walled-garden-001[1]You know how I feel about festivals, yeah? Let’s just say that in general, I’m not a fan; too many people, bad sanitation and overdraft-inducing prices for food and drink. Walled Garden promoters Mel Fordham and Gardie Grissell have cottoned on to the fact that there are people out there who love music but don’t like squalor. The Walled Garden festival has a capacity of 2,000 (about the capacity of most the venues on the O2 circuit), beautiful acoustics and it’s part of the Brightling Park estate in East Sussex with a variety of camping options including the inevitable glamping.

The festival bill has an eighties/nineties bias and includes ABC, Embrace, Howard Jones, Jennifer Paige, Beverley Craven, Toploader and many more spread over three days (Friday 14 – Sunday 16 July) and you can find more information here. Me, I’d be there on the strength of ABC and Embrace (and Howard Jones is still pretty good live these days) and the beautiful setting.

rachael-scrollerYou might not have heard about this, but today is the first day of Anti-Bullying Week. You might wonder what that has to do with a music website, so I’ll tell you. The incredibly gifted singer-songwriter Rachael Sage (who we interviewed a few weeks ago) is supporting the anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label by donating the proceeds of her latest single to the charity.

The single, “I Don’t Believe It” has been taken up as an anti-bullying anthem following the online success of the video featuring eleven-year-old Kaci King, three-time national dance champion who contacted Rachael on Facebook after hearing her songs. The video and the song are both superb, so why not buy a great song and feel good about yourself because the proceeds are going to a good cause?

And have a look at the video as well:

02) Dean OwensOne of our Riot Squad favourites has been incredibly busy this year. Dean Owens has playing gigs around the country, solo and with his band The Whisky Hearts, but that’s just the start of it. He’s been in Nashville recording a new album with his old collaborators Will Kimbrough and Neilson Hubbard and playing some gigs. The album’s well on the way to being ready and he’s launched a crowdfunding appeal on GoFundMe to cover the costs of travel, recording and accommodation costs. Have a look at the GoFundMe page and see if you think you can pitch in with a few quid; every bit makes a difference.

But that’s not all. He’s been producing the second album for his Drumfire Records label-mate Ags Connolly (who hasn’t exactly had a quiet year himself) and putting together a deluxe edition of his previous album “Into the Sea”, with four new songs, “Alison Wonderland”, “Cotton Snow”, “Forgotten Shadows” and “Keep Me in Your Heart”. And still only a tenner.

You can catch him live before the end of the year in the following places:

Sunday October 30                          Green Note, London

Friday November 18                       The Live Room, Saltaire

Sunday November 20                      The Maze, Nottingham

Friday November 25                       Drygate Brewing Company, Glasgow, (with The Whisky Hearts)

Friday December 2                          The Tolbooth, Stirling

Saturday December 3                    The Weem Inn, Aberfeldy

Monday December 12                   Traverse, Edinburgh (with The Whisky Hearts)

And there’s a new single, “Virginia Street”, out at the moment:

wille-the-bandits-col-5mb

Here’s one for the guitarheads in London and the Southeast. The highly-respected and dynamic blues rock power trio Wille & the Bandits will be bringing their powerful live show to The 100 Club on Friday October 28th.  The lineup is Wille Edwards (Lead Vocals, Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Electric Lap Steel, Weissenhorn and Dobro), Matt Brooks (Six String Electric Bass, Five String Double Bass, String Arrangements and Backing Vocals) and Andy Naumann (Drums and Percussion) and just one look at that list of instruments tells you that this is about serious musicianship.

The band has been praised by people who know their music, including Joe Bonnamassa and Bob Harris and their album “Steal” (Featuring Don Airey on three tracks) will be out soon on Jigsaw.

Watch the live video of “Virgin Eyes” and you’ll see what all the fuss is about:

 

archive-x-scrollerNot so much a review, more of a heads-up. This is one to watch out for; it’s “Some Ungodly Hour”, the debut album from ArchiveX. It’s a melting-pot of his musical influences pieced together over a period of three years with help of a variety of musical collaborators. The variety of styles means that it’s almost impossible to pigeonhole, but the press release  calls it ‘Soul-Ambient-Electro-Roots’, so let’s stick with that. The album was inspired by a period spent singing with the a well-known San Francisco gospel choir and, although the aim wasn’t to make a gospel album, the choral style had an enormous influence on the overall sound and contributes to the impact of one of the two lead tracks, the gospel-house “Drink the Water” (featuring Dr Kucho).

The album’s second lead track, “Hard Times” is a cover of the old Ray Charles blues and the two songs together give some idea of the variety of influences. There’s also a remix package in the pipeline for future release.

The album’s released on Friday September 30th.

You can have a look at the trailer for the project here.

Billy walton Magic MomentsIf one of your favourite bands is about to record their fourth studio album, wouldn’t you like to have a peek inside the studio to see what’s going on?  I certainly would.  Well, the Billy Walton Band is about to go to work on their fourth studio album, which is being produced by legendary drummer Tony Braunagel with keyboard player Mike Finnigan helping to fill out the band’s sound, and the guys will be releasing video footage documenting the progress of the album (and probably lots of studio mayhem).  If you’re a fan of the band, you can get links to these videos, as soon as they appear, here on MusicRiot.  Make sure you don’t miss out; like our Facebook page and you’ll be notified as soon as the clips go live and we’ll tell you about all of the other great new music we’re reviewing as well.  Does that sound good to you?

