With kind thanks to the Edinburgh based company Beer52*, we are going to bring you a regular, monthly review of some fine guest ales from across the UK, Europe and beyond. The dedicated team up there source these beverages from far and wide from a selected range of micro-breweries. They offer a monthly, quarterly or yearly membership, for what I believe to be a very reasonably price and for that you'll receive a box of eight different craft ales, delivered for free to your door. Ours took just two days to arrive in November and we couldn't wait to see what was inside. They are pre selected and boxed up by Beer52 so you'll always be in for a surprise, and judging by last months delivery which we'll go into detail about below, these are not mediocre, run of the mill beers.
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Monday, 8 December 2014
|(Photo - Tina Korhonen)|
I’ve always been a fan of instrumentals, call it a guilty pleasure if you like but they’ve consistently found their way into my playlists over the years, and from such a wide variety of genres too, progressive rock, jazz, classical not to mention a stack of techno….sometimes vocals just get in the way. So with that in mind, Mexican classical guitar pairing Rodrigo Y Gabriela’s visit to Leeds, the first of seven live UK dates on the back of their latest album release ‘9 Dead Alive’, was always likely to pique my interest, particularly with their heavy metal overtones. The duo’s profile has never been higher either, the current album is grazing the US Top 20, their stint at this summer’s Glastonbury Festival was extremely well received, all evident tonight as the O2 is packed out on both levels and must be pretty close to sold out.
Thursday, 4 December 2014
When they burst onto the scene with the ‘We The Working Class’ EP earlier this year, Seán Grant and the Wolfgang looked all set to follow the likes of Frank Turner along the conscious-punk-folk pathway to success. Now they’re back, telling stories of WWII on new EP ‘War Machines’, and they’re pushing on, although at more of a stumble than a sprint.
Sunday, 30 November 2014
Sunday, 23 November 2014
Through the sheer power and raw emotion music brings, you can often sense an overwhelming connection with a band. One that runs way deeper than simply just being a fan of their music. Like you're part of the same world, reacting against the same things you detest, or finding joy in the areas (music or otherwise) where others simply don't. Perhaps you've never met or may never meet this band personally, yet you know they share the same values you do, find pleasures in the same bands you do. You know they are doing there thing for the love, passion and paralleled reasons that daily motivate yourself.
Muscovite Roman Kalitkin, aka Sounds of Sputnik is one man who clearly benefited from Perestroika during his formative years as a sea of previously frowned upon Western music headed east, waking up his sleepy Russian hometown of Rostov-on-Don. His appetite whetted, developing a taste for that classic British indie guitar sound of the shoegaze era (recently recreated by Real Estate in such fine fashion), he needed no further encouragement, spending the next couple of decades in an assortment of bands before setting up on his own, adopting a moniker that pays homage to one of his motherland’s finest hours.
Friday, 21 November 2014
(Free with Pre Order of 'Searching For Zero')
Canadian hardcore punksters Cancer Bats band are back with album number five ‘Searching for Zero,’ promised for a spring release with a supporting tour as the band enters its second decade of noise creation. Ahead of that ‘Arsenic….’ serves as the teaser track, available free if you pre-order the long player and will surely whet the appetite of ‘Bats fans.
Thursday, 20 November 2014
Before we begin to unravel this two hour extravaganza by Jack White, let's take time to applaud the first guy we see on stage this evening. Ten minutes or so before the band appear, a gentleman from the Detroit mans' crew addresses the crowd to politely ask them to refrain from watching the whole show through their smartphones. Evidently, some still need major surgery to detach them from the damn things, but the majority adhere to the plee and it's a better experience for all concerned. If only this was mandatory at every live event.
Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Wharfe Bank Brewery has recently assembled a new team to build on the company’s success and prepare for the future. Steve Crump the head brewer works alongside Tyler Kiley, a craft brew specialist, to create innovative beers. Also new to Wharfe Bank are Leigh Linley, probably better known for his beer writing (including the award-winning Great Yorkshire Beer books) who has joined the brewery as general manager, and Mark Evans joins the brewery as sales manager having worked previously with Copper Dragon, Thwaites, Timothy Taylor and Vaux Breweries. This all under Managing director, Martin Kellaway, who set up the brewery in 2010.
It’s a very damp Saturday evening in November with the sound of fireworks in the night air almost palpable. In order to stave off early signs of Seasonal Affected Disorder, tonight I’m at The Wardrobe to check out and chat with the Big Apple’s next great musical hope Public Access TV. The stateside quartet (recently bulked up from their original three piece with the recruitment of Max Peebles) are currently this side of the pond for a short tour playing a combination of gigs, mainly supporting a similarly hot UK prospect, Liverpool’s Circa Waves, plus a couple of headline shows for good measure in London then finishing across the channel in Paris.
