Steve Martin returns with ‘The Long-Awaited Album’

Friday 28th July 2017

Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers will release “The Long-Awaited Album” on Rounder Records/Decca Records on 22nd September. “The Long-Awaited Album,” Martin’s newest collaboration with the Grammy-winning North Carolina-based  band the Steep Canyon Rangers, is full of stories that mix humour and melancholy, whimsy and realism, rich characters and concrete details. And lots of banjos.

That instrument – so dexterously, even acrobatically picked and strummed – is just as crucial to relating these new tales as the lyrics themselves, each chord and riff revealing new depths to Martin’s narrators and to his musical talent. Produced by Peter Asher, the new album is a collection of 14 stunning new songs including the boisterous and humorous new track “Caroline,” the deeply romantic tune “All Night Long,” and the fantastical song “Santa Fe,” which showcases the lively dynamic between Martin and the Rangers.

Steve Martin’s musical career is an extension of the storytelling impulse that drove his work as a comedian, an actor, a screenwriter, a playwright, an essayist, and a novelist. The Grammy Award winning musician found his love for the banjo at the age of 17 and originally used the instrument as part of his stand-up comedy routine. But in 2010, Martin released his first album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-Strong Banjo, and since then, Martin has played many prestigious stages including Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, Stagecoach, Bonnaroo, New Orleans’ Jazzfest and The Newport Folk Festival, Royal Festival Hall in London, and the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. Martin released his second full-length bluegrass album Rare Bird Alert in 2011. The album featured 13 Martin-penned tracks as well as special guest vocal appearances by Paul McCartney and The Dixie Chicks. Additionally, Martin co-wrote two of the CD’s songs with the Steep Canyon Rangers. That year, Martin also won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award.

Martin also collaborated with Edie Brickell on the critically acclaimed album Love Has Come For You, which combines Martin’s five-string banjo work with Brickell’s vivid vocals. Martin and Brickell took home the Grammy Award for “Best American Roots Song” for the album’s title track. Martin and Brickell’s second collaboration “So Familiar” earned widespread critical acclaim and also inspired the Broadway musical Bright Star, which was nominated for five Tony Awards.

The Steep Canyon Rangers and Steve Martin will host their album release celebration on Saturday at The IBMA World of Bluegrass –  in the state where it all began for them.

Connect with Steve Martin via his WebsiteFacebook and Twitter.

VISTA releases sophomore EP ‘Long Live’

Thursday 27th July 2017

Comprised of fierce front woman Hope Vista and guitarist Greg Almeida, VISTA is keeping their momentum alive with their brand new dystopian-themed sophomore EP “Long Live” which was released on the 21st July. Combining both arena and electronic influences to define their anthem rock sound, “Long Live” lyrically focuses mainly on forming an allegiance and finding an ‘oasis’ in a dystopian society. The EP’s concept was designed to mirror current political world events.

The 7 song tracklist includes previously released singles “Henchmen” and “Allegiance” as well as a new version of vocalist Hope Vista’s 2015 solo single “Dominance.” With this record cycle, VISTA also introduces the creation of The Oasis, a metaphorical safe haven for listeners to find comfort in through the band’s music and live shows. Talking about the EP, the band states:

“Growing into our sophomore release, we wanted to expand on our simpler beginnings and create a brand, instead of just being a band. The concept for ‘Long Live’ really stemmed from “Henchmen,” which focused on the idea of fighting against the face of oppression in a politically polarizing society. The words “long live” fight against the image of an apocalypse and also mirror where VISTA currently stands. ‘Long Live’ is the product of a lot of frustration and the examination of current events with one goal; to create a sound and concept that has both flare and remarkable depth. The result is something we are immensely proud of and put forward into the world with hopes that we can all fight against the grain in an increasing dystopian society.”

