Thursday, 29 January 2015

CALLUM PICKARD AND THE THIRD LOOK - SINGLE REVIEW

Callum Pickard And The Third Look - Lonely Boy And Girl
Callum Pickard And The Third Look - Lonely Boy And Girl

OK, this is a bit bonkers and is one of those tunes that is best enjoyed while watching the video. Midlander Callum Pickard and his troupe of musicians the Third Look start off 'Lonely Boy And Girl' with a bass line straight from a Drifters song, some 'Baker Street' sax, a shuffling beat and dreamy guitars straight out of the Swim Deep school of thought. Pickard's vocals are dreamy and distracted but with the irritability of a stoner who knows he has something really important to do but who can't remember what it is and who wouldn't have the energy to do it even if he could remember. After a few listens this is strangely addictive and I can see myself looping this over and over again the next time I'm having a down day. Oh, and it's all set to old black and white movie clips which, well, works. I don't know why or how but it just works. Go figure.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QxF77Exsho

Live Dates:

6th February - Ditch The TV, Coventry w/ Carrick + The Homeless Notes
29th March - Sunplugged, Birmingham w/Sam Martin

VAST ROBOT ARMIES - SINGLE REVIEW

Vast Robot Armies - Everything New Is Old Again/Foxtrot 
Vast Robot Armies - Everything New Is Old Again/Foxtrot

I try not to be a judging person but if I go to someone's house that I've never visited before I always try to take a quick scan of the CD collection just to see what I'm dealing with. I remember a date that got truncated upon seeing the first three CDs on a girl's shelf were a Mariah Carey album, the best of Celine Dion and the soundtrack from Titanic. So, when I saw that Toronto band Vast Robot Armies listed their influences to include the likes of ELO, Supertramp, Van Halen, Fugazi and Doves I was, to say the least, intrigued.

The first of these two tracks, 'Everything New Is Old Again', starts off with some slightly moody synth sounds before the guitars emerge like a sunrise and then the drums, vocals and bass all crash in at once. This is real wall of sound stuff but with woozy, almost drunk sounding melodies twisting out of the corner of your eye and in to full, Technicolor view. 'Foxtrot', being the other track, is more of a trad indie affair with a foot stomping melody evoking memories of the La's, the jangle of the Beatles and the Seahorses at their brief best. I can imagine having a cracking time at a Vast Robot Armies gig and I get the impression they're thoroughly good fun to be around as well. The full package, then.


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

YOU WIN AGAIN GRAVITY - SINGLE REVIEW

You Win Again Gravity - Skyline 
You Win Again Gravity - Skyline

If you're in the market for a bit of progressive post-hardcore math rock from Queen Elizabeth II's back garden then you're in luck. The marvellously named You Win Again Gravity have a new single for you under the title 'Skyline' and a video to boot. Things start atmospherically enough but the bursts of rapid drumming give a hint at what is to come. Sure enough, razor sharp choppy riffs and razor gargled vocals come crashing in and the band's disregard for time signatures or a traditional melody are apparent for all to see. I have to admit to feeling a little numb to this at first but as the four and a half minute track unfolds there are new and exciting complexities to be found that keep you hooked. They get pretty close to the genius of Reuben but they just lack that wry humour to tip the over the edge although the video is beautifully dark so that helps.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7A09aIn110

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

RANGLEKLODS - SINGLE REVIEW

Rangleklods - Lost U (Tambourhinoceros) 
Rangleklods - Lost U

Now, here we have a band who knew what they were doing when they were picking a name. I don't know if it means something in their native Danish tongue but either way the word Rangleklods is a hugely satisfying word to say. Rangleklods. Rangleklods. Try it, let it roll around your mouth a little. Rangleklods. Anyway, I digress, 'Lost U' is the new single from the duo is a juddering, skittish beast with galloping beats, 90s keyboard sounds and seductive disco vocals. There is a sexiness to this song that I find appealing but it is the mix of different generations of genre that really makes this a track worth checking out. That and the name. Rangleklods. Sorry, I won't say it again.......Rangleklods.

