PREVIEW: Yorfest, Knavesmire, York – 26th September 2015

‘Yorkshire bands, for Yorkshire people, in a Yorkshire venue’ is the motto for this new one-day music festival.

With headliners Pigeon Detectives ending the evening and supported by the likes of Sunshine Underground, Apollo Junction and The Sherlocks, it will be a case of showcasing just some of the best Yorkshire music scene in current times.

Yorfest 2015

Yorfest 2015

Now the music itself starts at 1.00pm with the infectious indie music of The Black Lagoons. We know the talents of the previously mentioned acts, however there is a range of different artists and bands gracing the Knavesmire throughout the day.

So, any other personal recommendations? Looking at the line-up, Alvarez Kings and Stop Drop Robot are definitely worth a listen. Alvarez Kings are undeniably catchy to listen to. If you’re not dancing by the end of the set, then… Well it’s simple, you will be dancing by the end of the set. Stop Drop Robot literally throw everything into their music. Electro/Synth Rock with raw and gritty vocals? I’m not really sure I can describe them. I just know that they will  definitely make you listen.

With The historic city of York as the backdrop, and with predicted weather of a balmy September day, a great day of music celebrating God’s own country.

Further line-up details and information can be found on www.yorfest.com

BAND FEATURE – Those Delta Wolves

Those Delta Wolves. How to describe them? You may be best just listening.

Can you imagine a ‘Blue-sy, Punk Rock ‘n’ roll’ style band’. With a bit of Grunge as an added measure? Nope, I can’t even. Until I listened that is. Then it all makes sense. Plenty of guitars and raw vocals it’s taking the best parts of these genres across the decades and creating a fresh outlook with them. ‘Yellow King’ and ‘Hide and Seek’ are definitely a couple of the recommended songs available on the band’s ReverbNation page 

Those Delta Wolves (C) Facebook page

Those Delta Wolves (C) Facebook page

A part of Oxjam Leeds Takeover on October 17th 2015 will present Those Delta Wolves with yet another opportunity to showcase their music to new listeners. Along with their single launch at 360 Club, Leeds on 31st October 2015, it’s a busy few months for Those Delta Wolves.

Without major financial backing it can be a struggle for a band trying to release the 1st album. This is why I love Kickstarter. It provides fans with the opportunity to invest in a band directly. Like a pledge. This is what Those Delta Wolves have decided to do for their first album release.

Any amount small or large is welcomed and in return as a fan, you can receive as a thank you some exclusive memorabilia depending on the amount ‘pledged’.

Go on. Listen to the music above and help HERE. You know you want to

Those Delta Wolves also play Grain Division @ Carpe Diem, Leeds on 19th September 2015 – Free Entry.

Read more about Those Delta Wolves on their Facebook page HERE

PREVIEW Bingley Music Live Festival

When: 4th September – 6th September 2015

Where: Myrtle Park, Bingley.

The progression of Bingley Music Festival since establishing in 2007 is quite frankly astonishing.

Fast-forward to 2015 and it is not only evidenced by the headliners; James, Labrinth, Super Furry Animals, but also at the rate at which the tickets have flown out of the door.

With no many incredible acts gracing the stage this year, it’s hard to select just a few to watch out for. However the beauty of only having the 2 stages makes the decision of who to see a little bit easier. Well, maybe.

Besides the likes of the headliners and Ash, Idlewild, Embrace, Funeral For A Friend and Cast to name a few, here’s a number of other acts to open your ears to;

Apollo Junction – Gracing the Main Stage on Friday afternoon, the Indie/Electro-Pop band will kick-start your weekend with addictive melodies and riffs. Having received national press recognition and more festivals planned in before the summer has officially finished, highly recommend watching these.  ‘Blood on Hands’ = Anthem.

Gallery Circus – There’s a lot of noise that comes out of this identical duo. All good noise too. Chicago to San Francisco and now Newcastle, raucous rock and roll is being brought to Bingley Live Friday afternoon on the Main Stage. ‘Hollywood Drip’ will draw you straight in.

