Friday, 31 July 2015

SHEL - SINGLE REVIEW

Shel - You Could Be My Baby (Mad King/Moraine Music) 
Shel - You Could Be My Baby

Release Date: Out Now

Well this is a wonderful rarity. The four sisters of the Holbrook family (Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza - hence SHEL) make beautiful music together and are bringing that music from the bars and stages of Nashville to whole damn world. 'You Could Be My Baby' is instantly adorable with its dark, circus inspired swagger and four part harmonies smoking their ways in through the key hole of your boudoir and under your sleeping skin. We're talking sophisticated, intelligent and expertly crafted pop with a tasteful hint of sex appeal but be tempted at your peril as these sibling sirens will have your ship dashed on the rocks before you can spin the ship's wheel of fortune. Now, I wouldn't normally mention this but the video is worth a watch partly as these are four striking ladies in a super stylish video. Oh, and when you get to the end you realise that the mysterious man in the shadows of this whole operation with his cane tapping on the floor is the imperious Dave Stewart and suddenly it all makes sense. Definitely, definitely ones to watch.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OApAZHtlFi4&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:

1st August - Keystone Bluegrass Fest, Kenyon
7th August - Late Night @ The District, Brecknridge

8th August - Centennial Under The Stars, Centennial

Thursday, 30 July 2015

FRANK TURNER - SINGLE REVIEW

Frank Turner - The Next Storm (Xtra Mile Recordings) 
Frank Turner - The Next Storm

Release Date: 3rd August 2015

Frank Turner really is a one of the musical miracles of modern British music. Million Dead were pretty good but when they imploded that really ought to have been the end of the Winchester troubadour. But no, not only did he go on to make a tonne of great records cram packed with meaty songs, he also went and opened the Olympics and is now taking on America. The beauty of it all is that most folk in this country have no idea who he is so it's like a stealth win which makes it all the sweeter. The lead single from forthcoming album 'Positive Songs For Negative People' comes out in August and, under the title 'The Next Storm', it is an unusually piano driven romp in the Bruce Springsteen oeuvre. Turner's voice is typically rough around the edges, tripping over the wordy verses and then belting out the life affirming choruses which we know and love him for. This is definitely an indication that Frank is stepping up to the big time and there's more than a nod to the American market which should see him getting much deserved adoration in the blues bars and whisky joints in Boston, New York and anywhere else with a soul, a conscience and a sense of rhythm. Finally, a British musical hero we can be proud to export again, it's been a long time coming.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4IZbCl6iR4

Live Dates:

31st July - Cambridge Folk Festival, Cambridge
15th August - Letzigrundstadion, Zurich
28th August - Bramham Park, Leeds
4th September - Rock am See Festival, Konstanz
19th September - Mr. Smalls Theatre, Millvale
20th September - Riot Fest, Toronto
22nd September - The Lost Horizon, Syracuse
23rd September - Higher Ground Ballroom, South Burlington
25th September - House Of Blues, Boston
26th September - House Of Blues, Boston
28th September - Irving Plaza, New York
29th September - Irving Plaza, New York
30th September - Irving Plaza, New York
2nd October - The Fillmore, Philadelphia
3rd October - Rams Head Live, Baltimore
4th October - 930 Club, Washington
6th October - House of Blues, Chicago
7th October - Varsity Theater, Minneapolis
9th October - Ogden Theatre, Denver
10th October - The Boulder Theater, Boulder w/Beans on Toast
12th October - Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City
13th October - Knitting Factory, Boise
15th October - The Neptune Theatre, Seattle
16th October - Knitting Factory Concert House, Spokane
17th October - Roseland Theatre, Portland
19th October - Ace of Spades, Sacramento
20th October - The Fillmore, San Francisco
22nd October - Mayan Theater, Los Angeles
23rd October - House Of Blues, San Diego
24th October - House of Blues, Anaheim
25th October - The Press Room, Phoenix
27th October - Emo's, Austin
28th October - House Of Blues, Dallas
29th October - House Of Blues, Houston
5th November - Venue Cymru, Llandudno
6th November - O2 Guildhall, Southampton
7th November - O2 Guildhall, Southampton
9th November - Princess Pavillion, Falmouth
10th November - Princess Pavillion, Falmouth
13th November - Barrowland, Glasgow
14th November - Newcastle University, Newcastle
15th November - Rock City, Nottingham
16th November - Rock City Nottingham
18th November - O2 Academy, Birmingham
19th November - O2 Academy, Sheffield
21st November - Colston Hall, Bristol
22nd November - Colston Hall, Bristol
23rd November - Manchester Academy, Manchester
24th November - Manchester Academy, Manchester
26th November - Alexandra Palace, London

