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Warren Ireland…a whole new level!

Demons
Warren Ireland

Warren Ireland is the embodiment of a modern-day troubadour. A young singer/songwriter from Nottinghamshire, you can catch him at festivals and gigs all over the country and busking in towns throughout the north of his home county.

His latest single, Demons, sees him up his game to a whole new level, utilising his signature pedal looping technique and calling on some of North Nottinghamshire’s most versatile and talented session players to augment the arrangement.

Ireland’s vocal dexterity is working at the max for the duration of the whole track, tripping out words with great skill. There’s also a catchy refrain which adds a singalong element to this song.

Demons is performed with considerable passion, building to some beautifully engineered vocal layers and outstanding instrumental breaks from Zosia on sax and Scott Makepeace on electric lead who bring the piece to a massive crescendo before breaking back down to its original raw form in contrast to finish. Add a one-take percussion track from Isaac Walters and some steady bass riffs from Luke Yates, highly production values from Mansfield’s Electric-Bear Productions, Demons is all set to be a winner for Warren Ireland, deserving as much air play as possible.

Download or stream from tomorrow, 27th September, on all quality digital music platforms. This is a track not to be missed and will surely be included on this month’s Rock Shotz Recommends within the next few days.

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At last…it’s The Fine Art Society!

Footprints
The Fine Art Society

There’s a painful beauty in both the lyrics and musical arrangement of The Fine Art Society’s new release: ‘Footprints.’

Rock Shotz’ previous experience of TFAS material is upbeat and ‘laddish’ (considering the debut single, ‘Waiting For The Summer To Arrive’!) ‘Footprints’ is more introspective, emotional and, we suspect, is an indicator of the musical versatility of Messrs. Turner, Marshall and Leedall.

In stark contrast to the ballad-style verses, when Matt Turner almost wails:
‘I’ll take the stars from the night sky
So you can wear them in your eyes…’
a most magnificent, passionate, (almost haunting) chorus, you can almost sense the song’s narrative on a personal level! It’s one of those choruses that brings the hair up on the back of your neck!
Citing influences from artists such as Frank Turner & Mumford & Sons, the boys from The Fine Art Society are aiming high and, in Rock Shotz’ opinion, they’re getting it right!
In less than three weeks’ time, you can decide for yourselves from any of the major quality digital music platforms. ‘Footprints’ will be sure to find a place in your heart (for the song and for The Fine Art Society!)

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Isaac Walters…Solo Release

Drunk Again
Isaac Walters

Recently, Rock Shotz has made mention of Nottinghamshire singer/songwriter and all-round versatile muso, Isaac Walters, as a session musician. We have also featured the work of his band Take 96; however, this week the spotlight is on his work as a solo artist.

Drunk Again is a plaintive, modern love song which, on it’s release, will additionally employ a video to add to the atmosphere of the melody.

Not only is Walters a writer and arranger, but on this track he plays ALL the instruments AND sings! This is surely deserving of being labelled a ‘virtuoso’ piece!

In the Rock Shotz office, it has taken some time to warm to Drunk Again, but after a number of plays, the tune is being hummed with ease, which is suggestive that this is a more catchy song than you may first believe.

Drunk Again is a ‘gentler’ composition than Rock Shotz is used to hearing from Isaac Walters, but it is a song we are warming to with each spin.

Give it a shot for yourselves on all major digital music platforms from this Thursday, 03/10/19. This young man has real talent!

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Welcome To The D.H.Lawrence Music Festival

It was a privilege for Rock Shotz Live Music ImagingLiveMusicImaging to be official photographer for this year’s D.H Lawrence Music Festival, a great little one-day, multi-venue community music event in the small Nottinghamshire mining town of Eastwood, home of the renowned author, D H Lawrence.

Rock Shotz Soundz caught up with Ben Mark Smith, singer/songwriter & one of the festival organisers, to find out more about this unusual event.

