The Music Mag: Unsigned UK Music News, Reviews & Promotion
Fighstar, led by bushy eyebrowed Bo Selecta frequenting singer Charlie Simpson, formed in 2003 to mixed reviews.
“To look at Fightstar, without bias against Busted, is to really discover a band who had a lot of potential”
Their debut full E.P ‘They Liked You Better When You Were Dead’ bitchslapped its way on to the scene in 2004 to cause controversy and argument between fans and haters. Many a fan dealt with such comments like “You like Fightstar? Charlie’s that guy from Busted”, as well as questioning fans of Fightstars taste in rock.
But to look at Fightstar, without bias against Busted, is to really discover a band who had a lot of potential. With catchy yet interesting song writing, melodic vocals, well delivered mainstream screaming, along with some displays of heavy drumming and sick riffs.
Palanuik’s Laughter was arguably their best and most well received track from the E.P.
Palanuik’s Laughter – Lyrics
I’m not in your house,
But not in your head,
You’re not even listening.
It’s so hard to know
When you’re not scared.
Please don’t help me,
Please don’t hate me.
Stop putting me down,
Coz I won’t ever understand.
(Stop panicking, stop panicking.)
I see it in your eyes
I see it in your mind.
(Stop panicking, stop panicking.)
After the success of their E.P they gathered a loyal following – hitting back against naysayers in claiming that Fightstar were indeed the real deal within the rock genre. Chris Long of the BBC wrote “on this showing, it seems he (Charlie) might just out-do Robbie Williams in leaving his past behind”. Fightstar were on the rise.
“Grand Unification (Part 2) is a fine example of emotion and storytelling”
Grand Unification was perhaps Fightstars highest point to date, with nearly every track offering something of note to create a great mix of rock and emotion. Grand Unification (Part 2) is a fine example of the emotion and storytelling capabilities offered:
Grand Unification Part 2 – Beginning Naration
Mankind has always wondered about the kind of universe it lives in.
Mankind has always indulged in creation myths as far back as recorded history goes, and it’s just human nature to want to understand the universe we live in,
where it came from, what it is now and where it’s going…
Fightstar began receiving a lot of radio play, TV play and were being talked about down local pubs across the country. Love them or hate them, they had arrived. However, disputes over their sound were as ongoing as ever – and not just between fans. After a falling out over their musical direction they separated from label Island Records and signed for an independant label called Institute Records. Unfortunately, whilst the band were allowed to play the music they wanted, they began to lose some of the magic in production that they had on the previous album.
“Whilst the band were allowed to play the music they wanted, they began to lose some of the magic”
Enter in to the scene ‘One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours’ – Kerrang herralded it as heavier yet more melodic than Grand Unification, and fans were happy enough to have a new album on their hands. But to look deep in to the album and compare it to the previous sees a lack of depth in songwriting. Tracks such as “99″ and their heaviest song to date “deathcar” gained media attention, but after that the album felt a little lightweight.
Afterwhich a B-Sides album was released and Fightstar began to slip slowly from the limelight.
After a quality album, a good tour and support from bands such as Feeder, Fightstar were unfortunately struggling to find their place in the market. The band claimed they tried to stay away from making ‘emo’ music by tackling darker subjects with a different outlook, this perhaps cut off a whole (very popular) market for them and isolated them slightly between genres. From a musical standpoint that is by no means a bad thing, their sound is unqiue and many fans believe they did right to stick to their guns and write music they wanted to play.
Unfortunately without the promotional backing of a major record label, a lot of Fightstar’s later music was released practically unnoticed by those other than their die hard fans.
One last attempt at the limelight came in the form of ‘Be Human’, and perhaps because of the lack of promotion in the past, it was headed by a well marketed track in ‘The English Way’. It received lots of play, but again, whilst leading the lines well for a decent album, it didn’t live up to the heights of Grand Unification or even their debut E.P.
After announcing a hiatus with Fightstar, Charlie Simpson has since segregated in to another venture that not many would dare move in to. From pop band, to heavy rocker, to solo artist – what next? One thing’s for sure, we can’t wait to find out.
Cosmic Joke are at it again! Their most ambitious production to date!
Fresh from the success of their latest video – Naymedici’s Paddy McGee – Manchester video producers Cosmic Joke knew they needed to follow up with something special. They didn’t have to wait long for the chance to shine again landing the rights to create the debut music video for Blackpool indie favourites The Colours and the title track from their new EP – Family.
