New Music – Treeboy & Arc, Cold Showers, The Howlers

New releases & live dates – Treeboy & Arc / Cold Showers / The Howlers

Treeboy & Arc: Concept

Delivering their strongest track so far, Concept is the new single from Leeds quintet Treeboy & Arc, produced by Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey. The band have been making a name for themselves on the live circuit playing in great company with the likes of Crows, Chest Pains, Yowl and Vulgarians. Their post-punk guitars take a darker twist here with spoken vocals challenging the concept of the flawed environment around us. Singer Ben Morgan notes, ‘The song is about being the only person alive and the entire world around me being a figment of my imagination. But then ultimately coming to the realisation that that’s not the case as, if I’d created everything around me, I’d have given myself a lot more beneficial features. It’s kind of an existential stream of consciousness.’

Concept is available digitally now and has a very limited vinyl release (250 copies) on Speedy Wunderground on 7th June. At the time of writing there are still some copies available but get your order in quickly, these won’t hang around.

The band have a few live dates booked in June (single launches in London and Leeds):

6th June – London, The Waiting Rooms
8th June – Bristol, Triptych Festival
13th June – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club

Treeboy & Arc © Bands on Film

Treeboy & Arc    Listen to Concept    Pre-order 7″ vinyl

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Cold Showers: Dismiss (single) Motionless (album)

Released today via Dais Records, new album Motionless moves towards warmer melodies and refrains while maintaining the darkwave, brooding backdrop that Cold Showers have become known for. Current single Dismiss offers a flavour of the LA trio’s new sound and comes with a lyric video directed by Ruinas Romanas.

The band explain, ‘Dismiss dates back to 2013 as an ode to broken relationships and still rings familiar which is why we decided to develop it further and re-record it.  As fans of (Romanas’) collage work, we linked via social media to create the visual companion to the song.’ Romanas adds that Dismiss is ‘a reverie about a relationship that ends at the darkest point. An inevitable farewell.’

Motionless is available on both CD and vinyl LP (with limited edition colored vinyl variants), as well as all digital formats.

Remaining UK tour dates with Tamaryn over the next few days below, after these the band head out across Europe playing multiple venues in France, Germany, Sweden, Czech Republic and Poland:

25th May – London, The Shacklewell Arms
27th May – Glasgow, Broadcast
28th May – Manchester, Night People
29th May – Bristol, The Lanes

Cold Showers © Shannon Cornett

Cold Showers    Watch the video for Dismiss    

You can buy Motionless digitally here – for vinyl purchases check your local record shop to avoid postage charges from the US

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The Howlers: La Dolce Vita

For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing The Howlers live, they have a run of gigs across the UK throughout June and July – a highly recommended way to spend an evening. Also coming very soon, their new single La Dolce Vita is released into the world on 7th June on heavyweight vinyl (on These Bloody Thieves Records) and a limited run of just 50 sunburst orange cassettes (through Brutalist Records) plus the usual digital channels.

La Dolce Vita is a short, sharp burst of spaghetti western guitars attacked with frenetic drums, another step forward in the band’s assault against the mainstream – keep an eye and ear out for its release; The Howlers’ (fka Scrubs) recent EP Circus of Horrors will give you an insight into what to expect.

You can catch the band live on the upcoming tour dates below:

1st June – London, Camden Rocks Festival
2nd June – Manchester, The Peer Hat

21st June – Sheffield, Cafe Totem
22nd June – Liverpool, The Jacaranda
28th June – London, The Macbeth
29th June – Southampton, Heartbreakers
30th June – Brighton, The Hope & Ruin
5th July – Nottingham, Alberts
6th July – Manchester, The Castle Hotel
19th July – Sheffield, Tramlines Festival (Fringe)
20th July – Portsmouth, Edge of the Wedge

30th July – Hull, The Polar Bear

The Howlers    Pre-order cassette    Pre-order 7″ vinyl

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Words by Siobhan
Photos via One Beat PR / Brutalist Records and copyrighted as credited

24th May 2019

Iconic Bowie – Dimbola Museum & Galleries

Iconic Bowie – Dimbola Museum & Galleries, Isle of Wight, 7th June – 18th August 2019

From the flame-haired glam and stacked platforms of Ziggy Stardust to the stark, dark persona of the Thin White Duke, David Bowie leaves an imprint of creativity, experiment and style that defies convention and comparison. A pioneer musically and visually, his imagery is instantly recognisable and has opened doors for future generations to have the confidence to be themselves, whatever that means and however it looks.

A new exhibition celebrating Bowie’s remarkable contribution to the world will be opening its doors at the Isle of Wight’s Dimbola Museum & Galleries just in time for this year’s festival-goers to drop in. The show includes photography, painting, vinyl art and sculpture and takes a look at some lesser known local connections as well as housing pieces from established industry contributors. It looks set to be a fascinating visit.

Bowie © Terry O’Neill

Details from the press release here:

Iconic Bowie is a major retrospective of the extraordinary life of David Bowie. A journey in which the Isle of Wight witnessed his first public musical performance at a Corf Scout Camp, Shalfleet in 1958 and Bowie’s last UK live show headlining at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2004.

