We’re incredibly delighted and excited to announce that we’re releasing the incredible ‘Verxes’ the debut album by CURXES on our Strong Island Recordings label. It’s no secret we’ve been long time fans of the guys and their frenetic, blitz-synth pop/ post-punk stylings so we’re delighted to not just have the guys on the roster but also being able to release their album. With releases recently on our label coming from as far Glasgow to Tasmania, it’s great to release an act we love who are from our hometown of Portsmouth. ‘Verxes’ by CURXES will be available from the 4th May and we have some exciting live shows to accompany the release with that will be announced at a later date so keep your eyes peeled for that. We will also have news of the lead single ‘What You Want’ a huge sounding synth-pop meets acid house banger that screams summer anthem. We can’t wait until the ‘Verxes’ drops and we’ll have more information soon but in the mean time check out ‘Valkyrie’ & ‘Spectre’ below that will be on the album. You can also preview the fantastic artwork from the album below too.
On the 7th March, Strong Island Recordings takes over The Edge of The Wedge in Southsea with three label acts being Dead Rabbits, Yoofs and newest signings Melt Dunes formerly known as ELEPHANTANTRUM plus The Boy I Used to Be DJ’s all for just £3.00. It’s our first label party of the year of what looks like is going to be the biggest year of our little label so we’d love to party with everyone celebrating a very exciting 2015 for us here at the musical arm of Strong Island. Tickets for the show can be purchased here and also in our store at 12 Highland Road. More details can also be found on the Facebook event page.
Our Strong Island Recordings label has its eight release today being from the incredible Glaswegian dreampop/shoegaze outfit Life Model. As well as being available via digital from stores such as iTunes and Amazon we have also decided to release the single alongside a limited run of t-shirts that will come with a digital download code of ‘Lilt’ plus a very exclusive b-side being ‘Enough (To Know)’. The guys have gained support from the likes of BBC Radio, NME, Fake Diy and Amazing Radio and we’re incredibly stoked to release them as we’ve been long time fans. Go check out the single below from the official video then maybe purchase the single and or a t-shirt as well? You can purchase the tees via online or in our store at 12 Highland Road which is open between 10-6pm from Thursday to Saturday.
At Strong Island Recordings we’re hosting our first show of the year on the 7th March at Edge of the Wedge where for the first time ever, all acts, including DJ’s are part of our Strong Island Recordings family so we’re very excited.
Playing the show is shoegaze, psychedelic outfit Dead Rabbits, psych-pop Bournemouth duo Yoofs who we released their debut album ‘Something’ on our label last year and brand new additions to our label, Melt Dunes now formerly known as ELEPHANTANTRUM.
Our minds were blown by the local Southampton quartet so we decided we had to have them on our label. Crossing between brooding, doom ridden psychedelia and fuzzed out garage rock, Melt Dunes are the soundtrack to your nightmares. Catch them at our label party on the 7th March where entry is a mere £3.00 and includes The Boy I Used To Be deejaying which should be fun. You can find more about the event here. All photos below are by Toby Jezard who kindly photographed our cash-free, food donation label party in December.
This took a little longer than hoped but for the first time we thought we’ld try and make a note of all the things Strong Island got up to last year. We’re not the best at letting people know what we do (too busy sharing what you lot get up to). Some of the headlines, as it were, included:
– Two large exhibitions
– Working with almost 1000 young people and adults with photography, film & animation workshops
– Two stages at two festivals
– Three releases by the record label
– Opening of Strong Island Co
So if you’ve ever wondered what a year in Strong Island is like, here is part one, covering the first six months of January through to June. Part 2 later this week!
Strong Island went straight in to a hectic first month of 2014 with a few ongoing projects running through from 2013. Our main 2013 project was Creating Balance which brought together ten Portsmouth artists/designers and teamed them up with 10 Portsmouth photographers, with all groups given an Anglepoise lamp for inspiration. The project had heavy coverage in national newspapers and had two very successful exhibitions in 2013, one in London at the London Design Festival and one in Winchester. In Late January we opened the Creating Balance exhibition at Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth, with an opening night that was the busiest yet for the gallery.
