Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican

Crowd-funding is very popular these days. I read recently of two smartphones and a phone-cum-watch thingy that have been developed and built based on pledges of purchases from your average geek on the street. This sort of thing goes on in musical circles too; WWWTM favourites Call the Doctor released their debut long player using a pledge website, and Indie heavyweights The Sunshine Underground are currently doing a similar thing in an attempt to release their third album, so it doesn't come as a surprise that bands are beginning to see a life beyond the traditional record label contract, and going it alone.

Enter The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican, a three piece from Barnsley playing hilarious covers of rock, pop, punk and metal favourites, using guitar, ukulele, accordion and banjo. BS/VD (as they will now be referred to for the rest of this post) are the UK's hardest working band, peddling their comedy wares at festivals and country pubs up and down the length of the country. A summer 'tour' to the South West for The Levellers' Beautiful Days festival was embellished by an appearance at the Watchet festival the following week, with nightly Facebook posts asking fans to seek out a pub that could provide a venue for the following day. They managed three weeks in the South West before it was time to get back to their native South Yorkshire.

BS/VD aren't new to crowd funding - their seventh studio album, due for release on Christmas Day 2013 and made possible by pledges from their army of devoted followers, follows hot on the heels of a 7" release of 'Tarn Life' for record store day. You can see the attraction. Not since the Barron Knights has the comedy/music crossover been popular with record companies, so being able to chronicle your material and get it out to your fans on your own terms must be very liberating.

But it's not on vinyl, or CD, or mp3 that BS/VD shine, it's in their live performances. Guaranteed to get the stiffest of crowds up and dancing, their brand of comedy is perfectly suited for that late night festival appearance in the beer tent, which is where we first came face to face with the band. A 'headline' set at one in the morning in the beer tent at Bearded Theory this year was enough for us to seek out their next gig, the following afternoon in another beer tent, and we were fixed. So much so that, instead of just pledging for our copy of the Greatest Hits album, we've pledged that bit extra to have Scott Doonican, frontman of the band, to come and do a ukulele set at a forthcoming party at Schonberg Central. I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Sunshine Underground

FINALLY! I have finally managed to buy tickets to go and see The Sunshine Underground. I have wanted to see them ever since I hammered their first album Raise The Alarm. To hear the amazing and excellent tracks Commercial Breakdown and Borders live is just going to be immense. They've got a new track out on Vinyl - I have now idea what that is but it sounds retro and no use to music fans who actually want to listen to music rather than put it on their wall. Luckily you can listen to it on Soundcloud above and if you follow the Soundcloud trail there is a remix version that you can download for nowt.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Frank Hamilton - Summer

Frank Hamilton, he of #OneSongAWeek fame has take one of those said songs, polished it up a bit and added a video ready for a proper single release on 7th October. It certainly polishes up well and with a name like Frank you can't help comparing him to Mr Turner.

It's a nice track, but releasing it in October he really will have to "wish it lasts forever", no matter how good a summer we've had in the UK it's not going to last that long, is it?

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Rumours - Cash Machine

I rarely get chance to trawl through the endless emails that are in What's Wrong With The Mainstream's inbox but this morning I had a listen to a few artists as I wrote some posts for my cycling blog. This artist and track stood out so I thought I'd share it with you.

It's got the right mix of pop, strong female vocals with an upbeat tempo. Maybe a bit of Feist in there? Anyway 'Like' their Facebook page and get the track as a free download. Go on then, what are you waiting for.