God Is In The TV: Stockton Weekender – 27th and 28th July 2013

Still sporting Madeleine Hyland’s bright red lippy from when she had kissed him fully on the mouth some seven or eight magnificent songs earlier, Kevin Rowland is now striding back and forth across the stage stretching that remarkable larynx of his436a even further than before as he introduces each individual member of his band. The band is called Dexys and they are blasting out the unforgettable refrain of ‘This Is What She’s Like’ as if it is on permanent repeat and as if their very lives depend upon it. They are bringing the final curtain down on what has been the sheer delight of this year’s Stockton Weekender and you just want this euphoric moment to last forever.

Rising from the ashes of the Stockton Riverside Fringe Festival, the Stockton Weekender is now in its third year of existence. Presented by the Tees Music Alliance, it still holds true to its predecessor’s central tenet of promoting local talent, the first of which to emerge blinking into the Saturday afternoon 048asunshine is Weird Shapes. Teesside’s very own sons catch the modern wind for that new progressive sound, earnest, esoteric and steeped as it is in a strange, mournful nostalgia. Those South Yorkshire heroes and recent Fierce Panda recruits Hey Sholay (pictured left) also trawl through music’s back pages, stopping at the chapters marked psychedelic and pop. Their combination of the two is played out with a huge smile on their face and much more in keeping with the relaxed atmosphere now percolating along the north bank of the River Tees and into the festival’s compact, easily accessible town centre site.

True to the key principles of Tees Music Alliance, Stockton Weekender is all about the creation of music and the sheer joy of experiencing it. Whilst the festival also hosts a Kaleidoscope Kids area, a fun fair and a cabaret tent, it is primarily about music. The two main stages are located at right angles to each other, no more than 50 yards apart, and from the first bars of Shoot The Poet early Saturday afternoon to the very last strains of Dexys late on Sunday night they provide the most wonderful of tag-teams. No sooner has one act finished on the smaller stage, then another ignites on the main stage. And so it goes, for ten consecutive hours on each day; a seamless roster of diverse, quality music drawn from both near and far.

128aWithout even pausing for breath Hey Sholay give way to the very regal sounding King Charles, whose previous connections with those most unlikely of Glastonbury headliners Mumford and Sons not only gives a strong indication of his folk-pop bent but also the extensive reach of the promoters’ recruitment arm. The History of Apple Pie wear a solemnity on their low-fi indie sleeve which is at complete odds with their dainty little name, and their music is then even further contrasted with the full-blooded 246aanthemic charge of those latest pretenders to the stadium crown, Kodaline. What these four Dubliners may lack in originality is clearly proving to be no obstacle in their sustained climb up to those early evening slots and beyond at many a summer festival still to come.

But as Stockton Weekender goes from strength to strength, it is this year’s headlining acts that really do capture the festival’s continuing evolution. Making only their second and what will be their final festival appearance of this English summer, the first of them to show is the revamped Spiritualized. 348aJason Pierce is there, naturally, as is the trusty Doggen, but this year the Spaceman has recruited Kid Millions and Brad Truax to add immediacy to what he has described as the improvised hangover of their songs. An hour spent in the swirling cadence and cascade of their woozy narcoleptic sound is never going to be enough. Given the constraints of time a compromise of sorts has to be reached between band and audience, but it is nonetheless immediacy that they deliver. When taken across the vast landscape of the Spiritualized canon, these recent changes that Pierce has introduced may be relatively small but here tonight there is undoubtedly a fresh energy and meaning about the band. Perhaps not yet fully realized, one new song ‘Let’s Dance’ is still beautifully effecting, the simplicity of its melody embodying the good place in which Pierce now finds both himself and his music. The closing ‘Come Together’ is a fitting climax.

