Category Archives: Music Review

Boston’s Blues Rockers Mr. Airplane Man

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Mr. Airplane Man is Margaret Garrett on vocals and guitar and Tara McManus on drums, keyboard and vocals. The band started in the late ’90s and almost immediately joined Morphine for a U.S. tour and recorded a self-titled EP with Mark Sandman (Morphine).

They have released three albums and an EP on Sympathy for the Record Industry garnering high praises from press including Rolling Stone: “Bostonians Margaret Garrett and Tara McManus are deeply sensitive to the inborn ache of the blues. But Garrett’s guitar is the real salvation. It cuts and swings and explodes, crying.” 

Since re-forming the band after a few years hiatus, Margaret and Tara have been gigging around New England and Europe, writing new songs, and recording new material. In October 2015, Dirty Water Records released “The Lost Tapes, an album recorded at The Money Shot (with Bruce Watson of Fat Possum Records) in 1999 and had not been previously released.

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The Dowling Poole New EP

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Following their critically acclaimed second album One Hyde Park’, which was released earlier this year, The Dowling Poole has just released a new EP, featuring a brand new never heard before song ‘Miles Checks Out’. The EP also features bonus tracks ‘Saving It All For A Saturday’ and ‘Getting A Licence’ which were recorded live in Manchester on the band’s acoustic tour in 2015. Full electric versions of both bonus tracks feature on the groups debut album ‘Bleak Strategies’, which was released to high critical acclaim in 2014.

The group are playing live, supporting The Wildhearts at London’s 02 Forum on December 17th. Tickets here.

Debut Album Released By Sir. O

Sir. O release of a new single, ‘Lost’
Sir. O

London-based alternative Rock/Pop singer-songwriter Sir. O marks his debut LP release, ‘Forever + a Day’, alongside the release of a new single, ‘Lost’, taken from the album.

‘Lost’ is an alternative rock duet, performed alongside singer-songwriter Lir Shilton, who is also Sir. O’s other half.

As hinted in the track’s title, the song is about getting lost in the world, a well-known feeling we all share.The melancholic lyrics come across in perfect harmony with the vocals and peaks with the powerful line “On the outside I’m alive, on the inside I’m dead”.

 

Lir Shilton releases debut single ‘Flower’

Lir Shilton to release debut single ‘Flower’

London-based folk singer-songwriter Lir Shilton is marking her debut single release with ‘Flower’, taken from her upcoming debut album, ‘Nothing But A Ghost’, mixed by John Cornfield (Neil Halstead, The Verve).  ‘Flower’ is a slow-core alternative folk song, written about Lir Shilton’s beloved dog and lead by her classical guitar fingerpicking style and a soft downtempo drumming.  Lir’s pure troubadour songwriting skills and soothing voice tells an honest story that immediately pierces the listener’s heart.

Monday Matters with The Feeling 07 March 2016

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Monday Matters with Jason McCrossan is broadcast on 106.9 SFM in Kent.

On the show tonight: Our featured artist tonight is Gary Numan who produced commercial electronic music and had hits with “Cars” and “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”. He is 58 this week.

In the music Kyra brings news about John Lennon, Massive Attack and music from Years & Years.

Also, we hear of a new virus directly targeting Apple computers – which locks users out of their files until they pay a ransom – 1 bitcoin (£200).

We sent Reporter Bonnie Britain onto the wet and windy streets of London where she bumped into Dan from the band The Feeling – who invited her into his home to discuss music, and the band’s new album which was released on FRIDAY – called The Feeling.

Writing’s on the Wall – for the next bond theme

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The latest James Bond theme song has been released today (25 Sept) sung by Sam Smith and called “Writing’s on the Wall”.

The song has been written for the 24th instalment of the franchised film genre which tells the story of Bond’s first encounter with the global criminal agency known as SPECTRE.  It was once again directed by Sam Mendes.

I often think that writing a song for Bond must be a little bit like writing for Eurovision – everyone has an opinion and it is never as good as when ‘Bucks Fizz’ did it; which can be seen by the fact that Dame Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger song started trending.

