Tuesday 29 September 2015

Ramisco Maki Maki Rocking Horse

As unique musical artists go they don't come any more individual and talented than the artist formerly known as Ray McCartney and now referred to as The Ramisco Maki Maki Rocking Horse, accompanied by The Wat Wat Kings. He's as indie-vidual and alternative as you can get and we love him dearly here in the kennel and on Radio KC.

He kicked off as The Ramisco Maki Maki Rocking Horse towards the end of 2009 while living in Strathcarron

He had previously performed as Little Beard in The Kazoo Funk Orchestra from 2005–2008 and Sir Fred in El Jugador from 2002–2005.
The Ramisco Maki Maki Rocking Horse and the Wat Wat Kings is Ramisco on vocals and guitar / banjo / ukulele, Keith Pearce on bass and backing vocals, and Cailean Macleod on drums / percussion.

So needless to say, as its interview week on Ralph's Life it was time to ask a few pertinent questions.

Ralph: How do you compare/prefer the studio experience to performing live - solo/full band preference?  
Horse: In the studio these here hooves are possessed by the melodies that the universe throws at me. I take them by the horns and choose the direction, ain’t nobody interfering with my output, it’s all down to this here horse. 

On stage, it’s the audience that possesses me, I lose control of these here hooves and pretty much anything can happen. There ain't no comparison, in the studio it’s all about what I want, on stage it’s all about what they want.
This here horse would sure love to have a band for throwing down live, but it ain't easy to find backing hooves up in these here moontains. 

I might attempt to recruit some backing hooves online and rehearse with them over that there internet - if the tech allows. Holler forth if y’all be interested.
Ralph: Any upcoming live performances.
Horse: There ain't nothing booked for at the moment, but these here hooves hope to throw down a few special shows in the near future.

Ralph: Sausage Supper or Fish & Chips?
Horse: We ain’t got no chippy in these here moontains, at least not around these parts, but if this here horse has to make a choice, my choice is sushi.

Ralph: When's the EP due out?
Horse: Possessed by the Gods of Cowbell Oblongata is out on Friday the 13th of November on vinyl, cassette, limited edition minidisc and the mp3.
Ralph: The video for And We Will Dance?
Horse: Ain’t no date for that yet, but I can confirm that the majority of cardboard ’n’ sticky-tape props have been built.

Ralph: How difficult is it being a unique and talented artist like yourself to get noticed in the Indie world?
Horse: It’s mighty difficult to get noticed these days, there’s so much music out there and folks just don’t have the ear hole time to listen to it all, as such, ear hole time gets precious. For folks like myself to gain access to that there precious ear hole time, we gotta give them a dang good reason. 

That said, there be folks out there specifically looking for something new to listen to, those be the ear holes this here horse is aiming for. Music discovery platforms such as Tradiio and Splashflood or indie radio shows such as yours be where them there ear holes meet my hooves.

Image result for irn bru

Ralph: Irn Bru or Dandelion & Burdock?
Horse: Irn Bru -  to be fair though, these here hooves ain’t ever tasted the Dandelion & Burdock.
Ralph: With a previous question in mind...XFM have brought in Chris Moyles and dismissed all the regional stations/DJ's including Scotland's own Jim Gellatly (for my part it's a sin) - discuss...

Horse: That was mighty sad decision for sure. Even before this went down there was a major lack of radio stations in the UK, I mean if y’all head out to the US pretty much every number on that there dial is home to a different station, here it’s just static. Taking away a regional station where local music can be championed is a mighty loss for both the local artists and the listeners ear holes. 

Image result for jim gellatly
Jim Gellatly is really a bit of a hero to these here hooves, I mean besides debuting that there 'And We Will Dance' ditty of mine recently, he is also the DJ who gave me my first ever radio play many moons back when these here hooves were known as El Jugador and this here horse will always salute him for that.  

Ralph: How important do you feel internet radio stations are in helping the promotion process of your music.
Horse: Them there internet radio stations be mighty important to these here hooves, especially the stations who be throwing down new music on a regular basis like Radio Kaos Caribou

Promotionally squawking, most of the stations have a loyal following or community which pretty much becomes an instant audience for any material they play. And for these here hooves, that’s where it’s at.
Ralph: Have a little natter about your stablemates (see what I did there) on Planet Groucho Records.
Horse: Planet Groucho Records is more of a collective or family than a record label...

Slideshow cover art
Lindsay Llewellyn is like a sister to this here horse, an indie songstress of sorts, she released her debut EP a few months back, it’s called Slideshow - these here hooves threw down some backing melodies for her. The horse’s favourite track by Lindsay Llewellyn is Lights Out.

Oak Hero
Oak Hero be an awesome trio of indie folkin’ muchachos, their debut EP came out in 2013, it’s named after the band or vice versa. The horse's favourite track by Oak Hero is Talk On.
Fjord Kduggan is a man, a mysterious man, he’s currently working on a David Bowie cover album which has a nautical theme. From the snippets of ‘Starfish' and 'Sea Odyssey’ and it’s gonna be a ridiculously awesome record. The horse’s favourite track by Fjord Kduggan is Moccasins.  

