Strong Island Co.

Music & Bands

The Southsea Alternative Choir – Christmas 2014

This weekend see’s the return of The Southsea Alternative Choir. If you are not already aware, the choir are a group of friends who all share a love of music and get to together to sing some classic songs that we all love. This is all with a view to raise money for SamuelsFund, supporting a local child with Cerebral Palsy.

The choir will be in the RMA Tavern this Friday evening, however it has now sold out. Details of the other events can be found on the poster below or for more information visit the choir’s Facebook page.

SATC Xmas 2014

Southsea Alternative Choir recently filmed a version of Lou Reed’s classic ‘Perfect Day’ while backstage at the Portsmouth Beer Festival a few weeks ago.

Ickle Bambino Baby Raves

Ickle Bambino Baby Raves is a new original experience for families.

The event is held at the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth and features a tearoom for adults to enjoy a drink. They even provide sugar free squash at no charge for the little ones. There are home made cakes and snack bags for children to enjoy which are for sale from the square tower tea rooms. The events target audience are parents and the under 7’s however older children are welcomed.

You can expect to hear Hip-Hop, Indie and Electro tunes, all provided by local DJs.

Parties feature a host of activities including;
– Colouring competitions
– Loom band making
– Puzzles
– Toy areas with a small soft ball pit
– Face painters
– A photo booth

The event costs £4.00 for adults, £3.00 for under 7’s and those under 1 year old are free.

The next event is 28th December 2015 – families can get the little ones out of the house in-between Christmas and new year. You can find out more information about this event on Facebook.






Photo’s by James White Photography.

Luke Ferre ‘Bloodshot’

Local singer songwriter Luke Ferre has recently spent some time with the folks at Clockwork Owl Sessions. He tool part in their most recent session, he performed ‘Bloodshot’ which was taken from his EP of the same name.

If you you like what you hear then you can find more from Luke on Facebook, Twitter @lukeferre, YouTube and iTunes.

Strong Island Recordings All Dayer Preview Part Four – Death of The Author, Verletzt, The Park Studio

So our Strong Island Recordings all day cash free Christmas party takes place tomorrow at The Eastney Cellars.  Entry is a donation of non perishable food that will go to local food banks. The party kicks off from 13.00pm with the ever great Champagne Justice playing music throughout the day.  You can find the Facebook event here for set times. Make sure you head down early and do rummage through your cupboards, the more items, the more help we can all give. In the mean time check out the remaining acts playing our bill plus our sponsors The Park Studio.

A tornado of whirling guitars, new outfit Death Of The Author are one of Hampshire’s latest exports delving into the world of shoegaze. The trio are an immense sonic assault upon your senses and very recently blew the roof of Bar 56 at our Southsea Fest stage. Viscerally exciting, they remind us of the intensity of label family Is Bliss, which is a great thing indeed.

Comprising of members of Battery Hens, Protein Window and Neil co head honcho of Champagne Justice, Verletzt are one of the newest DIY noise rock outfits in Portsmouth. They’re scuzzy noise rock, stoner- doom, drone outfit taking you into a new realm of weirdness. Sabbath esque riffs coated with eerie vocals, Verletzt give a heavy nod to their leftfield influences in a charmingly scrappy way.

Not a band but very much integral to the event and also aspects of our label overall is The Park Studio. The studio shall be kindly supplying us backline for the show which in turn helps us keep the show free. Ran by Max of Rickyfitts and formerly Is Bliss, the studio based in Denmead is the recording and practice space of label family and friends including Rickyfitts, Is Bliss, The Boy I Used to Be, Wyldest, Battery Hens, The Planes, Verletzt and many more offering incredibly cheap rates including 3 hours of rehearsal time for £20. If you’re a band or solo artists, do check them out.



xmas party

Basement Jaxx Announced for Victorious Festival 2015

Awesome news this morning that the guys at Victorious Festival have announced the first of next year’s line up…with Basement Jaxx all set to crush it on the Sunday. More news on the line ups soon for the event that’ll be even bigger and better next year over the weekend of the 29th and 30th of August.

£18 a day early bird tickets are available at and in The Belle Isle Southsea.

