Saturday, 27 December 2014

FAILURE MACHINE - EP REVIEW

Failure Machine - EP II 
Failure Machine - EP II

There a number of bands I've come across in 2014 that I've thoroughly but Reno's Failure Machine are firmly in the top percentage - in what I like to call "the mutt's nuts league". It's fortuitous, then, that they have a new EP out just before the year comes to a close. Even more fortuitous is the fact that the first track is a cover of a track by Canadian chaps The Dirty Nil, co-members of the mutt's nuts league. 'Hate Is A Stone' is given the end of year treatment with bells to herald the track in before minimalist instrumentation and a sense of alcohol fuelled regret takes over. On 'Broken Record' the guys pick things up a bit and those trademark horns kick in to give the tune a real soul vibe only for those gravelly vocals to rip a whole in the party and get things kicking in real style.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, these guys have got to be amazing live - the universe would be wrong if they weren't. I mean, 'Can't Be That Hard' is like a Bond theme by Marvin Gaye performed by Ben Harper backed by James Brown's band which is high praise for a bunch of white guys from Reno. Final track 'Wedding Song' is a garage punk'n'soul ditty that might just be the coolest and most laid back proposal around which I might just lip sync to for some sort of schmaltzy Youtube marriage proposal if I can get my act together in 2015. Failure Machine are soul, rock, roll, garage, punk, passion, sweat, joy and, most importantly, the best party band you're ever likely to hear. You know what to do...

More information: https://www.facebook.com/failuremachine

Listen/Download Here: https://failuremachine.bandcamp.com/album/epii


31st December - Singer Social Club w/Dr Kumar Fumar + The Hannah Yoter Band

Monday, 22 December 2014

VALENTIINE - SINGLE REVIEW

Valentiine - Beauty Lies (Integrity Records) 
Valentiine - Beauty Lies

Vanessa, Erica and Shelly are three punk rock femmes from Victoria, Australia, and through the magic of the world wide web they are bringing out a new, free single via British indie label Integrity Records. 'Beauty Lies' is a free download single for your listening pleasure and it starts with a rumbling bassline and Courtney Love-esque vocals before a wall of distorted guitars comes crashing in fuelled by a thumping drum sound. This is grunge with a punk ethos and a guitar sound that is straight out of the 90s with the spirit of Breeder, Nirvana and Veruca Salt running through the middle like the white stripe up the back of a skunk. With this being a free download coming out at the time of year when only novelty songs tend to do well there is a chance it will get overlooked but if you need to water down the overwhelming festive cheer then this is exactly the tonic you need.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/pages/valentiine/122326437362?fref=ts


Listen Here/Free Download: https://soundcloud.com/integrityrecords/valentiine-beauty-lies 

Sunday, 21 December 2014

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE - SINGLE REVIEW

Justin Townes Earle - Call Ya Momma (Loose Music) 
Justin Townes Earle - Call Ya Momma

When a man who splits his time between Nashville and New York  tells you to 'Call Ya Momma' you tend to listen up and pay attention. Justin Townes Earle is such a man and his new single is more gentle persuasion than forceful a forceful suggestion. Lazy, late night guitars and some gently shuffling beats underpin the gravelly, slurred vocals of Justin Townes Earle. The beautiful thing is that this song would be great heard on a stoop in the early evening sunshine or chiming out of a blues bar in one of the more bohemian quarters of New York. One tale, two cities.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/justintownesearle?fref=ts

Live Dates:

17th January - Oran Mor, Glasgow
18th January - Caedmon Hall, Gateshead
19th January - Band On The Wall, Manchester
21st January - John Dee, Oslo
23rd January - Sodra Teatern, Stockholm
24th January - Pustervik, Gothenburg
25th January - Kulturbolaget, Malmo
26th January - Gruner Salon, Berlin
28th January - Nochtspeicher, Hamburg
29th January - Paradiso Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam
30th January - De Oosterpoort, Groningen
31st January - Rotown, Rotterdam
1st February - Tivolivredenburg, Utrecht
3rd February - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
4th February - The Glee Club, Nottingham
5th February - The Tunnels, Bristol
6th February - Union Chapel London, London

12th February - Cosmic Charlies, Lexington

ANDREW COMBS - SINGLE REVIEW

Andrew Combs - Foolin' (Loose Music) 
Andrew Combs - Foolin'

Dallas boy Andrew Combs is heading over to tour Europe in 2015 so, as a common courtesy, he's been good enough to send across a new single as a kind of calling card. 'Foolin'' is an undeniably country influenced tune with sunshine tones and a wanderlust at its heart that makes you fall in love with it immediately. Combs has a smooth, suave vocal style that could charm the birds from the trees with a simple croon and the guitars slide and glide all over the melody like a snake hipped cowboy with a glint in the eye. This is alternative country with a sharp edge and if the album is more of the same then its January release is really something to look forward to.





More information: https://www.facebook.com/andrewcombsmusic?ref=ts&fref=ts

Live Dates:

8th January - City Winery, Nashville
18th January - Caedmon Hall, Gateshead
19th January - Band On The Wall, Manchester
21st January - John Dee, Oslo
23rd January - Sodra Teatern, Stockholm
24th January - Pustervik, Gothenburg
25th January - Kulturbolaget, Malmo
26th January - Gruner Salon, Berlin
28th January - Nochtspeicher, Hamburg
29th January - Paradiso Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam
30th January - De Oosterpoort, Groningen
31st January - Rotown, Rotterdam
1st February - Tivolivredenburg, Utrecht
3rd February - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
4th February - The Glee Club, Nottingham
5th February - The Tunnels, Bristol
6th February - Union Chapel London, London
12th February - Cosmic Charlies, Lexington
13th February - Rumba Cafe, Colombus
14th February - Zanzabar, Louisville
19th February - Duling Hall, Jackson
20th February - Bottletree, Birmingham
26th April - Stagecoach Festival, Indio

