Friday, 30 January 2009

ALBUM REVIEW: Cara Dillon, Hill of Thieves

Hill of Thieves is the fourth album from Irish singer, Cara Dillon; it’s also the first release on Dillon and her husband, Sam Lakeman’s Charcoal label.

Hill of Thieves could very well be the best album of Dillon’s career; she’s kept things simple marking a slight change back to a more acoustic, low-key sound, which allows Dillon’s stunning vocals take centre stage.

Making the album was somewhat a family affair as Dillon’s husband, Sam worked as producer as well as providing most of the guitar, piano and percussion work. Sam’s brother’s Seth and Sean Lakeman also contribute on this beautifully crafted album which contains readings of well-known traditional folk songs.

There’s a real mix on the album with the relaxed sweeping acoustic guitars, gentle whistles and uilleann pipes and crystal clear vocals of the title track to the more urgent, upbeat treatment of tracks like Johnny, Lovely Johnny and Spencer the Rover, driven by Seth Lakeman's guitar, vocals and fiddle work.

Sam’s piano-playing comes to the fore on False, False and sounds so elegant on The Verdant Braes of Skreen. Dillon’s stunning performance on the classic The Parting Glass demonstrates beautifully her genuine emotion on delivery. The Lass of Glenshee is a highlight a truly beautiful song.

Dillon demonstrates perfectly why she is one of the worlds leading folk singers in the closing track Fil, Fil A Run Ó which is sung totally a cappella.

Hill of Thieves is a beautifully crafted album with Cara Dillon’s stunning vocals coupled with superb arrangements.

Track listing
1. The Hill of Thieves
2. Johnny, Lovely Johnny
3. The Parting Glass
4. Spencer the Rover
5. False, False
6. Jimmy Mó Mhíle Stór
7. She Moved Through The Fair
8. P Stands For Paddy/Lament For Johnny
9. The Verdant Braes of Skreen
10. The Lass of Glenshee
11. Fil, Fil A Run Ó

Thursday, 29 January 2009

The Streets Mike Skinner suffers crowdsurfing injury

Mike Skinner of The Streets was left injured following a gig at Cambridge Corn Exchange on Tuesday (January 27), after he hurt himself crowdsurfing.

During the bands set, Skinner dived into the crowd at the 1,800 capacity venue, where one over-excited fan managed to grab a hold of the star's belt and refused to let go, leaving the singer reeling in agony.

The frontman claimed on his MySpace blog that after the crowd carried him around the venue he found himself being punched, scratched and tugged at - so violently, that an old hernia scar opened up.

"Tonight someone held onto my belt so hard that my hernia scar from many years ago opened up to a bright red colour," he wrote.

At first he was treated by St Johns Ambulance crew on site, but when they saw the singer’s injuries they had to call for paramedics to treat him.

When they arrived, the singer was told to cut down on his crowdsurfing and not let fans grab him so much.

He thanked the paramedic personally, writing: "Big up my new friend Darren."

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

New Site Found for Glade Festival 2009

Glastonbury spin-off event, The Glade Festival, organised by Glastonbury stage The Glade has switched to a 'secret location', which allows the event to go ahead this year.

Organisers will reveal the exact location of the new site, near Winchester, to all ticket holders just before the event.

Winner of Best Dance Festival at the UK Festival Awards 2008, The Glade Festival, takes place between Thursday 16th and Sunday 19th of July.

Glade Director, Nick Ladd said "We are really happy with our new home, it's really tailor-made for us - beautiful countryside, an event-friendly council and no neighbours, so we can enjoy dance music as Mother Nature intended - outdoors and loud!"

The Glade is a 10,000 capacity event, known as one of Europe's best underground electronic festivals and will celebrate its 6th birthday in 2009.

Details of this year's line-up will be announced within the next few weeks. For more information go to:

Friday, 23 January 2009

Orange unsignedAct Finals – This Sunday

Two Scottish Acts have reached the finals of TV talent show Orange unsignedAct with Sony Ericsson on Channel 4.

