Archive | January 2015

soundCHECK 284 – January 29th 2015

Forget throwing ice cream at adults who ride children’s scooters, crowdfunding is now the only way to have fun. Yep, crowdfunding websites empower little joe public to breathe fiscal life into revolutionary products that fat cats with their fat wallets and fat faces are too darned boring to fund. Flying bicycles. Bacon-flavoured soap. Watermelon carrying straps. Take that, capitalism!

Even as I type this I’m feverishly checking the progress of my own campaign, the purpose of which is to fund my chocolate milkshake obsession. £10 gets you a photo of me drinking a chocolate milkshake. £25 gets you a glass that I’ve recently used to drink a chocolate milkshake. (Don’t worry, I’ll bubble-wrap it.) And £250 gets you a date with me, during which we will go and drink chocolate milkshakes together somewhere nice.

I honestly can’t think of a more deserving cause. But – begrudgingly – I will concede that some people are more likely to identify with a new campaign from premier North Devon singer-songwriter Small Town Jones, who is seeking funding to finish the recording of his new album (which is being produced by another local legend Peter Bruntnell).

Small Town Jones – nom de guerre for Jim Jones – is an acoustic guitar-toting songwriter of considerable pedigree. His soulful, gravel-throated croon and dovetailing melodies have won plaudits with none other than human hugging pillow Dermot O’Leary, for whom Small Town Jones has twice performed live on BBC Radio 2.

In exchange for your monetary backing (packages start from £5), you can expect to receive all kinds of goodness, from signed pre-release albums and t-shirts right up to a private Small Town Jones gig in your home for you and your mates.

“With the album two thirds finished, your support through Kickstarter will enable me to be able to complete the recording, mixing and mastering process of the album at Peter Bruntnell’s Devon based studios,” runs the Kickstarter pitch. “The support will [also] enable me to invest in a good promotional campaign, with a view to achieving more radio play and national press to make sure the album achieves the widest possible audience.”

Jones has until the end of February to hit his £7,000 target. Early days, at the time of writing, but he’s off to a good start. Find out what it’s all about and see what you can get your mitts on as a funder at – there’s a link to the Kickstarter campaign on the home page.

One quick final thing: Elles Bailey ( is bringing her disarmingly soulful voice down the M5 from Bristol to see how it bounces around in a couple of North Devon venues. There’ll be more next week, but for now the dates for your diary are 6th February (Barnstaple) and 7th February (Appledore).

By that time, I also hope to have secured funding for my next venture:

CONTACT: Send your local music news and I might just be able to stop these tears of mine: jharper[at] | @testforpulse

soundCHECK 283 – January 22nd 2015

Mirrors, eh? Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

For younger readers, mirrors are like selfies – except they work in real-time and play back mackle-free footage of you living and moving and checking your phone. Like a video. The downside is there’s no social share function, though I’d wager it won’t be long until mirrors come with a button stationed on the frame that paps snaps of you and uploads them to Instagram. Narcissism is a profitable market.

The thing about mirrors is that they are unforgiving, particularly at this time of year, when they ruthlessly portray you as a podgy, post-Christmas splodge with one hell of a paunch. In fact mirrors should come with some sort of warning or ARE YOU SURE? pre-screening function. With that in mind, thank God for Oh Captive having the good grace to forewarn us of their upcoming EP: Two Mirrors. Two!

Regular readers will be well-versed in soundCHECK’s tenuous links, but to avoid confusion I should probably make it clear that North Devon’s finest post-punkers aren’t about to release their own collection of reflective furniture, but a clutch of brand new songs that together reside under the moniker Two Mirrors. That said if you buy the record on CD then you could use the underside of the disk as a mirror, so perhaps we should all just settle the hell down and compromise here.

Two Mirrors (and a mirror) drops on Monday 23rd March.

From mirrors to quivers, namely those that bands will be generating for you if you buy tickets to Goff Fest. The festival from the chaps behind riotous North Devon synth-punkers The Dead Betas takes place across two nights at The Palladium in Bideford next weekend (30th-31st January) and will play host to some of the best bands in the region. Like Pretend Happy. And The Tuesday Syndicate. And The Dead Betas. And lots more too. Like One Man Boycott and Captal and Chapters Of Eden and Scud.

Goff Fest also brings some of the hottest underground national talent to North Devon and 2015’s first helping sees Dead, Novella, Allusondrugs and Max Raptor stepping stagewards at The Palladium. In Goff Fest’s own words: “Goff Fest is a grass roots festival that aims to bring some of the UK’s best touring bands to your doorstep. This is a festival for local bands as well as music fans.”

Weekend tickets are a steal at £10. One day tickets for either Saturday or Sunday are £6 each. All tickets are available from or from Beatsworkin in Barnstaple.

Plenty to reflect on.

CONTACT: Hoik your local music news over to: jharper[at] | @testforpulse