Radio (in my) Head editOK, the cat’s at least halfway out of the bag now so I suppose it’s about time we gave you a bit more gen on the Radio (in my) Head album.  The project was conceived a few years ago by Bandhouse Records MD John O’Sullivan as a college project at the London College of Contemporary Music.  He realised that Radiohead songs were a common frame of reference for musicians from all over the world and that every musician seemed to have an interesting take on a Radiohead song (although, personally speaking, I draw the line somewhere short of Brad Mehldau).  By 2012, the college project was completed, but the concept wouldn’t lie down; John had graduated from LCCM and started up the Bandhouse organisation, working with fellow alumni and new contacts on the London music scene.

But the expansion didn’t stop there; the internet (particularly Soundcloud and social media sites) enabled the project to become truly global with contributions coming from eleven bands and/or producers from (wait for it) Italy, Serbia, Russia, Israel, USA, Ireland, France, South Africa, Colombia, South Korea, Norway, Iceland, India, Singapore and Estonia (and good old Blighty).  I make that eleven tracks put together by contributors from sixteen countries.  I think that pretty much ticks the world music box.

I heard a few whispers about this project just over a year ago and that says a lot about how long it takes to get something like this together.  John got the official Radiohead seal of approval for the project at about this time last year, but the whole process of mastering, tying up all of the legal and publishing loose ends and generally giving the project the final polish it so richly deserves takes time, so here we are in September 2013 with the first single released and the album almost ready to go.

I really wish I could tell you more about the album at this stage but most of it’s still very tightly under wraps apart from Ido Livni and Re’ut Szekely’s cover of “Videotape” which was released today on iTunes.  What I will say is that I’ve heard pre-master versions of several songs and they’re all very, very good.  We’ve reviewed live and recorded material from several artists involved in the project here at MusicRiot and we can’t wait to hear their contributions.

We’ll have more news for you about this intriguing album very soon.

Radio (in my) Head editWell that’s just about got the British summer out of the way and we’ve got a few months of good music before the silly season of compilations and box sets starts all over again.  After a surprisingly good August, we’ve got a very busy September lined up for you.

We’ll be reviewing Texan fiddle player/singer/songwriter Carrie Rodriguez live in London and we should finally get to see the Anna-Christina solo show, “Pretty Little Lady?” towards the end of the month.  We’ve also got our only festival review of the summer from Lou; live at Leeds.  I’m sure we’ll find a few other gigs to tell you about as well.

John’s going to be reviewing the new material from Ultraista, Dawn Richard, Icona Pop, Natalia Kills and Goldfrapp while I’ve got the debut Dirt Tracks album for you and whatever else the postman or the internet send my way in the next few weeks.  The long-awaited Radio (in my) Head project is about to launch and we’ll have some news about that for you next week.  We’re also starting a new regular piece featuring links to new music we think you might like to hear.  More in a few weeks.

It’s beginning to look suspiciously like the start of summer, what with the rain stopping and the sun appearing at last, but the Riot Squad don’t care about any of that (apart from the fact that we can wear our shades now without looking ridiculous).  Anyway, we’ve got a busy few weeks coming up with plenty of live and recorded music to tell you about.

“Closer Than You Know” – The Kennedys

I’m finally going to get to see Anna-Christina’s live, unplugged show “Pretty Little Lady?” this week and I’ll be telling you all about that next week. The highly-acclaimed New York duo, The Kennedys, are touring the UK and Ireland to promote their latest album “Closer Than You Know” and we’ll be telling you all about that later this month.  Then, at the end of the month, I’ll be going to Edinburgh to see Modern Misfortune whose first EP is out now.

John’s going to be reviewing albums by Little Boots, Alison Moyet, MS MR and Daft Punk and I’ll be having a listen to The Kennedys album.  I’m also trying to get hold of a review copy of the debut Federal Charm album which is out in June.  I’ll keep you posted on that.

We’re also kicking around the idea of a monthly Riot Squad podcast to let you know what we sound like and what we’re up to each month.  It’s going to be an interesting month.

Well, we’ve had a relatively quiet few weeks but that’s all about to change because Spring is here, the clocks have gone forward and we’re beginning to see some sunshine at last.  The next few months are going to be pretty busy here at Riot Towers because we have loads of album reviews quite a few interesting gigs to see.

On the album front, over the next 4 weeks or so John Preston’s going to be telling us about the latest albums from Tomorrow’s World, Cassie, Charli XCX, Major Lazer, Little Boots and MS MR.  I’ll be going to see blues guitarist Paul Rose, Rosco Levee and the Southern Slide and (at last) Anna-Christina’s solo show “Pretty Little Lady?”.  I’ll be reviewing the Paul Rose album “Double Life” and whatever else pops through the letterbox or into the inbox.

Do you have a “Closet Classic” album?  We’ve been running this as an occasional feature for a while now but we would love you to tell us about your guilty musical pleasures or even your favourite criminally under-rated album.  Send it to us through the “Contact” section and we’ll publish it on the website; easy.

And we should have a few surprises coming up for you as well…