Coatbridge group Hip Parade, Glasgow songwriter Tommy Reilly and Scarlet Harlot’s from Birmingham are all in with a chance of winning a record deal with Universal Music, home to Razorlight, Amy Winehouse and the Kaiser Chiefs to name but a few.

The winner also gets a £60,000 advance, a single released after the series, an album deal and a multi media marketing campaign.

The remaining acts are just three of more than 8,000 hopeful bands and musicians who entered the popular contest, but they are just days away from discovering if they have done enough to win the coveted record deal.
After Tommy Reilly played his song ‘Gimme A Call’ Simon Gavin called his performance "effortlessly brilliant."

Alex James cites 'Girl on the Radio' as Hip Parade's "hit record,"

Scarlet Harlots succeeded in breaking into the final of the competition with their performance of 'A Secret.' Alex James thought it was "cool, cool, cool"

The show kicks off on T4 this Sunday at 1pm and the live results show is at 2.35pm.Voting closes on Sunday, 25th of January at the end of the live show.
To find out how to vote for your favourite act go to

Red Stripe Music Award 2009 – Edinburgh’s Unsigned Talent

Some of Edinburgh’s finest unsigned talent will be performing this Saturday, 24th January at the Red Stripe showcase at Cabaret Voltaire.

Red Stripe Music Award 2009 is offering emerging bands the opportunity to grab the attention of the music industry.

Four bands have beaten more than 1500 UK-wide applicants to compete for the Red Stripe Music Award 2009.

Bands The Debuts, The Fusiliers and Modus as well as singer-songwriter Jennifer Concannon have been confirmed to play at the popular music venue from 7pm until 10pm with free entry for all.

Four piece Edinburgh band, The Debuts are becoming one of the most promising young bands around with their energetic live shows and their synth led indie-rock anthems.

"Brutal Pop" outfit The Fusiliers were recently voted artist of the week by listeners of XFM Scotland and have had extensive radio airplay in the UK and USA.

Five piece combo Modus have a strong following in the UK, US and Japan and are currently receiving regular airplay on XFM and BBC Radio 6

Edinburgh based Irish singer-songwriter Jennifer Concannon plays her own material in some of the city's best acoustic cafes and venues.

The acts are four of the 150 selected to play at 25 regional gigs across the country, with other bands playing in Scottish cities Glasgow and Aberdeen, as well as across England and Wales.

The 20 best bands that are successful in pleasing the crowds and pundits will be considered by a board of industry specialist and music journalists. The final four will play at the Kentish Town Forum in London in May where the winner will be decided by a panel.
For More details go to:

Friday, 16 January 2009

Ninety-Five per cent of Music Downloads, Illegal

A report out today by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has said that ninety-five per cent of music downloaded online is illegal.

The global music trade body said this is its biggest challenge as artists and producers are missing out on payments. IFPI Digital Music Report calls for ISP cooperation to become a reality in 2009.

Internationally, the digital music business saw a sixth year of expansion in 2008 with an estimated growth of 25% and is now worth $3.7bn (£2.5bn) since last year with downloads now accounting for a fifth of all recorded music sales.

In spite of these developments, the music sector is still overshadowed by the huge amount of unlicensed music distributed online. The IFPI, which represents 1,400 companies in 72 countries, estimated more than 40 billion music files were illegally shared in 2008, giving a piracy rate of around 95 per cent.

Single track downloads were up 24 per cent in 2008 to 1.4 billion, with the top-selling digital single, Lil Wayne's Lollipop, selling 9.1 million copies.

2008 saw UK music fans download 110 million single tracks and 10.3 million digital albums, accounting for 7.7% of the market.

Chairman and chief executive of IFPI, John Kennedy said the industry had changed its approach to doing business.