The initial concept for the D H Lawrence Festival came from local music promoter, Chris Roots Barlow who first saw the realisation of his idea in 2016. Ben Mark Smith came on board a little while later to lend a hand with the logistics.

When asked to tell us about his favourite part of the festival, Ben told us that he particularly enjoys the opportunity to bring amazing musicians, most of whom have never visited the town before, to Eastwood and have them perform their predominately original music live, (as most of the Festival’s venues usually use backing tracks or cover acts for their in-house entertainment.)

One of Rock Shotz’s personal highlights was the combination of rock venues between The Old Wine Vaults pub and (bizzarely,) Eastwood Conservative Club, which hosted some incredible acts covering everything from Rock to Steam Punk! Special mention to Replica JesusYOUTH ILLUSIONThe Small Town BoysThe WildflowersClonkThe 1855 and The Collective Band who played blinding sets! Sorry we can’t mention you all, but the standard of all the bands/artists we heard was truly outstanding!

It was difficult to spread across all 14 (!) venues, but some of our acoustic highlights were a beautiful rendition of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ (sung in Italian) by Mat Meakin at The Wellington Inn; meeting Jack’s got a plan at The Sun Inn, (at last!) and hearing ‘True Blue’ sung live by Jack Chapman at Oliver’s Pub & Kitchen .

We asked Ben Smith to give us his festival highlights. He told us:
‘ I was obviously stuck at Dog & Parrot: Real Ale House all day’ (where he was venue host.)
‘However …
– Jonny Olley & Jasper Malone’s sets were amazing!
– Having a giant inflatable cock waved at me throughout most of my set was interesting!
– My cousins coming from Cheltenham to play with their band, PANIC SWITCH, at the Vaults stage was awesome!
– Just seeing so many of my fellow music mates come into the Dog & Parrot, having an incredible day & being pretty shocked at how good it was. It really was pretty cool!’

Plans are already underway for next year’s D H Lawrence Festival, which Ben hopes will be even bigger and better! This year was a game changer, but organisers are looking for bigger names, more sponsors, promoters willing to take on venue hosting. It is also hoped that the local community will become more involved with photography groups, poetry groups, etc.

Any artists interested appearing at next year’s festival, 12/09/2020, can contact Ben and Chris through the Facebook or Instagram pages.
FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/646341385876407/
IG: D.H.Lawrence Music Festival

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Crown of Thorns: Omen Machine

Omen Machine is new young 5-piece band on the East Midlands Metal scene and in Crown of Thorns, their first single, they are setting the bar mighty high. They describe themselves as an ‘Alternative Metal’ band and within the first few bars of the introduction, a whole wave of major influences can be heard, justifying their claim.

I make no apology for making comparisons with major names such as Rage Against The Machine and Faith No More, whose work has obviously flavoured the band’s approach. What these guys are delivering is outstanding! Once Matt Nathan opens up on his lead vocals and the track gets underway, you could so easily be forgiven for believing this is an established band with a credible history!

Instrumentally, Omen Machine are smashing it! Fred Bettis’ drums and Ross Walters’ bass line create a bedrock of power, depth and drive, while guitarists, Callum Parkin and Oliver Nelson display incredible versatility from the melodic introduction to thrashing choruses and intricate noodling solos.

If this is their first offering, then, on my recommendation, Omen Machine is destined to be ‘a name’ of the future!

Pre-order Crown of Thorns in time for release on all major digital platforms from 4th August.

Remember, you were there at the first!

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The Small Town Boys: EP review

EP REVIEW…
This.Is.Not.It
The Small Town Boys

Indie band, The Small Town Boys have their own unique sound which is loud, punky and very energetic!. This.Is.Not.It is a live EP and it’s has been so well engineered you would barely know it wasn’t studio recorded!

Musically, these guys are great! Rhys Davies plays frenetic, powerful lead, with a thumping good bass line from Ash Simpson on bass guitar and Joe Hodges on drums. Scott Baxter’s vocals are raw and exciting.

