Archive | January 2014

soundCHECK 234 – January 30th 2014

Cocktail sausages or mini sausage rolls for dinner? Fairy lights or candles for evening lighting? Take the stairs or risk awkward small talk in the lift? I’m clearly no stranger to big decisions. But even I can’t imagine the amount of head-scratching and brow-furrowing that must have befallen One Man Boycott and the three members of Framework. They’re touring England together, you see. And preparing for a tour can paralyse even the nimblest of minds.

Now I know what you’re thinking. But it’s not just the tough questions like how many pairs of pants to pack that demand careful consideration. You need to choose a pair of jeans too. Preferably jeans hardy enough to cope with nightly dousings of beer, sweat and waves of anxiety. That’s all before you’ve even countenanced which plectrums you are going to use, where you are going to sleep and how you are going to police that weird smell that stirs in your crotch when you have no hope of a shower. Does that sound rock and roll to you? Well does it? The complex thinking required to negotiate a tour is enough to force you into a full-blown panic attack. And that’s no use when you’re trying to settle on your setlist while attempting to convince yourself that you don’t suck at guitar.

For all that though, the compensation is sweet. (Although not financially of course.) You get to do the thing you love with your best mates, night after night. And when your songs are as insanely catchy as those penned by punk-rock and alt. punk North Devonites One Man Boycott and Framework, well, you’re in with a chance of having a pretty amazing time. The two artistes zip their riffs into a travel bag, link arms and hit the road on Thursday (February 6th), taking in Bristol, Brighton, Bournemouth and Birmingham as well as destinations that don’t alliterate like Norwich, London and Kingston. You can watch both bands at The Old Bus Station in Barnstaple on Tuesday (February 4th). And you can do a little listenage at and So there.

In other news, tomorrow (Friday 31st) coughs up an opportunity for you to watch rockabilly local-types The Flamin’ Ratrods at The Palladium. And while the name suggests they may be more of a rodent-removal service than a band, their tight riffs and pistol-whip rhythms have been building a steady crowd of toe-tapping fans across North Devon. Earnest americana-makers Scott Xander Linn & The Broken Bottles support. £3 on the door.

It’s a no-brainer.

CONTACT: Send me your local music news, I’ll do writing about it. jharper[at] | @testforpulse

soundCHECK 233 – January 23rd 2014

How are your new year’s resolutions holding up? Are you the human you want to be yet? I do hope so. But don’t be disheartened if you’re still the malnourished, selfish, chain-smoking, overweight, socially incompetent, poorly-read, unfit, directionless telly addict you’re trying hard not to be. Taking arbitrary brute-swings at change doesn’t work. No. Change is small, gradual and regular. Do something little every day and the momentum builds quickly. Change becomes a habit. Wily advertisers know this. Which is why every January we are all smashed by a greasy tsunami of fast food adverts. On the television. In your favourite magazine. On city billboards. They are trying to unhinge your resolve to eat better before your pledge becomes a habit and their profits slip. (Not that I’m suggesting you are single-handedly responsible for the fiscal prosperity of the fast food industry.) Cheeky, isn’t it?

With the good grace of time, this awkward month of self-restraint and financial woe will be over soon. Which is okay, because a bright-eyed February is primed to bounce into your life clutching a selection of exciting news-nuggets. Punk-rock soloist One Man Boycott goes on tour. So too his North Devon counterparts Framework. There’s also a gig at The Factory in Barnstaple for which you should make appropriate space in that diary you got for Christmas but haven’t started using yet. Go and get it now. I’ll give you until the next paragraph to find it. It might be upstairs: a calorie-shredding journey that you can put towards today’s exercise quota.

Back? Good. Find the page that says Saturday February 15th. Block out the evening. The following morning too, if possible – you’re going to have a fun-hangover and possibly a spot of tinnitus. North Devon’s band du jour The Fallen State are performing at what is arguably North Devon’s finest venue – certainly the best specced. You can expect the pulverising rhythms and ferocious guitar riffs of the hard rock five-piece to be sounding wonderfully spicy. Fellow localites She Called Shotgun and soundCHECK perennials Scott Xander Linn & The Broken Bottles are also on the bill. Heading up the evening is Barnstaple’s breackneck metalcorers Chapters Of Eden, who will be shooting a live music video during the show. Girls: be sure to do your make-up nicely. There will also be a DJ set from the always-reliable Matt The Hat.

Doors are at 7.30pm. It’s 16+. And tickets cost £5 on the door. Or head over to and you can snaffle one up for just £3. That’s four local bands for – whatever the maths is – 75p each.

Even cheaper than a Chicken Mayo from McDonald’s.

CONTACT: Share your local music news for column inches: jharper[at] | @testforpulse