The Colours, of up and coming label Hey Bert records, wanted a music video that crossed the boundary between music and cinema, a production that felt more like a short film than your average pop promo. Happy to deliver, Cosmic Joke crafted a 7-minute short that does just that and seamlessly drops the audience into a surreal world between music and film.
Filmed across Manchester and London the video turns the age-old ‘boy meets girl’ scenario on its head. In the wake of a one-night stand the couple begin to project their life stories from within their own bodies to expose a disorientating view of the future. The ensuing light show asks viewers to explore the nature of family and hopes and fears of every day life. All of this set perfectly to the sounds of The Colours debut single from their blistering EP.
Orchestrating their largest production to date Cosmic Joke took over Manchester’s The Venue nightclub and worked with some of the finest video production talent the Northwest has to offer. Cosmic Joke stalwart Alex Taylor was back in the Director’s chair whilst Director of photography Berndt Wiese, taking a break from his work on E4’s Fresh Meat, helped Cosmic Joke take their production to the next level. The video is lead by Manchester actor Hayden Thomas who you’ve probably seen gracing your television set in all manner of places and his heart was stolen by London actress Hanna Harlyn currently starring in The Dead Memory House at Edinburgh’s fringe festival.
Looking set to place Cosmic Joke on the video making map this project has followed with submissions to video and film festivals all over the world and is currently flying across the desks of everyone’s favourite music channels.
Cosmic Joke are about to embark on their first feature and are hoping the success of this video will help bring new fans and collaborators.
Cosmic Joke :www.cosmicjoke.co.uk
1/ The Shoreditch bar and pub scene is alive and well. There are a number of venues from which to choose; a large number of them have live music most nights of the week. The venues are very different – from an old railway yard setting to smoky basements or trendy upstairs lounges, you will be spoiled for choice.
2/ The Macbeth in Hoxton Street is owned and run by musicians, so there is always either live music or DJs doing duty. Features include the house band, a cabaret night and some of London`s hottest bands. From Thursdays to Sundays it is open until two in the morning; drinks prices are very reasonable.
3/ Cargo is located in Rivington Street in an urban disused railway yard. It boasts a lounge area and live music such as funky house and hip hop; sometimes there are DJs instead. It has a great atmosphere and trendy industrial design and decor.
4/ Old Blue Last has regular live music events featuring up and coming talent. Situated in a beautiful Victorian East End building, it draws very different crowds depending on the kind of music event – which varies from punk to indie swag hipsters and drum and bass nights.
5/ The High Street has The Shoreditch, spread over a basement and ground floor. Its chic and decadent interiors, extensive range of cocktails and a menu with many platters to share are great accompaniments to live music and DJs every night of the week.
6/ The Old Truman Brewery complex off Brick Lane features the Big Chill Bar. It has a spacious main lounge and a terrace for smokers; DJs are in action on Sundays and several other days of the week. You can order interesting cocktails by the glass or the four measure pitcher per table; the house speciality is the Big Chill Punch.
7/ The Nightjar is decorated like a 1920s speakeasy drinking den and is situated in a basement off street level. It is opulent and upmarket and has an extensive menu of original cocktails and tasty snacks with tapas a specialty.
8/ In Brick Lane you will find the Vibe Bar. During the day it is a cafe; in the evening a lively bar and at night a trendy club. Apart from the occasional evenings of laid back live jazz, DJs play electronic, jungle and a bit of house.
9/ The Arts Cafe in Commercial Street is frequented by artists and non-artists alike. New bands are constantly making a name for themselves here and artists offer memberships to workshops and lectures. There is also the Arts Cafe Magazine to read.
10/ Troy in Hoxton Street is the best kept secret on the London live music scene. Fridays have live jazz fusion and most other nights have a DJ. Their Caribbean dishes and friendly staff make this a very popular venue; on Sundays their jerk chicken dishes are a hit.
The venue 333, also called the Mother Bar, which is situated at 333 Old Street is spread over three floors with a bottom cellar bar and great music. The 70s chequered wallpaper and plumped leather sofas give the bar a cool retro feel. If you have theatre tickets and are in need of a drink after the show, 333 stays open until about 3 am and on Saturdays until 5.
We all know that social media is a massively accessible medium for keeping in touch with followers, but it is much more than that.
Nowadays social media platforms offer free advertisement, a way to reach out to new customers, networking oportunities and SEO benefits. We want to share a few secrets with you here on The Music Mag, why? Because we’re just that lovely.