Standout track is the eponymous, This.Is.Not.It. which fuses Britpop, Rock and Punk in glorious chaotic sound! BBC Introducing gave them an airing this week and if this is how The Small Town Boys roll, they are, as the local scene tells me, a band worth following!

Stream or download on most good digital music platforms.

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Alex Cavan…A Man on a Mission

All For You
Alex Cavan 
https://www.facebook.com/cavanmusic/

Life can be so tough and music is such a great method for people to express the way they cope with the challenges that come along.

All For You is a heart-on-the-sleeve love song from talented musician , Alex Cavan. The East Midlands-based singer/songwriter has a beautiful wife and tiny daughter far away in South Africa and his song is an open dedication to them as he tries to make a life for them over here.

The production on this track is excellent. It enhances Cavan’s rich, sonorous voice and increases our empathy with his wishes to be reunited with his family as soon as possible. Lyrically, the words are crystal clear and the listener is left in no doubt as to the sentiment expressed here. Musically, All Of You is a charmingly melodic, gentle rock style.

This is a song you can listen to over and over again. There is also a beautifully shot video on YouTube which is worth catching. Alex Cavan’s delivery is so impassioned and genuine, you can’t help but want his wishes to come true quickly. In order to do that you can help towards realising that dream by streaming/downloading All Of You on all major digital platforms now.

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Jake Martin: First Night

GIG REVIEW…
Jake Martin
Rough Trade, Nottingham

Rough Trade was enveloped in genuine love and admiration for this young acoustic punk/folk singer/songwriter. Jake Martin has a dedicated following nationwide and friends from all areas of the circuit turned out for his special night.

He had selected fantastic support in the form of Manchester’s Arms & Hearts, (Steve Millar), who warmed up the audience with heartfelt renditions and interaction which undoubtedly won him a room full of new fans.

Ever popular Jess Silk treated the audience to a blistering set in which they sang along to anthemic favourites such as Preaching From The Barricades and Drink Up Your Whiskey, as well as new sounds such as the incredible, thought provoking Stranger On A Train.

By the time Jake Martin took to the stage for the first night of his first ever headline tour, the audience was truly warmed up and ready for the top man.

He opened with Introducing, (just in case) and continued by delivering a fine set of old favourites and new tunes. There were introspective moments about growing older and losing good friends, but generally the mood was light and humorous, as Jake Martin bantered with the audience with confidence.

It was plain to see in his face, the joy Martin feels when everyone has fun with what has become his ‘signature song’ : For F*cks Sake Jake, as well as with the final rousing chorus of We Sing The Words All Wrong.

This was an evening of music, smiles and laughter all ways round and has set the tour off to a fantastic start.

If Jake Martin is touring your way, I highly recommend you catch up with him for a great evening’s entertainment with one who will make himself a favourite within minutes!
https://www.facebook.com/jakemartinmuzic/

📸: Rock Shotz Live Music Imaging

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Scott Makepeace – No War Double Album Review

Scott Makepeace is making up for lost time. He is having a creative explosion!

This self-produced opus contains a hefty 24 tracks of original material, so if you choose to buy to download, you can be sure you are getting a lot for your money!

Amidst a plethora of new material you will find a small number of familiar tracks already available as singles: This Is What I’m Made For, Robin Hood and my personal favourite, I Was A Slave, which I heard recently as a full band piece with The Peacemakers. This track has now been sampled and extended from the original acoustic single and so still makes it the standout track of this collection, in my opinion.

Makepeace is a terrific songwriter. His observations on everyday life are interesting and astute. He is an accomplished guitarist and successfully combines this skill with looping and technical experimentation. His voice is distinctive, with that comforting Jack Daniels’-soaked timbre. For that reason, I would rather enjoy the moment selecting single tracks to play rather than listening to the album in its entirety at one sitting. Scott Makepeace deserves to be listened to, not to be background music, which I found it became whilst trying to listen to the album all in one go.