Monday, 17 November 2014
London-born and ex Star Wars prop-maker, Elliot Gleave aka Example returned to Nottingham after a near two year absence in a night that perhaps spoke greater volumes than he perhaps intended. His last show, a sell out Capital FM Arena show, this time around was a near sold-out show at Rock City, which whilst a venue steeped in history, arguably maps the electronic artist’s slight fall.
Saturday, 15 November 2014
They say good things come in threes; by the sound of Los Angeles rock band The Bronx’ latest release, three’s certainly a charm. MariachiEl Bronx III stands as the third traditional Mariachi album from the LA-born punk outfit, and it comes with all of the gusto, and none of the shortcomings. By shortcomings I refer to any rumours that claim a punk band can’t play folk – The Bronx have well and truly stamped out such frivolous assertions.
Wednesday, 12 November 2014
Slaves. Not 'The Slaves'. Not 'Slaves UK' or 'We Are Slaves' even. Short and to the point. Every bit like their songs, live and loud in York tonight. They've got their throw-away 2 minute garage-punk songs by the scruff. Throwing them out at rapid pace to the Fibbers crowd who for a post bonfire, gloomy November Sunday night are far from shy of showing the Tunbridge Wells two-some they're appreciation.
Wednesday, 5 November 2014
Jo Mango started out as a Glaswegian folktronica quartet, only for the moniker to be appropriated by the lead singer and primary songwriter in the group, whose output has been sporadic to put it mildly. Transformuration is the 3rd release from the multi-instrumentalist, many moons since her debut recording, perhaps taking a leaf out of her occasional collaborator Vashti Bunyan’s book that less is most definitely more. Throw in further meetings of minds with well-known experimentalists Devendra Banhart and David Byrne and it starts to paint a picture of someone not afraid to take her time getting things right on her own terms….either that or she likes to spend time between albums taking trips to Vega.
Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Tonight’s gig was at the now well established Leeds music venue Belgrave Music Hall. Headliner Zola Jesus was an act I was intrigued to see live having followed her career on and off over the years since 2010’s Stridulum II. I hadn’t actually heard any of the new album so I was going into the gig with no preconceived idea of what to expect.
Monday, 3 November 2014
Flanked by a suitably frightful pumpkin entourage, Nick Mulvey provided Nottingham’s intimate Rescue Rooms no Friday night Halloween frights but rather, placed a further marker down as to his growing stature as a pioneer of an acoustic sound bursting with rhythm, texture and an utterly unrelenting melodic soundscape.
Sunday, 2 November 2014
Oporto is yet another small Leeds venue with ideas above its station yet still manages to pull it off, playing host to a number of stellar gigs, featuring mainly acts on an upward curve. Tonight it’s the turn of surf dudes Sunset Sons, a trio of Brits and an Australian whose paths first crossed at a bar in Hossegor down in the south-west of France. Since that fateful meeting, they’ve traded-in a little wave time for the rock and roll lifestyle, a self-promoted debut ‘Le Surfing’ EP making the Top Ten on the iTunes rock chart earlier in the year.
Thursday, 30 October 2014
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
Coming from Boston, home of the Lemonheads and the Pixies, and based on the evidence of their two recent singles, PVRIS have melody in their pedigree, but, like the Google friendly stylings of their name, this is a version for the digital age. As is the modern way, they've gone from inception to hype in the blink of an eye; from an opening slot on last year's Warped tour to the high praise of the blogosphere in the time it takes most people to decide on a summer holiday destination. Hailed in some quarters as saviours of quality crossover pop; signed to Rise Records and with Blake Harnage of VersaEmerge at the production helm, it seemed unlikely but worth a shot.
Tuesday, 28 October 2014
It's a striking image isn't it, the Northern Monk Brewing Co logo? One I was immediately drawn to when I first laid eyes on it earlier this year, and one that you will be seeing a lot more of from now on. The team behind Northern Monk Brewing Co have a spanking new home in the heart of Leeds from which they will not only brew their range of delicious beers, but have a refectory along with a bottle shop, tap room, events space and a kitchen. Located in Holbeck, this grade II listed building is the only publicly accessible mill in Leeds. As you enjoy their wares, sipping down one of their beautifully brewed beverages from twenty available taps, you can see partial elements of the brewing process through huge glass windows. Your beer literally being brewed before your very eyes! The refectory has been stripped right back to bare brickwork and stone floors giving it a real traditonal Northern feel.
