Thursday, 26 March 2015

FAILURE MACHINE - EP REVIEW

Failure Machine - Ain't Shit (Wiener Records) 
Failure Machine Ain't Shit

Release Date: Out Now

Ah, my Reno boys. These are good boys. These boys are good to their mama. And to your ears. Failure Machine are firm favourites on this humble blog and their prolific output is always welcome but I do worry that each new missive will let me down. Not so. This limited edition cassette EP kicks out the early jams with a fuzzy, scuzzy mash up of Neil Young's 'I'm The Ocean' and Buddy Miles' 'Them Changes' covered in thick, gooey saxophone and powered by the distilled sweat of James Brown and the work ethic of Bruce Springsteen. God damn these guys have got soul in spades and the world needs to hear them roar through whatever medium it takes. Spencer and Clint are the brains and brawn behind this operation but the arranged gaggle of supporting cast only serve to add to the raw sexual power.

The other two tracks on this latest offering begin with 'Backwards', a cover of their peers' El Camino Sutra and I don't know the original but the looseness, gravelly vocals and intensity with which the song is delivered makes you want to be within sweat drenching distance of this performance - preferably in the basement of a dive bar in Reno. 'I Can See You're Leaving Me' is the final track and, as far as I'm aware, is an original tune. This is end of the night, encore for the masses stuff with a simple but rampant JSBX riff chugging away underneath aspirational riffs before descending in to hand claps, cowbell and then a Blues Brother style finale - all in just over two minutes of meaty punk'n'garage'n'soul. Just imagine what that double team could accomplish in the bedroom....! Tantalising, isn't it?

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

Listen/Download Here: https://failuremachine.bandcamp.com/album/failure-machine-aint-shit

Live Dates:


27th March - EP Release Party @ Shea's Tavern, Somewhere in Reno.

Monday, 23 March 2015

EVA UNIVERSE - SINGLE REVIEW

Eva Universe - Trapped 
Eva Universe - Trapped

Release Date: Out Now

What a wonderfully bold statement it is to launch a pop career under the name Eva Universe!? I mean, you are giving yourself the title of Miss Universe without even slipping on a swimsuit or rubbing lubricant on your teeth. Regardless of the name, this new single and video, 'Trapped', opens with a spot of Lady Gaga-esque piano and earnest singing from our heroine. Before long, the verse is building ominously towards the chorus and soon there is a r'n'b lite feel to affairs with some proper girl power passion behind the vocals. During the video Eva changes outfits to look like an extra the Bold and the Beautiful at one point and then the star of an East European version of TOWIE in another. Lacking the punch or sophistication of many of her contemporaries, Eva Universe leaves me only able to compare her to a low-budget Anastacia without the voice or the glasses.

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


Watch The Video: http://www.artistdirect.com/entertainment-news/article/exclusive-video-premiere-eva-universe-trapped/11314526  

BURN DOWN RYDELL - SINGLE REVIEW

Burn Down Rydell - Fight 
Burn Down Rydell - Fight

Release Date: 30th March 2015

There is something strangely reassuring about finding out that a rock band hails from the midlands so when the Grease obsessed rockers Burn Down Rydell reveal that they were forged in the belly of Wolverhampton I immediately dusted off my air guitar. The band's new single, 'Fight', also features Fred Mascherino of Taking Back Sunday and is, well, American sounding. From the video shot in the midst of an ice hockey game to the slick, Fallout Boy esque riffs and harmonies this is a tune tailor made for our American cousins. There's melody, a catchy chorus hook and about the same level of power that the likes of Feeder or Everclear would put out but I can't help feeling like this is a little disappointing having set myself up for a huge slice of heavy rock. That's my problem, though, not theirs.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KV3MZCk0e4&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:

27th March - O2 Academy, Birmingham

30th March - EP Launch @ The Ice Rink, Telford 

WINTER - SINGLE REVIEW

Winter - Father Time 
Winter - Father Time

Release Date: Out Now

As a relatively new dad in this world this song and the accompanying video strike one hell of a chord. The acoustically strummed melody of new Winter single 'Father Time' is lavishly adorned by some gorgeous vocal harmonies and the kind of sparse by powerful percussion that Mumford & Sons employed with such success on their first two albums. The duo, who split their time between Bristol and Cambridge, manage to squeeze power, emotion, subtlety and pure melodies in to this simple song and if there are any advertising agencies out there looking for a song to put a lump in the throat of a nation in the run up to father's day this year then look no further. A beautiful song that makes me want to call my dad.....but I won't, he hates talking on the phone so I'm doing him a favour really and I'll only get caught in a conversation with my mum.........