Like Hey Sholay before them, Temples raid the psychedelic vaults, from which they produce a neo-kaleidoscope of sound which is almost pitch perfect for their twilight slot. They, in turn, provide a platform from which Primal Scream can launch their very own Saturday night special. Whereas at Glastonbury they had seemed distant and removed from their audience, 530aatonight they are fully connected. Frontloading the set with the relentless steepling energy of ‘Movin’ On Up’, ‘Jailbird’, ‘Swastika Eyes’ and ‘Shoot Speed Kill Light’, Bobby Gillespie skitters all around the Stockton stage as if on a personal crusade to right any perceived wrongs from Worthy Farm.  He is truly inspired, as are the band, affording themselves the relative luxury of easing through two songs from last album More Light  – ‘River of Pain’ and ‘Goodbye Johnny’ – before careering into the home straight with a quadruple fusillade of ‘I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Had’ (the best song that The Faces never wrote), ‘Loaded’, ‘Country Girl’ (dedicated to all the ladies in the audience) and a triumphant ‘Rocks’.

Picking the local baton back up on Sunday afternoon is Frankie & the Heartstrings. With his lantern-jawed, matinee-idol 105agood looks and commanding stage presence, in Frankie Francis they have the ideal front man and he leads this bunch of likely Wearside lads through a most admirable collection of warm-hearted pop tunes.   Even closer to home are Abel Raise The Cain and they seize their moment in the sun. A powerful atmospheric performance reveals clear and present signs of life on the Teesside music scene. The random and occasionally overwrought art-pop of Dutch Uncles is for the most part obliquely out of step with the occasion, yet their Grace Jones’ cover and Record Store Day release ‘Slave To The Atypical Rhythm’ remains a genuine tour-de-force.

Every festival requires a James Skelly. Taking what may be a permanent sabbatical from his regular duties with The Coral he hooks up with The Intenders, adds the vocal ballast of Niamh and Fiona from The Sundowners, and delivers an honest, no-nonsense 941aappreciation of vintage blues, rock n roll and soul, of which his faithful reading of the Ray Charles’ standard ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’ is a supreme example. Also staying firmly true to and fiercely proud of their musical and national roots are the brothers Reid. Often maligned but never defeated, The Proclaimers are still going strong in a twenty five year career defined by their Scottish accents, matching spectacles and a bucketful of rousing, often politicised folk songs. They play them all tonight – ‘Letter From America’, ‘Let’s Get Married’, ‘Cap In Hand’, ‘Sunshine On Leith’, and the inevitable ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ – and why wouldn’t they? And you just have to love and admire them for it.

Another man who has been no stranger to ridicule in his time is Kevin Rowland. But he stands here tonight, 28 long years after recording the great lost musical treasure that is Don’t Stand Me Down and twelve short months after the release of its belated sequel, the equally magnificent One Day I’m Going To Soar. The band credited with these landmarks may well bear different 353anames – the words Midnight and Runners having been unceremoniously ditched somewhere along the way – but they share not only the same central musical elements of 1960’s English pop, Black Country soul and a resolute Irish heartbeat, but also the same lyrical themes of troubled identity, love, loss and lust. And for one glorious performance on the Riverside in Stockton we get it all. The opening montage of songs from One Day I’m Going To Soar sees Rowland and the glamorous femme-fatale that is Hyland acting out the twisted melodrama of their relationship against the most epic sweep of Dexys’ soulful orchestration.  ‘I Love You (Listen To This)’ swirls with abandoned glee, Rowlands’ once fragile emotional state a seemingly distant memory as he punches the air in delight. And the song that was once “bigger than the band”, ‘Come On Eileen’, is finally exhumed, reincarnated and stretched out into the genuine pop classic it most surely has always been.

As Rowland and his excellent vocal and personal foil Pete Williams leave the stage to rapturous applause and the closing bars of ‘This Is What She’s Like’, the euphoria of Dexys’ performance is tinged with the sadness of knowing that the Stockton Weekender is finally over for another year. Yet amongst this regret is the firm belief that through detailed planning, clear organisation and the maintenance of a careful balance between promoting local and national artists Stockton Weekender has once more delivered the most successful of music festivals.