Monday, 27 October 2014
With a queue snaking out of the car park and a palpable excitement in the night air, the build up to tonight's show had an almost magical quality. The Brudenell consistently delivers us special moments; its gig history plotting a course mirroring our own musical adventures. Now with, deservedly, a national, if not international, reputation for bringing us the best new bands before anyone else, it was no surprise that this was the stage for Canadians Alvvays' debut Leeds performance.
Sunday, 26 October 2014
Wow, where do I start with this guy? Now well into his 60s, Daniel Lanois was once the most important record producer on the planet as his CV will bare testament. We’re talking U2’s holy trinity of Unforgettable Fire, Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby, Peter Gabriel’s So and U, not forgetting Robbie Robertson’s gloriously eponymous debut to name but few. Not surprising then that he has a hat-trick of best album Grammy Awards to his name.
What people may not know is that Mr Lanois has forged a career as a solo artist with over a dozen albums in the bag, several of his songs covered by major artists, creating material invariably erring towards the ambient, perfectly illustrated by numerous collaborations with the daddy himself, Brian Eno.
Thursday, 23 October 2014
I first stumbled across the fag end of a belting Eliza and The Bear set earlier this year during Live @ Leeds, the first floor room at Belgrave Music Hall absolutely packed to the rafters producing a quite electric atmosphere. I therefore resolved to give the London based quintet another look given the opportunity so this visit to the Wardrobe is to make sure the earlier performance was no fluke.
Tuesday, 21 October 2014
Antipodean singer songwriter Sean O’Neill swapped the warm open spaces of his native Australia for the cold damp hurly burly of the big smoke a couple of years ago and ‘Visions’, the follow-up release to his ‘Moving in Time’ EP, released down under in 2012, has been inspired by his spell residing in the capital.
Simon Bristoll has been matching high quality musings to music for nearly a handful of albums now, most notably, the rather excellent ‘Ghost Written Confessions’. Three long years have passed since then, including the heady heights if the odd session on BBC Radio. Nevertheless, you wonder whether the creative fires have dimmed, but not a bit of it judging by this fine quartet of tracks on this extended play.
Monday, 20 October 2014
On ‘Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants to Leave’ The Twilight Sad serve up the sonic equivalent of a Scandinavian thriller – bleak and unforgiving yet also utterly captivating. The Scottish band are no strangers to inhabiting the darker hues of the musical spectrum, and on their fourth full-length release their experience shows as they run the gloom-ridden gamut with the poise and elegance their unwavering fan base have come to expect.
Saturday, 11 October 2014
Bad days – we all have them, they’re a fact of life. And the chances are, since you’re reading an EP review on a music blog, that more often than not music is your refuge when the world is against you. Some look to the skullcrushing breakbeats of the Dillinger Escape Plan to batter their bad day into submission, while others let the Chris Martins of this world help them ride it out with a dose of melancholia. But wouldn’t you rather have a sonic embrace take hold of you and tell you that everything is going to be okay? That’s where Dee Sada comes in and, for the record, this is probably the last time you will see her name mentioned anywhere near the Dillinger Escape Plan ever again.
The haunting chords of blues rock band She Keeps Bees’ seventh album Eight Houses are alone beautiful, but combined with the sultry vocals of lead singer Jessica Larrabee, the sound is exquisite. Formed in 2006, the Brooklyn-based outfit is made up of Larrabee and her fellow bandmate and drummer, Andy LaPlant.
Friday, 10 October 2014
With more and more bands forced to take to the road in order to make a living, the bottom having fallen out of the recorded music sales industry for most, the upside is that for those fans of the live music experience, they’re spoiled for choice. The Jim Jones Revue, alas soon to be no more, will never sell out the O2 arena, and if they did it would probably be shite. These guys were born to ply their trade in the more intimate venue where they can strip the paint off the walls with their theatrical garage rock, one part New York Dolls, one part Boomtown Rats, straight out of the Hope and Anchor circa 1975. The crowd at Brudenell tonight are only too aware of these facts, and it’s standing room only from door to stage for one of the quintet’s farewell shows.
Monday, 6 October 2014
Andrew Hozier-Byrne is the man of the moment; with the recent release of his debut EP From Eden taking the world by storm, the Irishman from County Wicklow otherwise known as Hozier is the one to watch. The 24-year-old raised eyebrows with his first hit Take Me to Church, which scorns “the shrine of your lies” and the “poison” of each Sunday Church service; the track is a passionate disavowal of the Catholic Church, yet its potential for controversy has hindered none of Hozier’s success. Carried by his unfaltering vocals, the record has a depth and honesty that is rare in today’s pop culture.