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayt6FbW1EW8

Live Dates:

1st May - Louisiana, Bristol
5th May - Servant Jazz Quarters, London

15th May - Portland Arms, Cambridge

Sunday, 22 March 2015

SCARLET BAXTER - SINGLE REVIEW

Scarlet Baxter - Down With It 
Scarlet Baxter - Down With It

Release Date: 23rd March 2015

London pop hopeful Scarlet Baxter looks like she is the product of two loved up and blissed out 90s ravers who got a little too handsy after missing their ride home one night. Ms Baxter has taken a different musical direction to mum and dad though and 'Down With It' is perfect evidence of that. Sounding like a rough mix of a Jessie J song, this latest single is full of hand claps, funky guitars and whole host of lyrics that don't make an awful lot of sense but then that's not really the point of this song. If Baxter had one the Voice or X Factor and this was her 2nd or 3rd single then you wouldn't be surprised at all so it's actually quite impressive the singer and her writing partner Dominic Ireland have come up with something as good as Cowell's group of market researchers...sorry, songwriters would come up with. This has a sassy rhythm, Baxter's voice is sexy and sultry and it has a sense of fun so, all in all, it's a pretty good pop song.


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

Saturday, 21 March 2015

THE LOVELY EGGS - SINGLE REVIEW

The Lovely Eggs - Magic Onion (Egg Records) 
The Lovely Eggs - Magic Onion

Release Date: Out Now

First of all, I'm fairly sure eggs (lovely or otherwise) and onions (magic or otherwise) are not a good combination, digestively speaking, so y'all might need to open a window while I digest this latest single from the infamous Lancastrian duo. 'Magic Onion' is a northern flavoured packet of psychedelic crisps with a Phil Spector wall of noise built around a droning guitar, slamming drums and hypnotic vocals. There's never been a doubt that the Lovely Eggs are as lo-fi as they come but the combination of the Fall, White Stripes, the Mighty Boosh and the Stooges is so utterly joyous that you really would be foolish to resist the persistent, endless waves of distortion that crash on your mental shores to eventually turn the solid rock of your brain in to a million sandy pieces of fragmented sanity.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdNfRF9pBMY&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:

22nd March - Fibbers, York
24th March - The Lomax, Liverpool
25th March - The Zephyr Lounge, Leamington
26th March - LP, Bury St Edmunds
27th March - The Lexington, London
28th March - Soup Kitchen, Manchester
3rd April - Wales Goes Pop, Cardiff
18th April - Spillers Records, Cardiff
30th April - The Brudenell, Leeds
1st May - The Adelphi, Hull
2nd May - Pop Klubb @ St Dominics Social Club, Newcastle
3rd May - The Corporation Club, Scarborough
4th May - The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
5th May - The Musician, Leicester
6th May - The Queen's Arms, Reading
7th May - Album Launch Party @ Jazz Cafe, London
8th May - Westhill Community Hall, Brighton

9th May - Ramsgate Music Hall, Ramsgate

JULIAN GRIMM - SINGLE REVIEW

Julian Grimm - Looking For Ya 
Julian Grimm - Looking For Ya

Release Date: Out Now

Julian Grimm is the 2nd Brazilian who has contacted me in the last month having made the trip from South America to London in search of musical fame and fortune. Having lived in London and visited Brazil, I still can't quite understand why you would swap the two over but I guess the lure of the bright lights and Camden High Street is still strong. Grimm's new single, 'Looking For Ya',  is an intense, grungy, menacing piece of rock that takes a little while to kick in but when it does then you'd better watch out. Galloping drums and crunching guitars all mingle with the low drones of Grimm's vocals to create something dirty, murky and thoroughly enticing. Add this to a video where our Brazilian hero dresses up as Russell Brand as imagined by the Yellow Submarine illustrators and dances expressively in the woods and you have an import worth paying the extra tax for.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPFmLr8V8RY 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

