The Dawn Chorus / The Retrospective Soundtrack Players - Blogging all over the World

My name is Kyle. I am a happily failing indie/punk/folk/country/rock musician from Hampshire, UK. I have been singing and songwriting in The Dawn Chorus since 2005, and The Retrospective Soundtrack Players since 2010. I love these two bands like my brother/wife rolled into one. This blog details the shows I have played with both bands, in chronological order.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Some things that have been written about us in the last few months.....

Planet Sound Album Review

The Dawn Chorus/The Big Adventure
Former PS demo faves come good on a country-rock record that's wonderful because it evokes their native Hants as much as wide-open Americana.

Everything from Goldrush and Hobotalk to Bright Eyes and Wilco flits among the Evans brothers' movingly optimistic vocals, unafraid to be as big and bold as they can make them.

It's about full lives and finding the intimate music arrangements to match. Utterly gorgeous. 9/10

The Mag Album Review

Musically rich and lyrically stunning, The Big Adventure is the greatest record ever from The Dawn Chorus. There are twelve songs present and every single one bristles with hooks and every single one has the epic feel of a grand American record, even though it actually comes out of Hampshire, UK.

The two part 'The Big Adventure' is a wonderful opening, sitting just before the a-grade single 'The Hope Will Kill Us' and 'Come on Home' completes the strongest possible opening four from just about any album ever. Other highlights are the emotive 'River Song' the folky 'Fractured City' and the sparkling 'Not Having Fun'.

The Dawn Chorus even have the confidence to stick the brilliant and bouncy 'Blast From The Present' right at the end of the record in the slot that would have fallen to the record-ending shoe-gazer from any normal band.

If they were from Leeds, they'd be the darlings of Radio One for sure, but coming from Hampshire, they'll have to settle for being ours instead. 9/10

Planet Sound Single Review

THE DAWN CHORUS The Hope Will Kill Us 9/10 One of our best demo bands of ’07, their debut is like The Shins losing their minds in the desert, discovering country and condensing the frazzled trip in three glorious minutes.

The Mag Single Review

Over time it gets harder and harder for a band to squeeze a high score out of a writer. Perhaps the initial enthusiasm tempers cold logic, maybe we just become more cynical, or maybe it's because we've heard so many bands, it takes something awesome to truly impress us.

Whatever the case, The Dawn Chorus have an impressive and rare spark in their music that turns even the most hardened critic back into that fresh, excited and eager state of our youth!

Newly signed to indie-label Jelly Maid Music, their debut single is remarkable. 'The Hope Will Kill Us All' is a swath of alt-folk-indie, like The Coral meeting Gomez in the splendour of Hampshire, jamming out a sound untainted by heavy influences and selling the result to James.

Things are more saccharine in 'We Can Have It All', a gentler track with depthy acoustic guitars, piano and flickers of electric guitar. The vocals form a powerful composition with strong harmonies that add flavour to an already-exciting dish. 'Heart of Hearts' shows the folksiest edges of The Dawn chorus, mainly due to the subtle addition of mandolin and cello to the song.

The Dawn Chorus are destined for great success - it doesn't take a genius to predict that they are one to watch in 2008 (what next, an NHS advertising campaign teaching senior citizens how to eggs should be sucked?) All they need to do is make their forthcoming album, The Big Adventure, as good as this single. 9/10

Album Review by Matt Merritt

Opening an album with the title track isn't something most bands like to do, but with the Big Adventure, it's the perfect way to introduce Portsmouth's The Dawn Chorus. With it's Bright Eyes-esque folksy vibe and sunny disposition the track (or at least the first part of it) ease the listener into this young five piece's sound, just to throw a curveball when track two, The Big Adventure Part Two kicks in sounding like the first track remixed by Marius De Vries (Rufus Wainwright producer known for his 'orchestral' production)… clearly this band have ambitions beyond folksy rock. The album trundles on, like the soundtrack to a lazy summer Sunday, the bands eternally bright outlook and upbeat melodies reminiscent of The Old 97s, certainly no bad thing. These lads are certainly more intelligent than the average band vying for that £10 note in your pocket that you've earmarked for a new CD! That they've titled a song Marie Antoinette is enough of an indicator, but continually articulate lyrics which capture life in Portsmouth, and especially on it's music scene, perfectly, especially in Fractured City's "I don't mind playing empty clubs, or bleeding my heart out to football thugs/but I do have a problem when this city screams that you can't get out/you can never escape me!". If this is the starting point, then it looks like this band really are on a big adventure!