With his debut album ‘All These Nights In Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul’, Lincolnshire-born punk rock troubadour Rob Lynch has taken a leap of faith and scored a perfect ten. Marrying the often disparate disciplines of infectious musicality and genuinely meaningful lyrics with absolute finesse, this acoustic-led record sees Lynch slap his heart down on the table and get his audience singing their lungs out in one fell swoop.
This heavy rocking Yorkshire outfit has made some good friends in fairly high places during their relatively short life. Not only have Black Moth managed to secure the studio services of Bad Seed Jim Sclavunos for the second long player in a row, the artwork for Condemned to Hope has been created by none other than Roger Dean, a celebrated artist famous for a string of album covers for the progressive rock dinosaurs Yes, and their assorted band related spin offs.
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
The weekend saw the return of Wakefield's hugely popular Long Division festival. Over 115 performances stretched over three days and marked the event as the biggest and best to date. Our writer Angi Strafford was at the heart of the event on Saturday....
With it fast becoming the top slice to a summer festival sandwich that starts way back in May with Live at Leeds, this weekend we made the surprisingly short journey to Wakefield for the fourth annual Long Division festival. Comparisons to Live at Leeds, with multiple venues, garish maps and wristband arrangements are easy to draw, but it was time to see how the reputedly more raucous relation of West Yorkshire likes to do things.
Monday, 15 September 2014
One of the biggest growth areas in the post-millennial music scene has been in the folk-rock genre. So many musicians from these shores have taken the lead from their stateside alt-country counterparts, increasingly influenced by the earthier side of their homeland’s recent musical history, culminating in a journey to a more back to basics sound initially pioneered by the likes of Nick Drake. Trouble is, these days you’ve really got to be on the money to stand out from the crowd, as to the uninitiated, you can’t see the wood for the trees….or the acoustic guitars…..or the beards.
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
Serendipitous fortune has been the basis of many a beautiful musical friendship. Immigrant Union are the fruit of a chance encounter in 2004 between former Dandy Warhol drummer Brent DeBoer and singer Bob Harrow, ex of Lazy Sons, in a bar while both were touring with their then bands. The meeting led to a beer fuelled all night jam session which, after the spontaneous trip to the country that followed evolved slowly over the years into fully formed songs. The two added keyboardist Peter Lubulwa to solidify their sound and latterly have been joined by Ben Street and Paddy McGrath-Lester, as well as at various points Courtney Barnett and her Barnetts. The journey culminated in their self titled 2012 debut, a hidden treasure awash with alt-country leanings.
Sunday, 31 August 2014
Not getting fat. Drinking in moderation. Behaving in a civilised manner in public. All things we're reliably told the French are very good at. So, not being a fan of plates piled high with greasy noodles, cartoon character onesies or waking up in a field surrounded by remnants of the copious warm lagers consumed the night before, we got out of Leeds for the festival weekend and headed to the last day of Paris's Rock en Seine.
Friday, 22 August 2014
Wednesday, 20 August 2014
Despite hurricane Bertha's wildest thrashings and attempts to spoil the party, Beacons third consecutive festival overcame all that was thrown at it to provide over 7000 music seekers with its very best event to date...
Three days of music, arts, cherry-picked cream of local food vendors and glorious real ales taking place at the foot of the beautiful backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales. No day was identical thanks to the good old British elements, yet Beacons triumphed in our 'this is how to do a festival' award nomination. We dodged biblical downpours on Friday, basked in the beautiful sunny atmosphere Saturday, and just about came through on points battling the tail end of a hurricane on Sunday...
Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Antipodean thrash-pop outfit DZ Deathrays may only comprise of two members – Shane Parsons on guitar and vocals with Simon Ridley thumping tubs – but they make enough racket for 20. Debut album ‘Bloodstreams’ followed a trio of EPs and was met with rave reviews, if slightly indulgent ones, and two years on they’re back with sophomore release ‘Black Rat’. By all accounts they seem to have grown up, at least as much as any self-labelled thrash-pop duo called DZ Deathrays could – not all that much, then. But thankfully where before they were supping warm tinnies at the park and dodging coppers, now they’ve got their ID and can get tanked at the bar, and ‘Black Rat’ is certainly sporting a deep voice and a hairy chest…
Sunday, 17 August 2014
In 2002, unto the world was born Client; a wonderfully dark electroclash duo that gave us coolly delivered, emotionally sparse synth pop loaded with millenial ennui. Known only as Client A and Client B, their names and faces obscured by clever PR, they were a blank canvas on to which we could project a thousand thoughts, a cutting contrast to the excess and overwrought outpourings of those times.
