Tag Archives: magazine

The plan

SO folks, if you’ve been reading along, you’ll know I love music and popular culture, I’m also a bit sarcastic in an attempt to be witty and dry. The purpose of the blog is for me to gab on about music because I love it, if there was a thing more than love I’d do that too, but theres isn’t so that’s that.

So I’ve decided to set myself a wee challenge – to get through Glasgow’s bands.

By this I mean I plan to review a band a day (though probably more like 3 a week because frankly I’m doing a masters and I enjoy freecell as though it were crack) I will continue to review bands from local gigs and their myspaces, a wee taster on their style.

I started this initially when I began the blog and if you click on the Glasgow Bands link at the side it’ll take you to my first few reviews.

Be warned – its get weird, if you like you’re review straight then head to over NME.com, I believe they sometimes still write about music inbetween the ‘he says, she says of the music world’ and fashion, as my reviews are a touch more experimental. Not that much though – they are like sentences and stuff.

Wish me luck as I delve into the mine of musical talent and people who own instruments that perhaps should’ve stuck to other hobbies that resides in this magical city. I hope I can provide you with a comprehensive look at the hunners o’ bands we’ve got.

Because Glasgow’s got the best.

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February and March News

Welcome to February and March, 2010 part two: Death drives a stick.

Lousy Smarch weather…

'your best years are behind you pal'

A lot in the news about single sales ‘soaring’ because of mp3 player Christmas presents and the Rage Vs some kid from X factor we’ll never hear of again war for the number one spot. People are downloading tune after Christmas instead of buying physical copies before because they want to put them on their i-pod rather than give them as gifts. Kind of missing the days where you might have lovingly bought a friend a single of something for Christmas, now if a gift doesn’t have a minimum gb storage it just isn’t Christmas… I can fit 2000 movies into into these digital socks!

Glasgow/Ayr Scot  rockers Zetas Empire have FINALLY released something!! on Bandcamp. Their eponymous EP features 4 tracks – ‘Live by the Landslide’, ‘Apocalypse Afterparty’, ‘Butterfly with a Bomb’ and ‘My Oh Me’ – Get it HERE

Liverpool is getting ready to celebrate John Lennon in a 2 month cultural program running from October this year. See whats on in the city HERE

BBC 6 Music and the Asian Network have been threatened with closure, I urge you all to sign the petitions, join the social network groups and all of that to save them. As of today the facebook group has 167,361 members.

This may be a time where the public can over ride a budget decision to keep what they want going. The BBC has been under political pressure and financial pressure to tighten up but its not a time to blame the management and bean counters, its a time to stand up to bullying politicians, Rupert Murdoch – anytime is a good time to stand up to that guy – and remind everyone that the BBC is a public service for the public! No its not always perfect and no you might not love all of the radio station contents but the effect of having a free and usually unbiased news and entertainment service is what makes all the other media providers keep their standards up and sets a bar for quality and invention. The BBC is bigger and more embedded than many realise. A lot of effort and training goes into making a show, any kind of show, a lot of people work  in the media, its a lot of jobs to go if sections keep getting axed.

You can affect this decision and if you choose to do something or not because you care or you don’t – remember that its good to live in a country where you can actually do something and change things.

Rock stars new drug of choice, no not meth – starbucks (I always knew it was evil).   Dave Grohl ended up in hospital for drinking too much coffee. Seriously. Known to be a very hard working musician Grohl started to get chest pains after overdosing on coffee, sleeping a couple of hours a night and recording material for two different bands. Them Crooked Vultures posted this video as a bit of a laugh – but its factually accurate…

What happened in Feb – does anyone care it was so long ago….

Yes.

Edinburgh company Hillside  won the commission to represent the Scottish music stage at South By South West festival – check Business7 scoop on it

Rumour had it EMI was thinking about selling the legendary Abbey Road Studios in Feb to beat off that recession we keep hearing about. A few celebs tied to buy it (including a bid from Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber- thank goodness it was turned down, can you imagine?!) and the circling vulturous world of realtors tried to make it into luxury apartments – which would be kind of appropriate given that the building started its life a luxury Georgian home – however music fans probably not so keen. Then stepped in the National Trust, so I heard, trying to keep turn it into a museum. Latest was that its now a protected building as the Government have declared it a Grade 2 listed building.