He said: "There is a momentous debate going on about the environment on which our business, and all the people working in it, depends. Governments are beginning to accept that, in the debate over "free content" and engaging ISPs in protecting intellectual property rights, doing nothing is not an option if there is to be a future for commercial digital content."

Executive director of the Open Rights Group, Jim Killock said: "We are worried by the recording industry's desire to clamp down on illicit file sharers.

"We need to see how much better these companies do by getting their services right before governments start pushing drastic and draconian laws forward."

He added: "Growing online sales show the recording industry can win against illicit file sharing.

"If companies go further and offer the same sort of experience as P2P then they will win new revenues, and reduce copyright infringement, which we would welcome."

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Beware of Unauthorised Ticket Agencies

Organisers of the Reading and Leeds Festivals are warning people of unauthorised ticket agencies after becoming aware of bogus ticket-selling websites claiming to be selling tickets for the 2009 event.

Two websites had been selling what they claimed to be tickets to the events, however festival chiefs said the sites had "no access" to the tickets, which are not on sale anywhere yet.Festival Republic, promoters of the events said in their statement “we wish to make it clear that no tickets are currently available for this year’s festival following the appearance of websites claiming to be selling tickets for this year’s event."The sites [claiming to sell tickets] are not official and have no access to tickets for this year's event. Line-up and ticketing details for the event will be announced in due course and Festival Republic advice is, as ever, to only purchase tickets via official links."

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Support ‘Fair Play for Musicians Campaign’

In December, the UK Government announced a change of heart that they accepted that copyright term should be extended.

British Government culture secretary Andy Burnham said in his speech to the Creators' Conference that they have now accepted that the term should be extended in principle and recommended that copyright terms for sound recordings should be extended to 70 years, from the current 50 years, after the release of the recording.

However, this does not fully address the inequity between performers and other creators. Performers get a much shorter copyright term than other creators – composers, authors, lyricists, graphic artists and photographers.

PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd) and others will continue to talk to the Government about extending copyright term to 95 years for performers and producers (the same as the USA and on a par with other creators who get life plus seventy years).

PPL now shifts its focus to Europe where the draft Copyright Term Directive is being debated. They’ve already been talking to some MEP’s (Members of the European Parliament), asking for their support.

If you would like to help further in the Fair Play for Musicians campaign, then you could write to your MEP, urging him/her to vote for the Copyright Term Directive.

To find your MEP go to

Friday, 9 January 2009

Florence And The Machine at BRIT’s Nominations Launch

Hotly-tipped newcomers, Florence And The Machine will perform at The BRIT’s Nominations Launch night at The Roundhouse in London on 20th January before collecting her award live on the Earl's Court stage at The BRIT Awards 2009 with MasterCard on 18th February.

Florence And The Machine is the winner of the Critics' Choice Award with Little Boots and White Lies coming in second and third place respectively in the shortlist.

The 'Critics Choice' Award focuses on new British acts the critics are tipping to break through in 2009. The shortlist and winner has been chosen by a team of experts made up of the music editors of national newspapers, key music and lifestyle magazines and music websites plus the heads of music at major radio and music TV stations. The 'Critics Choice' Award was open to artists signed to a label who are set to release their debut albums in 2009.
Australian teen star Gabriella Cilmi and 'She's So Lovely' hitmakers Scouting For Girls will also be showcasing their talent at the event on the 20th of January.
Presenter Fearne Cotton will reveal the nominees for 13 of this year's awards at the launch night.

Ged Doherty, Chairman of The BRITs Committee commented, "The nominations launch party has firmly established itself as a major night for music in its own right. "It's a great platform for Florence And The Machine to show why she has won the Critics' Choice Award this year, while the presence of Gabriella Cilmi and Scouting For Girls will ensure a vibrant and exciting night for all." This year's BRIT Awards take place on February 18th and will be presented by Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue and 'Gavin and Stacey' actors James Corden and Matthew Horne.