1st May - Queen of the Prairie Festival, Guthrie

SOUND OF THE SIRENS - SINGLE REVIEW

Sound Of The Sirens - Next Year/Shoelaces 
Sound Of the Sirens - Next Year/Shoelaces

My favourite Exeter based duo, Sound Of The Sirens, are back with a new single in time for Christmas and every copy you guys download raises money for the highly worthy St. Petrock's homeless charity. So even if it's awful  you should download it anyway but let's give it a listen just in case. The A-side, 'Next Year', is a reflective look back and a hopeful look forward set to the trademark acoustic melodies and lush vocal harmonies that Sound Of The Sirens are so good at. The undulating, rolling instrumentation and tune gathers pace and power through increasing percussion and foot stomping. B-side 'Shoelaces' is a slightly more up-tempo number with a rattling guitar, jangling tambourine and impassioned vocal performance that is a beautiful mix of folk, country and pop all wrapped up with a punk spirit. So two great songs released to help bring money and attention to a great charity - you know what you need to do.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/SoundoftheSirens?fref=ts

Listen/Download For Charity: https://soundcloud.com/soundofthesirens/next-year


St Petrock's Homeless Charity: http://stpetrocks.org.uk/ 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

BOUNDLESS BROTHERS - EP REVIEW

Boundless Brothers - Untold EP (Riverfish Music) 
Boundless Brothers - Untold EP

Now regular LWM readers will know that I am adopted son of Cornwall and a Devonian by birth so I'm always keen to champion new music from round this way. The trouble is, there's always the chance the music will be crap no matter where it comes from. So, on receiving the new EP from Penzance quartet there was a mixture of trepidation and excitement in my soul. The five track EP opens with 'Light & Dark', a tune full of Mumford-esque banjo and rich vocal harmonies that make you stop what you're doing and pay attention. The song goes on to go full Mumford on our asses before giving way to 'Broken Bridges' which retains a strong folk element, like Crowns, but with a smoother, more poppy production quality. 'Dance With The Devil' has a more country'n'western feel to it and you can almost see the mocked up barn dance video set that should go along with this complete with pretty girls in cowboy boots and pigtails.

On 'Domino' the band could be mistaken for placing themselves somewhere between Nickleback and Travis which is dangerous territory indeed but given the general vibe of the EP I'm going to let them off with this one. Closing track, 'All Of The Stars', is akin to a rom-com theme tune performed by Semisonic or Crash Test Dummies in an Irish bar in Boston. This last track kind of sums the band up for me in that there are elements that I can entirely get on bored with but there are also parts that make me slightly uncomfortable as they veer a little close to the cheesier side of the musical spectrum. Definitely ones to keep an eye on but not the finished article - and don't ever tell me I'm partisan!

More information: https://www.facebook.com/boundlessbrothers/timeline


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jpO5nPP6Pg&feature=youtu.be 

MARY JOANNA - SINGLE REVIEW

Mary Joanna - Fade (Tired Eyes) 
Mary Joanna - Fade (Tired Eyes)

Manc lass Mary Joanna Coogan has shed her Southern Elektrikk skin and has formed a neat little trio around her voice with the first fruits of this labour being debut single 'Fade (Tired Eyes)'. From the easy, country inspired acoustic guitar to the breathy vocals there is an effortlessness about this tune. Effortlessness in music always makes me feel that the musicians are doing it because they have to let the music out rather than because they want to achieve all the trappings. Coogan's voice has a beautiful lightness to it and when the guitars and drums kick things up a notch you get a real sense of an artist growing in stature in front of your ears. This is great British indie with an American influence behind it all wrapped up in a feeling of regret and longing. Gorgeous.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/MaryJoannaMusic?fref=ts


Listen Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DV7Ki4pR-So&feature=youtu.be 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

DAN MICHAELSON - FREE DOWNLOAD/SINGLE REVIEW

Dan Michaelson - Another Messy Christmas (State 51) 
Dan Michaelson - Another Messy Christmas

The Christmas songs are coming thick and fast now and this one is a particularly sombre affair but there's a certain forlorn beauty to it that's hard to ignore. 'Another Messy  Christmas' opens with a lonely piano melody preparing a bed for Michaelson's croaky, hungover vocal that puts Nick Cave to shame in the grumpy singer stakes. Lyrically, the song takes a look at Christmas from Santa's wife's perspective which, let's face it, is a pretty crappy place to be at Christmas. Beautiful, brief, amusing and with just enough sprinkle of Christmas magic to make it festive. When he sings "I know you're Father Christmas but there's one house that you missed" I don't care who you are, it kinda tugs at the heart strings. So, when you're opening your stockings this year, spare a thought for poor old Mrs Santa.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/danmichaelsonandthecoastguards

Free Download: https://soundcloud.com/danmichaelson/another-messy-christmas


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFUoLV2noRE&feature=youtu.be

ARTHUR WALWIN - SINGLE REVIEW

Arthur Walwin - December Sucks 
Arthur Walwin - December Sucks

 Bit of a conundrum this one: I like Arthur Walwin and I like Christmas but, it seems from this particularly unfestive single, Arthur does not. This new single, a free download by the way, goes by the name 'December Sucks' and it's a West Coast inspired piece of acoustic pop that could easily be a McFly or One Direction tune were it not for the wry lyrics. Bouncy pop rhythms and a bittersweet melody give this a touch of class that suggests 2015 could be the year that Mr Walwin cuts through and breaks in to the pop world on his own terms - not with big label backing or TV talent show exposure, on his own terms. In the meantime, somebody give the boy a cracker and some mistletoe - it's Christmas for the love of God!