Model Aeroplanes – Guitars and good vocals entwined with a little bit of 90’s Indie. This young band is very impressive. Supporting Twin Atlantic shortly and active on the festival scene throughout this summer, it can only been good things for Model Aeroplanes. ‘Electricity’ will give you a taster of their talent. Discovery Stage on Friday is where to be.

The Black Delta Movement  – Hailing from Hull, a good ol’ guitar ridden rock and roll band is the best way to describe The Black Delta Movement. Saturday afternoon on the Discovery Stage is where you will find this talented group. If you have chance to listen prior to then; check out ‘Sleeping Pill’.

Nothing But Thieves – Some people don’t see (Or should I say hear this). I love the fact that there is a band challenging the vocal talents of Matt Bellamy and combining it with catchy yet sometimes dramatic undertones. ‘Wake Up Call’ is a must listen. Main Stage on Sunday is where they will be at.

The Sherlocks – Unless you have been absent from anything remotely music-related recently, The Sherlocks MUST have appeared on your radar. From Sheffield you know with the city’s history it will only mean good things. The alternative-indie group played a solid set at Leeds/Reading last week and Bingley’s Discovery Stage on Sunday will be another chance to showcase just what they can do. Listen; ‘When I Call Your Name’.

Just a small taster of a truly brilliant line-up this year. With the weather more-a-less holding out what’s not to love about Bingley Music Live this weekend.

Festival Information can be found HERE

Full line up can be found HERE

EP REVIEW – Apollo Junction ‘II’

There’s no doubt about it; Apollo Junction, you could say, are having a pretty damn good 2015.

4th September sees them on the main stage at Bingley Music Live sharing the bill with the likes of James and Cast. Not too shabby at all. This isn’t the start of the festival season for them though. They kick-started their summer of festivals at York’s Apollo Festival (Headlined by Inspiral Carpets and Space), captured the audience at Oakwell Festival (The Feeling, Dodgy) and following their appearance at Bingley, will be playing Yorfest (The Pigeon Detectives) before returning to their home city with Leeds University mid-October.

Apollo Junction image courtesy of facebook.com/ApolloJunction

Apollo Junction image courtesy of facebook.com/ApolloJunction

Interspersed with stints on the radio, local and national press, they have somehow managed to release a new EP.

‘II’ available now, features 4 tracks; ‘I Could Dance With You’, ‘Blood On Hands’, ‘In Your Arms and ‘Woke Up’.

Fancy a bit of Electro/Indie-Pop? ‘I Could Dance With You’ will solve that one for you. A slow solo introduction builds into a head-bopping worthy chorus that once stuck into your head, will not leave (and is far from being a bad thing in doing so!).

‘Blood On Hands’ begins slightly darker and more sinister, with an addictive riff between verse/chorus and vice-versa. I’m no expert but I would release this song as soon as possible, it does need to be heard. Royal Blood crossed with Biffy Clyro and maybe a bit of 3rd album Kaiser Chiefs?

‘In Your Arms’ in contrast slows completely down, but it works. A soothing ‘ballad’ (Kind of) until about 2 minutes in, at which point the song gradually picks up a little bit of temp. The vocals and harmonies on this track are extremely impressive.

‘Woke Up’ returns to a catchy ‘Indie-Pop’ number with yet another lively chorus and melodic bass line. There’s a nice little exchange of vocals and harmonies again towards the conclusion of the song making it an ideal ending.

An impressive EP release from Apollo Junction and following local and national coverage over the last few months, one that has not gone unnoticed

So what’s next for the band? Who knows, however I think a full-length album and tour is probably what most fans are desperate to see.

Apollo Junction ‘II’ is available for a limited time free HERE

The unique animated video for ‘In Your Arms’ can be found  HERE

SONG REVIEWS – ‘Loaded Gun’ and ‘Her’ – The Contravenes

‘Loaded Gun’ and ‘Her’ are songs by indie-rock Leeds band The Contravenes. Full of guitars, percussion and the raw vocal talent of Denny Parker, they’re the style of band you want to discover late afternoon at a music festival. A band and you can tap your feet, nod your head and jump with; but still pay attention to.