Live Review/Band Biog by Tasha for Southampton Uni Paper

The Dawn Chorus
The Railway Inn

The Railway Inn in Winchester is a pub venue which has seen performances from various successful bands who have played their in their infancy, including The Kooks. There were about sixty people in the music room of The Railway Inn, so it was a small gig but, nevertheless, a place with a great atmosphere where musicians can showcase their talents.

The Dawn Chorus are five local guys from Fareham who have been performing at small venues in the south for the past couple of years. Their music genre is described as a fusion of Indie and Folk Rock, but it is difficult to restrict The Dawn Chorus to such categories. Their music is a mixture of melancholy sentiments and raw honesty which bursts forth in the form of truly poetic lyrics and quirky upbeat tunes. They have a distinctive style which they have very much made their own. The Dawn Chorus have been tipped as a band to watch this year and it is not hard to see why. They have produced three EPs: ‘Town/City’, ‘Something’s Changed’ and ‘In the Early Hours’. So they already have a string of notable songs including ‘Michael’ and ‘Everest’ behind them. Each of their songs tells a story and their talents as song writers equal their talents as musicians. After being signed to Jelly Maid records their first album ‘The Big Adventure’ was released on 14th April.

The Dawn Chorus started their set with their recently released single ‘The Hope Will Kill Us’. It was a great opener, and a good choice for a first single. This song seems much more polished and mainstream than some of their earlier work but it still retained the uniqueness of The Dawn Chorus. ‘Fractured City’ was second up. It was the first time I had heard this one and it was immediately striking with the resounding words: ‘I don’t mind playing empty clubs or bleeding my heart out to football thugs but I do take exception when this city screams that you can’t get out, you can never escape me. ’ Matt the drummer played amazingly throughout the gig, Paul the keyboardist was a true professional and still did the set despite a broken hand, and Kyle the lead singer sounded incredible live.

‘Footprints’ is a song I have listened to many times and it was just as impressive live. Another song with meaning behind it and probing lyrics such as: ‘What will become of the person when this body is cold in the grave?’ It is an example of why The Dawn Chorus have been labelled Folk Rock. It enabled the guitarists to really show off their skills. Throughout the set it was the obvious that the band was absorbed in their music, and were playing to each other as much as to the audience.

‘The Last Day of April’ seems to be a favourite amongst the growing number of Dawn Chorus fans. Matt, the drummer sings a verse of this, and the contrast in the lightness of his voice against the loud vocals and shouting parts of the rest of the song is very effective. The Dawn Chorus also sang ‘Summer of ’99’ and ‘Blast From the Present’, all of their songs are quite lengthy so this was a good compilation from The Dawn Chorus.

Many of the upcoming gigs for The Dawn Chorus are in and around Southampton, and I would recommend going to see them before they become sell-out shows! You can listen to The Dawn Chorus on MySpace, and their album is available at from iTunes, TuneTribe and www. jellymaidmusic. com


The Big Bank Holiday Weekender: XCIII - Weymouth Harbour Festival and XCIV - Cross Kings, Kings Cross, London - 24-25/05/08

Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th May 2008

Weymouth Harbour Festival
with loads of bands

Cross Kings, King's Cross, London
Lester Clayton
The Dawn Chorus
Charlene Soraia
David Goo
Roxy Rawson
You + Me
Sophie Yau
Brigata Sinfonica
The Steve Bland Assembly
Niall Spooner-Harvey
Wayne the Piano Man

Absolutely fantastic weekend. Drove down to Weymouth on Saturday morning with only a few hours of grim tarffic to contend with. Played some beach cricket despite gale force winds blowing sand into everyone's eyes. I'm still scrubbing sand out of my pores a few days on. Watched Hull get into the Premiership with fat builder Dean Windass and his wobbly tits doing the damage. Went on a pub crawl which ended up in a goth pub with Paul B hustling beers off some dodgy bloke with a droopy pocket at pool.

Weymouth Festival - thought it was going to be a shocker as we were scheduled to play at 11.45am and theday before it had tipped it down. As it turned out we didn't play til about 1.30pm (without bitching - piss up, brewery, etc). Then when were line-checking the PA blew up. Smoke and everything. Neil was already in the middle of throwing a rock star strop at this point - they wouldn't let him use his amp - and we all thought it was going to be gig cancelled. But they got it sorted, we eventually played and managed to win over an initially hostile crowd. By the time we finished the sun was shining and we had a big crowd who seemed to be lapping it up. Sold loads of albums and I was even asked to sign them! Quite hilarious really.