More information: https://www.facebook.com/arthurwalwinmusic?fref=ts

Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/arthurwalwin/december-sucks  

Live Dates:


21st December - FestivalALL @ O2 Academy, Islington

Sunday, 14 December 2014

SPACE ADEPT - DEMO REVIEW

Space Adept - Demos 
Space Adept - Demos

Well this is a mysterious one and then some. A couple of tracks from someone under the ambiguous name of Space Adept with no apparent agenda or plan, just a desire to make music and share it with the wider world. The first of the two on offer here is 'Vice Summer' which sounds like a spin of Playstation game but is in fact a perky little electro dance number designed to get you moving and gurning with the best of them. There is a slight sense of the Euro-cheese about this one but that's not necessarily a bad thing and once you get half way through you can just taste the cheaply made cocktails as well as smelling the heady mix of sun lotion and sweat as the synths drop down to build you all the way back up again. The second and more amusingly titled 'Would You Like To Bounce, Senorita?' has a more gentle feel to it initially before a Mediterranean melody is picked out by what sounds like the banjo sound on my first ever Casio keyboard. Neither of these tunes are floor fillers or club errupters but this is definitely moving in the right direction and you certainly wouldn't kill any party if you dropped one of these beasts in to the mix.


More information:  https://twitter.com/gospaceadept 

TIBICAN - SINGLE REVIEW

Tibican - You Say You Wanted More 
Tibican - You Say You Wanted More

Time for a quick jaunt to London to check out the new track from shoegaze indie types Tibican. Going by the name 'You Say You Wanted More', this new piece is an epic show stopper that fills the air with a wall of guitars twisted through delay and distortion until they create a sonic landscape that you just want to ride a flying dragon over. If you like your music loud and with a sense of the unstoppable then these guys are well worth checking out. If you are having a particularly bad day then maybe try checking out one of their live shows and just waiting for the chorus so that you can scream back in to the audio onslaught without a care in the world.


More information: https://www.facebook.com/tibican?fref=ts

BURNING PEACOCKS - EP REVIEW

Burning Peacocks - Burning Peacocks EP (Choke Industry/Night Beach Records) 
Burning Peacocks - Burning Peacocks EP

When you hear that a musician or an artist comes from Paris you instantly expect a certain level of romance and style. With Burning Peacocks, you have to throw in the fact that half of this duo is a model just increase the 'wow' factor before they've even played a note. It's a lot to live up to, though, so I hope they've got some chops or at least a coquettish giggling. This EP opens with 'Games' and instantly we're transported in to a late night Parisian cafe where two impossibly beautiful young people look up from their books and coffee to fall in love in a split second. Lazy guitars, plodding beats and the kind of vocals that are at least 30% honey all mingle to make perfect music for falling in love to. 'Avril' follows next (either a song about the month of April or my oldest friend's mum) and it takes the band in a different direction with cheap, 80s electro melodies accompanied by some spoken word and the kind of style that St Etienne and Dubstar displayed so perfectly.

On 'Questioning The Silence' there is a turn for the sinister but without losing the seductive quality running through the whole EP, a femme fatale quality that can be felt in every guitar note and piano key throughout the song as it sashays across the floor and up to your table. Closing with 'The One'. Alma and David get all cinematic, almost David Lynchian about things but with a tinge of Irish influence in the rhythms and keys. There is way more substance to this music than I had expected but that goes hand in hand with the style and romance that I did expect. Time to fall in love people.


More information: https://www.facebook.com/BurningPeacocks?fref=ts 

SKY VALLEY MISTRESS - EP REVIEW

Sky Valley Mistress - Rival, Hounds & Rebel Sisters (Holy Roller Records) 
Sky Valley Mistress - Rivals, Hounds & Rebel Sisters

Release Date: 15th December 2014

First things first, loving the artwork. Now, the music on this three track EP from Lancashire quartet Sky Valley Mistress deserves our attention and, whether we want to give it or not, it is going to get your attention. Kicking off with 'Smoke Fairy', things get under way with sassy, sexy, kick me in the balls and kiss it better attitude. This is blues inspired rock'n'roll played through Rage Against The Machine amps but with a velvet voiced temptress at the helm shifting things in to fifth gear and heading for the open road. 'Wishbone' swaggers and pouts like an absolute rock Goddess as the slick guitars and loose drums remind me of the first time I heard Reef as an impressionable teenager, treating them like a gateway drug for rock'n'roll on a grander scale. The EP climaxes with 'She Is So' which has a more scuzzed up, garage rock feel that is crying out for a video based around motorbikes, leather, booze and generally spending the day emasculating a load of old bikers like Pink but with balls. Big hairy lady balls. You really need some of this in your life and the effort that's gone in to each tune as well the EP pack, like I say, it deserves your attention.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/skyvalleymistress?fref=ts

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDUFo8wDVkQ&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:

22nd December - The Grand, Clitheroe
17th January - Sanctuary Rock Bar, Burnley
29th January - The Ferret, Preston
31st January - Saith Seren, Wrexham
14th March - The Albion, Bolton
21st March - The Fenton, Leeds
27th March - Rose & Crown, Clitheroe
16th April - The Cinnamon Club, Altrincham

17th April - The Crown Pub, Darwen

MAE KARTHAUSER - ALBUM REVIEW

Mae Karthauser - Atlas 
Mae Karthasuer - Atlas

I've been listening to this album for a couple of months now. In fact, when this album arrived I wasn't a dad and now I am so it's been a little while. The reason I haven't got around to reviewing this is the same reason you buy an amazing pair of shoes and then don't wear them for months - I've been waiting for the right time, the right frame of mind to come over to find the words to do this album by Totnes based Mae Karthauser the justice it so richly deserves. 'Atlas' is an eleven track from an unsigned artist, that's the bottom line, but the subtext is that 'Atlas' is a collection of stories, observations and personal tales of love and loss that has been a lifetime in the making. Today is the day, however, when everything is just right and I might just - just - be able to do this collection justice.