First of all lets look at the advantages of maximising the benefits of social media:
- Gain fans
- Receive radio play
- Find out about competitions
- Free promotion
- Gig bookings
- Obtain valuable industry contacts
- and much more…
We’re going to take you step-by-step through the two main sites (facebook and twitter), then add it a few extra ones like Digg and Reddit, that can provide huge boosts to readership if you go about everything in the right way.
Twitter is a must for musicians, not only does it contain your fans, it contains record labels, music festival organisers, venues, radio stations – pretty much whoever you could imagine in the industry will likely have a twitter account. Now you know that you can use the following ways to get the most out of it:
Twitterfall is a website that allows you to search for specific terms in specific areas. It basically filters the tweets from all around the globe in to the exact terms you’re looking for.
If I added a search for “free music promotion” the tweets would filter out one by one, with the tweet and the users profile details. I can then reply directly to the users by connecting with twitter (highly recommended), and this way in 5 minutes I could get the right sort of people checking out my profile and promoting me for free.
Use your brains with the search term, you can also set a geolocation if you wanted to search for “bands available” in “London” for example. The great thing about this is you can also save your searches, add exclusions and keep coming back day after day to new tweets from different users.
The self proclaimed yellow pages of Twitter.
You can search within certain industries for people that relate to your industry. For our purposes we shall look within Music and then the subcategory of Record Labels.
This provides a list of twitter users who are involved with record labels from around the world – you can then edit this down to people near your location, providing you with a lovely list of very important to follow and perhaps drop a direct message letting them know about who you are and what you do.
And not to mention you can add yourself to the twellow directories for free, so that when people look for musicians in say the London area there you are!
Tweetdeck is a downloadable ap that is super useful at following others, searching for trends, messaging people with ease and basically offers an organised version of twitter.
With the ap you can customize columns to show your tweets, tweets of others, direct messages, global searches, use multiple accounts, schedule your tweets and much more – it’s basically an online twitter version of a swiss army knife.
Hootsuite is a similar device to Tweetdeck, and prefered by some – so be sure to check them both out.
Every artist and band that’s around should have a facebook page (And probably already does).
It’s taken over from myspace as the number one stop for bands on a social medium, and whilst Myspace still has a place, the massive growth of sites such as soundclowd and the massive use of Faceobok means that it’s the first place to keep your fans updated.
1/ Create a fan page
Pretty obvious, but you should always create a page for yourself or your band. Not only does it keep it separate from your personal life, it’s also a little more professional and allows your to track all kind of things (such as your weekly reach, what posts trend well, etc). You can also create an ad easily if you so desire.
2/ Update your pictures
Since the introduction of timeline pictures are extremely important on facebook band pages. A beautiful cover photo is a top of the page eye catching element to a page.
3/ Add Aps
FBML is a great ap which allows you to add HTML code (or some of it) to a section of your facebook page. You can either approach this in one of two ways – from an SEO standpoint by adding links to various parts of your site (adding more backlinks from a good source), or add links to music, pictures and make a pretty looking section to your page.
There are lots of other aps out there to add to your page, these are constantly changing. For example BandPage is one to look at to add a bandpage… but due to aps constantly changing you may need to Google for the best ones out there.
4/ Integrate with Spotify
Spotify has become to number one way to listen to music legally. It is a fantastic service and has helped bridge the gap between illegal downloading and streaming to legal internet use.
Integrate your facebook page with your spotify account for the full benefits of Spotify!
Keep Your Readers Entertained
Now you know ways to improve your social media experience you need to offer them something! Now whilst this isn’t an exact science and definitely involves a bit of trial and error, there are some great examples out there of how to keep your fans entertained and checking back for more:
- Post pictures
Posting pictures will give yourselves a personal edge over the competition. We’re not just talking about gigs, we’re talking about you walking dog, or going bungee jumping, a kind of behind the scenes look at the life of your band.
- Offer a free download of a song for a retweet
Bands have started doing this with good success. If you have a song you’re willing to offer for free, you can reach a wide audience. Retweetlink is an example of how to go about this.
- Give plenty of shoutouts
Interact with followers as much as possible, use the the lovely @ key to shout out to people and get them chatting.
Extra Social Mediums
Reddit and Digg are amongst my favourite sites to gain large numbers of visitors – to an interesting source.
People often approach Reddit and Digg in the wrong way, trying to push themselves in to an open online abyss, whereas it needs to be seen more as a discussion forum where if something is very useful, unique and interesting it will get a lot of views, be shared and add a lot of power to your site from an SEO perspective.