Conceived in late 2015, VISTA released their debut 4-track EP “VERSUS” shortly after, in which their debut single “On The Brink” debuted worldwide on idobi radio. Their name hasn’t been shy in the press since; the band has garnered praise from outlets such as Alternative Press, Rock Sound, Substream, and AXS. Since the start of 2017, VISTA has supported Fueled By Ramen artist Against The Current at Irving Plaza, sold out their first two headlining shows, was named one of “100 Women Kicking Ass In Music” by Alternative Press, and gained rotation on idobi with their January single “Henchmen,” an anti-oppression anthem. “Long Live” serves as VISTA’s sophomore EP, and the band will embark on their first headlining tour in August to promote.

Click here for tour dates and tickets.

Connect with VISTA via their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

John Dylan releases new single ‘Get Beyond’

Sunday 25th June 2017

Multi-instrumentalist and producer extraordinaire, John Dylan, has had music running through his veins before he was even born, his parents playing the likes of Elvis Costello, Bob Marley and Stevie Ray Vaughn whilst he was still in the womb. But now, after previously having exhibited his work through the vehicle of the genre-defying band Terrene, (who had their record produced by Phil Ek: The Shins, Fleet Foxes, Built to Spill), John has now gone solo, bearing the load on his reliable talents as a songwriter.

With the uniquely named Peripheral Drift Illusion album in the pipeline, John is releasing the record’s first single, ‘Get Beyond’; a spacey, effects-laden piece of shoegaze-pop that owes much of its style to the classic sounds of bands like the Beatles, a major inspiration for John. Dreamy vocals combine with a bright, bouncing guitar riff that drifts effortlessly over a wah-fuelled bass line, before wading through a sludge of distortion. As a result, John takes us on a sonic odyssey that stops off at almost every genre and style on the way.

To confine Dylan’s eclectic stylings to a single genre, or compare him to a single band would be a near impossible task. With a life revolving around music, John has formed some unique standpoints when it comes to his work. For example, whilst he may be considered a ‘rock’ artist, John enjoys flipping analog rock aesthetics on their head, using a completely digital workflow. Also, for each single, John is embracing his counterparts in the hip-hop, dance and electronic cultures by allowing the songs to be ‘open sourced’, holding a remix competition for DJs and other electronic artists to sample and rework his songs, with the chance of appearing on the widely released version of the single.

John was recently diagnosed with a chronic anxiety disorder, but in spite of this, he uses it as fuel for writing his songs. Although it can be difficult to deal with, John notes that “there are hopeful moments in the form of songs like ‘Get Beyond’, where I encourage myself to get out of bed and come out of hiding into the world. ‘Get Beyond’ was written after a string of bad events in my life – I got laid off from work, my car stolen, my house robbed and my house entered foreclosure proceedings.  I realized these were hard things to go through, but they boiled down to material concerns and my ego was choosing to take all of these things personally.”

Although John takes inspiration from a wide range of sources such as Nirvana, My Bloody Valentine and The Beatles, his style draws similarities with the likes of The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala. Back in the mid-90s, John was involved with underground math-rock band, Mars Accelerator, who played alongside Modest Mouse and released an album with the help of Steve Fisk, who coincidentally, had worked with Nirvana.  In the past, John has also supported experimental outfit, Of Montreal, and the artwork for Peripheral Drift Illusion is being created by John Lennon’s bandmate, Klaus Voormann, who also designed the cover for the Beatles’ classic record, Revolver.

Dylan can be considered the complete musician, playing all the instruments and singing on his records: “Through the influx of things I go through in life, I try to reverberate them right back out of my body, by playing drums, or guitar, or bass, or singing. Or if I need to change where I’m at in my head, the headphones come on, and I can feel the ground move beneath my feet.”

Connect with John Dylan via his Website, Twitter and Facebook.