692a

 

via Simon Godley God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/07/31/stockton-weekender-27th-and-28th-july-2013/

the finest kiss: Midway and Buried in Records- Part 3

The pile is getting a little lighter, but I’m still buried. Welcome to part three of the first ever mid-year round-up of 2013′s best records.
lafemme_cover
La Femme – Psycho Tropical Berlin (Born Bad)

“La Femme are dark wave surfers from Paris that ride waves of synths and guitars into a globally warmed tropical Berlin.This groop has read their share of le Carré spy novels, had their fill of Ventures records, probably have an original pressing of Les Visiteurs Du Soir by Mathématiques Modernes, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they listened to the Intelligence since they share a label with them in La France.”

stream: La Femme – Amour Dans le Motu

courtneys_cover
The Courtneys – The Courtneys (Hockey Dad)

The Courtneys debut album is snotty, adolescent fun that reminds me of Tuscadero, Tacocat and Bratmobile.  The record is full of super melodic and slightly shambolic songs. It’s nothing new under the sun, but it is so consistently good which is something that is somewhat rare under the sun.

stream: The Courtneys – Insufficient Funds

Purrs
The Purrs- The Boy With Astronaut Eyes (Fin)

“The Boy With Astronaut Eyes is the Purrs’ sixth (or seventh) album and it may be their best since The Chemistry That Keeps Us Together. Bassist and songwriter Jima has come up with a great batch of songs that rivals Chemistry’s top shelf stuff. The songs are  dusty, gritty, cosmic and road-ready. They feel like futuristic wild west space tales.”

Legs

Legs – Pass the Ringo (Log Lady)

Oakland band Legs have a melancholy 60′s vibe and they add in an 80′s indie jangle to come up with a winning combination. I have no idea what Pass the Ringo refers to. If it means pass a plate of food that looks like what’s on the cover, no thanks. If it means putting on this record and kranking it up then yes please. Bonus points for writing the companion piece to the Tyde’s Go Ask Yer Dad in their song Go Ask Your Mother.

Stream: Legs – Go Ask Your Mother

MonnneAlone
Monnone Alone – Together At Last (Lost and Lonesome)

“Mark Monnone’s first solo album stays firmly in Lucksmiths territory, good songs, some slightly silly lyrics, a few serious lyrics and a general good time.  He also finds some new inspiration and stretches out a bit to ensure that it doesn’t sound like a total retread.”

stream: Monnone Alone – The Business World

warmsoda
Warm Soda – Someone For You (Castleface)

We knew that Mathew Melton was capable of pop goodness from his previous band Bare Wires, but Warm Soda sees him honing his powers to killer effect. Some For You is like the Raspberries mixed with Teenage Fanclub and King Tuff.  The hits keep coming and coming on this record.

stream: Warm Soda – Jeannie Loves Pop

bigdeal
Big Deal – June Gloom (Mute)

The boy girl duo Big Deal know how to do big pop hooks the same way the boy girl duo Joy Zipper use to do. Crunchy hooks draped with all of the accoutrements of big production that is reminiscent of early 90′s and the work of Butch Vig. Big sounding production more often than not is a mistake, but Big Deal writes songs that beg to sound big.

stream: Big Deal – In Your Car

via the finest kiss http://finestkiss.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/midway-and-buried-in-records-part-3/

God Is In The TV: The Wickerman Festival, 26th & 27th July 2013

The sun was blazing for the majority of the weekend in Dundrennan, near Dumfries, making it the perfect weather to laze around a field with some cold refreshments, take in some live music and soak up the laid-back, family friendly atmosphere that The Wickerman Festival provides. Now in its twelfth year organizers of this years event, their first to sell out, managed to create a festival small enough that it still feels intimate but large enough that it doesn’t feel overcrowded with around 18,000 attendees on site. The site has something for everyone with The Summerisle Stage (main stage) seeing the likes of Primal Scream, Chic, KT Tunstall and Amy McDonald, The Scooter Tent hosting Stiff Little Fingers, The Rezillos and Bombskare, an Accoustic Village complete with spoken word area and even a dedicated childrens area with its very own line-up of entertainment.

