Several Irish acts to play at next weeks Eurosonic festival

Several artists and bands from Ireland will be appearing at the 2014 Eurosonic festival, which is being held in Groningen, Holland from January 15th-18th. The acts that are set to perform include Daniel James the alternative rock musician, Daithi an electric acoustic artist, pop-garage act Girl Band, Hudson Taylor the folk duo, indie outfit Kid Karate, L e Galaxie a synth pop group, rock n roll group The Strypes and Hozier, the singer-songwriter who was catapulted to international fame in 2013 thanks to the song Take Me to Church which was accompanied by a powerful and stunning video.

2013 proved to be a landmark tear for many of these indie Irish acts who are playing at the festival and this will be a vital showcase for those involve to highlight both their own talents and the wealth of talent currently on offer in Ireland. Eurosonic give acts the chance to perform at various other Euro festivals thanks to ETEP, the European Talent Exchange Programme.

Anyone wanting further information on the Eurosonic Festival 2014, be it the timetable or to find out more about the musicians involved should visit the website. Listeners will also have radio coverage courtesy of RTE 2FM.

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The Feeling reveals its watch list for 2014

The Feeling, which describes itself as “the UK’s most rock’n’roll club night’ has now released a list of what it believes are the top new British bands, and by an amazing coincidence they are all playing at The Feelings London gig on the weekend of 18th January. In response to the new list from the BBC’s Sound Of, which contains only a smattering of guitars, This Feeling urge us to keep an eye on these bands and well as taking a trip to the Queen of Hoxton to check them out a week on Saturday.

The Bohicas are the latest signing to Domino Records and have supported label mates Franz Ferdinand at the Ibiza Rocks event as well as starring on the recent NME Radar tour. The blurb says to expect an edgy, post-rock sound that is cool as ice with Beatles-style instantly memorable melodies combined with great guitar hooks.

The Dexters hail from East London and sound like the love child of The Jam, The Clash and The La’s, creating big tunes played with an infectious energy. Currently gigging their socks off thanks to their XFM backing, the band have done 300 shows in 2 years.

The Struts have a Queen-esque classic glam old skool attitude with a touch of the Manics thrown in for good measure. Signed to a major label, they boast a lead singer in Luke Spiller who has had several favourable comparison to the late great Sir Frederick Mercury.

Storms purvey an indie guitar excellence combined with the kind of alternative anthems that will have Britpop fans chomping at the bit. Hailing from London, their début EP is due for release any time soon so keep an eye out.

Listeners of XFM will probably have heard Trampolene, the 3 piece combo from Swansea. Snarling rock n roll attitudes with a raw power makes you think Muse and the Manics, and if confidence brings fame this lot will go global.

Tapestry are a quartet from Manchester who attract huge crowds when gigging at home and two of their biggest fans are The Courteeners, who they toured with, and John Robb. Debut single due out this year.

Pusher have had great reviews from NME and been on tour with EXIT CALM. Guitars and moody vocals are their trademark and good things are being said about this band.

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Beatles classics butchered in the US

It was George Bernard Shaw who first asserted that America and Britain were 2 countries “separated by a common language” and it seems he has been proved correct judging by the new boxed set of The US Albums by The Beatles. Released to tie in with the 50th anniversary of the first visit the fab four made to America, these albums are now available for the first time in the UK, and are quite an eye-opener as to the massive differences in which each country regarded these music phenomenons.

Back in the 60’s America was pretty slow on the uptake as far the Beatles were concerned and the stateside partner of their EMI record label, Capitol, passed up the opportunity to release the early singles which then appeared on the independent Vee-Jay label. They were forced to play catch up however when I Want to Hold Your Hand shot the group into the US limelight in 1964. As well as the string of hit singles they also raided the band’s back catalogue and created a whole new set of albums for this vast new market, and this displayed a total disregard for the original intentions of the band.

By the end of that year, the Beatles had released 4 albums in Britain, which clearly highlighted the progress they has made from their enthusiastic covers and fledgling song writing efforts in Please Please Me . They also triumphed with A Hard Day’s Night and the heavily folk influence reflectiveness of Beatles for Sale. Capitol, on the other hand, were flooding the market with no less than 6 albums within that one year, and blurred the clear cut career-arc of the group with their series of randomly sequenced collections that they culled from all points of their then short history.

Listening to these now is somewhat of a painful experience as they jump back and forwards between times and genres, making for unpleasant listening to say the least. They will sell of course, after all it is the Beatles but even casual listeners will be hugely underwhelmed.

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Hot Flush UK Tour Returns in 2014 – Starring Lesley Joseph

After five sell out UK tours, Hot Flush! returns… in 2014.


“The audience shrieked their heads off and whooped in delight” – The Scotsman

Hot Flush 2014 Tour

Hot Flush 2014 Tour

Temperatures will rise, hormones will rage and pulses will gallop with the news that HOT FLUSH!, the naughtiest comedy musical in town, starring ‘Birds of a Feather’ icon Lesley Joseph, will tour the UK from 4 March 2014.