The Contravenes

The Contravenes

‘Loaded Gun’, beginning with a lonely guitar riff, soon intensifies, drawing in additional instruments. If you think The Walkmen, crossed with The Libertines, you’re probably on the right lines. Well composed, good old guitar-led rock from a band that can already produce a high quality melody.

What’s nice then is that ‘Her’ is a different style completely. The intensity of the song is stripped completely back, focusing more on the lyrics with a simple percussion in the background and the tones of a guitar accompanying the vocals. Proof if it was ever needed that The Contravenes are versatile in what they do.

Having just played a successful gig at 360 Club with The Vendettas, The Contravenes are playing as a part of the Oxjam Leeds opening event this Saturday 18th July 2015 at The Primrose (Meanwood Road, LS7 2HZ). A free event it’d be foolish not to go check them and the other acts out.

Visit The Contravenes Soundcloud to listen to both tracks https://soundcloud.com/the-contravenes

Music video for ‘Loaded Gun’ can be found https://vimeo.com/115779143

www.facebook.com/thecontravenes

SINGLE REVIEW – The Vendettas ‘Long Island Iced Tea’ – OUT NOW

Revitalising the best of mod-rock, The Vendettas have released a little gem of a song. Just in time for the appearance of the British summertime.

‘Long Island Iced Tea’ brings infectious guitars,  inspired 1960/70’s rock ‘swagger’ and the general attitude that has you rolling the windows down, putting the sunglasses on and driving around in the sunshine.

Cover for 'Long Island Iced Tea' The Vendettas

Cover for ‘Long Island Iced Tea’ The Vendettas

The harmonies are spot on, supporting lead vocalist Luke Holdworth’s gritty, rocky, yet soulful, vocals. You only have to listen to the likes of The Jam and The Who to understand the inspiration for the band.

A great single from a band which we can only expect more from in the near future.

The Vendettas will be playing 360 club in Leeds on 10th July 2015. Hard copies of the single will be available exclusively on this day.

If you’re looking for a present day return to the mod era, but with a twist, The Vendettas are your band.

Find out more about the band and purchase the single digitally on http://www.vendettasofficial.co.uk/

PREVIEW: Lift off for Apollo Festival 2015

When: Saturday 27th June 2015  – 11.00am – 9.00pm

Where: York Sports Club, Shipton Road

Amongst the Leeds Festivals, Glastonbury, Download, Slam Dunk Festivals there has been another festival bubbling under the surface.

Now into its 3rd year, Apollo Festival in York is gradually building. Becoming bolder and bigger as time moves on, it is now citied as the No.1 family festival in York.

This year sees Inspiral Carpets headlining with the additional extra of Rick Witter and Space all topping the bill. Inspiral Carpets, returned to the music scene with the release of a new album in 2014 following a 20 year break. They seem pretty pleased to be headlining too with singer Stephen Holt saying; ‘We’re really please to be playing the Apollo Festival in York. We’re on good form, don’t miss out.’

Known for his performances as a part of Shed Seven, Rick Witter will be providing a DJ set between Space and Inspiral Carpets, as well as running his own stage for the first time at Apollo Festival. Taken from Apollo Festival’s official website Rick said; ‘I went to the festival as a punter last year and had a really good time, so I spoke to the organisers and came up with the idea of an introducing stage. As far as I’m concerned there’s an awful lot of good local talent and if it can be put together, that’s great. The biggest buzz for me will be seeing young bands playing for 20 minutes. It’s what Shed Seven went through and it was hard to find places for us to play.”

Liverpudlian band Space return to the music scene also. Celebrating their 20th anniversary throughout 2014 with a UK tour, expect to revert to the 90’s with hit singles ‘Female of the Species’ and ‘The Ballad of Tom Jones’

 

DSC_9651

Apollo Festival 2014 (C) Yellow Mustang

But it isn’t all about the household names at this festival.

