On the July 8th, Strong Island Recordings are teaming up with Torn Speaker to bring Gang and Puppy, two of the most exciting new bands in the UK today down to Portsmouth where we takeover The Eastney Cellars for one last time that also includes splendid Portsmouth favourites, Red Seals and Protein Window, all for just £4.
Headlining the evening will be Strong Island Recordings label family, the incredible grunge pop trio, Gang. The guys recently tore down the house at our Great Escape party at Bleach with their brain melting, blistering live set that was one of the highlights of the whole Great Escape weekend. With their insanely heavy live show (as some of you may have seen last year at Southsea Fest), plus releases including ‘Sandscrape’ on Strong Island Recordings and the more recent ‘Silverback EP’ on the excellently titled ‘Sexx Tapes’, Gang should well be one of your new favourite bands come July 8th.
Main support for the night comes from one of the most exciting new bands in the UK at the moment, London’s Puppy. The power, grunge pop outfit have only been on our radar over the last few months but are already one of our favourite new bands in the UK. Coated in infectious vocals whilst power riffs blaze through, Puppy are going to be bringing the pint spilling, party anthems to the Eastney Cellars. Local support comes from a couple of Portsmouth cult favourites being post-punk, grunge outfit Red Seals as well as drone rock-doom sludge trio, Protein Window.
So that’s four incredible bands for just £4 entry. This will be our last ever show at The Cellars so come and say goodbye with us in the only way we know how, in a noise filled, sweat-pit. Doors are at 8pm and you can find out more about the show on the Facebook event here. See you on the 8th July.
On Wednesday one of Portsmouth’ newest promotions companies, Torn Speaker ran by Max Goulding of Rickyfitts and formerly Is Bliss and Holly Mullineaux of Wyldest who are blowing up the blogosphere return for their second show featuring Syd Kemp plus Strong Island Recordings‘ Melt Dunes, Death of the Author and Jimmy Stuart of Is Bliss at Edge of the Wedge. Torn Speaker was established to bring some of the finest new talent around the UK to Portsmouth and this show promises to be a great one.
Creating trippy, sun soaked, enchanting psychedelic pop in the vein of contemporary bands like Allah Las, Mystic Braves and Morgan Delt whilst creating a warm, fuzzy “lo fi” feel akin to Kurt Vile or Unknown Mortal Orchestra, headliners Syd Kemp are perfect listing for a summers night in June. Despite being a “psychedelic act” they delve into intelligent avant-garde like rock yet still without a hint of pretentiousness. Basically Syd Kemp is great and you should head down and catch him and his band.
Main support Melt Dunes are the latest signings to Strong Island Recordings and are one of the most exciting and best new bands to come out of the south-coast. Heavy acid like psych rock, Melt Dunes are basically going to melt minds. Their debut single was released on our label last week which can be purchased via digital download here. Death of the Author formed in late 2014 will no doubt bring their tinnitus inducing shoegaze-noise rock to The Edge of the Wedge. Opening the evening shall be Jimmy Stuart of Is Bliss. I haven’t seen Jimmy Stuart play since the last Is Bliss show back in late 2013 when Jimmy was crowd surfing in a little sweat-pit in Bar 56 and Is Bliss intoxicated the crowd with their captivating, visceral wall of noise. Don’t expect such a “rampage”this time but Jimmy Stuart is a talented chap none the less and with influences ranging from shoegaze legends such as MBV and Slowdive to The Brian Jonestown Massacre and early Verve expect blissed out, reverb drenched haze all wrapped in gorgeous, whirling guitars.
Doors are at 8pm and the first act will be on pretty much near the time it opens. It’s £3 in advance or £4 on the door and you can purchase tickets here or you can check the Facebook event here.