The album opens with the unassumingly titled 'Bill', a tale of a man who lives in the woods and is a potentially misunderstood character told over gentle instrumentation and the soft, inviting voice of Ms Karthauser. 'Little Weasel' is a forlorn story of wanting to keep a small rodent but knowing that it really belongs in the wild - the sort of song that could only be composed by someone who spends a lot of time living in a caravan in the wilds of Devon (I mean, you wouldn't get this from Rhianna or Usher, would you?). On 'Nancy' you are immediately transported in to the unwritten sequel to Amelie with French inspired melodies and gentle, delicate structures that dance around like the last beams of sunlight as night falls. The owl hoots that herald 'Your Name (The Guns)' are a fantastically clever device that set the song firmly in the night time as the organs nudge the melody along subtly until the addition of more voices forces the song to grow, swell and take on a stronger form.

Mae Karthauser - the performer
Karthauser's style is so finely honed and gentile that you'd be forgiven for taking her for a flimsy, soft touch but there is a sharp edge to her mind which, sometimes, gets brandished via her words. 'One Animal' could be mistaken for another song about country wildlife but there is a sharp undercurrent in the words "I don't know one animal who pays to live in England, tell me how we would implement that? Those poor sods ain't got money" which hits at the heart of the immigration phobic mob mentality. The music is so wonderfully theatrical with clunks, whirrs and a sinister fairground melody that says 'get too close and I you might get burnt by the light'. The East European influence of the piano melody on 'The Persian Boy' is an absolute delight to behold as Karthauser sings of the loss of her cat while 'The Last Turn' opens with some seductive, siren-like vocal harmonies that drift out over the coast to soothe the tortured souls of sailors and fishermen alike.

The real source of talent here is that these songs feel almost timeless, like they could have been created at any point in the last 100 years, but the relevance is still there at the heart of the art which draws you closer and closer with every track. The piano on 'My Old Compass', for example, was surely locked in an attic for years until it was wheeled out for this very purposed. 'Hoops Of Fire' is a gypsy tune of sinister delights that create mischief for all to revel in during the night but be warned, your soul might not make it to daybreak. Towards the end we have 'Georgia And The Tiger', which takes on the form of a soft, butterfly-like tune gently flitting around in the sunlight but occasionally it comes too close to your face and startles you causing that rush of adrenalin to your head and heart. The album finishes on 'reprise' which is the soft, heartfelt goodbye you say to your loved one on a train platform before what you know will be a long parting.

I've purposefully kept this away from comparisons as Karthauser is so genuinely unique (and uniquely genuine) that it seems fairly futile as an exercise. What I would say is that if this music can get to the right ears and Karthauser can get on the right stages then this could be the kind of album will eventually become one of those must haves. Then again, I don't think that's the plan so as long as Mae Karthauser is happy and occasionally able to put out an album of this quality then all is well with the world.


More information: https://www.facebook.com/maeandthemidnightfairground?fref=ts

Saturday, 13 December 2014

NATALIE MCCOOL - SINGLE REVIEW

Natalie McCool - Wind Blows Harder (THUMPERS rework) 
Natalie McCool - Wind Blows Harder (Thumpers remix)

It's always tricky coming at a new song and artist via a remix but in this instance it's a mighty fine introduction to remixer and remixee. Liverpudlian chanteuse Natalie McCool's 'Wind Blows Harder' already has a Kate Bush meets Florence Welch vibe to the breathy, desperate vocals but Thumpers seem to have given this a sweetly melodic industrial feel that simultaneously irresistible and frightening. A groaning bass, sporadic synths and the kind of rhythm you might expect from a Willy Wonka assembly line machine all combine to make something cinematic and deliciously dark which you would be hard pushed to not want to wrap your ears around. More from both please.

More information:

Natalie McCool -https://www.facebook.com/nataliemccoolofficial?fref=ts


Thumpers - https://www.facebook.com/thumpersthumpers?fref=ts

VITAMIN - SINGLE REVIEW

Vitamin - Did It For You 
Vitamin - Did It For You

The ever burgeoning Leeds scene has spewed out another talented bunch in the shape of indie-dream-poppers Vitamin. The band's new single, 'Did It For You', is a delightful blend of bouncing Dutch Uncles guitars, MGMT stadium pop and Bombay Bicycle Club indie savvy. Throw in a pulsating bass line, drums that shimmy and a whole suite of ambient electronics and you're getting somewhere close. This is the kind of band that should absolutely nail the festival circuit in the summer of 2015 as this music has British summer written all over it. In fact, if this isn't used as the bed for a  Glastonbury or Wimbledon montage next year then I'll eat my hat (with strawberries and cream, natch).


More information: https://twitter.com/thisisvitamin

MEN WITH VEN - SINGLE REVIEW

Men With Ven - The Worst Christmas Ever 
Men With Ven - The Worst Christmas Ever

So imagine Chas and Dave never gained a level of success they once enjoyed but actually only ever reached the heights of turning on the Christmas lights in Leytonstone whilst creating their own home recordings and music videos from their home studio inside one of their sheds. That's essentially where we're at with Men With Ven as they present their nightmarish, first world problem of a song 'The Worst Christmas Ever'. Essentially, this is 'Vindalloo' with a half hearted children's choir, some moaning about uncle Keith going down the pub and a video that looks like it was created on some software that came free with PC Magazine. It's meant to be a bit of Grumpy-Old-Men, tongue in cheek fun and it kind of works but, personally, I'm still a fan of Christmas so releasing a song specifically to moan about it just doesn't peak my interest or inspire me, I'm afraid.