Halflives Announce Their First UK Headline Tour

Tuesday 9th May 2017

Following the success of their debut album ‘Empty Rooms’ which was released last month, Halflives have just announced a handful of live dates for their UK headline tour in July.  Being fortunate enough to review the album ahead of its release in April, I was completely taken in by Linda’s vocals and the amount of emotion that was portrayed through out the album, and I found it to be very captivating.  This is certainly true of tracks such as ‘Echo’ and ‘Burn’ which are really catchy and I remember thinking how easy it was to imagine these being performed and sounding great live.  And what’s even better is with Halflives announcing their headlining tour, I no longer need to imagine and can now experience it first hand.

So, if like me you’re always on the lookout for something new to tantalise your ear buds then I would recommend giving Halflives a spin.  From the first listen it was guaranteed to be on repeat, and in actual fact it was the only album I listened to for 3 days straight.

UK Headline Tour:

11th July – Glasgow, Bloc
12th July – Nottingham, The Maze
13th July – Peterborough, Met Bar
14th July – Bridgwater, Cobblestones
15th July – Whitchurch, Percy’s

UK Tour with Courage My Love:

31st May – Southampton, Talking Heads
1st June – Bristol, The Exchange
2nd June – Bridgwater, Cobblestones
3rd June – London, Camden Rocks Festival
4th June – Manchester, Rebellion

Connect with Halflives via their Website, Facebook and Twitter.

Inglorious announce second album

Wednesday 15th February 2017

Since discovering Inglorious last year I have been keeping a close eye on the band for a while.  Or should I say, following religiously.  The first time I heard the band was during the release of their single Unaware and I was immediately hooked and became an instant fan.  Discovering new music is always great no matter at which point you find yourself connecting with a band or artist, but it’s always nice when you catch them right from the start so you can follow the journey together.  It has to be said that I was very glad to have caught these guys from their first album.

Their self-titled debut album ‘Inglorious’ was released almost a year ago, and they have since spent time touring the UK and Europe and heading over state-side, as well as performing at festivals including Download Festival, Planet Rockstock and Ramblin’ Man Fair, and generally building a name for themselves.  Unfortunately in December the band announced that guitarist Wil Taylor would be parting ways with the band, but we now see the return of Drew Lowe who was the original guitarist.


Pushing forward, Inglorious have now released details of their eagerly anticipated second studio album ‘Inglorious II’ which is set for release on the 12th May 2017.  For me, the first album has become a staple in my collection, and already boasts the sound of an established classic rock band, so I’m keen to hear what’s in store for the next album.

The first single to be released from the album is ‘Read All About It’, which upon first listen still brings us those ballsy vocals from Nathan along with their signature premium riffage, but with a slightly paced sound than expected it’s more of a grower.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great release and I’m enjoying listening to it daily, but if my gut tells me anything then I know there’s more instore from the rest of the album.

Pre-orders are now available for ‘Inglorious II’ and you’ll be guranteed to get ‘Read All About It’ as a download before the album is released.  This digital world we live in does wonders for our instant listening pleasures doesn’t it?  You can also snag yourself a few other goodies too, including signed albums, vinyls, and DVD copies of their full set from Download Festival 2016.

Head over to the bands official webstore for more details.

Connect with Inglorious via their Website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Volunteer at a festival – applications now open!

Friday 10th February 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… well, there might be a few snow flurries passing by as I write this, but I’m not talking about ‘that’ season – I’m talking about festival season!  With the arrival of so many festival announcements pouring in at the moment, event calendars are filling up fast and you might be struggling to decide which festivals to attend.

Well here’s a little helping hand.  Have you ever thought about volunteering at a festival?  It’s a great way to get involved, meet new people, make friends, and enjoy great experiences.  And what’s even better is that you get to soak up all this excitement for FREE.


Hotbox Events are the recruiters for volunteers at a number of UK festivals, and they have just opened up their applications for Download, Reading and Leeds, V and Latitude.  As a volunteer you’ll play a big role in supporting the great atmosphere around the festivals in helping festival-goers with anything from directions, luggage, handing out wristbands and checking tickets, stewarding, or helping find the way back to campsite.