It’s been a very busy period over at Strong Island Recordings with the release of the debut album by Curxes released earlier this month and also with us co- running a stage at Great Escape last weekend. There’s many more releases in the pipeline but we’re very excited that today is the release of Southampton based Melt Dunes ‘Epicaricacy ‘a doom-psych/garage rock banger that’s out now via digital download on most digital stores. ‘Epicaricacy is a journey into the darkest netherworld of the psychedelic realm. It’s like being hunted by psychopathic clowns in a desolate circus at night, it’s eerily marvelous. If you dig 8 minutes of doom psych at it’s finest by one of the most exciting and best live bands out of the area you can purchase the single via Amazon and Juno.
As you may also know, today Strong Island Recordings and Pie & Vinyl will for the first time have a stage at Brighton’s Great Escape Festival. If you’re heading down today to check out the alternative stages be sure to drop by Bleach where you’ll be able to catch label friends and family Curxes, Gang, The Boy I Used to Be, Melt Dunes, Rickyfitts, Theo Verney plus Man Made, Morning Smoke, SASHA & Flyying Colours. Check Facebook for all the details HERE.
Tomorrow night sees the album launch party of Curxes‘Verxes’ out now via digital download on Strong Island Recordings taking place at The Cellars which is sadly soon to be shut for good. Support for the Curxes launch party comes from the incredible Wyldest and also The Boy I Used to Be. Also Champagne Justice shall be deejaying throughout the night. ‘Verxes’ and the lead single ‘What You Want’ has been picking up a lot of blog and press coverage with ‘What You Want’ also being featured in the top five tracks you need to hear over on Q Magazine. Dreampop Wyldest themselves have also been picking up a lot of press coverage for their new single ‘Danish Longball’ that was also featured as one of the tracks of the week on Amazing Radio. Third support act The Boy I Used to Be is no stranger to Strong Island Recordings having released ‘I Can’t Stand’ on our compilation late 2013 and since then The Boy I Used to Be have released two EP’s on Pie & Vinyl. Entry for the show is a mere £4 and the doors are at 8pm. The Facebook event can be found here.
This Thursday both us at Strong Island Recordings and also our friends over at Pie & Vinyl takeover Bleach in Brighton for the day for a Great Escape party and one of the biggest shows both of us have hosted so far. Anybody who has been to Southsea Fest and visited the Pie & Vinyl or Strong Island Recordings stage will know what to expect. The day is also being sponsored by the kind folk at Old Blacksmiths Studio who will be providing us backline for the day helping reduce outgoing costs for us massively. The event is free to Great Escape wristband holders and just £4 for all day without to help recoup costs. You can check out the Facebook event here.
The second in our preview features the rest of the acts playing the day:
Fuzz don Theo Verney has played a couple of Strong Island Recordings shows in the past including his first show outside of Brighton and London back in August 2013 and The One Eyed Dog. That was during the release period of the riff riot that was the Heavy Sunn EP on Hate Hate Hate Records the former home to The Wytches, Fat White Family and Kagoule. Theo Verney’s latest effort ‘Mountain Rose’ and also ‘Brain Disease’ that was premiered on Fake DIY yesterday showcases a much more refined Theo. If you leave a Theo Verney show without feeling like you’ve taken a piledriver to your neck then you were probably just at the wrong show. Catch Theo Verney at 10.55pm.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia; it’s fair to say Flyying Colours have come a bit far to play The Great Escape Festival. The psych/shoegazers create a luscious yet visceral wall of noise that crashes down upon you. Their latest EP was released on the excellent Club AC30 yesterday. If you dig MBV, Slowdive, Swervedriver etc then Flyying Colours are for you. This is their only Alternative Escape show where a Great Escape wristband isn’t needed and one of their last on their UK date so make the most of it. You can catch Flyying Colours at 10.00pm.
Mancunian outfit Man Made create scuzzed out indie meets post punk topped in brain melting, grunge tinted basslines. The guys are set to dominate the festival season this year and recently had their latest 7″ single fly out off of shelves upon Record Store Day. You can catch the guys at 9.05pm at Bleach.
