Monthly Archives: May 2012

BBC Introducing Guernsey: May 2012 – Featuring Teaspoonriverneck

I was back on the radio on Wednesday 30th May 2012 for another two hours celebrating the best in Unsigned, Undiscovered and Under The Radar music from around the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

This month I was joined in the studio by Teaspoonriverneck to talk about their new album and their upcoming Spoon Fest event.

You can buy their music here.

We also heard from Tyler from Last of the Light Brigade and played their new single and had a live session from Adam Powell.

And we have brand new tracks from CourageHaveCourage, Of Empires, Distant Shores and The Black Vote, amongst others.

Click here to listen to the show.

Track List:

Of Empires – I Am The Night
CourageHaveCourage – Lioness
China Aster – Combination Style
Deemas J – We Do Dance
The Recks – Sea Song
Teaspoonriverneck – Superzero
Teaspoonriverneck – Beewulf
Teaspoonriverneck – Saturday
Teaspoonriverneck – Love Smudge
The Crowman – Robert Johnson Resurrection Blues
Peter Mitchell – I’m Seeing Stars
Last of the Light Brigade – Left In Ruins
Last of the Light Brigade – Leave Me On The Floor [live]
Adam Powell – Fluidity [live]
Adam Powell – Beyond Repair [live]
Distant Shores – Force of the Tides
The Black Vote – It Was So Cash [radio edit]
Darren Betts – Sark of Searenity
SugarSlam – Psychobabble
Thee Jenerators – Roky Erickson Homesick Blues

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Weekend – presented by CineGuernsey

On Wednesday 23rd May 2012 CineGuernsey certainly fulfilled what one of their main aims is, to bring a different sort of cinema to Guernsey and give the island’s film lovers a chance to explore things they may not otherwise encounter.

For their latest screening the local film group had chosen the 2011 movie Weekend, written, edited and directed by Andrew Haigh and starring Tom Cullen and Curtis New.

The film is a grown up romantic comedy (not a Richard Curtis type affair, or worse a Hollywood style one) set, as the title suggests, over a weekend in Nottingham and exploring the relationship between two men who meet in the club on a Friday night, have a one night stand and then develop more of a relationship than either were expecting.

As a film I really wasn’t sure what I was going to think of it going in, I’ll be the first to admit that real world dramas focusing on character are not my usual choice of viewing and I was aware this film had been grouped into a genre termed Gay Cinema, and this was something I had previously never explored.

Well I needn’t have had any concerns, and they were soon washed away as we were thrust into the life of Russell as he headed to a friend’s house for a curry and an evening of drinking and light drug use and he, and the other characters presented, came across as real people and, at several points throughout the movie, left me feeling like I was almost intruding in being allowed such a close up view of their lives.

This aspect of being something of a voyeur in a real life scenario is what really struck me about the film. This is not a picture of grand romantic gestures and the associated histrionics that Hollywood seems to like to put alongside them. Rather it is an exploration of a pair of men at different stages of their lives but both of which, I feel, have a lot to say – both to people coming to terms with their sexuality, going through relationship issues (straight or gay) or just interested in expressions of human interaction.

There were points in the film at which the voyeur aspect changed and we became directly ‘there’ with the characters, as is more common in motion pictures, but seemingly in a more intimate way than usual.  This happened, at first, when Russell was alone, we watched him preparing for a night out, on the night bus, at a nightclub alone and then at work as a lifeguard (which included an amazing shot of him alone in the centre of a very wide shot by the pool).

However, once his and Glenn’s relationship begins to build this feeling of being with the characters switched to the scenes when Russell and Glenn were alone together, taking us right into the heart of their discussions and using the language of cinema to tell us what is going on, rather than relying on distracting direct exposition and we spend seemingly the whole of their Saturday night with them, and I genuinely did feel as if I was somehow part of the scene (albeit a silent part).

As the film continues this voyeuristic distant view and up close view switches again, but explaining further would lead to spoilers, but it continues to create an interesting way of telling the story using cinema rather than relying on obvious dialogue.

As I say, I previously haven’t explored much in the way of gay cinema, however any stereotypes I may have had in my head of the style were swept away by Weekend as, while it seemed to deal with various issues faced by the gay community and gay people, it did so in a way that embedded them in the story so they weren’t jarring and out-of-place as they may have been if the film had been created in a different way.

