30th October 2014.
Record reviews from Leicester bands
We look back over a selection of the recordings released recently by Leicester bands and artists in this second issue of listening post.
This selection includes CDs that we have in our possession (having been given them by the bands or artists) – if they are dated. We have excluded those with no date on them because we do not know the year in which they were released (see comments below.)
In our January post we mentioned April 33, the Leicester band that plays electronic goth punk. They released Judgement, in March 2014, following up their I Am Loved of August 2013 and Until Death Separates Us of February 2013. You can listen to Judgement on their Bandcamp page.
Electrostatic, Caroline McLavy’s 11 tracks, a promo EP. We mentioned this in the January Listening Post. Check out Caroline’s debut album on her website.
Gatecrash The Waltz is the single from Leicester’s alternative electro rockers Luzon Bleeding Heart – mentioned in the January posting. On 29th August this year they posted on their Facebook page ‘We play our final gig in Leicester today so this might be your last chance to see us!’ We have reviewed their live gigs before: when Luzon played at the Glastonbudget Festival 2014 and 7th March at The Shed – ‘Leicester band Luzon Bleeding Heart delivered a crackin’ set of beats, hard-edged and compelling, showing just how good they are at revving up a show. Tonight, LBH’s intimate gig allowed their fans to get close up to the band; doing what they do, they can also power-up stages at festivals and much bigger venues when they fill a big space with a more than adequately big sound.’ Music in Leicester. 16th January 2014 when they were at The Cookie Jar – ‘Leicester band Luzon Bleeding Heart delivered a crackin’ set of beats, hard-edged and compelling, showing just how good they are at revving up a show. Tonight, LBH’s intimate gig allowed their fans to get close up to the band; doing what they do, they can also power-up stages at festivals and much bigger venues when they fill a big space with a more than adequately big sound.’
And a few more besides. So if they have gone or are going, r.i.p. This is a band that we will miss but we can still listen to their music.
Madness and Faith by The Kirkland Turn in 2013 , 9 tracks through BadJack Recordings inc. Mentioned in our January Listening Post.
Nuala Bennett-Wilford was in Leicester when she brought out her 5 track EP called Nuala in 2013.
Waiting Awake by Siobhan Mazzei, 2013, was an album of 10 songs.
CDs released in 2014.
Young and Wasted by Four Point Oh. Sadly this band is no longer going but during their time they produced some really good music, both live and recorded. Four Point Oh was our band of the month in January 2014. We reviewed Young and Wasted on Music in Leicester; we wrote: ‘This is an impressive album with a set of remarkable tracks representing the coming of age of FourPointOh as a band. The guitar playing is stunning, string wizardry. The songs have plenty of power and impact.’ Four Point Oh released Interlude in 2013 with the tracks Interlude (single), Let’s Go and Damnation (live).
Kevin Hewick’s 2013 album The Heat of Molten Diamonds was released by Pink Box Records. His album All Was Numbered was released in 2012, with eight tracks which were recorded between December 2011 and January 2012, through Hacienda Records. This is one of the outstanding song albums of recent times. An absolute must-have album for lovers of quality song writing and full-on music. Of all the albums I have listened to this year this one really stood out for me. It’s songs are poignant and full of impact. This album marks Hewick out as one of the great song writers and performers of Leicester. See Sean Tizzard’s review of Kevin Hewick. He wrote: ‘The new album, ‘The Heat Of Molten Diamonds‘, was released at the latter end of 2013 and it’s gathered positive reviews from a flurry of blogs, websites and print publications. I testify that it’s a fiver well spent.’
The Dead Shoot is a Leicester band that we have seen a few times now. In 2013 they brought out a demo CD through Black Box Recordings. This had four tracks: Blue Mountain, Denim Blues, 3 Times the Charm and Denise. It’s listenable music from a band that has a good track record of live performances.
Metal band Due Vendetta released their EP Place Your Bets, in February 2014. Steve Kilminster reviewed them when they played at The Shed in January.
Metal core band Invictus brought out an EP in 2014. We mentioned this in our January Listening Post.
