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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Ralph's Top 10 Blogged Band Chart - 25.10.14

OK bands you know the score .....

the more hits your blog gets by the fans ..... 

the higher you go .....

So Tweet it, Facebook it .....

Generally and expose yourself .....






Now Mr Snuggles and I Have Been sitting with our heads down counting the hits on each blog to see who's got bands which place.  

So here it is .....

The Top Ten Chart Blogged Band .....






No 1.....Roadidendren


Ralph's been spinning some tracks by London (and Luton) singer/rapper Roadidendren of late on his Radio KC Indie Show as her fresh, funky, funny yet ferocious style never fails to please and favours no small amount of favourable feedback (yes, I know that's a lot of f's) from the listeners.

Her upcoming album, The Empress's New Clothes focuses on and picks apart the trivialisation of many parts of the music industry by its stars and insiders. 




No 2 .....  Feral Five



FERAL FIVE - 3D
Ralph  's been up to His ears Gunk in this week! No not the stuff for cleaning car engines ... 'Gunk' is a portmanteau of Geek Punk and it was Celebrated in style on the 5th-7th September at the    Music Tech Fest   in London ... and   Ralph  's chums   Feral Five   Were at the forefront with a live performance prior to the launch to celebrate the official release of   3D Print Me   single on 12 "Vinyl on September 17th in the   East London Design Store  .






No 3....Barstow Bats


Ralph's had a soft spot for Dumfries band Barstow Bats for a while now and has given some of their past tracks a spin on the Radio KC Indie Show, so it's good to hear they've just released a new single. It's called 'Partners In Crime' and it's a slight change in direction with its more poppy, zingy, guitar driven Indie sound in a slightly View-esque stylee which should help them make greater inroads with the mainstream radio stations.






No 4...The Inkhearts


North West band The Inkhearts are due to release two tracks - Temper Temper and Uptight - by digital download on November 17th of this very year.

The Inkhearts formed in 2010 when the members, then young teenagers, were introduced to each other at a music tuition initiative at The Engine Rooms, Skelmersdale.






No 5...Alex Highton



NKA ALBUM COVER CORRECT

Never let it be said that Ralph doesn't have a softer side - and the Alex Highton follow-up album to the highly acclaimed Woodditton Wives Club appeals to just that. The Liverpool born singer songwriter has just released Nobody Knows Anything and it's an introverted collection of diverse musical gems.








No 6...Desert Ships




Ships Desert  are Composed of Mikey on vocals and guitar, Daniel on bass and vocals with Claude on drums and vocals and then forming in 2012 releasing Their debut album    Doll Skin Flag    in the same year. 











Ralph    played the    Steel Threads    track    It Goes On    During this week's Indie Show on    Radio KC    and such was the interest in social media via the kennel His That I was moved to take a closer look.

Describing Themselves as 'An Original band playing acoustic unique blend of Their Own Rock and Folk' and with influences as diverse as    Led Zeppelin   ,    Crowded House    and    Fleetwood Mac   , they '' 'are multi-talented duo of Neil Wardleworth (drums / guitar / vocals ) Wilcockson and Laura (violin / vocals).






No 8 ....  One Eyed Wayne



Photo courtesy of   Emma Marshall

Listening to North London band   One Eyed Wayne   is like having a flashback to putting on a   Blockheads   record (one of Those round, flat, black vinyl things) that's been re-mixed with a bit of   UK Subs   and no small amount of humor.  A case in point is Their latest release   After The Break   and Accompanying video. It's fast and furious social commentary at its televisually cynical, clever and best punk.





No 9 .....   Braver Than Fiction




Ralph's recently Been listening to a lot of 'proper' music for 'grown ups' and in this category comes the recently released EP  King Of Crows  by Sheffield band       Braver Than Fiction   . It's a collection of four live tracks off That September infused vocalist Mel's bluesy vocals against some snazzy      Steampacket   esque    Hammond    organ-ising.






10 .....   Wullae Wright


Displaying Superhero-finished.jpg
Ralph's with with previously blogged   Wullae Wright   and it's Proved to be The most well read of any over the last couple of years. Needless to say it was good news When   Wullae Wright   got in touch to say I was releasing 'Superhero' as a single. The story of the song is no less poignant than   Wullae Wright  's plaintive voice Which, overlaid on subtle acoustic guitar with an orchestral background is just as heart wrenching as the single's message. 



Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Alex Highton

NKA ALBUM COVER CORRECT
Never let it be said that Ralph doesn't have a softer side - and the Alex Highton follow-up album to the highly acclaimed Woodditton Wives Club appeals to just that. The Liverpool born singer songwriter has just released Nobody Knows Anything and it's an introverted collection of diverse musical gems.

