Tag Archives: music

Fringe benefits for Ventnor as live performances receive acclaim

THE eleventh annual Ventnor Fringe festival splashed its usual spectrum of eclectic arts onto the town’s landscape last week.

Having first been held in 2010, the event was postponed last year as a result of the pandemic.

Among wide-ranging entertainment on offer, Billy Nomates delighted a sold-out Harbourside crowd on Tuesday night.

The singer’s oft deadpan and unapologetically anarchic eloquence stuck two fingers up at the conformity of routine, invoking the spirit of throwback rebellion-fuelled punk.

Billy NoMates. Credit Chris Drums.

Particular highlights were the explosive No and melodic Emergency Telephone – the latter providing floaty vocals as a juxtaposition to lyrics venomous in undertone.

A breathless, exciting performance from this wonderfully exciting musician received a fully deserved, prolonged ovation from an appreciative audience who braved strong gusts to ensure, in contrast to her name, Billy was on this evening embraced by hundreds of mates.

Comedian Lou Sanders, best known for her live stand-up performances and appearances on a slew on popular television shows such as Taskmaster and QI, performed in the Magpie Tent later on the same evening.

Another sell-out, a circa 45-minute developmental set exhibited the comic’s natural timing, with a predominantly youthful audience enjoying watching the process in action.

Mention of her dating life provided the apex for an unpredictable performance which seemed to fly by.

Comedian Lou Sanders. Photo credit: Ventnor Fringe.

Inevitably with such fresh material, there were occasional flat-liners, although these were heavily outweighed by the seasoned comic timing and spur of the moment observations synonymous with an intoxicating artist.

In particular, Sanders – no relation to former talk show host Larry despite rumours to the contrary – was at her prickly zenith when deviating from the (literal) script in conversation with members of the audience.

There was a further shot of high-profile comedy on Saturday evening, as Ali Woods dusted off his award-winning chops for a stand-up show inside Ventnor Arts Club.

The 2020 Hackney Empire New Act of the Year is a captivating storyteller and has the vital ingredient of being able to gradually pace narrative towards an explosive conclusion.

Woods was a little unfortunate the audience included a handful of children, meaning he was forced to tone down the set slightly and avoid a couple of jokes, and he would benefitted from a larger venue.

Comedian Ali Woods.

Nevertheless, his cocktail of self-deprecating anecdotes, pandemic observations and a thread surrounding mental illness made this arguably the most rewarding comedy performance of the entire week.

Ali told Kureen: “I loved performing at the Ventnor Fringe for the first time! The locals are wonderfully friendly even if they walk a bit slowly.

“I performed in two shows so I think I managed to perform to everyone in the town! I cannot wait to be back — lovely place, lovely people.”

The ratings…

Billy NoMates:
Lou Sanders:
Ali Woods:

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interview with Robin Hill Woodland sessions star Katie Melua

AS PART of Robin Hill’s recent Woodland sessions, Dominic Kureen was given the opportunity to speak to Katie Melua, the Georgia born musician who moved to the UK when she was eight years of age.

Is this your first time on the Isle of Wight?

It is performing wise, but I came to Bestival about a decade ago – it was fabulous and I loved it – and I came to the Island in my late teens and had my first lobster here!

The first time I heard your music was (first album) Call Off The Search, which thrust you into the spotlight, how did you cope with that as such a young age?

I wanted to focus on the music and develop as an artist and musician, but what I’ve found since the emergence of social media is everyone has to deal with some level of fame nowadays to some extent.

I was 19 (when the album was released) and removed some of the responsibility and egoism from it by saying to myself it was the songs people were in love with. That helped me slightly disassociate with it.

You released Album No.8 late last year, it received a positive reception across Europe, what was the inspiration behind it?

It’s the first album I made since parting ways with my long-term collaborator Mike Batt, who was a real mentor to me when I started out.

