 2nd
  • Firebug, Leicester – March 3rd
  • Fighting Cocks, Kingston – March 4th
  • Karma Cafe, Norwich – March 5th
  • ManchFESTer II – Kraak Gallery, Manchester – March 17th w/Above Them, Sam Russo, Calvinball, Great Cynics + more!
  • The Central, Newcastle – March 18th
  • Santiagos, Leeeds – March 19th
  • The Flapper, Birmingham – March 20th
  • The Edge Of The Wedge, Portsmouth – March 21st
  • The Old Blue Last, London – March 22nd w/Sam Russo + ‘Special Guests’
  • Thekla, Bristol – March 26th w/Touche Amore + Pianos Become The Teeth
  • Sound Control, Manchester – March 27th w/Touche Amore + Pianos Become The Teeth
  • XOYO, London – March 28th w/Touche Amore + Pianos Become The Teeth

Gig Review :: Pressure Kids

“Pressure Kids” are a talented band of twenty-somethings hailing from the West Midlands who would like to introduce you to a world of guitar-laden pop and a happy-go-lucky attitude to the world of music.

Having solidified their line-up in 2011, they are now a strong, experienced 5 piece with a charismatic and professional female lead singer, giving the band an interesting dimension.

The band are currently working on an EP which they plan to release in late 2011 and are currently performing in their local music scene and beyond.

They have recently played a series of gigs, including their local ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition, in which they have reached the final. I went along to the heat gig and the semi-final and thought their performances on both occasions were incredible.

For the Semi Final, the band opened with a stripped down cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Love is a Losing Game”, with a spotlight on the lead singer and a single guitar accompaniment; a delightful and touching homage to the late soul singer with Pressure Kids’ frontwoman paying her respects perfectly with soulful and powerful reflections on Miss Winehouse’s sassy and haunting vocals. As this cover faded out, the band kicked into their own repertoire of tracks. With effervescent energy and a great rapport on stage, the band certainly engaged the audience where heads were bobbing, toes were tapping and plenty of people were dancing. Their sound is full and profound with hard-hitting percussion and edgy guitar riffs. The vocalist has a strong tone and has great control of her voice which compliments the intelligent and witty lyrics perfectly. The set ran smoothly and the band received a great reception from the crowd once their slot was over. The 5 accomplished and talented musicians gelled on stage and were a genuine pleasure to watch and listen to. There was no pretention or angst, but plenty of raw ability and star quality.

The reaction from the audience was extremely complimentary and excitable, with a general hubbub of interest in the band. Once the audience vote opened, a swarm of fans headed to place their votes for Pressure Kids who were, in my opinion, champions of the evening and thoroughly deserving of their place in the final!

A selection of the band’s songs include “Monster”, with a catchy-chorus and fun lyrics and their new track “Blinded”, which will undoubtedly be stuck in your head after listening to it (video of live performance below!). “Robots Break Hearts” is another great upbeat track whilst “We never really got on anyway” offers a slower, edgier take on ‘Pop’.

I recommend, no, I URGE you to head over to the band’s Facebook Page and show them some support. You can download their first EP for free and acquaint yourself with a fantastically talented and interesting unsigned band! You can find Pressure Kids at: www.facebook.com/pressurekids or www.youtube.com/user/pressurekidsmusic

[J]

Single Review :: Some Kind Of Leader – Changer

A new Welsh Indie outfit are ready for your ears.


Some Kind of Leader

Are there any more over used terms in modern music than “electro”, “indie” and “rock”. Save for the overtly peculiar and frankly self indulgent “eurodance” of Lady GaGa, these three loosely fitting genre types cling to bands like the saggy, frowning trousers of children’s entertainers or Party Clowns to the uneducated. Yet the latest Cardiff based group, Some Kind of Leader, have taken a bold step forward and branded themselves as the triple crown of vulgar mediocrity.


Hailing from the shiny Welsh metropolis of Cardiff, Some Kind of Leader are seeking to make their own mark on the music scene the same way as their national brethren Stereophonics and Catatonia have done before them. Currently unsigned, this aspiring four piece have set about the challenge of conquering a small piece of the overcrowded market with enjoyable, if a little shallow, music.

