Thursday, 29 April 2010

Slave For You

A very quickie review of last night's gig in Clwb Ifor Bach....

Last night I experienced rock. Tattoo clad, ear wrestling, teeth shaking rock from The Kix, Slaves To Gravity and Black Spiders melted me, and about 200 other gig goers, down to the quick.

Girls who play guitars, The Kix, laid bare punchy covers of ACDC and Jet classics and a number of orginal emo pop tunes, which on the outside may have sounded akin to distorted noise but on closer examination showed potential to win over more than a 50 strong starter crowd.

We were then served a slice of modern rock pie from the Slaves To Gravity menu. Delicious licks of hardrock candied together with songs dripping in abrasive riffs and hip shaking rhythms entertained the undeservedly meagre crowd. Playing hard, despite being in front of a crowd who looked more like they were waitin for their A level exams results than for a rock show to kick in, Slaves To Gravity, completed by Tommy Gleeson on vocals and guitar, Toshi Ogawa on bass, Mark Verney on lead guitar and Jase Bowld on drums, showed their gumption and flare and flagged themselves, with an album due for release this year, as one to watch. Warning: streaming tracks will not prepare you for these boys live but you can do so at

After being warmed up by Tommy and co, Black Spiders came, saw and conquered in Clwb with their anecdotes of Daisy Duke/death-by-Kiss dreams, haunting intros and brain damaging head banging. Mangle this togther with manical expressions frightening enough to send Freddie Kruger into a month of sleepless nights and you'll get close to imagining the situ. What good is a rock without a roll? Not much. But the way the guitarists go so naturally from physically abusing their axes to tenderly stroking it like they are embracing a loved one is surely the bigger question to ask.

All in all, maniacs in guyliner, noir threads and seemingly on the edge of serial homocide were the flavour of the night. My body is yet to recover from the abuse.


Saturday, 24 April 2010

May Day! May Day!

Euurrrgh! The weekend before payday is always rife with unequivocal shitness. Yup, sad times. Silver linings often keep themselves highly camoflaged but this is a silver lining shiny enough to whip a flock of magpies into a highly reflective frenzy.

Cardiff's first weekend of May holds more musical snacks than a Wimbledon picnic.

May 1st sees High Wycombe's Young Guns rock out a matinee show in Clwb Ifor Bach. Armed with brand spanking new material this nigh on sold out Cardiff date is set to be a pre-summer scorcher with new single Sons Of Apathy out now to buy.

If Welsh music is more your bag then I suggest you definitely get yourselves down to Cardiff International Arena on the evening of May 1st for a night of club bangers courtesy of Pontypridd's finest Lostprophets. With support from Kids In Glass Houses, both bands sporting some jazzy new material under their belts and Ian Watkin's unquenchable desire to beat the crap out of 30STM, you're not going to want to miss out on antics from Wales' favourite rock kids.

As if that isn't enough for you, indie beats from melodramatic Melbourne man-band The Temper Trap are playing to a sold out Cardiff Uni Great Hall. The Aussies will be awaiting your already thrice battered frontal lobes, ready to soothe away all the hurt with their electro indie cwtches on May 2nd.

What? You still want more? In one weekend that isn't a festival? Crumbs! Well lucky for you  Cardiff Student's Union is housing an eyeball shaking all dayer, thanks to Grab Promotions and P4 Music. The likes of Pulled Apart By Horses, The Guns and Cardiff newbies Straight Lines act as support for the mighty The Bronx and their marraccas-weilding alter egos Mariachi El Bronx. All on May 2nd.

Think of it as Festival Season warm-up.

Info and ticket deets are below and on the bands' Facebook/Myspace/Twitter/Official Websites and:
Cardiff University Box Office
Ticketline UK (Cardiff)
Spillers Records (Cardiff)
Derricks Records (Swansea)
Diverse Music (Newport)


Thursday, 15 April 2010

Just Play!

Normally the venue of choice for the hundreds of grunge mongers, indie junkies and too-cool-for-school wannabes who pack like sardines in a can on the relatively small upstairs bar/dance floor area every weekend,  Ten Feet Tall was distinctively subdued, although the presence of a sprinkling of cool kids was noted. Tonight, acoustic reigned supreme with four talented young Welsh men taking to the stage with their dulcite tones and melodic chords.

