The Confusion

Liking this tune from The Confusion, a five piece from Dublin. They're coming through as one of the bands to look out for this year. This is a strong slice of rock and roll, with a bluesy edge. Well worth checking out.

The band is:

Lewis Kenny - vocals
David Bellew - Lead Guitar
Michael Treacy - Rhythm Guitar
Lynchie - Drums
Dean Glennon - Bass

This is Street Literature. I'm looking forward to hearing more.

Interview with Darron J Connett

Darrron J Connett emerged a few years ago as a solo artist and singer in his band Connett. He now fronts the excellent Last Of The Troubadours, whose tunes include "Who's Gonna Love Us Now", "Audacity Of Hope" and "Till Tomorrow". We put some questions to him about the band, his influences and where he see the future heading.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Shepherds Bush West London, went to school in Notting Hill but now reside in S W London not far from Wimbledon.

When did you start playing in bands?

I've always been obsessed with music as my mum, aunties, uncles and cousins all blared out their tastes from their rooms growing up which was lots of Elvis, Beatles, Small Faces, The Who, lots of Trojan ska, soul, but I always had my ears open to the sounds on the radio, like all people you get into shit stuff and learn by your mistakes, I was truly awakened by the whole dare I say it Britpop era. But I've been making my own music in some shape or form since school and got a record deal soon as I left.

Which artists have influenced your musical direction?
I've been influenced by everyone I've heard really, its no secret of my mod influences as i am proudly one but I've never been one to lean to the obvious, I love a lot of obscure pop,love people like Nillson, Bowie, Scott Walker etc I adore Richard Hawley and to surprise people Glen Campbells Witchita Lineman is my all time favourite record and John Holt's probably my favourite singer.

You came to the fore as a solo artist a few years ago.  Tell me a bit about that.

I've always been a solo artist but formed bands in between, the modernists who are into Weller, Oasis etc really got behind me and only yesterday I was asked if "Just A Boy" could go on a compilation album of course I said yes its a fucking great song. Around that time I forged a bit of a following even people from far flung places message me to say they dig my tunes, that always blows me away but I guess I felt I lost my way and needed to move on and the scooter & target side of mod frightens me a bit and I felt I was getting dragged in to a place I didn't want to be. Don't get me wrong I love all that stuff but I didn't want get stuck as ambition for me hold no limits and as all artist should think I wanted the world as I've said before aim for the stars & I might hit my head on the ceiling.

Your band Connett released an album Waging War On The Obvious in 2009.  What are your thoughts on that album.

When I formed CONNETT... it felt like a new chapter ,we had some outstanding times together ones that will stay with me forever and more importantly we made some great music, "Waging War On The Obvious" was our debut and that opened a few doors for us, Paul weller said he loved it and personally invited us to Black Barn to record which was ridiculous as the man I idolised was now saying if I keep writing songs like that I would go all the way,and he was very complimentary on my voice too, not one to name drop but that's happened loads of times by various know musicians & singers, I look over my shoulder as they can't surely be talking about me!!!! But like all decent frontmen I have my alter ego and mine thinks he's God's Dad haha. So it's alway nice. That then gave us the opportunity to record our 2nd album "Love & Curses" in Chicago America at Colorama studios, truely a magical time we recorded music, played music, laughed all day, we really got treated like Gods out there, great times...then we signed with 208 records who released both our albums (still available) we gigged a lot but started treading water so I put us on hiatus, will we reform and play again? I hope so theyre great musicians & top people so never say never. But not sure anyone wants us to anyway haha.

When did The Last Of The Troubadours form?

