Monday 24 February 2014

Review: The Nymphs – It’s Been A Long Time Awaiting

The Nymphs – It’s Been A Long Time Awaiting (Independent)
Goodness, this 14-track collection sounds remarkably fresh and full of life - which is a little unexpected as The Nymphs’ sound harks back to the girl groups of the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, rather than anything overtly contemporary or new. Of course, it’s their sheer melodicism that carries the day, and propels the listener through a series of songs, drenched in harmony, and solely reliant on the vocal prowess of Jane Hendry, Bek Chapman, Clare Hendry and Kelly Day.

Almost completely a capella – there’s the occasional beat for the purists to contend with – sublime arrangements underpin their songs and provide plenty of variety. The Melbourne quartet earned their spurs in their local bars and hostelries, collecting plaudits and acclaim wherever they’ve set up their mics, and working with various Australian musical luminaries along the way – together with the occasional TV appearance to help widen their audience even more.

All that talent and experience pays immediate dividends on “It’s Been A Long Time Awaiting” - the group’s debut long player. Indeed, highlights come thick and fast, right from the off, when the opening cut (and title track) introduces both the complexities of their style, together with what can only be described as instant pop appeal. New single “Shake” is equally splendid, with harmonies and vocal interaction that would make Brian Wilson sit up and take note, while “Grave Shift” indicates a more solemn and sober side to their sound, without forgoing any of the elements that make them so utterly enticing. Magical.
Phil S.

The Nymphs - It's Been A Long Time Awaiting (Live – Sideshow Alley)

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Tonight at The Musician, Leicester (18/2): Chris Conway + Mia & The Moon

Chris Conway + Mia & The Moon
"Songs Of Wonder"
Tuesday 18th February
£4adv £5door
A magical double header as two great acts present a night of songs of wonder and dreams.

Multi-instrumental wizard Chris Conway's cosmic and dreamlike songs are delivered with a dry wit, and a warm heart. This year he celebrates 25 years as a pro musician, and has released over 100 albums in many genres.

Mia and the Moon are sisters Laura & Mary-Anne Ratcliffe with the most astounding voices and stage presence and they cast a spell with their harmonies and timeless musical style. They tour the country, and have been featured on national television.

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

Chet Faker dates

Chet Faker dates

20th Apr – Dublin – Button Factory
23rd Apr – Glasgow – Broadcast
24th Apr – Manchester – Soup Kitchen
25th Apr – Leeds – Brudenell Social Club
27th Apr – Brighton – The Haunt
28th Apr – Bristol – Colston 2
29th Apr – London – Village Underground

'Talk Is Cheap' video:

Streaming to be included in UK singles chart

The head of music at Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra has said streaming will soon be included in the top 40 singles chart.

Speaking at a Radio Academy event in London, George Ergatoudis said play counts from services like Spotify and YouTube could be included as soon as this summer.

While countries such as the US and Germany already count music streams, the UK chart is based on sales alone.

The Official Charts Company says there is no firm date set for the change.

Chief executive Martin Talbot told the BBC the company was still working out the "how" and "when" behind the plans.

In the UK, music streaming increased by 33.7% in 2013 and now accounts for nearly 10% of revenues from recorded music. In the last year 7.4 billion songs were streamed via premium or ad-funded music services.

Daft Punk's Get Lucky was the most streamed track of 2013 in the UK, ahead of Bastille's Pompeii and Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines.

Last year was also a fifth successive record year for British singles sales, up 6% to 188.6m with the vast majority - 99.6% - accounted for by digital downloads.

Speaking in Music Week last week, Mr Talbot said: "We are beginning to look at this, as every market is - but we have a lot of due diligence to do before making what would be a significant jump in the UK."

He cited issues including what kind of streams should be counted and the possible impact on new and independent artists.

The company will also have to decide how many "plays" of a YouTube video or Spotify track would count as the equivalent of one sale.

There will also be questions about how long a user has to listen to a track before it is counted - some statisticians equate a 30-second stream to one play, others prefer only to count users who stream an entire song.

