Going Underground :: Leagues Apart

“What happened to the scene? We lost it in the pages of the NME!”

Ian thought he’d banished me from this domain for good, but he was wrong. With Mr. Critchley in Spain, I’ve stepped in to let you know about another amazing UK punk band. They’re a band I’ve seen many times, and they to never fail to impress. Manchester’s least famous (but most loved) sons, Leagues Apart.


It’s hard to believe that these guys only started playing shows this time last year (almost), but with a year of experience under their collective belts they’ve gone from strength to strength. Their brand of fast paced, grufty punk is just what you need on a night out; there’s no way you won’t want to drink a beer once you’ve listened to these guys play. Jawbreaker, The Lawrence Arms, Dillinger Four and other bands of that ilk have obviously been a big influence on the band’s sound, but it’s far from derivative.

Their debut album To Anywhere was released earlier this year to rave reviews, and rightly so! It’s one of my favorite albums of 2010, that’s for sure. The guys are currently on tour in the UK with The Menzingers and were bound to impress any first timers in Manchester on Monday night. They’ve got two more dates on that tour before The Menzingers ship out, but it definitely won’t be your last chance to see them, that’s for sure:

  • 19th Nov. – The Portland, Cambridge w/The Menzingers
  • 20th Nov. – The Old Blue Last, London w/The Menzingers

Of course, if you’re from Manchester you’re probably quite familiar with these four already. I don’t really know if they need my promotion, because at least one of them seems to be at every gig ever. They must be raking it in! If they’re not playing they’ll be helping form human pyramids, crowd surfing or pinning someone to the ceiling. It’s always a party when these guys are about. If you haven’t managed to catch them this time around, keep a look out. Leagues Apart is a band you don’t want to miss.




Check out their official website
Listen to them on MySpace
Download To Anywhere on iTunes

News :: Blink-182 To Tour UK In 2011

“It’d be nice…”

XFM have announced that, premiere pop-punker’s, Blink-182 will play a number of arena dates across the UK next Summer. Will they have a new album by then, who knows? Either way the band will be playing, at least, five UK dates. Something that’s sure to excite fans, yours truly included.

  • July
    • 08 – Manchester MEN Arena
    • 12 – Newcastle Arena
    • 13 – Nottingham Arena
    • 15 – Birmingham LG Arena
    • 18 – London 02 Arena

Tickets go on sale on November 26th

Video :: Dicking Around In London (Featuring: Ben Marwood, Abi Thommes, The Leano, Kill Chaos, Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun And Chris T-T & The Hoodrats)

“I thought we were getting underground tickets, not waiting for the Pepsi Max”

After the success (maybe?) of Dicking Around in Southsea, we’re back to bring you some more music from another city. Dicking Around in London was filmed on October 9th in and around Lexapalooza – an all day gig in aid of Breast Cancer Campaign – and features the likes of Ben Marwood and Chris T-T. There’s even a cameo from Jamie Lenman (formerly of Reuben)!

We’re going to cut the performance videos out and release them separately for your viewing/listening pleasure. That’s right, the video looks and sounds great this time. Awesome! Check it out below.



We’d like to thank Evan and everyone on the crew for organizing the event, Frank Turner for letting us know about it, all of the bands for being apart of it and the people of London for putting up with us.

3 Tracks Giving Electronic Music A, Much-Needed, Kick Up The Arse.

No, this isn’t one of those “what’s happened to music? I remember when Jimi Hendrix…” posts.

One of those that complain about the state of modern music, the lack of culture and integrity contained within said music, and a general bitch about how artists like Tempa “TEEMPPPZZZZ!” T and that Bap Bap Americano or whatever it was tune can defecate all over the much-needed artists that seem so rare these days. Actually, it sort of is. Hopefully the last few lines made you laugh so my hypocrisy doesn’t seem so well-deserved.


1) Magnetic Man ft. Katy B – Perfect Stranger

Okay, it’s not massively influential. It uses the Amen break (if you’ve so much as watched Never Mind The Buzzcocks you’ve heard the Amen break, let alone have an active interest in Drum N Bass,) the synths could probably be replicated on a Fisher-Price toy and Katy B is, well…a bit whiny. Sorry. Regardless, the whole point in Magnetic Man is that Skream, Benga and Artwork can play this track, along with the entire album, live. It’s radio friendly, it’s soulful, and you don’t have to pretend you like it because your student mates do and they went to the BangFace Weekender this year instead of Reading or Leeds so they know more about this than you do. Kick back, brock out, don’t feel like a bell end in the process. Win.

2) Stan SB – Tears In Rain

Your tolerance of Pendulum/Owl City style vocals will probably make or break this track for you, but Stan SB, at just 17 years old, has created one of the most beautiful DnB tracks ever written. I want to throw adjectives like Soaring, Euphoric, Unifying etc at you, but the track itself doesn’t require sentences, so it’s better just to say them again. You just listen to it and stare wide-eyed at each other whilst images of things like Oceans and Jetstreams and Aurora Boryalis and Super-Fast Jet Planes flick through your mind.