Smokin’ The Profit released their Hand Out EP in 2013. This had four tracks on it. We reviewed STP’s album launch in April, when we wrote ‘They might have moved on since their early days but their offering is still as compelling as it always has been. Pulsing rhythms, catchy breaks and melodies are the hallmark of this band, whose years of song-writing and performances have given us a band that can draw people into their music like few others.’ Music in Leicester. Keeping it tight/rhythmic fight EP. Having followed this band for some years now, they are, in my opinion, one of the most musically talented bands in Leicester. Their live shows are always totally enjoyable. Originally a funky, punky band with a bit of a ska edge, their sound has moved on as they have grown and developed. [Arts in Leicester magazine, record reviews, 2011]
Carlos Stein has brought out a number of CDs, some under his own Lord of Loops brand. No Good with, No good without came out in 2013 with six tracks. Stein is a champion of alternative music in Leicester.
If that’s alright with You… by John Fryer, came out in 2013 with 13 songs on it.
The Brandy Thieves Stories from the Cellar of 2013 was recorded at Yellow Bean Studios.
Strike Up the Colours, 2013, Codename: Pantherstache, six track EP
Young Hearts by Violet Cities was a 10 track album released in 2014.
Weekend Vibes, by Formal Warning, came out in 2014 with Friday Night Trip, Sons of a Saint and Twisted on it.
Last year The Strangler Figs brought out a two track CD containing Attack of the strangler figs and If.
8 Miles High is a band that is topping the local charts right now with their successive live performances. Their Heartbroken Diary of earlier this year had four tracks.
Similarly The World Can Wait is another young band that is rising, and they brought out their single Rabbits in the Headlights with two other tracks in May 2014.
The Silent Union’s Salvation EP with its four tracks, merits notice. On it are Salvation, Hurricane, Last Patrol and I cant’t feel alive (acoustic), released in 2014.
Finally, let us look at a few of the CDs that came out in 2013.
The Monday Club‘s promo CD of 2013.
Son of Glenn‘s two track CD.
Flying Kangaroo Alliance and Meri Everitt.
Stu Crown, five tracks on his demo CD.
Satellite Empire’s Master Plan. SE has now disbanded.
Welcome to the timeless world of bands
An inspection of the CDs in our collection throws up a number of interesting points. Firstly, some of them are dated but many are not.
Leicester band CDs
Class 1 – Crystal cases with printed sleeves an disks
Dated 31, Undated 9 (but a few of these were clearly just demo copies)
Not in crystal cases but in full card containers
22 dated, 13 not dated (either on the containers or on the disks)
Class 2 – CDs in plastic sleeves or in card sleeves, including demos
The majority of these demo CDS were undated. Presumably the people that produced them saw them as being handed out at gigs. If anyone bothered to listen to them when they got home, they would have burned the tracks on their iPods or Smart Phones and then chucked the piece of plastic away. This carries the underlying assumption that they will all end up in in landfill sites within a year of their production.
Some of these demo handouts had printed CDs inside printed card wallets. Some amount of money had been spent producing these. No dates were put on the printing so we are again left with the assumption that no date is required because they were throw away items. CDs are much more expensive to release than uploading tracks to a website.
A few of the demo CDs in sleeves had printed inserts but completely blank disks inside, showing that those who manufactured them could not even be bothered to write to name of their band in felt pen into the disk. If the CDs ever got taken out there would no way of knowing which sleeve they should go back into. They would then quickly be thrown away as unidentifiable. This matters if such items are being supplied to people in record labels or the media.
Some of this failure to date CDs was almost certainly down to inexperienced teenagers. But this must be counterbalanced by teenage bands who did date their work. There seems to be a tendency, this year, towards people adding dates to CDs and sleeves; more of this year’s batch being dated than was the case in any previous year.
Putting the date of issue on to CDs and/or their covers is important. Whatever you might imagine, you do not know how long those CDs are going to be out there. People do need to know whether the CD they have in front of them is current or old. A date is only 4 numbers – there is no reason to leave it off.
Tips: if you are releasing a disk in October, November or particularly in December, add the month as well as the year. When producing a CD for any reason using any method of production, always add a year date to both the CD and the sleeve.
Always put the name of your band on any CD – even if you only felt pen it on.
Printed CDs impress people more than home-made disks written in felt pen. The sleeve is much less important. Spend money on printing the disk; save money on printing the sleeve.
Coming up: we will issue another listening post that will look at digital-only audio releases and video tracks.