Archive | February 2010

soundCHECK 35 – February 25th 2010

Have you noticed how often people say: “You can’t argue with that”?

It’s usually preceded by stating something mind-numbingly obvious before being uttered with a tone of voice that would be more suited to delivering the news headlines on the day of the apocalypse.

The other day I overheard a man exclaim: “Look at that pie!” I love pie, and immediately tuned in. There followed a dramatic pause; a long intake of breath; and then the inevitable: “You can’t argue with that”.

Now, that makes no sense. I can’t even imagine what a pie would talk like, let alone entering a heated verbal exchange with one. Even if it were to happen I’d imagine the furore would be pretty one-sided, what with me having cutlery and all.

But this was an isolated incident; an anomaly. Whenever people say you can’t argue with something, you generally can. And we generally do. And I fear it is argument that has ushered the untimely end of one of the UK’s most popular underground bands, Blakfish.

The bombshell landed last week. They have just returned from a European tour supporting Biffy Clyro and were about to embark on a UK headline tour of their own. Their bust up must have been cataclysmic to put the brakes on such potential. Potential that, after ten years together, was beginning to come good.

It’s very sad.

It also means that their headline slot at Exeter Cavern on March 13th is cancelled. Alas, I’ve hastily cobbled together a contingency plan to combat the Blakfish blues.

Firstly, go and visit Sam Dowden’s MySpace profile ( His happy-go-lucky acoustic chirpiness, together with the fact that he has yet to remove his festive Christmas profile theme, will lighten the mood and remind you of happier times.

Next, go and watch This Devastated Fan (how apt a name!), who take their UK tour to The Venue in llfracombe on Monday (1st). Their strident swagger blends effeminate vocals with wailing guitars for a rousing sound that will oust your woes.  Put your ears on them at

Finally, listen to the new songs from modish indie tykes, Underclass Strife ( Their wirey guitar riffs and swooning basslines remind a heavy-hearted listener that there are plenty more fish in the sea, even if they’re not quite Blak.

In other news, GoldCoast are really excited to announce indie-rock’s scruffiest urchins as this year’s headliners. “We are really excited to announce that this year’s headliners have been confirmed as the awesome Magic Numbers”, they said. You know them, Forever Lost and all that. Good stuff.

And if you’re stuck for funtimes this evening (25th), Marcus Bonfanti is playing at Mama Stones in Exeter. Radio 2 recently parped: “he is fantastic live and certainly [his] album is excellent”.

You can’t argue with that.

soundCHECK 34 – February 18th 2010

So then, good Valentine’s Day?

The closest I got to any knee-trembling lady-action was when Roberta from Spotify interrupted my musical escapades and coyly invited me to upgrade to a premium account. Isn’t she amazing?

Well thanks but no thanks, Roberta. I’m not desperate enough to pay for it, you siren.

Perhaps instead I should have been out scouring the streets. You know, scouting for girls. I bet that’s what Scouting For Girls were doing, taking a well earned rest from composing their FM-friendly blandarama. Fans of the band can rejoice with the news that the cheeky Cockney three-piece have announced a headline slot at Plymouth Pavilions on Saturday 15th May. Tickets are available now.

Scouting for it or otherwise, in the words of the third album from indie heroes Los Campesinos!: ‘Romance Is Boring’. They are Westcountry bound next week to promote said album with gigs at Falmouth’s Princess Pavilion (26th) and the good ship Thekla in Bristol (27th). If you can catch their violin adorned, helter-skelter indie mayhem, do.

Homing in on North Devon like someone bored on Google Earth, the week ahead offers some powerful gigs for the esurient music fan. The beautifully rousing dovetailing melodies of Chasing Lions fill The Palladium in Bideford tomorrow (19th) in a gig that also sees support from The Dead Betas and Letch.

The following night (Friday 20th) sees Spectres’ debut gig at The Riverfront in Barnstaple. Since their haunting, eldritch first offerings were uploaded to MySpace a few weeks ago, the ex-LOAD.CLICK.SHOOT!ers have whipped up a small storm of attention. Catch their brooding melancholy before they become the name on everyone’s lips.

Also playing are Birmingham’s Idiosync, who thrilled crowds last summer with their breackneck indie at Comic Book Heroes in Barnstaple. The headline slot is filled with typical competence by the aforementioned Chasing Lions.
The gig is hosted by Chew The Stereo as part of their (re)launch celebrations. Everyone’s favourite ramshackle indie disco, originally curated by Eat The TV, is back from the ashes. 16+. £4. Bargain. Go there.

Right, that’s me for the week. Before I forget, can someone please buy a KIA Soul? Maybe then Spotify can stop bellowing those ads at everyone. What sort of bombastic claim is “The KIA Soul is a car that’s as individual as you are”? It has an engine and four wheels, right? A car is a car is a car.

Until KIA find me a vehicle that is a bit in love with Fearne Cotton and pootles around with massive hair and Wetherspoons-sodomised Green Flash, I beg to differ.