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Strong Island Recordings At Southsea Fest Preview Part Ten – Blessa

Tomorrow one of the finest days in the calender for new music being Southsea Fest arrives and we are very stoked to say the least. For part ten of our Southsea Fest preview is one of my favourite new bands today. Delving between blissful, ethereal dreampop, shoegaze and post punk is our splendid headliners Blessa who shall be taking you into a state of euphoric bliss at Southsea Fest. Combining stunning whirling guitars with soothing, reverb coated enchanting vocals the sonic journey of Blessa is utterly mesmerising.

I managed to catch Blessa at a very crowded Komedia in Brighton at The Great Escape and they blew me away.Having dropped their incredibly strong four track ‘Love Is An Evol EP’ recorded by man of the moment MJ of Hookworms and also getting noticeable praise from the likes of NME and The Guardian (for very good reason I should add) you would be most foolish to miss out on what is going to be a very rare occurrence of seeing Blessa in a setting such as Bar Fifty-Six.

You most certainly should witness Blessa in the flesh at time of 22.00PM at Bar Fifty-Six at Southsea Fest. You can find the Facebook event here and also be sure to check out our stage sponsors The Park Studio.

blessa press shot

Southsea Fest Poster

Strong Island Recordings At Southsea Fest Preview Part Nine – Looks

Running an electronic music label also Looks are a band I’m very excited about seeing at Southsea Fest. Displaying the more eclectic nature to our stage,Looks deliver synth enthused, danceable indie pop. It’s like feasting on early Foals along with a sprinkle of Yeasayer, Chvrches, Friendly Fires and Late Of The Pier. Gut punching synths, huge hooks and hefty basslines, debut track ‘Everest‘ on part blog, part label Killing Moon Records is an absolute gem displaying the trio’s evident talent in 5 plus minutes. It’s also screaming and I mean SCREAMING out for a potential remix. Looks are destined for much larger venues I’m sure of. You could well be looking at the next big thing. You can catch the ever splendid Looks at 21.05m at Bar Fifty-Six.

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Strong Island Recordings At Southsea Fest Preview Part Eight – Kagoule

Part Eight of our ‘Strong Island Recordings at Southsea Fest’ preview features Kagoule who inflict listeners with a strong nod to seemingly 90′s influences from grunge ridden noise pop to scuzz like shoegaze.

Having played the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury blowing those away who witnessed the Nottingham based trio, Kagoule have a wealth of talent that is sure to see the guys reach dizzy heights. In a short space of time Kagoule have released a couple of singles on Hate Hate Hate Records the home of The Wytches, Fat White Family and fellow drunken sailor shipmate, Theo Verney as well as tour with the likes of Drenge and God Man. We can’t wait for their raw scuzzy rock to rain upon Bar Fifty-Six, they’re the perfect act for the little sweat-box.

If you want to witness the sheer brilliance of Kagoule’s joyous sonic assault yourselves then they play our stage at 20.10pm. You can find the Facebook event here and also be sure to check out our stage sponsors The Park Studio.

kagoule ssf Strong Island Recordings WEB

Strong Island Recordings At Southsea Fest Preview Part Seven – Theo Verney

Theo Verney  first came to our attention from his debut EP the T.V EP released on the marvellous Italian Beach Babes label last year. Not long after we then co- hosted what was to be Theo’s first show outside of London and Brighton last August in Southsea at The One Eyed Dog.  Strong influences of Sabbath & Ty Segall and intertwining between garage rock, doom laden psychedelia, grunge tinted pop and stoner rock, Theo Verney is a sonic assault of fuzzy sludge filled riffs coated in gruff vocals and immense hooks. Already rapidly rising to prominence as one of the finest new acts in the country with an already shimmering career with releases on the likes of Hate Hate Hate Records (The Wytches & Fat White Family) & Italian Beach Babes as well as support stints with the likes of party king Andrew W.K, Parquet Courts & Yuck, Theo Verney’s stock looks set to continue to ascend at a rapid pace so do seize the opportunity to see Theo Verney playing in intimate venues such as Bar Fifty Six whilst you still can. Theo Verney plays Southsea Fest at Bar Fifty-Six at 19.15pm so head down early or there’s a good chance you may miss out, and you really don’t want to, trust us. You can find the Facebook event here and also be sure to check out our stage sponsors The Park Studio.