Mr Talbot's statement to Music Week was in response Universal Music UK boss, David Joseph, who told the magazine that the UK charts risk becoming irrelevant if they don't begin including streaming soon.

The Official Charts Company has previously explained that the UK chart methodology and market are both very different to America, where the Hot 100 takes into account radio airplay.

The company launched a separate Official Streaming Chart in 2012.

Mr Ergatoudis said merging that data into the Top 40 would be one of the biggest transitional changes in the Official Chart's history.

Source: BBC

Monday 17 February 2014

Review: Lynne Taylor – When Lightning Strikes

Lynne Taylor – When Lightning Strikes (Independent)
A stalwart of her local New England scene, Lynne Taylor has been a professional musician since she was 14 years old, playing solo and in various groupings. When comparisons to other artists are mentioned, names like Tori Amos, Fiona Apple and Sheryl Crow are often referenced, but there’s also a timelessness to Taylor’s best work – and there’s plenty of it to be found on “When Lightning Strikes” - to spark memories of Buffy Sainte Marie, Carole King and a gaggle of revered ‘70s west coast songwriters.

Her instrument of choice is the piano, though the majority of her new songs are presented within a full band setting, where unlikely rhythms and eclectic arrangements are explored and investigated. It makes “When Lightning Strikes” a riveting listen, and the listener can expect nothing except the wholly unexpected.

“Butterfly” launches the collection, and its simple, insistent piano motif is soon added to by a half chanted / half sung vocal and tempered stings – the effect is simultaneously stimulating, strangely languid and utterly beguiling. It’s followed by the jaunty, country-rock-wired “Back By Suppertime”, a song and delivery that would have sat perfectly on Gene Clark and Carla Olson’s classic “So Rebellious A Lover” record - nice guitar solo, too.

A Spanish influence comes to bear on “Pablo's Glue”, the longest track on the album, where Latin guitars emphasize the narrative, and the percussion-heavy “Angel That Flew” stretches Taylor’s vocal chords, and brings to mind aborigine mantra and primal movement. She’s unafraid to get her hands dirty with a little political comment (“Grand Empire”) and adds to her palette with the jazz-specked classicism of “No Words”.

In the hands of a lesser artist “When Lightning Strikes” may have come across as unfocussed or confused, but not so here. There’s a singular musical vision behind these eleven tracks, and Taylor must take full credit for delivering a super album that celebrates and rejoices in its diversity, but is never distracted by it.
Phil S.

Tonight at The Musician, Leicester (17/2): Royal Blood + Tigercub

The Cookie presents

Royal Blood
Monday 17th February
plus Tigercub
Doors 7:30pm
Earlier this year, Brighton duo Royal Blood made their first public musical statement - a 3 minute slice of thrilling, primal rock & roll called 'Figure It Out' that appeared unannounced on the band's Soundcloud page but was soon picking up serious plaudits.

Now Royal Blood are pleased to announce details of their debut single. Available on 7" and download, the self-produced 'Out Of The Black' will be released on 11th November on Black Mammoth Records. It’s a single that wrings the maximum amount of noise, aggression and pure youthful exuberance out of the most minimal of ingredients, featuring nothing more than Mike Kerr's vocals and bass and Ben Thatcher's drums.

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

Sunday 16 February 2014

NME sales dip below 20,000 copies

Sales of NME have hit their lowest yet, falling below 20,000 copies a month during the second half of 2013 despite last year's relaunch.

New ABC circulation figures show that the 62-year-old publication sold an average of just 18,184 a week.

It marked a drop of 21% from December 2012, when each issue was selling about 23,000 copies.

A rock music institution, the NME's circulation has dropped every year since 2009, despite several relaunches.

Its last major rival, Melody Maker, closed in 2000 when circulation dropped to 32,206.

However, the NME's publishing director, Jo Smalley, told the BBC the magazine was not in danger of closing, and had actually seen advertising revenues increase by 49% over the past 12 months.

The circulation figures are "part of a much bigger picture, which is what the NME is doing as a brand", he said.