More information: http://menwithvenuk.tumblr.com/


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEkNX1S54_s&feature=youtu.be

DAVID MORIN - SINGLE REVIEW

David Morin - Life Goes On 
David Morin - Life Goes On

On first viewing, Vancouver artist David Morin could be taken for a bit a douche. The kind of guy who turns up in a good looking US sit com as the new love interest for the lead female character. Something like New Girl. Anyway, looks has nothing to do with music so I'll shut my eyes and carry on. What Morin's new single, 'Life Goes On', actually sounds like is a blend of Bruno Mars, Jack Johnson, Justin Timberlake and a whole host of up tempo, positive pop artists that write songs that sound wonderful cruising around in the sunshine but less good stuck in traffic on a cold, wet night when you just want to be at home. There is slick production, a smooth new soul voice and some intriguingly skittish instrumentation that owes a lot to the funk movement. I'm not sure I could cope with a whole album of this but it's not a bad example of the soul-pop so it has its merits.


More information: https://www.facebook.com/davidmorinmusic?fref=ts

WE FIGHT LIKE KIDS - SINGLE REVIEW

We Fight Like Kids - Tequila Slammer 
We Fight Like Kids - Tequila Slammer

Post-hardcore Midlanders We Fight Like Kids are back with new single 'Tequila Slammer' and a video the documents their touring antics and, dare I say it, shenanigans. The furious riffs, exorcist style vocals piston-like drums are impressive in their own way but there isn't really a melody to write home about until they break out the piano based middle-eight breakdown which is a little bit nu-metal. We Fight Like Kids are the kind of band who will collect a fanatic following as they tour but for me I'm fairly indifferent to this tune so I'll pick something else from the drinks menu.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/WeFightLikeKids


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaHdp1ZiCno&feature=youtu.be 

MAIIANS - SINGLE REVIEW

Maiians - Lemon 
Maiians - Lemon

OK, I don't often say this but when you listen to this track for the first time you have to do it with the video playing as well. This is a music video for the Youtube and You've Been Framed Generations featuring some amazing clips that all work superbly with the music so it just adds something truly special to the mix. From Japanese bassists in drag and keyboard playing doges to a funky Walrus and a man blowing in to a chair - it's got it all. Which is good, really, because this new single from Oxford collective Maiians, 'Lemon', is a funky, jazz infused seven minutes of electro nutsiness that you should get your ears around pronto. Slick bass, fluttering keys, drums that make you want to move and the feeling of genuine inventiveness all combine to make something truly engaging and enthralling. A little bit of Lemon Jelly, a smidge of Gilbert and you're getting there but this is very much an original experience and one to be enjoyed.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/wearemaiians?fref=ts

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3g2xiTrJQs

Live Dates:


19th January - Sebright Arms, London

LOVE BUZZARD - SINGLE REVIEW

Love Buzzard - Give It Some Range (Fluffer Records) 
Love Buzzard - Give It Some Range

Take two gents - one from Leeds and one from Guildford; call them Kevin and All; throw in an awful lot of hair; sprinkle liberally with sweat and then turn the amps up to 11. I think that's basically the premise upon which duo Love Buzzard was built. The speed garage punk'n'roll of new single 'Give It Some Range' is 105 seconds of leering, screeching, feedback soaked fun that blasts through your eardrums like an out of control flatbed truck ploughing through the wall of your living room on a Friday evening. Something tells me that these guys are going to be making the walls sweat in venues up and down the UK in 2015 - and it wouldn't surprise me if 9 months from each show, the corresponding town has something of a mini baby boom. Starting with Leeds....

More information: https://www.facebook.com/LoveBuzzard?fref=ts

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h86AUEXYBSw

Live Dates:

20th December - Wharf Chambers, Leeds

16th January - The Finsbury, London w/Night Jars

FICTION - SINGLE REVIEW

Fiction - Staying Still (Vaguely Pagan) 
Fiction - Staying Still

Release Date: 15th December 2014

Throw open your curtains, welcome in the winter sun and have a dance around in your dressing gown and big socks. This isn't just general advice, this is what will happen if you give the new single from London indie-poppers Fiction a spin today. 'Staying Still' blends so many wonderful influences that it's hard to know where to start but if you're a fan of the Killers, Kraftwerk, Elbow, Depeche Mode, Sparks, Young Knives, Talking Heads or the Flaming Lips then these guys will certainly float your boat. Stylish, arty synths swagger along while the percussion clicks and the guitars shudder allowing for some classy, suave vocals to lay thickly over the top. Now go get those curtains opened up......and dance!


More information: https://www.facebook.com/FictionLondon

Monday, 8 December 2014

ROYCE WOOD JUNIOR - SINGLE REVIEW

Royce Wood Junior - Rover (37 Adventures) 
Royce Wood Junior - Rover

For starters, great name. Royce Wood Junior looks like it would be an anagram of something fantastic but in this case it's just the name of a funky dude from London town. 'Rover' is the new single a late night, low lit, slow burner just primed for making your move on the object of your desires. Take a twist of 80s pop soul, some 90s beats and a put a modern slant on things as well as some neon lighting behind your cocktail glass and Royce your uncle. Layered across the top is a voice full of gentle soul and organic sweetness fed through some mild auto-tune which makes for the perfect accompaniment - like silk sheets and an open fire, some things just go well together.


