Monday, March 25, 2019

The Domestics @ The Festing

Ipswich punk/hardcore outfit The Domestics descend on Pompey next month, headlining a Portsmouth Punk Promotions/Charlie's Big Ray Gun Records promoted night at The Birdcage, and already I'd put money on a raucous circle pit forming during their set. If you like fast, loud and shouty then this gig will definitely be your bag of chips.

The band play the upstairs venue at The Festing on Friday 6th April, with local bands Hack Job and Flybums so far announced as support. For the low low price of £5 you can enjoy an evening of loud guitars, throaty vocals and fast drumming (with the chance of suffering a ringing head the following morning being highly likely).

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Hotel Lux - 'English Disease'

"we're all in the bar drinking Stella Artois, referencing Sartre and Danny Dyer"

It's an oft used phrase, the English Disease, and a cursory rummage on the internet will throw up several meanings, invariably inferring to the country's 1970's status as the "sick man of Europe". The English Disease referenced in Hotel Lux's new single is, however, a louche take on our current woebegone situation.

Though now based in London (and appropriated accordingly by the NME) Hotel Lux will always be a little bit Portsmouth (you only need to check their merchandise to know where they're from); listening to this latest tune reminds me of many nights spent in some of the less salubrious hostelries around here. 

Comparisons to Blur's 1994 take on British culture may be levelled but this is a different beast, it foregoes the cockiness of Phil Daniels' vocal delivery for a casual drawl that uses the pub as a metaphor (with a telling lyric about jukeboxes). It's a casual, ambling, drunken singalong of wonky loveliness, with its slight discordant guitar chime, that says more about modern Britain in three minutes than some of us might be comfortable with. And that's why I'm going to listen to it again...

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Lower Slaughter @ The Loft

Marsh Gibbon. Queen Camel. Lickfold. Curry Mallet. Throop. The English countryside is liberally sprinkled with odd sounding places, quaint hamlets with weird names, that lend themselves easily to naming your new favourite band (though I'll admit Throop does have a bit of a "Brian Pern" feel about it). The Cotswold village of Lower Slaughter, an outpost better known of late as being a no-go area for selling ice cream, might not feature amongst the odder patronymics but, yes, it has indeed named a band.

The musical version of Lower Slaughter are an indie-rock foursome, three quarters of which are based in Brighton (with singer Sinead Young now residing in her home town of Glasgow), who release their second album Some Things Take Work via Newcastle's Box Records later this month. With the new long player imminent the band are taking to the road, stopping off at The Loft in Portsmouth on Friday 5th April.

Support comes from the magnificently monikered You're Smiling Now But We'll All Turn Into Demons, a band who take their name from a comment in documentary about female wrestling (and not, as I previously thought, from a badly translated Anime), Horsefiles and Dad Hair.

Advance tickets are available online from WeGotTickets, priced £7 plus booking fee.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Breakdown 20

In the late Nineties Portsmouth's legendary big beat club night Breakdown brought the joyous sound of breakbeats & loops to the heart of the city. Now, after a gap of nearly two decades, the big beat sound is returning to The Wedgewood Rooms for a one-off celebration, with multiple DJs working their turntable magic across the venue's two rooms.

Breakdown 20 is a celebration of the music that bridged the distance between clubbers and indie kids but it's also a chance to toast the lives of co-founder Carl Edwards, who passed away last year, and DJ Paul ‘Monkey P’ Keeler who died in 2015. Monkey P founded No More Durty Water, a fundraising organisation that works with existing charities to provide safe and sustainable drinking water, and monies raised from Breakdown 20 will go to help both their work and that of local hospice The Rowans.

The line-up for Breakdown 20 includes Simon Heartfield, Mr Foot and George Spence, with resident DJ Jed Nugget spinning a choice set of old school classics and the mighty Plump DJs headlining. 

Breakdown 20 takes place this Friday, 22nd March, with advance tickets priced at £10 (All ages show, under 14s must be accompanied by an adult).

Friday, March 15, 2019

Calamity Cratediggers: Horseflies EP launch

For nearly forty years the brutalist magnificence of the Tricorn Centre dominated the heart of Portsmouth's commercial quarter, a confection of concrete and reinforced steel that stirred opinion, for and against, in all who saw it. In latter years the dank, grey structure looked more like somewhere Rick Deckard would hang out but, in its heyday, the Tricorn was host both to one of the first Virgin Megastores and a venue which the likes of Marc Bolan, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, The Wedding Present and Hothouse Flowers all played.