Basement Jaxx Announced for Victorious Festival 2015

Cannot wait to hear this out over Southsea Common…

Strong Island Recordings All Dayer Preview Part Three- The Boy I Used To Be, Nevermind Me, Bittertown Mary’s

Okay so we’re up to part three of four of the previews for our Strong Island Recordings cash free, charity party at The Cellars in Eastney  on the 13th December where entry is a donation of non-perishable food that will go to local food banks. The event will feature 11 bands throughout the day and kicks off from 13.00pm with Champagne Justice DJ’s throughout the day and evening. You can find the Facebook event here.

We’re delighted to bring back extended label family The Boy I Used to Be, We’re fortunate and privileged to say we’re the first label to release the delightful duo back last year on our compilation and now they’re singed to our splendid pals, Pie & Vinyl. The duo are the ultimate Christmas band, if you live in Australia. Sun drenched, garage pop akin to the likes of Splashh, The Growlers and Unknown Mortal Orchestra; whilst also giving a nod to psych- folk influences such as Kurt Vile, every The Boy I Used To Be track is joyous and makes you want to high five the sun whilst sipping cocktails on the beach.

Playing their first ever show despite a couple of cassette releases, we’re honoured to have London’s Nevermind Me down playing our all day party. Dreamy, melancholic vocals topped with beautifully textured guitars, Nevermind Me create a colourful explosion of noise crossing between shoegaze, alt rock and parts of psychedelia. They’re an exhilarating journey of gorgeous noise.

Playing late afternoon is noisy, local favourites Bittertown Mary’s playing their first ever Strong Island Recordings show. Intertwining between the stylings of early doom metal as well grunge and stoner rock and seemingly taking strong influences from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Sabbath and Nirvana, Bittertown Mary’s inflict sonic pounding, primal riffs all wrapped in sandpapered, gruff vocals and distorted, obnoxious fuzz. It’s a splendid, sonic slap to the face.

Road To Blissfields 2015

Last week the team behind Blissfields launched the 2015 event. Road To Blissfields will again give emerging artists and bands the opportunity to compete for a chance to play at Blissfields. The competition attracts the highest standard of local acts including Laurel, Bear Cavalry and Popobawa.

The Road To Blissfields will be slightly different this year, it will feature just three heats in Hampshire, the Midlands and London. Portsmouth will be hosting the Hampshire stage of the competition on Thursday 9th April at the Kings Theatre. This event will be held in a secret room in the rafters of the theatre.

The applications for artist or bands to compete are now open, the deadline is 28th February. You can apply by clicking HERE. Finalists will be contacted within two weeks of the application closing. Judges on the night will consist of the festival’s organisers and local music representatives including myself.

Blissfields 2015 Logo

Blissfields itself will be held on 2nd to 4th July at Vicarage Farm just outside of Winchester. The theme for this years event is ‘Somewhere In Time’. As Blissfields approaches it’s fifteenth anniversary, the weekend will give you a chance to look back over the festivals history and more, and to gaze into the curious future of the universe, permitting your imagination to run free. Tier 1 Tickets for the main event are on sale now priced at £95.45 for an adult and £72.45 for a youth (10-16) from

Here is a little reminder of Blissfields 2014 back in July.

Pie & Vinyl Presents ‘The Retrospective Soundtrack Players’ LP Launch at The Square Tower

With Christmas gig season well underway, this Sunday 7th December sees Pie & Vinyl Records take over the Square Tower for an evening of festive musical cheer ideal for those struggling to get into the seasonal spirit. Firm local favourites The Retrospective Soundtrack Players will be launching their new LP ‘It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol’ on limited edition red vinyl with a performance of the album in its entirety. Support will provided by folky familiar faces The Day Of The Rabblement while El Morgan opens the show with her signature folk-punk sounds, all set in one of the city’s most spectacular venues.

The Pie & Vinyl team will of course be on hand offering a selection of Christmas-themed pies alongside the expected band merchandise. Fancy dress in the form of Christmas past, present and future is non-essential but is highly encouraged.

Tickets for the gig are priced at £7 and are available in store at Pie & Vinyl or online.

Strong Island Recordings All Dayer Preview Part Two – Curxes, Fever, Elephantantrum

As you may have seen earlier in the week, we’re previewing all the acts playing our Strong Island Recordings all day party at The Cellars 13th December where entry is a donation of non-perishable food that will go to local food banks. So it’s next to nothing entry and you get to see a handful of some of the most exciting acts across the south who are blowing up the blogosphere.  The event is also in association with The Park Studio who shall be supplying us with backline which saves us money and thus we can keep the event effectively free so do check them out.  We’re now onto the second part of our previews so do check out the acts below as they’re incredible to say the least.