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

Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/rangleklods/lost-u-album

Live Dates:

27th March - Train, Aarhus
2nd April - Pitstop, Kolding
3rd April - Skraaem, Aalborg
4th April - Pumphuset, Copenhagen

9th May - Kulturmaskinen, Odense 

GREGORY PORTER FEAT. LAURA MVULA - SINGLE REVIEW

Gregory Porter Feat. Laura Mvula - Water Under Bridges 
Gregory Porter feat. Laura Mvula - Water Under Bridges

Two of the best voices of recent years combine on this single to make beautiful music together. 'Water Under Bridges' is a laid-back, soulful affair built on a simple beat and a melody like rain against a window on a Sunday afternoon. Porter and Mvula's voices complement each other perfectly like vanilla ice cream with hot chocolate pudding or whisky on ice cubes. There is a slightly odd moment when they break in to a round of 'London Bridge Is Falling Down' but you almost don't notice, such is the sublime and smooth combination of vocal talents. Timeless and gorgeous.

More information:

Gregory Porter - https://www.facebook.com/gregoryportermusic?fref=ts

Laura Mvula - https://www.facebook.com/lauramvulamusic?fref=ts

Watch The Lyric Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El9Rgph5ICs

Live Dates:  

Gregory Porter;

14th February - The Town Hall, New York

13th May - Southport Theatre & Convention Centre, Southport

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

MAT HUNSLEY - DEMO REVIEW

Mat Hunsley - Ballroom (Demo) 
Mat Hunsley - Ballroom

North Eastern folk troubadour has emerged briefly from his winter hibernation to give us another taste of his subdued brilliance so listen up but don't make a sound lest we scare him back in to his shack. 'Ballroom' is the latest tune to be released by our understated hero and some gentle acoustic notes, eased piano chords and warmly enveloping strings all swirl together to make a gorgeous, soft bed of music to collapse in to. Hunsley's voice is so rich, smooth and comforting that you want to melt cheese on it and eat it straight out of the pan as he sings of epic heartache on a grander scale than most people could ever fathom. Simply stunning.

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

Live Dates:


29th January - The Cluny, Newcastle w/Trev Gibb

RACHEL LYNN - SINGLE REVIEW

Rachel Lynn - Tend To The Flame 
Rachel Lynn - Tend To The Flame

Rachel Lynn is a Brooklyn girl with a nose ring and a soulful voice that would seduce a priest. Free Download 'Tend To The Flame' is a sultry almost raunchy song that finds Lynn imploring her lover to build her a fire for her to tend to. There is passion and range to Lynn's voice that is hard to ignore and her performance in the video suggests someone who has a future as a live performer as well as a studio artist. Musically, however, the backing track puts me in mind of a mediocre Carols Santana tribute band playing in a half empty hotel bar on a Wednesday night right after the buffet has closed. Everybody needs a leg up once in a while but Rachel Lynn might be better to strike out alone and let her voice speak for itself.

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

Free Download: http://hangout.altsounds.com/features/168062-altsounds-exclusive-free-download-rachel-lynn-tend.html


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dohMGdzky4&feature=youtu.be

TAMARA WILLIAMSON - SINGLE REVIEW

Tamara Williamson - Victoria 
Tamara Williamson - Victoria

I love a song with a story or a message and this one has both in spades. Ontario resident Tamara Williamson brings us new single 'Victoria' which was inspired by the story of a woman discovering that she had been raised by her childhood abductors. The tune itself is a moody, atmospheric number in the ballpark of Anna Calvi, PJ Harvey and Beth Orton with an ominous thudding beat underpinning some meandering melodies. This is beautiful, haunting music with layers that reveal themselves to you more and more with every listen which is a rare thing to be treasured in music these days. A rare thing indeed.

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


Amnesty International: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/ 

Monday, 26 January 2015

JENNIFER DAVIES - SINGLE REVIEW

Jennifer Davies - Disconnected (STUDIIO) 
Jennifer Davies - Disconnected

Release Date: Out Now

Jennifer Davies may not be the most superstar sounding moniker but then neither was Shirley Bassey or Cerys Matthews and look what happened to them. Liverpudlian pop pretender has a new single and video for you under the title 'Disconnected' and boy is it a stylish affair. Buzzsaw guitars, rippling synths, a pounding beat and the kind of energy that you might expect from Kim Wilde singing with the Ting Tings all combine to make this a thoroughly impressive tune. This is edgy, alt-pop that has retained a sense of fun despite the social commentary in the lyrics and uber-stylish video. Davies has real star quality and you can see why she didn't adopt a stage name - she simply doesn't need to. Take her as you find her and let yourself get swept away in pop tsunami that is Jennifer Davies. Superb video too.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJU41LYGWjA&feature=youtu.be