Stan SB is a 17-year-old producer from Leeds (of all places, the town that gave us Chumbawumba) and represents one thing – a change in tide. His tracks are soul food, the diamond in the sand that defies the odds.

3) Noisia – Machine Gun (16-Bit Remix)

Point one – if you call this “Thugstep” or any other sub-genre-of-a-sub-genre-of-a-sub-genre name, I will hate you forever. That said, it’s pretty ridiculously hard. Harder than the original infact, and for a group that prides themselves on being excessively hard and loud, the hard and loudness, or houdness (as I like to call it) really excels.

I have never been a fan of Dubstep, barring some of the chilled stuff. It sorta bores me – I’ve been to plenty of nights where by the end, I was actually praying someone would just play Dance Wiv Me so there was actually something we could all jump around like a bunch of cretinous teenagers at their first punk-rock gig. Personal preference I’d imagine, but what I can see in 16-Bit is this – I’d go fucking nuts to this. It’s violent, it’s groovy as hell, it’s downright terrifying and it hurts your ears. And your dignity. And the person dancing next to you because you just nutted him in the face by accident. But he understands. He understands.

Canada, Eh? :: TV Heart Attack

Canada, Eh?

In conjunction with the fine folks at Unrated Music, I bring you a new weekly feature; designed to deliver unto you some undiscovered audio delights from the land of Mounties and maple syrup. Up first are, Vancouver-based indie rockers, TV Heart Attack.


According to, frontman, Jason Corbett “some things are best left unexplained”, the story behind these guys’ debut record is not one of them. If it wasn’t for insurance money, TV Heart Attack might not be where they are today. An accident that claimed Jason’s guitar was the starting point to their road to success.
After independently releasing their self titled debut, the band have gone from strength to strength: They’ve gotten tons of airplay, toured Canada relentlessly, had a few TV appearances and played festivals alongside some of the biggest names in indie rock. They seem to be having a great time doing it too.
It’s clear to me that bands like Joy Division and others of that ilk have inspired these guys no end. TV Heart Attack are definitely a band that embrace their influences, but abstain from the path of rehashing what’s gone before. With a sound not too dissimilar to that of The Killers or Franz Ferdinand, I see no reason why these guys won’t make it big. They’re clearly talented enough, but dedication is key. Keep an eye out for TV Heart Attack. They might not really be my cup of tea, but I predict big things.


You can find these guys on their official website and on MySpace. Be sure to check them out!

Going Underground :: Apologies, I Have None

Finally back to good fucking punk rock.

The past month(ish) of Going Underground have been a variety of different genre’s from indie rock to piano pop. Thankfully, this week, I’m going back to roots and kicking it with some awesome punk stylings. This weeks Going Underground is all about Apologies, I Have None.


I think the first time I ever saw Apologies was at the Southsea fest (check out the video!), but I could have possibly watched them before. I drink a lot, and remember very little. All I know is the first time I saw the Southern four piece I was so invigorated by their hard hitting huge (Triple ‘H’) sound I had to take a trip to the men’s room to relieve myself.

The funny thing about this band is that the bands bassist, I’m pretty sure, is American, or sounds a fuck load like it. This, in contrast with three totally cockney accents and some silver tongue action, makes for some entertaining on-stage banter. Plus the American guy always wears a little bandanna which to me, is hilarious, sorry PJ.

Their sound has similarities to Against Me! in their early days, semi-distorted big open chords and shout a long vocal melodies. On record, the atmosphere of Apologies live show is not even close to lost. It’s just as upbeat and I’m sure anyone listening to this band on the bus, or “tube” as these lads most likely travel on, will look like a total twat when they smash their fist into the air with the meatiest grin brimming from ear to ear.

Apologies, I Have None are a band. I would recommend them. Even more so if you like music.

4/5 brews, though as the weeks go on, this rating system seems more and more pointless.


In a follow up article I’m going to put up all of the tour dates of the band’s upcoming tour with Crazy Arm. There are a few dates before that, and an abundance of songs, on their MySpace.

You can also “like” the band on Facebook, and buy their music on iTunes.

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 :: Yashin

For this weeks going Underground I decided to do something of a more comical nature. Enjoy!

I’ve decided to write about the band Yashin. A band with a name which is as fucking stupid and crap as their music. This edition has been pretty much lifted from my personal blog, specifically from a post I wrote about the Vans: Slam Dunk Music Night, which took place this past Saturday (23/10/10).

“There’s two rooms, a punk one and a “scene metal” bullshit room. Which would you choose? I chose the shit one. It was fucking hilarious.

A band called Yashin. Total joke. Bunch of skinny jeans wearing, late twenty something arseholes, with more hair products than Tres-Emmé. These beautiful perms that would look perfect on the cover of Vogue. But fuck that! We can have great hair and still be in a tough guy hardcore band. Score!

So this pansy six piece execute their clearly choreographed bullshit while the loyal audience of 14 year old girls finger themselves relentlessly with every fringe flick and low grunty “OH.” I loved it. Better than any “Live at the Apollo” stand up I’ve ever seen.” So if you haven’t had the utter pleasure of hearing, watching and just being part of the incredible musical ineptitude of these fine young gentleman, please do. It will easily relieve any form of depression you may be suffering.