My first musical stop was to catch Honeyblood, a female two-piece (Stina Tweeddale guitar/vocals and Shona McVicar drums/vocals) fresh from their recent T in the Park T-Break Stage slot, who despite taking up very little of the actual stage managed to more than fill the Solus Tent with their grunge-tinged rock sound. Songs like Super Rat and soon to be released single Bud showed why their melodic songwriting is quickly earning them fans and with the current resurgence in the grunge sound are definitely ones to watch. Their name pretty much sums up what they offer; honey coated vocals dripped over some crunchy distorted guitar. A stroke of planning genius meant the goNORTH Tent and the Solus Tent were placed directly next to each other and whilst one kitted up, the other was hosting a band which meant for straightforward scheduling. A short hop next door for Plastic Animals saw some more excellent lo-fi scuzz rock. The laid back vocals of Mario Cruzado complimenting the rest of the band. I’m a bit of a sucker for guitarists playing feedback, not just wild screeching but actually controlled, tuneful and deliberate feedback and there were several examples of this in the set. Having just finished their own set next door Honeyblood popped in to enjoy the second half. The Deadline Shakes provided a more pop-rock flavoured soundtrack with banjo and fiddle thrown in for good measure. Joking that their between song chat had been poor and repetitive “Ooh, it’s very hot… bright lights over there, very hot” but in reality the scorching weather was making the heat in the tents incredibly sticky. Adding “this song’s about dancing, do you like dancing? Strip off then”. He probably wasn’t that far off the mark. Highlights were recent debut single Sweeten the Deal and Boy. I nipped in to catch a couple of tracks from Blochestra which is the culmination of a kind of open mic night in Bar Bloc+ in Glasgow. All levels of musical ability are invited to turn up and learn some songs which they play together more like a jam and from what I saw the results are some pretty impressive covers by a ridiculously packed stage. Armed with a venison burger and a fresh chilled pint I headed to the main stage for Dreadzone around 5pm. With the sun still splitting the sky and excellent sound to boot they tore through some old and new tracks providing the perfect start to the evening. A packed hillside saw couples dancing, children dancing with their families and just general good vibes all round as people lapped up the good weather. Woodenbox were a bit of an unexpected highlight for me. Having falling a little bit out of favour when the recorded versions of songs were released, I felt they lacked the energy of the live versions I’d grown to love. Here though they absolutley blew me away. The award for the most energetic set and probably having the most fun onstage over the weekend would easily go them and tracks that I wasn’t too fussed by on the albums had a real kick to them, sounding looser and far more energetic which for me suits their sound. Tracks like opener Besides the Point set the pace and they never slowed up either. Twisted Mile with a somewhat extended trumpet intro was brilliant as well. Another surprise highlight was a guy who goes by the name of MAASK hailing from Holland. Working alone and choosing a laptop, loops and synths as his weapons and more often than not accompanying his own vocal with more of his own vocal there were jaws dropped all around the tent. Dropping a beat-boxed drum, looping it and adding things like trumpet sounds, bass lines and synth bleeps and blips with his voice he covered just about every genre imaginable. His off the wall chat only added to the madness. Clichéd call and response sections were given odd and comically sinister twists such as “When I say hip, you say hop… when I say dry, you say bread… when I say naked, you say children… WHAAAAT?” And his cover of chart dance classic Robin S – Show Me Love needs to be heard to be believed.