Frenetic blitz-pop purveyors Curxes are a sumptuous assault to the senses. A thunderously exciting combination of a harpy’s call, electronic acrobatics, pounding bass and thumping drum rhythms, with gothic tones underpinning the bombastic layers riding on top, Curxes are as infectiously catchy as they are ferociously intelligent.

Next up is Southampton’s Fever. Fuzzy, doom like surf combined with jangly indie- rock and grunge all laced in memorable hooks; Fever are like a cross between Arctic Monkeys, The Horrors and The Wytches. Produced by Chris Pedan of Wild Smiles and with support from NME to KEXP, Fever are one of the most promising new bands from the south.

Brand new quintet, Elephantantrum are a journey into the darkest netherworld of the psychedelic realm. Brooding guitars and synths, distorted fuzz, tortured wailing vocals, all reminding you of a cross between Tame Impala and The Wytches, Elephanantrum are the soundtrack to your nightmares. Parts of of their tracks are like wandering alone in a circus at night with the impending doom of being hunted by psychopathic clowns, it’s eerily marvellous. Easily one of the most exciting and unique bands to come out of the south coast. Head down early evening to catch a rare glimpse of the band playing in Portsmouth. They certainly fit the ethos of a Strong Island Recordings party for sure.

Our cash free, charity Christmas all day party opens its doors at 13.oopm with Champagne Justice deejays playing throughout the entirety of day and night between acts. You can find the Facebook event here.

xmas party

The Shivas of Burger Records & The Red Cords At The Edge of the Wedge 11th December

Champagne Justice have pulled together a very great last minute show at The Edge of the Wedge called Blownzone on Thursday 11th December featuring a couple of the finest garage rock acts from both America and the U.K. Portland’s The Shivas of the legendary Californian label Burger Records (Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Dave Grohl and many more) are playing Portsmouth in only one of three U.K shows during their European tour as well as one time Strong Island Recordings act and now full time PNKSLM shredders, The Red Cords who are very incredible to say the least. It’s a rather massive coincidence both acts were free for the same date and it’s certainly one of the strongest line-ups  musically in Portsmouth for a while no doubt. Entry to the event is a mere £5.00 and doors open at 20.00pm. If you’re a fan of psych rock/garage rock akin to the likes of Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Coachwhips, Bass Drum of Death, Black Lips etc then head down for a rare glimpse of some of the finest, gnarly garage rock acts around. The Facebook event can be found here.


Red cords shivas

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Created Local – Mikey Ayling

Good friend of Strong Island and many Southsea locals, Mikey is quite the talent. He’s always been into art, design, photography, fashion, skateboarding, music and well, let’s just say all the cool stuff. He recently began his second year in Graphic Design (Communication Design) at Portsmouth University and he’s killing it.

Matt Sills from the Wallspace Gallery has helped Mikey produce 3 prints, on sale now, of which the ants ‘Tower Block’ is a limited run of 100 Giclee print and the others, ‘Do You Dream’ and ‘Love Life’ are open edition screen prints.

Get down Albert Road and grab yourself one of Mikeys prints. Seriously, these are like hotcakes I’m sure of it. Oh, and pop past The Little Johnny Russells Market on your way and grab some bargains.




Super Sunny Southsea

What amazing weather we’ve been having as of late. I even rode the full 8 miles home in the sun on Friday. We all had a great weekend spent on the common, riding our bikes, skateboarding and generally eating and drinking the days away.






Portsmouth City Museum

As with so many things that are right on your doorstep, you always say yeah I’ll go do that soon, but never do. Me and Liz had the day off together and rode around a few places before popping to the Museum after saying we’d go for years now.

If you like your local history then I advise going down. Check the Portsmouth City Museum website for more information. Click read more at the bottom for a few more snaps.


Seafront Lights: Adam Wintle

Southsea web designer and photographer Adam Wintle has recently been taking some really nice photos of the Southsea promenade lights and of the pier at night. Be sure to look through his Flickr for loads more great photos.




Old Portsmouth

I found this photo of Old Portsmouth shot form The Spinnaker last night. I don’t think I’ve seen it shot from this angle before. It almost looks like another town at first glance. Some great details. Cricket in full swing, all the catchers traps on the roof of the fish market, enjoying a beer at The A Bar, Lawn Bowls, all on a cracking sunny day. Click on the image for full size.

Photo – eNil

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