Strong Island Recordings label family Gang are quite simply put one of the most exciting new bands in the UK. Brighton at the moment is churning out some incredible new bands from Demob Happy, The Magic Gang, The Wytches, Black Honey to Theo Verney above and Gang are the latest grunge ridden psych band from Brighton to be unleashed. The doom pop trio have released a couple of EP’s over the last year with Sandscrape on Strong Island Recordings and also ‘Silverback’ on Sexx Tapes. You can catch Gang at 8.10pm.
Brighton’s Morning Smoke are one of our favourite new bands. Combining intense shoegaze and aspects of post punk, the quartet leave the audience pulverised from their immense wall of sound during live shows. Thier recordings capture their live shows charm which leaves you wrapped around in a coil of noise whilst gorgeous textures whirl by. In a way they remind us a lot of our own Is Bliss (RIP?) which is a great thing indeed. You can check out ‘Unknown’ that was premiered just yesterday and you can catch the guys at 7.20pm at Bleach.
On the 14th May Strong Island Recordings and Pie & Vinyl team up for a showcase at one of Brighton’s best up and coming venues Bleach. The show is free entry with a main Great Escape wristband and just £4 without so even if you’re not down Brighton for the festival you can still come along. First up in our Great Escape previews we’re going to showcase the locals heading over to the festival. You can find out more details on the Facebook event here.
Rickyfitts are probably Portsmouth’s finest and explosive live band. Tinnitus inducing thrash meets grunge meets hardcore punk, the destructive duo inflict listeners with a tidal wave of sludge. With releases on both Strong Island Recordings and Pie & Vinyl, it would have been madness had we not had Rickyfitts play. They play Bleach at 4.00pm.
Newest signings to Strong Island Recordings; Melt Dunes are the soundtrack to your nightmares. Doom laden psychedelia meets garage rock, Melt Dunes are one of the most exciting new bands from the south-coast and one of the best live acts too. Look out for their debut single on Strong Island Recordings very soon. Catch Melt Dunes kick off the day at 3.10pm.
Having just released ‘Verxes’ on Strong Island Recordings, Curxes are Portsmouth’s finest alt-pop meets electronic act. Gaining praise from NME to Q Magazine and also being invited to remixes CHRVCHES ‘Recover’ the now trio will be bringing their frenetic blitz pop to The Great Escape playing at 5.40pm.
Sun soaked garage pop meets folk and psychedelia, The Boy I Used to Be signed to Pie & Vinyl are a joyous, sonic experience. Another act having releases on both Strong Island Recordings and Pie & Vinyl, The Boy I Used to Be were always going to be playing our Great Escape stage. Catch the trio at 6.30pm.
Creating eccentric eighties synth pop, one man Gosport native Sacha is the newest addition to the Pie & Vinyl roster. It’s luscious left field pop that is the soundtrack to a summers night. Sacha plays Bleach at 4.50pm.
As well as the city being finely represented at our stage with Pie & Vinyl there are a couple of other splendid acts from the city playing across the weekend.
It takes a rather large national touring act to sell out the Wedgewood Rooms but Kassassin Street seem to have no difficulty in doing such thing. Arguably Portsmouth’s favourite sons and best known act since Shadow Child and Kry Wolf; Kassassin Street cross between indie, new wave and electronic fused psychedelia. The guys play Sticky Mike’s at 12 noon on the Friday and a Great Escape wristband isn’t needed.
I first caught Jerry Williams at The Wedgewood Rooms a couple of years back when Is Bliss won the road to Blissfields. Although Jerry may not have won, the talent was evident enough and Jerry Williams still deservedly got a slot at Blissfields that weekend anyway. Intertwining from folk to jangly pop all coated in sweet vocals and lyrics of teenage love, it’s hard to not be taken to Jerry Williams’s charm ridden songs. Jerry Williams plays a fair few shows across the festival where many of the slot times haven’t been announced. If you have a wristband though you can check Jerry Williams on the 15th Mat at the Speigelpub at 6.30pm.