Iconic Bowie showcases both stunning and intimate portraits of Bowie by some of the world’s greatest photographers. The photographs, from the extensive Iconic Images archive, were taken over his phenomenal 50 year career and draw into focus the remarkable contribution Bowie made to culture, music and art. These portraits contain rare moments, the force of Bowie’s unique nature and his personality on film. Each image is an illuminating artefact of one of the greatest artists that has ever lived.

‘Great portrait photographers do a rare thing through extraordinary alchemy that renders light, exposure, emotion, soul, sorrow, joy and beauty forever fixed in time. Iconic Bowie contains images that startle the world and provide an illuminating insight into the astonishing career of David Bowie.’ (Brian Hinton, Chairman of Dimbola Museum and Galleries)

There is a brilliance in capturing the sound, spirit, aesthetics and unearthly metamorphosis of Bowie. The Iconic Images archive is one of the biggest collections of David Bowie imagery under one house. Terry O’Neill, Kevin Cummins, Markus Klinko, Justin de Villenuve, Milton H Greene and Gerald Fearnley all had important roles throughout the visual life of this singular artist. Through the collective lens of these creative photographers, a true visual image of Bowie the artist was realised.

Kevin Cummins first photographed Bowie on his Aladdin Sane tour of 1972- 1973, went on to photograph and be influenced by him throughout his career and can remember the effect of seeing Bowie on stage… ‘I went to see David Bowie when I was in my teens. I had never seen anything like that on stage and I had seen various things which were all very flashy and very showy. Now, it may seem normal but at the time nobody really had that kind of theatricality in rock ‘n’ roll.’ (Kevin Cummins)

Bowie © Kevin Cummins

To celebrate Bowie’s influence on art and culture, Dimbola has invited contemporary British sculptor Guy Portelli to curate an artists’ response to Bowie in the Charles Hay Gallery. The collection, featuring artists Keith Haynes, Chris Myers and Guy Portelli, will show artworks inspired by the music and iconic imagery of David Bowie.

Exploring the Isle of Wight/Bowie connection there will be a rare display of ephemera tracing Bowie’s early footsteps on the island. These include copies of The Bowie Bureau (1977-1982), a magazine produced by two long-standing friends and sent from their Ventnor home to destinations throughout the world as well as adverts from Bowie’s three early appearances at Ventnor Winter Gardens with Davy Jones & the Lower Third in the summer of 1965.

The exhibition is kindly sponsored by Wightlink, Solo Agency, Style of Wight and The Seaview Hotel. All exhibition images are limited editions and available to purchase.’

Iconic Bowie runs from 7th June – 18th August 2019 – free entry

Dimbola Museum & Galleries, Terrace Lane, Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight PO40 9QE
Opening times: 7 days a week 10 – 5 – please check the website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from Dimbola Museum & Galleries and are copyrighted as credited

Words for introduction by Siobhan

21st May 2019

Book Club – David Byrne: How Music Works

With so many great books about and by musicians on the shelves, it’s difficult to gauge which ones will make the read as compelling as the music. Here, Ryan Bell reviews one of his favourites…

David Byrne: How Music Works

David Byrne’s How Music Works is much like his music. Whether it’s his solo work, his collaborative recordings with Brian Eno or St Vincent, or as the frontman for influential art-rock group Talking Heads, he is a consistent creator of music that is ambitious and intelligent yet enjoyable, and his foray into the world of music literature is no different.

Similar to the genre fusions found in the music of Talking Heads, Byrne chooses not to craft a by the numbers autobiography, instead he flirts between the role of rock raconteur, music history professor and pop culture sociologist, amalgamating observations, anecdotes, ideas and concepts gathered from his thirty plus years in the music business. Whilst this could result in the book becoming arrogant or rambling, his writing style is informative yet conversational, with a great sense of “believe me, I’ve seen it and done it” authenticity and an enthusiasm that can rarely be doubted, leading How Music Works to be a surprising breath of fresh air to read.

This can also be attributed to the nonlinear structure of the book, with each chapter focusing on a different musical talking point such as technology, collaborations, live performances, etc. Byrne states in the preface that he feels there is still a certain rhythm to the book, though acknowledges the merit of allowing for reader permitted chapter hopping, appealing to those readers with a shorter attention span. David Byrne writes attractively throughout, however I am such a reader, and the option to jump to learning about the recording of Remain in Light over Byrne’s thoughts on music industry finances, without the result of a jumbled narrative, was refreshing. 

Naturally, you would pick up the book because of the name attached, Byrne has made a career out of being one of pop music’s most revered auteurs, and some of the most enjoyable parts of How Music Works come from his success in pairing his music history research with his own personal observations. Reading about the televangelists who inspired the Talking Heads hit Once in a Lifetime, or his time spent watching Japanese theatre for the infamous “big suit” from the legendary Stop Making Sense live shows is enthralling, particularly after witnessing his spectacular American Utopia show, which only wet the appetite to learn where he gathers his inspirations from.