Summer 2011 I formed the Last Of The Troubadours with Joel Rogers, firstly as a acoustic duo our first gig was supporting the Real People, a band we both love so it was happy days from then on. Luke Jeffries joined on drums then Rob Pyne from the rifles joined us on bass then TLOTT was off! Me and Joel are at the helm writing the songs but Lukes an all rounder and a bit of a studio boffin so he with our help arranges the songs. I'm much more relaxed as I'm not shouldered with all the responsability as its 50/50 for Connett/Rogers my control freak side does have to bite his tongue sometimes but as my names not exclusivly above the door I can step back unless i need to do otherwise but we never argue or fall out as they they agree with all I say haha no not at all. Joel knows his stuff and together were writing great songs and basically singing from the same song sheet if you pardon the pun. Our debut ep "Sooner The Better" came out Spring 2012 on itunes and cd via Delicious Junction records we've had great gigs at places like the 100 Club supporting bands like Athlete, Mark Morris from the Bluetones, done a video for "Whos Gonna Love Us Now" which went down well,got lots of airplay on xfm & 6 Music etc were also about to record the next 5 track ep working title "Dont Stand On Shadows" hopefully were go on to the next level and keep growing as the new songs are sounding really cool so exciting times lets see where it takes us?

You are often seen in pictures and videos sporting quality scarves.  Do you have a favourite label?

Glad you like the scarves, well hands up I love style and love being seen as stylish I've done quite a lot of modeling over the years face of ikon shoes some of the mod readers might know,we have also done both "all in good time mags" for Delicious Junction shoes. I'm really into Gibson London suits and tweeds at the moment coupled by Nicholson Walcot scarves & pocket hankies. I think style is essential some bands these days look like they've rolled out of Wetherspoons in chavsville and stopped off at JJBs fucking awful man, have some self respect.  Not so long ago you could tell who was in a band and who wasn't not at the minute though, although bands like The Strypes, Miles Kane, Eugene McGuinness make an effort which I really love, even when Oasis wore the anoraks they still looked cool, it's important even if I'm a one man campaign scruffy herberts should fix up and look sharp!

Finally, in a addition to the ep, what are you plans for the current year?

This year the Last Of The Troubadours will gig, tour uk & europe, record more get up in everyones grill till they take notice and realise were bringing something new to the table, it's going well and people seemed to like what weve done so far so were let it run its coarse and hopefully it'll run & run and were keep evolving, I'm enjoying it at the moment so all good. I'll record a avant gardish type solo effort some where down the round but probably not till 2014 I write many songs not right for TLOTT more Scott Walker/early Bowie type vibe its purely for me but hopefully when it comes it'll go down well but it'll only be available on key fobs by then haha...cheers Rob

The Astaires - I Want It Now

Following our interview with The Astaires last week, they have a new tune online. I Want It Now sounds like a band on fire, with its hard-as-nails guitar refrain, no nonsense rhythm section and recorded in a lift shaft vocal brilliance. This is pure adrenalin fuelled mayhem.  A gem.  Listen to it here.

Interview With The Astaires

Another new band who are creating a buzz is The Astaires.  They recently recorded a tune, Mail Your Love, which is guaranteed to get the pulses racing with its strong garage rock sound.  We caught up with their singer, Cromm Fallon, and put some questions to him.

Who is in The Astaires?

The Astaires are made up of Cromm Fallon, Jonny Catchings, and Ron Paul Gavino.

Where are you based?

We are based out of Las Vegas, NV.

Tell me a little about your local music scene.

The music scene out here is shit. Very few venues to play at and the majority of kids out here listen to hardcore screamo music.

When did you form?

We formed like a month ago... maybe.

How did the band get together?

I've actually been friends with Ron Paul since 7th grade, so we've been jamming ever since then. We eventually got serious and started the band Acton Town. After playing for 2 years, the bass player, who we also knew since 7th grade, decided to leave the band, so I got my good friend Jonny to join since we're pretty much brothers.

You were formerly known as Acton Town. Why the name change?

The bass player left so we felt as if it was a good idea for a fresh start.

Which bands/artists would you say have been a particular influence on you?

Lots of 60's garage/psychedelic rock such as The Seeds, The Sonics, The Kinks, etc. Plus bands such as Oasis, The Dandy Warhols, Louis XIV, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Horrors. There's a lot more too haha

Are there any other cultural influences that you would say are important?

