Musical Treats for 2015 – Island-wise

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Ah, the dark miserablism of January with the whole of the country seemingly holed up eating Christmas leftovers, counting their debts. Well this is also the time we can look back over the previous year’s offering and start to get excited about the next twelve months. Music always seems to be portioned up into years as if each is distinct in sound from the next. The reality is different of course but I get wrapped up into this game as much as the next person…I’m going to look first at the offerings from Island musicians and after a great 2014 for releases 2015 looks to have just as much to offer whilst the on-going saga of venues and live music opportunities continues to scene.

It does seem that 2015 is going to be a bit of a repeat of 2014 with a new album from Champs, Paul Armfield and an EP from Plastic Mermaids very much on the horizon. Champs are up first with their second long-player called Vamala released on 23rd February proceeded by new single Desire, which long-term Champs fans who followed previous band The Shutes will recognise as an old Shutes song given a very different treatment.

Paul Armfield will be following up his critically aclaimed album Up Here with a new and intriguing sounding project called Found based on a series of photographs found at Berlin flea markets. There’s already a little teaser up on Youtube and Paul Played us an acoustic version of the song whilst in session on The Headfunk Show just before Christmas – you can find this via our Mixcloud page.

Plastic Mermaids topped our annual Top 40 countdown and continue to excite anyone who sees or hears them. They have a follow-up to 2014′s Dromtorp EP coming out on Crosskey Records and it’s called Inhale The Universe and you can pre-order right now. The first track to creep out is called Saturn and is an epic beast that has morphed from an incredible live song with operatic overtones into a driving, percussion-rich beast.

Away from releases we’re looking forward to checking out the newly-opened Ventnor Exchange building with it’s bar/cafe/record shop set-up. Now the permenant headquarters for the Ventnor Fringe organisers there promises to be live prerfomance across the arts and it’s existence surely lead to a more expansive Fringe in August. Also in Ventnor, the Winter Gardens seem to be experiancing a rennaisance with the Slam crew bringing another exclectic line-up to the venue in February and UB40 playing live in April. Elsewhere across the Island, the live scene seems in a rut with sound complaints causing ongoing problems for The Wight Rock and Blacksheep in Ryde whilst Newport is basically dead to original bands. As with so many things, while others are suffering there are those thriving with the Rock The Cowes Bars nights having a very positive effect on a live scene that tended to be devoid of much interest.

Two main areas I’ve got my fingers crossed that will have a better year in 2015 are new, original bands having the opportunity to play live and occasions for late-night dancing to quality music. But maybe there’s as much chance of that happening as UKIP losing their deposit on the Island. To end on a positive note, our festival scene continues to develop with all of last year’s big guns seemingly back in action including our favourite Rhythmtree. No dates as yet from them but hopefully news will be out in that front soon. Other acts I’ve got my eye on in particular are The Orders, BullyBones (of course), Floella Grace (her debut solo release coming soon), Karma (new label for him coming soon), Roll Tape (new album on the horizon) and Elmer Reed. I’m sure there are loads more I’ve missed so hit me up with your suggestions via Twitter or our Facebook page. Keep it local!

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