It was the first time I got into lyric writing quite intensely. Also, it was around that time I ended up divorcing my husband of seven years, so the songs couldn’t not have spoken of that.

I always wonder what songs are capable of and how much they can transform you, and they really did help. It was very healing for both myself and my ex-partner.

I’ve noticed from my own experience that a heightened sense of emotion makes it easier to write, have you experienced similar?

I think when you’re feeling emotional about something it takes over your being, rather than being worried if (the music) is any good.

That lack of choice when you’re immersed in emotion possibly helps the creative process.

I used to see you on panel shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks, but not so much in recent years – was it a conscious effort to step away from them?

I think I did Never Mind the Buzzcocks twice when I was 19 and in my early 20s, but I’d love to do those shows again.

How has the pandemic has affected you personally?

We had to mix my last record virtually and we were going to do a European tour and play the Royal Albert Hall in London which had to be cancelled.

All the promos were done virtually, which meant I got to stay at home and learn to cook and work on my guitar chops which was quite good actually.

I’ve seen you perform over the years with the likes of Jamie Cullum, is there anyone now you’d like to play with?

I’m so honoured to be playing with Simon Goff (at Robin Hill) today. He’s a magnificent artist who comes from a scene in Berlin and has just released a beautiful album (called Vale).

Katie Melua performed at Robin Hill for the first time as part of the Woodland sessions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will you get the chance after the gig to check out Robin Hill again?

I’d love to, we’re leaving tomorrow but I hope to get the chance to take a look around before we head off.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

wet leg earmarked for mainstream success after debut single

 

Wet Leg’s debut single, Chaise Longue, already has more than 35,000 views on YouTube.

A newly formed band has released its cheeky debut single after signing with Domino Records.

Musicians Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers — regularly spotted among Plastic Mermaid alumni — have teamed up to form Wet Leg.

The irreverent duo’s new track, Chaise Longue, dabs at the inner-ear in a manner fit for the love-child of Billy No Mates and a youthful Bob Dylan.

Rejecting the all-singing, all-smiling etiquette synonymous with weekend TV talent shows, Rhian remains virtually deadpan throughout the music video, while Hester’s visage is obscured entirely by an oversized straw hat.

Chaise Longue is the first of a string of releases planned by the band this year, and a promising platform from which to launch.

Hooking, uncluttered and dripping with ironic undertones, Wet Leg’s debut single offers welcome contrast to a glut of painstakingly manicured musos lurking around the mainstream.

The song has been produced by the prolific Jon McMullen and mixed by Alan Moulder — he of Arctic Monkeys, Beach House and Foals fame — while the music video was directed by the band themselves.

Wet Leg, an appealingly peculiar double act, have captured lightning in a bottle. If they can remain authentic, the apex of their ascension is boundless.

The first of a number of live performances is scheduled for Margate on July 10, with a hometown celebration set for the Isle of Wight Festival in September. 

Dates and further information are available online at www.wetlegband.com

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds. No.20: Jazzy Heath.

With a voice spun from pure silk and rainbow dust, Jazzy Heath is one of the best finds on the Isle of Wight music scene in the past few years. She’s also the 20th member of the Creative Minds crew, sitting with Dom Kureen to discuss life, music, veganism and much more besides!

Features two of Jazzy’s tracks: Freedom and My Spirit’s Free.


The Links

Read Jazzy’s food blog

Jazzy’s website

Jazzy’s Friendlyface page

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Festive 15 – music to save lives

Award winning music journalist, Dr Jonathan O’Shea, kindly agreed to share his top 15 tracks of 2015 with Kureen – let us know your thoughts in the comment section below the article. 

Chemical Brothers

The Festive Fifteen, my favourite tracks of the year, has become an accidental annual tradition (I think this is the seventh one) and was initially inspired by John Peel’s Festive 50. Like pointless paper crowns, turkey incineration and being derisive about sprouts, this is one seasonal routine which is set to continue ad infinitum.

