Introducing: New horizon for SkiesBy Linda Serck
June 14, 2012
What a difference a name makes.
New on the scene are Skies – previously known as The Counterpoints, who have recently signed to the Animal Farm independent label.
The quartet’s catchy indie rock will be heard at one of our BBC Introducing nights on Wednesday, July 11, at the Oakford Social Club in Reading.
Their first gig was less than two years ago at Reading’s 3Bs bar.
And while they have played other venues in Reading, including the Purple Turtle, they play a lot in London thanks to knowing a few promoters there.
So far so good. So why the name change?
“We’d started heading down a different direction from when we started and the name didn’t seem to fit us any more,” says frontman Mills Reed.
“The more songs you write and the more you play together, the more you start to develop your own sound.
“We wanted a name and identity that evoked something a bit bigger, something open-ended to reflect the changing sound and incorporating different styles over time.
“Skies seemed to fit this bill for us and now, with a new line up, we’re building some momentum under it.”
But it was under the Counterpoints moniker that Animal Farm discovered them.
“We’d been playing for a promoter in London for a while and had just recorded some demos at an old analogue studio,” says guitarist Will James, who hails from Wokingham.
“Animal Farm knew us through the promoters, I think, and liked the songs on our Facebook, particularly Catalyst (later to be re-written as new single Cold Sweat).
“Animal Farm are a small indie label specialising in helping up and coming bands stay on the right track – it’s not easy building momentum as a live band and getting exposure for your songs.”
It’s been a hard slog for the band, who are all in their 20s, playing before “many an empty room” when they started out.
“It’s difficult to draw a crowd in the back end of nowhere on a Tuesday night when no one’s heard of you,” says Mills.
But they have been rewarded with London gigs at the Water Rats, Dublin Castle and The Hope & Anchor to name but a few.
And following a recent line-up change, and of course the name change, they are “raring to go”.
The Skies’ single Cold Sweat is out now.
Catch Skies at the BBC Introducing night at the Oakford Social Club, Blagrave Street, Reading, on Wednesday, July 4. Free entry.
Reading rock ‘n’ roll band The Rare are putting on a charity gig in aid of Help for Heroes this Saturday.
At the Facebar in Chatham Street, Reading will host The Rare as well as White Sunday, The Motion and Sylvan Souls.
Nick Birch from The Rare said: “We have picked this charity as one of our best friends has just been posted to Afghanistan.”
Afterwards there will be a DJ set by DJ Rednef.
Tickets, £7, are available on the door or via wegottickets.com/event/163456
Dry The River from Newbury, who are hitting the big time, have announced their next single release.
No Rest will be out on July 23, and is taken from their stunning debut album Shallow Bed.
The Sony-signed band who are playing Reading Festival this year have just returned from the US where they all fell ill with “the worst 48 hour illness imaginable”, they write in their blog.
However, their US tour ended on a high with a sell-out show in LA.
Reading-born James Ewers, ex frontman of My Luminaries, is back with a beautiful-sounding solo project.
Going by the name Lonesound, the singer songwriter is issuing his first release since 2010.
His four-song EP The Great Outdoors (Part 1) is released on July 1, and is the first of three upcoming EP download releases, culminating in a 12” vinyl release of the whole Great Outdoors album in early 2013.
Listen out for him on my show when he is my guest on Sunday, June 24, on BBC Radio Berkshire from 7pm.
Screama Ballerina may be based in Brighton but have caused a major stir in Reading, owing to local label Velocity Records.
The female-fronted grunk band (that’s grunge and punk combined) will be hitting the stage at the Rising Sun Arts Centre, Silver Street, Reading, this Saturday along with The Jettes and Adam & Elvis.
Tickets are £5 on the door or £4 from www.wegottickets.com
Listen to Linda Serck every Sunday at 7pm on BBC Radio Berkshire. Email your music news to firstname.lastname@example.org