Archive | November 2011

soundCHECK 125 – November 17th 2011

Cast your mind back to 2009. For a little while, there was one band whose rootsy acoustic-based indie-pop was all-pervasive. They seemed to be playing every gig that was worth going to in Barnstaple. Their name was Rooster Shotgun Damage.

“Most people laughed when hearing the name for the first time,” admits guitarist Doug Matthews, “It just sounded a bit too amateurish and comic,” he concluded, throwing his crayons into a nearby bin.

With a slight rebrand successfully completed, the boys of RSD have returned with a new line up, a new sound and a new name: No Time This Time. And the tentative acoustic meanderings of old have been replaced by straight-forward, bold and brash electric guitar. But if this musical coming-of-age is evidence of anything, it’s that the band have realised they have a long way to go if they are to reach their musical zenith.

“We want to push the band further, to get out of Devon and see if we have what it takes to become professional. We want to become a more serious band. And with all of the changes that happened in 2010, we thought the name change would be a good way of creating a new image and sound to help make it happen.”

No Time This Time are completed by Pete West on bass, Chris Cousins on drums and Danny McFarlane on vocals. While the chunky acoustic guitar riffs and rabid snarl of McFarlane’s rasping vocal delivery made RSD an alluringly bipolar proposition, a few listens to No Time This Time reveals a band immediately more at home with a bigger, electric sound.

In fact they’re so comfortable with their new sound that they’ve already written and recorded an album. “We decided to record the album to give us an up to date product. We changed to electric from acoustic in late 2010 and we needed some recordings of our new songs as the new guitar changed the sound a lot.”

The album was recorded at Storehouse Studios with Colin O’Leary, who also works with Gary Everest to manage the band.

“Colin and Gary approached us in 2010. They had been looking for a band to promote and manage for a while,” explains Doug. “They thought we had the type of music which could appeal to a wide commercial audience. But they needed an up-to-date album to help promote us outside of Devon.”

Despite a name suggestive of some kind of latent chronophobia, No Time This Time have their sights set stoically on the future. “We are aiming to do a short tour in the summer, starting in Devon and ending on a show up in London.” The plans don’t stop there. “The aim is to start building funds up for touring later in 2012 and a possible trip abroad.”

It’s clear that these guys dream big. But is there really any other way?

No Time This Time’s new album can be digitally downloaded from www.notimethistime.com.

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soundCHECK 124 – November 10th 2011

If the charming little art gallery that I live opposite is testament to anything, it’s that no matter how busy, laden with shopping, or off-their-face on Liver Destroyer people are, they are almost always given to stop in their tracks for the sake of spending a few precious moments admiring a nice painting. Such is the mesmerising power that this humble shop window holds over the North Devon populace that I’m inclined to think those in positions of social authority, the police and whatnot, should swap their batons and Tasers for, y’know, a nice watercolour.

It would save tax payers’ money on making weapons and it would be excellent promotion for the artists whose work made it to the frontline of crime fighting. And just imagine how magnificent and cultured our town and city centres would look on those rowdy weekend nights as police moved in brandishing framed masterpieces, ready to assert authority on those who have had their behavioural mechanisms short-circuited by a vicious combination of too much Fizzy Blue Drink and hearing Rihanna for the fiftieth time. It’s the future of art.

Hoping this seemingly primal appreciation of visual art extends to the digital arena this week are a bountiful sprinkling of musicians and musical commentators from the North Devon music scene, who have made videos for you do watching of. Let’s start with a band called Auction For The Promise Club.

Auction For The Promise Club are based in Cornwall. But they’re from North Devon, which means we can call them ours. And that’s a good thing because their urgent brand of hook-splattered, female-fronted indie rock is something to be proud of. The new video for their song ‘Under China’ is currently racking up the views on YouTube. Rightly so. Go watch it.

Also of North Devon but no longer in it are Spinlords. No doubt buoyed by nostalgia for the dozens of successful gigs they played here in the past, the classic rock-inspired four-piece returned to the region for a series of local shows recently. They’ve released a video with some footage of their gig at The Palladium. By my reckoning their frontman is doing a remarkably good impression of early Rod Stewart – vocally, not visually of course. You can come to your own conclusions by pointing your internet here: soc.li/go4qtTZ.

Elsewhere, SevereZero have launched a new website. And to be fair it looks fantastic. It’s got lots of videos and even more photos – those really good band ones where everyone tries to look really hard and menacing. Feast your eyes at severezero.com.

To gig talk.

One of North Devon’s hardest working promoters, Tobias Matthews of Black Hole Promotions, recently went on the record saying that his gigs are always buzzing. It’s no overstatement. They always are. It bodes well for a band called Scholars (scholarstheband.com). They’re Hemel Hempstead’s feistiest post-punkers and they’re bringing their UK tour to Bideford next Friday (November 18th) to play Black Hole’s night at The Palladium. Do your best to be part of it. They’re a fantastic band and it might just turn out to be one of North Devon’s gigs of the year.

And if it gets too raucous for you simply run on stage armed with a framed portrait of a stag sniffing the chilly Exmoor air, or an impressionist’s view of a Saunton Sands sunset. You’ll have the crowd in the palm of your hand. Probably.