The mod scene for sure. It's about looking good, showing up at the right events, and having a damn good time while looking fucking good haha.

You uploaded a tune recently, Mail Your Love. Who wrote the song and what is it about?

I (Cromm) wrote the song about a year ago, and it's pretty much about wanting a chick to come over to my place for the night haha.

Mail Your Love has a strong garage rock feel. Were you aiming for that sound?

Oh yea definitely. I loving having my music raw. Check out my solo stuff it was pretty much recorded with one mic. I wanted to capture that 1965 loud mod sound but even more aggressive, and I was extremely happy with the results. Keep in mind, this is all home recorded!

Who played keyboards on the tune?

The keys were done on a vintage farfisa organ by Zach Flynn who is a good friend of Dakota McCullough who recorded us. He occasionally plays keys for Dakota's band called The Remedies.

Are you planning to release more tunes in the near future?

Yea we plan on having an EP released at least by next month.

Can we expect a similar sound?

Expect more of a heavier guitar sound from the recording of Mail Your Love. We recorded our song 'I Want it Now' a few days ago, and damn, it sounds powerful. We got some harmonica on the track too. The farfisa will also be back for more songs.

If you were shipwrecked on a Desert Island, and could take one album with you, which one would you choose?

I would have to say Odessey and Oracle by The Zombies. Just a beautiful, brilliant album.

What are your future plans?

Well from what I hear, Mail Your Love is going to be put on a compilation from Royale Records! We also plan to have our EP finished within a month. Over the summer we hope to tour the west coast of America. I'll be out in London playing with my dad John Fallon in his set for Psych-Fest Alldayer June 29th. I'm hoping to bring the band with me so we can do some shows for The Uprising Tour while we're out there.

Interview With The Novatones

There seems to be a buzz around right now, where great new guitar bands are coming to the fore (see below).  The Novatones exemplify that spirit.  They were part of the Uprising Tour 2012 and we featured their single Living For The Weekend a week or so ago.  It seemed an appropriate moment to put a few questions to them.

When did The Novatones form?

The band started in 2010 with a slightly different line up. We played three or four shows (with our first gig at The Joiners being a sell out and all) before our guitarist, Sid at the time, quit on stage after an incident at the Railway Inn in Winchester. Tony joined the band after that. 

Who’s who in the band?

Anthony Pittman is the lead singer and guitarist
Stewart Page is the bassist
Sean Swift is the Drummer
Tony Smith is the Guitarist and vocals

Where are you from?

We're all originally from Eastleigh in Southampton. We all went to school with each other, Ant was in the year above and was good mates with Stew. Me and Sean were good mates in school. After school none of us really spoke for 5 years or so then Stew came up to me on the checkout in Sommerfields, where I worked, and asked me if I played guitar still and if I fancied joining his and ant's band. I belled Swift up cause we played in a band together before hand and then it started from there. 

What is your local music scene like?

The music scene in Southampton is mint right now. Not only the quality of music is good but people are going to more gigs than previous years. at least it feels that way. The good thing about Southampton as well is it seems we're producing real music and not just this pretentious indie stuff made by college kids with skinny jeans and rolling tobacco.

You uploaded a tune Living For The Weekend recently.  Tell us a little about it.

Living for the weekend was our first 'single' if you like. We made a video and all with our mates and photographer, Josh Kell. The response from that song has been really good and it's had some really good radio play. It was on BBC Introducing and it still gets loads of plays now, in fact it's made loads of chart listings recently. It's got like 8k views on You Tube, which is brilliant. The more people we subject to our ugly mugs the better. It's just a feel good song that everyone can dance along with you know.

Who wrote the song?  Do you have a main songwriter?