As a kid his time was split between his native Liverpool and Florence, Italy. It was there that his musical education began, as he took in everything from Talking Heads or Penguin Cafe Orchestra to The Band and David Ackles




He lost his twenties to bad decisions and train-wreck relationships and it was only after meeting his future wife that he started to take songwriting seriously. The songs he wrote (part therapy/part love letter his new life) formed the basis of his debut album Woodditton Wives Club, a record replete with tales of rural S&M, mental, emotional and economic collapse, and ultimately salvation through love and family.







Nobody Knows Anything seems a more personal inwards journey delightfully rendered in a North Western stylee.

From the melodious You Don't Own This Life to the quirkier It Falls Together you're immediately drawn into his introversy and the compulsive Panic makes sure you'll stay. There definitely must be something in the water in Liverpool that consistently produces songwriters of quality, whether it's Lennon and McCartney of yore or Ali Ingle currently and Alex Highton is floating towards the top of that musical H2o.




I won't go through the whole album on here but I will say  that the eponymous Nobody Knows Anything is a highlight and Mephisto an understated classic with it's moody horns and jangly guitar. As enjoyable to listen to as Richard Hawley or Robert Wyatt - I can pay no higher compliment.

Get yourself copy of Alex Highton Nobody Knows Anything, out officially December 1st on Gare Du Nord Records, pour yourself a glass of wine and stick the headphones on, you won't be sorry. 

Ralph doesn't do marks out of 10 however he's playing You Don't Own This Life on Radio KC this Sunday - which is nice...







Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Barstow Bats

Ralph's had a soft spot for Dumfries band Barstow Bats for a while now and has given some of their past tracks a spin on the Radio KC Indie Show, so it's good to hear they've just released a new single. It's called 'Partners In Crime' and it's a slight change in direction with its more poppy, zingy, guitar driven Indie sound in a slightly View-esque stylee which should help them make greater inroads with the mainstream radio stations.

Barstow Bats are…Andrew Rendall (guitar & vocal) – Steven McKie (guitar & vocal) – Barry Gemmell (Bass & vocal) – Jonny Tait (drums) and formed just over a year ago.





Since then Barstow Bats have played two major Scottish festivals, The Wickerman & Electric Fields. They've also headlined at the world famous King Tut’s and played at the Dumfries Music Conference supported by Honeyblood & Ralph's long time favourites Hector Bizerk. Next year should see them go from strength to strength with their signing to independent record label smart indie.












Barstow Bats Press Photo



Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Inkhearts

North West band The Inkhearts are due to release two tracks - Temper Temper and Uptight - by digital download on November 17th of this very year.

The Inkhearts formed in 2010 when the members, then young teenagers, were introduced to each other at a music tuition initiative at The Engine Rooms, Skelmersdale.





  

Originally a seven piece, it was only when three original members left that the band found their sound and started to write and gig more seriously. 

With three members aged just eighteen and one aged nineteen, The Inkhearts’ music is full of enthusiasm and teenage energy yet it's underlined by a songwriting ability that belies their youth.









 Citing influences typical of their young years like The Vaccines, Two Door Cinema Club and The Libertines, the band seem well versed in the art of mainstream indie pop and their intricately layered tracks have a degree of individualism due to their North Western roots that sets their sound apart, giving them an identity all of their own.

Their last single 'Keeping Up', described by XFM Scotland's Jim Gellatly as a ‘cracking track’, was produced by The Farm’s Carl Hunter and Gary Westhead at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool. The single received widespread airplay across the UK, Europe and America and was chosen as Janice Long's BBC Radio 2 Janice Loves track plus was selected by Artrocker for inclusion in their New Blood feature.








Following on from the excellent Keeping Up which was their last single release, Temper Temper is a bouncy, pop fuelled track reminiscent of another North West band and long time favourites of Ralph,The Lottery Winners. Uptight is slightly moodier lyrically but none the less listenable with choppy guitar and Northern infused vocal.

If they steadily improve in this vein they'll continue to garner more airplay and industry attention in the months to come. 2015 is looking like it'll be a great year for The Inkhearts.

The video below for Keeping Up was shot by students at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk.



Monday, 13 October 2014

Roadidendren


Ralph's been spinning some tracks by London (and Luton) singer/rapper Roadidendren of late on his Radio KC Indie Show as her fresh, funky, funny yet ferocious style never fails to please and favours no small amount of favourable feedback (yes, I know that's a lot of f's) from the listeners.

Her upcoming album, The Empress's New Clothes focuses on and picks apart the trivialisation of many parts of the music industry by its stars and insiders. 

Intrigued, Ralph had a natter with Roadidendren which proved to be candid, incisive and funny!





Ralph: Congrats on signing with See Monkey, how do you see this progressing your work.

Roadidendren: Greatly!  I think it's wonderful to have been found by such like minded, down to earth people considering the nature of the music industry and as such I can't wait to move forward with See Monkey.  The progress I expect will be mostly related to exposure and distribution as they are better acquainted with the industry.  Saying that most of what I have achieved so far is down to my label Other side of the ROAD and our overall tenacious attitude so I cannot forget that.







Ralph: I notice on your Facebook you're pre-empting people asking 'When's the f'ing album out', so - "when's the f'ing album out?"