STORNOWAY - SINGLE REVIEW

Stornoway - Get Low (Cooking Vinyl) 
Stornoway - Get Low

Release Date: Out Now

I always a musical friend of mine getting whipped in to a frenzy about Stornoway a few years back. He (Chris) was absolutely convinced that they were going herald in a new dawn for music and some sort of revolution within the loins of the music industry. This never happened but the band have carved out a niche as one of the most respected and critically acclaimed bands in the UK. Ahead of an imminent album release, this new single 'Get Low' is a jauntily woozy piece of indie-pop that has the feel of The Thrills or Belle & Sebastian at their most rural. A generally strummed melody is embellished with some unexpected electronic bleeps and a hugely US friendly production quality that is straight out of the Killers' back pocket. Strangely, the video sees the quartet racing some geese along a airstrip in a convertible BMW whilst playing their instruments along to the song. Maybe Stornoway should be at the forefront of a revolution, I don't know, but they're pretty ace either way. Don't you agree?

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTN1L-eyUAk

Live Dates:

21st April - Engine Rooms, Southampton
22nd April - Sub 89, Reading
23rd April - Islington Assembly Hall, London
24th April - Islington Assembly Hall, London
25th April - De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill On Sea
28th April - Junction, Cambridge
29th April - Waterfront, Norwich
30th April - Art School, Glasgow
1st May - Riverside, Newcastle Upon Tyne
6th May - The Globe, Cardiff
7th May - Gorilla, Manchester
8th May - Leadmill, Sheffield
9th May - Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry

3rd September - Festival No 6, Portmerion

DALAL - SINGLE REVIEW

Dalal - Superman 
Dalal - Superman

Release Date: Out Now

It's not often you come across a Los Angeles pop starlet who has a song that was nominated for Best Song in a Documentary. Nevertheless, that is what we have on our hands with Dalal and her new single 'Superman' and, by all accounts, it's a bit of a girl-power anthem. The track kicks off with a stomping, pounding beat before Dalal's vocal comes in like a voice from beyond the realms of the earthly. There's a bit of Britney Spears about Dalal but with way more class and glamour as that relentless beat keeps pounding away and her vocals spiral, twist and fly off in to the LA night. Oddly, the video sees our pop heroine cavorting with a cameraman in the toilets of a posh hotel whilst wearing some improbable 70s disco gear but, hey, if you're Superman then who cares what you get up to in your spare time, right? Christopher Reeve sure does look different these days though...

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

Watch The Video: http://www.gurl.com/videos/2015/03/17/popular-videos-for-teen-girls/dalal-superman-lyric-video/

Live Dates:


10th May - Whisky A Go Go, Los Angeles

MALKA - SINGLE REVIEW

Malka - Let It Go (Tantrum Records) 
Malka - Let It Go

Release Date: 30th March 2015

Rather excitingly, I have in my possession the new single from promising new solo project Malka coming out of London town. 'Let It Go' (no, not that one) is already a BBC 6 Music favourite with Lauren Laverne giving it steady airplay and you see why immediately. Combining a child-like vocal, Afro beats, playground chanting, electro melodies and some beautiful layering of harmonies this is a triumph of originality and it oozes freshness. In terms of comparison you'd have to be thinking of some collaboration between Regina Spektor, Kate Nash, the Waitresses and the Bangles as produced by Vampire Weekend in a studio somewhere in downtown Cape Town. This is music to dance to with a complete disregard for any watching eyes and a real sense of freedom in your movement and your spirit. Truly uplifting new music is such a rarity these days so it's great to hear and even more pleasing to have my greasy mitts on it. All mine....

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

Live Dates:

20th May - Duke's Corner, Dundee
21st May - 13th Note, Glasgow

27th May - Album Launch Party @ Sebright Arms, London

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

LIGHT BRIGADE - SINGLE REVIEW

Light Brigade - Amber 
Light Brigade - Amber

Release Date: Out Now

A very honest email popped in my inbox from these four Arundel lads asking for exposure, support or constructive criticism. No bumph, no PR waffle and no hype. I can feel my taste buds being refreshed already. This new track, 'Amber', starts off like Primal Scream, Muse and Kasabian jamming in a basement full of preserved brains and a dodgy electrical connection. A brooding, menacing verse soon gives way to an ominous chorus fuelled by huge organ chops and a pounding, relentless beat. This is marvellously dark, sexy stuff that serial killers all over the land will be downloading to soundtrack their nefarious shenanigans. Imagine the swagger of the Doors, the heart of Nick Cave and the darker moments of Franz Ferdinand's indie pop all sewn together with guitar strings and microphone cable to create some confusingly arousing monster. Picturing that? Good. Enjoy....

