Thursday, 30 October 2014

RT-Zed debut limited CD run!

The first RT-Zed album "Return To Zero" (released as RT-Zed Global) is to have a very limited CD run. Preorders will start at 9a.m. on November 14th with the CD shipping in early December.

Fans will need to keep a close eye on the RT-Zed Facebook page to snap up one of these Steve Grantley rarities so get signed up HERE

Smiley's Friends In Far Out Places available NOW!

It's finally that time boys & girls! Smiley's Friends in Far Out Places album is available now on both CD or as a digital's amazing, you need it!



More options.....

AMAZON (Download)


Read my review HERE

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Free Smiley download

Want a free track to download from the excellent new Smiley album "Friends In Far Out Places"? Sure you do!

You can get yourself a download of the albums closing track "13" but why choose that one?
Over to the albums co-writer Graham Turner "We're doing our bit to help raise awareness of missing children and teenagers this Christmas. We're writing about real stuff here, things we all take for granted, especially at Christmas and all."

Get your download HERE!

If you would like to know more about the charity Missing People or any of it's associate partners then you can reach their site HERE!

New American Farmers featuring "Twist"

I did report on this a while back but as the album is now available it seems a good time to remind folks!

"The Farmacology Sessions" by New American Farmers is now available to buy from Bandcamp in various physical or digital forms. The album features a guest spot by Twist on one track, a cover of "Rain In The Summertime".

Check it all out and grab yours HERE!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Archive new album & tour!

In a surprise announcement yesterday Archive revealed they are releasing a new album called "Restriction" which will be supported by a full European tour starting in February of next year.

"Restriction" will be released on 12th January on the bands own Dangervisit label but as a taster the band released three singles yesterday which are available on i-Tunes immediately either by purchasing individually or when you preorder the whole album.

The album features:

1.Feel It
3.Kid Corner
4.End Of Our Days
5.Third Quarter Storm
6.Half Built Houses
7.Riding In Squares
10.Black And Blue
11.Greater Goodbye
13.All The Time

The singles are highlighted in red. 

For full tour dates please check out the Archive site HERE!

Despite not featuring in the three videos on the site Smiley features on the album and the tour as normal but was unavailable for the video shoots due to commitments with From The Jam.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Fable "Parasite" EP released

Fable has released her début EP "Parasite" featuring various members of Archive including one Steve "Smiley" Barnard

The three track EP features "Stranger In My Head", "Fragile" and "I Speak Words". It is available to purchase for £2.49 from Bandcamp where you can also stream it as a preview before purchasing.

Grab yours HERE!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Smiley's Friends In Far Out Places Review

The countdown has well and truly started for those eager to get their grubby little mitts on the new Smiley album "Friends In Far Out Places" (the follow up to "Friends In High Places") which is due for release on the 1st of November. For those of you that description applies to I'd like to ensure you that your wait will not be in vain - this album delivers time and time again track after track!

Ok first of all for those familiar with "Friends In High Places" this will seem like a natural successor, the album artwork is again provided by the ever talented Karl Parsons and mirrors the style of the first album and that to an extent is true of the music too. There are still the obligitory nods to Britpop, Kerry again features on vocals and expands her presence here giving us more opportunity to hear her amazing voice ahead of the release of the début Q The Music album. The real difference with this album is that it is much more immediate, both the songs and music are richer and more fluid providing a collection of songs that flow in a way that the first album didn't at times.

So lets do some name checking. Smiley has friends, LOTS of friends! Here we have all of The Alarm minus Craig (next time Smiley ensures me!), From The Jam band mate Bruce Foxton, Hard Fi's Richard Archer (some fans will have seen him join The Alarm on stage in London on the Vinyl tour), former band mates Martin Coogan (Mock Turtles), Pablo Cook (Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros), Jonny Wiles (One Iota) who duets on the album closer with Dorie Jackson, Gary Nuttall (Robbie Williams) alongside Robin Foster who Smiley has toured with, Dale Davis (Amy Winehouse) and John James Newman who some may know from the BBC show The Voice.

So with a roster like that you would hope for something pretty special and that is exactly what you get! There are plenty of tracks that stand out even after only a few listens from opener "You Say" to the slow burning "Interstella Aliens", the Kerry tour de forces of "Hide & Seek" and "H2O" to the club anthem waiting to happen "Higher". "End Of The World" could be the next big Robbie Williams single such is the talent of the song writing and style, it's a song that will seem familiar on the first listen, like a track you've been singing along to on the radio for weeks! 

So mark the date in your diary, save the download link and make sure you get this one in your collection!

You will be able to buy the album direct from Smiley by clicking HERE from the 1st November.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

James Stevenson Interview

Back in July I caught up with James in an interview that was going to focus mainly around the International Swingers album and Pledge Music campaign. As the launch of the Pledge was delayed we held back on the interview...until now! 

The Cult stint is turning out to be longer than initially expected, what are the current plans and is it likely to extend beyond The Electric dates?
Hi Rob – well yeah it has done. The Electric 13 dates ended last December – and I’ve been doing all the gigs since then.

Has there been any talk to a follow up to 2012s “Choice Of Weapon” album?
Ian and Billy are working on new material as we speak I believe.

