26 August 2014

News // Liverpool Vocal Specialists Launch New Studio

Renowned Liverpool artist training centre Balance Vocal Studio celebrate the launch of their new base with a launch event featuring performances by Nu-Folk band Kalandra (pictured) and others on Wednesday 27th August. After merging with Aurora Borealis Music in early 2014, the studio has relocated to 56 Wood Street, in the vibrant Ropewalks district of the city. 

 Ian Davidson and Kaya Herstad Carney, Directors of Balance Vocal Studio, are two of only ten practitioners in the UK, qualified in Vocology in Practice (VIP), a US based organization headed up by vocal specialist David Stroud who has worked with many noted singers including Michael Jackson and Frank Ocean.

 “I have personally worked closely with both Ian and Kaya for quite a few years and cannot recommend anyone more highly than I do these two.” – Dave Stroud, VocalizeU

Kaya and Ian met over 14 years ago while studying at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA). For the last decade, they have both taught and coached singing technique and songwriting to many of Liverpool's booming music scene. 

"It was always my vision to provide the best vocal service in Liverpool; merging with Kaya is the final step to making this a reality"
– Ian Davidson

In July 2014 both Ian and Kaya travelled to LA, the home of VIP for their 10 day ‘VocalizeU’ summer intensive where some of the best vocal teachers in the world hone their craft. 

"After coming back from Los Angeles this summer teaching at the world's leading vocal and song writing VocalizeU artist intensive: we can't wait to share our knowledge with our new and existing students in our new city centre studio."
- Kaya Herstad Carney

#SRCZ will report from the launch event. Look out for coverage soon!

25 August 2014

Preview // PRINCE & 3RDEYEGIRL – Plectrum Electrum

The long awaited debut album from 3rdeyegirl, featuring a certain Prince, has been announced for release on September 29th. Released via NPG Records under licence to Warner Bros Records, the album will be released on the same day as the new release from Prince himself, Art Official Age.

Plectrum Electrum will feature the singles PretzelBodyLogic and FixUrLifeUp and ten more tracks for a total of twelve. Final track FunkNRoll also features on Art Official Age.

Other tracks include ‘WOW’, ‘AINTTURNINROUND’ & ‘TICTACTOE’. Make sure to check back here for the #SRCZ review of the album!

News // PRINCE announces new album for September “Art Official Age”

Prince, ever elusive, has announced the release of his new album via Good Morning America on Monday 25th August. Released in collaboration with Warner Bros records, the label he formerly split from acrimoniously in the early Nineties, the album marks his return to album releases following a few years of digital releases and online exclusives.

Art Official Age will be released on September 29th on CD and download and will feature thirteen tracks, including the previous digital singles 'The Breakdown', 'Breakfast Can Wait' and the previously previewed 'This Could Be Us'.

Other tracks include ‘Clouds’, ‘The Gold Standard’ and ‘U Know’. The album has much anticipated by fans and comes on the same day as the long mooted collaboration album with 3rdeyegirl ‘Plectrum Electrum’. 

24 August 2014

TV Catch Up // Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 1 - "Deep Breath"

Warning: contains spoilers!

Cast: Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Neve McIntosh, Dan Starkey, Catrin Stewart, Peter Ferdinando. 

Written by: Steven Moffat

Directed by: Ben Wheatley

 The Story: The Doctor and Clara crash land in Victorian London from the jaws of a rampaging dinosaur. With the help of the Peternoster gang, they set about investigating a spate of spontaneous combustions and a new variant on an old foe.

But who is this new Doctor and will his friendship with Clara survive his regeneration?

A year after the big announcement that he was taking over the keys to the TARDIS, Peter Capaldi has made his first appearance as Doctor Who. And, man, is he good at it. A lifelong fan of the show, this appears to be the role that Capaldi was born to play.

First episodes can be particularly tricky, especially when taking over the reins from a much loved predecessor. Matt Smith’s first episode The Eleventh Hour showed how it could be brilliantly done and let’s not mention poor old Colin Baker’s fan-alienating The Twin Dilemma.

So how did Deep Breath do as an introduction to a new Doctor Who? Well, for a family show, Deep Breath is pretty grown up fayre. New Doctor Who director Ben Wheatley brings a welcome edge to a tale that ditches the fairytale tone of the Matt Smith era and brings a new and darker feel more reminiscent of the early days of Doctor Who.