More information: https://www.facebook.com/RoyceWoodJunior?fref=ts

HARDACTORS - SINGLE REVIEW

Hardactors - Half Moon Eyes (Ee Music) 
Hardactors - Half Moon Eyes

Release Date: 8th December 2014

Taken from the fortchoming Bloom EP, new single 'Half Moon Eyes' from Suffolk/Essex boys and comes along with nice shiny video as part of the deal. The song starts off with a moodiness that Keane would be proud of but then builds in to something more epic and stadium sized despite the understated class of the music. Sparse percussion underpins soaring guitars, well placed synth and a bouncing bassline to create a savvy, classy, suave piece of indie pop that is way more polished than it ought to be given the band's tender years. Throw in a dark streak running through the middle of the tune like fat through a juicy steak and you have the kind of tune that will surely get picked up and spun around the globe if there is any justice in the world. Hardactors are a hard act to follow - just getting that in before any other bloggers/journos pick up on the vague pun.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/hardactors?fref=ts

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw40QYOaKQ4

Live Dates:

9th December - The George IV, London
18th December - MaDa Presents @ Proud Camden, London
17th December - Hunter Club, Bury St Edmunds w/ You The Living + Voter Kernel

20th February - The Junction J1, Cambridge w/Cathedrals & Cars + The Mojo Slide + Meet Me At Dawn + Fix

LISA STANSFIELD - SINGLE REVIEW

Lisa Stansfield - There Goes My Heart (Monkeynatra Records) 
Lisa Stansfield - There Goes My Heart

Release Date: 8th December 2014

For those who don't remember Lisa Stansfield, she was the one who spent much of the 80s going around the world trying to find her baby. As I understand it, she still hasn't located her child who is probably in his/her 30s by now. Tragic story. Anyway, never one to be held back, Stansfield is back with a new album and a new single in the shape of 'There Goes My Heart'. Musically, we're talking about Brand New Heavies, Sophie Ellis-Bexter or latter day Kylie and it's prime Radio 2 material. But what Stansfield does well is to infuse a soul and humour in to her pop music which the endless conveyor belt improbably named, vacuous, blonde pop strumpets can only dream of. This probably won't trouble the charts but there are a legion of loyal fans that won't care a jot and will still follow Ms Stansfield to the ends of the earth. Do let her know if you find her baby though.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/lisastansfieldofficial?fref=ts


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaYfb8r8U98&feature=youtu.be

Saturday, 6 December 2014

KALANDRA - SINGLE REVIEW

Kalandra - Across The Sea 
Kalandra - Across The Sea

So, let me get this straight. This is a part Norwegian, part British six piece that is based in Liverpool and who recorded their new in Liverpool's specifically Scandinavian Church. OK, I'm intrigued. 'Across The Sea' is the latest offering from this bunch and it begins as a gentle, light folk number before taking on some more ominous tones in the background. This is a real lament to be played out around the coast whenever a loved one is lost at sea and the storm has long since passed. Elements of First Aid Kit, Sound Of The Sirens and Avert Francis can be heard as gorgeous vocal harmonies and rippling guitar notes are punctuated only by the occasional percussive boom. As the candle is blown out at the end of the video you can't help but feel there is more behind this song than merely telling a story. Beautifully heartfelt and sublimely beautiful.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/Kalandramusic?fref=ts


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOEwxlV_UxY

THE GARDEN - SINGLE REVIEW

The Garden - Surprise (LuvLuvLuv) 
The Garden - Surprise

Release Date: 8th December 2014

The Garden are the kind of duo that seem to get everyone exited in 'the biz' but, being a lover of the underdog, that always makes me suspicious of whether or not they as good as all the hype. The only way to find out is to actually listen, I suppose, but I'm sceptical. 'Surprise' is a bass and drums garage romp through the suburbs at night with some reverb and the kind of vocal effects that were huge in the 80s but haven't seen the light of day since then. The energy is infectious, that's undeniable, and the fact that the track in its entirety lasts just 95 seconds is something to be applauded in a time when bands think a 6 minute single is a good idea. I might reserve judgement until I've heard some more though as on the evidence of this these guys could be the best of a bad bunch or cream of the crop - it's hard to tell.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/TheGardenVadaVada?fref=ts

Live Dates:

9th December - Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
10th December - Louisiana, Bristol
11th December - Single Launch @ Boston Arms, London
20th March - The Institute, Birmingham w/Warpaint
22nd March - The Albert Hall, w/Warpaint
24th March - ABC, Glasgow w/Warpaint
25th March - The Sage, Gateshead w/Warpaint

26th March - Hammersmith Apolli, London w/Warpaint 

TIO - SINGLE REVIEW

TIO - Lips Like Wine 
TIO - Lips Like Wine

I'm not sure that the concept of lips being like wine is supposed to evoke images of an intoxicating character or it's a suggestion of generally being a bit wet and alcoholic. It's probably best that I listen to the song but I always like to pause to consider what I'm about to experience before hitting that play button. 'Lips Like Wine' is the new single from Toronto trio TIO and starts off like a gentle acoustic meander but soon develops in a stomping, sultry electro tune with downbeat vocals and some Twin Peaks inspired synth sounds. There are elements of Lemon Jelly, Gilbert and a less aggressive Depeche Mode about this single and as the melodies ripple in and out of earshot it's hard not to just lie back and let this wash over you. Blissful stuff.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/pages/TIO/724149761001062


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYxO8cekGjI&feature=youtu.be 

ELASTIC SLEEP - SINGLE REVIEW

Elastic Sleep - Slip (FIFA Records/Big Tea Records) 
Elastic Sleep - Slip 

I love this track but it terrifies me at the same time so I am writing this review from behind the sofa and under a large blanket with a torch. Irish quintet Elastic Sleep have obviously feasted on a diet of Breeders, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, Veruca Salt, Belly and suspense filled horror films which has created a unique sound that is perfectly depicted in new single 'Slip'. This is the kind of tune I would have woken up to having fallen asleep with John Peel whispering in my ears only to make me thoroughly freaked out. Haunting vocals, throbbing bass, ominously thudding drums and squalling guitars all mingle like a nightmarish lullaby before the occasional bursts of terror personified through sheer noise. This is the musical equivalent of the sweet little girl singing in the garden who, on closer inspection, has black eyes and blood spattered hands. Now bring me a sandwich and don't you dare turn the lights off!