You’ve played some huge dates on this tour so far including the Coachella Festival, what are your stand out moments?
The two nights at The Roundhouse in London were fantastic. But its all good. I love playing with The Cult. Coachella has grown into something much bigger than it was. It sells out before the music line-up is announced – that tells me the music has become secondary which I think is a shame.

You managed to slip in the majority of the recent Chelsea tour baring a couple of dates that conflicted with your Cult commitments, are you likely to be able to appear on the upcoming album and when are the sessions planned to start?
In December. Yes – I’m sure I’ll be on it. I’m going to brighton to do some writing with Gene this weekend! Although most of it’s written already.

How has it been playing with The Rebelles recently?
Well to be honest the last thing I needed was another set going round in my head! But their guitarist couldn’t do two shows so I had to help them out.

Has Elizabeth managed to get any of her Westworld hits into the set yet?
LOL – no not yet.

3 quarters of the Swingers are to be on the new Rebelles single, will you be on the album too and how was recording in Mick Jones’ studio?
Yeah – there seems to be a lot of cross-interaction with all the band’s I’m in – just look at all the connections between Gene Loves Jezebel. The Cult, The Alarm and The Mission! Love working at Mick’s – Mick’s a genuine genius in my opinion – and he loves The Rebelles.

Given their style of reworking punk classics what tracks in your own catalogue do you think would suit that kind of makeover and arrangement?
I think they could do a great version of Living In The Urban UK by Chelsea

The pledge campaign for the debut International Swingers album starts at the beginning of August at one time you seemed opposed to going the crowd funding route, what changed your mind?
Actually we’re a couple of months late – just launching now. Someone said to me you have to view it as pre-sales. The music industry has changed out of all recognition – labels haven’t got the money to fund artists anymore. When I was just out with The Cult I really enjoyed some of the opening bands – then it dawned on me that because of how it’s all gone most people will never have a chance to see or hear those bands – it really is a shame.

You’ve been doing some sessions as and when you can all get together, how are things shaping up and how much more recording needs to be completed?
Quite a lot – everyone’s so busy doing other things all the time – the logistics can be a nightmare! But I feel we’ve got some great songs – can’t wait to get it finished.

Has the track listing been finalised yet and if so will the album include any of the live set and the tracks already previewed on the web site?
There’s quite a few new songs that were never on the site and that we’ve never played live. It’s more or less finalised – but things change all the time as you know – especially with bands.

Can you let us know what sort of rewards are planned for the pledge campaign or are you sworn to secrecy?
You can read all about it right here!

If all goes well what are your expectations for the campaign and what will it allow you to do?
Well really just to get our music out there – the stuff labels used to do in the old days.

Have you discussed stretch targets at all?
Erm – sorry to be ignorant – what are they? (LOL)

Were there any rewards that were suggested that got vetoed for being too outrageous?
No – outrageous is good.

Daniel Ash is offering a bike trip with him as part of his Pledge campaign where the bidder gets to keep his 1992 Heritage Softail HD (admittedly for $45,000!) - are you tempted to part with any of your bikes?

No. That's a lot of money for a Harley!
What’s the proposed date for the albums release?
Probably Jan 2015

Will it be possible to tour to support it and if so when would this likely to be?
Yes we really want to. As long as The Pistols, The Cult and Blondie stay quiet! We’d like to play live more. The Lexington show we did last year in London was one of my favourites.

Has there been any talk about The International Swingers appearing at next years Gathering or is that not something that would interest you?
I’m actually considering doing a James Stevenson set at The Gathering – although I’m very nervous about it. Jules Peters thinks when non-Alarm related bands play at The Gathering the fans don’t really like it – and I think she’s right on that one.

It’s been very quiet on The Alarm front this year so far with Mike out on the very successful “Declaration” tour. Has there been any discussions yet about when the band will come back together to either record or for live dates?
Not really. Looks like The gathering will be the next thing – so that’s a year between gigs! And now Mike’s doing a solo Strength outing too next year. I don’t blame him at all. But when we do some actual Alarm dates – hopefully sometime next year I’m sure because of our absence it will be a big bang.

Lastly with this being another whirlwind year have you had a chance to take in the reaction to your solo debut “Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over”?
Well it’s had amazing reviews. I’m very proud of it – hopefully it’s the beginning of something bigger.

Has it met your expectations and have you any plans to start on a follow up just yet?
Well I’d have liked more around it in the US – but that might be about to happen. There will definitely be another album – hopefully in 2015

Before we go it seems quiet on the Gene Loves Jezabel front currently with Jay & Peter both lining up the second Ugly Buggs release. Any news you can share on what we can expect next?

I thought their Summertime single, and the video, were fantastic. I’m hoping Jay will do my video for Suzi’s Problem from my album that I’m planning. Have you seen the one I did for Go Mister! on Youtube? As far as GLJ who knows. We’ve talked about a new album – and dates. But Jay moves around the world more than anyone I know……

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Be part of The International Swingers Pledge Music campaign

"Whatever Works Now" is the debut album by The International Swingers and you can help make it happen!

The band will be recording the album during November and as usual with crowd funded campaigns there are a load of rewards to suit all tastes and budgets from downloads, signed CDs, handwritten lyrics to a full band concert!

5% of sales will also be donated to LHS.

I've been waiting for this one for a long time now and have already put my money where my mouth is....check out what is on offer and get involved HERE!