The Kazoo Funk Orchestra is a genre-mashing collective which these here hooves was once a member of (under the guise of Little Beard). They’ve released 4 records with Planet Groucho Records and another since they went off on their own. The horse’s favourite album by The Kazoo Funk Orchestra is, MidnightFinger Painter.   

El Jugador was the horse before the horse became the horse. It started out as an indie solo project and later became an indie rock foursome, which also included Lindsay Llewellyn and Keith Pearce (of Oak Hero) for a time. The Horse’s favourite track by El Jugador is either My Show Fell Off or Take Notice.

Planet Groucho Records
Ralph: What does the future hold for Ramisko Maki Maki - any plans for heading South of The Border?
Horse: The future? Well I reckon these here hooves might end up performing private shows in bath tubs across the globe using bluetooth teleportation. For now it’s really all about making melodies and throwing them out to the folks who want to hear them. 

El Jugador

There ain’t no masterplan, these here hooves prefer to keep it spontaneous. And as for heading south of that there border, well, y’all will just need to wait and see.

Thanks again for the interview captain, ain’t done one of these in a while. These here hooves salute you!

Alex Darling

Ralph's been a long time fan of the alternatively poppy stylings of Manchester band Duke And The Darlings these last few moons, so when news of a solo venture by Alex Darling filtered in over the ether it was time to have a word.

Shooed Away is the first of two solo releases for Alex Darling and features vocals from soul singer Alice Gasson, and guitar from both Iwan Jones from Clockwork Radio and Luke Wilkinson from DATD. The song is a departure from the energetic alternative pop of DATD, as it delves tenderly into the evocative subjects of familial estrangement and existential bewilderment.

With thanks to Nicola Jaye - MCR Photographer

Although Duke and the Darlings are set to release a new single, recorded at Abbey Road Studios on Sweet Sweet Records, Alex was keen to emphasise that these separate releases are - "a necessary step in progressing musically. Thinking outside of the usual box and working with talented artists from other genres has ushered my songwriting forward."

Ralph pressed on: How easy/difficult do you find it to steer a seemingly more introverted course with your music as opposed to DATD's bouncier style?

Alex: "It is the side of my writing that has always existed, but never really surfaced. The DATD track House of Cards and a song you won't have heard, The Click (currently being mastered at Abbey Road Studios) were more introverted songs played through the means of the band, but naturally that gave them more dynamic and a latent energy; there was a decision by us all not to force that energy that comes so naturally for a band onto Shooed Away because it was that bit more tender."

Ralph: Is there a cathartic element to the solo writing?

With thanks to Nicola Jaye - MCR Photographer
Alex: "All of my songs come from the same place. Some of the loudest songs we play in DATD are some of the most personal. The most cathartic aspect of performing a song is making sure the energy of the music matches the sentiment behind the song. But there was a different type of catharsis in having gone through the process of releasing a solo song." 

With thanks to - MCR Photographer
"For someone who has been in bands his whole life, it was uncharted territory. Some songs take over your headspace until they are completed and this is definitely one of those: there was a real sense of release once we had committed all of the ideas in my mind to tape."

Ralph: Corrie or Emmerdale?

Alex: "I'm not a telly kind of a guy, but my mate is currently in Emmerdale as a detective so I should probably so that. That said he has been in Corrie too, so I'm torn! I grew up with mum watching all of the soaps but never fell in love. Fuck it, Corrie." 

Ralph: What do you feel Alice's soul-fused vocal brings to your musical table?

Alex: "Rhythm and groove. Her voice is phenomenal and effortless, but the way she plays around the beat is what made me think of her when I needed that female vocal. Although it is pretty much a swooning lullaby, there is a lot of syncopation in the guitars that Alice plays off. Her range, too, opens up the sonisphere of the track as my vocal on the song is more narrative and contained." 

Ralph: Plans for more solo releases and maybe even an album?

Alex: "There is another song already under way, I Won't Change. It was performed live with DATD when we played SoFar Sounds Manchester and it was brilliant for that intimate setting. But that was a one-off, a unique show. The song definitely has a second life, but in my head it sounds very different to the night." 

Ralph: Any solo gigs/single launch planned?

Alex: "DATD have too much going on with the Abbey Road singles, UK dates soon to be announced and new songs being worked on for EP number four. I want nothing to get in the way of DATD. The two solo releases planned were not about doing what the band does but on my own, it was about challenging my songwriting and orchestration."

‘Shooed Away’ by Alex Darling feat. Alice Gasson is released on Saturday 3rd October on Sweet Sweet Records

Ralph: Hot Pot or Scouse?

Alex: "Lancy with brown sauce." 

Ralph: Considering collabs with any other artists with different stylings? 

Alex: "Just you watch this space..."

So there you have it, a little insight into the musical world of Alex Darling and the eagerly awaited release of Shooed Away on October 3rd...having had a sneak preview I can tell you it's extremely pleasing on the ears with the vocal counterpoint between Alex and Alice a delight...shades of The Beautiful South...watch this space indeed!

