The Sound of the Crowd

As many of you will no doubt already know, making music can be an expensive business and in these times of austerity, cut backs and the general decline of the record industry, it has become ever harder to raise the money to produce a decent recording.

Yes, music can now be made on just about any PC, laptop, or phone using various apps and computer programs, but there is still no real substitute for a decent recording studio, a good mixing desk, a producer/engineer and then the mastering of a finished product.

All of that costs money, which is one thing usually in short supply, especially for unsigned acts, or those on the lower rungs of the musical ladder. But never fear, hope is at hand.

Crowdfunding is increasingly coming to the rescue and is helping many acts get their music recorded and released.

For the uninitiated this works by friends, family, fans, or anyone else for that matter, pledging money to a particular project, via a website. There is always a funding target to be met and a closing date for giving pledges. Pledgers are then given various levels of funding options, all of which usually come with their own ‘reward’.

Services such as Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/) and Pledge Music (http://www.pledgemusic.com/) are even being used now by local bands. For example, local rockers Hornet have used Pledge Music to help with the costs of recording their debut album and their upcoming EP.

Now two more local acts are turning to crowdfunding to raise funds for future projects.

First we have Edd Blakeley, who is probably best known for his work with The Tabs and his father, Garry Blakeley. But he is now turning his attention away from Folk and towards something more Classical/Orchestral, ‘The Rosetta Suite’.

As Edd explained to Pierless Music, “The Rosetta Suite will be a full length album of orchestral music inspired by the Rosetta comet mission success.

The resounding success of the Rosetta space mission and its emotional impact on the world was truly inspiring. So much so that I picked up my pen, and started writing some orchestral music.

Over the next 6 months, I’ll be finishing this orchestral album of between 30-50 minutes of music. Much of it is already written, and follows the story of the Rosetta mission, its characters, successes and setbacks; all of it painted in vivid orchestral colour.”

You can find out more and listen to the opening movement of the Suite here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1611410447/rosetta-an-orchestral-album

Pledging packages for ‘The Rosetta Suite’ run from just £2, right up to £1,000 which would give you a Producers credit on the finished album and much more besides.

Edd is looking to raise a total of £2,500 and the closing date for pledges is 9th, January 2015. He is nearly 50% there already!

This sounds like a great idea and a very interesting project too and if the opening movement is anything to go by, the full Suite will be well worth listening to.

The second funding campaign is from one of the more recent arrivals to the local musical community, Tom Williams.

Tom’s band, The Boat, are currently taking a break so Tom is intending to release a seven track mini album of more acoustic based songs written on his battered Martin guitar.

Tom explained some of the reasons behind this new project: “Two years ago, just as the band were starting to record Easy Fantastic, I bought a new guitar. At the time I had never bought such an expensive instrument before and it scared the spit out of me. It was a beautiful battered and bruised Martin acoustic from 1971, and as soon as I got it home songs started falling out of it.”

You can find out more and listen to demo’s on Tom’s Pledge Music page here:

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/tomwilliamsminialbum

Pledging packages run from £6, which will get you a digital download of the finshed album, right up to £200, which will give you the chance to write and produce a song with Tom himself. He’ll even bring his portable studio to your house to do so!

Tom has already raised 75% of his total and you still have 98 days left to pledge.

Crowdfunding is now being used by all sorts of different enterprises and it’s easy to see why. From a musical point of view one great aspect of all this is that fans of the various acts get to be involved with their favourite artists and help them release new music that might otherwise never see the light of day. It’s also one more way of reinforcing that personal bond between the artist and the fan, which can only be a good thing for all concerned.

Pierless Music wish both Edd and Tom all the best with their own projects and look forward to hearing the finished results.

Why not get involved yourself and help these two exciting new local music projects get off the ground?

From the World to Hastings

The more observant amongst you may well have noticed that the slogan for Pierless Music is ‘”From Hastings to the World”. This is meant to highlight our intention to help spread the good word about the amazing original music that comes from the Hastings area.