Their most recent single offering, “Changer” is a lethargic, mid tempo indie number that performs well as background music for any and all occasions. This should not be misconstrued necessarily as a bad thing, after all Dire Straits and The Eagles both started as entertainment, party/pub bands who were more there for dressing than performance.

Musically and professionally, “Changer” is sound, as is the performance of the confidently quiet members of the group. The lead vocals of Ali Price acts as a tame overlord to the cymbal heavy drumming of the wonderfully Welsh sounding Gareth Davies. It is his percussion partner Matt Blumberg who steals the show however as the constant heartbeat of the track and evident talent as a fret board master are given their due respect and time to shine on the track. Guitarist Leon Hartley also deserves more than a nod as his specifically Indie sounding strumming are capable and unnoticeable competence.

In all, “Changer” serves as a fairly bog standard introduction for yet another indie band trying desperately to make a mark and name for themselves. Regardless of scale of ambition, Some Kind of Leader have some hard work and endeavor ahead of them, a fact that they are no doubt aware of. A point of interest would be some of their other work, notably, “In Our Best Interests,” which acsts much better as a broader spectrum and representation of the group’s ability, ambition and musical direction.

Jonathan Whitelaw


Check out the band’s official website here: http://www.myspace.com/somekindofleader

Going Underground :: Laura Wilkie

“Folk music is learned by ear, its the only form to be learned like that”

As home to many fantastic upcoming acts in the past few months, it is a pleasure to introduce to you another aspiring talent. Laura Wilkie is the latest in a long line of fantastically educated, endlessly gifted and musically sound young violinists who play their trade in the folk and celtic scenes.


The folk and celtic scenes are both interwoven with each other. Their respective roots in traditional music can be dated back centuries when traditional songs and shanties were spread through local communities from word a mouth playing and ability, each of the singers, songwriters, performers and musicians adding their own flavour to the work they received. Thus it has been a constant part of British music since the early 19th century and is still thriving today.

With the advent of the digital age and the ease at which artists and musicians can promote their own unique takes on popular music, it would seem that folk music is about to transcend into a new golden age. As it was in its dawn, the popular method of conveying music has never been so easy, social networking and the invaluable addition of MySpace (My__ as it calls itself these days) making the folk artist more popular than ever.

So without any further ado it is with great pleasure that Going Underground can announce Laura Wilkie, a budding young Scottish violinist with a soothing temperament and level headed approach to an industry that can never be accused of such customs. Hailing from Tain in the far, far north of Scotland, Laura is first and foremost a violinist. Having grown up in a family where music was always important, the up and coming musician found it an almost uncontrollable passion that she could not help but pursue.

Like most who grow up in a rural community in the northern most tip of Scotland, folk music was a very strong and potent influence on her from a young age. With the performance bug biting early it was soon apparent that a life within the musical industry was going to be the way forward with the violin taking centre stage. Thus with her transition from the north to Glasgow’s seething cauldron of musical diversity and “talent” it was inevitable that she should find herself subject to popular demand.

After a chance meeting with then unknown folk artist Rachel Sermanni, the two struck up a fantastic working and personal relationship that has led to a mutual arrangement. Serving as co lead violinist (along with Siobahn Anderson) in the backing band of Sermanni, Laura has taken the transition from unknown to recognisable face within the community with a typically modest and refreshingly polite manner. With recent appearances at the hugely popular Celtic Connections crescendo in Glasgow and its subsequent broadcast on BBC 2 Scotland, it would seem that this talented young woman is on the very cusp of greatness.

Currently in the process of touring and recording new material, Laura Wilkie is a name in which any mainstream folk or celtic fans should watch out for. Once again M&B’s Going Underground has uncovered a hidden gem that is set to sky rocket in the not so distant future.

Jonathan Whitelaw


Laura regularly tours with Rachel Sermanni and her work can be found here: http://www.myspace.com/rachelsermanni

Advanced Single Review :: Tom Williams and The Boat – Get Older

The debut single from the debut album of Britain’s latest alt pop/rock champions prepares to sprout its wings and soar.


Tom Williams & The Boat

Capturing a violent and deeply malevolent sense of dread with indefatigable talent comes Tom Williams and The Boat’s first single from their upcoming album. “Get Older” is a track in which frustration and anger capture a country voice, indeed the sound of a love/hate relationship has never quite had its jugular torn out so violently.