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2-sRM1b1vU&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:

19th March - The Hope & Ruin, Brighton

12th April - The Mesmerist, Brighton                       

NICKY WILLIAM - SINGLE REVIEW

Nicky William - What If 
Nicky William - What If

Release Date: Out Now

There is such a youthful charm about Nicky William that you can't help but want to tousle his hair and tell him "you've got talent, kid". But then he opens his mouth and the voice of a man who has seen a thing or two in his few years on this rock called Earth. New single 'What If' starts with a jaunty enough whistle but soon that deep, chocolaty voice comes in and adds a whole new texture to the song. When the chorus drops it's obvious we are dealing with a strummable, hummable indie romp with class and more than a nod to a number of 90s heroes, not least Crash Test Dummies and dEUS. If you give the lyrics a listen then you'll uncover yet another layer to this song but that's not for me to spell out, that's for you to take a listen to. I can't be doing all the work for you now can I?

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYbJTHpztk0 

Monday, 16 March 2015

ELEPHANT MEMOIRS - SINGLE REVIEW

Elephant Memoirs - Mug 
Elephant Memoirs - Mug

I reviewed this Gateshead trio a few months ago and something stuck in my memory about them, oh the irony, in a positive way. This new single, 'Mug', is not an ode to the best thing to drink tea out of but is instead a Muse inspired piece of distorted groove rock with a healthy dose of cowbell thrown in just to keep your attention. This isn't the best song I've heard in the last month but there is a certain raw charm to the scratchy guitars, thudding drums and basic production quality wrapped around the North East accent vocals that just catches you off guard and worms it's way in to your affections.


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

THE SLOW READERS CLUB - SINGLE REVIEW

The Slow Readers Club - I Saw A Ghost (Extenso Music) 
The Slow Readers Club - I Saw A Ghost

Release Date: 30th March 2015

Those dark and brooding Mancunians of The Slow Readers Club are back with a new single under the title 'I Saw A Ghost'. Full of classic influences like Joy Division and New Order mixed with the more modern likes of Editors and Keane, this single is a moody indie disco smash for the purists to dance to early in the evening before the pissed up part timers arrive to pogo around to Oasis. Big, bellowing guitars and deep, sultry vocals are a given but some innovative use of vocal harmonies and some nice keyboard gives this an extra layer of class like the optional mahogany dashboard in a Rover. Beautiful in the way an abandoned motorway service station on a misty morn is beautiful.

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

Live Dates:

21st March - Stereo, Glasgow
31st March - The Macbeth, London
3rd April - The Abacus, Scunthorpe
17th April - Verve, Leeds
18th April - Academy 3, Manchester

23rd April - The Rocking Chair, Sheffield

THE CATHODE RAY - SINGLE REVIEW

The Cathode Ray - Resist (Stereogram Recordings) 
The Cathode Ray - Resist

Release Date: Out Now

Four guys from Edinburgh have popped up in my inbox under the name The Cathode Ray and they have a new single for your ears and mine - whether you like it or not. 'Resist' is said single and despite being only two and a quarter minutes long it is a delightful indie-pop-punk romp. Bouncy guitars, a poppy bass line and the kind of drums that should be played by a monkey with ADHD all combine to create a song that, if it were one of your friends, would be the really annoying, insistent one who repeats the same joke over and over again until you punch them in the face. You know who I'm talking about.....Ian. Think Midget mixed with Space and a bit of early Super Furry Animals as produced by Jedward going through an alternative phase sponsored by Lucozade. It's more hyper than that.


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

Sunday, 15 March 2015

SHIRLEY SAID - SINGLE REVIEW

Shirley Said - Salvation/Merry Go-Round 
Shirley Said - Salvation/Merry Go-Round

Release Date: 23rd March 2015

What is in a name? London duo Shirley Said have chosen a fairly odd moniker for their musical endeavours but when you consider the likes of Everything But The Girl and Tom Tom Club as band names then perhaps it's not that strange after all. The first of these two A-sides is 'Salvation' which opens with descending synths sounding like water down a window on a wet, grey Sunday afternoon. However, once the guitars and subdued vocals join in there is a fresh vibe that is somewhere between the blissed out classicism of the Beach Boys and the trippy, chill out vibes of Portishead or Swim Deep. 'Merry Go-Round' is the other track of the two on this single and it creaks and grinds in to action before the hypnotic vocals and pulsating beat kicks things up a notch. There is a strangely hypnotic and alluring element to the music of Shirley Said which, although coming from a largely electronic source, has a pleasingly organic feel. Worth keeping an eye and an ear on.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ShirleySaid/61461725873