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Strong Island Recordings At Southsea Fest Preview Part Six – FURS

First up over at Strong Island Recordings we’re wishing ourselves a very self indulgent happy birthday as it is two years as of today that we launched at Southsea Fest in Bar Fifty-Six. A rather fantastic birthday present is knowing that these guys are going to be playing our party come Saturday at Southsea Fest.

So part six of our continuous Southsea Fest previews is of the incredible psychedelic, day-dream like pop outfit FURS who take you into their charm ridden, sun drenched blissful sound all coated in gorgeous whirling guitars. Their latest single ‘An Eye On The Viscous’ premiered on The Line Of Best Fit on Friday which you can listen to the amazing single taken from their debut album set to drop on the 3rd November right here. The Line of Best Fit described their latest gem as “a rare mix of melancholy and brightness. Like the first chilly day in September, it is subtle, yet sudden, familiar, yet unexpected.” Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Previously released tracks such as ‘Just Kids’ and ‘Going Nowhere’ show the immense potential with infectious hooks and textured guitars pouring through whilst ‘Striptease’ is reminiscent of psychedelia and surf rock akin to the likes of Allah- Las and The Growlers that sounds like it could be straight out of seminal Californian label Burger Records. We can’t wait for FURS to touch down into Southsea and take us into their enchanting realm.

Catch FURS at Bar Fifty Six at 18.20pm. Check the Facebook event here and do check out our splendid sponsors too, The Park Studio.

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Strong Island Recordings At Southsea Fest Preview Part Five – Gang

Brighton via Canterbury trio Gang are the latest additions to the Strong Island Recordings roster with the incredible ‘Sandscrape’ EP released back in June.

The trio came to our attention after Theo Verney told us to check them out, in which we did and thus fell in love instantaneously.Gang, also much like fellow Brighton based acts; The Wytches and Theo Verney bring a tornado of scuzzed out, blistering, primal, gnarling riffs with wailing, tortured vocals and oozing fuzz where Gang intertwine between heavy grunge, doom laden psychedelia, stoner rock and destructive garage rock.

The trio are going to be perfect for the dark and dingy setting of Bar Fifty-Six where they’re going to bring down the roof of the sweat-box. Certainly one of our new favourite bands, they may well be yours too very soon. You can catch catch Gang at 17.20pm at Southsea Fest representing our label in very fine form.

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Strong Island Recordings WEB

Strong Island Recordings At Southsea Fest Preview Part Four – Eighteen Nightmares At The Lux

Now here’s a band who epitomise the darkness, chaos and fun, party ethos of ‘Drunken Sailor Presents’. London’s Eighteen Nightmares At The Lux or ENATL for short, cross between frenetic psychobilly, garage punk and surf rock. Topped with Gothic vocals, they remind us of a mixture of The Cramps, Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster, The Wytches and our own Arrows of Love.Head down to our stage to see Eighteen Nightmares At The Lux at Bar Fifty-Six at 16.25pm. You can find the Facebook event here and also be sure to check out our stage sponsors The Park Studio.

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 Strong Island Recordings WEB

Strong Island Recordings At Southsea Fest Preview Part Three – Wyldest

Creating ever gorgeous floating melodies, topped with enchanting vocals and coated in gentle, throbbing bass is the ambient, ethereal dream-pop trio Wyldest (formerly Wildest Dreams). Influences taken from the likes of My Bloody Valentine to Warpaint, it’s impossible not to fall in love and be addicted to the sounds of Wyldest.

NME put it perfectly when describing the now trio “It’s like being tickled in the ears by pixies”. Having main-staged Green Man Festival as well as taking over the blogosphere, Wyldest have quickly become one of the most sought after new acts around today. 