MORIATY - SINGLE REVIEW

Moriaty - Bones 
Moriaty - Bones

Release Date: 26th January 2015

Not content with releasing one of the best albums of 2014 as their debut offering, Devon duo Moriaty are hitting 2015 running with new single 'Bones' coming out before January has even finished. And not only that, they've only gone and roped in one of the best bassists of all time to play on it - fellow Devonian Muse's Chris Wolstenholme.  'Bones' is a grinding, relentlessly grooving and punchy number that continues the blues infused rock theme that the band had set up for themselves on their debut album. The drumming is sharp, the guitars sleazy and Wolstenholme is a necessary addition to give the track additional level of sleaze which is one of the bands best qualities. Comparisons will be drawn with the Black Keys and White Stripes for reasons of style and number of members but what Moriaty do better than either of these is add a more modern, stylish twist to proceedings. Oh, and then there's the video which features three musicians jamming out in a boxing ring, boxers trying to punch as hard as the tune does (and failing) and spats. Gotta love spats in a boxing ring. Belter of a tune, belter of a band - watch out 2015, they're coming for you.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjaDME2wcvs

Live Dates:

13th February - 13th Note, Glasgow
14th February - Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh
17th February - The Nest, Bath
18th February - Dublin Castle, London
20th February - The Golden Lion, Bristol

21st February - Mermaid Inn, Newquay

Sunday, 25 January 2015

SKARLETT RIOT - SINGLE REVIEW

Skarlett Riot - Rising 
Skarlett Riot - Rising

Scunthorpe female fronted quartet Skarlett Riot have a powerful sound and if you like your rock fast, furious and melodic then you're bound to get on with this one. New single 'Rising' has a huge, chugging riff at its core which is relentlessly pummelled by the almost machine-like drumming featuring some heavy cymbal bell action. Now, all this industry is fine on its own but if you pour in the smooth but strong voice of frontwoman Skarlett then you have got the oil that keeps the machine flowing and hurtling ominously towards certain explosion. All the ingredients of a huge rock song are here with enough edge to work in the UK and enough slickness to work in the US so expect these guys to break out of Scunthorpe and head for new heights.

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

Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/pluggin-baby/skarlett-riot-rising-1

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxBxe0KSgqA&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:

19th February - Corn Exchange,  Cambridge
20th February - Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
21st February - Academy 3, Manchester
22nd February - Joiners, Southampton

14th March - O2 Academy, Islington w/Kamelot

Saturday, 24 January 2015

SHANNON WARDROP - SINGLE REVIEW

Shannon Wardrop - I Wanna Be Your Lady 
Shannon Wardrop - I Wanna Be Your Lady

There are literally hundreds of female singer-songwriters on the scene at the moment. So many that I sometimes wonder if they are just roaming the streets with tousled hair, a guitar and a pair of brown leather shoes. Shannon Wardrop is the next one of these to walk around the street corner but the Maidenhead maid has something different about her and 'I Wanna Be Your Lady' is the perfect example of just how she stands out from the crowd. The free download is knee deep in influences but Wardrop has been stomping so hard that they're indistinguishable from one another. I detect some Sheryl Crow and Aimee Mann in the vocal delivery, some Belly in the drum sounds and some Violent Femmes and Indigo Girls in the guitar qualities. However, it is the laid back influence of the 60s and 70s that you really don't expect. From West Coast freak outs to the influences of Indian music brought to Western ears by the Beatles et al, Wardrop has clearly grown up in a house with an outstanding record collection and we are all now reaping the rewards.

More information: http://www.shannonwardrop.com/

Listen/Free Download: https://shannonwardrop.bandcamp.com/track/i-wanna-be-your-lady

Live Dates:


1st February - Old Queen's Head, London

GENGAHR - SINGLE REVIEW

Gengahr - She's A Witch (Transgressive Records)
Gengahr - She's A Witch

As these guys are about to hit the road with Alt-J and Wolf Alice you can see entirely why they have been matched up with these artists for a tour. 'She's A Witch' gallops along at an urgent pace but without ever losing composure or breaking a sweat, oozing class from every pour. As the guitars intermittently clash and slide, the bass throbs like an engine waiting at a red light and the rhythm skips along without a care in the world. Vocally, there's a fine line between impressively high pitched and downright creepy but Gengahr fall down on the Everything Everything and Alt-J side of things which is just fine and dandy by my. Keep this one in your back pocket and break it out whenever the sun comes out.