Between Christmas and the New Year, I like to pore over the music that’s been pumped into the ether over the past twelve months and somehow make sense of it all by pointlessly ranking it. Then I present it to the world in classic chart countdown style: 15 to 1 (not to be confused with William G Stewart’s bad-ass 90s game show).

So here’s the Festive Fifteen ’15;

15. What Went Down – Foals

Pulsing, persistent beat and increasingly frenzied lyrics from the inappropriately-named indie rockers.

14. Leaving the City – Joanna Newsom

The planet’s most unique and oblique pop-harpist takes a leap into new, questing territory, with a less sparse, more densely developed sound than usual.

13. Mr Noah – Panda Bear

Some pretty weird-ass stuff here, about a dog being bitten on his leg…? Sounds like it was recorded on a demonically distorted hurdy-gurdy in 2048 and sent back in time through a subterranean vortex.

12. Go – Chemical Brothers ft. Q-Tip

Begins amid frantic bongos and slashing light-sabres (honestly); Q-Tip’s muscular rap provides the backbone for a Daft Punk-style synth-a-thon.

11. Go Out Blur

The kind of swaggering anthem Damon & co relentlessly pumped out in their prime.

10. Singularity – New Order

One of the darker tracks from Music Complete focuses on dissatisfaction with everyday inertia and mourns the loss of ex-bandmate Ian Curtis.

9. Tutti Frutti – New Order ft. Elly Jackson

Could easily be filed under ‘90s nostalgia, but a beguiling duet with La Roux’s Elly Jackson elevates this playful track to something more airily uplifting.

8. Detroit – Gaz Coombes

Probably the finest moment of the ex-Supergrass frontman’s solo career. A tale of longing for home while in a distant land: effortlessly melodic, with a soul-stirring arrangement.

7. City – Spring King

Breathless stomper; designed to thrash about in the dark to. Repeat: “Who am I? What does it matter?”

6. Strange Combinations Teleman

Gently insistent and mildly hypnotic stuff. Perhaps the strangest combination here is the electro beat and mild-mannered vocal style, but it works wonderfully.

5. Borders – M.I.A

Controversial subject matter – the refugee crisis and a ‘f*ck the system’ message – delivered in typically laconic style. Sure, it’s a little lyrically banal, but at least she seems to stand for something.

4. Bodies – Farao

Totally irresistible combination of plaintive Scandinavian vocalist and inexorable rhythms.

3. Swords (Matahdatah Scroll 01 “Broader Than A Border”) – M.I.A.

Opens with the rhythmic clashing of swords and a pulsing beat which underpins a culture-clash classic. Check out the genuinely awesome M.I.A-directed double video for this new track and 2013’s ‘Warriors’.

2. Dreams – Beck

Reminiscent of his upbeat ‘Guero’-era danceable demi-anthems, this track – devoted to the restorative power of dreams – is thickly layered with catchy aural confections…it’s surely the funksome highpoint of Beck’s meandering later career.

1. Don’t Breathe Out – Roots Manuva.

soul-stirring sample of portly baritone Barry White’s ‘Honey Please, Can’t Ya See’ forms the unlikely bedrock of this gloriously gospel-tinged track. The Walrus of Love’s slightly sickly love letter morphs into something altogether more mystical and compelling under the spell of Stockwell’s philosophical wordsmith.

Fin.

Written by Jonathan O'Shea

A keen student of sport, music and life. Can generally be found educating small people, bitterly damning Aston Villa's latest attempts at football, or writing nonsense about ephemera.

November Playlist: Music Reviews

Jonathan O’Shea continues his pursuit of musical perfection with November’s instalment of his ever expanding playlist – this one features Weezer, but there isn’t an inhaler in sight…

Don’t Breathe Out – Roots Manuva

A soul-stirring sample of portly baritone Barry White’s ‘Honey Please, Can’t Ya See’ forms the unlikely bedrock of this gloriously gospel-tinged track. The orchestral intro to the Walrus of Love’s slightly sickly love letter morphs into something altogether more mystical and compelling under the spell of Stockwell’s philosophical wordsmith, Roots Manuva.

