Sunday, 19 July 2015

Have a Break...

Have a KitKat

thegeneral is taking another short break from the blog, just for a few weeks. she needs a refresh, a recharge and some time away to reflect on the meaning of existence (current thoughts: bring me another cup of tea) 

Be excellent to each other while I'm gone - I'll hopefully be back sometime in September. 

Bye for now. 
tg xx

Sunday, 12 July 2015

The Everglows - 2 Minute Hero

Here's a little post to see out the weekend with, in case the last one left you wanting more (and it bloody well should have done)

I'm really pleased to be featuring my lovely pals The Everglows once more, always a pleasure to have them upon my pages (and to also write a blog about them too - arfarf). The chaps have a new single out called "2 Minute Hero" (which of course made me instantly think about The Selecter's "3 Minute Hero"). Before that, you can read all my previous mentionings of the group HERE.

You can Twitterise the band here:

You can have a look at their Soundcloud here:

"2 Minute Hero" is yet another corker. It's actually 3 minutes though, lads. I think you were sat at the back, like me, during maths lessons, chewing gum and scratching my name on the desk with a compass.

It's got a really nice, laid back Britpop feel to it, though the band do still retain their mod/psychedelic goodness for anyone who worries they might miss out on that. I love these chaps heaps, their sound really appeals to me and I like their slightly off kilter vocals and guitars. This is another exceptionally pleasing listen and is perfect for lazy summer days. Get it on your playlists this instant.

The guys also tell me they've another track due for release on 17th July, through the NYCFactoryFast label - so watch this space. In the meantime, be a 2 Minute Hero and give The Everglows some support.

The Contravenes - Loaded Gun/Her

Hello and Happy Sunday to you. Another week has flown by like a nun on steroids and here I am bringing a review to you, written once more by my faithful compadre theexistensialist, who is boldly treading where I wanted to, but just didn't have time.

Today. they're bringing you a brilliant new act called The Contravenes, who we were both hugely taken with. In fact, I was a bit well-jell that I didn't get the time to do the review myself, but still very happy to get to feature them anyway. So, without further ado, here's an intro to a fabulous new band.


The Contravenes – Loaded Gun

For this blog, I am bringing you another fabulous new band, The Contravenes. Unbelievably, The Contravenes are yet to properly release a single or EP etc. However, they do have a few tracks on soundcloud for your listening pleasure:

I was totally shocked when I heard these tracks. They are not rough cut demos, the sound of a band finding their feet. They are fully-rounded songs, the sound of a band that have landed and found a musical style of their own. The Contravenes arrive fully formed. First the necessaries:

You can find them on Twitter here:

and on Facebook here:

The highlight is Loaded Gun. The band presumably know this is the standout track, as it is the first song they have created a music video for. Go over to YouTube, and check out the vid:

Loaded Gun is an absolute corker of a song. It has a heavy, hard rock riff, thunderous bass, and perfect rock vocals. And the fury of punk and scuzzyiness of garage give a real raw energy to the sound. There is just a slight stylised, nod and wink, knowingness to this band as well.

The Contravenes really could break through into the big time – they have already attracted some prestigious involvement for their project. Loaded Gun enlisting top producers for the recording of the track, top directors for the video, and a starring role for a top model to stand around in a rather haunted way, looking super-cool. The band are not to be out done, and look super-cool and pure rock ‘n’ roll, which is a definite achievement given that the video was filmed on 30th and 31st December. Us mere mortals stand around looking shiveringly cold, not super-cool, in the middle of winter.

Whilst Loaded Gun is the standout, it is well worth listening to The Contravenes other tracks on soundcloud: Her, Headspun and It’s Ideal Being Idle. These are four well-polished little gems, just waiting for release as an EP….

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Hey Bulldog - Makin Friends Not Millionaires (POST UPDATE)

Hey Bulldog - Makin Friends Not Millionaires

Hello again amigos. We've just got time to sneak another post in before the working week comes up behind us, gooses us and batters us into submission. After the excitement of my earlier post today, we're keeping up the Manchester theme and staying in this most hallowed of cities with a review of a fantastic new single by a band that are very new to me, Hey Bulldog.

I'm once again handing over the blog reins to my trusty compadre theexistentialist, who has managed to put his tea mug and nail polish down in order to write the following review...

POST UPDATE: 19.07.15 - Short update to post to include theexistentialist's review of the band's back catalogue.