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8YRN1bebms&feature=youtu.be

Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/shirleysaid/salvation1 / 

https://soundcloud.com/shirleysaid/merry-go-round

Live Dates:


26th March - Single Launch Party @ The Finsbury, London 

JPNSGRLS - SINGLE REVIEW

JPNSGRLS - Mushrooms (LightOrganRecords) 
JPNSGRLS - Mushrooms

Release Date: Out Now

Vancouver quartet JPNSGRLS are neither Japanese nor are they girls. They do, however, seem to have an aversion to vowels but that seems to be de rigueur these days so let's not hold that against them. Latest release 'Mushrooms' is a frantic mix of the Automatic, Super Furry Animals at their most frantic and Idlewild with a strong pop ethic and a healthy dose of excitable yelping. The video is an animated masterpiece that the likes of Muse or the Flaming Lips would commission with their pocket change and be very happy with. Video or no video, though, the twitchy, jerky guitars and hundred mile an hour vocal delivery make this a thrill a minute which keeps you engaged from start to finish which is surely all you could ever ask for.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSKEBOT9TJ8

Live Dates:  

20th March - SXSW, Austin

27th March - The Media Club, Vancouver

Monday, 9 March 2015

THE SHIRES - SINGLE REVIEW

The Shires - Friday Night (Decca Nashville) 
The Shires - Friday Night

Release Date: Out Now

Here we have a British duo who are helping to resurrect the legendary Decca Nashville label after years lying dormant. The Shires are a country-pop pairing and, if I hadn't heard different with mine own ears I would swear that their new single 'Friday Night' was the UK's entry in to Eurovision. Now don't get me wrong, I love a bit of Eurovision and there is a sweet, harmonious, catchy nature to this tune all about getting drunk at the end of the working week. There's just something almost too innocent about the song that gives it that slightly cheesy Eurovision feel. This is, in essence, the getting drunk part without the bitterness that comes with the horrible realisation of a hangover. Oh, to have those heady days again...

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

Live Dates:

8th April - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
9th April - Sage 2, Gateshead
10th April - Oran Mor Auditorium, Glasgow
12th April - Academy 3, Manchester
13th April - The Stables, Milton Keynes
14th April - Union Chapel, London
15th April - Bierkeller, Bristol
17th April - Institute, Birmingham
18th April - O2 Academy 2, Oxford
19th April - Concorde 2, Brighton
21st April - Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth

22nd April - Arts Centre, Pocklington

Saturday, 7 March 2015

ULRIKA UMA - SINGLE REVIEW

Ulkrika Uma - My Heart Goes (The Animal Farm) 
Ulrika Uma - My Heart Goes

Release Date: 9th March 2015

I've been on a bit of a Swedish winning streak recently so I had high hopes for Stockholm born London resident Ulrika Uma. New single 'My Heart Goes' is pitched somewhere between Kate Bush and Robyn with a melody that sounds like a speeded up Coldplay piano riff on a loop. Now, all of that combined could potentially sound quite appealing and it's not a poor track but something just seems to be lacking. For a song about love it lacks any real depth of sincerity and that may be down to the sparse, almost cold melodies that don't give a lot of space for the heart to swell or emotions to soar. Not a bad effort at all but not one I'll come back to in a hurry.

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

Live Dates:


11th March - Cafe 1001, London

PEUR - SINGLE REVIEW

Peur - Hollow Skies 
Peur - Hollow Skies

Release Date: 9th March 2015

For a trio of indie-rockers from Manchester, these gents have an awfully American friendly sound. Peur (no idea either) are ready to present their new single, 'Hollow Skies', which starts a little moodily and then kicks in to a stadium filling rock smasher with Fallout Boy or 30 Seconds To Mars running through the core of it. What saves it is the intrigue created by taking a leaf out of the Muse and Biffy Clyro books of song craft that mean the tune shifts and undulates in ways you might not expect. Nevertheless, the big riffs, booming drums and impassioned vocals are all present and correct which means the American post-emo market will swallow this up. Expect this to be on the soundtrack to the next Twilight spin off movie franchise and then watch the bucks roll in.