Wyldest are certainly one’s to put into your diary to check out. They play at 15.20pm at Bar Fifty-Six so head down for a tidal wave of total hazed out bliss. You can find the Facebook event  and also be sure to check out our stage sponsors The Park Studio.

wyldest ssf

Strong Island Recordings WEB

Strong Island Recordings At Southsea Fest Preview Part Two – Eloise Keating

Part two of Strong Island Recordings Presents ‘Drunken Sailor’ highlights the more eclectic nature of our Southsea Fest stage with the immensely talented Eloise Keating making her Southsea Fest debut. Smouldering with infectious, melting vocals, singer-songwriter-producer Eloise Keating creates gorgeous, electronic dream like pop with influences ranging from Lana Del Ray, James Blake to fellow Hampshire starlet Laurel. Having already gained support from the likes of Rob Da Bank as well as much coverage on the blogosphere, there’s no doubting Eloise’s uncapped potential evident in the spine tingly brilliant self written and produced ‘Be My Ghost’.

Having played to a very hefty crowd at Victorious Festival enchanting the crowd with her phenomenal vocal ability, with the right direction Eloise will certainly be a talent playing much larger venues in the future and shall be a name on many folks lips. You can catch Eloise at 14.25pm at our stage at Southsea Fest in Bar Fifty-Six.

You can find the Facebook event here and also be sure to check out our stage sponsors The Park Studio.

Strong Island Recordings WEB

Strong Island Recordings At Southsea Fest Preview Part One – Rickyfitts

It’s that time again where we present and preview all of the acts that are playing our Strong Island Recordings stage at Southsea Fest. Once again we return to the sweat-box that is the dingy cavern that is Bar Fifty-Six. It’s the same venue we launched our label ultimately two years ago at Southsea Fest so we can’t wait to embrace the searing heat whilst sweat pours from the ceilings and walls.

Previously our Southsea Fest stages have featured many of our label family with the likes of Arrows of Love, Dead Rabbits, Tyrannosaurus Dead, Is Bliss and Yoofs all having played previous instalments of ‘Drunken Sailor’ and this year waking everybody up at Drunken Sailor is extending label family being the archaic, brutal, thrashy duo Rickyfitts who mould psych to grunge creating a gnarly, gut busting, face melting sludge fuzz filled set. Certainly one of if not, Portsmouth’s finest live act and also one of the countries best new live acts for sure. Despite brutally pummelling their instruments to total total mush, Rickyfitts are as much brains as they are brawn with intelligent riffs and structure to their songs sometimes going near 10 minuets of total, maniacal mind boggling, smash mouth fuzz. Since their first ever show only a year ago and first label release on Treacherous Tides Vol.1  the noisy twosome have gone on to partake in a mini tour with DZ Deathrays and also release their debut EP on local label Pie & Vinyl. They play two sets at Southsea Fest but in the countless shows we’ve seen them they have yet to play the same set twice so be sure to head down early for the loudest alarm clock ever. Rickyfitts kick off our stage at 13.15pm. You can find the Facebook event here and also be sure to check out our stage sponsors The Park Studio who offer incredibly great rates.

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£800 raised at our 3rd Birthday Charity Raffle

Wow. Another Incredible success. Myself, Paul and the Strong Island Crew owe a MASSIVE thank you to all the people who donated, helped out, attended and of course bought those ever so important raffle tickets.

With your generosity we managed to raise an amazing £800 for The Portsmouth Autism Support Network and The Portsmouth Lifeboat Station.

Everyone had a great time and got fully involved in the atmosphere of the night. Free Strong Island Iced Teas were flowing, and the buffet was awesome. Pet Sounds kept the musical vibe alive and the crowd did the rest. A really good turn out of Strong Islanders made sure The Belle Isle was packed and the charity tin was full.

Well done to all the people who were lucky enough to get one of the prizes. If not more. Winners win prizes…..

Thanks to everyone who came down, all of the very generous prize donators and of course extra special thanks to Paul, Graham, Ben, James, Andy and all The Belle Isle staff for letting us hold our party and making sure no one went thirsty. Cheers guys.

Without the support from our readers, contributors and friends Strong Island would not be in the position to hold such an event, and we greatly appreciate it.