The king of – as he says in the song’s opening throes – ‘twist and adapt’, Roots uses his undimmed gift for vivid imagery to full effect. From his self-proclaimed ‘pulpit’ he delivers a flowing sermon about holding onto a ‘golden breath’ and uplifting invocations of the ‘new black Jesus’. It’s a return to familiar (but fertile) ground for an artist more concerned with espousing his idiosyncratic version of spirituality than figuring out his current place in the UK hip-hop firmament. But Rodney Smith’s trademark humour isn’t entirely absent: with talk of ‘hide the salami’ and ‘flopping it out’ prompting an adolescent grin.

One of his most lyrically potent moments of recent years, ‘Don’t Breathe Out’ is the third single release from Roots Manuva’s sixth studio album, Bleeds, which saw the light of day just last week.

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Thank God for Girls – Weezer

Already this new Weezer track has been interpreted by some imaginative souls as a ‘feminist anthem’, which might be pushing it a bit seeing as the major female role in Rivers Cuomo’s latest verbose rock anthem is a cannoli-maker. Instead, it’s less Taylor Swift girl-power-pop, more middle-aged rock-band paean to women from a particularly male perspective.

God grinding up and microwaving Adam’s rib ‘on the popcorn setting’ is just one of many offbeat images from a song packed with reasons to bow before the fairer sex, while the middle verse focuses on the desperate protagonist’s longing for a deliciously distant femme from an underwear catalogue.

Some of the indie veterans’ more recent output has been bordering on the execrable, so the zippy, infectious ‘Thank God For Girls’ indicates a promising return to form, coming in the slipstream of last year’s ‘Everything Will Be Alright In The End’ LP. The single’s cover art, featuring Pope Francis sharing convivialities with adoring female fans, is an instant classic-in-the-making too.

 –

Persephone Dreams – NCZA Lines 

Undeniable under (and over) tones of south coast synth-stars Metronomy should come as no surprise on ‘Persephone Dreams’, given that NCZA Lines provided the support on their UK tour last year. Singer and lyricist Michael Lovett is also a self-declared fan of R&B royalty Aaliyah, Ciara and Bajan bottom-barer, Rihanna; though those influences are felt very distantly here.

His electro-pop stylings first caused a stir when an eponymous debut album arrived in 2012, full of silky falsettos and sophisticated sci-fi imagery. Since then, one-time indie band bassist Lovett has been joined by ex-Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley and Hot Chip collaborator Sarah Jones. Their influence has evidently brought about some subtle changes which can be heard on this new single. Intriguingly, the slinky six-minute semi-epic breaks into a sort of steel drums vs synths battle half way through, but carries such implausible sonic adventures off in rare style.

NCZA Lines will be on the bill at the Moshi Moshi label’s new By The Sea festival at Dreamland theme park in Margate, on Nov 13th. An eagerly awaited new album, ‘Infinite Summer’, follows on January 22.

– 

Also recommended this month


Breaker
– Deerhunter
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCVWrqxyt3Y

In My Eyes – Best Coast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhGwARswL_o

Machine – Euros Childs http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/records/n3cjm9

Like what you’ve heard? Infuriated by it? Just want to troll? Leave a comment below! Follow Jonathan O’Shea on Twitter by clicking here.

Written by Jonathan O'Shea

A keen student of sport, music and life. Can generally be found educating small people, bitterly damning Aston Villa's latest attempts at football, or writing nonsense about ephemera.

October Playlist: Music Reviews

Music; it’s not all One Direction and Fine Young Cannibals. Jonathan O’Shea shares his singles of the month, and there isn’t a Zayn Malik themed barbershop quartet in sight.

