Friday, 28 August 2009

Broken Records – Queens Hall, Edinburgh – 17th August 2009

Local rock band Broken Records were performing at Edinburgh’s Queens Hall as part of the Edge Festival and even before we got inside the venue you could feel the buzz surrounding these guys from the large crowd gathered outside.

Supporting Broken Records was Glasgow band, My Latest Novel who combines haunting drum beats with intensely dramatic vocals, which made for an eerily beautiful set.

As Broken Records take to the stage, you can definitely sense that these guys have come a long way, you can see the confidence that the seven-piece outfit have gained since last year’s performance at the cities Liquid rooms.

The impressive assortment of artists and instruments mean Broken Records are unbelievably loud and overwhelming, creating a theatrical experience for the audience.

It has been said that both bands bear a strong Arcade Fire influence, and I would agree. Broken Records maintain a somewhat rustic air about them, sporting casual waistcoats, baggy jumpers and fuzzy, perhaps unintentional beards. They play guitar and drums, but these sounds are bolstered by frequent use of double bass, fiddle and accordion.

The band gave an exciting and energetic performance of a flawless set. Each member of Broken Records displayed formidable talent and their particular method of instrument swapping and hopping allows them to create their own combination of memorable tunes, measured instrumentation and epic, emotional lifts.

ALBUM REVIEW: Arctic Monkeys, Humbug

Considering their previous successes, the third album from Arctic Monkeys had a lot to live up to. Humbug, co produced by Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age, sounds a lot darker and grown up than earlier offerings from the Sheffield quartet.

It seems Homme encouraged the band to venture beyond their usual punky, aggressive impulses. The album kicks off with, My Propeller, guided along by hypnotic guitar and bass riffs, as well as ghostly backing vocals, nothing amazing, just a good song that seems to serve as an extended introduction to the next track.

Crying Lightning, their first single which has been released from the album is a great song, with the building tempo and tension finding release during the driving, catchy chorus. The band’s twisty-turny riffing is supremely honed on Dangerous Animals and Potion Approaching, the closest approximation to the old Arctic Monkeys.

If there’s to be one let down track on the album then its Fire and the Thud, even with the sultry Alison Mosshart’s backing vocals it’s a bit lacklustre and boring.

Cornerstone is great from the start, blending the evocative keyboards and soaring arrangements with Turner’s cheeky lyrics it’s light-hearted, chilled and a definite hit. This is followed by Dance Little Liar which is another great song, dark and low, builds up nicely to its conclusion with machine gun like guitar riffs from Turner and Jamie Cook.

The rapid, fiery tempo-changes of Pretty Visitors are nothing short of exhilarating. The album concludes on an eerie, sinister note with the dark, twisted song, Jewellers Hands.

Humbug is an unpredictable but mesmerising album that sees Arctic Monkeys being pulled in quite a few musical directions but also sees them return with their most thought-provoking, intelligent release to date.

Track listing:

1. My Propeller
2. Crying Lightning
3. Dangerous Animals
4. Secret Door
5. Potion Approaching
6. Fire & The Thud
7. Cornerstone
8. Dance Little Liar
9. Pretty Visitors
10. The Jeweller's Hands

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Nominations for MOBO Awards Announced

This year’s MOBO Awards are set to take place in Scotland for the first time and organisers have revealed the full list of nominations.

Traditionally held in London, MOBO celebrates music of black origin. The ceremony itself takes place on the 30th of September.

Tinchy Stryder, Dizzee Rascal, N-Dubz and Chipmunk lead the way with the most nominations this year.

The full nominations are:

Alesha Dixon / Bashy / Beverley Knight / Chipmunk / Dizzee Rascal / DJ Ironic / Donae’o / Mr. Hudson / N-Dubz / Tinchy Stryder

Alexandra Burke / Jade Ewen / JLS / Laura Izibor / Master Shortie

Beverley Knight / Ciara / Jeremih / Keri Hilson / Lemar

Chipmunk / Dizzee Rascal / Drake / Eminem / Kanye West

'Bonkers' - Dizzee Rascal / 'Boy Does Nothing' - Alesha Dixon / 'Diamond Rings' - Chipmunk ft. Emeli Sande / 'Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)' – Beyonce / 'Supernova' - Mr. Hudson ft. Kanye West

Akon / Beyonce / Ciara / Drake / Eminem / Jay Z / Kanye West / Keri Hilson / Lady Gaga / Mariah Carey

'Beat Again' – JLS / 'Diamond Rings' - Chipmunk ft. Emeli Sande / 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes' - K.I.G. Family / 'Number One' - Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz / 'Strong Again' - N-Dubz

'808s and Heartbreaks' - Kanye West / 'Catch 22' - Tinchy Stryder / 'Catch Me If You Can' – Bashy / 'I Am? Sasha Fierce' - Beyonce / 'Uncle B' - N-Dubz

Movado / Sean Paul / Serani / Tarrus Riley / Vybz Kartel

Diana Krall / Herbie Hancock / Madeleine Peyroux / Melody Gardot / Yolanda Brown

Amadou and Mariam / Baaba Maal / Eidee / Femi Kuti / K’Naan / Lira / Mujava / Nneka / Oumou Sangare / Salif Kelta

Desire to Worship God / Kiki Sheard / Mary Mary / New Direction / Crew

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Flag Ban at Reading and Leeds Festivals

Organisers of the Reading and Leeds Festivals have confirmed that they are banning music fans from taking flags into the arenas at this years events. They have said flags will not be allowed in as they block the view of other people in the crowd.