Taking a much more numerous and now, sadly, overlooked approach to rock and alternative pop, Tom Williams and The Boat consists of a number of artists who contribute to the much bigger and overall huge sound of a band that is screaming for a chance. Having spent the last twelve months touring and receiving “critical” acclaim from the likes of Zane Lowe and other turgid spinners on the BBC, this band seem set for a major spike in popularity when their debut album Too Slow out on February 21st hits the general public.

As for the debut single from the album, “Get Older” is a stomping juggernaut of alternative rock. With the menacing vocals of Tom himself combined with a rapturous backing “orchestra”, the thumping drum beat of an unrelenting bass drum acts as a high octane pulse to this lament for lost love. The haunting acoustic guitars and fiddles ghost around the track, their spiritually lost sense of wonder acting as a fragile dance partner to Williams’ rasping vocals as the sad story of the play is acted out in a savage ballet.

In all as a debut, “Get Older” is as strong an effort as any rock and alternative pop act could produce in the current climate. Their popularity is established with various tours, festival dates and the aforementioned BBC radio treatment. It would seem that Tom Williams and The Boat have a prime opportunity on which to build themselves up and find a voice amongst the shouting.

Jonathan Whitelaw


The band’s debut album is released for download on February 21st, physical copies 28th February. More info can be found at their website: http://www.tomwilliamsandtheboat.co.uk/

Advanced Album Review :: A Clean Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen – A Clean Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen

Ex pat Craig Ward brings his Belgian influences to the mainstream for the first time in an experimental debut album.


ACKHK

A Clean Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen

Sighting experimental, progressive and rock as the three main genres of their music, A Clean Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen (ACKHK) are very much on the borderline between creative art and unadulterated noise. Catering very much to a niche market with their self titled and styled debut album, ACKHK could be the answer to the question you’ve been asking yourself.

Formed by Scotsman Craig Ward and Bootsie Butsenzeller, this trio made complete with Zahnoun Ben Younes on bass have been making some noise, no pun intended, on their respective circuits in Antwerp for a number of years. Finding kindred spirits in each other’s abilities and musical tastes, ACKHK was formed, the explosive and volatile experimental sound that is a signature of their work coming together nicely.

As debut albums go, A Clean Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen could be interpreted in one of two ways. Either it is seen as a rather stuttering start for a band seemingly trying to break into a mainstream audience beyond the borders of their native Belgium. Or conversely for those fans who are much more inclined to listen to improvised guitars, highly smashed synthesizers and just the faintest touch of a percussion section, it could be heralded as one of the greatest of all time.

With tracks such as “Farmers with Televisions”, “Priss” and “Safety Shot”, Ward and his band mates keep their cards close to their chest when inviting listeners into their world. Bemoaning lyrics poorly dubbed in behind the music and a permanently distorted sense of production are no doubt staples of the groups own sense of art and styling. However to the uneducated in the world of improvised and frankly ignorant members of the public and therefore those outside of the bands already established fan base, this comes across as arrogant at best.

Indeed the album and ACKHK are competent at what they do, it just seems confusing to the listeners as to what that is exactly. In regards to their attempt to spread to a wider audience, it is both a brave and perhaps misguided decision to have such an inwardly directed, self satisfying record as this in which to progress any further. To further confuse listeners, acts such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, KISS and Rush are cited as influences. Of course the adage that this music would not be made if punters did not listen to it can always be said and the best of luck in the future can be given to this currently unsigned act.

Jonathan Whitelaw


The band’s debut is released on the 21st of March 2011 via Jezus Factory Records: http://www.myspace.com/riefenstahl23, http://www.heavenhotel.be/jezusfactory/start.php?var=bands&BID=9

Album Review :: Brett Detar – Bird in the Tangle

Grab your stetson and lasso and let them wagons roll as Brett Detar takes us out into the wide blue yonder for some camp fire classics


Brett Detar

Bird in the Tangle © Brett Detar

Contrary to the less than profound and heart-warmingly cutesy-poo blurb above, Brett Detar’s Bird in the Tangle is not a saturated, Malborough Man oriented country album. Instead Detar’s obvious talents, and love for a genre that has often been at the butt end of jokes for its over romanticized notions, are lent more towards a deliciously sinister and vibrantly honest approach to country music.