Window Shades – U.S. Girls

Skilfully structured around an irresistible deep disco beat ‘magpied’ (i.e. ‘nicked’) from Gloria Ann Taylor’s cult classic ‘Love is a Hurting Thing’, ‘Window Shades’ begins with a intriguingly haunting piano refrain and builds to a heart-rending tale of love lost. Accompanied by another bewitching (and self-directed) video, following the similarly mystical ‘Woman’s Work’ promo, this genre-defying single release confirms U.S. Girls as considerable new creative force.

Somehow this track seems just a smidgen under-cooked though; slightly running out of steam mid-way through. Still, it’s another stimulating taste of the idiosyncratic delicacies to expect from Toronto-based Meg Remy’s debut album ‘Half Free’, recently released on 4AD Records.

 

Kuma KitaDeerhoof

Deerhoof

Confuse and astound your neighbours as you jangle your flesh to the frantic, demi-demented electro-wibblings of the loveably strange Deerhoof. A malfunctioning futuristic story-bot tells a twisted tale of an encounter with a brown bear amid intermittently pulsing beats. It’s massively infectious, unreasonably joyous and can be found on the Post Tangent compilation, released in aid of Syrian refugees stranded in Calais.

Not convinced? OK, the lyrics:

Once upon a time/Kumanakumanakuma/Am I safe here?/Is that is that a bear?/Let’s play dead. Play dead!/That is that is a bear. Big and brown head!/Saying Gao Gao/Showing teeth and menacing bang bang bang/Cruel nature, eat or eaten/Everyone waltz.

Resist that.

Fever Elvis Presley & Michael Buble/
Bad Blood – Ryan Adams

Ever dug up your beloved pet rabbit – let’s call him Snowy – and sinisterly waggled his mangy, mangled remains around in the pretence that the once-lovely bundle of fluffy fun is still alive? No, neither have I. But Michael Buble has. Well, effectively.

This pseudo ‘duet’ between the super-syrupy auto-tuned crooner (AKA Micky Bubbles) and the greatest hip-swinger in rock history makes a sick mockery of the King’s considerable legacy. Presumably prompted more by desperation and greed than any desire to produce something enduringly special, this is the latest of innumerable covers of Little Willie John’s 1962 standard. In fact, Elvis obviously once recorded it himself – y’know, when he was alive and all – so why not just leave it at that?

Similarly, what can alt-crooner Ryan Adams’ motivation really be for recording – and actually releasing – an entire Taylor Swift album (‘1989’), so soon after it was initially a hit for the new queen of pop? Sure, he’s made a pleasant enough job of the universally adored Tay-Tay’s ‘Bad Blood’, but what’s the point? And she’s not even dead (yet)!

Coming soon: Harry Styles jives with the decomposing corpse of Ginger Rogers, while Miley Cyrus twerks malevolently in Marlon Brando’s rotting face…in the exclusive video for Bing Crosby and Peter Andre’s new festive EP, ‘Bing & Pete’s I’m Dreaming of an Insania Christmas’.

 

Also recommended this month

 

Paydirt – Horse Party

Singularity – New Order

A Change – Participant 

Let us know your tracks of the month and win a free iPod! Golf bag! Date with a pop-star! Old phone with nude photos of ex-gf that I can’t find a charger for! Sainsbury’s carrier bag worth 5p!

Written by Jonathan O'Shea

A keen student of sport, music and life. Can generally be found educating small people, bitterly damning Aston Villa's latest attempts at football, or writing nonsense about ephemera.

September Playlist: Music Reviews

Jonathan O’Shea serves up his monthly musical musings for Kureen readers to consume in the September playlist – make sure to let us know your opinions in the comment section below!

Sapokanikan – Joanna Newsom

Airfix-light, playfully plinking piano opens a wrought tale about the colonisation of a Native American settlement that preceded Manhattan. The accompanying video, evocatively directed by Hollywood hot-property Paul Thomas Anderson (‘There Will Be Blood’, ‘Boogie Nights’, ‘Magnolia’) follows Newsom as she strides purposefully across New York, a little like the rootless wanderer played by Greta Gerwig in ‘Frances Ha’; her long skirt billowing along to the parping brass flourishes.