I will admit here and now that I was pretty excited to be about to witness Nile Rogers and Chic perform on the main stage and after Nile appeared in his white suit and took photos of the crowd before launcing in to the set I couldn’t have been more impressed with their performance as a whole. Hit after hit flooded from the PA and they were every bit the legendary act you would expect. We were treated to perfect versions of Everybody Dance, Dance Dance Dance (Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah) and I Want Your Love to get things kicked off. A collection of covers of songs which Nile worked on the production for including Diana Ross I’m Comin Up, Sister Sledge We are Family and David Bowie’s Lets Dance graced the middle section and Le Freak and Good Times closed including a stage filled with backstagers invited out to dance. Nile even gave a nod to the tracks sampled history by performing a section of the Sugarhill Gang rap.

Three Blind Wolves closed the goNORTH Tent and were every bit the headline act. With excellent renditions of Parade, Slow Summer Deer and Gold on the Cross already under their belt they played a new song entitled Pickled John which vocalist Ross Clark said is how he sometimes feels about life. “You ever feel like a pickled gherkin?”. The new track had a similar heavy feel to Slow Summer Deer possibly indicative of the direction they’re planning to explore further. Whilst delivering the melting harmonies in Farmer with a Pulse Ross clearly decided the tent was small enough for him to go acapella and belted out his part without a mic from the very edge of the stage. They closed their set with Echo on the Night Train.

In stark contrast to Chic, Fridays main stage headliners Primal Scream were a real let down. I’ve seen and very much enjoyed the band live in various venues and fields many times, over many years but here they seemed to be missing a spark. Bobby Gillespie appeared bored and almost like he was simply going through the motions. Often delivering his lyrics only to retreat to the back of the stage and stare at his shoes. It seemed to take older tracks Loaded and Jailbird to rouse him in to action and saw him dancing around more like his usual stage show. Maybe it was playing after Chic, maybe it was the lack of usual bass player Mani, but for me something was lacking and I don’t think they lived up to their headline slot.

2.30pm on another exceptionally warn and gloriously sunny Sunday saw maths rock band Vasa take to the stage of the Solus Tent. LOUD speed playing, instrumental tracks and something I don’t recall ever seeing live: a six string bass, along with the energy of the band made for a good Sunday wake-up call.

Book Group

 

via Paul Marshall God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/07/30/the-wickerman-festival-26th-27th-july-2013/

Liberal Conspiracy: Tory peer hands anti-Fracking activists huge prize

Lord Howell of Guildford, whose daughter Frances is married to George Osborne, and is an advisor on government energy policy, has handed anti-Fracking campaigners a real gem.

He said in the House of Lords today:

Would you accept that it could be a mistake to think of and discuss fracking in terms of the whole of the United Kingdom in one go?

I mean there obviously are, in beautiful natural areas, worries about not just the drilling and the fracking, which I think are exaggerated, but about the trucks, and the delivery, and the roads, and the disturbance, and those about justified worries.

But there are large and uninhabited and desolate areas. Certainly in part of the North East where there’s plenty of room for fracking, well away from anybody’s residence where we could conduct without any kind of threat to the rural environment.

BOOM!! – as they would say. The headlines write themselves.

I have three points to make.

1) I think the dangers posed to households from Fracking are vastly under-estimated and misunderstood. It can cause huge earthquakes and contaminate the water supply.

2) Osborne has hugely overstated the amount of Shale gas we can extract from British soil, and its resulting benefits. This allows him to avoid investment in cleaner energy and passes the buck to future governments.

3) If I was an anti-Fracking campaigner, I would be fundraising to put up massive billboards across Northern towns with Lord Howell’s quote. Instant victory.

via Sunny Hundal Liberal Conspiracy http://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/07/30/lord-howell-hands-anti-fracking-campaigners-a-huge-prize/

God Is In The TV: Track Of The Day #324: Drenge – Face Like a Skull

 

Sheffield brothers Loveless are Drenge a nihilistic garage band with a brutal sound that pummelling rhythms and face sawing fuzz guitars crawl from the gutter, and  rumble upon living in a no where places in the depths of Northern England with no prospects. Funnily enough they are also happen to be Labour MP Tom Watson’s favourite band!