The dinosaur that littered the episode’s pre-publicity is very prettily done, but quickly dispatched and the real villain of the piece is revealed to be a new and very unpleasant iteration of the clockwork droids from David Tennant episode The Girl in the Fireplace. Guest star Peter Fernandino as the Half-Face Man is a wonderful new addition to the Who villain canon and while he may not be as immediately menacing as Madame de Pompadour’s childhood-nightmare droids, he brings more than one dimension as a dangerous and deluded robot/man looking for the promised land.

The Paternoster gang are excellent value for money as usual, but this episode really does belong to Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. Clara has never felt like a fully-formed character, but in Deep Breath, Coleman chucks the kitchen sink of emotions into play as Clara struggles with her relationship with this new man. If this is a sign of things to come, then bring on the rest of the series.

Capaldi brings enormous depth to TV’s most iconic role. Moffat’s script brings along (and in some case, unceremoniously ditches) great swathes of the show’s history while allowing Capaldi to occupy the role in his own terms. We were told this Doctor would be darker, but what we get here is also a man who is lost and in need of a friend.  But it’s not all completely dark. There are some genuine laugh-out-loud moments as the Doctor gets used to his very frowny new face and his Scottishness, “I’m Scottish. I can complain about things!”

The story in Deep Breath (clever title - think Blink) is far less important than the renewing of the relationship between the Doctor and his companion. It is wonderfully done - including THAT heart-wrenching cameo - and a brilliant sign of things to come. In the words of the Doctor himself, “I think it’s gonna be a whopper!”

Did you know? Brian Miller who plays the tramp the Doctor talks to in the alleyway, has appeared in Doctor Who since the 1980s and is the husband of the much missed Elisabeth Sladen who played Sarah Jane Smith

Best line 1: Don’t look into that mirror. It’s absolutely furious!

Best line 2: These are attack eyebrows. You could take bottle tops off with these.

Wipe-your-face-on-your sleeve scene: The telephone call between the Doctor, Clara and….erm...the Doctor. “Please just see me”.

Questions, questions, questions:

Who was lying about their true nature? The Doctor or the Half-Face Man?

Is Madame Vastra the real Sherlock Holmes?

Who is Missy and what is she up to?

Who is the mysterious woman who’s working to make sure the Doctor and Clara stay together? And why?

Has the Doctor been watching Trigger in Only Fools and Horses?

Fan pleasing moments: “You’ve redecorated. I don’t like it”, Handles, a new Doctor starting off in his night attire, a horse!, “I need clothes and a big scarf”, Geronimo, “Round things. I used to love the round things.”

The Doctor’s new face: “Who frowned me this face? ….Like I’m trying to tell myself something” Is this a reference to Peter Capaldi’s previous appearance in Doctor Who as Caecilius in 2008 episode The Fires of Pompeii? Or his turn as John Frobisher in Torchwood: Children of Earth? Watch this space.

Reviewed by Andrea McGuire. Images © BBC Worldwide 

23 August 2014

New Music // Acre Tarn – This Once

Some songs hit the listener like a wave of positive energy on their initial listen, but in the case of Acre Tarn’s new song This Once, there is a dream-pop like urgency to the proceedings that wakes you from whatever slumber you may have been in when you heard it.

Ethereal yet cold sweat inducing tense, the track veers between the warmth of the autumn sun and the icy chill of a night of the soul where the darkness won’t end soon. A captivating listen for sure, This Once is a song not likely to leave your cerebral cortex soon.  

22 August 2014

Music Video // Tom Vek – Pushing Your Luck

An eye catching video accompanies the latest selection from Tom Vek’s recently released third album Luck. Taking inspiration from the triple screen fruit machines, it show’s off Vek’s multi-instrumentalist very well indeed…

Directed by Paxi, Pushing Your Luck is an addictive song with a conceptual video to match. Make sure to check out the album

Preview // Ani DiFranco – Allergic To Water

Returning with her twentieth studio album Allergic To Water, her first in two years, Ani DiFranco has released lyric video for the song ‘Woe Be Gone’ from the album. The prolific songwriter released her first album in 1990 and has released at least one album a year via her own independent label Righteous Babe Records since. Listeb to ‘Woe Be Gone’ below.