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Smith’s Writing’s on the Wall feels rather timid and underplayed compared to previous Bond themes.  It starts off well with the crashing string harmonies and atmospheric ‘the lady like’s Milk-Tray’ horn section.  However, it then goes into what feels like any other pop song – that only hints at being for the famous franchise.  In fact, it starts very much like Adele’s Skyfall – but where Adele’s song develops into a fully formed- “this is a Bond song, get over it” – I’m not sure Sam’s does. It doesn’t feel memorable.  When my mind replays Adele, I can clearly hear her vocals pitching up and down – like a boat in a gale force 8 storm – her voice crescendoing up and over as she reaches the crest of “skyfaaaAAALLLLL” with the stings & horns crashing around her – giving it that memorable sound. “Writing’s on the Wall” is ok for a song – but maybe not for a great Bond song and is only memorable in that it has Sam’s voice stamped all over it.

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On location: filming on the Thames in London for the 24th 007.

Then again – maybe it’s a generational thing.  I loved Casino Royale and thought it heralded a new era in bond; and then found no solace in 2008’s Quantum; and was left suitably unimpressed by large chunks of Skyfall.  So maybe, the whole modern Bond thing just isn’t for me.  I loved my Bond when he made a witty off-the-cuff remark after jumping 500 feet from a cable car or when the villain cartwheeled over rivers and escaped in a flying car.

The famous cork-screw car jump from The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
The famous cork-screw car jump from The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Spectre is scheduled to be released on 26 October 2015 in the United Kingdom on the same night as the world premiere in London, followed by the worldwide release on 6 November.

Elton John – Behind The Piano Tour – Detling Showground Kent, England

From L to R (PR Bollina, Krish Bollina, Jason McCrossan [me], Phil Swain, Sharon Pattison
Before the event from L to R (PR Bollina, Krish Bollina, Jason McCrossan [me], Phil Swain, Sharon Pattison
On the 31st May 2015, the traffic along the A249 at Detling in Kent was unusually busy for a Sunday night.  The warning signs had been out for weeks but still some motorists – who had no intention of standing in a field for 6 hours in the rain, cloud, sunshine and cold – decided to chance their luck and instead of using a different route – joined the long and winding queue with those who only aim was to get cold and and slightly wait – whilst watching Elton John.

The thing about Elton is it’s all about the music. Maybe the difference between a musician and someone who does a radio programme is that I wanted more from the bits in between the music.  I wanted him to gossip, to charm and to smarm.  But true to form – he performed.  He was joined by his band whom he has been with for many many years.  One got the impression that there wasn’t so much as a VIP area backstage but an OAP area.  However, if ever there was an advert for old guys showing the youngsters that they’ve still got it and age is only a number – it was watching these honed musicians play, entertain and have fun.

Hello! Yellow Brick Road
Hello! Yellow Brick Road

Elton himself commented a few times about how cold he felt – and he had two heaters blowing hot air directly at him – a job, I assumed usually reserved for his PR team or keepers of the stool.

His set started off with a few songs from his best selling 1973 album Goodbye yellow brick road. It was 50/50 whether he would go in hard and fast or slow and build.  He went slow and built.  And actually – by the end of the performance it seemed to work as the security allowed revellers to dance in the bear pit (which had been shut off).

Elton himself rose between songs and did the occasional walkabout – although one got the impression he would suffer for it all the following morning.  He belted out a number of classics including ‘Believe’ and ‘I’m Still Standing’ – but then there are just so many that he could do – I got the feeling that this particular set is more personal to him.  On my radio show I sometimes do a tribute too – in which we play interviews and music from the lives of various musicians.  I remember him and Bernie Taupin talking about how “Tiny Dancer” came about – and I wondered if he was recalling specific memories about the writing process when he was singing – but then, he was probably just thinking “it’s bloody cold here” and “how long until i jump into the helicopter and get myself home?”

It was a bit chilly
It was a wee bit chilly

I’m glad I saw Elton. I see him as one of the last in a line of true great performers – the likes of whom we may struggle to replace (Madonna, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel – just to name a few).  Who will replace them? Beyonce? Robbie Williams? Maybe – but I don’t think they will in my mind.

So, if you get the chance and you are an Elton John fan – I’d say – it really is worth a visit.

You can find a list of tour dates here.