But sometimes that original local music is influenced and flavoured by the rhythms and sounds from across the world, hence the title of this post.

Two Hastings based bands whose music certainly echoes with the sounds of other continents are The Cajun Dawgs and The Moors.

Formed in 2007, The Cajun Dawgs may well come from the deep south of the UK but, as their name suggests, they play “a mix of Louisiana sounds from hard rocking swamp pop, Zydeco and traditional Cajun Music.”

It’s real authentic stuff too, as you can see from this video:

If you liked that, you can find out more about The Cajun Dawgs and even buy their album “New Dogs, Old Tricks” via their website at: http://www.cajunrockers.com
And if you fancy catching the band live, you’re in luck, as they play the Royal Standard in Hastings Old Town on Friday, 8th November.

Another Old Town band and one this time whose music comes from a different continent, or continents, are The Moors, who formed in 2008.

They describe their music as a “brew (that) includes Balkan music, klezmer, mediaeval Sephardic melodies, Cuban rhythms, jazz, blues, folk and rock music” That’s quite a combination isn’t it? But it all goes together nicely to make for a toe tapping experience.

To listen to the music of The Moors, to buy their self titled album and to find out more info about the band, go to their website: http://www.the-moors.com/

Here’s a taste of their music, along with some photo’s of the band:

I’ve had the pleasure of playing music by both The Cajun Dawgs and The Moors on local radio stations and I think it’s good to see local bands taking music from around the world and giving it a unique Hastings flavour.

Here’s hoping that other acts follow in their musical footsteps, or are already doing so.

King Size Slim

I’m sure many of you Hastings folk will already be aware of the “Fat Roots Boogie” of Toby Barelli, aka King Size Slim, and if you’re not then now is the time to take notice.

This is a man who revels in live performances, something that is backed up by these figures from his website for 2012.
“146 shows, 13,972 miles travelled, 4 new tyres, 1 new gearbox, 98 sets of guitar strings, 12 harmonicas, 24 guitar picks, 6 thumb picks, 8 finger picks…..” See what I mean?

This year King Size Slim released his 3rd album ‘Milk Drunk’ (which I can heartily recommend by the way) and he has spent the year touring to share it with the world. The end of that tour brings him back home to the Brass Monkey in Hastings on Friday 25th October.

More details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/351277308341290/

This gig see’s him performing with a band. But whether solo, or with that band, his live show is one well worth checking out. The energy of his performances and the infectious rhythms of his music can’t fail to get your feet tapping.

I had the privilege of interviewing Toby about his musical journey and seeing him perform an intimate live radio session earlier this year, during the course of which he managed to destroy a guitar case by stamping on it in time to his music!

So get on down to the Brass Monkey, or buy the ‘Milk Drunk’ album and see what all the fuss is about. I guarantee that you’ll not be disappointed.

King Size Slim website: http://www.kingsizeslim.com/

Vile Electrodes

I mentioned in a recent post about listening to and discovering local music online, and one band that I first listened to online are Vile Electrodes.

Vile Electrodes have just released their first album, ‘The Future Through A Lens, after a series of three EP’s and very good it is too.

When we think about local music, we tend to think of bands just playing the standard guitar, bass, drums and usually from the Rock end of the musical spectrum too. This is usually because that’s what we generally see being played live. But there is far more to the local music scene than just traditional Rock music and Vile Electrodes are one band proving that.

Vile Electrodes, who are Neon and Swan ‘plus an army of synthesizers’, describe themselves as playing ‘Dirty Pop, Electronica, New Wave and Dark Disco’ and that’s something I wouldn’t disagree with. They name such groups as Depeche Mode, Human League and OMD among their many influences and that can certainly be heard in their music. It’s catchy, toe tapping and radio friendly.

You can listen to ‘The Future Through A Lens’ via Spotify and it can also be heard and bought via Bandcamp at: http://vileelectrodes.bandcamp.com/album/the-future-through-a-lens

If you like what you hear and want to see them live, Vile Electrodes are playing The Roomz on Thursday 26th September, along with Rhododendron and Frontier Telegraph. It’s free entry and the evening starts at 7pm.