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

Live Dates:

3rd February - Brussels Forest National, Belgium
4th February - Zenith, Paris
5th February - Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam
7th February - Stadhalle, Offenbach
8th February - Palladium, Cologne
9th February - Sporthalle, Hamburg
11th February - Columbiahalle, Berlin
13th February - Eishalle Duetweg, Winterhur
14th February - Forum, Milan
16th February - Gasometer, Vienna
17th February - Zenith, Munich
19th February - Tap 1, Copenhagen
20th February - Munchen Brewery, Stockholm
21st February - Spektrum, Oslo
25th February - The Eagle Inn, Manchester

26th February - The Waiting Room, London

Thursday, 22 January 2015

KIT - SINGLE REVIEW

Kit - No Mercy 
Kit - No Mercy

I have to admit to seeing Kit (Kit Walters to give him his full name) and thinking "he looks like a bit of a ponce". And then 'No Mercy' kicks and boy did my preconceptions get blown out of the window like a car passenger without a seat belt during a head on collision. This single might only be two minutes long but it starts like Johnny Cash singing a funeral lament in a cold, dark prison cell as Kit's treacle thick voice breathes out from the shadows with only the clank of a tambourine (or is that shackles) for company. Half way through the song kicks in to life and takes the form of a blues infused rock'n'roll stomper that smells of leather, grease, burnt matches and whiskey breath. Finally, we have an American who understands rock'n'roll again. Worth waiting for.

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

Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/kitwaltersmusic

Live Dates:


27th February - The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn w/Manic Pixi + People At Parties

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

BROOKLYN DORAN - SINGLE REVIEW

Brooklyn Doran - There's A Light On (Kitchen Song) 
Brooklyn Doran - There's A Light On (Kitchen Song)

Let's face it, as names go for a Canadian folk singer, Brooklyn Doran is a strong start. Now let's hear what she's got to say about life, shall we? 'There's A Light On' is towards the jazzier end of the folk spectrum with shuffling drums, a jaunty bass line and skittish guitars all mingling with one another like sexually charged teenagers at a barn dance. Doran's voice is light, sweet and full of a sense of mischief that you can't help but be enchanted by. This is absolutely delightful stuff in the vein of 6 Day Riot or Michelle Shocked at her more playful so come get yourself a hatful.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1-YwiJL4tQ

Live Dates:


23rd January - Lee's Palace, Toronto w/The Control Room + Aviation

PHONOGRAPHICS - SINGLE REVIEW

Phonographics - Too Alike 
Phonographics - Too Alike

Stockholm based quartet Phonographics have a hotly anticipated new single coming out for your enjoyment. You want some? Well alright. 'Too Alike' is a dreamy, shuffling piece of indie with a sparse melody and downbeat vocals. With a little bit of the Smiths and New Order mixed in with some Sebadoh and Lemonheads, this is introspective stuff with an element of shoegaze about it but there is still an uplifting quality to the gently relentless guitar melodies. This is one of those songs that improves with repeated listens and might be an acquired taste but it's a taste worth acquiring.


Monday, 19 January 2015

THE ECHO FIELD - SINGLE REVIEW

The Echo Field - Watch Your Step (100 Songs) 
The Echo Field - Watch Your Step

Release Date: 23rd January 2015

It's a Monday and already I've had a hell of a week so I need something to soothe my soul and, fortunately, my box of new musical delights has thrown up the wondrous Stockholm indie kids The Echo Field. The band's forthcoming single, 'Watch Your Step', is a utter triumph in the kind of sweet, floating indie that used to come out of Scandinavia frequently during the 90s but with a heavy influence from West Coast America in the 60s. It's a melting pot of the Magic Numbers, the Cardigans, Badly Drawn Boy, The Thrills, Elliot Smith, Jefferson Airplane and Frente all played out on bouncing guitars and youthful vocals full of passion and earnest emotion. In fact, the only beef I have with this song is that it's coming out in late January when it really ought to be released in late Spring just as the skies are turning bluer and the leaves are returning to the trees. Truly sublime stuff.


PHOENIX CALLING - SINGLE REVIEW

Phoenix Calling - Everybody Knows (The Fort) 
Phoenix Calling - Everybody Knows

Peterborough rockers Phoenix Calling are back with a new single and it's a whopper. 'Everybody Knows' is a rock single in the Great British tradition of the like of 3 Colours Red, Hundred Reasons, Feeder and (whisper it) Lostprophets. Huge riffs battles with powerfully pounding drums and a throbbing bass line that gets you right in the chest. This is anthemic rock at its best and deserves a crowd of sweaty fans shouting the chorus back at the band with arms aloft. The video, on the other hand, seems to be a strange mix of a practice session in the lounge of the drummer's mum's semi and a road safety film featuring a Nuts model. Oddly compelling.

