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James McLaren James McLaren Blog posts in total 525

  1. Donna Lewis reflects on 15 years since I Love You Always Forever

    Tuesday 13 September 2011, 11:15

    Fifteen years ago, in the summer of 1996, I was working my final stint of hard labour at an independent record shop before moving to Cardiff for university. Among the songs that soundtracked that summer was I Love You Always Forever by Donna Lewis. It seemed to be everywhere that year.

    And it wasn't...

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  2. TJ's 'unlikely' to be retained as music venue after auction

    Thursday 8 September 2011, 10:39

    According to the auctioneer conducting the sale of legendary Newport venue TJ's, it is 'unlikely' to be used as a music venue in the future.

    Paul Fosh auctions will be selling TJ's on 15 September at Cardiff's Park Inn Hotel. It is being sold following the death of its owner John Sicolo in 2010. Mr...

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  3. Jean Jacques Smoothie's 2People

    Thursday 8 September 2011, 09:11

    In all the 9/11 coverage this week, a decade on from the New York, Washington and Pennsylvania attacks, one thing has struck me.

    Ten years ago Steve Robson, aka Jean Jacques Smoothie, a Cardiff producer, DJ and part of the Plastic Raygun label was releasing 2People, an atmospheric house monster that...

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  4. Manx shearwater appeal after storm

    Wednesday 7 September 2011, 13:18

    Members of the public are being asked to contact the RSPCA with information about Manx shearwaters blown off-course during a storm yesterday.

    Hundreds of young birds have already been rescued after being blown inland on their migratory flights.

    Skomer warden for the Wildlife Trust, Chris Taylor, said...

    Read more about Manx shearwater appeal after storm

  5. Merthyr Rock 2011

    Monday 5 September 2011, 11:58

    This has to happen again. Yes, it rained, but this was one of the best festivals I've ever been to. Merthyr Rock 2011, well, rocked.

    I'm not going to review it - there are other places to go for that - but suffice to say this was the best collection of Welsh acts that has ever been...

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  6. Welsh Music Prize nominees announced

    Friday 2 September 2011, 10:30

    The 12 albums shortlisted for the inaugural Welsh Music Prize (WMP) have been announced today. WMP is the brainchild of Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens. Here are the nominees:

    Al Lewis - In The Wake

    Al's self-released album was released in January 2011. It charted in Amazon's top 10 folk albums on its release...

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  7. Freddie Mercury, born 5 September 1946

    Thursday 1 September 2011, 15:20

    Getting into Queen was the first musically-independent thing I did. When I was about 10 I diverted myself from my parents' record collection and found a band that I loved and they - not to put too fine a point on it - hated. It was something of musical liberation, in retrospect.

    Freddie Mercury...

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  8. Have the Manics 'waved goodbye'?

    Thursday 1 September 2011, 10:33

    Manic Street Preachers' Nicky Wire has told NME that their last album, Postcards From A Young Man, was a "wave goodbye".

    "It's genuinely, for the three of us, one of our favourite records. There's just something... there's a sense of us giving it all we've got, and I think we've got to wave our goodbye...

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  9. Welsh acts ruck in for rugby CD

    Wednesday 31 August 2011, 10:12

    Rugby fans gearing up for the forthcoming World Cup can get their mitts on a compilation CD called World In Union from 12 September, which features Welsh acts Bryn Terfel, Katherine Jenkins and Fron Male Voice Choir.

    Fron Choir perform Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land Of My Fathers) and Men...

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  10. John Peel, born 30 August 1939

    Tuesday 30 August 2011, 13:32

    John Peel would have been 72 today and, although not from Wales, he did a lot for Welsh bands over the years. He supported both English- and Welsh-language acts and publicised acts being overlooked by the mainstream media.

    Peel was rightly famed for giving airtime to...

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  11. Reading and Leeds highlights

    Tuesday 30 August 2011, 11:44

    Another Reading And Leeds weekend has been and gone (each year reminding me how fantastic Reading 95 was, my first time there), and we're after your thoughts on the Welsh bands who played.

    You can add your comments at the bottom, but in the meantime here are some video highlights from The Joy Formidable...

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  12. Manics announce National Treasures details, single release and gig

    Tuesday 30 August 2011, 10:58

    Manic Street Preachers have announced details of their forthcoming complete singles collection, National Treasures, plus a gig and a new single to coincide with the release.

    The brand new track is a cover version of The The's 1983 single This Is The Day. It will be released...

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  13. Sir Tom Jones cancels gig after health scare

    Sunday 28 August 2011, 16:21

    Sir Tom Jones was yesterday forced to cancel a concert in Monaco on doctors' orders after developing dehydration.

    Read the BBC News story here.

    It had been initially reported that the Pontypridd singer was in hospital because of a heart condition but a spokesman corrected those press...

    Read more about Sir Tom Jones cancels gig after health scare

  14. Merthyr Rock stagetimes announced

    Friday 26 August 2011, 10:26

    Next weekend sees Merthyr Rock bring a good line-up of rock and indie acts to Cyfarthfa Park in Merthyr Tydfil from Friday 2 September to Sunday 4 September.

    Here is the full line-up with stage times:

    Friday 2 September
    Big Deal Stage
    10.00 - 11.00 - Ian Watkins DJ Set...

    Read more about Merthyr Rock stagetimes announced

  15. Katherine Jenkins asks fans not to buy One Fine Day compilation

    Thursday 25 August 2011, 10:59

    Neath singer Katherine Jenkins has asked her fans not to buy One Fine Day, a forthcoming compilation of her earlier work.

    She tweeted:

    "Just heard that Universal @DeccaRecords are putting out YET ANOTHER compilation album of my music called One Fine...

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  16. Swansea indie legends to play last ever Welsh show

    Tuesday 23 August 2011, 12:11

    Swansea band The Pooh Sticks are gearing up for their last ever Welsh show.

    The C86 indie-popsters will play Cardiff's Globe venue on Saturday 3 September with The School and Tender Trap.

    Frontman Huw Pooh said: "Though I am a native of Swansea, the premier city of Wales...

    Read more about Swansea indie legends to play last ever Welsh show

  17. Beyoncé to play Michael Forever via satellite

    Tuesday 23 August 2011, 10:09

    Ex-Destiny's Child star, and solo behemoth Beyoncé has been announced as a performer for the Michael Forever tribute concert.

    The singer won't, however, be playing in person, but will perform one of her favourite Jackson 5 songs via satellite. On the event's Facebook page organisers have...

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  18. The Blackout crowdsource video for new single

    Monday 22 August 2011, 14:24

    Merthyr's The Blackout are turning to their fans in the making of the video for their forthcoming single, You're Not Alone.

    The rockers are asking for clips of their fans "having a good time" in whatever manner they see fit.

    On the band's official website they say: "We're making a brand...

    Read more about The Blackout crowdsource video for new single

  19. Marina's Radioactive

    Monday 22 August 2011, 14:07

    Marina And The Diamonds' new single, Radioactive, was premièred this morning on Fearne Cotton's Radio 1 show.

    It is a one-off single, released on 3 October through 679 Recordings, prior to the release of her eagerly-anticipated second album. It retains Marina's distinctive...

    Read more about Marina's Radioactive

  20. Manic Street Preachers announce a sabbatical

    Monday 22 August 2011, 09:22

    Manic Street Preachers bassist and mouthpiece Nicky Wire has said the band will "disappear for quite a long time" following the release of their forthcoming complete singles collection.

    National Treasures will be released through Columbia on 31 October. "It feels like it's going to be two or three years...

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