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Album Review – Static on the Airwaves by the Levellers release date
25th June 2012
Date of Review:
13th May 2012
This new album, Static on the Airwaves, from the Levellers starts as you would expect with crackling, whizzing static sounds and moves into a nice keyboard arrangement progressing to a great guitar riff for the first song We Are All Gunmen, which describes the duality of modern life from both the idealist view juxtaposing with the harsh reality of war and pain.
Our Forgotten Towns stands out from the crowd being the fourth song in the track listing it brings a whole different vibe, which is refreshing and prepares nicely for the next song No Barriers. For me Mark Chadwick’s vocals give the songs a spirit and depth that works brilliantly with Jonathan Sevink’s fiddle beautifully mixed with the rest of the instruments.
Alone in the Darkness is the song that touched me the most personally I think, it’s a beautiful, passionate song, the lyrics are in the first person which gives it more intimacy and it works so well with the rough, edgy timbre of Mark’s voice. The band have worked very well together on this album and the songs give hints at the many possible influences such as Iron Maiden in Raft of the Medusa – a hard hitting folk song about the running aground of a French Naval frigate and a metaphor for modern Europe. The lyric of the song articulates the story in bold and gruesome detail. Continuing with sea stories we have Mutiny, which is the tale of the 1917, Etaples Mutiny by British Troops in France – with strong bass riff, fiddle and guitar – quite traditional sounding tune, appropriate for the song.
The next song is Traveller- some beautiful piano here accompanying a poetic, gentle yet cutting lyric, one of my favourites from the album - loving the acoustic guitar, piano and harmonies. Again Mark’s soulful, passionate vocal helps the song stand out.
Changing the mood again, we have Second Life, a sarcastic song about our online social lives, “a saviour that doesn’t bleed” – all these songs would be fantastic to see played live but the album captures the energy of the band well. To finish we have The Recruiting Sergeant, recorded live I think – lovely atmosphere on this song and full of dark humour. It finishes the album well.
The lovely thing about this album is the great vocals and arrangements, vibrant, feisty, spirited and enlivening. The political statements made by the songs are real and honest with satirical humour – Truth Is, the second song on the album and now online, is a great socio-political statement on our modern argument with politicians, bankers and commercialism.
This song is one of their best yet. The brief intro (would have sounded even better if it had gone for another couple of bars) sets the whole rhythm and tone of the song. An acoustic guitar rhythm sound overlayed with a neat electric guitar riff complements Vickys' vocals perfectly for the first verse. The rhythm of the acoustic then cleverly builds the bridge, ready for the chorus...
I'd sure like to know what's going on in Becas' head at this point, because the sound of her guitar becomes more apparent, and combined with what she's actually playing here, it might be described as almost 'menacing'...? that can't be right, can it...? or is it more 'mixed or frustrated emotions'...?
The chorus then comes
in nicely, breaking the tension that has been built up.
Getting back to the
song... Breaking the usual 'song format', there is then a small bridge
that brings the song into the next verse.
The next verse goes along nicely with some neat vocal (tricks)/phrases, and then there's that bridge again...this time even stronger than before, with the edition of a synth? playing some low end notes. Brooding and pondering..?, (sorry Becs..) it hangs onto that last chord as long as it can, almost to breaking point, and then the chorus kicks in, trying to burst the banks of...? frustration...sadness... anger and hurt...? expressing some of the emotional turmoil that is, the 'human condition'...
The final verse ends with an observation...? no... a hard fact, of how precious life is, and how vunerable, we as people, can be....
This is a great song by Beca and Vicky, it's not 'slushy' or pretentious, but tells things as they are.
Review – Red Light EP by Empire Affair
Reviewer: Beca Fludgate, Dolfin Music 07/09/11
I was sent the new EP Red Light by Empire Affair to review and much pleased I am to review it! Formed in early 2011, the band used to gig as Echo, until a change of personnel and direction birthed Empire Affair.
The EP starts with what is my favourite song from this band, a track called “One of Me”. The song’s style is indie rock and has a great opening intro and good refrain, which is the main hook of the song, which is imbued with much Coldplayesque guitar. There is a nice break into the middle eight. The song is up-tempo, bright and vibrant and lyrically appealing.
