Altered Sky – Why Are We Next To These People?!

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Some bands play stadiums, others dodgy clubs and pubs, but Altered Sky – a rock band from Glasgow very much of the Biffy Clyro and Paramore mould – took ‘intimate venue’ to ridiculous levels last year playing homes of fans.

When I meet them today they are camped upstairs at Broadcast in Glasgow a few hours shy of their final UK tour date as Ross (bassist) explains the logic behind such an unorthodox itinerary “People on Vacation were doing a house party tour playing an acoustic set in living rooms and we thought we could do that” adding “fans really appreciate the connection I guess. It’s a lot closer than playing a gig”. Lead singer and hyper excitable Ana chips in “we learned we could fit lot of people into one room!”

The other members of the band in the stifling heat of the upstairs office at the venue are Ryan (guitar) Amy (drums) and Tara (guitarist) but they sit mostly silent as Ross and Ana do most of the talking. Last year the band managed to nab a spot on Bob Harris’s Apple Tree Sessions after a hopeful Tweet was picked up by Whispering Bob himself “he’s just like the king of music” exclaims Ana before adding with a hint of incredulity about meeting him “that’s the voice! That’s the body of the voice!”.

Tomorrow the group will ­­­­support the mighty Big Country at Clydebank Town Hall “It’s our second time, actually” says Anna about the occasion “They’re so cool! Such lads, well, old lads actually!” before Ross quickly removes the foot from Ana’s mouth, observing “I think being in the presence of someone who has been there and done it, we can learn a lot; the way they carry themselves, the way they handle the show. They exude that experience”.

Altered Sky are still not at the stage where they can resign from their day jobs and even have  to slog out a staggering 18 hours rehearsal per week when required “it fills up the time when you would be doing other things” acknowledges Ana “the practice studio becomes a second home”.

The hard working nature of the band is obvious and when I ask what’s the most important thing they could tell other aspiring rock acts, Ana advises “knowing [your] instrument inside out and really striving to be the top of your game. You have to have that effort on top to take it to the next level” with Ross explaining “playing with four other personalities makes a huge difference to how you play, that’s probably the most important thing to begin with”.

All that effort is beginning to pay off. On Kerrang radio the band were on the same play list as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath “why are we next to these people?!” laughs Ross; and soon they are trotting off on an Asian Tour. Since Asian music is my thang I ask if they are familiar with any bands from this neck of the woods; “One OK Rock” says Ana and after a slight pause sheepishly suggests Babymetal. If anything, this wakes Amy out of her Kraken-esque silence “oooooh Babymetal!” she coos while everyone else laughs.

So what’s all this effort and 6 hour rehearsal sessions and playing in fans houses all about? Is there a long term plan for all of this? Ana fills me in “I hope the band can really make a musical mark, not just in the UK. If can we maybe get across to America, have our second album out and have a growing fan base, a couple of really really good support tours, certainly in five years I want to be touring the world on our own headline show” before beaming  “I can’t imagine doing anything else. We’re gonna do it!”

I think I’m pretty good at making predictions. I predicted Trump would turn out to be a massive douche bag and the unstoppable rise of a certain Japanese rock band. So here I’m making another one: keep an eye out for this bunch of crazy kids because they might be coming to a front room near you sooner than you think.

Altered Sky are on tour in Asia from 20th September till 18th October 2017 and are working on their next album.

The Idol Formerly Known As LADYBABY Release Second Single With Extras for Overseas Fans

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The Idol Formerly Known As LADYBABY, Japan’s international rule breakers, threaten to lick all who underestimate them with second single “Pelo”, out now globally. Special bundles for the single include exclusive A3 poster, t-shirt and download card, available only for the release outside of Asia via JPU Records.

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Aldious Release First Overseas Album: “Radiant A”

“These girls will rock your brains out. As metal as one can get in heels and pink bows” – Kotaku

“Groundbreaking. Japanese all-girls metal band Aldious epitomizes ‘The Female Warrior’” – NYLON

“We fell head over heels for Aldious” – Revolver Magazine

Radiant A sees Japan’s “groundbreaking” metal quintet Aldious unleash their first overseas album on 17 March, 2017, out on CD and digital formats in the UK and Europe via JPU Records.

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SCANDAL Release 36-Track Best Album in UK and Europe: 3 March

A two-disc self-titled best album from SCANDAL – one of Japan’s most popular pop-rock girl bands – will be released on CD and digital formats in the UK and Europe on 3 March, 2017 via JPU Records. The collection features 34 tracks from the quartet’s ten-year career, as well as two new songs, and is available for preorder now at Amazon (here) and other retailers, and is also available as a limited edition CD, poster and T-shirt bundle direct from JPU Records (here). Continue reading

Tommy Emmanuel Live In Glasgow

I first came across Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel about four years ago learning about Travis picking (a form of fingerstyle playing). And ever since I wondered what it would be like to see the great man in person because -and this is not hyperbole- numerous Youtube videos suggest he’s something quite special.

When I remarked to my girlfriend “ooh look, Tommy Emmanuel is playing Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Monday January 23” she was all like “I can take a hint, let’s grab some tickets and head along”. And so it came to pass I spent just over 100 minutes in the company of one of the best musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing live. Continue reading

BAND-MAID Cause Chaos in New Video “Don’t you tell ME”

Picture from BAND-MAID's "Don't you tell ME" video

BAND-MAID cause chaos in their latest music video 「Don’t you tell ME」, released today ahead of new album Just Bring It, out on CD from JPU Records in Europe from 10 February 2017.

Just Bring It is the band’s first full length album released from a major label in Japan and includes 13 tracks. The European edition includes translated lyrics in its booklet and will be available from all major CD retailers across the UK and Europe.

Pre-order direct from JPU Records: Regular edition // CD+Tshirt edition

BAND-MAID's Just Bring It cover art

 

BAND-MAID Release Just Bring It in Europe

“Wailing guitar solos, huge choruses and punching hooks: They’ve got the attitude of Guns N’ Roses and the pomp of Def Leppard.” – Metal Hammer

“A cracking slice of catchy pop metal with some deceptively technical guitar work” – Huffington Post Blog

“They dress like maids and they definitely rock” – MetalInjection.net

After blasting in to the international rock scene last year, BAND-MAID return with their hotly anticipated first major album. Entitled Just Bring It, the 13-track album, released under Nippon Crown in their homeland of Japan, will hit the UK and Europe from 10 February 2017 through JPU Records in two editions; the regular edition and a CD and T-shirt bundle. Continue reading