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

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

Live Dates:

6th March - O2 Academy, Birmingham
14th March - Proud, London
20th March - Esquire's, Bedford
28th March - The Met Lounge, Peterborough

1st April - Portland Arms, Cambridge

Sunday, 18 January 2015

MEGHAN TRAINOR - ALBUM REVIEW

Meghan Trainor - Title (Epic)
Meghan Trainor - Title

Release Date: 26th January 2015

Holding my hands up here, this isn't necessarily my normal bag but when a pop single the size of 'All About That Bass' hits the airwaves and achieves multi-platinum global success then it might just be worth giving the album a listen. The debut album from America's latest pop princess, 'Title', is coming out hot on the heels of Trainor exploding on to the scene and it's not a bad first attempt. Opening with 'The Best Part (Interlude)' which is just 25 seconds of a calling card that tells you one important fact - all the songs on this album are Meghan Trainor's songs. Then comes 'All About That Bass' which if you don't either love or hate then you've got your own issues - this is Marmite music of the highest order.

But how does the rest of the album hold up? 'Dear Future Husband' is up first with a weird mix of Christina Aguilera during her pin-up phase, Nicky Minaj squeaky rapping and the vocal harmonies of the Drifters. On 'Close Your Eyes' the pop juggernaut drops down a gear or two  for a bit a doo-wop ballad with cheap organ sound but Trainor's rich, soulful voice could carry a song played on a shoebox and a tin can. '3am' has a hip-hop pop beat and Trainor shows of her ability to throw rhyme's together while 'Like I'm Gonna Lose You' sees our heroine team up with hot property John Legend for a smooth, Radio 2 friendly heart break song that shows a level of maturity beyond her bass shaking.  Having already sucked up to Bass players, it's time to cosy up to drummers on 'Bang Dem Sticks'  as the club banger features the line "I got a thing for drummers, so baby show of all dem tricks and bang dem sticks".

Meghan Trainor - Having  a laugh.
"Oh my God, I put my pants on inside out". As opening lines go this will grab attention and as the fun and sassy 'Walkashame' hits its stride you can't help but be refreshed by the honesty on the lyrics on this album which will appeal to a huge audience of girls around the world. In a sense, Trainor has one foot in the Britney and Christina camp but the other foot is kicking hard alongside Lily Allen and Kate Nash which makes her an intriguing prospect. The title track of the album 'Title', 'Title', borrows a little from the Olly Murs school of melodies but has more attitude and style than Murs is likely to muster during his whole 'career'. There is a real, timeless, sultry feel to 'What If I' which should possibly be sung on the porch of a large house in the deep south of America as a girl pines for her man and a piano plays in the distance - even in this heat.

The follow up single to the mega-debut is 'Lips Are Movin'' which takes things up to a more in-your-
face level through some furious rapping and the chorus line of "I know you're lying cos your lips are moving". The acoustic driven 'No Good For You' is the first of the tracks on the deluxe edition and you can see why it didn't make the main cut as it passes by without incident while 'Mr. Almost' has some incessant finger clicking but lacks that big pop chorus that we need. The shoo-wops are back on 'My Selfish Heart' as Trainor does what she is best at in fusing old Motown melodies, a gorgeous voice and a sense of fun to create a catchy little pop number.

The album closes with 'Credit' which channels the Andrews Sisters and Cee-Lo Green in equal measure but with utterly contemporary lyrics that will be being learned by teenage girls the world over before the end of the month. I have to hand it to the girl from Nantucket, as debut albums go this is pretty impressive. What's even more impressive for a pop album is that Trainor wrote every one of these songs and only the likes of Beyonce and Adele turning down that big ol' single meant she ended up singing it herself. Sure, Trainor will attract plenty of haters but if you want big, sassy, fun pop tunes with actual melodies then you could do a lot worse than this album. I'd put money on her second album being more accomplished though as it won't be rushed out in the wake of a global supersmash.