As with all CineGuernsey presentations we were also treated to short introduction to the film. This time round it came from Claire Mockett, one of the people behind the Guernsey LGBT group on Facebook and @GuernseyLGBT on Twitter. Claire presented a brief introduction to the importance and history of Gay Cinema and how it has effected her in her life in very moving and emotional way which gave some context to what we were about to watch.

Once again CineGuernsey have brought something interesting, thought-provoking and, in this case, funny and entertaining, to Guernsey that we would not normally have the chance to see.

As a follow-up to watching the film, myself and Claire recorded a podcast taking a look at the film and elaborating on Claire’s introduction, taking a brief look at gay cinema:

A shorter version of this review appeared in the Guernsey Press on 30th May 2012:

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Spit Like This – Normalityville Horror

The sleazey glamsters find a new level, and the sound they’ve been searching for, on album number two.

I’ve had a passing interest in the work of Spit Like This for quite a few years, since I spotted an ad for one of their gigs while seeing what was going during a trip to Colchester… it turned out the band were playing the day after I left, but, the images and logos used were enough to grab my attention.

When the band visited Guernsey for Chaos 2010 my interest was piqued and I ordered their debut album We Won’t Hurt You (But We Won’t Go Away) and very much enjoyed that and their gig on our little island.

Since then however, once the ‘they were awesome guys and it was great seeing them live’ novelty had worn off, I haven’t often revisited much of that album save for the ace Sex, Drugs and Heavy Metal and their version of Sweet Transvestite (in which Lord Zion proves he was born to play Frank N Furter, something I’d love to see in a full production of Rocky Horror if I’m honest).

None-the-less I was excited about the prospect of the band’s second full length, Normalityville Horror, for two major reasons: One was that they would be working with legendary producer Chris Tsangerides (who in the past has worked on classics with metal legends such as Judas Priest and King Diamond) and secondly due to the addition to the band of guitarist Rob Riot, who had co-written Sex, Drugs and Heavy Metal with Lord Zion.

Spit Like This at Chaos 2010 – Photo by Tom Girard, courtesy BBC Guernsey

As soon as I’d pressed play on Normalityville Horror though it was clear Spit Like This had moved on in leaps and bounds since their previous recordings.

While the band have clearly retained the spirit which makes them who they are (and is a major part of the Spit Like This brand) here they have added a new depth and thickness to the sound and the songwriting which makes for a much more satisfying record.

Across the album Zion’s lyrics retain their mix of ‘dangerous’ sleaze and tongue in cheek attitude, combined with their ever-present railing against ‘normality’ and standing up for freaks, geeks and outsiders, which fans of this kind of music are, almost without exception.

While in the past the band seemed to trade almost exclusively on the attitude of the frontman (and bassist Vikki Spit), now they really have the music to back it up too, with Rob Riot’s guitars being full on heavy metal but with a twist that left me thinking of something maybe 80% straight up metal and 20% of the sound of bands like The Wildhearts and, if I’m honest, if this album belongs to any instrument (besides the vocals) it is the guitars, seemingly even more so than other rock ‘n’ roll records.

This combination has led to a great record that, while it still probably won’t launch the band into the Top 10, certainly is capable of spreading their music to a wider audience through the infectious sense of sleazy fun that seems to run through the lives and music of the band and some cracking rock songs and, if you want a song that really stands out and acts as a microcosm of the whole album to check out, I’d recommend The Life and Times of The Suicide Kid.

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Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – Maps

A second album this week with a strong connection to the Occupy movement, but that couldn’t really be much different and still be from the world of rock.

I’ve been following the work of Sam Duckworth, aka Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, since around the time of his debut album, Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager in 2006, and that record has been one I’ve gone back to on a regular basis ever since.

I’ve also enjoyed Searching For The Hows and Whys and Get Cape’s self titled album as well as Sam’s solo record The Mannequin, but none had quite lived up to the debut.

I’m happy to say, however, that, while it will take time to see if Maps becomes as long-lived to me as his debut, it is a great album and marks a decided progression in Get Cape’s sound.