Prizes were very kindly donated from the following people: LJRs / The Belle Isle / Sopranos / Southsea Skatepark / Caravan Gallery / Michelle So Scone / Boed / Southsea Boutique / Dead Mans Glory / Lou Bush / Helen at Kings Theatre / Geoff at The Wedge / Love Southsea / Mikey Ayling / Mark Persuad / Southsea Gallery / james Porter / Parmiters, Ian & Sue / James Weaver / Alanna Smith / Matt Howarth / Bruce Jamieson / Jamie Olivers (Megatron) / Diana Goss / James Batchelor / Fran Bierton / Paul Thurlow / Bonzo Studio / Head Hairdressers / I Love Dust / Holgarama / Stuart Trett at Ye Olde Bike SHoppe. Apologies if I forgot your name.

We’re already looking forward to our 4th Birthday Party next year. Hope you can make it. All the best and thanks again.

Tristan & Paul




















Photos: Matt Saxey

Matt Saxey’s Bike Ride Photos

Head on over to Matts Flickr and check out a few more photos from last Sunday’s ride. Great photos that really help capture the event.

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Hitler’s reaction to The Registry closing down.

This is just classic. I’ve seen a few others before. I think I saw one about accidentally using Arial instead of Helvetica, funny stuff. This one however is just hilarious, if you know the Portsmouth pub scene. More so if you’ve ever ben a student.

Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’ by Sue Pike

I’ve been holding on to this for a while now as I wanted to make a feature of it and had to wait for the exhibition to finish to give it pride of place on the front page. If like myself you’re always looking around at our local architecture you will have noticed many of the buildings within the book Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’. Some could even be right on your doorstep but you have never noticed, or peeked over that high wall. Thomas Ellis Owen’s work is all over the city and you’d be forgiven for walking past as a lot of it is hidden or down those streets you may not stroll down too often. Other buildings however are right in your face. Ever noticed the huge block of flats at the entrance to Waitrose, the detailing on the building at Dover Court opposite the old Havana bar?



“Thomas Ellis Owen is probably the best known of Portsmouth’s nineteenth century architects, his construction of villas and substantial terraces in Southsea being responsible for the emergence of the district as a middle class locality. His work was recognised by Pevsner and Lloyd in their magisterial Buildings of England: Hampshire, and later by a rather more detailed architectural enquiry by two students, Preedy and Stewart. My own research was principally concerned with dating Owen’s properties and analysing their inhabitants. What Sue Pike has done is to cast the net very much wider, not only by providing great detail about Owen’s family, but also by demonstrating the impressive breadth of his activities outside architecture. Indeed, his interests were so wide that there must have been few aspects of Portsmouth’s development in the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s in which he was not involved. Infrastructural fields such as gas supply, the Portsea Canal, railways, the Camber Docks and hospitals lay within his purview, while he assisted in the purchase of land for one of Portsmouth’s defining features, the Palmerstonian forts. His tithe map has proved of inestimable value to local historians. Meanwhile Owen was an important local politician. All these facets of Owen’s life have been fully laid bare in this thoroughly well researched book by Sue Pike, who is to be congratulated on her labours.” Professor Ray Riley

Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’ is a really interesting read and contains stunning colour photos of many Owen properties in Southsea and Alverstoke by Gosport photographer, Tim Martin. There is no real target audience and hopefully it will appeal to old and young alike. The detailed captions may be helpful to first year architecture students but it showcases Southsea well and may well appeal equally to academics, photographers, interested newcomers and people who just want a really nice book to put on their coffee table. I’m a huge fan of both history and architecture so this book is a real winner for me, and I have no doubt that if that’s not really your bag you will still appreciate what Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’ has to offer.

You can purchase a hardback copy for £25 via the publishers www.tricornbooks.co.uk and www.whsmith.co.uk and read up on the book and the author Sue Pike over at www.thomasellisowen.co.uk















Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea

Awesome vintage photography collection from Pop Olive33 that I found on Flickr a while back. Check out Osborne Road and Guildhall. Epic. Hard to imagine a time when traffic flowed through Guilders, and that was only in 1968 and the shot looking west down Osborne Road is amazing. Trams, horses, grand buildings, a traffic cop, ladies & gents. It’s all going on. To view the full collection head over to Pop Olive’s Flickr photostream HERE and the Portsmouth set HERE.









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