Monday 28 September 2015

Bud Sugar

Ralph's doing a quick check on what's hot and what's not on the East Coast (not New York obviously) and in the hot category comes the new release Blinkin' Thinkin' from Hull band Bud Sugar.

In their home city, Bud Sugar are as famous for their guerilla marketing tactics as they are for their music itself. Their latest adventure involved a collaboration with Stagecoach in which they boarded buses and played live to surprised and delighted commuters!

Fortunately the band, made up of Bacary Bax, STAN, Dyl, Live Lans and Reason, have the tunes to justify the hype, producing high-octane reggae-infused music Bud Sugar amusingly describe as "Cod Head Skank".

New single Blinkin' Thinkin' is full of big beats and flowing melodies, sometimes rapped and other times sung. Bud Sugar aren't afraid to mix and match genres to produce witty and insightful social commentary.

The video is self-directed and is as well crafted and funny as the single is bouncy and eminently listenable. Check it!

Saturday 26 September 2015

Ralph's Top 10 Blogged Band Chart - 26.9.15

OK bands you know the score .....

the more hits your blog gets by the fans ..... 

the higher you go .....

So Tweet it, Facebook it .....

Generally expose yourself .....


Follow Ralph's Life Indie Music Blog on Pinterest.

Now Mr Snuggles and I have been sitting with our heads down counting the hits on each blog to see which band's got what place.

The Top Ten Blogged Band Chart is played every Sunday 5-7pm on Radio KC as part of Ralph's Indie Show.

No 1...Token Joker

Ralph's not averse to rocking it out, so when the new Token Joker single Green hit the turntable whilst making up the playlist for his Indie Show on Radio KC last week it was volume up to 11 and time to check them out more closely for the blog.

The single (taken from their Just Part Of The System EP out earlier this year) is brash, ballsy, sexy, down right dirty and in your face, old school, guitar thrashing (and breathe) rock 'n' roll.

No 2... Damn Vandals

Along with the 'B' Side Whisky Going Free, the tracks are from the most excellent new album Rocket Out Of London which has been recieving rave reviews from all the usual suspects and featured as a Steve Lamacq BBC6 Music Recommend. 

Lead track I Hate School is Alice Cooper meets The Stones with a soup├žon of Sex Pistols and it's deeee-liciously manic rock 'n' roll by Damn Vandals.

Just when you thought that a quality prog-rock concept album was a thing of the past, along comes the uniquely trippy Songs From The Precipice album by John Lawrence which harks back to the heady days of Jethro TullKing CrimsonSteve Hillage, early Genesis et al.

Songs From The Precipice is a complex work which requires an intensity of concentration from the listener rarely required in the lighter output of many bands and artistes today. Veering from jazzy stylings to folky and then rockier themes, it's as diverse in it's composition as it is compelling to listen to.

As afficionados of Ralph's Life will know we're a sucker for a good Crowdfunder, so it was with great interest that word of a campaign by Governor's Luck to fund their debut album hit the kennels inbox.

Following five years of relentless gigging and the release of The Rumour Mill EP Governor's Luck released an album Drop Everything earlier this year. It's now their intention to use crowdfunding to finance the production of a limited edition on vinyl plus a UK tour.

If you've been following Ralph these last three years you'll know he's been a fan of Scottish band Vukovi as they've slowly but surely pushed their way to the forefront of the UK Indie scene. 

Well Ralph's tipping Manchester band False Advertising who have a similar feel to do exactly the same.

No 6...The Pacers

The Pacers draw their influences from the sixties Psych/Garage scene, mixing it up with their own unique ideas to create unforgettable and  energetic live performances in the same vein as The Stooges and The Stones, with a healthy dose of freakout psychedelia.

 No 7...Zurich

Oxford based Zurich have just released their eagerly awaited debut EP Small Wars and Ralph was quick to give the single release from it, Alone a spin on his Radio KC Indie Show recently. 

They're described as post-punk with more than a smattering of eighties electro, which I feel they've managed to give a fresh twist.

Ralph's been spinning tracks on his Radio KC Indie Show recently by Blackburn band New York Tourists who interestingly described as QOTSA meets Foals.

Their debut EP received rave reviews from some of the UK's most respected music media outlets and Chew Me Up, Spit Me Out was selected as one of BBC Intro's top 10 tracks of 2013. 

No 9..Officer

The last time Ralph's keyboard vibrated as he listened to the sounds of London singer/songwriter Officer was when he was bringing news of his then forthcoming album Myriads whilst listening to Glass Ceiling which had just been released as a single back in March. 

Third in the mean and moody male vocalists Ralph's been checking out this week is Liverpool singer/songwriter Tony Steele who has returned to music with a new single Starting From Scratch, released on September 25th and showcasing a stripped down folk/rock sound.

Session musicians Charlie Landsborough Jnr, Laura Mackinlay, Peter MacParland and Grant Walker complete the line up of his band Tony Steele and The Massacre.