The NME website gets 1.4m users per week, while the digital edition of the magazine sells 1,307 copies a week, and thousands of people attend NME live events and concert tours.

"We've found lots of other ways to monetise the brand and to reach the consumers because, let's be honest, there's a lot more competing for their time now," said Smalley.

"For some people, print is still very important. For other people, they're interested in engaging with the brand online or via social media. And we're serving those audiences in all those ways."

TV listings dominate

The NME's circulation figures are part of an overall downward trend. Music monthlies such as Q magazine and market-leader Mojo also recorded double-digit falls in readership, while teen publication Top of the Pops Magazine dropped 23%.

Weekly hard rock title Kerrang! also fell, reaching 35,127 people a week, down from 38,556 in 2012.

Film bible Empire shed 22,000 readers, with an average monthly circulation of 145,117; while its rival Total Film lost 15% of its readership, with monthly sales of 55,316.

However, the title sold an extra 12,134 copies in its digital edition, placing it in the top 10 e-magazines.

Gadget magazine T3 was the biggest-selling digital title, downloaded 22,319 times every month.

Magazine sales have been in decline for several years, with websites like Mail Online and the BBC competing for readers' attention.

But despite the wide availability of news websites, current affairs publications had a healthy 2013, with sales of The New Statesman and news digest The Week both increasing.

Good Housekeeping also overtook Glamour to become the top selling women's glossy monthly title, selling an average of 410,981 copies a month, a lead of just 500.

But TV listings magazines continued to rule the roost, with TV Choice the UK's biggest publication, achieving weekly sales of 1.3m - a five-year high.

The publication not only benefitted from the closure of TV Pick, but stole readers from What's On TV (down 14% to 1,04m) and Radio Times (down 7% to 826,302).

"The legacy of the ill-fated TV Pick launch has only been a positive one for TV Choice," said TV Choice's publishing director Liz Watkinson. "Even as our cover price moved back up at the start of the autumn our readers, both new and existing, stayed with us.

Source: BBC

Friday 14 February 2014

Tonight at The Musician, Leicester (14/2): Blue Circus: Burlesque & Freak Show

Talulah Blue presents...

Blue Circus: Burlesque & Freak Show
Fri 14
£10adv £12door
feat. Bendy Bendini, Talulah Blue, Doc Leroc plus live music from The Sarah Bird Band
Getting in the mood for Valentines? No us neither, so come along to this show instead!

In line with comedy week in Leicester, we have burlesque, boylesque, comedy and freakshow acts.

Bendy Bendini is a twisty legged question mark. An anatomical wonder and extraordinary gentleman performing what others can't and daren't do.

Next up will be your host for the night, international showgirl and fire-eating circus baby Talulah Blue.

Last but not least, Doc Leroc is the Mantastic Marvel of Yorkshire. Travelling the world; tantalising, titilating and traumatising audiences with his masculine boylesque.

Also featuring a live band as well as a burlesque stall!

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

Thursday 13 February 2014

Tom Brosseau announces UK Tour

Tom Brosseau announces UK Tour

“Wistful, tender songs” 4/5 Mojo

“Beautifully finger picked set that recalls Woodie Guthrie and Devendra Banhart” Uncut

April Tour Dates
Saturday 12th April - Sebright Arms, London
Sunday 13th April - The Louisiana, Bristol
Monday 14th April - The Castle Hotel, Manchester
Tuesday 15th April - The Green Door Store, Brighton

Girl Band announce UK tour and festival dates‏

Girl Band announce UK tour and festival dates‏

"these shores' answer to HEALTH's pained, psychotic frenzies and Liars' daring invention. They're that good." - DIY
"abrasive, unrestrained and exhilarating" - NME
"a feral beast of a no-wave song" - Stereogum
"rules in excelsis" - The Quietus
"a fearsome six minutes" - Pitchfork
"noise-pop genius" - Drowned In Sound

3rd June Sheffield The Bell Jar

4th June Glasgow Bloc

5th June Edinburgh Electric Circus

6th June Leeds Belgrave Music Hall

10th June Cambridge The Portland Arms

11th June London The Shacklewell Arms

21st June Hilvarenbreek Best Kept Secret Festival

10th August Skipton Beacons Festival

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Tonight at The Musician, Leicester (12/2): Ewan Dobson