Each volunteer is required to work a shift pattern, but when you’re not required to be on shift you can enjoy the festival at your own leisure.  As part of the application process you are required to pay a deposit, which is refunded to you in full once festival season is over, but there is only one deposit required whether you want to volunteer at one festival or four!  You can even make a group application if fancy volunteering with your mates.

Sound interesting?  I thought so.  Well, check out the Hotbox Events website for full terms and conditions, and information on how to apply.

Favourite Finds of 2016

Saturday 31st December 2016

This is something that I started doing in 2015 as I really enjoyed looking back over all the music I’d discovered and been introduced to.  Putting a list together of all my favourites is a fun experience, and I want to share some of what I’ve been enjoying this year.  There are so many ways music can be discovered, and this is far from an extensive list as my music collection is absolutely booming this year.  But, if you could only pick one answer for each of the following, who would you choose?  Here’s what I thought…

Favourite Spotify Recommendation:
– Inglorious

I’m a big Spotify user and using it for music discovery really does work.  I was actually checking out another band at the time who I’d been sent a press release for, and Inglorious popped up as a related artist.  Inglorious are a band that I loved right from the moment I first started listening to them, and it was a relief to know that I’d caught them from their first album.  With their classic hard rock sound and Nathan’s powerful vocals it’s clear that the band are destined for bigger things.  Album number 2 is already in the pipeline and I’m excited to hear what’s next, but their self-titled first album is still a staple in my collection.

Favourite YouTube Find:
– Feeder – All Bright Electric

Love it or hate it, we all get sucked in to that trap of going on to YouTube to quickly look for something specific and then 2 hours later you’re knee deep in Carpool Karaoke and life hack videos on how to best chop an onion without crying your eyes out, because you know, we all need that in our lives.  I was thinking back to my radio presenting days and remembered one of the most fun days I had in the studio was during a pre-record for one of my rock shows.  During which, me and my friend who was presenting with me at the time aired ‘Feeder – Just A Day’ and we had a moment of completely rocking out and I vaguely remember things getting broken.  Fun times!

So I did a quick search on YouTube and found that Feeder had actually released a new album recently.  I checked it out and was in awe from the moment I first heard it.  I found the album quite refreshing, with sounds that are true to themselves but another impressive release.  Although it has it’s heavier moments, it’s very easy listening and I enjoy having it on in the background whilst in the office most days.

Favourite Twitter Follow:
– Awake at Last

Belive it or not I do try and check out most of the bands and artists who follow me on Twitter.  Some only stick around for a few hours as they’re clearly only trying to build up their followers, but there are a number who make contact and interact, and enjoy chatting to those of us who write blogs.  Awake at Last started following me at the start of the year, I checked out their music and contacted them to see if they were interested in an interview and they responded straight away.  What really striked me about the band is their passion for making something of themselves.  A really friendly and down-to-earth bunch of guys, who are professional and serious, and put in a lot of time and effort to connect with fans and to play as many shows as possible to get their music heard.  Living over in the States the band haven’t made it over this side of the pond yet, but when they do I’ll be in line for a ticket.  Since our interview the band have kept in touch with updates on their music and I’m looking forward to hearing what’s in store for the new year.

Favourite New Release:
– Greenday – Revolution Radio

This is a difficult one to narrow down as there have been so many great releases this year – Black Stone Cherry, Tremonti, Blink-182, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Bowie, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beyonce, Craig David, Yellowcard and Alter Bridge are a small handful of what I’ve been purchasing this year.  However, one of the albums I’ve played the most this year is ‘Greenday – Revolution Radio’.  I honestly believe this is their best release since ‘American Idiot’ and it makes me feel as though it’s 2004 again.  During this time I had a job where we could listening to our own music through headphones, and ‘American Idiot’ was constantly on my Sony Walkman.  There’s something euphoric about ‘Revolution Radio’ – maybe it’s because it has a sound that takes me back to that moment.  I wasn’t lucky enough to get tickets for their upcoming UK tour, so I’m holding out hope that there will be some last minute tickets released as they’re one band I’ve enjoyed for many years but still haven’t had the opportunity to catch live.