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

Live Dates:

11th February - Vogue Theatre, Vancouver
13th February - Wonder Ballroom, Portland
14th February - Neptune Theatre, Seattle
16th February - The Fillmore, San Francisco
18th February - House of Blues, San Diego
21st February - El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles
22nd February - El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles
25th February - House of Blues, Houston
27th February - Granada Theatre, Dallas
1st March - Mercury Ballroom, Louisville
2nd March - Saint Andrews Hall, Detroit
4th March - House of Blues, Chicago
6th March - The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto
8th March - The Fillmore Silver Spring, Silver Spring
11th March - Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia
13th March - Irving Plaza, New York
15th March - Irving Plaza, New York
17th March - Paradise Rock Club, Boston

20th March - The Cannery Ballroom, Nashville

Thursday, 15 January 2015

BOBGOBLIN - SINGLE REVIEW

Bobgoblin - Sinistar (Motor Force Records) 
Bobgoblin - Sinistar

A quick trip to Dallas, Texas, now to catch up with punkers Bobgoblin and their new single 'Sinistar' which is out and ready to take 2015 by the balls (or general crotch area for any non-ball owners). On the one hand, this tune is relentless garage-punk with some unforgivingly chugging guitars and drumming that takes in the full kit. On the other hand, there is a saccharin sweet melody running through the middle of this giving it real pop credentials. So it's XTC meets Weezer, the Buzzcocks meets the Dandy Warhols, The Pixies meets the Beach Boys. And all in matching black outfits with strangely tight shorts. Now, tell me that doesn't sound like one hell of a Friday night?!?!


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

JAKE MORLEY - SINGLE REVIEW

Jake Morley - Ghostess 
Jake Morley - Ghostess

Release Date: February 2015

This guy. You see this guy? This guy makes me smile, cry, sob and leap with joy (metaphorically in the last case, I'm not much of a leaper). Our paths have crossed in strange places and my baby boy is inadvertently named after him so it is with great joy that I get to bring his music on to the blog so early in 2015. Forthcoming single 'Ghostess' is one of Morley's more sombre tunes but the fragile beauty shines through the music as always. Sliding cello notes, Massive Attack-esque percussive rhythms and stormy Sunday pianos all undulate beneathe Morley's voice which is holding back the tears with every breathy word. What Morley does so wonderfully is take apart your average song about love and loss to put it back together with some parts in the conventional place but, on the whole, there is something wholly new and original to be found. As 'Ghostess' builds to a crescendo of anger, pain and rhythmically disorientating beats you feel the pain of someone going through a break up and, if you're anything like me, it gives you a real 'love the one you're with' kind of feeling. Stunning stuff as always and if you haven't already seen him live I'd urge you to keep an eye out for any dates as Mr Morley is charming live as he is sublime on record.


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

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

INDIGO SIXTEEN - SINGLE REVIEW

Indigo Sixteen - Decide 
Indigo Sixteen - Decide

Release Date: 19th January 2015

Look at these boys. Seriously, take a good long look. Scottish teenagers Indigo Sixteen represent the rebellious, punk spirit that you can only hope your children will embrace. No sitting around staring at Minecraft or listening to endless, indeterminable pop drivel from Taylor Minaj-Gaga. Not for these West Lothian boys, they're after the rock'n'roll life in leather jackets, questionable hair and more attitude than spot cream. New single 'Decide' has a dark, brooding indie feel to go along with that punk spirit and bands like Franz Ferdinand, Blondie, Interpol, The Fall and the Ramones are surely all influences. The chugging riffs are driven by the pounding drums with Stephen Mallin's almost spoken-word vocal standing out as a particularly unique delivery in these days when most singers want to sound American. I hope these boys get some level of success as they have the right ideas and the ability to write catchy, original songs on the evidence of this single. If they don't make it, though, then they will always have the years when Indigo Sixteen was everything they lived and breathed. What is it they say: it's better to have rocked and passed out than never to have rocked at all? Something like that.


More information: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Indigo-Sixteen/512456555484017?sk=info

Monday, 12 January 2015

GOSPEL - SINGLE REVIEW

Gospel - EMPR (Not Like That Records) 
Gospel - EMPR

Release Date: 19th January 2015

OK, if this was a tune by one of the current crop of popstrels currently filling up the Now compilations and generally residing at Radio 1's studios it would probably be acclaimed as a huge tune. The fact that London duo Gospel are still relatively unknown, however, makes 'EMPR' an even more impressive tune tinged with sadness that this may not reach the audience that it should. Moody processed beats and atmospheric electronica  surge and mingle beneath the breathy voice of Beth Anderton-Allen to create an utterly gorgeous piece of music that is perfect for surveying a city at dawn from a hill high on the outskirts. Think the XX or Massive Attack with a smidge of Bastille and a polished pop sheen that Ellie Goulding or Florence Welch would employ and you're getting there. Get this song in the right ears and this could be one of those songs that starts popping up on adverts and BBC montages for moody cop dramas. Mark my words.