More information: https://www.facebook.com/PeurOfficial/info?tab=page_info

KEROSCENE - SINGLE REVIEW

Keroscene - Cotton Bandy/Storm (Dream Machine Records) 
Keroscene - Cotton Candy/Storm

Release Date: Out Now

Ooooh, I do like this. Immediately, this is right up my street. 4 sombre but cool looking dudes in black playing a song called 'Cotton Candy'? What's not to like!?! Keroscene are a London based quartet who exist in the slivers between grunge, dream pop and shoegaze which is a dark but wonderful place to exist. Imagine a heavier Swim Deep, the Maccabees when they're really angry or My Bloody Valentine when they're feeling a little bit introspective and you've got 'Cotton Candy' nailed - not literally of course, it would just fall off the nail. 'Storm' is the other track on this single which is a little more self assured and puts you in mind of Interpol or Smashing Pumpkins in their prime, all black outfits and angular haircuts with the whole thing slathered in model stares. As the incendiary guitars burn out and fade in to the blackness you feel as though an impression has been left on some part of you by this band which is just how it should be. Big, BIG things to come for these lads.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/kerosceneband/info?tab=page_info

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hOJIbceDKQ&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:

10th March - Old Blue Last, London
21st March - Unit 4 Warehouse, London w/La Hell Gang

11th May - Unit 4 Warehouse, London w/Tenebrous Liar + Hatorns

ONLY REAL - SINGLE REVIEW

Only Real - Can't Get Happy 
Only Real - Can't Get Happy

Release Date: Out Now

When the video for this single by West London soloist Only Real (Niall to his mum) began I felt an overwhelming urge to punch the singer for being such a Damon Albarn wannabe. Then I remembered that I'm an adult and that there are myriad worse people to want to be than Damon Albarn. On second listen, 'Can't Get Happy' is actually more like Jamie T guesting with Gorillaz which is something that should happen if it hasn't already. A trippy, 90s inspired guitar hook and some chilled beats provide the bed for Only Real to lay out his spoken word meets rap stylings before that chorus comes back around again. The big bonus with this single is that the video is one of the best I have seen in years as time spent watching Ren and Stimpy mixed with an old copy of Yellow Submarine has obviously seeped in to the subconscious of Only Real to allow this masterpiece to come floating out. No white background and high bar stool for him. Hells no.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxfSpaVdE-c

Live Dates:

18th April - Reze, L'Ere De Rien Festival
20th April - Le Grand Mix, Lille
21st April - Badaboum, Paris
22nd April - La Lune Des Pirate, Amien
25th April - Think Tank, Newcastle
26th April - Broadcast, Glasgow
28th April - Waterfront Studio, Norwich
29th April - Jericho, Oxford
30th April - 100 Club, London
2nd May - Oakford Social Club, Reading
3rd May - Ruby Lounge, Manchester
4th May - Wardrobe, Leeds
6th May - The Hope & Ruin, Leeds
7th May - Louisianna, Bristol
8th May - Joiners, Southampton

9th May - The Rainbow, Birmingham

BLAME FABLE - SINGLE REVIEW

Blame Fable - Poolside 
Blame Fable - Poolside

Release Date: Out Now

Ah, the classic trio. Guitar, Drums and Cello......hang on. Cello? Or Synth? Scratch that, there's nothing classic here at all. London trio Blame Fable take an indie approach to music, apply their classical music training (Royal Academy of Music dontcha know) and then turn things up to epic. New single 'Poolside' is a wondrous blend of the White Stripes performing Arcade Fire songs while Best Coast and Tennis hang around in the studio, chippin in with suggestions. Soulful vocals and dark, rich Cello tones are soon joined by a simple, slow beat before the song explodes in to life as a many headed beast with perfectly coiffured hair. Elements of Lana Del Ray, the Subways and Beach House are also present but the really exciting thing about Blame Fable is just how original they sound at such a sickeningly young age. I do keep referring to them as Flame Bable though, which is unfortunate for everyone involved.