Hey Bulldog – Makin’ Friends Not Millionaires

theexistentialist is hoping to fill your day with joy, by introducing you to an absolutely fantastic new act, called Hey Bulldog. I must admit I felt a slight aversion to their name, but it was well worth getting past this, since Hey Bulldog are one of the best groups I’ve heard in ages.

The track I’m reviewing today is Makin’ Friends Not Millionaires. You can listen to it here:

You can visit the band's website here: 

You can follow them on Twitter here:

You can find them on Facebook here:

If you like what you hear (and I’m not talking to you again, if you didn’t like what you heard) you can download the single for free, by going to their website, and signing up to their mailing list (which is precisely what I have done):

 Hey Bulldog have a rather clever marketing and promotional tool for this single. The listener gets a free download of an absolutely corking track, and the band get the fan’s e-mail address, so they can keep them up to date with new releases and gigs.Since Hey Bulldog produce such wonderful stuff it is very exciting to hear what they’ll do next, and I am looking forward to receiving their mailings.

So, what can I say about Makin’ Friends Not Millionaires? (Are there enough superlatives in the dictionary to complete this review?) Well, Makin’ Friends Not Millionaires is a very retro sounding song, in all the right ways. It is pure psychedelic blues-rock, and would have sounded very at home in the late 60s/early 70s. However, for those of us not old enough to remember that far back (insert the joke: and if you do remember the 60s, you weren’t really there), Hey Bulldog might possibly remind you of The Stone Roses. I like The Stone Roses, but I never really went nuts for them, so (and now whisper this very quietly) Hey Bulldog are actually a lot better than The Stone Roses.

Makin’ Friends Not Millionaires is a muddy noise song – true psychedelic stuff, but with a bluesy groove which produces an almost dancey feel, and makes it accessible and hooks you in.

***Hey Bulldog – Back Catalogue***

Last week, I had the joy of introducing you to a new band, called Hey Bulldog. Well, I was so enthralled by the track Makin’ Friends Not Millionaires, that I decided to buy their back catalogue.

Thus far, it comprises of 5 EPs:

First was New York City Blues EP, back in 2007
Second was The Meaning of Loyalty EP, from 2008
The third was Desperado EP, in 2009
The fourth EP was Rip It Up EP, in 2012
And the fifth release was Numb EP, in 2014.

All their releases are available from bandcamp:

The 4 earliest EPs are only available as digital downloads, whilst Numb EP is available both as a digital download, or in olde fashioned physical format – a CD, as well as a Hey Bulldog pin badge and lyric sheet (sweet).

There is quite a bit to get your teeth into, and like being held by a bulldog, once you’re bitten by the psychedelic blues-rock it doesn’t let you go. However, this is an intensely pleasurable thing to bite hold of your soul and it is very nice to be pinned down by them. For a glorious, swirling, mesmerizing bit of retro psychedelic blues-rock the band make for a wonderful summer playlist. And, there is no need to make hay while the sun shines, just lie back, and be a lazy dog, and nod along to the riffs of Hey Bulldog.


Thanks to theexistentialist for another great review - and I have to say, I heartily concur, this is a single of epic proportions. We loved it! Get it now now now!

Sounds Like Interview/Review feat: Red Redmond - BLUE

Hello and a very Happy Sunday to you. Another week has whizzed by like a pensioner on a mobility scooter and I'm here again, feverishly putting finger to keyboard to bring you a BRAND NEW REVIEW OH MISSUS.

Regular readers of the blog (YO MUM) will know that up to now I've solely covered brand new music and left it at that, but I'm branching out like Twiggy today with a review/interview that strays into another arena that I absolutely adore. Comedeh (that's "comedy", if you're not a regular internet user, or you're from anywhere south of Sheffield)

I'd really like to introduce you to the brilliant stand up comedian Red Redmond, who very kindly agreed to be gently probed by me last week. He also agreed to an interview, after. Well, he couldn't refuse really. I'll share the gentle probing later, but first here's how you can get in touch/find his debut show, which is called "BLUE".

You can find Red on Twitter here:

You can find him on Facebookz here:

and here:

You can find the Dead Cat Comedy Club website here:

And from that you'll be able to find a link to buy Red's stand up show here:

and you can also buy the audio only version here:

Right, that's all the necessary linkage done. Firstly, I urge you to buy and support Red's show. I discovered him quite by chance a few weeks ago, and was blown away by not only how funny he is, but how self effacing and genuine the material in BLUE seems to be. (I related to a lot of it - but that's for a whole other psychiatry session). He's got a real warmth and flamboyance which resonate through the act - and you also feel you're watching someone who is an exceptional and naturally talented performer.