Favourite Recommendation by a Friend:
– Shinedown

With 5 albums already under their belt I’m ashamed that I’ve only just aquainted myself with the band.  Being friends with the likes of Alter Bridge should have been my first nudge, and the amount of plays on Planet Rock should have been my second.  However, it was my other half who really opened me up to their music after he had ‘Threat to Survival’ on in the house one evening.  It really felt as though I should have known who they were, because it sounded like something I would already own.  In fact, I actually saw the band perform at Download Festival in 2012, so I really didn’t have any excuse.  All 5 albums have now been welcomed with open arms to my collection!

Favourite Recommendation by Press Release:
– The Treatment

Press releases are a great way to discover new music, and I like to check out most of what comes through to my inbox because there are often a lot of gems to be discovered.  There a few releases that go on to become something really big, and it’s a nice feeling knowing that you heard that right from the start.  I believe ‘The Treatment’ are one of those bands, and the release of their third studio album ‘Generation Me’ this year has really put their mark on the British rock scene.  They did a lot of touring and the festival circuit in 2016, and I’m now holding out hope that another press release lands soon with a further announcement for this year.

Favourite Support Act:
– Don Broco

I managed to catch Don Broco whilst they were supporting ‘Bring Me The Horizon’ on their tour, and what really striked me was the amount of energy they have whilst on stage.  It’s watching a set like this that really opens up your mind to a band and their music, because when you see them having fun you want to be a part of that too.  I’ve listened to Don Broco on a few occasions as they’re a favourite of one of my Twitter followers (reading other peoples tweets about music does make you want to check it out too, or at least it does in my case).  I also have a shared playlist set up with a friend and we often add to it with new discoveries for each other to listen to, and this is probably when I first started listening to the band.  However, after catching them perform live I’ve been listening to them a lot more, and I think this really shows the strength of a quality performance.

Favourite Radio Find:
– Catfish and the Bottlemen

Now, I have to start by saying that I did already know about Catfish and the Bottlemen but it was this year that I really started getting in to the band.  Even though it was an earlier release, hearing ‘Kathleen’ on Radio 1 reminded me that I really liked the track when it first came out.  It was the same day that I then heard ‘7’ from their second album and I instantly decided to purchase both albums from my local HMV store.  For me, they remind me of the likes of Artic Monkeys when they first arrived on the scene, with their rock and roll confidence and a well established sound to their debut album.

Favourite Anticipated Release:
– Craig David

Quite possibly one of the biggest comebacks of the year was Craig David, and for me it was most certainly one of the most anticipated.  Having already released ‘When The Bassline Drops’ and ‘Nothing Like This’ before dropping his latest album, it was clearly shaping up to be a storming release.  It’s always a nervous time when artists decide to return to music, especially after watching the likes of the ‘Big Reunion’ with artists from the same era, for them to quickly go back to where they were before ITV came knocking on their door.  However, Craig David dusted off his decks and was the comeback kid of the year.  I can’t quite believe it’s been 16 years since ‘Born To Do It’ went to Number 1, but I’m pleased ‘Follow My Intuition’ has firmly cemented him back in to the charts.

Favourite Vinyl Release:
– Lonely The Brave – Dust and Bones EP

Quite possibly one of the most beautiful vinyl releases of the year.  Not just because of the lovely blue record it came as, or the extra tracks we’d been treated to after their second album had only just been released.  In fact, it was their fantastic cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ that put me in to a spin.  Seeing it released through the Hassle Records Twitter feed I was so nervous – why do bands choose to cover other artists music and then release it?  Having a bit of fun in the studio yes, but putting it out as a release is always risky business, especially with something so iconic as Pink Floyd.  Yet, it turned out to be the most alluring cover I had ever heard, so haunting and so beautiful.