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

CHRIS D'LIMA - SINGLE REVIEW

Chris D'Lima - Decisions
Chris D'Lima - Decisions

Release Date: Out Now

Conundrum. London based artist Chris D'Lima has supported the likes of the Horrors and MJ Cole whilst citing bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Architecture In Helsinki and The Purple Shots as influences. However, all I hear on new single 'Decisions' is the kind of late 90s pop that the likes of 5ive, Kavanagh or Hear'say might have got been forced to dance awkwardly to on CD:UK. This is cheesy, cod-funk with a whiny guitar melody and breathy vocals that sound overly sincere. D'Lima then succumbs to the temptation to sing along to his own guitar line ('doo doo doo doo'... you get where this is going), a cardinal sin. The single is described as being a 'funk pop song about the difficulty of making decisions which seem so easy at first' and you can't deny the accuracy of this statement. However, 'extended vocal version of the opening music to a pastel coloured day time TV chat show from 1995 (on just before the lunchtime news) with minimal passion and an annoying guitar line' would, perhaps, be more honest. 

More information: http://www.chrisdlima.co.uk/

THE BLACK FIELDS - SINGLE REVIEW

The Black Fields - Monster 
The Black Fields - Monster

Release Date: Out Now

Now then, I've posted a few reviews of cover versions recently so I want to assure you that the new single from Brighton bunch The Black Fields is not a cover the one hit wonder of the same name by the Automatic. No, this 'Monster' is a swaggering, macarbre tune with a penchant for the theatrical. Elements of the Doors shine through in the arrangements and the performance of frontman Ross Scarfield. Then again, the music has a more modern feel and influences as wide as Space, Nick Cave and the Cooper Temple Clause can all be heard creeping out of the shadows of this tune. Some pleasing changes of tempo and a song that feels as though it has been thought about are both pleasing but the use of a Theramin always puts the cherry on my musical cake. Tasty indeed.

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

Listen/Free Download: http://theblackfields.bandcamp.com/releases

Live Dates:


4th April - The Ark, Newcastle

THE APACHE RELAY - SINGLE REVIEW

The Apache Relay - Katie Queen Of Tennessee 
The Apache Relay - Katie Queen Of Tennessee

Release Date: Out Now

I have a cousin who lives in Nashville teaching European History to American High School kids. I always think I should visit him and then I worry that Nashville's glamour will be tarnished after years of neglect and a steady stream of tourists. Then Nashville bunch The Apache Relay pop up and give me another, altogether more pressing reason to visit the home of Country'n'Western music. New single 'Katie Queen Of Tennesse' is a love song as sung by a slightly creepy guy hiding in your bushes but absolute musical integrity at its heart. There's a country influence, sure, but then the likes of the National, Arcade Fire, Midlake and the Treetop Flyers can all be heard in the swooning strings and drawled lyrics played out over a shuffled beat and rolling guitar notes. This is the kind of song that, with the right push, will get the album sales up and ensure that The Apache Relay can play Arenas for years to come to an army of loyal fans. Here's hoping, for all our sakes, that it gets the right push.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb5HdMQXMls

ACRE TARN - SINGLE REVIEW

Acre Tarn - Dawn Faces 
Acre Tarn - Dawn Faces

Release Date: Out Now

If I told you that Acre Tarn is actually the pseudonym of Lake District resident Anna-Louisa Etherington, you would be forgiven for picturing a girl in a chunky sweater, bedraggled hair and a lot of very wistful acoustic songs. Now, I have no idea what Anna-Louisa actually looks like but her songs are actually electronic masterpieces that sweep over landscapes like a montage in the Never Ending Story. 'Dawn Faces' has the feel of a song that was written in the 80s for a film set far in the future (y'know, like 2020 or something). As electronic sounds ripple over each other, a sonic sunrise occurs and Etherington's meek but defiant voice gently breaks in. After a minute or so, an aggressive beat pushes things to a new level and then a choir of young voices sings "with our arms outstretched we're not children anymore". This could easily be this generations 'Another Brick In The Wall' or the theme to some post apocalyptic TV show like 'The 100' - either way it's thoroughly impressive and might just remind the likes of Ellie Goulding what she could be doing instead of running around in massive golden hot pants peddling half arsed pop songs. Just sayin'.


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

MARTHA BEAN - SINGLE REVIEW

Martha Bean - Who Changed The Clocks? 
Martha Bean - Who Changed The Clocks?