So soothe were the sounds coming from Pete Winters, that it took half of his first song before the audience made their way stage side. Ain't Gonna Sing SLS (no more) was such a track, written a modest 2 days previously about a certain review written about his 'sentimental love songs'. Stringing out tunes like Blueberry ODE and Untitled #2 , Winters had the room eating out of the palm of his hand with his cocktail of RnB/folk/reggae/soul infusions. So inspired by his lyrics was one group of friends that a round of chinese whispers began - surprisingly the song was Chinese Whispers, if you can believe it! Unbelieveably unsigned, it surely cannot be long until this eclectic young soul is snapped up.

Winter without the Williams.

Following proceedings saw Joshua Caole hypnotise everyone of us with his own brand of folk; reflective in parts of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. Pretty bluegrass beats provided the perfect backdrop to the night where communication between onlookers was silent; everything that needed to be said was conveyed with a look, a nod, a smile.

Joshua Caole does his thing.

Third on the bill was Stephen Light providing country affected folk, with essence of rock n roll chucked in for good measure, was all in a night's work for this Caerleon native. And boy, does he make it look easy. For me, Wandering Eyes was the highlight of his set; a song filled with heartbreaking truths and themes many can relate to. Oh, and harmonica. You know, to add extra melancholy to a song already saturated in the tradegy of reality.

Stephen Light. He has a harmonica.

Bill topper Christopher Rees and his beautiful guitar stepped up. Wow. Mixing up rockabilly riffs with tasty 1950's licks, you would be forgiven for thinking he was a child of the foothills of North Carolina. Actually, he's from The Diff. Rees has a truly unique voice that has silky smoothe tones and unequivocal grit in equal measures. Pulling this in with lyrical brilliance and story telling savvy that would send a shudder down Mark Twain's spine has gifted us with one hell of a singer/song writer talent.
THE guitar.

Songs like Bet Your Bottom Dollar and Take My Hand only set in stone the man who stood before us; a man whose guitar is a mere extension of his being. A man who as quickly he can make you dance can leave you dumbfounded. A man who stuck up for the Bird who yelled 'Just play' as he regaled us with the story behind the next song. Christopher Rees' latest album, Devil's Bridge is out now.


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Shakira Hudgens?

Latest pop child to be handed the Princess of Pop 15 minutes is Selena Gomez. This is what you need to know: she looks like Vanessa Hudgens, sounds like Shakira and rips of videos from The White Stripes and, erm, Cheryl Cole. Nicely done, flower.

Here's her cracking video so you can decide for yourself.


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Anywhere But Here

I'm on a small Mayday Parade kick at the mo. I'm relishing the nostalgic teen angst with the Tallahassee quintet's latest rock-pop offering, Anywhere But Here. Showering upon us a tale of modern romance with 1-shy-of-a-dozen 3 minute wonders; inparticular new single Kids In Love and break-up anthem If You Can't Live Without Me, Why Aren't You Dead Yet?.

Angst and melancholy packed lyrics featuring in my personal favourite, Bruised And Scarred: 'Baby what's it like to be in love I don't wanna know', pave the way for the chain of gig bangers with lashings of heart-break depression, hints of hope and a glimmering backbeat, compelling you to form a living room mosh pit.

I'm a fan.

Listen to: Kids In Love, Bruised And Scarred and The End.


Thursday, 8 April 2010

Kids, eh!

Who is emo, poppy and sporting great hair? That's right, it's Mayday Parade and they have made a steamy video for brand spanking new single, Kids In Love. The tune is wicked. The video is controversial. Enjoy it....only if you are over 18. YouTube won't let you otherwise. Seriously.
Click the link here to take a peak. Literally.

You can buy or download their new album, Anywhere But Here, right now! Go on. Do it. I dare you.


Friday, 2 April 2010

An Alternative Fun Tuesday

It's Tuesday night. The weather is cold, wet, dank and dreary. Outside, the queue is gaining momentum with an eclectic arsenal of goths, skaters and indie lads sporting cracking Afros. Inside, I've been having a chat with Canuck emos Moneen. After a session of purse rifling, phone stealing and mulling over the ins and outs of crab-core dancing, everyone heads off to get ready for the show.

As all the bodies made their way inside Clwb Ifor Bach's top floor venue, quench their thirst at the bar - wristband pending ofcourse - and instinctively take places inches away from the stage. Everyone just seems to know what delight awaits them; a delight from across the pond in the shapes of Moneen and South Carolina's Emery.

