Tag Archives: stereoboard

Advent 3 – The Struts

A new favorite of mine this year.  Great live entertainment.  I wrote a review for Stereoboard earlier this Autumn of their gig at Dingwalls, Camden.

Enjoy this little ditty

Loving Mondays

I’ll tell you why I like Mondays.  Its a fresh start.

The weekend has allowed time to mull things over, even if  you are like me and work for half the weekend too, Mondays are still about making the most of what is yet to come for the rest of the week.  Forward planning, putting wrongs to rights, talking to that person you’ve been avoiding for yonks, tackling that dreaded stuff you’ve been putting off for ages, afterall the deadline is tomorrow and then it’s gone – done – dusted – goodbye.

My Monday this week will be about all that, trying to put things into perspective and then bam!  Straight on with the rest of the week.

So, Monday lovers and haters, having just had my review of The Virginmarys gig at Xoyo published on Stereoboard, I am currently writing a review about the Wheatus gig (yes, you may have guessed by now that Monday is actually my day off!  And yes, I have learnt to love Tuesdays too,) I had the joy of attending last week and to get me fired up please join me in a little Teenage Dirtbag, there’s one of those in all of us.  Enjoy.

Long live the fans!

Marshall Ultimate Band Contest 2013

This competition has become a favorite of mine.  In these days of perpetual addiction to social media avenues, we see the market flooded with desperately hopeful young bands.  For new and deserving talent, the contest provides an opportunity to get seen and heard by a wider audience of heavy metal/rock fans.  

As I write, the five finalists selected to battle it out under the scrutinizing eyes of a panel of judges, are probably polishing their performances for the Marshall Ultimate Band Contest 2013 which is due to be held next weekend.

To take part, each entry makes a promotional video which can be seen on the dedicated Marshall UBC site.  The public then vote to decide the top twenty five bands.  These are then whittled down by the judges who must take best performance video and self promotion into consideration.  They finally decide upon just five bands who must play the Marshall Theatre at the HQ in Milton Keynes.  The overall winner receives Marshall endorsement and a most coveted slot at Download Festival.

This year Alexander Milas, Editor of Metal Hammer Magazine will be among the judges with the unenviable task of choosing a winner.  It will be a tense but exciting night as Ravenface, Plastique, Motorfinger, Bad Touch and Balls Deep, play in the headquarters of one of the world’s most famous amplification specialists.  Last year’s winners, States of Panic (formerly Peepshow) will also be showing us how things are done with a small set to take the nervous edge off the proceedings!

I reviewed the Final 2012 for Stereoboard.com last year, merely out of interest and subsequently discovered some new favorite bands, including 2011 winners, Sons of Icarus, who kicked off the Final for us last year.  I recently revisited the Finalists of 2012 (States of Panic, Frantic Alice, Obey, Nakedium and Deligma) and interviewed them all for Stereoboard.com to understand what the Contest meant to them now and at the time.

Here’s the link if you fancy checking it out: http://www.stereoboard.com/content/view/182018/9

Good luck to all the Finalists this year

marshall ubc 2013

Top 3 albums of 2013 so far…

There is nothing like good music for a bit of inspiration and food for the soul.  Like so many writers I get stuck in a rut now and again, pace the kitchen floor, take a walk in the fresh air, pace the kitchen floor again and get to the end of the day with nothing to show for it.  However, music can jolt a concept; a fragmented memory may emerge and together, these present ingredients in a plot or inspire words that can’t be found any other way.  It is food for thought.

Now, we all need our “5 a day” in one way or another but here are my staple top 3 (albums) that I have been inspired by during 2013 so far.  Enjoy.  Indulge.  A little of what you fancy doesn’t hurt!

1. The Virginmarys “King of Conflict”

It is not very often that listening to a new album makes you want to cry, dance and brawl at the same time, but The Virginmarys’ “King of Conflict” does just that.  It is like getting caught in a ruckus that leaves you with a bloody nose, a smile on your face and a rush to the head.

The Macclesfield trio, Ally Dickaty (vocals and guitar), Danny Dolan (drums) and Matt Rose (bass and vocals) have often been compared to Led Zeppelin with a sound that resonates around the late 60s and early 70s.  Mix that up with The Stooges, the Foo Fighters and a smattering of Motorhead meets The Arctic Monkeys and you have one riotous reincarnation of grunge with a bluesy edge.  Lyrically explosive, themes of destructive behaviour, helpless submission and hopeless loves lost, are tightly wound into a helter skelter of toe tapping drums, the grind of raw riffs and gruff northern vocals that sound like Lemmy after gargling mouthwash.

The song that continues to give me goosebumps from this album is “Just A Ride”


I reviewed the complete album for Stereoboard back in February.  The link to the full review is here: http://www.stereoboard.com/content/view/177179/9

2. Tracer “El Pistolero”

Think tequila mouthwash; think dusty boots; think tobacco chewing and think crow’s feet cutting sun squint lines through weathered skin.  This is El Pistolero, the gunslinger, the baddie, the goody, the lover, the fighter, the survivor, the purveyor of death and decay; the vengeance seeker.

El Pistolero is a loosely based concept album following the life of a spaghetti western style gunman.  Far from the Tex Mex cheese and beans you are probably imagining, it is actually an atmospheric serving of grungy groove laden riffs, power drumming and outstanding vocal arrangements alongside thought provoking lyrics.

Tracer are raw.  They are about meaty hooks, ear teasing melodic highs and hair raising attitude.  Yes, there are low lights on here but they are outweighed by the many highlights and this album has got to be one hot soundtrack to any rockers summer.

I wrote these thoughts and more for AltSounds.  Checkout the full review here: http://hangout.altsounds.com/reviews/158961-review-tracer-el-pistolero-album.html

3. Airbourne “Black Dog Barking”


Mixed with engine oil and grit, Airbourne are supposedly the next best thing to AC/DC.  You can shake your disapproving head at their blatant cheek, but despite frequent similarities, they are not really copycats as such.  Airbourne do one thing very well and that is to have you pumping your fist and smiling all the way to the bar.

Although their third album is nothing out of the ordinary, it is, what I expected at least.  It is shiny and raw, with a lightening tempos and a belting climax. Yes, I cannot deny, that if you listen to “Black Dog Barking” until the end, you will feel like you have been standing on top of a mountain facing 100mph winds whilst the roar of a low flying jumbo jet blows your lid off.

I reviewed this album for AltSounds back in May.  The full review is here: http://hangout.altsounds.com/reviews/158962-review-airbourne-black-dog-barking-album.html