Local music comes in many forms and genre’s. It’s not just about Rock music and it’s good to see bands such as Vile Electrodes setting out to prove that.

You can find more about Vile Electrodes here: https://www.facebook.com/vileelectrodes

Stallion Ride Again

Sometimes band reunions happen at just the right time and the re-emergence of Hastings band Stallion may well be a case in point.

For the uninitiated, Stallion were a prog rock band from Hastings who plied their trade during those heady days of the 1970′s. The many members of the band reads like a who’s who of well respected Hastings based musicians. Including the likes of the late Steve Demetri, Phil Gill, Phil Thornton, Roger Carey and Tich Turner, to name but a few.

Stallion’s career spanned nearly the whole of that musically rich decade and they have only now got around to finally releasing their great ‘lost’ album, ‘The Hard Life’.

‘The Hard Life’ is released on Prog-o-Tone Records and contains 11 of the bands tracks, which were recorded between 1974 and 1979.

Back in the 1970′s Stallion played alongside such great bands as Traffic, Curved Air and T-Rex, amongst others. Stallion also played at the Reading Festival and did headline gigs at the Marquee club, as well as being regular performers on Hastings Pier. They also won, outright, the 1976 Melody Maker Rock Contest. No mean achievement.

Stallion have been described by some as one of the great lost bands of that 1970′s Rock music era and you can understand why when you listen to the album. Unfortunately for them, their musical career happened to coincide with the emergence of Punk Rock and we all know how that affected many bands from that era don’t we?

Given a bit more luck who knows where they may have ended up? But, at least we now have the chance to relive those far off days via their music.

I suspect though that they may look a little different to when this photo was taken of one of those sold out gigs at the Marquee club in London:

So why could this be the right time for Stallion to make a comeback?

Well, prog rock is once again in the ascendency and Hastings Pier, a very familiar old stomping ground for the band, is also making a well received comeback.

And now to drive that point home, Stallion are playing their first gig for over 30 years at The Big Green Cardigan Festival, in nearby Cripps Corner, on Friday 6th September.

We’ll be talking more about the festival in a future post, but in the meantime more details can be found here: http://www.biggreencardigan.co.uk/

To get yourself in the mood for this long overdue comeback gig, you can listen to and buy Stallion’s ‘The Hard Life’ by going here:

http://philthornton.bandcamp.com/album/the-hard-life-stallion

You can also find out more about Stallion by visiting their Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/stallionprogressiverock

Rumour has it that this might not be the last we hear from Stallion as a live band. Wouldn’t it be great if one of their future gigs was back on the refurbished Hastings Pier in 2015?

Maybe I’ll see you there?

Hornet Album Review

We’ve mentioned Hornet and their new album ‘Skies Are Falling’ on the Pierless Music site before. The album was recorded with the help of fans and supporters of the band who donated money, for the recording, via Pledge Music.

Well, ‘Skies Are Falling’ is now getting some well deserved attention and has just been reviewed by Kerrang! magazine. They gave it a KKK rating.

During the course of the review Kerrang! said that “Hornet play riffs that make you want to ride a motorcycle down a staircase. Riffs that make you want to pour whisky onto your cereal”

Nice one.

You can read the full review here, via the Hornet Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=651896961506208&set=a.425815530781020.109558.193377850691457&type=1&theater

Local Music News – July 2013

Here’s my latest local music column for the Hastings Observer. It was originally published in the edition which came out on Friday 5th July.

“Another month and another quality local music CD arrives.

This time it’s the turn of Hastings’ favourite one man band, Toby Barelli aka King Size Slim, to unleash his latest offering. ‘Milk Drunk’ is the title of this collection of 11 self penned songs. Although the album only weighs in at just over 30 minutes long, no track outstays its welcome, which is not something that can be said for all local CD’s.

If you’ve ever seen King Size Slim live & if you haven’t you really should, you’ll know exactly what to expect here & you’ll not be disappointed either.