Release Date: 16th March 2015

I'm really not sure where to start with this one. Leicester singer-songwriter Martha Bean (great name for starters) is about to unleash her new single on the world and, boy, I hope you're ready. 'Who Changed The Clocks?' is an intense, piano-led slice of passion and desperation that builds, swoons, sweeps and generally envelopes you in a world of heart-rending emotion that is so often missing from music these days. Bean's piano and impressive vocal is given power by a perfectly understated rhythm section and some well used strings that lend a glimmer of hope to proceedings. Sure, it's obvious to reference Tori Amos but her influence is in there in the moments that go from soft to powerful in the tinkling of an ivory. But there are also influences from the likes of Ani Di Franco, Regina Spektor, Coldplay, Ben Folds, Rufus Wainwright and Arcade Fire which all sit in the background, respectfully in awe of Martha Bean and her many, many talents. There's an album to follow in April and I, for one, cannot wait.

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

Live Dates:

1st April - Trof Northern Quarter, Manchester
12th April - The Cookie, Leicester w/Rob Vincent
19th April - The Church, Birmingham w/Guy Jones
23rd April - The Finsbury, London
30th April - Jam Cafe, Nottingham
10th May - The Musician, Leicester w/Guy Jones

13th November - Finedon Sessions, Finedon

CLEO - SINGLE REVIEW

Cleo - Pinball Machine 
Cleo - Pinball Machine

Release Date: Out Now

Brazilian bombshell Cleo is a London based singer-songwriter but not of the acoustic, candlelit variety. No, Cleo operates in a world of neon with all the power, energy and colour that goes along with it. Latest single 'Pinball Machine' is the musical equivalent of those T-shirts you find on holiday in foreign lands that say things like 'Happy Go Time' and 'Would You Like?' on the front. No idea what I'm on about? It wouldn't be the first time. You see, Cleo has created an itchy, punk-pop slice of fun all about not fitting in and being the "most beat up queen inside my own pinball machine". It's all kinds of disposable fun and should get any club bouncing from the walls but you'd be making a serious error if you sat down to consider the deeper meanings of this song or your foreign T-shirt purchase. Just accept it for what it is and enjoy life - Cleo certainly does, especially during the big key change towards the end. Classic pop manoeuvre.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLE19TiITAs

Live Dates:

10th April - The Islington, London

12th April - Phoenix FM, Brentwood 

Monday, 2 March 2015

SISTER WANZALA - SINGLE REVIEW

Sister Wanzala - Bad Brains 
Sister Wanzala - Single Review

Release Date: Out Now

Sister Wanzala might well be my new favourite band. To qualify, their music is pretty good but it's more the way they present themselves that appeals. The three brothers Wanzala-Ryan that make up the entirety of Sister Wanzala are pretty much unknown (only five likes on the Facebook page for the love of God) but their new track, 'Bad Brains', is a delight of woozy guitars, Nick Cave meets Tom Waits vocals and a gently probing bass line. They describe themselves as making 'Dance music for those who hate dancing by three boys who can't dance' and clearly state in their email pitch that they have emailed every address they can find so I (and by extension, you) should not feel remotely. The point is, their music is downbeat, sparse and thoroughly chilled indie pop that you should pop on the second that first post-pub spliff is lit as you settle down watch Tarantino films with the sound off. Pass it to the left man.

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


THE HOLY GASP - SINGLE REVIEW

The Holy Gasp - A Daily Affirmation 
The Holy Gasp - A Daily Affirmation 

Release Date: Out Now

Toronto. Home to a lot of things but not, I suspect, a particularly strong Afro-Cuban psychedelic surf-punk scene. I've never been to Toronto, granted, but I suspect the The Holy Gasp are ploughing a fairly lonely furrow. In the snow. Nevertheless, their new single 'A Daily Affirmation' is here so listen up. Opening with layers of vocal harmonies joined by an excitedly shuffling rhythm you soon realise that these guys are here to have a bit of fun and spread some joy. Think Flaming Lips on a really good day, the Polyphonic Spree without all the pretension or the Levellers without the preachiness and then wrap that up in a character with the facial expressiveness of Chevy Chase. The whole thing climaxes with a party band wigging out in a cupboard and you know you've experienced something refreshing, original and makes you want to just hit restart straight away. If you've had a bad day at work or need a pick me up before the day starts then this is the tune for you. No diggity.

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

Live Dates:

13th March - The Phog, Windsor w/OS Tropies
14th March - The Trinity Lounge, Sarnia w/ OS Tropies
17th March - Musiiki, Kingston
19th March - Quai Des Brumes, Montreal
20th March - The Garnet, Peterborough

21st March - The Silver Dollar, Toronto