Watching Moneen take to the stage in such a subdued manner was like standing on the prairie with an invisible hurricane approaching. Cue bold and beefy riffs and thundering drums mixed impeccably with heartbreaking vocals and melodies to brighten your day. Watching Kenny Bridges literally fling himself around the stage and into the front row gives the impression of man on the edge of a mental breakdown. With his quartet of equally as unhinged band of brothers, Erik Hughes (bass and vox), Chris 'Hippy' Hughes (guitar and vox) and Steve Nunnaro (drums), we were served broken guitars, 3-D drums and Afro battles from the word go. Oh, and Steve, aka Max Blaze, plays like Animal from The Muppet Show. That's a good thing. With Hippy heading into the crowd with nothing but his drum and penchant for noise, you've got to remember: What would Max Blaze do?
Feeling more than warm, we take a breather and wet our whistles while waiting for Emery. On they came and brandished their post-hardcore brand of rock in front of our noses like donkeys on Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Massive, monsterous riffs and vocals kicked in and knocked the mob off their feet. The mob are excited and merely inches from Toby Morrell (bass),  Devin Shelton (vocals, guitar and bass), Matt Carter (guitar and vocals) and Josh Head (keyboards and screams) who seem intent on learning some Welsh while they're here. Delvin, with his Gerard Butler arms, hands the mic to a dude in the front row: "Oi Emery! Croeso i Cymru!" Adding, after snatching back the mic "Oi Craig, how's life? Mae Emery yn y band gorau yn byd!" Dave Powell (drums) throws us a thumbs up and a humungous snare intro...WOW!

Keyboardist Josh Head, has hair, dance moves and talent that would make Cheryl Cole true green with envy. Oh, and he doesn't mime. His screams are for real. His moon walking shapes and drum scaling is unpredictable and ten types of brilliant.

In between the irrevocably loud tracks from their anthology, Matt finds himself imparting his guitar shredding genius on the crowd as he figures out 'new ways to play guitar'. Either with the left leg forward, or the right. Right infront of our eyes, a genius and improbable comedian is working his magic adding only to the brilliance of the night's entertainment.

For me, this was one hell of a Fun Tuesday that has my eyeballs shaking to the retina and my frontal lobes branded for life. Lush.


Mum-Rock Ravers

I was hanging out with Sledge at the Moneen and Emery gig in Clwb on Tuesday 30th March. Between sets, and well in any downtime where we could hear more than tinnitus and grinding riffs, the conversation turned from mix tapes to Dad-rock classics to the new genre of Mum-Rock.

Mum-Rock: (muhm-rok) noun Music your Mum listens to. Typically 60's and beyond rife with riffs, often soft electro beats and love lorn lyrics. Quintessential dreamy frontmen a given. Sub genres include Mum-Pop.
Examples of Mum-Rock:
Queen - Danceable, beautiful and talented.
The Beatles - Goodbye, Hello?? They were 60's hotties causing mass hysteria.
Hey Jude!
Beach Boys - 60's to NOW surfer dudes
Free - Paul Rodgers? SWOON!

I feel Free!
INXS - 90's free darlings.
Duran Duran - New romantics, like Danielle Steel but less wordy.
Rolling Stones - Not classically gorgeous but, boy, are they naughty

Pet Shop Boys - The musical, 80's electro-pop version of Gok Wan.
Adam Ant - New wave romantic and 80's, 90's and noughties film star. Whose Mum wouldn't love that?
David Bowie - Androgenous appeal. Married a supermodel.
Genesis - Heavy rock with a soft edge. Perfect for chicks.
Roxy Music - Brian Ferry = Heart throb. Songs = danceable diamonds.
Meatloaf - Bad boy!

T.Rex - Why not?
Elton John - Kleenex rock music
Electric Light Orchestra - dance-pop-rock created by beautiful geniuses.
Wet Wet Wet - in the Mum-Pop sub-genre. Soft, M.O.R. inoffensive pop.

Modern Prog Mum-Rock: Reminds Mum's (well, Suze) of the 60's, 70's and 80's. Not nessercarily fronted by easy-on-the males. Oh, and it doesn't hurt her ears

30 Seconds To Mars - Pretty boys channel 70's, Tangerine Dream esque, slightly strange vibes.
Paramore - The anomaly. Hayley Williams is, infact, a girl. But Suze loves their soft melodies, delicate tunes and club banging beats, so their on the list.
Jimmy Eat World - Catchy and diverse. Excellent Modern Prog Mum-Rock driving anthems.
Stereophonics - Could possibly go in actual Mum-Rock. End of the day, Mum's love Kelly Jones.
Foals - Danceable electro-indie bangers. What's not to like?
The Killers - Brandon Flowers. Mass appeal. Cue huge hysteria.

Mum hearts Guy-Liner!

Well that's the round-up and the highlights of Mum-Rock. Discuss.