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

Sunday, 11 January 2015

YAWNING DOG - SINGLE REVIEW

Yawning Dog - Don't Be Shy, Vlad 
Yawning Dog - Don't Be Shy, Vlad

Stoner Grunge Punky Monkeys. That's how Yawning Dog describe themselves on Facebook and, as far as self descriptions go, this is pretty enticing to me. The enticement lead me to discover that these Yorkshire lads have a song by the name of 'Don't Be Shy, Vlad' which deserves some attention from all of us. The two and a half minute beast starts with some channelled distortion and then a riff kicks in that is part Nirvana, part Mudhoney and part early Biffy Clyro. Grunge with a groove, if you will, but also with maniacally distorted vocals and drums that could just as well b found propping up a Weezer tune on a Friday night. This is pretty tasty stuff and, yes, stoner grunge punky monkeys is probably as accurate a description as you can get for this brand of messy, shambolic but utterly delicious distorto-pop.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGKXSMq71Rc&spfreload=10

Live Dates:

17th January - Santiagos Bar, Leeds
23rd January - The Waldorf, Manchester w/Bi:Lingual
24th January - Dog & Parrott, Newcastle
27th January - The Lomax, Liverpool
29th January - The Mulberrys Tavern, Sheffield w/The Rubber Sound Experiment + Follow The Lion
30th January - Players Bar, Wakefield
31st January - Carpe Diem, Leeds w/Of Allies + Sirens In The Delta

1st February - Parish Bar, Huddersfield w/Dead End Friends + Negative Panda

Saturday, 10 January 2015

THE LITTLE SECRETS - SINGLE REVIEW

The Little Secrets - All I Need (The Label Recordings) 
The Little Secrets - All I Need

Release Date: 26th January 2015

If I told you that Liverpool's The Little Secrets comprised of  a bloke called Kev and a girl named Stacy-Jo you could be forgiven for expecting this debut single to be a 90s dance nightmare with some over-repeated lyrics about 'getting on it' and 'finding the vibe'. Instead, 'All I Need' is actually a delightfully poppy and jangly indie number full of Motown beats and English forlornness. Stacy-Jo's voice fits in to the classic English Indie-pop oeuvre and you wouldn't be disappointed to find these guys opening for Belle & Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub, The Las or The Magic Numbers. Throw in the fact that the musicianship is superb - choppy guitars over the top of more sustained notes, perky drums and a rolling bassline - and you'll soon be dancing all the way to the bus stop with a song in your heart and the promise of love on the tip of your heart. My first new love of 2015.


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

SERINETTE - SINGLE REVIEW

Serinette - Bigger Better 
Serienette - Bigger Better

Split between Manchester and Middlesborough, Serinette are a female fronted indie-rock band with a breathless and moody 90s approach to their song writing. New single 'Bigger Better' is a strange but not unappealing blend of Tori Amos, Cranberries, Evanescence and Kate Bush as the passionate vocals build to fever pitch on top of a tight alt-indie melody. If Serinette do achieve any level of success then I doubt this will be the tune they are remembered for but there is certainly a strong vein of talent running throughout this band so it wouldn't surprise me if they did manage something approaching success in 2015. I'll reserve judgement for the time being...

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

Live Dates:

30th January - The Showroom Live, Hartlepool
28th February - The Castle, Oldham

14th March - The Eagle Inn, Salford

MILTON STAR - SINGLE REVIEW

Milton Star - Sorryville/Salvation (Stereogram Recordings) 
Milton Star - Sorryville/Salvation

Release Date: 12th January 2015

In deepest, darkest Fife there is a converted church from which the strains of duo Milton Fife can oft be hear a-wafting on the dreich Scottish air. This, their debut single, would have made for an eerie sound as 'Salvation' is a hip swaggering, country inspired tune with a deeply dark underside. Think Grinderman, Edwin Collins or the Clench sound tracking Tarantino's latest film about a retired Scottish Football referee who decided to take revenge on all the players that have given him abuse over the years in the bloodiest fashion possible. In Cowboy boots. This is classy stuff with a sense of mischief and the luxurious, almost Elvis-like vocals really hit the spot. Delightfully, there's an additional track in the shape of 'Sorryville' which is somewhere between Chris Isaacs, Twin Peaks and Catherine Wheel in its darkly atmospheric tones and reverb drenched guitars. Not a party band for a sunny afternoon in the park but if you're look for bleak and moody then you know where to look. Fife.