More information: https://www.facebook.com/elasticsleepband?fref=ts


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfUqmyOZw5c 

BAYWAVES - SINGLE REVIEW

Baywaves - The Freak Kingdom 
Baywaves - The Freak Kingdom

Once a duo but now a quartet, Baywaves hail from Spain and plough a fine furrow in dreamy, spaced out, retro indie-pop. New single 'The Freak Kingdom' is a delightful aural watercolour masterpiece of blended colours, washes and trickling organs that fills the air and all of your senses at once. I don't want to use the laziest of all journalistic clichés but for once I can genuinely say that these guys sound like Vampire Weekend or the Dandy Warhols on acid - which is really saying something considering both of those bands were probably on acid in the first place. A Shatner-esque spoken word middle eight completes the tapestry and you're left wondering what just happened and why you've never let it happen to you before.


More information: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Baywaves/360037587436109?ref=ts&fref=ts

THE BAD YEARS - SINGLE REVIEW

The Bad Years - Common Mistake 
The Bad Years - Common Mistake

LA duo The Bad Years have a new single for your attention and if you're a fan of Dubstar, St Etienne, Goldfrapp or Everything But The Girl then you are more than likely going to fall head over heels for these guys. 'Common Mistake' is fresh, poppy and light, there's no denying that, but there is a dark heart to this music evidenced by the deep, grimy synth notes and vocalist Sami Akbari's forlorn tones which have an almost dreamy French quality to them. I have to admit, this is not the kind of music I expected to come out of Lala Land but the substance more than matches the style here so this gets my seal of approval.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/thebadyears


Listen Here: http://www.badyears.com/ 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

PELUCHE - SINGLE REVIEW

Peluché - Ohio (RIP Records) 
Peluché - Ohio

London ladies Peluché (roughly translated as soft toy or bit of fluff) have a new single for your ears in the shape 'Ohio'. This four and a half minute offering from the trio starts off with a gorgeously Paul Simon in the 80s bass line layered up with the pop nous of the Noisettes and Laura Mvula and the scratchy, indie guitars of early Arctic Monkeys or a young Strokes. Throw in some gorgeous vocal harmonies and a cheeky sense of child-like fun and you have a genuinely refreshing and entertaining indie-pop single that doesn't take itself too seriously which was at the top of my Christmas list so I'm a happy boy. It's kinda like Bananarama but with guitars and better percussion.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/pelucheband?fref=ts

Live Dates:

10th December - Concorde 2, Brighton
11th December - The Fleece, Bristol
12th December - The Laundry, London
18th December - Stroud Valley Artspace, Stroud

STEPHEN EMMER & JULIAN LENNON - SINGLE REVIEW

Stephen Emmer & Julian Lennon - Sleep For England (X-Mas Version) [Electric Fairytale
Stephen Emmer & Julian Lennon - Sleep For England
Recordings]

Release Date: 15th December 2014

Stop. Emmer time. Sorry, couldn't resist. Anyhow, unlikely baggy pants aside, this festive single from LWM favourite Stephen Emmer features Julian Lennon and goes by the name of 'Sleep For England'. At first listen it isn't the most instantly festive song but as you let things wash over you there is a certain wintry calm to the tune which conjures up images of a snowy day as seen through small cottage windows. The swelling melodies are further embellished by, yes, you guessed it, a children's choir as the low toned vocals sing soporifically of sleep. This, I've decided, is the new anthem for Christmas afternoon when bellies are full and the fire is roaring. Bravo gents, now pass the port.

More information:

Stephen Emmer - https://www.facebook.com/stephenemmerofficial?fref=ts


Julian Lennon - https://www.facebook.com/julianlennonofficial?fref=ts

BETTY WHO - EP REVIEW

Betty Who - Convertible Nights 
Betty Who - Convertible Nights

If I told you Betty Who was a svelte Aussie pop princess peddling uplifting melodies full of fun and sass you'd probably tell me that we've already got one of those and to jog on. But hold on there, soldier, this is no Kylie copyist. No, Betty Who is more 21st century and has taken her influences from a more modern source. Take 'All Of You', for instance, which opens the EP and is full of Katy Perry's energy and Ellie Goulding's breathless vocals. 'Alone Again' is more wistful and while still retaining the Perry influence there is something more Robyn-esque about this one. Then comes 'Runaways' which has a throbbing, seductive bass line and a sense of mischief that will have teenage girls singing along in shared defiance while middle aged women sing along in bars across the world, finding their escape in the bottom of a wine glass - it's a Friday night anthem in the making. The final track in this collection is, ironically, called 'Lovin Start' and is a delight in backwards electro-soul with the odd 80s influence in the guitars but otherwise a thoroughly modern feel. All in all, Betty Who presents a light, refreshing pop alternative with an occasional dark edge - perfect.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/bettywhomusic?fref=ts


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

THE VULTURES - SINGLE REVIEW

The Vultures - Cancer (Ciao Ketupe Recordings) 
The Vultures - Cancer

Release Date: 8th December 2014

Any band who list their influences as Serge Gainsbourg, Scott Walker, Blondie, Pixies and Bjork have got to be worth a listen, right? Well these boys have picked out this holy quintet of musical reference points like ingredients on Ready Steady Cook so let's see what they cook up. New single 'Cancer' is predictably a dramatic and sinister affair, given the influences, with a near spoken word vocal and strung out string sound that is the very essence of frayed nerves. There is an edginess, a strung-out sense of having been awake for three days straight to this tune that puts you ill at ease but that's what music is all about - challenging the senses. This isn't an easy listen or a party tune but The Vultures are pushing the edges of music to see what they can find out there and for that these guys should be applauded and encouraged. Encore.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/thevulturesuk?fref=ts