The official websites for both festivals state: "No flags will be allowed into the arena. They restrict the view of people behind."

Melvin Benn, who runs both festivals, has said "The people behind them - not immediately behind them, but 20 or 30 rows behind them, can't see.”

Flags have been a festival tradition for the past couple of decades, but seemed to reach critical mass at this year's Glastonbury, particularly during Bruce Springsteen's headlining set.

Other changes for 2009 at both festivals include no on-site box office at the event itself, and no ticket collection point, as both events sold out weeks ago.

There is also a ban on aerosols over 100ml and gas canisters. Organisers also suggest that young-looking over-18s wear a wristband to prove they are old enough to buy alcohol.

The annual music events, which begin on Friday, will see 150 acts play over three days, including headliners The Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead and Kings of Leon.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

UK Government Details Crackdown on File-Sharers

The government has confirmed it is considering tough new measures to tackle illegal filesharing, possibly even cutting off the internet connections of repeat offenders.

An amendment has been made to the Digital Britain report, which was originally published in June, in order to give stricter punishments to persistent illegal downloader’s.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is understood to have personally intervened to make the penalties for internet pirates more severe, reports BBC News.

People who continually download illegal music and film content could have their internet connections cut off, under the new measures.

Initially, the report gave regulator OFCOM until 2012 to decide whether it was necessary to catch illegal downloader’s. However, a statement from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills released today (August 25) declares that the 2012 date is "too long to wait".

The report states that it should be up to internet service providers (ISPs) to catch and take action against offenders.

However, the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) argued that it shouldn't be within their remit to police the internet, stating that it is "disappointed by the proposal to force ISPs to suspend users' accounts".

Welcoming the move, the chief executive of music industry trade body the BPI, Geoff Taylor, said that digital piracy posed "a real threat to the UK's creative industries". "Today is a step forward that should help the legal digital market to grow for consumers," he said.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Early Bird Tickets On Sale for Liverpool Sound City 2010

Early bird tickets for Liverpool Sound City 2010 have gone on sale. Liverpool Sound City 2010 will take place at various venues around Liverpool from 19th – 22nd May.

Festival wristbands, which allow access to all the shows at the event, are available now, priced at £40. Whereas full delegate tickets, which allow access to the gigs, events and conference, are priced at £100.

Liverpool's own, version of SXSW returns in May 2010. Showcasing local and national talent the festival is a chance for industry insiders, promoters, and tastemakers to sign the next big thing and music lovers to discover their favourite new band.

Various venues around the city's cultural quarter will provide a platform for bands and artists to show off their skills, but there will also be conferences and panels held over the weekend as well as label-hosted nights.

To buy tickets for Liverpool Sound City 2010, click here

Thursday, 20 August 2009

PRS Foundation Offers Electronic Music Grants

The PRS Foundation for New Music is offering funding for musicians or promoters involved in electronic music to help put on live events.

Through its Live Connections funding scheme the organisation is offering grants of up to £5000 to anyone who wants to create a one-off live performance of original electronic music and who have plans for a live performance sometime in 2010.

PRS Foundation co-director Charlotte Ray has said that the scheme was created to encourage people to get their electronic music that they may have on their laptops out to audiences in a live setting.

The scheme is looking for proposals that demonstrate innovation in the live presentation of the music: for instance, in the use of unusual venues, a strong visual presentation or new methods of performing live.

As with all of the foundation’s live music grants, the funding opportunity is offered to collaborative partnerships of musicians and promoters where there is a track record of successfully carrying out an event.

Support is offered towards the costs of staging an event, including assistance on covering musicians’ fees, venue/equipment hire and promotion and marketing. The deadline for applications is Friday October 9.

One of last years successful applications involved live performances at the BFI Southbank in London when electronic music was used to accompany silent films. Birds Eye View received £3,000 from the PRS Foundation, towards their Sound & Silent’s season of live musical commissions to classic silent films that celebrate women in cinema.

You can find out all the information you'll need about PRSF funding schemes, and how to apply via

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Unsigned Band Head Off On Week Long Tour of New York

Up and coming rock band, Vinyl are jetting off on a week long tour of New York, according to today’s Barrhead News.

The unsigned group from Barrhead head off to the Big Apple on Friday (August 21), where they will be performing twice at the prestigious Westcott Theatre.

If that wasn’t enough the rock band will also have the honour of being the first ever British band to perform at the Syracuse Music Festival.

With crowds of up to 10,000 people expected at the annual event playing at the festival will be a dream come true for the currently unsigned band.

Last year Vinyl played in Hong Kong at the International Jam Festival where they were given the prestigious best performance and solo guitarist awards.

Since then they have performed at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Newcastle’s Journal Tyne Theatre, Headlined Glasgow's ABC2 and Barrowlands2.