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

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

SNAP - SINGLE REVIEW

Snap - Bras (Atypeek Music/Collectif Coax/Cartoon Records) 
Snap - Bras

Just to clear up any confusion straight from the word go, this is not the same Snap that brought us that famous line about being as "serious as cancer" in the legendary 'Rhythm Is A Dancer'. No, this is a French trio with a song that lasts 112 seconds and goes by the name 'Bras' and is, frankly, bonkers. You could  loosely tie this in to Jazz, Punk, Electronica or, perhaps, the sound of an expletive ridden trip down a long flight of stairs for Johnny 5. This makes At The Drive-In seem positively hum-drum as guitar strings and plucked, drums hit with gay abandon and electronic noises are wrestled from a range of synths and wires. The late, great John Peel would have absolutely love this and, even though I'll probably never put it on in the car, I kinda do too. I mean, if it weren't for people like Snap we'd all be listening to a steady diet of Ariana Grande and Michael Buble.

More information: http://www.snap-official.com/Snap.html


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v20opjSMf1s

MEGAN VICE - SINGLE REVIEW

Megan Vice - Ghost 
Megan Vice - Ghost

This New York lady has a name made for the pop world and, fortunately, she has the voice to go with it. Vice's new single 'Ghost' is a light, slinky and airy pop number with a sexy beat and a real sense of mischief like you used to get from Gloria Estefan or Jennifer Lopez before she became J Lo. There's also a really pleasing 90s feel to this tune that sees the synths intermingle with a bumping bass line and the kind of rhythm that will have many a club and winebar shaking their hips and raising their hands in the air like they just don't care. Funky stuff.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Megan-Vice/144238925627133?fref=ts

Live Dates:


19th January - Pianos, New York

SCOUT KILLERS - SINGLE REVIEW

Scout Killers - Cease And Resist 
Scout Killers - Cease And Resist

My first reaction on seeing the name of this Bath band was a fairly graphic mental image of a jamboree based massacre with bloodied woggles and burning tents. However, once I dragged myself back from the darkness the lives inside my soul, I decided to give their new single, 'Cease And Resist', a shot. From the first guitar lick and drum kick, you can tell that this is a snake-hipped, sleaze-ball of a tune that would probably have pierced testicles if it was physically able to. Think Buckcherry but heavier, Slash but slicker or Audioslave but more sexual than political. Throw in an epic breakdown of a chorus and the kind of atmospherics that only come in black and you've got a genuine rock stomper. And not a single prepubescent boy was harmed in the making of this song. Probably...

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

Live Dates:

5th February - The Snooty Fox, Wakefield
6th February - The Washington, Sheffield
7th February - O'Rileys, Hull
12th February - The Iron Rock Bar, Evesham
13th February - The Nest, Bath
14th February - White Swan, Trowbridge
16th February - The Fleece, Bristol
20th February - Bar 42, Worthing
21st February - Crowley's Rock Bar, Swansea
27th February - The Phoenix, London
28th February - Cavendish Arms, London
6th March - Asylum Club, Chelmsford
28th March - Charlie's Bar, Westbury
3rd April - The Victoria, Swindon

9th May - The Three Horse Shoes, Bradford

Sunday, 4 January 2015

BEN OWEN - SINGLE REVIEW

Ben Owen - Dirty Little Secret 
Ben Owen - Dirty Little Secret

Staffordshire rocker Ben Owen is keen to get off to a storming start in 2015 so he has a single all ready for you in the shape of 'Dirty Little Secret'. The acoustic fuelled fun of said single is pitched somewhere between the raw power of Brother & Bones, the soul'n'roll of James Morrison or Paolo Nutini and the flouncy shirted rock-pop of INXS. Owen has got front-man quality and style which is just as well because his wiry frame occasionally looks ill equipped to man handle his large acoustic instrument. Nevertheless, the song has a catchy chorus and Owen's voice has a pleasingly gravelly quality to it that you can only assume works particularly well live. Not a bad start for the year, let's see where it takes the lad.

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


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