There won’t be a dry eye in the house from laughing as HOT FLUSH! takes us on an hilarious journey which delves into the friendships, the secrets, the laughter and tears and the ups and downs of 4 ordinary women …. and the many men in their lives! HOT FLUSH! really is the ultimate girl’s night out!

So, take a deep breath and get set to meet Myra (Lesley Joseph), Sylvia (Lori Haley Fox), Helen (Anne Smith) and Jessica (Ruth Keeling), a quartet of feisty menopausal women who get together every Tuesday night at a local bar to offer each other moral support, cry on one another’s shoulders, and of course most importantly, gossip and malign the men in their lives – 15 of them all played by Matt Slack! Collectively referred to as ‘The Hot Flush Club’, Myra, Sylvia, Helen and Jessica will not leave a stone unturned or a story untold in the matters of relationships with the opposite sex and the menopause!!!

Myra (Lesley Joseph) is a successful barrister, specialising in divorce. Myra had always considered herself a together sort of person until she began to develop symptoms of you know what…and her rat of a husband left her for a big blonde bimbo from his office; Jessica, the wife of a wealthy man, had the perfect life until she experiences something of a mid-life crisis; Sylvia, who has been married to Joe since she was twenty and has been bored with him since she was twenty-one, has decided that life is for living and is making up for lost time; Helen, a widow, whose only daughter has left for university, is feeling somewhat lonely but tries to take one day at a time – it’s just that sometimes several days attack her at once!

Lesley Joseph is best known for playing Dorian Green, the neighbour from hell, in the sitcom ‘Birds of a Feather’, alongside Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson. They recorded over one hundred episodes over a period of nine years, and Dorian Green became a national institution, watched at its height by 20 million people. In 2013 Lesley began filming for a brand new series of ‘Birds of a Feather’ along with her original co-stars, Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson. The ‘Birds’ are set to hit the screens again on 2 January 2014.

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Justin Bieber’s retirement is dismissed as a joke by his team

Rumours have been rife recently regarding the imminent retirement of teen idol Justin Bieber, and it seems that that’s all they have been. There were many who thought Christmas had come early when the news filtered through in mid December but alas it was not to be. It turns out that young Justin took us all for December fools as it was the teeny bopper himself who made announcement during an interview on a US radio show.

Kurt Alexander, a host at Power 106 FM in Los Angeles was told by Bieber that he was actually retiring and was taking time out before saying that he was probably going to quit music as he was also quitting everything else. Twitter instantly exploded as the ‘Baby’ singer’s bereft fanbase, known as Beliebers, posted their frantic messages of worry, shock and widespread teenage heartbreak.

His manager Scoot Braun has now stepped into the fray to quell the rumours saying that the singer was joking and now that the full interview has been finally released Bieber himself reveals that he is just messing around. There had been speculation, and hope amongst his fans, that the comment had been a joke as no official comment or statement appeared on Twitter or his website following the interview.

Braun spoke at the première of the singers first film Believe, and said that Bieber had been joking with his retirement comment as he was actually taking time off in 2014 to relax and create some music. Braun added that this was the first time Bieber had taken a proper break since he was 12 and it was long overdue.

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New blog reveals the art of restoring fine stringed instruments

A renowned restorer of fine old stringed musical instruments from London has produced a new blog which gives a detailed, and rare, insight into the art of restoring stringed instruments. Bridgewood & Neitzert are London restorers, repairers and dealers and are now offering lovers of fine old violins, cellos and other stringed instruments a rare chance to see the art involved through their brand new blog at .

You can follow them at work courtesy of notes and top quality photos and be taken through the entire repair and restoration process. You will see them working on such old and rare stringed instruments as an 1811 Thomas Kennedy cello.

Gary Bridgewood of Bridgewood & Neitzert and his team work on some of the world’s rarest fine stringed instruments. Gary who began building instruments at an early age and now manages the shop and workshop noticed that restoration and repair photos and information were popular on the company’s Facebook page and people seemed to want more.

As restorers of some rare, old, and often very valuable stringed instruments we consider ourselves to be very lucky to be able to see the work of the original craftsmen up close. When we have to open up an old instrument you’re getting a unique look at its history, the method of the maker, and the evolution of instruments such as violins and cellos over time. We wanted to share this with all the other people out there who have a love for these instruments, how they were made, and what gives them their special sound and voice”

Gary sees the blog as having a wide appeal.

Musicians, stringed instrument enthusiasts, owners, collectors and anybody who’s interested or involved in restoring or repairing old instruments may find the information and the photographs of real interest. There’s a lot of information on the Web about the different makers of stringed instruments and the restoration pictures and information that we publish should help to provide an extra insight and dimension into how these beautiful instruments are maintained. It’s another electronic resource and point of reference for lovers of stringed instruments everywhere”.

The new blog already features an interview with Gary Bridgewood about producing a copy of bass viol bridge, and some magnificent photographs and information about the extensive restoration and repair of an 1811 Thomas Kennedy cello.