Ant wrote the bulk of 'Living For The Weekend' then we all chipped in with our little twists and that. - That's the way it normally works, someone brings a song to practise and we all make it sound like us if that makes sense. If we had to pin point a main songwriter it would be Ant and Stew in terms or lyrics but I'm sure Stew would moan Ant never uses his lyrics anyway. Ant normally just makes them up for the first couple of run throughs then whatever sticks sticks. Stew and Sean sometimes go into a separate room and just smash out some bass and drums, whilst me and Ant practise some harmonies and guitar parts - good knows we need the practise.

Can we expect new tunes in the near future?

We've just recorded a new EP called 'For Monies Sake' so we have some new songs from that coming out soon but that's just a follow on almost from 'Begging At The Bunhouse' our first EP. we just had so many songs we wanted to record we didn't want to wait too long to do it. 'Avenue Road' is a big one we've got coming out soon. it's a bit of an anthem. We have finally started recording the video now and we will have it out end of January (or there abouts). We did put them up online for download but we've just agreed a publishing deal so everything has been suspended for the time being.

Are there any tunes in particular we should look out for?

Got a bit ahead of myself in the previous question maybe haha, just look out for The Novatones - the plan is to get the songs out like the clappers. there's lots of poppy songs to look forward to, like 'She's Out' and 'Avenue Road' but then we've still got our more 'us' songs in 'The Dream Is Over' and 'Guns and Dynamite. We've even got a ska song with sax and all called 'Top of the Class' We'll probably have another list of songs to keep an eye out for in 3 months or so, we're constantly trying to write new stuff.

Do you play any covers?

We used to play 'My Generation' at the end of every set and we still do on the rare occasion but that's mainly only when we play locally in Southampton.   I mean, we know a few covers and that but we'd rather play our own songs. Even when we play the occasional cover you can tell it's us playing it. the scrappy guitar is usually a dead give away.

You were a part of the Uprising Tour 2012.  That must have been a great experience.  Tell us more

Yeah it was really good, We've spent the last year just touring non stop pretty much. It does take it's toll from time to time you know. there's only so long you can spend in the back of a cramped ford escort with your amp digging it your back and Stew's guitar smashing you in the head after he takes a sharp corner way too fast. People have been left behind in strange towns after barnies have got a bit heated but it's all part of the fun and we're always friends again after a few drinks. 

There seems to be a buzz around at the moment, with strong guitar music coming to the fore again, and bands starting to come through from the grass roots.  Are you excited by that trend?

Yeah, fingers crossed 2013 is the year for good music, The Novatones especially. you can see it's making a come back that's for sure. It is exciting but even if it wasn't speculated to be the year for guitar music that wouldn't change anything. We're just going to keep going, keep plugging away and keep doing what we're doing until we don't want to do it anymore. We've just signed a new management deal and we've got loads in the pipeline for 2013 so it's going to be our year definitely. If our mates can come along for the ride then that's even better.

Who are your major influences, musically and culturally?

We've all got really different tastes in music to some degree but at the same time we will listen to anything. Stew's really into The Beatles and could pretty much recite you the track listings for every album they've ever done. Sean likes some terrible music and Ant's into almost everything. If we had to name a few bands you'd see the likes of The Kinks, The Who, The Stones, The Specials, Oasis, Stone Roses, i guess, probably some less credible acts and all but I wont go into them. It's always a hard question to answer that. Culturally, I'd say we are all influenced my the mod scene and the style but we've grown up in a different time so it's got a twist on it you know. Scooters, parkas and harringtons are three things that will all ways be cool though. 

Is there one record you would pick out as particularly important?

Do you mean out of our songs or anyones?... If it was the latter I couldn't say for the whole band but I'd imagine 'My Generation' would be up there. What better song to sum up a jilted youth. In terms of our songs, i'd say 'III' has had the biggest impact, that was when it became real for us. I remember we played it for the first time at 'The Joiners' in Southampton and it sounded like nothing we've ever played before. People didn't really know what to say after that, it was a sign of us growing as a band I think, people just stepped back and said 'these boys could do it' you know. Plus the bass line sounds like it should be in Football Factory or something. 

What can we expect next?