As well as these, Byrne is fascinated by the wider context of how shapes sound, how geography and performance and listening spaces can affect and influence the sonic nature. He describes the uneven wall, scattered furniture pieces and low ceiling that gave legendary punk club CBGB a “remarkably good sound” and how the percussive character of African tribe music would have turned to “sonic mush” in the stone walled gothic cathedrals of the west in the middle ages.

The book is typical of Byrne, as whilst other rock/pop musicians might opt for the sexy warts ‘n’ all page turner, his eyes and ears are tuned, almost academically, towards the physics and working parts behind music’s past, present and future. Knowing that some might scoff at the idea that by doing so he is ridding the art of its enjoyment, he insightfully remarks in the preface that “knowing how the body works doesn’t take away from the pleasure of living”.

There is a wide range of ground covered in How Music Works, which at times can leave it feeling a little uneven and scattered, but it’s rarely pretentious, he never gives the impression he is writing about anything for any reason other than it fascinates him. Its structure is particularly suited for travel reads or coffee table pick-me-ups, with his knack for great pop song writing translating into cushioning the trickier moments with anecdotes and titbits, and the musical wanderlust shown throughout his career making his search for the mechanics of sound eclectic and colourful.

Words and photo by Ryan

16th May 2019

An Alternative Escape

Brighton 9th – 11th May 2019

Every year, The Great Escape brings a heap of music to venues and makeshift spaces across Brighton (not to mention a swarm of confused looking industry types with oversized lanyards, trying to find the nearest pub and referencing 6 Music loudly in every second sentence in case you didn’t understand how serious they are). If you prefer to catch a glimpse of what the city’s regular DIY scene is like, or simply can’t afford the ticket price, The Alternative Escape traditionally runs parallel, offering mostly free access to some of the best local and visiting bands, plus there are a few free main festival events in public spaces. This year, the Alt Escape shows were limited amidst rumours of hefty fees being charged for use of the title but thankfully the showcases continued under other names. It’s impossible to even come close to seeing everyone on your wish list but here’s our photo gallery with 12 of the best to look out for.

The Nude Party at East Street Tap

Los Bitchos at Jubilee Square

White Room at Beyond Retro

Nice Biscuit at Casablanca Jazz Club

The Cosmics at Casablanca Jazz Club (plus header photo)

BDRMM at The Hope & Ruin

Ugly at Beyond Retro

Average Sex at Beyond Retro

The Slaughter House Band at East Street Tap / Hare & Hounds

Italia 90 at The Admiral

Mint at The Richmond

False Heads at The Richmond

Photos by Siobhan

13th May 2019

Portsmouth Psych Fest

Portsmouth Psych Fest, The Wedgewood Rooms, 4th May 2019

Making a welcome return this weekend, Portsmouth Psych Fest stormed into its third year with an event packed with another amazing array of artists. Throughout Saturday, eighteen acts played across the main stage in The Wedgewood Rooms and its more compact counterpart in the Edge of the Wedge, hosted by local collective Calamity Cratediggers. Kicking things off at the Edge, Fat Earthers, The Howlers and Number 9 gave us a glimpse into how diverse the day was going to be, from psych-punk to desert rock to 60s’ infused psychedelia all in the first few hours.

Over on the main stage, Drusila impressed once again with their unapologetically 80s’ tinged electronic dance tracks – big things ahead for this local duo surely.

With the room transformed by vibrant liquid colour projections from visual artist Inner Strings and psych mascots in the form of graffitied mannequins by street artist My Dog Sighs, the scene was set for poetry-fused guitar tunes from Freya Beer, melodic indie-pop from Mystic Peach and the unlikely but irrepressibly fun blend of Cumbian psych provided by Los Bitchos.

Back at the Edge, Japanese Television were a joy to hear and see, the self-proclaimed space surfers proving that lyrics aren’t always a necessity. Sleep Eaters continued the momentum, a great live band bringing Americana flavoured garage to the table, followed by post-punk four piece Egyptian Blue.

Space age psych up next from Brisbane’s Nice Biscuit, just about managing to squeeze everyone onto the stage, easily managing to impress.

Picking up the pace, Brighton’s GURU produced the most animated set of the day with plenty of crowd interaction and discordant tunes galore.

Over on the main stage, Black Country, New Road gave a more sombre performance pulsated by dark set vocals, before the costumed krautrock-influenced beats of Snapped Ankles lightened the mood and continued the mystery behind the woolly headed noise-lords.

Concluding proceedings at the Edge of the Wedge, Scalping provided some heavy techno-punk before handing over to the grittily wonderful world of Glasgow’s Sweaty Palms, an intriguing melee of cowboy hats, garage guitars and saxophone worthy of any stage headliner.

The last two acts on the Wedgewood Rooms stage completed the eclectic mix. Brooding shoegaze over industrialised visuals from The KVB followed by an energy filled set from indie rockers Yak brought the festival to a suitably intense close.

Joining the legion of psych fests up and down the country, Portsmouth has firmly staked its place amongst the more established events. The line ups every year so far have been solid from start to finish. When tickets go on sale for next year there’s really no need to wait for announcements on who’s playing; just buy one and thank yourself later.

Keep up to speed with Portsmouth Psych Fest here

Words and photos by Siobhan 

7th May 2019