Violent Femmes – from Pretenders to Kings of the Heap

I have sometimes wondered how the Violent Femmes career would have panned out if they hadn’t decided to busk where they did on the 23rd August 1981. The spot they had chosen just happened to be where Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders were going to be performing later that day. Pretenders guitarist, James Honeyman-Scott, heard the band and was impressed, as was Chrissie Hynde who invited the them to play an acoustic set after the opening act that night.

Layla Revisited – Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Powerful New Album

I’ve featured the Tedeschi Trucks Band quite often since the early days of our group and know that many of you are already fans. I recently got the heads-up of a new live album, Layla Revisited, which will be available from the 16th July. It was recorded in 2019 at the LOCKN’ festival and comes as a double CD and 3-LP album.

Imogen Heap – An Innovative Force of Nature

I’m glad I am late to the party regarding some musicians. It gives a better sense of perspective of the artist when you have a collection of work to draw from, and the amount of work that Imogen Heap has put out since she started writing songs as a 13-year-old is nothing short of phenomenal. Not only in the world of album releases, but in everything from theatre, film and TV compositions, music production and engineering, talks and lectures, and some groundbreaking inventions and innovations to boot.

Human Right’s Day – The Music behind the Holiday

This weekend we honour Human Rights Day in South Africa. Although human rights cover so many areas that are an ongoing global challenge, today I am exploring the role that music played during the 46-year-long apartheid regime that cruelly divided our nation. It is an interesting, if uncomfortable, topic that covers a very dark area of our history. To imagine what kind of country South Africa would be had apartheid not happened is in the realm of speculation, but this misguided system of racial segregation did manage to produce some memorable music.

Reflections in a Falling Mirror

I was recently asked to repost an article I wrote early last year about a South African band that has always fascinated me, Falling Mirror. Being formed in the late 70s, they fit perfectly into the mish-mash of musical styles and cross-overs that the era started to produce.

Strange Beginnings – The Stories Behind the Songs

I was taking a look at some of the original stories behind some of our most popular songs recently and realised that the subject was far too big for a three-part feature. There are far too many great examples. I’ve decided to turn this ‘strange beginnings’ idea into a main feature and select a couple of extracts for the Facebook page and group.

The Guess Who and Beyond

I posted a brief glimpse behind the band, The Guess Who, early last year and I think it time to look a little deeper into the band that was regarded as the Beatles of Canada. With names such as Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman as key members, you can be assured of an interesting dip into musical history today.

Cocteau Twins – Beauty Amid the Chaos

I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about doing a proper feature about the Cocteau Twins. I’ve featured a few tracks in the past, but the story behind the band deserves to be examined. Many regard the band as the founders of Dream Pop, with indecipherable vocals against the heavily processed guitars and synths, and embodied the dreamier side of this sub-genre of Alternative Rock. Along with New Order and The Smiths, they were one of the three main pillars of British alternative music of the day.

Urban Village – A great place to visit!

I am so excited to share a new find with you today. Thanks to a social heads-up from our friends at Rootspring Music I have finally discovered Urban Village. Although they only released their first album last month, this quartet of outstanding musicians has been around for a while. Sometimes there is a dire lack of information available about some of our new local artists; not so Urban Village. I happily found enough articles and interviews to keep the researcher in me smiling, and their full catalogue of past EP releases on Spotify and YouTube to keep my ears happy. The only problem I have had is choosing only three songs to share for today’s feature. They are all so good.

Like a Version – a brief history of the contentious cover song.

The cover version is a contentious issue. Nowadays, a cover version immediately puts itself in the firing line of music lovers, and especially the musical press, all keen to judge and critique every note and nuance. Some offerings make it through the battlefield of personal scrutiny to be heralded as genius, while most are dissed across the various media platforms and consigned to the ‘don’t bother’ list. But this wasn’t always the case as we will find out in this fascinating look at the history of the cover version.