Back in November we had joined the Portsmouth Shipbuilding consortium as one of the founding members and the month saw the new website going up and the continued lobbying of trying to continue shipbuilding in the city.
Our animation project with young people from Portsmouth Autism Support Network finished with a film screening at John Pound Centre. The film was written, designed and animated by the group who also recorded all their own music and sound effects. The project was part of Artswork’s Strong Voices programme of activities and involved working with Portsmouth’s Arthur Conan Doyle Collection.
February was a busy month for Strong Island Media with many children and young people workshops in film, animation and photography in Portsmouth, Basingstoke and Gosport. We also worked with the University of Portsmouth and Sharon Court on the Far From Home project which connected university students with ex-service personnel and their families.
Our 4th Strong Island Homebrew competition saw the most brews entered in the history of the competition. The winner went on to be brewed by Irving & Co and sold in pubs and bars in Portsmouth and beyond.
February also saw the launch of Strong Island Recordings’ first album: the awesome Something by Yoofs. The band and the release were featured on many websites including Vice.
Possibly the businest month ever for Strong Island media with a solid month spent in Winchester on a Lottery Heritage Fund project with Winchester Theatre Royal and ten groups from 9 Winchester schools. Each school had two days on the project, the first day a film or animation workshop and the second spent writing & filming or animating their own film about the history of the theatre. The project involved working with almost 250 young people with 10 films produced.
The month also included filming at night with Portsmouth visual artist Jez Stevens on a film commission from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Jez created a number of projections on both the soon to be opened Babcock Galleries and The Submarine Museum. The films were used to promote the opening of both cultural attractions.
In March the Tricorn exhibition opened at Portsmouth City Museum and included two aspects that Strong Island had worked on. The first was the large community photography panel. We had in previous months asked people to submit their photography of the Tricorn and the best images were put together in to a large wall section. Strong Island also worked with nine local artists, photographers and designers in producing the Tricorn Artist Series of prints depicting the structure. These prints were displayed in the exhibition and on sale in the museum shop.
The Far From Home project exhibition was held in the brand new exhibition space in the new Eldon wing of Portsmouth University. The exhibition included photography, film, illustration and more by final year students, work inspired by the lives of local ex-service personnel and families. The exhibition saw all participants come down and enjoy the event.
With the arrival of the sun and spring a new film project began with two schools as part of the Entrenched Project, working in partnership with Hampshire County Council and two other Hampshire based production companies. Strong Island Media worked with Crofton School in Stubbington and Wildern School in Whiteley on films relating to the First World War.
Workshops also began on the My Life project, run with the award winning SPUD group. The film & photography workshops begun with a youth group in Netley View, focusing on their local community and how young people are represented.
In the run up to the end of May’s Portsmouth Street Games event at Guildhall Square three short teaser films were produced by Strong Island Media featuring My Dog Sighs, Effraim Catlow & Most Wanted, showcasing the street art, BMX and street dance aspects of the event.
The My Life project continued, this time working with a group of young carers in Romsey who created a film that tried to tackle local misconceptions on young people and their contribution to society. Their film was screened to their friends and family and local dignitaries. A third group for the My Life project was a youth group in Burley in the New Forest. The group focused on photographing their local areas looking for what made the area both good and bad to live in as a young person. The group exhibited their photography at a final exhibition to family and local councillors.
The month began with the Portsmouth Street Games weekend. Strong Island Media were the official media partners for the event and produced a film for the organisers and participants.
A series of four adult photography workshops for Chichester Harbour Conservancy began, with them running through the summer months. The workshops looked at photography in Bosham, on the beach of Hayling Island and from the Solar Heritage boat out in the harbour. Photography workshops were also given to GCSE students from the Chichester High School for Boys at Chichester Harbour Conservancy’s education centre at Dell Quay. For the third year running these workshops introduced photography skills on ‘walkshops’ around the harbour shoreline.
