Archive | January 2010

soundCHECK 31 – January 28th 2010

Gavin & Stacey. What a charming and lovable television series. And one that would have no place in this here moozic column were it not for a band from London called Stagecoach, whose choons were featured on the Christmas and New Year episodes.

They are playing at Inn On The Square in Barnstaple tomorrow night (Friday 29th) at the latest dollop of Generator’s sporadic aural banquet. Their really-rather-good indie-pop jostles for supremacy on a line-up that also features the much-loved dovetailing guitar lines of Elephants and the poignantly rousing melodies of local boys, Swim Team – who have recently busied themselves recording the follow up to their debut album.

Doors open at 8pm and it costs £4, but you can get in for £3 if you show you’re keen and get their before 8.30pm. It’s a 16+ event.

Those of you who are more than casual readers of my capricious weekly ramblings will be aware that one of my favourite topics of late is why naming a band is of equivalent difficulty to making a snowman with no snow, or flying to Paris in a paper plane.

Stagecoach are living proof that something quite grotesque awaits those who fail to remain vigilant during the naming process. The mind boggles at the possible contents of their shortlist, but it could conceivably have included such groundbreaking appellations as First Great Western, Arriva Trains, or Ace Coaches.

“Hello Wembley! We’re Easy Jet! Now if you could just listen to the following safety announcement…”

Still. Maybe these rogues are more prescient than I give them credit for. Maybe they’re onto a winner and my mockery is nought but childish naivety. I mean, think of all the free promotion. Their name is splattered across every second bus, right across the UK. Clever boys.

And in a spectacular feat of digression, if you’re into house and techno music then listen up. A new DJ is moving to the area and is looking for contacts that will enable him to continue performing. He has been gigging since 1995 under the name Brittany Ferr…I mean DJ Ricky Vallenz, and recently held a residency at Ultragroove in Edinburgh.

If you can help hook him up or know of any promoters that could help him out with any available DJ slots, he is ready and willing to whip crowds into a stupor with his boneshaking beats. Listen to his mixes at And you can post him an email telegram to

I’m off to find my last bus ticket for Stagecoach to autograph.

soundCHECK 30 – January 21st 2010

So here we are. It’s term time again and the fleeting return of North Devon’s university-based bands has come to an end. But while the ebb and flow of the North Devon music scene always prompts a sense of loss when it hacks away at the arsenal of music-makers in North Devon, their loss is much less sorely felt now the next generation of bands are coming through. For there’s something to shout about again. New bands to watch grow and develop. And call me twee, or whatever you will, but I find that very cool.

I’m talking about The New Veneers, Love Revolution, bands that are forming that don’t even have names yet, The Keepset, Jog On Robot…

Jog On Robot. What a fantastically and spectacularly ungrammatical name. I’m sure there should be a comma in there, boys!

Robots or otherwise, it doesn’t matter what they’re jogging on because the deliciously meaty jangle of their guitars paired with their leftfield pangs of originality more than compensates for any petty grammatical shortcomings. Listen to the understated swell of Lookout (Oblivion) and the confident swagger of Once Was Lost to get an idea of what they’re about –

Gigs. Let’s talk about that. Take a deep breath…

This week sees The Breaks Collective and North Devon’s finest exponents of the rock cover Maybe Naked make noises at The Palladium in Bideford on Friday (22nd) and Saturday (23rd) respectively, the plaintive and refined acoustica of Amy Newton at Lilico’s next Thursday (28th), and a trip to Plymouth for North Devon’s best named band Tequila Rockin’ Bird, who are ramming their blistering guitar riffs and magnificent, expletive-summoning 70s bombast down the lugholes of all assembled at The Junction on Saturday (23rd).

And if you get to Wednesday (27th)and find yourself thinking: “It’s Wednesday and I have an irresistible and inexplicable urge to embark on a spontaneous trip to London”, then indulge your fancies and go to The Camden Head to watch the plinky-plonky electronic-infused acoustic prettiness of North Devon’s Pickpockets & Skyrockets.

I hope your Christmas comedown is tolerable.