Nicely packaged, well recorded & with a nice live feel to it, this CD has rarely left my CD player since I got it. Favourite songs include the title track, ‘Wake Up The Town’ and ‘Rising Spring’ with its topical political overtones. But, all 11 tracks are worth exploring & for a one man band there is plenty of variety within the songs to keep your attention.

There are guest appearances from, amongst others, Roger Hubbard with some wonderful mandolin playing on the aforementioned ‘Rising Spring’ & world renowned session drummer Andy Newmark stamps his personality onto ‘Monkey, Where Are You?’.

Obvious comparisons could be made with Seasick Steve, but Toby’s heartfelt, exuberant style & delivery mean that he is definitely his own man and fully deserves to be considered if you enjoy the bluesy, folky & rootsy side of music.

If this sounds like your kind of album & I can heartily recommend it, you can find out more, listen to some of the tracks & also buy the CD on the King Size Slim website at: http://www.kingsizeslim.com/ ‘Milk Drunk’ is also available via iTunes.

Next months see’s the promise of receiving the second album from Sand Rabbit & the debut EP from One Thousand Tons. That’s something I’m looking forward to.

Stay tuned.

Andy Gunton,

Pierless Music, Hastings Rock & Carnival FM”

Another Local Music Video – Pantaleimon

I was told about Pantaleimon and their upcoming album by a friend a few weeks ago. Well, now that album, called ‘The Butterfly Ate The Pearl’, has been released by Grass Girl Music.

This track is called ‘Another World’ and you may well spot some, relatively, local countryside in the video.

If you liked that, and I see no reason why you shouldn’t, more info can be found about Pantaleimon on their impressive website, where there is also an album sampler to listen to:

http://www.pantaleimon.com/

Local Music News – May 2013

Here’s my Local Music News column that appeared in the 3rd May issue of the Hastings Observer.

“Just as last month was all about singer/songwriters & possibly the lighter side of the local musical spectrum, this month it’s all about Rock with a capital ‘R’!

You wait for a much promised album from one of Hastings finest exponents of Rock music & then two come along at once.

Just last week Hornet released their debut album “Skies Are Falling”, but only to a select group of loyal fans. The rest of the world has to wait until June for the full album release.
Why? Well the production of “Skies Are Falling” was funded purely by Hornet’s fans via Pledge Music, one of several new ways for musicians to help further their careers, without the need for a traditional record company.
You can still help the band & get your hands on the album before everyone else by visiting: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/hornetdebutalbum

The month of May see’s the release of the eagerly anticipated new 9 track album by local rockers Arivmia, entitled “Echoes From The Wilderness”.
To celebrate this the band have an official album launch gig at The Carlisle on Saturday 11th May. Entry is free & will include a live set by Arivmia, plus support & even an after show party. You can buy your copy of the album on the night too.
Apparently, this is the only local scheduled gig by Arivmia in 2013, so don’t miss out.
More info can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/Arivmia

Both Hornet & Arivmia are bound to be played during May’s 28 day broadcast of Hastings Rock radio, which starts on Saturday May 4th on 87.7FM. As are Otti Albietz & Harvey Summers, who were featured in last months column.
I shall be presenting a dedicated Local Music Show on Sunday evenings between 8-10pm. I hope you can join me.

Andy Gunton,
Pierless Music & Hastings Rock”

Album Review – Jupiter by Harvey Summers

The new album by local producer/musician and songwriter Harvey Summers has just been released. It’s called ‘Jupiter’ and very good it is too.

Tony May has kindly written a review of the album for Pierless Music.

You can read it here: http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/reviews/albums/harvey-summers-jupiter/

Harvey Summers is a keen supporter of original local music and has produced albums by several local bands/musicians, including the new album from Otti Albietz, ‘Bubbytone 2′.

You always know that when Harvey is involved with a project, it is going to sound great and ‘Jupiter’ is no exception to that rule.

Why not have a read and then take a listen?