Monday 8 August 2011


North London avant garagistes Monkey Island return to the fray this month with the first of their summer festival appearances.  On Saturday 20 August they play the Supernormal Festival at Brazier’s Park, Ipsden, Oxfordshire. Tickets available now from

On 13 and 14 September, the band head down to Cornwall where they will be appearing at the St Ives Arts Club as part of the St Ives Festival. At these shows, the band’s set will follow a performance of Botallack O’Clock, a new play about the painter Roger Hilton by Thirdman Theatre. Pete Bennett's other band The Dublo then play a further date at St Ives Arts Club on 18 September, this time following Stalag Happy, a play about Terry Frost.  

Emerging out of the 90s London garage scene, Monkey Island’s first few singles were released by early champion John Robb, gaining plaudits in The Guardian, Melody Maker and Metal Hammer and airplay from Mark Radcliffe, Steve Lamacq, Rob da Bank and the great John Peel.

A self-produced third album pulled more mainstream press on board with glowing Kerrang! and NME reviews, and was acclaimed outside the UK in Italy where, several tours later, they have a phenomenal underground reputation. Their recent December dates coincided serendipitously with the failed bid to oust Silvio Berlusconi and soundtracked the resulting demonstrations.

A fiercely independent attitude and a constant reinvention has kept the band alive where contemporaries have fallen, Bennett reconstituting the band for Luxe et Redux as a fresher more feral outfit with two new collaborators, whipsmart drummer Sam St Leger and rigidly grooving bassist Andrew Speakman.

Monkey Island are currently ensconsed in the studio with Part Chimp’s Tim Cedar, where they are preparing tracks for their fifth album, due next Spring. A one-man show of Pete Bennett's paintings is also scheduled for the Spring at L-13 Gallery, Clerkenwell.

What Monkey Island have done is to take the form and completely deconstruct it..they’ve added their own spit and polish and created something wholly new. The end result? Something lean, mean and utterly magnificent. R2 magazine (****)

..maybe their imaginative guitar filth will finally get the audience it deserves. A brilliant band.
John Robb, Death To Trad Rock

Rambunctious blues and art-punk attitdude. Shindig!

No feather-capped folksy whimsy in this caustic tirade. Sleazegrinder


Emerging from their studio cocoon, where they’ve been beavering diligently on a new album How to Kill A Butterfly, the Band Of Holy Joy are honoured to announce a special central London show at the famous Borderline club on Mannette Street, off Charing Cross Road, on Saturday 3 September. Presented by Symptomatic, the band will be joined by their very special guests Avert Francis, Stills and Howling Owl. Tickets are available now from .  

Inspired by the historically renowned Observers series of guidebooks, How To Kill A Butterfly comprises a set of rural Northern songs, iridescent and distressed in nature. An album of sadness, ignorance and longing, it is scheduled to arrive into the world on Jonny Mugwump’s Exotic Pylon label later in the Autumn.

The Band Of Holy Joy are pioneers of a brutal if beautiful form of Urban Folk. They were formed out of the 80s New Cross Gate art/squat scene by Newcastle √©migr√© Johny Brown. After a hiatus during the 90s they returned in 2002 with the album Love Never Fails on Rough Trade. Since then the band have wilfully explored other media, launching their own internet radio station Radio Joy in 2007, and presenting the plays Troubled Sleep at the Shunt Theatre in London in 2008 and Invocation to William at the Naked Lunch@50 conference at the Sorbonne in Paris 2009.  Songs from both plays later formed the album Paramour, which they released on their own Radio Joy label. Johny has also hosted the immensely popular Mining For Gold show on Resonance FM every Friday night since the stations inception.

Although the original wild spirit of the band is fully intact, the Band of Holy Joy remains committed to crafting new songs, creating a fresh sound, and pursuing new visions, yet continue to write about the same outsider concerns with spirit and care.

Forever changing, consistently unique, always the same.

Wednesday 3 August 2011


With the success of their highly acclaimed debut album High Bright Morning, and their atmospheric and evocative live performances, Edinburgh’s Blueflint have built a strong reputation and following. Their much anticipated second album Maudy Tree promises to raise their profile even further.

The sound of Blueflint is defined by the sublime close harmonies of Deborah Arnott and Clare Neilson whose voices, both ethereal and warm, interweave in ballads and songs of eerie melancholy and heartfelt charm.
Intertwining banjos, fiddle, double-bass and drums accompany the singers in beautifully-crafted songs that swoop easily from the dark underbelly of folk to buoyant Americana-tinged ballads. Blueflint successfully thwart attempts at musical pigeonholing; their fresh and original sound refuses to sit squarely in any one genre, bringing an unexpected twist to the banjo sound and gaining them fans from across the musical spectrum.

Maudy Tree was recorded ‘live’ as a five-piece band to recreate the energy and emotive texture of Blueflint’s sound. While each song bears its own unique flavour and mood, the tracks weave together into a truly memorable album, with a strong supporting cast of players to take us along the Blueflint way. Opening with ‘Light In the Window’, the album swoops down into the intimate and dark ‘Maudy Tree’, before bouncing into the joyous love song ‘Take Your Shoes Off'.  The heart-rending ‘High Country’ sits alongside poignant country-tinged ‘Mary’ which is followed in turn by the the ballad of the murderous ‘Mr Lovealie'..The album signs off with ‘Barren Lands’ as its parting note.

2010/11 saw the band touring throughout the UK and Ireland to festivals and venues including Celtic Connections, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party, The Wickerman, Belladrum. High Bright Morning gained national radio play (BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Scotland), and the band also appeared in a live interview and performance on Scottish television programme The Hour.

The band are touring throughout the UK and Ireland in autumn 2011 to promote the release of the album.          

Blueflint are: Deborah Arnott on vocals, banjo and ukulele; Hugh Kelly (Longway) on double-bass; Clare Neilson on vocals, clawhammer banjo; Roddy Neilson (Peatbog Faeries) on fiddle and vocals.

R2 ****   The List *****   The Scotsman ****   The Skinny ****   Daily Express ****

“This is a Scots triumph... excellent songwriting  The Scottish Herald