Tag Archives: The Buccaneers

Review: Various Artists – 12 Traditional Christmas Songs (In Aid Of Radio York’s Good Night’s Sleep Appeal)

Various Artists - 12 Traditional Christmas Songs

Various Artists – 12 Traditional Christmas Songs

I don’t know about you, but I’m still not feeling particularly festive – so I thought I’d give this BBC Radio York curated compilation a spin and see if it helped to change my mood. As the title suggests, 12 Traditional Christmas Songs is exactly that – but the twist is that each of these songs have been re-imagined by one of 12 local artists hand-picked from the many acts featured on BBC Introducing In York & North Yorkshire.

Naturally, each artist has a different take on these traditional carols – Union Jill play things straight by delivering a faithful version of ‘Coventry Carol’, while Bull exemplify their slacker-rock approach to ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ by only singing two lines from the original song. Elsewhere, Pip Mountjoy has her sights set on next year’s John Lewis advert with her rendition of ‘The Holly And The Ivy’, while BluesBeaten Redshaw offers an appropriately jaunty take on ‘I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In’. Other tracks distinctly suggest the influence of a particular artist: Littlemores channel early Arctic Monkeys on their version of ‘Ding Dong Merrily On High’, Adam Chodan imagines how Noel Gallagher might sing along to ‘Away In A Manger’, King No-One‘s cover of ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ echoes Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’, and The Buccaneers take on ‘Jingle Bells’ in the style of ‘Birthday’ by The Beatles.

The best moments on the album are when the artists really make their own mark on their chosen song. Bear Station offer up a beautifully arranged version of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’, while Gavin Loughlin enlists the aid of two female vocalists to deliver a harmonious, minimal take on ‘Hark The Herald Angels Sing’. Special mention must also go to Nathan Luke, whose stunning delivery makes his version of ‘Silent Night’ a real highlight – you can just imagine him bringing an entire congregation to a standstill with it. It’s The Blueprints who best succeed in putting their own stamp on their chosen song though, rendering ‘While Shepherd’s Watch’ in their signature propulsive indie-rock style – and also throwing in a little trademark humour by featuring some alternative lyrics you may remember from your school days and a cheeky nod to BBC Radio York DJ Jericho Keys.

As if all this festivity wasn’t enough on its own, all proceeds from sales of the album are going towards the BBC Radio York and St. Martin’s Hospice “Good Night’s Sleep” appeal, which you can find out more about here. You can get a copy of the album on CD from the St. Martin’s Hospice website, or download it on iTunes – and do so knowing that it won’t just be your face that it’ll help to put a smile on.

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Local Artist Of The Whenever #15: The Buccaneers

The Buccaneers

Having been amongst York’s finest proponents of bluesy garage-rock since 2006, The Buccaneers celebrated a pair of firsts last weekend with a packed out show at York’s City Screen Basement (I would have loved to have been there, but alas, duty called). The trio is made up of Andre de Gaye (guitar/vocals), Johnny Gatenby (Drums/Vocals) and Leo Wild (Bass), and the night saw the premiere of their first ever music video, for their new single ‘Don’t Breakdown’ – the clip was directed by Matt Lee, and you can watch it below.

The track’s laid back swing rhythms and lashings of Hammond organ give it an instant 70s feel, while B-side ‘Shake It Or Leave It’ packs a Rolling Stones-esque vibe, with fuzzed up guitars and a vocal reminiscent of Kings Of Leon (before they went a bit shit). And in keeping with the retro feel, you can get the two-track single as a 7″, another first for the band – so if you prefer your tracks on vinyl, head over to The Buccaneers’ bandcamp page and pick up a copy.

The Buccaneers have been a consistently impressive presence on York’s music scene over the past few years, steadily building up support along the way. With the year having only just begun, we can surely expect more to come from the band in 2012 – keep your ears open and your eyes peeled.

Find The Buccaneers on Facebook here.