Ewan Dobson
Wednesday 12th February
£12.50adv £15door
plus support
Every once in a while you come across something on the internet that makes you go "wow." It may be a video, picture, song, band, or anything of the sort. In this case, it's the amazing virtuosity of Canadian fingerstyle guitarist Ewan Dobson. Ewan Dobson performs finger picking at it's finest. So much so that his Time 2 YouTube video has so far received 12.5 million hits and counting. Released as a download single it has become a global hit.

Dobson creates classic music, modern music and everything in between with only his guitar and finger picking. No bass, no drums, no vocals; nothing. It's just a one man show, and quite honestly, that's all you need. Audiences can expect masterful command of the acoustic guitar performed like no other can or has yet.

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

Stephen Kellogg dates

UK and Ireland tour Dates

March 2014
Saturday 15th IndigO2 C2C, London, UK
Sunday 16th Whelan's, Dublin, Ireland
Tuesday 18th Borderline, London, UK*
Wednesday 19th Night & Day, Manchester, UK*
Thursday 20th ABC 2, Glasgow, UK*
Friday 21st The Islington, London, UK

*Supporting Matt Nathanson

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Tonight at The Musician, Leicester (11/2): Andrew O'Neill: Heavy Metal - A History

Andrew O'Neill: Heavy Metal - A History
Tuesday 11th February
£7adv £8door
For people who don’t necessarily like heavy metal, but if you do you’ll really like it, we promise! A hilariously kick-arse tour through the history of heavy metal by the UK’s foremost metalhead stand-up comedian. Want to learn how to headbang? Always wondered what happens in a moshpit? Keen to learn the difference between blackened thrash and grindcore?

WARNING: This show will contain references to the musical genre known as heavy metal, not a loosely scientific defined subset of elements that exhibit metallic properties.

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

The Space Lady announces world tour


UK & US Tours Announced
'Greatest Hits' out now via Night School Records

Since the release of her first official recordings in late 2013, The Space Lady's myth has grown larger and more life-like. Emerging from the shadows of cultdom, she is embarking on her first ever live performances in some of the world's most venerated venues and spaces. While accustomed to hours of street performances to bedazzled and bewildered passers-by, The Space Lady's World Tour 2014 will be the first time she has performed on stage to dedicated followers.

Beginning this episode of the saga in Bellingham, USA, The Space Lady will visit the North West of America before heading down the Californian cost, ending at a Mount Analogue / Dublab presentation in L.A. From there she will visit the United Kingdom and Ireland for an intensive mission taking in Manchester Art Gallery, a Victorian bandstand in Glasgow, Dundee Contemporary Arts and many other cities. After a summer break The Space Lady will be hitting mainland Europe.

UK / Ireland dates are as follows...

31st March - FutureEverything Festival, Manchester Art Gallery. Debut European performance. (Info)
2nd April - Flatpack Film Festival, Birmingham. Venue TBC
4th April - Counterflows Festival, Glasgow. w/ Ela Orleans (Info)
5th April - Cry Parrot at Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee (Info)
6th April - Counterflows Festival, Glasgow. Matinee Bandstand performance (Info)
9th April - The Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh
10th April - The Star And Shadow Cinema, Newcastle. w/ Wilt Wagner / Pentecoastal Party
11th April - Pacinos, Dublin
12th April - Triskel Arts Centre, Cork
14th April - Joy Collective @ Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
16th April - Tye Die Tapes, Sheffield
17th April - Upset The Rhythm, Rudolf Steiner House, NW1 6XT, London. (Info)
18th April - Riots Not Diets, West Hill Hall, Brighton w/ Keel Her / Woolf / R Elizabeth (Info)
19th April - Bristol, Cube Cinema, Bristol w/ Wanda Group + Dirty Talk DJs (Info)
20th April - The Kave Gallery, 8 Kings Road, St Leonards On Sea (Info)