After years of neglect, and despite the protestations of its architects and the locals that loved its strong presence, the Tricorn was demolished in 2004. However since its destruction the building's legend has grown, becoming the subject of a short documentary, lending its name to an electronica duo and proving to be an inspiration for local artists. Its angular logo features on custom apparel, prints of its likeness have proven popular and now it has inspired the city's newest label, Brutalist Records.

Brutalist are a cassette-only outfit, a format which easily lends itself to DIY releasing despite splitting opinion nearly as much as the architectural oddity that inspired the label's name and logo. The label's initial offering is from Horseflies and to mark its release Brutalist have teamed with local collective Calamity Cratediggers for a launch party at The Birdcage.
Horseflies, if you've not yet encountered them, are a magnificent noise machine that consists of both current and ex-members of Deluxe Flamingos & Attack! Vipers!. The band released Fist, the first track from their new Lucidity EP, earlier this year with the song subsequently getting a spin from Tom Robinson on his BBC Introducing 6Music show.

Joining Horseflies on the bill are recent These Bloody Thieves signings The Howlers, purveyors of alt/desert rock hailing from east London. If you missed seeing them play the Edge of The Wedge in February, or fancy checking them out ahead of their set at this year's Portsmouth Psych Fest, here's your chance.

Rounding out the line-up are local acts Make Them All Smile and the quite magnificently named Dad Hair (finally, a band name that I can aspire to).

Things get real at The Festing on Saturday 23rd March; entrance is £5 OTD, details of advance ticket information are available via the Facebook event page.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Neverman - 'Too Much Waste'

"two up, two down, you're a frown in a gown"

A short stroll from historic Fort Brockhurst, squirrelled away in an industrial estate, is Gosport's premier rehearsal and recording space Quay West Studio. Over the years the folks behind this fine enterprise have welcomed many musicians through its doors and, since becoming involved with the Wickham Festival, have booked bands across that shindig's stages. 

Portsmouth four-piece Neverman have both recorded at Quay West and been booked by them, recently playing one of the studio's curated gigs at Saint John's Church. The band are due back at Quay West soon to record their next single, Spineless, but ahead of that being released I've given their current release a spin.

If you're a fan of melodic alt-rock, particularly that delivered by Scandinavian bands such as Moi Caprice or The Kissaway Trail, then Too Much Waste may well float your boat (or båd as they say in Denmark). The slightly affected vocal, with its faint warble, sings over shimmery guitars and reflects on how life might not run the way you expect it to. Admittedly, on first listen, the rhyming of the verses may grate with their reminders of Brian Molko's worst excesses, but all is forgiven when the wall of guitars and the melodic chorus hits.

For a band that were new to scene last year this bodes well for Neverman's future, and I look forward to hearing the next single, I just hope they kick that rhyming dictionary into touch.

If you want to catch Neverman live they're playing The Edge of The Wedge on Saturday 20th April, supporting Chichester's Dutch Criminal Record, with advance tickets available now via the Wedgewood Rooms website.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Giant Peach @ The Wave Maiden

Indie quartet Giant Peach pay a visit to Southsea next week, headlining the bijou experience that is The Wave Maiden's upstairs stage. The band, who formed in Brighton early last year, released their debut single in June with a party at the city's Hope & Ruin venue (i.e. the place where I've queued in vain outside at every Great Escape I've attended, despite the bouncer's assurances to the contrary). 

Melatonin is a fine shimmery slice of alt-rock, replete with noodly guitar, moody lyrics and a catchy chorus (which, yes, has a bit of an Enjoy The Silence vibe to it) and has a suitably sparse video to accompany it (though I think leaving your bike in a field and wandering off like that is just asking for trouble).

Support comes from Berlin-based foursome Askers Dodge who'll be bringing some brooding alt-rock to the fray. The lyrics, and vocal delivery of frontman Greg Thompson, are reminiscent of a certain Sheffield band, something which the band allude to in their bio, or even that bloke who always arrives late for his own gigs, but these are merely cosmetic similarities; whilst you may pick up musical references at first listen there is a lot more going on here.

Wyse, who recently released their Switch Of My Controller EP, have been added to the line-up of the Friday 22nd March gig, with tickets are available now priced £4 in advance (via WeGotTickets) or £5 OTD. 

Updated 17/03 - Poster and support act added