Carly Simon asked fans to make her a  video for ‘you’re so vain’ 38 years after its release – watch out for the winning entry in April at the New York Tribeca Film Festival.

Morrissey, Mos Def and Rodrigo y Gabriela contributed songs to the Latino census campaign. http://www.votolatino.org/becounted/

January news bites

As in easily digestible news morsels not – wow that sucks!

Although some of it does. Canadian musician, mother of Rufus and Martha, sister of Anna and Jane, ex wife of Loudon Wainwright III, Kate McGarrigle has died after losing a 3 and half year battle with cancer.

Born in 1946 in Quebec, Kate had a long and succesful career releasing 10 albums and was part of an extremely talented family, a great loss to the musical world. 

Her music with sister Anna has been heavily covered by many famous musicians including Maria Muldaur, Nana Mouskouri, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Billy Bragg, Chloé Sainte-Marie and Anne Sofie von Otter.

The people of Haiti’s struggle to survive after what is now two earthquakes in the space of days has struck a chord with the pop crowd. People in Haiti are short on all food, medical and basic supplies which has lead to fighting and rioting. George Clooney is planning a benefit gig which will see support from Bono, Sting and Timberland.

Glasgow band Mogwai are auctioning off a piano to raise funds for the victims of what this January is the poorest and unluckiest island in the world. They are selling off a Kawai MP8 Mark I piano was used by Barry Burns during the band’s 2006-2007 world tour.

In other news Billy Bragg is refusing to pay tax in protest against Royal Bank of Scotland staff bonuses. G’wan Billy!

The rough and ready Bronx are releasing a DVD of a gig from London in 2009.

Gill Scott Heron is BACK! after 13 years he is releasing a new album, ‘I’m New Here’ this February, lookout for first single ‘Me and the Devil’.

Jail time isn’t enough for prisoners, now they will be deprived of tunes. Seems fair, maybe it’ll inspire more prison written acoustic music. Prisons in Britain say the license is too expensive for recorded music in a communal area so they’re ditching it. They can still watch DVD’s though – but can no longer play Dark Side of the Moon along to the Wizard of Oz.

And finally … Magne F – singer, guitarist, keyboardist and songwriter from Norwegian popsynth band A-ha is having an exhibition at the Edinburgh Printworks. It’s all about language and features works depicting the alphabet. The first 500 prints sold will come with a free copy of music inspired by Magne’s reworking of vocals on A-ha’s new album.

Hella out xxxx

The Darien Venture Interview

You may have noticed something rumbling on the west coast in 2009, like the whispering of hurricanes two towns away, but it’s possible you ignored it and focused on the Christmas number 1 battle between the commercial and squeaky and the old and less poignant with facebook coverage, instead. But that was the sound of something coming, springing up from the undergrowth in Ayr, it was The Darien Venture, and they’re coming for your veggie burgers. 

The Darien Venture, picture by Chris Baldie

With a successful Scottish tour behind them, support gigs with hot Scotrockers of the moment Sucioperro  and  5 track EP ‘Indications’ on the way this March, The Darien Venture are set to be Scotland’s newest experimental power poprock sweethearts.

The band features Jonny Beveridge (drums), Liam Rutherford (guitar/vox) Kyle Shields (bass) and David Martin (guitar/vox), they describe themselves as a mixed grill.

The four piece was salvaged from the remains of rock band Fragile and metal outfit Kreeper to create something altogether brighter. I spoke to David and Kyle on a frosty January evening about their journey so far.

Named after an ill fated Scottish endeavour to colonise America in the late 1690’s the band themselves have no such wish to conquer the US, at least until they can figure out how to invent a tour bus that runs on bad jokes “That the way, we could tour the world” says Kyle. 

David says he would rather have invented Jessica Alba’s new baby Honor Marie Warren and with the tradition of actresses and rock stars romantic entanglements, we’ll keep an eye on the enterprising young lad.

With influences ranging from Tool to the Beach Boys, David says “I also love heavy music that has great groove like Reuben, or the Mars Volta, their odd time meters are definitely littered throughout our music too. Aereogramme, Explosions In The Sky and American Football have amazing delicate sections and build ups.

The bands I grew up with like queen and the Jackson 5 gave way to Nirvana, Ben Folds 5 and Radiohead but I think there’s a mixture of them all hidden in the sound of the Venture. The biggest inspiration is jamming in a room with the other 3 guys in the band and seeing how far we can push a piece of music, changing the shape and flow of it and hopefully create something we’re all happy with.”