You can listen to them on their MySpace with such hits like ‘Jump The Fuck Up Manchester’ and ‘America Island, Scotland,’ probably. But don’t blame me if you feel like you’ve wasted a small segment of your life that you’ll never get back. Honestly, when will people stop taking a genre called “Screamo” serious? Really? Screamo? What ever floats your boat I guess.

Yashin get 5/5 brews for being that shit.

Album Review :: Robert Plant – Band of Joy

Veteran rocker and hell-raiser Robert Plant takes a different route and seeks to re-invent himself once more time.


band of joy

Robert Plant - Band of Joy © Decca/Universal Music

“Its not to hard to figure out, you see it everyday/And those that were farthest out have gone the other way.” The less than immortal words of Huey Lewis and The News’ 1986, “Hip to be Square”. Although perhaps a little more recognised as an established artist and influential figure on music than Huey, this lyric no matter perfectly describes the latest offering from Robert Plant. Arriving with the frankly hard to believe ninth solo album since 1982, the once Golden God delivers Band of Joy, a tribute to his band before joining Led Zeppelin. The rest is history of course.

Seeking to capitalise on his vastly popular and Grammy Award winning Pushing Sand with Alison Krause, Plant seeks to further himself from the harder rock and roll edge that has made him a household name and forever the envy of many teenage boys and girls for generations to come. Band of Joy however is far from a conventional rock album, its description more aptly described as folk and bluegrass. Certain buzz words such as “alternative” and “fringe” have also been notably present in general reviews and commentaries on the album, all desperately seeking to tag and brand the work of a man who is progressing through his life into his sixth decade and taking his music styles and influences with him.

The opening quadrant of songs sets a relatively calming, soothing sense of self being about the album as a whole. With songs such as “House of Cards” and “Silver Rider” championing this newfound sense of tranquillity and haunting obedience, Plant and his band deliver what is rapidly becoming the archetypal sound for the aging front man. Masterly crafted with a looming and hair rasiningly ghostly atmosphere, Robert Plant firmly stamps his foot down and eliminates any possibility that this album is another overly produced, mass marketed effort to throw on the re-hashed rock pile.

Band of Joy continues with the rich sounding “You Can’t Buy Me Love”. A much harder rock sounding song than Plant has produced in almost a decade, this track harkens back to his early solo years, not seeming out of place on an album such as Pictures At Eleven, his solo debut in the early 1980s. “Falling in Love Again” and “The Only Sound that Matters” follow, taking the sound and pace of the album to a much softer, bluegrass and delta soul direction. Pedal steel and slide guitars, provided by bluegrass legend Darrell Scott provide a meaty chunk of Americana from the Black Country rocker.

Rounding out the album is “Even this Shall Pass Away” the up-tempo, drum centric book end to the calming and soulful opening, eleven tracks previous. With a much more disjointed, highly amped and distorted guitar feel, this track gives long term fans of Plant and all of his previous incarnations and projects something to smile about. A song that would not feel out of place on a late era Zeppelin album, Plant still proves that his vocal range, although tainted by the inevitable rigors of forty years of hard living, hard drinking and harder women, is still a force to be reckoned with in the 21st Century. In all, this track is as disjointed in its sound as it is being placed on an album with a direction very opposite to its inception, something that has kept a singer like Robert Plant on top for a long time and hopefully for longer to come.

Jonathan Whitelaw


The album is available on general release. Tour info and previous discographies are available from Plant’s official website: http://www.robertplant.com

Going Underground :: Abi Thommes

It’s going to, once again, be something a little different from the usual punk rock antics of “Going Underground.” I am back, Barlow will never again commandeer the ship that is my “new and exciting music” slot, because he is a shit.

This week we have a special treat, singer/songwriter Abi Thommes.


I first met Miss Thommes outside Camden tube station in lovely London. She was busking with such intensity it was hard not to pay attention. Armed with only an acoustic guitar and her mellifluous vocals, she displayed more power than any stadium rock outfit I have ever heard. Quality, not quantity.

Her music is unfeigned, impassioned and very intimate. Every note draws the listener closer to the subject matter and give a feeling that each and every song is written specifically for given moments within your own life.

Semi-psychic-acoustic-pop.

The majority of songs on her MySpace are live but you wouldn’t of known unless it was stated. There’s not a single flaw, off note or finger slip as she graces the headphones and speakers of her growing fan base.

This being said, the studio recorded tracks come as a great treat. With a full band recording the close personal feeling of her live songs is replaced with a copiousness that creates a huge sound which would fill the nooks and crannies of any of the local London venues she often frequents.

Please do check out Abi Thommes if you are a big fan of laid-back acoustica (clearly not a word) and even if you’re not, I think you will be pleasantly surprised! 4/5 brews, can’t give a full 5 to a southerner!

Her upcoming gigs are as follows:

18th October @ The Vibe Bar

4th November @ Hobgoblin in Angel

and “Busking Jubilee Bridge whenever I have a spare moment and it is not raining!”