Not War is certainly an album worth investing in, but enjoy it at its best by listening at more than one sitting; that way you’ll get the best of Scott Makepeace!

Available to pre-order from tomorrow: June 28th and to download/stream from all good music platforms from July 12th.

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Pretty Babs Take Over The Bodega

Pretty Babs

It was an early start for Indie band, Pretty Babs’ debut headline show in Nottingham on Saturday as there were three support bands on the line-up. This was the first city gig for the Babs’ management, One Eye Shut Music Promotion, so everyone was on a mission.

Sam Jones, Brad Drury, Craig Tucker and Liam Bainbridge, 4 young men from North Nottinghamshire, make up one of the most talented and hard-working bands in the East Midlands. It’s hard to believe they’ve never headlined in the city before, so this was a Big One for them.

The Bodega was almost at capacity, drawing in Babs fans from far and wide, many wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the hashtag #upthebabs, bringing love and fandom for the band in mini-bus loads!

The programme for the evening was exceptional, kicking off with Warsop stalwarts, The Star Botherers, singing their original songs on matters as wild as what to do when your bass player dies and the problems of being a Star Wars bride! They quickly broke the ice and set the atmosphere bubbling.

Next up was festival favourite, Nick Parker, complete with full backing band. The False Alarms bring a full-on sound to a number of Parker’s familiar, self-penned songs. I’ve seen Nick as a solo artist many times, but I wasn’t prepared for the huge difference the band made to the presentation of his set; a versatile, exciting group of musicians joined, on this occasion, by Dave Burbidge of The Leylines fame, depping on drums as though he was a natural member of the band. A great set!

With entertainment of this calibre, it had to be a carefully-chosen act on third to maintain the ‘buzz’ before the headliners and the incredible Essex heavy rock duo, Ghosts of Men, were exactly the right pick! Loud, funny, impressive, Ads and Clegg gave a rollicking performance, engaging some of the more well-known members of the audience to help them with their unorthodox show.

By the time the headliners were ready, the audience was rhythmically chanting ‘Up the Babs’ as one voice, creating a tangible air of excitement.

Pretty Babs opened with The Fall, getting everyone on their side, then proceeded to deliver a well-considered set which included beautiful ballads such as The Storm. I was privileged to be working from the stage at the time and the sight of the audience waving their phone torches along with this song was breath taking and surely must have been a highlight in many peoples’ memories.

Lead singer, Sam Jones has the most exquisite Indie/Rock voice and plays guitar like a demon. Some of you may know hi as a solo artist on the Roots Music Circuit and this has been where has honed the confidence needed for being a strong front man. Either side of him are dynamic bass player, Liam Bainbridge and Craig Tucker who is a good match for Jones on guitar and vocals, adding to the sheer musical weight of the front line, each of them bringing their own exuberance to the stage. Behind them sits the powerhouse who drives the band, Brad Drury, a drummer of incredible stamina and experience, who is key to the synergy of the band. All the right ingredients for a tight, professional, impressive line-up.

By the time the band played their final songs, Road Runner and Don’t Step On The Moor, the audience was ignited, animated and desperate for the music to continue. Sadly there was a curfew,so the show really was over: however, Pretty Babs were showing Nottingham loud and clear that not only can they host a great programme of music, but that they have the capacity to fill The Bodega more successfully than some more well-known names!

You can call this one A Success, guys!
#upthebabs Proud of ya!

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Benjamin…Concrete Rose

When you look at the musical calibre of this new band, it just oozes quality! With connections to Unknown Era, Ferocious Dog and Idle Nova, you know you’re in for something really special.

Of everything queued up before me today, Concrete Rose’s debut track, Benjamin has the ear worm. I challenge you not to have the refrain in your head for the rest of the day after the first chorus!

This is a sunshine song. You feel as though you should be watching the cricket with a picnic and a long, cool lager as it plays.