The festival prides itself on giving the opportunity to artists from the Yorkshire region, however not limited to this, who are starting to make an impression on the music industry.

Popular Leeds solo artist Rupert Stroud, Wakefield’s CryBabyCry, Leeds band Apollo Junction as well York’s Hello Operator and Everlate are amongst the line-up. I mean you

do have over 50 acts to choose from so there shouldn’t be any problem finding a musical taste you like.

In fact Access to Music (ATM) have their own stage dedicated to acts who have involvement with the scheme, famous for the likes of Ed Sheeran and Rita Ora in previous years. Beth McCarthy, part of Team Ricky on 2014’s ‘The Voice’ and a past student herself, will be playing the festival also.

Known for their monstrous challenges, Huckleberry’s Diner is the main sponsor this year with plenty of support from local business as well as local breweries such as Ainsty Ales and Timothy Taylors, to name but a few.

Aside from the music, there is plenty to keep the whole of the family occupied for the day. As well as a funfair there is a full day of activities pencilled in to keep the little ones happy. A full schedule of events including creating headbands, paper lanterns and playing the likes of hoopla and tic-tac-toe has been designed to include the children at the festival, making the whole experience enjoyable and safe for the entire family.

The brainchild of Stuart Kelly, perhaps what is most inspiring is the manner in which this festival has come to life. Those behind the festival are doing so voluntarily, juggling their full-time jobs or studies during the day and switching to ‘Apollo Duties’ on evenings and weekends.

In normal circumstances it’s a full-on experience being the Festival Director. However this year has been a particular testing time for Stu. Having recently undergoing shoulder surgery with an extensive recovery time and just welcomed the birth of his 2nd child it’s been even more of an experience this year.

With the summer weather finally breaking through, who needs Glastonbury when you can treat the family to a jam-packed music extravaganza of over 50 artists?

Full line up available on www.apollofestival.co.uk

Tickets start from £5.00 available on www.apollofestival.co.uk

 

PREVIEW Live at Leeds 2015

The sun is shining (Albeit briefly but it will be back!) and I’ve been awake since about 6.30am with a niggling thought.

Just where do I begin my Live at Leeds 2015 journey?

Yes, it’s that day again and genuinely I can truly say this year I am bamboozled. Completely.

I usually ‘go with the flow’ but due to excessive time through unemployment, I thought this time around I would have a little listen to the acts beforehand that I liked the ‘vibe’ of.  Now that has left me stuck.

Do I slope around the corner from Wristband Exchange to Belgrave first for the electro-pop goodness of Polo, fulfil my steps quota to the maximum hitting Oporto for Ireland’s The Riptide Movement or combine amazing food and music at Nation of Shopkeepers for NGOD.

And this is only for the 12.00pm slot. Do not even get me started on the rest of the day.

See, the free city bus used to be my friend for these dilemmas, but I’m not even sure they can plant me in 3 places at once for this situation. Plus squeezing in refreshments breaks (Which is also a big choice game with the delightful street food options now on offer!) makes it all part of the fun.

It’s come a long way since the days of 2007 at approximately £10.00 a ticket, where the venues kind of slotted neatly together and your only food dilemma was if it was wrong to re-visit McDonalds twice in a day (so long as it was a different branch).  We’ve lost The Cockpit, Joseph’s Well and gained more venues, rebranding others.

But that’s the appeal to a festival like this. Planning for a day that never goes to plan and confusing the hell out of non-festival people who obliviously choose to come shopping and cannot understand why town is so busy.

Therefore, I am simply going to list the bands that I would like to see during today (I could post the whole line-up but even I had to cut the list down), and await to see if I see any of them, most of them or simply tear up the line-up and see where I end up.

Or not, because I’ve just changed my mind, again.

I’m sure my dilemmas will continue through the day via Twitter.

@leedsoundslocal

EP REVIEW – THE GRAND – ‘Incapacitated, Ill Fated, and In Love’

You can never have too much of a good thing. Too right. In this instance it’s music; more specifically bands hailing from Wakefield.