Always charismatic and idiosyncratic in equal measure, the Californian harpist here showcases her imaginative take on events that have shaped NY’s Greenwich Village across the years. A distinctly (inevitable comparison alert!) Kate Bush-esque manic crescendo brings this typically unorthodox, but vivid ballad to its conclusion. Though it follows a familiar formula, the bouncy lightness and engaging lyricism of ‘Sapokanikan’ whets the appetite for Newsom’s upcoming new material.

‘Divers’– a double album – is her much-anticipated fourth LP, which follows in the autumn.

 

One Thing – Roots Manuva

As befitting a man named Rodney, Roots Manuva is unafraid to use prosaic and everyday imagery to illustrate his complex, thought-provoking rhymes.  Following his past declaration of affection for cheese on toast (‘Witness’); scrambled eggs and Walkers crisps are name-checked in this potent latest track.

Money is the ‘one thing’ on Roots’ mind here. A veteran of social commentary from his South London stronghold, he pointedly comments on the obscenity of the social welfare situation while paradoxically dreaming the consumer dream (of Lamborghinis and snakeskin bikinis). Dark, hypnotic production by Switch lends a sense of urgency to the message from the genre-defying instigator.

Fresh from the festival scene and supporting Blur at Hyde Park this summer, a re-energised Roots Manuva releases new album ‘Bleeds’ in October.

 

Snakeskin Deerhunter

Self-styled U.S. indie darling, Bradford Cox, has recently been dabbling in acting (‘Dallas Buyers Club’) and his ongoing solo project, Atlas Sound. But his most revered work comes as part of the fluid 4/5-piece band, Deerhunter. They return with new album ‘Fading Frontier’, concocted in the group’s hometown of Atlanta this year.

“I was born already nailed to the cross” is a killer opening line, if one which is hardly indicative of a sprightly clap-along tune such as this. The sinuously-delivered lyrics to ‘Snakeskin’ appear to be autobiographical – perhaps referencing the lead singer’s unusual adolescence (illness and isolation) and/or his recent unfortunate collision with a car. Funky, melodic and highly accessible; this track offers a good entry-point into Cox’s weird and wonderful world for those who are yet to experience its munificent pleasures.

Deerhunter will return to these shores in October/November; with gigs in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Brighton and London.

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Also recommended this month

 

Gratitude – Talib Kweli.
Hip-hop mastery; inciting us to ‘Fuck The Money’ (but not literally, that’d end messily).

Bodies – Farao.
Soaring and strident stuff from the “Scandi indie-folk goddess”.

Woman’s Work – U.S. Girls.
Like a demented Santigold. Sample YouTube comment: “This is some next level shit!”

Written by Jonathan O'Shea

A keen student of sport, music and life. Can generally be found educating small people, bitterly damning Aston Villa's latest attempts at football, or writing nonsense about ephemera.

Hip-Stir: Scotty B saves the day + new song

Welcome to another hip-stir fellow Peace Warriors! A little story about my good friend Scotty B, and a treat at the end of the video. Picture ten little children standing around me and Scotty sat on his Cajon drum as you listen to it.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds. No.11: Amber Katie Peck

Rarely can a cover band have been responsible for so swiftly stirring up the Isle of Wight’s serene landscape as Amber Management.

Dom Kureen was privileged to be find a gap in the schedule of their front woman, Amber Katie Peck, and rapidly thrust his Dictaphone into her face – this is the result.

The links

Like the Amber Management Friendly-face page!

Follow Amber on Twatter!

Send a slice of affable pie to Dreamer Joe! (interval track)

Show some love to the Fugees! (closing track)

Like the Kureen Faceblock page to validate our neediness!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.