With marimba sounds from the keys, rim shots and traditional second beat drop, this is reggae as it was meant to be played. With Philip Wilbraham’s expertise on production, this is a class track.

Benjamin is a happy song from a band who like to keep it happy. It’s bright, it’s cheerful and it will make you smile every single time you hear it.

Available to stream or download from all good music platforms now.

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Code Blue…Jack Chapman

Nottingham is a city awash with young singer/songwriter talent and Jack Chapman fits the bill. Having decided to go solo at the end of last year, he is carving out quite a local following! He plays a cool guitar and has a delicious voice.

Code Blue is a passionate love song. The lyrics are emotional and Chapman’s delivery lives up to that. It’s not sweet and sentimental, but a modern love song sitting comfortably in today’s Indie airwaves.

Instrumentally, the guitar playing is spot on and the balance with the vocals in production make this easy on the ears.

This is my introduction to Jack Chapman and if Code Blue is characteristic of his work, then I will be pleased to hear more. He has my recommendation as One To Watch!

Search Code Blue on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and Deezer to stream or download.

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Waiting For A Miracle…BlitZ

I came across BlitZ a few months ago when I was asked to review their latest album, Welcome To The Rock Show. I was so impressed; I made the effort to catch them live & now our paths cross on a regular basis.

As soon as Kev Simpson’s guitar riff begins, I am immediately transported back to my early days, the days of KISS, Boston and Journey. This is Blitz’s signature sound, signalling more than a passing nod to the days of poodle perms and glam.

Simpson, Stuart Corden (bass and lead vocals) and Mat Davies (drums and vocals) make the perfect classic rock trio, creating an incredible full, polished sound for a band with so few in number. Their songs are all originals and, like Waiting For A Miracle, you feel as though you should be singing along with the chorus as soon as you hear it, even though it’s only your first time through! BlitZ have a musical formula which works for them!

Waiting For A Miracle has a great hook, wicked guitar breaks and Bon Jovi-style harmonies. What’s not to love if you’re a classic rocker!

The single drops this weekend, 7th June, premiering the video from their FB page at 7pm. Most definitely worth scheduling for wherever you may be.

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Post Remedy…new sounds

New release: Enemy

4-piece Alt/Rock band from Nottingham. I don’t know what else they do, but I’ve been listening to this track on repeat for around 20 minutes now and it’s so chilled!

The band are fronted by Jess, who’s vocals are a major feature of this song. To give you an idea, her voice is an amalgam of some of the most best rock/blues females I can think of: hints of Amy Winehouse; Cerys Matthews of Katatonia and the incredible Anastasia Walker, (Stars) of Bang Bang Romeo! It smoky, sultry and beautifully emotional.

Add to that a tight, rocky backing from the band and this sets the bar high for people like me for whom Enemy is an introduction to their work.

Enemy is the perfect late night chillax sound!

Give them a listen: https://youtu.be/R2xJu75qd_Y

Find out more: https://www.facebook.com/postremedy/

Catch them live on 25th June, (before The Maze closes its doors forever).

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Faust…Infernal Symphony

‘Dissonance!’ In musical terms it means a general lack of harmony which, in Western music, our ears are unused to. In layman’s terms: think of the sound created when a cat walks up and down a piano keyboard! Got it? You need to know this in order to understand the context of this review and to appreciate that this is a serious piece of work.

Infernal Symphony is the moniker of Derby musician, Dom Bishop. Within this sphere, he is a one-man band, producer, artist, engineer, songwriter, instrumentalist working on a solo project as a challenge away from his previous work. Looking at the Facebook page, this is definitely a cross-genre sound, with influences as broad and Gothic as: Megadeath, Sepultura, Rob Zombie, Opeth, Slayer, Mastadon, Dream Theater and Iron Maiden. The narrative is taken from classical German literature; the tale of Faust selling his soul to the devil in exchange for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures.