Strong Island worked for Anglepoise through to June producing a series of short films on four of their product collections, these films were for their new website. The films can be viewed HERE.
June also saw the release from Strong Island Recordings of the Sandscrape EP by GANG.
Hot on the heels of the December release by Strong Island Recordings of ‘Here Comes Yesterday’ by Tasmanian psych-pop 6 piece band Violet Swells (which you can listen to HERE or on Spotify and buy on iTunes) is news of the first 2015 release.
The 8th official release by Strong Island Recordings will be ‘Lilt’ by Glaswegian shoegaze/dreampop band Life Model, out to buy from the 2nd of February and can be listened to below. As a special edition of the single the label is producing a limited edition ‘Lilt’ tee with the artwork screen printed with soft inks on a premium white t-shirt. The tee comes with a download code for not only ‘Lilt’ but also exclusively the b-side track ‘Enough (To Know)’.
Before the release date the tee is available as a pre-order on the Strong Island Co online store, with all pre-orders and codes to be sent out after the release date of the single. The tee will also be available in-store from the 2nd too.
You can pre-order your tee and the single plus b-side HERE for only £15.
It’s Christmas eve but nonetheless we’re still relentless at Strong Island Recordings planning and scheduling releases ready for the new year. It’s been a great end to 2014 with the opening of the new shop and also the release of Aussie psych-pop outfit Violet Swells with ‘Here Comes Yesterday‘ which has been heavily pushed by Triple J and is also in the list for a possible Triple J Hottest 100 of the Year which you can vote for here. Our next release though comes from a little closer to home, kind of, being Glaswegian dreampop/shoegaze outfit Life Model with the single ‘Lilt’ which will be available via digital download from 2nd February 2015. It’s a gorgeous dreampop/shoegaze gem laced in whirling guitars and enchanting and ethereal vocals. We can’t wait for the release as we’ve been chatting to the guys for a long while about a release so it’s an early Christmas present for us. Anyway we hope you enjoy and thank you for the continued support of our little label. Have a great Christmas from all of us at Strong Island Recordings.
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.
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.
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.
A new reader of Strong Island recently sent us this email. Glad to hear we’re doing things right and feedback of all kinds is always welcome, as is beer. Of course.
“Hi all at Strong Island
I just wanted to email to say as a recent visitor to your site how great it is to see something that celebrates the creative, cultural and positive life of Portsmouth and Southsea (and I don’t even skate or cycle!). ‘Strong Island’ sums up the spirit of this place so well. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing the site go from strength to strength and maybe impacting on some of the decision making that goes on.”
Do you remember our post about Portsmouth, The New Malta and the advertising campaign that has been going on? The Telegraph has written a short article in response to the campaign. Check it out HERE and follow it up in the comments. Unfashionable, now come on Telegraph.
“We probably get about two weeks of sunshine at best, and you are more used to seeing people fighting than socialising in a quaint café,” said Tim Courtnell, a life-long Portsmouth resident. “The beach at Southsea is a mixture of shingle and Stella Artois cans on most days, and you wouldn’t think of swimming in the sea.”
We recently mentioned local photographer Duncan Allan’s framing skills but we also want to profile Duncan’s creative photography too. With a wealth of knowledge in different cameras and experimentation in many different techniques (both with film and with Photoshop and Lightroom), Duncan has a strong collection of images from the local area and all around the world. Here are a few of our favourites but they are just the tip of the iceberg, to see more check Duncan’s Flickr.
I just found these great illustrations from local web designer and photographer Weaver on one of my random web travels. I’m loving the Hilsea Lido and Carlton Cinema depictions. Check out Weavers Flickr for more Portsmouth illustrations and a whole bunch of local photography and more besides. They would make amazing prints i think you’ll agree.
Local illustrator, blogger, cyclist and member of the I Love Dust crew has just relaunched his website with a brand new design and loads of new content. be sure to take some time and give it a good look, plenty of visual gems in there.