Their manager is fellow former Ayr resident and University of the West of Scotland graduate Vicki Cole and they are signed to her brainchild, Capture Cadet, the fledgling but ballsy Glasgow music management company also responsible for Midas Fall, Randolph’s Leap and Suspire.

The Ayrshire music scene has had a minor explosion in recent year with many bands forming from friendships made on the UWS commercial music course such as the well loved Atlas Skye and the super alternative Zetas Empire. The biggest noise in recent years from the area came from Sucioperro and of course, reigning kings of scotrock, Biffy Clyro.

David thinks the great music comes in spite of its surroundings, criticising the town’s lack of a live venue and the claustrophobic nature of small town syndrome, “I think there are great bands from everywhere, I wouldn’t say Ayr has an abundance of good bands by any means. Ayr has little brother syndrome, it applied to be a city at the turn of the millennium but it’s just a small town with a small town mentality.  Maiden played here in the 80s but now there’s nowhere. I think the good bands from Ayr must feed off the frustration and put it in the songs, to create something beautiful to escape the grey.”

Kyle has a more positive view, “There’s certainly a bunch of cool bands coming out of Ayr, but it’s the same as Glasgow, just on a smaller scale. Hopefully the scene there will continue to grow and produce some cool music.”

David, “Glasgow on the other hand is where the musicians from towns like Ayr flock to, to find like minded souls. There are so many bands – everyone has a solo act and at least one side project – that it’s just a law of averages that a handful of them are really good. I admire the team at Glasgow Podcart (innovative podcast group) because they must hear a lot of shit to consistently find great local bands for every show.”

The boys both site Ayr’s Sucioperro album Pain Agency as their favourite from 2009.

Kyle, “I thought it was a real milestone for the band, every song was excellent and when we had the privilege of playing with them at King Tuts. Their live set was just incredibly tight.”

The Darien Venture takes pride in their music and rightly so as they manage to be quirky, sturdy and heartfelt in the same breath, with notes that canter from the frets, honest harmonies, cawing shouts and tough tight twirling drums.

Kyle,” My favourite song of ours is probably Broadcast Signal Invasion just now. It’s our most instantly catchy tune and people seem to enjoy chanting along, but we’ve got some other songs I’m more pleased with in the pipeline.”

David, “All the songs mean something different to me so it’s hard to pick a favourite but we have a song called E_R_A in which we build the middle section up and drop the music out to all 4 of us singing and when we play that live it’s a definite highlight of our set for me. A friend said it must be strange to walk in mid set and see 4 guys singing without playing their instruments and it’s nice to think we might be able to surprise people.”

Their live performance is not one to be missed, the band enjoys the kind of frenetic energy and on stage dynamic many musicians can only dream about, their track One Point Twentyone Gigawatts a particular highlight.

They say their best ever gig experience was at the Aberdeen Tunnels where a massive fight during the sound check led to an empowered release of a show resulting in a huge response from the audience. They won’t disclose who won but both relentlessly claim to be the best arguers, however they agree drummer Johnny would win in a fisticuff as David says, “You’ll know if you’ve seen him drum he’s clearly got the most stamina – his hands and feet are superluminal.”

 Kyle, “By the time we got onstage we just played our balls off and had a really good time.”

Hearing people sing the words to the songs back at gigs, especially tracks which haven’t been recorded yet is the highlight of gigging for the band.

Happy to give up the day jobs as soon as they get a chance they band are all still working stiffs to pay for their art. Retail is soul destroying says David. Committed to their lifestyle as rockers they say if they weren’t in a band they say they would be in another band, there is no alternative for the men of the Darien Venture but to play.

Catch the Darien Venture EP ‘Indications’ this March.

Birthday Celebrations!!

So with the technology failures of recent times, I have been unable to really get in and update the ole’ HG site. Which yeah I could have worked harder at doing, but enough of my shortcomings!!

Its Hellagood’s Birthday – the blog is One Year Old!! Hurrah and we’ve had over 3 and a half thousand hits. Quite exciting.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ME!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ME!!!

Thanks to everyone who’s been checking on here regularly and those who’ve just hit up once to look at what they thought was porn, you’ve made this blog great. I do wish I’d been a bit more attentive to the Blog lately but life gets in the way of writing sometimes. Well when you’re writing for free it does, you give me a deadline and paycheck and I am there!