We've got a UK tour on the cards next year supporting a well known band, so keep your eyes peeled for that. We're also in the Red Bull studio sometime over February so will have some new songs and probably a few rereleases coming out over summer. Other than that we're hoping we can take that step from unsigned to signed and make this our main job you know... if not, our managers not getting paid aye. 

Miles Kane

Miles Kane has a new single out shortly. Give Up is a follow up to last year's First Of Your Kind, featuring Miles' trademark vocals and some strong, upfront guitar. He's been working on a new album which is due for release this year and is expected to include collaborations with a certain Mr Weller. Looking forward to hearing the album but this tune will do fine for now, thank you very much. Turn it up.

Delicious Junction

Delicious Junction have released a promo video, previewing their 2013 range. Filmed at London's Ace Cafe, it features a few notable Faces sporting some rather tasty clobber. They've also got a fanzine All In Good Time coming out shortly. Find out more at their Facebook page and their website.

Interview with Billy Sullivan, The Spitfires

Let's start 2013 as we mean to go on, with the best in new music. Billy Sullivan is the frontman of The Spitfires, one of the finest young bands around right now. For our first interview of the year, we put a few questions to Billy about the band, his influences and what they have planned for the year ahead.

Where do The Spitfires hail from?

The Spitfires hail from Watford and Harrow.

How long has the band been going?

We have been together - as this line up - since September.

How did the band get together?

The band all were mutual friends, Matt was at college with me and Sam I knew for a while beforehand.

What inspired the name?

The name I've had since I was 11 or 12. Mostly to do the target on the side of the Spitfire planes and my obsession with Modernism I developed at that age.

Do you have a main songwriter, or are the tunes all band compositions?

Yes, I write all lyrics and most of the music. However my ideas develop when we are in the rehearsal studios and we play off each other.

You released the double A side single Spark To Start/Sirens in 2012. What are you saying in the two tunes?

Spark to Start was a response to the bland music scene forced upon young people and the attitude of the current music industry. Sirens was a reflection on the riots that took place in 2011 and the frustration that is still inside young people but with no positive way to express it.

There’s an excellent video that goes with Spark To Start. Where was it filmed? Tell us a bit about the making of it.

The video for Spark to Start was filmed on the roof of Cannon Street station in central London. It was pissing down all day and it really would of been a shame to waste the fantastic view. But we were lucky because it stopped raining as soon as we started filming!

What other tunes should we be looking out for?

We will be demoing new tracks at the start of February , to be followed by a single around June/July.

Which artists have influenced you?

Personally my influences come from the original mod movement of the 60s, the punk movement of 77, Britpop, 2 tone, Soul, Reggae and The Arctic Monkeys.

Are there any of your gigs that you would select as having been particularly special?

We went up north for a few dates supporting Bruce Foxton's FTJ which I would say were special gigs. Especially the first night at The Cavern, Liverpool that was sold out.
The crowd were with us from the word go and really appreciated our style and sound.
We have a gig New Years Eve at The 100 Club which will be a special night playing with New Street Adventure who are a fantastic live band.

We love playing live, our sound really comes across on stage and with each gig we gain new friends/fans who are into what we do.

Are there any books or films that you would mention as influencing you?

I love A Clockwork Orange as a book and a film. Also the obvious - Absolute Beginners. I take my inspiration mainly from the situation and the people that surround me.

Which record – if any – changed your life?

There's been a few records that have changed my life, from All Mod Cons, Up The Bracket, More Specials, What's Goin On, Sandinista. All of which changed my outlook and the way I wanted to write.

What are your plans for the future? Can we expect more releases and tour dates?

January time will see us rehearsing, writing and demoing. I imagine we won't properly be back gigging till March and hopefully a summer tour to back up another single.

The following are The Spitfire's upcoming Gigs for 2013

Watford Town & Country Club (DRUM Benefit) 26th January

Upstairs at Ronnies , Frith Street, London W1 (Early evening gig) 6th Febuary

Billericay Football Club 9th March

Find out more about The Spitfires at their website and their Facebook page.