The band’s next song is shows them in punk style. Illyria is as well as it’s interesting name, not particularly original in the verse but the quirky chorus makes up for it. Definite hints towards the Sex Pistols and The Clash here. It’s a boppy, upbeat song with a good build up to the chorus. Not something I would be into myself it should prove to be popular nonetheless.
“December”, the third song listed is my second favourite song and here the band show even more influence from bands such as Coldplay and the Kings of Leon. Evocative and emotional the song is lyrically strong with a strong bridge and the introduction of keyboards in the production, which gives the whole song fullness, and power that fits well with the guitars.
Take Me Down is the last song on this EP and again here the band go back to a more punk style. The intro again is good and the song is lively, spirited and energetic. Something that would be good live, more so I think than this recording, personally my least favourite song from the EP, however, a good strong and original song.
The EP is released on iTunes, you can buy it here http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/red-light/id453769746
Empire Affair are Neil Tallant - Vocals, Jack Woolston - Lead Guitar, Matt Park - Rhythm Guitar, Tom Parrett Bass, Darren Sheppard - Drums.
Visit their website at www.empireaffair.co.uk
PLACE TO PLAY” – MATTHEW NEIL – by Beca
I was sent this album to review by Matt, it has seven songs, and all recorded live at acoustic evenings around Bournemouth.
are quirky and offbeat with slightly off kilter melodies, the best example
of this being “Paul’s Walking Blues” which is a strange
song but has an eccentric appeal. His funky energetic guitar work lifts
the songs and he has a good playing technique on the guitar, including
riffs and solos within the song, keeping the beat and holding the song
Lyrically the songs
gave the impression of artistic and passionate feelings. The final track,
“Release” is very dramatic and I felt this was the best song
on the album. I was left wondering how these songs would translate in
a full band arrangement, as I think it would be quite interesting and
powerful. If you like something that’s different and off the wall
I think you’d like Matt’s album.
Peachy Jane at
The Winchester 10th April 2010 by Marylyn Cropley (Freeplay)
– Pete Christie – Review
by Beca Fludgate
Take time out to listen to this album, as it deserves “listening” to!
is the new album by Pete Christie and it is aptly titled as the songs
are frank, honest, real and open up the listener’s heart to issues
they may not want to face but really should and will feel better for doing
so. Featuring some of Bournemouth’s finest, Pete Christie has produced
a great album, which looks as professional as it sounds.
PARKSTONE PUB FESTIVAL
Had a great time at the Parkstone Pub festival last weekend - saw 3 bands - Colt 45, Vulcan and Matt Park. There was face painting and a barbi which cooked up some good sausages and burgers for the hungry crowd!
Colt 45 blew me away with their enery and playing skill but what was really unique was their young singer who has a brilliant voice that is surprisingly "rocky" for someone quite young. I didn't catch many original numbers but the ones I did were lively and interesting. These guys are ones to watch definitely. They rocked the pub to the rafters!
Vulcan played a real mix of songs (covers) - one that really got the crowd going was "I predict a riot." They do a variety of modern up to the minute songs and older more classic rock songs. There playing was good their singer has a good voice and can handle the variety of styles they do well. The band was tight and their guitarist was cool. They are an entertaining band that play a good varied set and play it well.
Matt Park was solo acoustic and although his songs may not be to everyone's initial taste I have found myself getting to like them even though at first I wasn't sure! He is a good guitar player and singer/songwriter and his bluesy, off beat style is certainly something different that I have not heard before. His songs definitely need a few listens to get to grips with them.
All these acts are on www.dolfinmusic.ning.com so please check out their gigs and music to know more. Many thanks to Adam Muxlow for organising a great event which raised money for charity and for booking these bands.
Local legend Chris
Manning of The Chris Manning Project, launched the first
live and acoustic night at new trendy cocktail bar and restaurant Melange.