To sumarise be sure to update your social pages, use the amazing applications out there to gain fans, contact people in the industry and search for useful information. Then share photos, interesting blogs and stories to your fans and socialise these on sites such as Digg and Reddit for an extra response.
It takes time, but the benefits of doing so not only helps you gain more fans, but also builds yourself/your band as a brand, which is extremely important in the digital age.
To optimize your social media accounts, take a look at our PROMOTIONAL POWERUP package
Madame So launches her solo career following a stint of successful open mic gigs and impressive performances at venues including Proud, Camden Rock and The Lexington.
Gaining acclaim for her pure, unadulterated sound, she is one to watch and is currently recording her debut E.P set for release in the fall of 2012.
An acoustic singer songwriter hailing from Paris, currently living in London, her song writing is best described as a social commentary (on the matters of love and alienation) delivered around lo-fi pop melodies.
Her sound has been likened to Hole/Courtney Love, Dylan, Patti Smith and Tracy Chapman.
Madame So moved to London a decade ago working as an arts project co-ordinator and journalist – a fitting role accompany the song writing side to her life. In 2011 she took the plunge to share songs with others.
Madame So is currently accepting gigs in and around the London area.
For more on Madame So visit her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Madame-So/451070058258471
SED Records UK in association with Mean Fiddler defiantly announce the ‘Let’s Get London Rocking’ shows which see Hornet headline three of London’s best music venues; Upstairs at The Garage, The Borderline and The Barfly.
The dates for the shows are as follows:
Thursday 27th September 2012 – Upstairs at The Garage
Thursday 29th November 2012 – The Borderline
Thursday 28th February 2013 – The Barfly
Tickets for Upstairs at The Garage are now on sale. Tickets cost £8.00 (plus booking fees) and are available to buy at the venue box office, online at SEE Tickets, HMV Tickets, TicketWeb and Stargreen or by phoning the 24 hour ticket hotlines:
TicketWeb: 0844 847 1678
HMV Tickets 0843 221 0100
See Tickets: 0871 220 0260
Doors open at 7:00pm and all shows are 14+. Under 16′s must be accompanied by an adult with proof of age upon request regardless of advance ticket purchase. Support is still to be confirmed.
Tickets for The Borderline show go on sale at 9:00am on Friday 24th August 2012 and The Barfly on sale date is still to be confirmed. More details can be obtained at www.hornetrock.com or www.facebook.com/hornetrock.
LIVE: BANG BANG SHOT GIRL + THE TRAMADOLS + MORE TBA
DJs: WE WERE EVERGREEN (DJ SET)
9-2 FREE ENTRY
Born from the fevered imaginations of obsessive-compulsive singer/bass player Gudrun Getz and certified guitarist ‘Special’ K, Bang Bang Shot Girl flirt with your expectations and lovingly shreds them to pieces. Completing the trio and relentlessly pounding anything with skin is the fanatically sado-cataclysmic Carrie. Together, their divinely psychotic demons are bigger than the sum of their parts and invoke levels of ecstasy that skip merrily beyond the bounds of reason.
Brain surgery is not rock ‘n’ roll; therefore, rock ‘n’ roll is not brain surgery. The Tramadols like to keep it simple, but it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out that their outrageously engaging live shows are a product of straightforward, driving clarity. They play a punked-up version of 1960s psychedelic rock, keeping the tempo up whilst stripping down the songs to their bare raw bones which results in a cleverly audible live sound that generates an energy which makes you feel like you’ve been punched in the face by a really sexy fist.
LIVE: JADARES POR FUERA + CAMERON COLE + HIDEKI SAKOMIZU + FRANK & ZEB
9-2 FREE ENTRY
Jardares Por Fuera are back at the Fin with their spanish guitars, gutsy vocals and foot stomping samba bringing with them serious energy and one helluva show!
Cameron Cole was born and raised in Surrey, England, but then moved to Jersey, the Channel Islands during his teens. He has subsequently moved back to the UK to pursue a music career. He is situated in Camden, London.
Hideki Sakomizu began his career in a band called American Short Hair, after many years of touring around Japan and the United States, he started his own solo project, with a dream to inspire, create and show his true voice.
SAT 11TH – LATINOS IN LONDON PRESENT
9-2 FREE ENTRY
A night of some of the best Latino tunes in town. Live bands & DJs get set to see you samba, groove and live it up sunshine style at The Fin!
LIVE: KUMPAS + GOKCE KILINCER + BURAK GULSEN£10
Kumpas head to The Fin with their Turkish melodic rock covers as well as their own material with some invaluable friends supporting us through guest appearances on this gig, including Gökçe Kılınçer’s Band.