While their early work showed a rougfh around the edges caustic punkiness witness ‘Backwater‘ their new single ‘Fake Like a Skull’ refines their work slightly, with more than a whiff of early QOTSA‘s about this stuttering spitfire drum beat and slicing post punk guitars. Whilst the Melvins-esque  sneer clambers over the top and is ready for battle, it shows that Drenge have a healthy sense of progression in their formidable artilllary.

Drenge are just the kind of band we most desperately need in a music scene strewen with the wreckage of over hype and apathy and a society mired in  austerity and recession and vanquished hopes of young people. Drenge are firing off rollickingly powerful tunes that wear their hearts on their chests!

via Bill Cummings God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/07/30/track-of-the-day-drenge-face-like-a-skull/

Rocksucker: The best of this week’s singles: Gulp, of Montreal, Shy FX and more!

Rocksucker

Featuring reviews of Gulp, of Montreal, Shy FX feat. Liam Bailey, Kings of the City, Bridie Jackson & The Arbour, Straw Bear and Clean Bandit

The best of this week’s singles: Gulp, of Montreal, Shy FX and more! appeared first on Rocksucker. Visit Rocksucker for more music news, reviews and interviews.

via Rocksucker http://rocksucker.co.uk/2013/07/the-best-of-this-weeks-singles-gulp-of-montreal-shy-fx-and-more.html

Liberal Conspiracy: BBC Trust admits a key programme on Welfare State was biased

The BBC Trust has ruled that the programme ‘The Future of the Welfare State’, broadcast in October 2011, breached its rules on impartiality and accuracy.

The programme was a key BBC production that was presented by John Humphrys and explored the issue from a partisan view that claimed there was a ‘benefits dependency culture’ and an ‘age of entitlement’.

The BBC Trust considered an appeal brought by Child Poverty Action Group and an unidentified individual complainant – ‘complainant A’.

The Trust concluded:

That the absence of sufficient complementary statistical information to underpin contributors’ accounts, viewers were left unable to reach an informed opinion and the Accuracy guidelines had been breached.”

That, as both issues [the lack of context on the benefits bill and the failure to provide information on the number of job seekers] are central to the viewers’ understanding of the key issues discussed in the programme, and because this was a controversial issue which was also a major matter within the meaning of the Editorial Guidelines, the failure of accuracy had also led to a breach of impartiality.

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:

This programme, like too many media stories, failed the public by swallowing wholesale the evidence-free myth of a ‘dependency culture’ in which unemployment and rising benefit spending is the fault of the unemployed.

The reality needs to be reported that only 3% of welfare expenditure goes on Jobseekers Allowance, and that aside from the direct effects of the recession, social security expenditure on working age benefits has not increased has a proportion of GDP in recent years.

CPAG first submitted its complaint in November 2011 and has been pursuing it through the different stages of the BBC’s complaints process.

They pointed out that:

– the programme didn’t bother with opposing views and relevant factual information, leading to the mischaracterisation of benefit claimants interviewed by John Humphrys as ‘victims of the benefit system’ despite their own focus on problems such as low pay and the high cost of childcare.

– the failure to include any expert voices from the UK with views opposing the government compounded the inaccuracy

– the programme gave the appearance of presenting the personal views of one of its senior news and current affairs presenters, in contravention of guidelines. This was compounded by an article in the Daily Mail with the headline ‘JOHN HUMPHRYS: How our welfare system has created an age of entitlement

The ruling follows the on air apology made to Shanene Thorpe in August 2012 after a hostile interview as part of a Newsnight report on the government’s programme of welfare reforms that falsely described her as making a lifestyle choice to live off the state.

via Sunny Hundal Liberal Conspiracy http://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/07/30/bbc-trust-admits-a-key-programme-on-welfare-state-was-biased/