We will be adding details and photos of different restoration and repair projects to the blog as we go and anyone who ‘Likes’ our Facebook page will receive a notification when the new posts are added” says Gary.

The 1811 Thomas Kennedy cello restoration for example shows how we managed to re-establish the arching which had flattened over time, and reinforce the instrument from the inside. Although we have established methods for repairing and restoring instruments no two instruments are ever really the same. The beautiful instruments that we’re able to work on and the many different challenges they give us keep the work fresh and interesting and help expand our knowledge of instruments and their makers. We hope that the new blog will reflect this”.

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Band open their own record store

When Frankie and the Heartstrings, a British indie band from the north east, released there anticipated second album last summer they were alarmed at how few record shops there were to sell it in, so decided to open their own. Frankie Francis, the lead singer, said that when they were nearing the completion of the album the big news story was that of HMV going bust, and they also knew of a few local stores which had suffered the same fate.

Frankie went onto say that they were worried that they had their all important second album due for release but that there may not have been anywhere on the High Street to actually sell it. It was this that led them to make the decision to open their own store. The band proceeded to take over the abandoned tourist office in their home town of Sunderland and got help from the city council to turn it into their store. Frankie added, solemnly, that there was no call for the office any more.

Pop Recs Ltd was only supposed to be a short term venture, opening for 2 weeks to coincide with the album’s launch. Such was the response, however, that the band decided to keep it going and have even held in-store gigs. Four out of the five members of the band work there on a full time basis and they were rewarded for their efforts by being named as Britain’s hardest working band by the Association of Independent Music.

When you walk in you shouldn’t be surprised to see Frankie sorting out the coffee machine whilst Dave Harper, the drummer and Steve Dennis, the bassist, behind the counter multi tasking to the max. In an industry which is harder to get into than ever, they should be applauded for both their brainwave and undoubted business acumen.

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Daddy Plan B

Turns out Plan B is quite good at keeping a secret as he has been a father for the past year without anyone knowing. The rapper finally admitted that his girlfriend gave birth to his first child, a baby girl at the start of last year. The star from She Said spoke out saying that he is very proud that he is a father and that his mother and daughter are a great fit for his life. He added that their first Christmas together was quite special and he is a very happy father.

Plan B stated that the pregnancy was not planned, but despite this fact he was very open to all of the responsibilities that come with being a father. A source close to the couple stated that it was a surprise but Ben was proud and excited about the idea of becoming a father. The source stated that the couple had already been dating for years prior to the pregnancy and the child has helped to deepen their relationship even more.

The insider also stated that even though Plan B has an image as a bad boy he is a great dad and is fine just staying in with the baby on the weekends. Of course, even though Plan B may be a father he has not lost his edge as he is planning a new LP that is meant to be ‘no holds barred.’

According to the same insider he has been playing tracks for his daughter but since his lyrics are so gritty he just plays her the music without the lyrics looped in yet. 2014 should be a great year for him between his kid and the new release of his LP that he is rumored to be very excited about.

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Ellie Goulding read the riot act

Shoreditch House read Ellie Goulding the riot act after her pals took a series of photos at her birthday bash last Monday even though the club has a very strict no-photo policy. Most people hate waking up to find themselves in tagged photos after a drunken night out on the town, but most people do not hang out at a celeb nightclub like Shoreditch were the no photo policy is taken quite seriously.

Ellie Goulding apparently was not aware of the policy as she was told off because some of her party were using their cameras. Ellie’s birthday consisted of dinner and a nightclub so when the birthday cake appeared her friends likely thought nothing of snapping a few photos, but the east London club was quick to react.

Their no-photo policy was put in place to protect the celebs that frequently visit it and it seems that they stick to their policy even if it’s a celeb that is trying to break it. Next time Ellie will just have to take a selfie in the bathroom like every other pop star.

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Record labels urged to embrace the digital age

Over the past two decades, the music industry has seen not so much as steady decline but more of a plummet in CD sales, the competition from online piracy and a whole new way of listening to your favourite music thanks to the internet. Now it is also being polarised thanks to the influx of music streaming services.

Websites such as Deezer and Spotify offer vast catalogues which listeners can stream free of charge, albeit interspersed with advertising which you can get rid of if you pay around £10 a month. These sites have also brought much criticism however, not least from the artists over the amount of royalties they receive for their music being on these kind of service.

Thom York, the lead singer of Radiohead, went as far as removing all his solo tracks from Spotify last October saying it was the last breath from a dying corpse. There are others however, such as singer/songwriter Billy Bragg who actually view Spotify as the future of music and the industry itself. He said that saying you didn’t want you music on Spotify was like saying you didn’t want it on a cassette when CD’s came out as this was a new way of accessing music, and is the future of the music industry.

Spotify claims that it now has 24m active users, and 6m of these are paying a subscription. Mark Williams is Spotify’s artist services director, and he has had that over the last 5 years the company has paid out £611m to the rights holders of the songs they have on their service. He added that between 2009-12 they paid out $500m, yet paid out the same amount during 2013 alone.

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