So to commemorate the birthday edition, and in honour of my two fans (I definitely have two, you have identified yourselves!) some fantastic written stuff!!

Also I do have to say, I managed to lock myself out of twitter like the eponymous twit, so its not been updated in ages.

First up I found myself watching the pop chanels in the middle of the night, like I do, and Shakira came on (no pun intended) and I found myself thinking, ‘Shakira, didn’t she used to be a singer?’ Many have made that leap from music to acting but props to someone who’s not afraid to turn their back on the cynical world of hollywood and look for something alternative, it takes a lot of guts to approach the oldest form of progressive adult focused erotic art in the world, porn. Oh wait, sorry, I’ve just been informed, she is still a singer, apparently.

Covers – we all know them and love them, but I see recently the Mighty Boosh team are being covered all over the boutique. I noticed Lady GaGa has covered Old Gregg’s Love Games you can see them both here. I really feel she should have gone for more funk.

Also Little Boots, 4music favourite and newest excuse to pretend there’s been a genre shift when actually NOTHING has happened in the pop world and there has been no great forward movement, change, revelation or actual cerebral activity, seems to be just doing ‘Future Sailors’ from the crimping episode, expect without entertaining anyone.

Which brings us to Girls Can’t Catch. Now I loved Smack the Pony (pun intended) but if you’ve ever seen League of their Own (the American Baseball loving woman’s own Field Of Dreams) its blatantly a lie. I refer you to Dorothy Kamenshek.

Also its tedious umani-less time wasting no talent ass clownery. Pop music goes through phases of being life saving. It can be catchy, life-affirming, romantic, hopeful, foolish, clever and simple. And at other times its the equivalent of jangling some keys in front of a baby to keep it amused for a couple minutes. But replace keys with neon shite and replace baby with grown adult and couple of minutes with 7 hours of TMF, 4 music, Jamster adverts, all E4 idents, etc….

I despair, I digress… There is music out that I like, but as I get older and my soul gets more discerning, its just so much easier to think of things I don’t like.

Oh, here’s something I like – Akala. There’s an overachiever if ever I saw one. Some people just excel at things, at life in general, they are always working. Akala seems to be one of those people. Known also as Black Shakespeare, the younger brother of Ms Dynamite was a young football superstar and restaurateur before he even made his first record. This summer he’s been working with young artists on the BBC Blast project. His work is refreshingly real and has a fresh raw sound to it, not too overproduced or cliched, not falling back on beat machine fail-safes or stereotypical background music. Rather the tracks are a composite of sounds that reflect the feeling of the lyrics themselves. Currently busy finishing his new album, look out for it this year or take an audio tour of It’s Not A Rumour and follow up Freedom Lasso. I do love homegrown talent and wiki says he’s part Scottish so MON!!

oh dear

As a royal spanner, I managed to destroy my laptop. Hence articles have been few and far between. I will try to make more of an effort though! There are still internet cafes out there…

Apologies though, if you have been looking here and going ‘tch! nae news!!! now my lunchbreak/midnight snack break is ruined without my dose of Hellagoodness!’

Have been thinking of beginning a wee flickr page also so you can all have a swatch at my photos but this will probably have to wait until the old computing problems are resolved.

I recommend some Elbow today for your listening pleasure.

Freedom for Artists

I am taking a while to get on and write some more articles but an important issue has come to my attention and this has taken pole position in my writing today.

There has been some shocking behaviour recently towards non eu artists visiting and performing here. Small minded petty bureaucracy and red tape has placed a choke hold around culture.

For more details and examples the Guardians article can be found here. Henry Porters Blog exposes the abhorrent treatment of Non-EU artists and academics face when trying to gain access to the EU for artistic and educational visits. Many face lengthy issues with paperwork and visas for short stays or not being permitted entry at all despite invitations from well established arts and culture organisations, due to the tightening of excessive regulations regarding visiting non nationals.

This kind of attitude towards the wider world of writers, musicians, poets, artists and academics shines the brightest of cold starch lights on the ugliest side of our government decision makers. The situation is nothing short of embarrassing for the UK and Europe.

I urge you to take a stand by reading and signing this petition against the home Office Restrictions on Non-EU artists and academics on the Manifesto Club’s website.

Don’t allow this accidental censorship to stiffle the exchange of creativity and ideas in your world.

READ AND SIGN HERE