Allergic To Water will be released on 14 October and will be much anticipated by her many fans. In a statement, DiFranco said of the album: Mostly I worked alone in headphones, in the wee hours, while my family slept. It was empowering but terrifying to have the buck stop with me again in terms of the mixes. The recordings are documents of my current touring band (recorded by Mike in our old Victorian house in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans and also by Andy Taub at a nearby church in the Treme) just laying down the songs.

Preview // Wirral Earth Fest 2014

Wirral Earth Fest returns for a second year of good green fun on Saturday, September 13th with music, workshops, food and more to be enjoyed over the day! The festival attracted over 3000 visitors in its first year and this year looks set to entice even more with an exciting programme of events over a weekend in a beautiful setting.

The festival will launch on the evening of September 12th with the premiere performance of a specially commissioned multi-media musical performance for the festival from Operation Lightfoot. The composition, entitled Midgard, will feature special guest vocalist Kaya Herstad-Carney and noted Liverpool based artist Silent Cities and will set the festival off in just the right spirit. Be sure not to miss it!  

Inspired by the Hogback Stone, located inside the venue for the performance, St Bridget’s Church, West Kirby, it will be a must see for those with an interest in  the local history of the Wirral and West Kirby’s natural surrounds.  

Luke Moore of Operation Lightfoot said: “I am very excited to be composing a new musical work especially for the launch of Wirral Earth Fest this year.  When I initially visited St Bridget’s church, I was fascinated by the story behind the Hogback burial stone on display there and it became a jumping off point for the rest of the process.  The piece’s title is ‘Midgard’, which was one of nine worlds in Viking mythology and the only one in which humans lived.  I can’t give too much away, but the piece will use the space within the church in a particularly interesting way.”

This will be followed by a not to be missed appearance from renowned broadcaster, author and Vicar Peter Owen Jones talking on the topic of Well Being in the 21st Century. With limited spaces, tickets will sell quickly so to avoid disappointment please buy your ticket in advance. With tickets costing £5 and the welcoming venue of St Bridget’s Centre, just opposite the church, it will be the perfect start to what promises to be a very special festival.  “Peter’s appearance at the festival is quite a coup for us”, enthused Andrew Gibb of the festival team, “as he is an extremely busy local vicar in the south of England  in addition to writing books and being a broadcaster.”

The main day of the festival will take place over St Bridget’s Church, Centre and Field from 10am on the following day, Saturday September 13th. As with last year’s activity packed festival, there will be much to see and do across the site for all the family. With two stages of music outside featuring music from the excellent Thom Morecroft, Creaky Bones, Jo Bywater, Kenny and the Energy and many more to be announced closer to the time. Music co-producer Sebastian Gahan said: “This year we’re welcoming back a few artists from last year and many more new to the festival as well. As ever, it has been a joy to program the music for Wirral Earth Fest and this year will see many excellent artists, both local and Merseyside based, converge on West Kirby. Don’t miss it!”

Workshops including a street art workshop, the return of the Wirral Vikings for more demonstrations of the old way of life and choice stalls from local food sellers including a BBQ, a homemade vegetarian paella, an authentic Indian ‘thali’, homemade marshmallows, real ale and more to be discovered on the day.  Also look out for the return of urban artist Love ArtUk, who will be placing some of his distinctive art around the festival, as well as designing the back drop for our music stages. “I am very happy to be part of Wirral Earth Fest for a second year. I’m looking forward to a great day!” the artist said.

For the kids, there will be craft activities, storytelling, bike powered smoothie machines, face painting, pony rides and much more to enjoy the beautiful surrounds of West Kirby.  Mike Loach of St Bridget’s Church said “We’re delighted to be hosting Wirral Earth Fest at St Bridget’s Church fields and to be able to join in with telling a story of care, justice and love in our communities."

But that’s not all! The day will be rounded off with the now traditional (if one year is long enough to establish a tradition) Ceilidh in the evening at St Bridget’s Centre with music from Reckless Elbow and Blackthorn Root to end the festival in the way it deserves. That is, with lots of energy, music and dancing! Tickets will be available on the day of the festival or via St Bridget’s Church Centre before the festival. The event starts at 7:30 pm and goes on until late.

With so much going on over a very busy weekend this year’s second Wirral Earth Fest will be something to tell your friends about in future years.