Monday, 15 February 2010

The Antlers - Bear

We mounted our prize capture of those purveyors of maudlin rock loveliness The Antlers above the virtual mantelpiece of Scratchy’s blogging room, at the back end of last year read our live review here; when we fell hook, line and sinker for their majestic sweeping tunes of sadness. The Brooklyn based band whose debut album Hospice has been a slow burning success story of 2009 and have just released a beautiful and restrained official video to accompany one of the stand out tracks of that album 'Bear'. Needless to say, it should be one of the bare necessities of your i-pod! They have just started on a mammoth tour, taking in various venues in Europe and America, so book early to avoid disappointment because their star is rising very rapidly.

The Antlers - 'Bear' taken from the debut album Hospice Get it here from FrenchKiss Records

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Mary Epworth and The Jubilee Band

Mary Epworth and her band make a glorious concoction of music which is an intoxicating collision of pop, wyrd folk, psychedelia and country. Mary has a beguiling voice which can deliver on great big hollering sounds or delicate ballads like 'Two For Joy'. Her talents have previously been showcased at “The Lady: A Tribute to Sandy Denny” tribute performance at Queen Elizabeth Hall back in December 2008, where her performance was received with great acclaim. Followers of early Fairport Convention, Bellowhead and Espers will sure to be enchanted by her espousing of the traditions of English folk with a touch of freak rock mixed in.

Mary Epworth focuses her talents on vocals, an electric auto-harp, rhythm guitar and wooden spoons. She is backed up by Will Twynham, who concentrates on synths, vox and guitar, Horse (presumably a nickname rather than a talented equine but anything’s possible round those parts) is on guitar, banjo and vox, The Gord plays bass and vox: he's on loan from theoutdoortypes and Rich Norris completes the line up on drums. Together, they form the multifaceted elements of The Jubilee Band, who are named in honour of a silver band run by Mary’s great-great-grandfather and was based in the King’s Lynn area, way back in the 1880s.

<a href="">The Saddle Song by Mary Epworth &amp; The Jubilee Band</a>

The ghosts of the original Jubilee Band make a cameo appearance in the video to her debut single, rescuing Mary from the monsters of a folkloric forest. 'The Saddle Song' which is aptly described as a pub shanty, is a tune that lollops, wassails and rampages through the wild side of the woods, in the manner of a drunken jester on a night of medieval festivities.

The stand out track of her repertoire is ‘Black Doe’ nicely described as a "Spectral deer stomp your face". Mary lulls you in with the opening bars of breathy vocals dancing over some ethereal finger pickin' folk, then she suddenly slaps you around the lug holes with her booming voice, roaring over some rustic Black Sabbath riffs. From there on in, it all goes to hell in a handcart, as the song, worthy of a mad minstrel howling out a Hammer House of Hippie film soundtrack, cuts loose and demolishes all trembling mortals who dare get in the way of this prime cut of verberating venison.

The debut album is in the pipeline for a Spring 2010 release, with the backing of Arts Council funding, which is a fine use of tax payers’ money, for sure. It’s going to be a record that flirts with the traditions of English folk music, yet embraces the joys of pop and rock. In years gone by, such wanton worship of those musical Pagan Gods would have earned an appointment with Vincent Price and his fiendish ducking stool, but in these more enlightened times, Mary Epworth will be casting a spell on the audiences at

Upcoming Gigs

19/02/2010 The Local @ The Kings Head London U.K

26/02/2010 Southbank Foyer Bar London U.K

09/04/2010 Norwich Arts Centre Norwich U.K

(One of the finest venues in this fair land: A couple of pints at The Ribs Of Beef, then onto this gig, followed by a cheeky kebab on the way home,this sounds like the perfect night out to me)

Black Doe: Buy it here was released on iTunes 10/08/09 and on 7” vinyl 14/09/09.