With a career that is deceptively longer than his 32 years would suggest, Brett Detar’s musical journey has seen him helm and participate in a number of bands such as Pensive and Zao in the later half of the 1990s. It was not until he formed a side-project with fellow musicians Chad Alan, Joshua Fiedler, Neil Hebrank, and Jeremiah Momper forming The Juliana Theory that Detar would find stability in his musical direction. Touring and recording material for nine years up until 2006 with a spate of recent reunion shows having taken place in August of this year.

With this vast musical resume behind him, Detar now ventures into the solo artist world. Since the breakup of The Juliana Project, Detar amassed a number of songs from his every day dealings and with the financial backing and time ready to dedicate to such a project, Bird in the Tangle is the end result.

The album opens with a trio of vastly different and highly enjoyable country numbers; “Empty House on a Famous Hill,” “The Devil’s Gotta’ Earn,” and “It’s Only the Night” a hauntingly serene ode to the long gone, misty eyed past of the old west debauchery and lament. These opening tracks have a wonderfully gifted infusion of alternative country mixed with traditional slide and guitar techniques normally associated with this type of music. However, Detar’s lonesome vocals give a 21st century indie feel to the overall concept and subject matters.

“Coasts,” and “Cocaine Whiskey and Heroin” are much more upbeat, enjoyable ventures into Bluegrass and Americana anthems. The latter of which is a wonderful pseudo lament to the foibles of the human condition, a vague warning that the vices and enjoyment of dizzying highs can be all too much for one person to endure. It’s up tempo and toe tapping optimism however flashes a roguish wink to the listener and audience that it might not all be bad.

Closing the album are a trio of sinister sounding, raspingly vocal tracks shine as wonderful examples of Detar’s passion and raw musical ability leant to a 21st century twist on country music. “We’re Broken but we’ll Never Be Alone,” and the final track “This World aint got Nothing” are two microcosms of Detar’s sound and ambience the artist has created for himself and listeners.

Although this frankly realistic and post post modern take on a genre littered with self detaching clichés is refreshingly honest, Bird on the Tangle tends to let itself down a little on the originality front. Standing at an adventurous eleven tracks long there is a stark sense of repetition when it comes to both subject matter and delivery of tone, vocal and musical arrangement. The tracks “Empty House on a Famous Hill,” “Caged Bird” and “This World aint got Nothing,” all have the same slow, lethargic pace that feels all to familiar by the time the album closes. This is of course a staple of the Country and Americana genres but to be placed on a debut album does not entirely encourage listeners to pursue further avenues.

The album on a whole however is a very enjoyable and interesting twist on a scene that can be often overlooked as being a serious and inspiring collection of artists and work. Too often is the country genre associated with the rose tinted spectacles of Kenny Baker, Dolly Parton and Glen Campell, each with their crotch hugging, bra bursting rhinestone outfits and perfectly permed hair leering at us from the stage singing about dead dogs. Bird in the Tangle is a much more realistic, deeply brooding album filled with eclectic and indolent tracks that would be more at place amongst the dysentery riddled high plains. Indeed this is an album more suited to 2011’s “True Grit” audience than the 1969 version.

Jonathan Whitelaw


The album is available for a short period of time on free download via the official site. This is also home to all the usual tour, bio, discography and album sales information: http://www.brettdetar.com/

Going Underground :: Hans Island

It was inevitable. Sooner or later it was going to happen. I’m doing this weeks segment of Going Underground on an indie band, Hans Island. I know, shocking.

Apart from being named after the smallest of a section of three islands, you can tell from first listen that Hans Island clearly have a sound that could make a big impact. Though yes, it is ‘indie rock’, it is accessible and they all do have those weird boffy haircuts that so many of the kids these days seem to dig so much, there is definitely something special here – something that makes someone like myself want to write about them.



Despite all the mainstream factors, which by all means, if you enjoy, go ahead, the band have another side to the music. Its a rawness that almost borderlines on a grunge-esque sound, especially on songs such as Give Over and The Murphy Incident. The latter of the two tracks being highly reminiscent of the Foo Fighters in their earlier days.