Roadidendren:  Yes, yes, yes…it will be out in October 2018 judging by my current bearings and posts.  Kidding, I just don't know we're looking to mix and master soon but as I continue to write it's as if we just think…well hold on, that should be on their too.  Saying that, we've broken things down to 10 tracks and several bonus tracks so yeah, as soon as it's mixed and mastered!  Poptarts, Talent Shows, and Talk About are available for purchase however :)  and Radio has just been added to soundcloud :)




Ralph: You've been variously described as confrontational and in your face (mainly by Lily Allen) - is that a true reflection of your personality?

Roadidendren:  Eh?  Coming from queen of the Hypoclits.  She changes to the whim of the penny - one minute she's slagging off black dancers for their part in music videos next minute she's dancing naked to Drake on Instagram then she's mother teresa then she's Belle De Jour taking on new clients…its madness I tells ya…and as such I can't believe one word that comes out of her mouth as just as the pattern above describes she'll probably think I'm the most docile person on the planet at 4'o'clock today.

But to answer your actual question (rolls eyes…honestly, the cheek of it) no, I wouldn't say I am confrontational but I will speak up if I think there is an injustice no matter the climate and I think that's more reflective of my personality and writing style.

Honestly! I think people just say this and the "hater" thing whenever it means they can't continue as they are without getting called out.







Ralph: Toast or Poptarts?

Roadidendren:  Toast!  Without a shadow of a doubt.  Much healthier, Poptarts are sweet and pretty but they'll rot ya!











Ralph: Will the album see you gigging further afield soon? And do you enjoy performing live?

Roadidendren:  YES - I usually wait until I'm invited somewhere - I don't like to impose myself.

Performing live - I get really nervous but when I get my set right, I love it.

By that I mean when I relax.  I struggle with social anxiety etc. so...










Ralph: Your social commentary lyrics are both insightful and funny, how much will the album be expanding on peeling apart the layers of the more vacuous side of the music industry, entertainment and life?

Roadidendren: …the whole thing.  The album is much more focussed than I am.  It's my best bits.  The Empress's New Clothes is probably best described as an expose on things hiding in plain sight.














Ralph: Tom Robinson seems to be championing you of late, how did that come about?

Roadidendren: Oh good old Tom. I love Tom…he was introduced to me by Huw Stephens who introduced me on BBC Introducing in December of last year.  Tom has been an avid supporter ever since.  He nominated me for the Spotify Grant in April this year and he got me my first interview via Fresh On the Net and he recently played Talk About on his Introducing Mixtape show which he wasn't sure the BBC would let him play at first so that was a touch.  Huw, Tom, they're both great and I owe many of my current successes to them.  In fact, Huw's night at The Social is where I did my first gig and where I first met See Monkey!







Ralph: Ralph's Life has explored various aspects of mental health and how it affects musicians (only if you want to talk about it), how does being bipolar affect your songwriting/creativity/life?

Roadidendren: In many ways.  It means I see the polar extremes of everything and can bandy it together into what I feel is a balanced and true perspective on what is taking place within popular culture in this case.  My writing can be incredibly deep and other times it can be incredibly light hearted.  It's Other side of the ROAD that have really encouraged my writing style which is a mixture of my humour and the matter of fact way I see things.




Ralph: Studio or Live?

Roadidendren:  Not being funny…the studio.  It's a chance for perfection plus I'm a homebody.  I like to recharge…the world is a busy place and LIVE I have to deal with social anxiety, any prejudices etc. but I think the style I write in allows me to transcend that and that all starts in the studio…well, the sofa, then the studio.








Ralph: Currently listening to?

Roadidendren:  Bowie, Tina Turner, songs I loved as a child (I was NOT into Backstreet Boys etc.) I'm talking Annie Lennox - "I used to have demons, in my room at night" - songs that really used to have flavour, content, light and dark, texture not just di didi didi di and of course the great voices and writing that provided that. I've been listening to classical playlists too that help me focus when I'm out and about.




Ralph: Education?

Roadidendren:  My mum will love this bit.  I have a post graduate diploma in Psychology - that's pretty much the height of my education.  And where I can I follow the vein of music using things like Spotify and other such resources and usually teach myself a thing or two about the origins of musical styles etc. 


This is not a formal education but heck I'm not a formally educated musician or anything…rap is just something I happen to be good at and am somewhat addicted too…I'm not going to lie but with great passion comes great addiction, right? (she waffled on).




Ralph: I came across your music via a Tweet from one of the Ralph's Life Indie show listeners (Twitter's where I get all the music for the show) . How important do you feel Twitter is in terms of promotion for unsigned (and even signed) artists.



Roadidendren: I think it's a great way to connect with like minded people and it provides a lot of real time reactions to your material which goes some way in promoting your music.  I think however there is a lot of, let's say, Coca Cola out there and you have to keep swimming through it to get some H2O.  Aah, Actually Refreshing.