Archive | December 2013

soundCHECK 230 – December 19th 2013


soundCHECK has never gazed so longingly at the frosty rooftops. Because the news of Generator’s return damn well deserves to be shouted from them. (Metaphorically, you understand – Christmas won’t be fun with a pair of broken legs). If you are unfamiliar with Generator and find your countenance set to quizzical, know simply this: Generator used to run some of the best live music nights the North Devon underground has ever seen. Ramshackle. Fiercely DIY. A shoestring celebration of local music.

Generator’s residency at Inn On The Square regularly saw throngs of malcontent youth (and their mates) pack out the venue to watch the best local bands strut it with national breakthrough talent. The clubnight was responsible for bringing Little Comets, Your Twenties, Elephants and Kabeedies down to our little region. Quite a coup considering Barnstaple isn’t even on the radar of most bands aiming to breakthrough. There’s no doubt that when the final curtain fell on Generator a tiny bit of the local music scene coughed wheezily, curled up and then died.

Now – after a three year absence – Generator is back. Back from the dead. And in a festive doff of the trilby to Jesus reincarnate, the first night takes place this Saturday (21st December) at The Golden Lion in Barnstaple to begin a new monthly residency. A new monthly residency! The comeback gig – Generator Presents Black Christmas (take that, Bing) – is headlined by North Devon rocksmiths The Fallen State (, who seem compelled to slay cochleas with their pulverising, heavily distorted riffs and punchy rhythm sections.

Also on the bill is Brighton rockers Plainview (, who count the brothers Dave and Jonny Smale of ex-North Devon favourites Spinlords Of Spintania among their ranks. (Dave has also since become a full-time member of 60s legends The Yardbirds.) Theirs is a sound of classic rock, minus the stupid bravado and indulgence that normally mars the genre. Expect spidery guitar riffs, strident rhythms and soaring vocals. Their moody, magnificent debut album was released this year and is available to stream on Spotify. Generator’s line-up is completed by Bristol three-piece Goose The Nun (, feisty lo-fi alt. rockers who sound like they have one or two scores to settle.

It all happens on Saturday 21st December at The Golden Lion in Barnstaple. Doors are at 8:30pm. First band at 9pm. It’s 18+ but all subsequent nights are 16+. Entry is £4. Make sure you don’t miss it. Generator’s return is just about the best present the local music scene could have wished for.

Happy Christmas!

CONTACT: I didn’t even get an advent calendar. Bring some meaning to my life by sharing your local music news. jharper[at] | @testforpulse

soundCHECK 229 – December 12th 2013

Pythagoras. Nietzsche. Einstein. Tesla. Shakespeare. Great thinkers of our great history. Just imagine where humanity would be if they had all been forced to watch Made In Chelsea. Thirty minutes with the feckless simpletons of that dopecast is enough to turn anyone’s grey matter into useless gloop. Seriously. If you gathered up these preening and pouting imbeciles and chained them to some makeshift generator fuelled by self-importance, the combined overactive sense of entitlement could be harnessed to stave off the world’s energy crisis forat least another decade. Tune-in and you can actually feel your intelligence melting away as you watch it. It’s your brain punishing you. And I don’t blame it.

It gets worse. What if Edison had the Ting Tings megaphoned down his aural canal? What if Pasteur got handcuffed to a hi-fi that was playing Lady Gaga on infinite repeat? What if Brunel were haunted by jarring nightmares of Justin Drew Bieber every time he slept? Civilisation as we know it would be nothing but a faraway fantasy that we sometimes imagined while trying to make fire from sticks without killing each other. That sound like a fun world to you, does it?

Happily it’s not hard to find audio-visual alternatives that don’t make you feel like you’re devolving into a useless husk of human flesh-waste. Step-forward Scott Xander Linn & The Broken Bottles, who have just released their second music viddy in as many months. It promotes the second track from the recent (and rather good) Bad Things EP and is called Her Best Dress: an Americana-tinged perky-pop folk-flounce about admiring a girl looking all Byronically beautiful and ravishing in her best dress and then getting to see her without it on. Disappointingly for meathead masculine types getting all hot underthe collar, the video’s visuals are not commensurate with the lyrical content. Still, it’s well-worth the 181-seconds it will take you to watch it. There’s lots of smiles and live footage and pool-playing and rum-quaffing and it will make you realise that Linn and his backing band are actually really quite good at this Americana-rock thing. Good on them. Search YouTube for ‘Scott Xander Linn – Her Best Dress’.

You should also visit to keep up with local-lad Joe Brewer’s series of wonderfully shot acoustic performances. There’s an intimacy captured in these one-song soirees that is highly endearing . That is until your eyes become pinned to Brewer’s fleet-fingered guitar work and you wonder why you ever stopped playing and start hating yourself. But hey, it’s fun for a few minutes. Especially if you fancy a splash of punk-rock thrashed out solo-acoustic style. So what are you waiting for? Hop to it. It beats sifting through the dreck clogging up mainstream television and radio schedules. And who knows? The brain capacity you save could be the beginning of your legacy. You might just save civilisation from a self-induced intellectual extinction, made in Chelsea.

Finally, keep next Saturday (21st December) evening blocked out in your diary. Live music is (finally) coming back to Inn On The Square!

CONTACT: Share your local music news before I hit the demo button on the keyboard. jharper[at] | @testforpulse