Cross Kings - lush food, chilled atmosphere, friendly hosts and a brilliant bill. Roxy Rawson sounded like Regina Spektor, which is always going to go down well with me. David Goo is a great performer who deserves to go further. Charlene Soraia was an incredible guitarist with a beautiful voice. And Surprise were great fun - bouncy pop with clever lyrics, perfect for a Sunday early evening. I must also mention Niall-Spooner Harvey, who is either completely insane or a poetic genius. Or both. Have a look at I can't really remember if we played well or badly but it was an ace weekend.


XCII - Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms - 17/05/08

Saturday 17th May 2008
Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms

The Strange Death of Liberal England
The Dawn Chorus
Fresh Legs

Our third Strange Death Wedge gig in three years, a little earlier in the year this time round. We went down around midday to drop our stuff off before the FA Cup final, though the less said about that exhibition of classic football the better.

Melodramas - made up of mostly of members of ex Pompey legends Rolling Dog, I thought they were incredibly tight and I preferred their musical direction to where Rolling Dog ended up.

Fresh Legs - quite similar to Be Your Own Pet or Yeah Yeah Yeahs' earlier stuff, I thought that some of the vocal parts were a bit OTT and bordered on becoming irritating, though i did warm to them by the end.

Us - probably the best we've played at the wedge. A little excitable and fast, but that always sems to happen. Our friend Ben Whyntie joined us on trombone for River Song and She's Like an Angel, and he fitted in like he'd always been there. I hope we have the chance to use him again in the future.

Strange Death - lovely chaps and good to hear loads of new stuff. I love their new single Angelou, especially with Pauly B playing trumpet. Lovely stuff all round, really.



XCI - Patchwork Parachute @ Southampton Kolebka - 10/05/08

Saturday 10th May 2008
Southampton Kolebka

The Dawn Chorus
Peter Lyons
The Inklings
Joe Parker and the Power

We fell victim to the heatwave on this one. It was a beautiful evening, and there were tonnes of people in Kolebka - though they were all in the garden. I'm not bitching about it, I would probably rather have been in the garden than standing inside a venue that was so hot my glasses steamed up when I walked in. Not quite a free rehearsal ('free rehearsal' is the code for a gig for which the only purpose is exactly that), but not far off.

JP and the P - I only came in half way through their set after having an atrocious dinner at Varsity (three-man sandwhich anyone?), and my verdict would be: good but ropey. Joe and a guest lady were doing a version of 'Henry Lee' as covered by Nick Cave and PJ Harvey which was very nice, but then he and his band did a few numbers and sounded very unrehearsed, which was a shame.

The Inklings brought a lot of friends along and were a very strange prospect indeed, not necessarily in a bad way. They sounded like a cross between 50s doo-wop and 80s pop a la Haircut 100. Very tight, though I couldn't see them through their huge throng of mates.

I saw Peter Lyons and band a few years ago at Lennon's and wasn't that impressed, but this time I thought they were awesome. Acoustic guitar, banjo, laptop and a broken up drum kit. And some really good songs, which I think is what was missing a few years ago.

We were really tight and played as well as we have for ages, but it was pretty much an empty room. You win some, you lose some.

Monday, May 05, 2008


XC - Waster @ Envy, Portsmouth - 30/04/08

Wednesday 30th April
Waster @ Envy, Portsmouth

The Dawn Chorus

Not much time to blog this one. Played first ever gig 10 foot above the audience. From behind a mechanically retractable curtain. Strange. Funny vibe playing to a big room full of punters who aren't actually there to see you, but i think we just about went down alright. Got into bed just after 2am, had to get up for work at 6. Not much fun, but worth it.

10 gigs to go til the big 100



LXXXIX - Betsey Trotwood, Farringdon, London - 25/04/08

Friday 25th April 2008
The Betsey Trotwood, Farringdon

The Dawn Chorus
'Allo Darlin

Definitely the best london gig we've done so far. After an incredibly stressful drive to the venue, including going through picadilly circus at about 6.30, we eventually got to sound check 2 hours late. 2 Hours! That's terrible. The Betsey Trotwood is an amazing little venue, a tiny little 60 capacity venue underground. After soundcheck it was basically doors, and me and neil encountered that problem of needing to get food just as the friends who you've badgered into coming to the gig show up. Quick Subway on the run and we were back in the venue though.

Bendigo was a huge guy with an incredible voice - not sure about te kazoo solo though. 'Allo Darlin was a very small ukelele playing lady with some very cute songs. Then it was us. It was bloody hot as expected since the place was fairly rammed and the atmosphere was great. Ben played Mandolin with us for 'Fractured City' and 'Summer of 99' and that went incredibly well, especially since he only had one practice with us. All in all, great success. Except i got pulled over by police for the first time ever, although disappointingly - since i hadn't had a drink - not breathalised.


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