Review By Nina Taylor
REVIEW: Lady Winwoods Maggot- 7th April 2008 -Thomas Tripp, Christchurch - by Tina Pope
WILDE, JAMES HARRISON, EDDIE MARTIN
MR KYPS 31ST OCTOBER 2007
Dani Wilde was first to the stage and impressed the audience with her strong, raucous vocal talent and also ably accompanied herself on guitar. The first song was a solo and then her younger brother on harp and a bassist joined her. The trio gave the audience some renditions of both original and cover songs of traditional blues with some great solos from Dani’s brother. Dani told us that she is about to start recording her new album in Germany and copies of the demo that got her a record deal were on sale on the night. Dani’s voice is quite amazing, very versatile and she showed great vocal control throughout the session, in spite of having a slight cold!
Next was singer/songwriter James Harrison. James’s father formed a band called the Saraband who were a’70s Folk Rock group, and James started his set with “Summer has gone” – a Saraband cover. Accompaniment was from the amazing Si Genero on harp who did a very melodic solo and also accompanied James on vocals on Loving Flame, the next song for which James moved from keyboards to guitar. My favourite song of the set was “Bye Bye Baby” which James told was about an ex-girlfriend of his who has inspired many of his songs. His performance was polished but may have been improved by more eye contact with the audience while he was singing and more interaction with the audience between songs. His songs are fantastic though and he is an amazing local talent here in Bournemouth.
Headlining after James
was the incredible Eddie Martin. I have not seen him live before and it
was great to see such a consummate performer in such close proximity.
Eddie was playing “Goldie” – his steel guitar, and accompanying
himself with rhythm suitcase and harmonica. Eddie played some Sunhouse
and Muddy Waters and some new material from his forthcoming album. The
whole place went quite whilst he played a slow blues… He got the
audience involved with “Don do it, I dun did it” – an
old number from the ‘40’s and did a great solo on the harp
and the suitcase! The atmosphere was warm and inspired and the audience
was with him. It was a really fun performance and his guitar playing wonderful
to see and hear.
MAN DON’T – FROM HERE TO THERE, (THE JOURNEY)
This album is the second from Gary (aka Kat Man Don’t) and it shows how his creativity has evolved over the last 2 years or so. The songs are full of subtle instrumentation with Gary playing most of the instruments and producing the album himself.
Synthesisers, spainish guitar, (Road to Kantara,) semi-acoustic and electric guitars, acoustic and electric bass and percussion all feature on the album and Gary also does all the vocals. There is a distinct change in direction from his first album “The Crazy Serum” with more focus on funked up grooves than on the chilled out style of before although there are still elements of Buddha Bar style production throughout the album. The songs are based around funk/jazz riffs and rhythms with excellent sound effects thrown in for good measure. To me it is chilled out funk with the odd twist here and there…
What is notable is the skill with which Gary orchestrates, arranges and produces the music, which are skills he is now offering to other musicians through his own studio www.KMDstudio.co.uk
Track 5 on the album, “Cool Smoothy Blueness” is one of my favourites. It has a strong bass hook and the message of the song poignantly reminds us of the simple wonders of the world. Listen to this track here.
The album is true
to its title and carries you to far off places and back again. The artwork
on the CD also deserves a mention – original and well produced –
visit Pentangled Designs www.pentangled.co.uk
Review courtesy of Ellie Cowley, Daily Echo
It's been a long time
since I heard something as truly original as follow act Gabby Young &
Other Animals. Infused with jazz undertones and deviating into variations
reminiscent of Tori Amos and, at times, Jeff Buckley, Gabby's unique voice
lends power to the band's unique brand of alternate rock. Final act Vincent
Vincent and the Villains were nothing less than pure drama. With the nostalgic
glamour of Elvis, Billy Fury and Eddie Cochran rolled into one, Vincent
and company rock n' roll with gusto. Not to be confused with any kind
of cheesy almost tribute 50s band, Vincent Vincent & the Villians
have just enough of that cynical today's world edge to keep them firmly
placed in this decade. Raucous, recycled, rambunctious rock n' roll.