FRI 17TH – MUSIC BORN
LIVE: THE SWITCH + GUITARS HAVE GHOSTS + MORE TBA
DJ: PHILLIP (music born)
9-2 FREE ENTRY
This London four-piece play a fantastic mix of alternative rock, with influences like the Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead and The Beatles! Formed in Camden Town in Early 2010, the band have already been wowing audiences with their huge anthemic sound.
A power-trio from Kilburn, The Switch have been playing around London regularly for the last year. With their own brand of hook-driven indie rock — think Dinosaur Jr mixed with Toto — they have been gaining fans and getting people dancing wherever possible. Recent gigs have included The Old Blue Last supporting Pope Joan and The Barfly in Camden, in addition to running a monthly night GIFTS FOR GIVERS at The Good Ship in Kilburn supporting the local scene. If you’re a fan of catchy songs and loud guitars you won’t be disappointed by what Justin, Patrick and Giacomo have to offer.
LIVE: FLASH BANG BAND + FREE SWIM + ELEANOR ROSES + IVORY HEROES
9-2 FREE ENTRY
With lots of local support from press and promoters, the band have reached further and further skyward over the last few years. Due to release something new before the year is out and murmurs of trips abroad to suck audiences across the globe into the whirlwind, prepare for one of the most individual sounding live bands the city of Brighton has sludged out.
LIVE: AMADIS + MORE TBA
9-2 FREE ENTRY
Funk n soul from local singer/songwriter Amadis.
LIVE: MARVILL + MORE TBA
9-2 FREE ENTRY
Marv-ill Superlungs is a new breed of beatboxer. Known for his power and originality, Marv can make a rig shake like no other with his powerful bass, drums and melodies and can make crowds scream and shout on cue. A unique performance, not one to be missed.
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It is essentially the ULTIMATE PRESS PACK, with added social media benefits.
Feedback So Far
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“The service was top-notch in terms of communication, delivery and follow-up”
The package offers the following benefits:
Social Media Optimization
- Add links & band page (or if already there – update them)
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- Set up a Pinterest account
Magazine Quality Images
- Edit 3 of your photos to magazine quality on photoshop
- We suggest a profile picture and banner picture (for facebook) and a HQ image to send to websites/magazines
Be Featured on The Music Mag
- Have your bands song featured on the sidebar for thousands of readers to hear
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Professional Press Release
- Have a press release written to industry standard
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Feedback on your Sound
- Written feedback on your sound
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All of this for an introductory price of £65
We accept payment via PayPal and will complete your promotional powerup within a maximum of 7 days of your first response.
American Indie Pop band Chester French, comprising of vocalist and songwriter David-Andrew ‘D.A.’ Wallach and multi-instrumentalist Maxwell Drummey, recently released their second studio album ‘Music 4 Tngrs’ in mid-June. Featuring the likes of Travis Barker and Pusha T this album is sure to be a massive hit.
First single ‘Black Girls’ is a bold, fairly controversial song, and coupled with the video created by Francesco Carrozzini, it’s something you’re either gonna love or you’re gonna hate. Personally, I love it. It’s unique, creative and really different. The vocals and musicianship alike are fantastic, and the lyrics really mean something, and aren’t on a subject heard thousands of times every day, unlike most.
As opposed to the Indie Rock vibe going on in ‘Black Girls’, some songs including ‘Drop’ are much more like Pop songs, with a touch of RnB thrown into the mix. Meanwhile in other tracks such as ‘Perfect Girl’ it’s the vocals which are the focus, with some of the melodies being absolutely outstanding, as well as the amount of emotion that can be heard.
My favourite song on the album has to be ‘Mania’ with its Pop/Synth rock feel to it, fairly upbeat tempo at points and meaningful lyrics. It kind of reminds me of summer. As well as this, the vocals and multi-musicianship remain as good as ever, if not better. However, as to whether or not ‘Music 4 Tngrs’ is as good as or better than debut album ‘Love The Future’ is debatable.
Lonesound have released their highly anticipated first single – The Great Outdoors. Some may rememeber front man James Ewers from a band called My Luminaries, who had a kick ass album and received a lot of coverage. This is James’ first release as a solo artist going by the name: Lonesound.
The song has a modern trendy vibe that would suit well to the current East London trends in bars and clubs around Shoreditch and Dalston.
If the tracks keep coming I’m sure Lonesound will be a hit and gather a loyal fanbase in no time. All in all it’s a great debut and we can’t wait to hear more.