I think the main thing that is interesting about Hans Island is that is difficult to put your finger on exactly where their niche lies. They seem to have been influenced by such an abundance of different genres, and unlike so many other bands, this is shown in such a transient way it feels almost as natural as morning wood.

The boys from the Hans get 4/5 brews. It’d be 5, but they are technically still a ‘indie’ band. I have my principles, damnit!



The band will be releasing their single You’ve Been Told on the 8th of November 2010. It will be available via iTunes, Amazon, Play.com, Tesco, 7digital, We7, Napster and some other places too.

You can find details on the album release party – where you can pick up a special limited edition copy of the single – here.

You can also listen to their debut EP on Facebook

Going Underground :: Doll & The Kicks

© Emma Stone Photography

“You’ll be hard pressed to find a better live band right now”

Going Underground has tended to be the realm of Mr. Critchley and local punk bands. Not that I have anything against either of them, but I’m here to broaden your musical palette with a band that are bound to have you dancing and singing along in no time…Doll & The Kicks.


Their unique sound and elaborate, high energy, performances have made the Brighton based foursome one of the must see bands of the past few years. Their unique brand of danceable, punk infused, pop has captured the attention of music lovers around the world, now they’re back gracing stages across the UK and Europe until the end of November.

Having missed the majority of their set in Manchester earlier this month, I caught them in Leeds on Monday and was, once again, blown away. I must’ve seen them live five times now, each show better than the last. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better live band right now.

These guys are bound for big things and rightly so. Be sure to catch them on one of the following dates:

Sneaky Pete’s – Edinburgh – Oct. 7th

The Classic Grand – Edinburgh – Oct. 8th

The Flapper – Birmingham – Oct. 9th

Hoxton Bar & Kitchen – London – Oct. 13th

The Kraken Wakes – Portsmouth – Oct. 14th

Louisiana – Bristol – Oct 15th

The band’s new double-A side single ‘Skeletons/The First Time’ was released on September 20th and it’s bloody brilliant! You can order a physical copy for some bonus track goodness, or download it on iTunes. For more songs, dates and to buy t-shirts and whatnot check out their MySpace page. Also be sure to check out Emma Stone’s other photos from the Leeds show here.

Ska & Pop-Punk Promo :: Fighting Evil is Cool!

Closing the record is Brain Salad, a zombie anthem with the chant “what do we want? we want brains, brains, brains.”


The thing with local bands is that there’s so many of them. Pretty much all are shit. But occasionally one of them, despite not ‘making it big’ or what-not, seem to stick together because they seem to just have so much fun. Half Man Half Biscuit spring to mind. Another one, is Fighting Evil is Cool!. It’s not just the fact that there’s cutesy four-chord riffs and a trumpet that makes you realise that here is a band not doing it because they want to be the next NME-cover fuck-wits, but that they’re doing it for the shits and giggles. And that’s something no review is ever gonna convey really, but we’ll try for the craic.

Quintet ska-punk outfit Fighting Evil is Cool! hail from Derby way. They sound like what The Sprites and The Zutons would if they co-wrote an album. There’s a trumpet, a kazoo gets brought in given half an opportunity, and there’s songs about hobos, satanists, zombies and giant monsters. I know of well established ska bands that don’t do what these guys do half as well. So what is it they do?

They’re a band you’d stumble upon playing a back-room in a pub and end up, ten pints later, £30 quid down and alot of skanking later, dancing with complete strangers thinking they’re your best mates. They’re a band you’d remember with fond memories a couple months down the line and go “yea, that was a wicked night”. They’re young and energetic and a little bit geeky.

So, highlights of the debut? Baron Nagant features the kazoo previously mentioned, has really fantastic progression and catchy hooks: it’s a sweetly made pop song. Dave gets a little bit more punky and Go On Get Wasted has gotta be up there in a dual with Titus Andronicus’ Theme From Cheers for the coveted title of Drinking Song of 2010. Closing the record is Brain Salad, a zombie anthem with the chant “what do we want? we want brains, brains, brains.”

Simply put: if you’re into ska and bouncy songs, check ’em out. You’ll find something you like. If they’re gigging in your area, go. I bet they’re wicked fun live.

MySpace | Facebook