The Real McCoy, which opens the record, highlights this sonic development as we are introduced to the off to an electric guitar based almost indie rock version of Get Cape compared to his more acoustic guitar and sequenced drum based work of old.

This track also seems designed to win me over in that with its talk of “smart marks” and carnival fighters it is clearly influenced by Sam’s much professed love of pro-wrestling (and even has a video featuring a pair of pro-wrestlers).

This more overdriven guitar based indie rock style continues to be a part across most of the record, however, there is a lot more besides with the sequenced drums of old and the acoustic guitar still present as well as veering back into more light hip-hop and trip-hop  and electronic inflected sounds.

While in the hands of some mashing up quite as many musical styles would leave an album feeling disjointed throughout this is unmistakably a Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. album as the issues dealt with and the lyrics are just as important to the finished work as the music.

Get Cape at Reading Festival in 2008

Since his first album Get Cape has always looked at both issues of personal identity in the wider world and societal and political concerns. As he has, over the past year, become one of the more involved musicians in the Occupy movement I expected the political and anti-capitalist ideas to come to the fore more here than they did, and I’ll admit I was glad they weren’t so pronounced.

That’s not to say they aren’t there as album closer London’s Burning, Daylight Robbery, The Joy of Stress and Easy (Complicated) do all deal with the anti-capitalist themes, but they all do so in a way which is not hectoring in the way that many ‘protest songs’ are and is generally upbeat, which makes a nice change.

Alongside these are the songs that deal with identity issues and it is clear from these that Get Cape is no longer the Bohemian Teenager of old as his outlook has developed and matured, while not falling into the trap of becoming complacent, which its nice to see in a world where so many musicians are becoming increasingly ‘safe’.

So in the end Maps is a great album that marks, if not a new direction, then a real development for Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly that show great promise for the future as well.

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Teaspoonriverneck album launch feat. The Crowman and Lifejacket

Steve of Teaspoonriverneck – Photo by Tom Girard, courtesy BBC Guernsey

On Saturday 19th May 2012 groove rockers Teaspoonriverneck launched their second full length album (and 5th release over all) with a special show at the Thomas De La Rue.

Alongside the headliners garage-blues-folkster The Crowman put in a set flying solo and hard indie rockers Lifejacket once again showed why they are one of the best up and coming bands on the island.

My review of the show appeared in the Guernsey Press on Saturday 26th May (and can be seen below) and you can see photos through BBC Guernsey.

 

 

 

 

 

I also managed to get a video of The Crowman which you can see here:

And Elliott from Guernsey Gigs got videos of the other bands:

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The Solarflares – that was then… and so is this

The Solarflares produced a great mix of retro and up to date rock ‘n’ roll on this 2000 album.

The release of the new album from Thee Jenerators has got me back into a mood to listen to some garage rock, so I took the opportunity to have a listen to one of the CDs recommended to me by that band’s frontman Mark Le Gallez, That Was Then… And So Is This, by The Solarflares.

Issued by Twist Records in 2000, it was kind of clear what to expect as Twist deals predominantly with retro rock ‘n’ roll spanning garage and mod in particular and in that I was certainly not disappointed.

The three-piece band could easily be lumped in with the “great garage scare” of the early 2000’s which brought us The Hives, The Strokes and (to an extent) The White Stripes, amongst others, but, like the Detroit duo there is something else at work here.

While the mainstays of garage rock are all present and correct, there are fuzzy guitars, swirling organs and driving bass lines there is also an element which clearly grew from the mid to late 80s British indie scene that brought us bands like The Smiths and from which the 90s ‘Britpop’ grew.

This combination of sounds makes for a great listen as we aren’t simply listening to a retread of something that’s been done 100 times before but are presented with something that combines older styles to create something new, and there is more than a hint mod to proceedings as well – at least the sort of mod played by the likes of The Risk.

Alongside the finely crafted indie inflected garage rock sounds of most of the tracks on the album one that really stood out for me was the instrumental number, Angel Interceptor, where the organ really came to fore and presented an at once atmospheric and immensely danceable track.

With a sound that feels like something from the original wave of garage rock of the 1960s, the album is a complete package that presents something for both fans of more modern indie and the more old school garage rock sound.