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uihp883sWpM&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:


12th December - The Monarch, London

THE BANDICOOTS - SINGLE REVIEW

The Bandicoots - Just After Dark 
The Bandicoots - Just After Dark

Hamilton boys The Bandicoots are the latest Canadian band to make their way over to my ear holes with their debut single 'Just After Dark'. From the word go you can tell that these guys have been listening to an awful lot of Arctic Monkeys material and possibly a bit of Gogol Bordello which makes for a catch and compelling mix. The slinky, swaggering guitars are full of greased back hair and gold jackets while the drums skip and flutter like a jazz percussionist having a go at punk. For a debut song this is pretty strong but there is more to come from these guys and my one word of advice would be that four minutes and thirty eight seconds is a little long for this style of song. Compelling stuff, though, and yet another Canadian band worth keeping an eye on.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/TheBandicootsMusic

Listen/Download Here: http://thebandicoots.bandcamp.com/


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFr6NK_BB1Y&feature=youtu.be

NARCS - SINGLE REVIEW

NARCS - RHS (Clue Records) 
NARCS - RHS

The Clue Records roster has been pretty strong recently and Leeds boys Allusondrugs have been getting a huge amount of well deserved attention. For me, though, it is label mates and fellow Leeds chaps NARCS that are the stronger band  on the label and, perhaps, one of the best new bands coming out of the UK right now. New single 'RHS' is out now and it starts like agitated man hammering up plaster board having punched a hole in the wall during the previous evening's drunken stupor. When the sleazy guitars and rumbling bass join in the full scale of this rock behemoth is suddenly apparent so all it needs is a charismatic and melodic vocal - step up, Wilko. As rock tunes go this is a beast full of dark spirits, malevolent mischief and moments of full on, balls to the wall, bag of nails down the throat, sweating eyeballs power that fans of Rage Against The Machine and Reuben will adore. Oh, and if that weren't enough for a free download (you lucky bleeders) there's also a free B-side in the shape of 'Bridge' which is, initially, a mellower affair with pinched acoustic notes and atmospheric tones. Nevertheless, the intensity builds, the frustration grows and the agitation spills over in to an heroically epic speedball ending full of thunderous drums and the kind of guitars that only those possessed by the spirit of rock'n'roll could create. This is an immense single and the fact that it's being given away for free suggests these guys know they've got more in their locker for 2015. You heard it here first. Possibly.   

More information: https://www.facebook.com/NARCSband?fref=ts

Listen Here/Free Download: https://soundcloud.com/narcsband/sets/rhs/s-Xwk9Q

Live Dates:

21st February - Puzzle Hall, Sowerby Bridge

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

JINNWOO - SINGLE REVIEW

Jinnwoo feat. Malcolm Middleton & Weikie- I Am,  I Am, The World's Oldest Man 
Jinnwoo - I Am, I Am, The World's Oldest Man

Brighton musician Jinnwoo has been hovering around the edges of popularity for a while now, like the nervous guy at a house party who eats all the twiglets before being sick in the sink. This new single, the marvellously titled 'I Am, I Am, The World's Oldest Man', sees the Brightonian team up with Arab Strap man Malcolm Middleton and Her Name Is Calla chap Weikie for a bit of a knees up. However, given the folk involved, this kind of knees up is morbid, sinister and existing solely in the shadow in the corner behind the chair that is inexplicably placed two feet from the wall. Dark guitars move cyclically atop dramatic percussion and plucked notes while Jinnwoo's voice crawls along the floor and up your trouser legs like some kind of snake-spider hybrid. It doesn't make for comfortable listening and I certainly wouldn't recommend listening to this before you go to bed but it's definitely worth challenging yourself with.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/Jinnwoo?fref=ts


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIjDROU5gN0&feature=youtu.be

HEY, SLEEPER - SINGLE REVIEW

Hey, Sleeper - This Doubt 
Hey, Sleeper - The Doubt

Hey, Sleeper hails from Berkshire and the warmth of the music created by this mysterious artist is evident from the very beginning of this single. 'This Doubt' is a forlorn tale of love and loss but the rich, velvety tones of the acoustic riff blend perfectly with the gentle, intimate vocal stylings of Luke Roberts - the brains of the operation. This is music for comforting a friend to or music for sitting on a porch and slowly drinking whisky to as you think back over what happened during a particularly hard day. The purity and honesty of this tune is refreshing, almost cleansing and I reckon they should pop it on the NHS as a prescriptionable drug.


More information: https://www.facebook.com/heysleeper

HUNCK - SINGLE REVIEW

Hunck - Something Missing 
Hunck - Something Missing

This North London beat combo has taken to releasing music on cassette which borders on the pointless/hipster but, as a kid who grew up with a box of mixtapes and C90s, I still hold a great deal of affection for the medium so I'm going to overlook that. This newest single, 'Something Missing', is a moody, almost sullen piece of indie glamour that chugs and shuffles along without any real sense of purpose but, sometimes, that's all of us isn't it? The Wayne Coyne-esque vocals mix with musicianship akin to Blur at their most stoned  and it's accompanied by a video of a man dressed as the cat one out of Kiss on his day off. Not for everyone, sure, but there is a morose charm to this so 
it's worth giving a listen before the giddyness of Christmas overtakes you.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/HUNCKband

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhkWxHhxUz4

4th December - The Finsbury, London
14th December - Alley Cat Bar & Club, London

24th January - Hoxton Underbelly , London