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
What do you get when you cross a hard working rock band, imminently releasing album number three, with an established local brewery who's ethos is 'Love Beer:Love Music' ? The answer in the case of Leeds' very own Pulled Apart By Horses and Castleford beer producers Revolutions Brewery Company - is... 'BLOOD'. Yes, very soon you will be able to order a pint of 'Blood' and the one liners we could give you are a) endless, and b) probably not very funny. So we won't.
Monday, 4 August 2014
As the son of Dr Winston O’Boogie himself, Sean Lennon has been destined for a lifelong immersion in music pretty much since his 1975 birth in New York to Yoko Ono and a Liverpudlian called John. But just as Nigel Clough’s Sheffield United will never rival Brian’s Nottingham Forest, in the 16 years since Sean’s debut ‘Into The Sun’ hit the shelves, you might have noticed that there has been not a whisper of a second coming of the Beatles, or any real mainstream recognition that the talent which coursed through every fibre of John’s being had found its way to his offspring. While ‘Midnight Sun’ is in no danger of eclipsing ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, it is a glowing example of just how wrong we’ve been to overlook Lennon Jr.…
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
The swinging blues and lulling acoustics of New-Jersey-native Jonah Tolchin’s upcoming LP Clover Lane are a far cry from his self-confessed “rebellious” childhood. Or are they? They can hardly be described as head banging, guitar smashing music, but Jonah’s mellow blues are armed with a rugged edge. Having lived a tumultuous youth as a high school drop-out and criminal law-breaker, Tolchin found himself in a whirlwind depression. Turning to music as an outlet, it was the blues of Mississippi that granted the youngster the ultimate solace. Blues masters Buddy Guy and Freddie King became heroes for Tolchin, and hints of their slow rolling style seeps through his own take on the genre.
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
More than two thousand miles separate Toronto from the SoCal coast, but its pop culture influence still saturates every millimetre of this self-titled debut from T.O. quintet Alvvays. Produced by Canada’s indie sweetheart Chad VanGaalen in Calgary and mixed by John Agnello, it’s an altogether prettier sound than one would expect with those two at the helm, dripping with stolen glances and sunsets set to irresistible melody.
Monday, 14 July 2014
For once, the North West has come up trumps with some idyllic summery weather. Manchester is basking in glorious sunshine and this superb venue - Castlefield Arena (aka Castlefield Bowl) - plays perfect host for this eagerly awaited appearance by the legendary Pixies. This will be no nostalgic trip down memory lane just to line the pockets either. Pixies have come roaring back with their first new material in 23 years. Having lost one, dismissed one, then gained a new bassist and now finding themselves headlining festivals to help soothe the pain of their loyal army of world-wide fans who have missed them so much.
Thursday, 10 July 2014
Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Soaked in mixtape nostalgia and bleached by Cali sun, Everything Infinite is the forthcoming album of Australian dream-pop duo Wunder Wunder. Producers Aaron Shanahan and Benjamin Plant collaborate on their debut record not only with each other, but with the changing tides of Los Angeles suburban dreamscape. Having abandoned their native Melbourne, Australia, the pair’s contentment with palm tree littered skies and idyllic horizons bleeds through much of their music; Wunder Wunder explores LA summer life with fresh eyes.
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Having missed their 2012 debut EP, and knowing only that one of them used to be in the Super Furry Animals, of whom I’ve never been the biggest fan, I was prepared to be underwhelmed by this release by Gulp. Whilst I’m sure the SFA connection will draw in some listeners, for me it was almost enough to put me off. Almost. Thankfully I rarely listen to myself; otherwise I would have missed on the most intriguing releases of the year so far...
Sunday, 6 July 2014
Merril Garbus and her playful, brightly dressed and colourfuly painted crew certainly appear to share quite the love affair with Leeds, as they wow us with their African/Haitian rhythms and wonky pop/folk-esque tribal delights. The lengthy applause and fanatical cheering that greets the end of each and every song by Tuneyards tonight is akin to that usually reserved for a band disappearing off stage for the final time. Although, the Cockpit periodically throw Merril off track with a bit of polite heckling. Her beaming smile breaking into fits of laughter at a few timely shouts from the crowd. Though a young lady's request of marriage is met with a firm 'er...no!'.