The unsigned band told the Barrhead News that they hope touring across the pond will lead to further tours around the world.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Pirate Party, Now Officially A UK Political Party

The Pirate Party UK has officially registered with the Electoral Commission, with a mandate to safeguard people’s online privacy, increase freedom of speech and reform copyright and patent laws.

The Pirate party UK was added to the electoral register of political parties in the UK on the 30th of July and is now real British political party. Formally registering allows the party to enter candidates in the next general election.

The Swedish version of the party won a seat in the European Parliament in June 2009 after capturing 7.1% of the votes in Sweden.

New Party leader Andrew Robinson wrote in a blog post:

"Now the party can really start. It's time for us to tell the world that we exist, to recruit members, raise funds and gear up to fight the general election. The officers and web team have built the framework that the party needs to get going, now it's time for you to make things happen," he wrote, before asking people to become members, donate and begin campaigning in their constituency.

"Copyright is not a necessary foundation for artistic and commercial advancement in any age," states their manifesto.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Slight Drop in Illegal Downloads by Young People in UK

According to a survey commissioned by UK Music, the majority of young people in the UK are still downloading music illegally despite the rise of streaming services.

The survey states that 61 per cent of young people still prefer to download music illegally. Last year, the figure stood at 63 per cent.

However, of the 61 per cent that admitted illegally downloading music, 83 per cent of that them also claimed to be doing it on a weekly and sometimes a daily basis.

Over 1800 14-24 year olds from across the UK were questioned for the survey.

Elsewhere, 78 per cent of people said they would not pay for premium streaming services like Spotify. 49 per cent of people who would pay for unlimited streaming would also continue to download illegally, the report states.

Surprisingly the survey also found that of those who admitted to illegally downloading music, 85 per cent said that they would pay up front for an unlimited music download service.

The survey also states that the average computer contains 8159 tracks.

Friday, 7 August 2009

The View to Play Final Show at Dundee's Doghouse, Tonight

Dundee band The View are set to play the venue they call their "home from home" for the final time, tonight (August 7).

The Doghouse Dundee, known for giving up-and-coming acts a chance to showcase their talent, is to close for good following tonight’s gig after being sold by owners, Punch Taverns.

A statement about The Doghouse said that management were not able to come up with enough money to buy the building from owners Punch Taverns.

During the bands early days The View would rehearse, play to fans and practically live in the Brown Street venue.

A farewell gig is being held before staff clear out the building ahead of the closure on Monday. The View will headline the goodbye gig and up-and-coming act The Law will also take to the stage.

The development is a bitter blow to venue manager Sarah Hill, who gathered support from The View and other top local acts to reopen the venue just two months ago.

Two fundraising concerts described by Sarah as the venue's 'last fight' were headlined by Dundee's most famous sons and successfully raised enough money to reopen its doors after a two month hiatus.

The View bassist Kieren Webster said the band are "gutted" the venue is closing, though he hoped it would not be the end for The Doghouse.

He said: "We have faith that it is not the end and we are gonna make sure we give it a right royal send-off, and while everyone is saying goodbye to one era, hopefully we will be saying hello to the next."

Venue manager Sarah Hill echoed Webster's hopes for the future, stating that a new venue is in the pipeline. She said: "Further discussions will be taking place, but I think we may have the new venue available to us to move in and reopen in around a month's time. It seems the only right thing to do, as allowing doors to close forever is not an option.

"I think we are much more than just a music venue to the local community, and hopefully we will continue to be so for many years to come. Watch this space."

Unsigned Acts to Open V Festivals

V Festival have announced the winners of 2009 Road to V Competition. The winners were plucked from more than 2,600 hopefuls who entered this years contest.

The two up-and-coming acts will open this year's festivals, joining festival favourites The Killers and Oasis along with a whole host of other bands.

Rock quintet The Last Republic and pop punk act Underline the Sky won this year's contest, after playing sets at Brighton's The Great Escape event in May ahead of The Charlatans and Just Jack, who have mentored this year's entrants.

Underline the Sky will play Chelmsford on Saturday 22nd of August and Stafford on Sunday 23rd of August, with The Last Republic going the opposite way.

V Festival takes place 22nd - 23rd of August at sites in Chelmsford and Staffordshire.

For more information, go to

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Bang Fest is Latest Event to be Cancelled

Organisers of the Suffolk-based Bang Fest have confirmed that the festival has now been cancelled.

The event, due to take place in Suffolk on the 29th to 30th of August, has been cancelled “due to reasons beyond our control” according to promoters.

They explain in a statement, “Sadly due to reasons beyond our control Bang Fest cannot take place this year. This is an extremely frustrating situation since we have our licence and the support has been so strong. We apologise for any inconvenience and will fully refund ticket holders.”

The festival has promised three arenas of “raving fun in the great British countryside” for the price of £45.

To make up for the cancellation, they will be hosting a free club night in London on Friday 28th August featuring Altern-8 and Luke Vibert.

The replacement event called Bang Face 69 will take place at The Arches venue in Southwark.

Ticketholders for the original Bang Fest will be fully refunded. For more information, go to