I guess by now that you are getting the idea of where this is leading…

Infernal Symphony wants to bring his music into ‘The deepest, darkest depths of your soul’ and in my opinion, he is successful. However, it certainly isn’t for me,then neither is the work of composers such as Philip Glass, Alexander Scriabin, Arnold Schoenberg, Thelonius Monk, John Cage, Jimi Hendrix and Pierre Boulez! I have always been challenged by dissonant music and this album does not change my mind.

This is an opus of truly epic proportions, taking an epic theme and drawing up an epic electronic orchestral chronical to accompany it. The work consists of a whopping 20 tracks with titles such as: Yearning for Burning, Seductive Decay and ending with, inevitably, Irrevocable Damnation, leaving the listener in no doubt as to the fate of the character.

This is not an album to listen to if you want sweet, memorable tunes, it is dark and disturbing; but there are people out there who are really into this kind of Gothic doom. Infernal Symphony has a clear demographic in mind. If you are even slightly put off by the artwork, track titles, general Satanic vibe, go no further; but if you like a challenge, give it a go!

Good luck, travellers!

Check out Infernal Symphony on FB: https://www.facebook.com/InfernalSymphonyUK/

You can purchase a digital copy from: https://infernalsymphonyuk.bandcamp.com/

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Blue Lighting with Captain Accident (& the Disasters.) The Maze, Nottingham. 03/05/19

Emergency! Emergency! The Maze is closing down! Captain Accident & the Disasters come all the way from Cardiff to this well-loved venue to bring some much needed cheer.

Adam Parsons (aka Captain Accident) sits alongside me in one of the big comfy chairs in the artists’ area. In profile I can’t help but notice he has cheekbones to die for! To begin with, he is a little self-conscious, but visibly relaxes when I tell him I won’t be writing as we talk.

I have been looking forward to this, having fallen in love with their music when I saw the band live at Rock City late last year. (More of that later.)

I discover that there is some truth in my deduction of the origin of the band name. I ask about the clumsiness? Dyspraxia? Adam hypothetically demonstrates his lack of spatial awareness with the corner of a table and a pint glass. Oops! From teenage years, ‘Captain Accident’ became his moniker and he now proudly wears three enamel school ‘Captain’ badges on the front of the hat he wears to establish to his on-stage persona.

In every day life, Adam Parsons is a husband and dad to a young family. He teaches Music (Performance) at an FE college in Cardiff 3 days a week. The studio where he writes and records is in his home.

As the child of hippy parents living in a part of the country which includes the dockland area known as ‘Tiger Bay’, Parsons was reggae and ska savvy from a very early age. His band has supported some huge names associated with the genre: Aswad, Less Than Jake, Bad Manners, The Toasters and Neville Staple; but he is proudest of playing with his personal music icon: Toots & the Maytals, on more than one UK tour! It was in this role that I first saw Captain Accident & The Disasters last year. To have the endorsement of such a great name is a massive achievement!

When I ask about festivals, I am told that current emphasis is on promoting the tour (of which this is Day 2,) but that there is genuine band excitement to be playing Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire for the first time this summer.

The audience at The Maze know their reggae! With warm-ups from Mat Crosher, Buenos Treehouse and the extremely popular Jimmy the Squirrel, people are already set for some serious skanking when the Captain and his crew arrive on stage.

The 7-piece plays true reggae, dub, lovers rock, rocksteady. Mostly original songs, with the occasional take on a classic, such as The Fugees’ Ready Or Not, concluding their set with a personal favourite of mine: Twenty Pence.

The line-up sees Captain Accident on lead guitar, with The Disasters providing bass, rhythm, keyboards, drums and additional full-percussion section. Together they are as tight as you please, sending good vibrations radiating from stage to audience.

‘I love what I do!’ Adam Parsons says as we’re wrapping up the interview. Those cheekbones resurface and the Captain’s smile says it all!

For full list of tour dates and where you can hear live summer sounds, visit their FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/captainaccident/