Mr Kyps Live
Venue: Mr Kyps Big Blues Party
Date: Wednesday 27th December 2006
Visit www.mrkyps.net for more live gigs! For more info about Hugh, click on
– DEBUT AT MR KYPS SUNDAY 5TH NOVEMBER 2006
The evening was chilly outside but warm inside with candles and low lighting around the blue-lit stage at Mr Kyps. James opened for the night showing us his accomplished pianist skills and melodic song writing talent with the song “She’s only in my head”. James is wonderful to see live! His voice is strong and smooth and the songs flow in gorgeous arrangements and melodies. Following this was “Every Candle”, “I will come to you” and “Loving Flame”.
His lyrical prowess is something to respect also with original ideas and strong messages about relationships and life. He sang some old favourites (The Clown) and one of the first songs he ever wrote on the piano, “Hand of Time.” He alternated between the guitar and piano with ease and it gave a nice variety to the performance.
His songs remind me of the song writing team that was famous in the ‘60’s although I can’t remember who they were! If you have a chance to see James live then please make it a date – you won’t be disappointed!
With You - James Harrison
Wow! This much awaited
album of new songs is a welcome addition to James's repertoire - nine new
songs and a variety of styles and influences shining through. His manager
Fiona Anderson has told me it's been a busy year for James - festivals,
winning a busking licence on Bournemouth pier, connecting with numerous
other locals artists in collaborative live gigs, producing his own album,
playing at Bournemouth Live, joining a band, leaving a band, getting a residency
at a local pub, putting on events and about to start on his second album.
Big Blues Party
Venue: Mr Kyps
Date: Thursday 29th December 2005
Mr Kyps played host to some of the finest blues musicians in the south on Thursday 29th December 2005 with the advent of the Big Blues Party organised by Hugh Budden -one of the south's premier harp players.
There was a good crowd and the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, the evening kicking off with a tight set from Southampton based blues band Blues Etc. Chris Collins fronts the band with Elrad Mathews on drums, Darren Stevens on bass and Hugh on the harp. The groove started to flow right from the start with a little number called "Shake for me". Hugh picked up the vocals for "Pawnshop Bound" - a very funky William Clarke song which saw the introduction of Gavin Whitlock on baritone sax and James Waite on the keys.
The rock 'n' roll dance crew were out in force and showing us how it's done. There was a change of drummer with Reid Coltrane from Arecibo Blues House getting onto the kit for "Rock with Me" and then moving to lead vocals for "Before You Accuse Me", another change then saw the Ju-Ju Men take the stage.
Things really began to rock with Rockin' Roj on vocals and Pete K on lead guitar. Hugh gave us an excellent rendition of "Riding on the L&N" and we then boogied senseless to a groovy dance number called "Dirty Water".
Another appearance from Reid on the drums and vocals doing "Bullfrog Blues" and then we were introduced to the spectacular Terry Nash as Jake Blues with his sidekick Elwood! (Hugh) doing "Everybody Needs Somebody" and other Blues Bros numbers. By this point the dance floor was packed and Mr Kyps was really jumping with excitement. Hugh got everyone on stage for the finale (Sweet Home Chicago) with all the bands together.
Hugh was playing throughout the evening with all the bands and several costume changes! To gather all that talent together in one room for an evening was quite an achievement and the result was a superb evening of entertainment and fun - I would highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys listening to live music and dancing - can't wait for next year!
The Crazy Serum - Kat Man Don't
This is an album you can relax to - definitely! Lie down somewhere comfortable and float away...
The album is a journey through atmospheric sounds and cultures. It falls in the realm of ambient chill out dance music - think Cafe Del Mar/Buddha Bar series influence by The Ozric Tenticles to get an idea.
My favourite tune is Raja than Life which has some brilliant sound effects and atmosphere. The first track on the album sets the mood, slowly building with keyboards and some nice delay guitar into a bluesy rhythm. Track 3 is the title track which changes tack a little into a folksy style whilst It's Up to You is a mellow hip hop beat.
The songs are quite long - the longest is 6.16 mins (Track 1: "Live a Little (Anyway)". The album transists from the mellow ambient tracks through bluesy moments to quite moody ("It's Up to You") and on from that the rave beat in "So Lonely".
The main feelings that come across are dreamy/funky/flowing and interesting!
e:mail Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org
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