Today Curxes ‘Verxes’ the debut album by the now trio was released via digital download on our Strong Island Recordings label. The album has been a long time coming for the amazing alt-pop outfit who are set for a few festival appearances across the summer with The Great Escape Festival, Blissfields and Victorious Festival all confirmed as well as a launch party on the 13th May with Wyldest at The Cellars in Eastney. You can purchase the album from the likes of iTunes and Amazon and also stream it from services such as Spotify. Thank you everyone for the continued support of our little Southsea based label.
The single is an absolute alt-pop meets acid-house inspired summer banger that needs to be played out loud for sure. Curxes this week were also announced for Victorious Festival and the now trio also are set to play The Eastney Cellars on the 13th May with Wyldest for the ”Verxes’ album launch we’re throwing and are also set to play The Great Escape Festival weekend where they play Bleach on the 14th May at our Great Escape stage and Friday 15th May at The Lick Warehouse. Curxes are also set to play Blissfields and various other shows to be announced very soon.
We’re incredibly proud to be working with Curxes especially as they’re a band from our hometown. Hopefully we’ll see you at one of their upcoming shows we’re hosting.
On the 13th May, Strong Island Recordings will be throwing a Curxes ‘Verxes’ album launch party at The Eastney Cellars with support coming from the wonderful Wyldest as well as special guests to be announced plus Champagne Justice DJs . The debut album ‘Verxes’ from Curxes released on our Strong Island Recordings label will be available digitally on the 4th May and we’ll be selling an exclusive, limited run of physical copies on the night. The album party is also the night before we head off and host our first ever Brighton show taking place at The Great Escape so it will be a big couple of days for the label. Entry for the event is a mere £4 or we shall be doing a limited ticket bundle that comes with a digital download code of the album. More details can be found on the Facebook event here but it would be great to see some faces for one of our biggest shows yet.
The photography exhibit The Birth of British Rock at the Museum is now in it’s last week so be sure to make it down before it finishes on June 6th. Looking through the Pompey Pop Pix Flickr, which contains loads of local photos, tickets and posters, I came across this poster for what must have been on of the best line-ups the Guildhall has ever had.
If you love a bit of not often seen Portsmouth history, Eastney Beam Engine House is open to the public for free from 1pm to 5pm on every last weekend of the month. Hidden just off of Henderson Road in Eastney, the Victorian building contains two restored and working 150 horsepower ‘James Watt & Co’ Beam Engines powered by steam which were installed to operate water pumps in 1887. This new system proved very successful and is still the basis for today’s underground drainage system on Portsea Island.
Sadly due to essential building work you won’t be able to go inside the buildings this weekend, but there will be talks with staff and photos and artefacts.
Old University friend Tom Hall sent me over a link to his extremely talented and prolific girlfriend Caleigh Illerbrun’s online portfolio www.caleigh-ill.com. With illustration, painting and 3 dimensional work firmly tucked under her belt Caleigh has an impressive amount of work on her site, some of which is up for grabs. Currently selling coasters over in her SHOP, Caleigh needs a little help identifying the favourites as she has an advert coming out soon in a magazine.
I’m loving the ‘Wood Tree’ coaster set below, and very much so the ‘Bearlamb’ acrylic & pen at the bottom. You can also follow Caleigh on Facebook and also her blog.
“Since Strong Island began back in 2008 we have amassed an incredible amount of historical information about Portsmouth & Southsea’s past. These articles are not only from our own interest and passion about the city, but also from readers that have sent us some amazing facts. So much has changed in such a relatively short amount of time and the fast pace of life around us can make it easy to forget the importance of this cities history.