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This Scene Is Dead. Is This Scene Dead? – A Brief Evaluation Of York’s Music Scene

It’s fair to say that, over the past year, I’ve been far more exposed to York‘s music scene than I ever have before – a somewhat ironic fact, perhaps, but true nonetheless. Working at The Duchess for over a year has meant I’ve seen more local bands than I could ever have actually wanted to – and inevitably that includes more than a fair share of dross. When listening to the umpteenth terrible band and wishing they’d just finish already, it’s tempting to write off the scene as a whole – but are there glimmers of hope to be had? I’ll get to that in a minute, but first I’ll pick through some of that detritus.

It’s difficult to pick one band that sums up the bad aspects of York’s music scene – mainly because the shit bands are all awful for different reasons. Sometimes it’s just because they’re lazy copyists – take Skylights, who ply their trade doing an utterly IQ-deficient impression of The Stone Roses, or The Lookout, who desperately want to be The Beatles but end-up producing sub-sub-sub-Oasis bollocks. Sometimes, it’s the sound of band members attempting to live up to past glories and failing miserably. Take Chris Helme, who once worked with John Squire as part of vaguely popular 90s Britpop types The Seahorses – he played his last gig with his post-Seahorses project The Yards last Saturday, and it was hard work getting through an hour and a half of largely samey-MOR rock. Ex-Colour Of Fire drummer Matt Lunn suffered a similar fate after the band’s split – he now plays drums for electro-indie outfit The Officers, who aren’t even a fraction as exciting as Colour Of Fire were.

There’s also the parts of the scene that I have no real affinity with and thus hate by default no matter how lauded they are in their respective musical circles. Take local prog-rock types Mostly Autumn and spin-off project Breathing Space – a pair of bands that make me a little bit depressed just thinking about them, to say nothing of how I feel after having been forced to listen to them for what inevitably seems like an eternity. Similarly, it seems that for every decent metal band in York there are about ten utterly abominable ones. And then there are the bands who are just genuinely, irredeemably shit. I won’t even bother mentioning most of their names, but I will stop to pick on one band in particular – Astrae, who at this moment are the most terrible local band I can think of, defined as they are by the histrionic emo whining of a man who looks like Chris Crocker. Awful.

But that’s enough negativity already – the question is: “Is there any hope for York’s local scene?” On balance, my answer would be a tentative “Yes”.

First and foremost, we have The Federals – easily the most exciting thing in York right now, their support slot with The Yards last Saturday showed up the headliners for the plodding dullards that they really are. Taut, snarling bursts of no-nonsense garage rock combined with the sheer loudness of their sound makes them a thrilling prospect. They’ve even picked up a little bit of national recognition, from a somewhat incongruous support slot on The Veronicas’ tour to Fearne Cotton being papped wearing one of the band’s t-shirts. While I wouldn’t go as far to make some daft statement like predicting ‘Big Things™’ for them in 2010, I will say that if there’s one band that has a chance to really break out of the local scene, it’s them.

Speaking of which, the last York-based band to really enter the public consciousness was Hijak Oscar – largely thanks to their involvement in Channel 4’s MobileAct Unsigned and their subsequent decision to walk off the show. Well, they’re still around, and while their music isn’t not the kind of thing I’d want to hear an extended set of, they’re entertaining in small doses and certainly very good at what they do – as they proved quite aptly during their short set at Duchesstival last Sunday.

Also present at Duchesstival were a couple of bands who haven’t played for a while, but who both reminded me just how good they are. First, The Buccaneers, who sound like the garage rock band that Kings Of Leon should have been all along – arrestingly melodic howl of a vocal and all. Secondly, The Blueprints, who’ve been somewhat AWOL for a while but have returned complete with new keyboardist to brighten up our dull little lives with their sparklingly perfect indie-pop gems. Other good bands off the top of my head: Glass, who do a good line in dark, theatrical, slightly Interpol-esque rock, and Lost From Atlas, who sound a bit like Battles – and that’s always a good thing in my book. It’s also worth briefly mentioning the proliferation of singer-songwriters and acoustic artists in York – although it does make it difficult for any one person to particularly stand out, there are certainly some talented individuals out there.

So, while it’s struggled to produce acts that have really broken out of the city in the same way that, for example, Leeds has, there are still some good things to be found in York’s music scene. It’s just that you have to sift through a hell of a lot of chaff to find them.

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