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EP Cover

This Friday sees the release of  ‘Incapacitated, Ill-Fated and In Love EP’ by The Grand; a 3-piece alternative outfit who in recent months have received numerous airplay opportunities on BBC Leeds and featured on the Yorkshire Evening Post Postmusic podcast.

Starting the record with the dramatic bassline of ‘Romance is Dead’, gradually building with vocals, percussion and guitars it is immediately a likeable, foot-tapping, melody. This theme continues into through the ‘A City That Loves Me’ (Which also includes the use of what sound like brass instruments, somewhat adding to the uplifting of the song).

With thought-provoking song titles and lyrics which, may I add, are sung so emotively (Think Hamilton Leitheuser ‘strained’) that it makes the listener feel like they are personally being told a story for each song.

This is particularly the case for slower number, ‘Don’t You Hate it When I’m Right’ which personally I feel is one of those songs which needs to be played and heard live. There is such an incredible clash of sounds; deep and sultry bass tones, resulting in a crescendo of instrumental.

The Grand

The Grand

Increasing the pace, The Grand showcase they can produce a mixture of guitar and bass infused dramatic melodies, teamed with strong vocal ability, creating an alternative ‘pop’ sound that is very addictive.

They certainly know how to compose a record as well. Just as ‘Romance is Dead’ led us into the album, the almost haunting ‘Evening Fell, The Curtains Close’ uses and echoing vocal range to build us up before subtly reducing the input before the final guitar pluck is heard.

Tickets are selling fast for the show at Nation of Shopkeepers in Leeds on Friday 24th April.

After listening to the EP, is it any wonder?

The Grand ‘Incapacitated, Ill-Fated and In Love’ is available to pre-order from Friday 24th April 2015. See www.facebook.com/thegrandwakefield for more information.

LIVE REVIEW: American Authors – Brudenell Social Club, 20th November 2014

A music fan born and bred in Leeds, I was ashamed to have never encountered Brudenell Social Club until now, in my mid-twenties.

Tonight sees the arrival of American Authors, a 5-piece from Brooklyn, New York. To date mainly associated with providing the soundtrack to the Toyota Prius advert (‘Best Day of My Life’ in case you are wondering) as well as one of the more identifiable FIFA 2014 songs (‘Hit It’) it is chance for the alternative pop-rock outfit to showcase the rest of their talent in the iconic venue within the depths of Hyde Park, Leeds.

First to hit the stage however is Mike Dignam. An acoustic-led feel-good folk/pop artist. Attracting the predominantly student crowd Mike’s songs tell stories of fun times and relationships – allowing the audience to clap cheer and sing along. A definite music act to watch over the next year.

The break between the acts allows me to look around the venue. A more hexagonal (!) stage area that is sunken down in front of the traditional social club bar and seating. A welcome break from the modern music clubs in the centre and selling ales from £1.99, it is a more traditional setting. The acoustics are wonderful, simply echoing around the room.

American Authors arrive on stage to a mixture of cheers, whistles and screams. Immediately enveloping the entire crowd into clapping, stamping their feet and in some cases jumping (This I noted was not the case for those holding alcoholic beverages)

The moment I regret relying on just my phone camera...

The moment I regret relying on just my phone camera…

Playing through their album ‘Oh what a life’, including the occasional cover (Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ and Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’) frontman Zac Barnett’s energy is endless, evidently proving, should they need to, that they are a band more than capable of producing more than just a couple of ‘soundtrack’ hits.

Naturally humouring the crowd about the English weather (Despite New York sitting under a blanket of snow!) it feels like one big party with friends, a complete carnival atmosphere. The band is quite frankly a delight to watch, genuinely loving what they do, and a breath of fresh air to liven the dank November evening.

Returning to the stage for an encore, the band proceeds to invite the crowd to ‘stick around’ to chat after the gig. This alone restores my faith in the music industry. Since the closure of The Cockpit in Leeds I have been genuinely worried that venues such as Brudenell Social Club, would be forgotten about by artists. However, seeing a band like American Authors tonight with so much passion, leaves hope for the live music scene just yet.