I also really admire the way he's gone about producing the show and one of the main reasons I wanted to feature him on the blog is because, like so many of the bands I write about on here, he's doing it the DIY way - funding and releasing his own stuff, no agent, no manager etc. It's heartening to see.

So without further ado, here's my interview with Red. I hope you enjoy it and will support his show.

Congrats on the release of your debut stand up show. It was an absolute joy to watch from start to finish. You touch on quite a few personal things throughout the show, so I'd like to start by asking if you think anything is fair game where comedy is concerned, or do you have a line you won't cross?

First off, thanks very much. I’m really happy with the show and I’m glad so many people have enjoyed it. That aside… I always like my comedy to be personal because I think there’s nothing funnier than the truth. For me, nothing is off limits as long as I can make it funny.

I've been thinking about adopting a rabbit, but your shit-eating story did make me do a bit of a sick-burp. Please can you convince me that it's still a good thing to adopt one? 

Rabbits are the best! They also love eating their own shit. But, and here’s the twist, it’s not actually shit. It's something called cecals. Basically, rabbits have a large pouch located at the junction of the small intestine and the large intestine, this is called the cecum. Here the digestible portions of the intestinal contents are broken down by bacteria. Some nutrients are absorbed through the wall of the cecum, but most nutrients are locked up in the bacteria. The rabbit then produces bacteria-rich droppings called cecotropes, which are soft, sticky and green and have a stronger odor than their regular waste droppings. These cecotropes are eaten directly from the anus as soon as they are produced. The cecotropes are then passed through the digestive tract of the rabbit and nutrients such as vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids are released from the bacteria and absorbed into the rabbit's body. As a result rabbits have developed an efficient way of producing their own vitamin, protein and fat supply. Still wanna get one? They’re dead fluffy. (thegeneral says - I'm just gonna focus on the've convinced me but I just need to think about the fluff)

I love the approach you've taken with releasing this show. The DIY approach is something I see a lot with the bands I support on here and it's refreshing to see a comedian adopting it. Is this the way forward for you - or do you see a time when you'll get a manager and do things in a more mainstream way? 

Again, thank you! In comedy, managers and agencies can be just as villainous as the major labels of the music industry. But there’s still some good ones out there. Like everything, it’s better to work with people you trust. I’ve always taken a ‘never say never’ approach to my career and I can assure everyone that if I were to sign up to something it would be for the right reasons and at the right time.

Who are your own artistic influences? Or the people who inspired you to try this? 

Punk Rock. Without a doubt. I’ve been a punk fan since my teens (yeah, baby!). I’ve always respected the DIY approach of artists like The Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols, Stiff Little Fingers etc... They understood that if they wanted to get heard they had to get out there and make some noise. BLUE is my noise. This is a show for the disaffected. It's a show for the nerds, the losers, the call centre employees. It's a show for my people. (thegeneral - I think you've just distilled why I identified with it so much, sitting here in my darkened room leaning over my keyboard fretting about my very existence and worrying about my day job tomorrow ...)

What does your comedy future hold?

Hmm… Well I’m going to Edinburgh Fringe this August to work on material for next year’s show which will of course be called GREEN. Which at the moment is mainly about yoghurts and my obsession with Taylor Swift. I’ve also taken a temporary position as the in-house comedy programmer for The Dancehouse Theatre in Manchester. As well as performing, I run a number of gigs in the Manchester area under the Dead Cat Comedy banner. Basically, if I’m not gigging, I’m running a gig.

Finally, Where can we see you next?

I’m in the midst of hosting a series of Edinburgh Previews at The Dancehouse. Next one is on Saturday 11th July. The show will star myself, Jack Campbell (English Comedian of the Year 2014) and Damien Slash (Over 10,000 subscribers on YouTube). Click here for tickets. I’ll also be at Kosmonaut hosting MACE (Manchester’s Alternative Comedy Emporium) on Thursday 30th July. This is a must-see show starring South African funnyman Cockey Falkow and comedy genius Mat Ewins. Tickets on sale soon. Hopefully see you there…

P.S. Thanks so much for getting in touch and letting people know about BLUE. I hope you have a lovely day. (You are more than welcome, Red. The very best of luck with all your endeavours)