‘Retrospective‘ takes a look back at some of our previous posts incase you missed them in the past or you’re one of our new readers. One day myself and Paul hope to create a stand alone archive here utilising all the books and photos we have collected that haven’t made it on to Strong Island as of yet. With permission of course! So much to do and so little time. Enjoy.”
This is one seriously awesome vintage photography collection from Pop Olive33 that I found on Flickr a while back (sadly no longer active). Check out Osborne Road and Guildhall. Just incredible. It’s hard to imagine a time when traffic flowed through Guildhall, 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…
Portsmouth’s Pounds scrapyard has been the final stop for the lives of many military vehicles over the years but most noticeable it has been the location for a submarine graveyard. So iconic was the sight of the submarines as you entered Portsmouth that they became the inspiration for the architect when designing the new swimming pool at the Mountbatten Centre.
Robin Hinson has a large collection of photos of the scrapped submarines here, with a few shown below.
Local photographer Steve Bomford recently sent over a series of scans from the 1926 Official Publication of the Southsea Beach & Publicity Committee Portsmouth Corporation book ‘Southsea & Portsmouth’.
‘It is of little use to invite intending holiday makers to a town, unless there are attractions to offer, under all conditions of our notorious fickle ‘English’ climate. We do not make the statement that the sun shines every day at Southsea, but records show that we do get the maximum amount of sunny hours. Last year again, 1,923 hours were recorded, the highest number (with one exception) in the United Kingdom. Admitting that the question of sunshine is an important one, it is contended that a holiday resort must have other attractions, such as charming amenities, efficient public services, splendid variety of amusements, good facilities for all outdoor sports, and a good selection of cheap excursions and places of historical interest, to make a general appeal to those who are seeking a health-giving and enjoyable holiday.”
I love all the old hand drawn adverts and especially like the ‘medically recommended’ page. Where the sun lingers longer. Couldn’t be closer to the truth still to this day. It’s a shame the ‘most artistic cafe in Southsea’ is no longer in operation and the amount of people gathered on South Parade beach is incredible. Be sure to check out the full set with over 80 pages of photos, adverts and chapters all about Portsmouth & Southsea over at Steve’s Flickr HERE. A really interesting read if you like your history. And we know you do.
Local Light Artist & Photographer Marc B.B sent over these incredible light images taken around Portsmouth. Specialising in Night Photography, Light Painting, Long Exposures and so on Marcs pictures are created at a time when most people would be packing away their cameras and heading home. Portsmouth has a strong creative vibe, especially in the photography realm and being part of a group called ‘Portsmouth At Night’, Marc regularly meets up with like minded folk to go on weekly excursions in and around the city to photograph it, in the dark.
“Whilst some may find it a little bizarre, i think the images speak for themselves. Turning everyday objects, landmarks, even benches into works of art of their own is both exciting and a challenge. Some of my best work has been in collaberation with others and being able to pool resources and ideas has always been invaluable to me. I am always striving to find parts of the city that can be shown in a ‘good light’ as Portsmouth is such a great place to live.”
Be sure to check out Marcs website www.marcbb.co.uk for amazing photos, and if this style night photography interests you head over to Portsmouth at Night at www.portsmouthatnight.com. They meet up as a group every week somewhere in Portsmouth and simply take advantage of the night. Everyone is welcome to join, at all levels of competency. Night, night.
Portsmouth’s Carl Partridge is a local artist and photographer currently studying MA Communication Design up in that there London at Central St Martins. As well as all the awesome artwork on his website we particularly liked his Lomo Diana photos from round Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Be sure to look through the good work over at www.carlpartridge.co.uk.
Continuing from the HMS Vanguard photos from earlier this week, this one shot from above shows the scale of the ship and her guns, which are as big as the pubs! The second photo is of HMS Victorious passing out in the 50s, with the old power station in the background. Hard to believe such a huge, dominating landmark like that is now just a memory.
Click on the images to see larger versions. Photos are taken from the wonderful Portsmouth From The Air book by Anthony Triggs.