Personally I’m just a bit disappointed to have only discovered this band now as they split in 2004 and I’m not sure if there music is even still available, still if you can track it down I would heartily recommend giving this album, at least, a listen.

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Ministry – Relapse

The Texan industrial metallers return with a storming album taking on both society and more personal issues.

I will admit to being slightly concerned when I heard the news that Ministry were to be releasing a new album as their most recent efforts (a pair of covers albums) had been at best mixed and at worst painfully dull and their 2008 farewell tour had been an intense and impressive, seemingly, final outing which I didn’t want to be tarnished any further.

So it took me a while to pluck up the courage to give Relapse a listen, but it turns out I needn’t have worried.

In fact on this collection of 10 new songs (and one remix) Al Jourgensen and friends demonstrate a truly renewed vigour matched with all the intensity of old and, possibly, a refocused sense of purpose.

Starting off with a spoken section decrying the commodification of dead rock stars its clear that this album will be more than just the anti-George W rants of Ministry’s final trilogy and that affairs closer to home are also on the agenda for Uncle Al.

As Ghouldiggers continues musically its clear we remain on familiar ground with the heavily processed but precise guitar sound and vicious drums (never sure if they are sequenced or not they are so precise yet vital) backing up Jourgensen’s ranting and raving (in a very good way) vocal assault.

As the album continues Ministry cover topics from war and politics to drug use and anti-capitalism to create something that at once could soundtrack the apocalypse the album claims is heading our way before the end of the year and try to save us from bringing the end of the world on ourselves.

Never one to shy away from anything Al also addresses the issues of his own health (he was technically dead for a good few minutes a couple of years ago) and battles with addiction in very frank terms that certainly add an extra depth than just political ranting.

Relapse is made up of strong songs from start to finish and, in fact, the only track that even slightly lets the side down for me is 99 Percenters, which was released as a single before the album and, while it sounds like it will be a good shout along track live, lacks some of the depth of the rest of the record.

In the end, though a band doing a comeback record after saying they had called it a day is always a slight disappointment (though also often expected), Ministry have returned in fine form and with a strong purpose, which seems to be what Al Jourgensen needs to create his best work, and if this turns out to be the last we see of Ministry it’s a good way to go out.

But, if Ministry continue to make records, it could be the start of a great new chapter for the band.

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BBC Guernsey: Afternoon Show and Wind Down Zone – 18/05/12

For my final shows of the week (and likely for a while in the afternoons at least) on BBC Guernsey I was joined in the studio by local musician Jess Nash as well doing another Mystery Year and of course the Wind Down Zone.

Jess is a member of several musical groups, both classical and folk acts, including The Space Pirates of Rocquaine and The John Wesley Stone as well as having recently written and performed music for a documentary film Hitler’s Island Madness and being one of the people behind the Sark Folk Festival.

And in the Wind Down Zone I featured the likes of Weezer, The Dodge Brothers, Teaspoonriverneck and Supertramp, amongst others.

Afternoon Show – Mystery Year (click to listen)

Wind Down Zone (click to listen)

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BBC Guernsey: Afternoon Show and Wind Down Zone – 17/05/12

Another day on the air at BBC Guernsey sitting in the afternoon and for the evening Wind Down Zone.

On Thursday I was joined by Nic De Lisle from CineGuernsey, a group who screen slightly more alternative films on the island and have their first screenings coming up in the next week with Weekend and Voyage To The Moon.

And the Wind Down Zone featured music from the likes of Ginger Wildheart, Sigur Ros, The Recks and Jersey Bob.

Afternoon Show (Mystery Year) – click to listen

Wind Down Zone – click to listen

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BBC Guernsey: Afternoon Show and Wind Down Zone – 16/05/12

Another day back on the steam-driven wireless at BBC Guernsey and today I was joined by Phil Capper from the Guernsey Folk Club to talk about his life in music and the club.

We also did a search looking for famous ships that have visited the islands over the years and of course had a Mystery Year.

Later in the day there was also the Wind Down Zone which featured music from The Beatles, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. and Mick Le Huray, amongst others.

Afternoon Show (Mystery Year) – click to listen

Wind Down Zone – click to listen

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