18th March - Salty Dog Cruise, Miami

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

GREGORY PORTER - SINGLE REVIEW

Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit [Claptone Remix] 
Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit (Claptone Remix)

Release Date: Out Now

The new Duke of Jazz, Gregory Porter, is hitting the UK with a big ol' tour next year but to keep our whistles whet there's a little Claptone remix of the fantastic 'Liquid Spirit' floating around for us. For those that don't know this modern classic already, the piano melody and Porter's soulful voice evoke everything that is good and great about Jazz, Soul, Motown and Funk without the need for any help. What this Claptone remix does is give the beat and rhythm a little joie de vivre and suddenly you've got a dance floor filler with deep soul that should please purists and newcomers alike. Somewhere in the realms of Moby's 'Play' material, Fatboy Slim and Parov Stellar with some Jacknife Lee thrown in for good measure is where this track exists in all its glory. Love the style, love the voice, love the soul (and the Soul) and God bless that hat.

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

Live Dates:

4th April - Royal Albert Hall, London
5th April - Cliffs Pavilion, Southend
8th April - Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
9th April - City Hall, Sheffield
10th April - Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
11th April - His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen
12th April - Concert Hall, Perth
14th April - Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
15th April - Sage, Gateshead
16th April - Demontfort Hall, Leicester
17th April - Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
19th April - Dome, Brighton
20th April - St Davids Hall, Cardiff
21st April - Concert Hall, Poole
22nd April - Pavilions, Plymouth

24th April - Symphony Hall, Birmingham

THE BLUEBOOK PROJECT - SINGLE REVIEW

The Bluebook Project - Hurricane Blues 
The Bluebook Project - Hurricane Blues

Release Date: Out Now

Bedfordshire's The Bluebook Project are unleashing the wonderfully titled 'Hurricane Blues' on the world and the world had better beware. The quartet kick things off with a Louis XIV beat, some scuzzy guitars are thrown in to the mix and then the bastard child of the Rolling Stones and Queens Of The Stone Age is born in to the world, kicking and screaming (probably drinking and smoking too). As a lead track from an EP this is as strong as it gets with absolutely no let up in the rock'n'roll intensity which has flavours of Jake Bugg in the vocals, the View in the attitude and Arctic Monkeys in the raw confidence. The production is perfectly poised on the line between raw and polished, the energy seeps out of the speakers and you can't help but be swept up in the sheer, unbridled joy of it all. That is the only odd thing about a song with 'Blues' in the title, it's actually pretty euphoric. Go figure.


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

THE HOLY ORDERS - SINGLE REVIEW

The Holy Orders - The Deuce Of Hearts (Mono Sound Records) 
The Holy Orders - The Deuce Of Hearts

Release Date: Out Now

What is it about playing cards and rock'n'roll that is so inextricably linked? I mean, we all know about the 'Ace of Spades' but nobody ever sings about playing dominoes, backgammon or a nice game of Risk do they? Ah well, one day perhaps. In the meantime, Kingston-Upon-Hull quartet are keeping up the tradition with 'The Deuce Of Hearts' and we should be glad. A scratchy, Manics inspired riff gets things going before the song settles in to a slow but determined rhythm that swaggers with the rough edged panache of a bum drinking from a stolen bottle of Moet. This is a booze soaked, skin of the teeth ballad that the Pogues would be proud of as the vocals get increasingly desperate and the guitars pummel your every sense, building to an inevitable and unstoppable conclusion. Lo-fi isn't quite the word for this but rough diamond seems closer to the truth. No wait, rough diamond white. That's better.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRbp5KA0_l0

Live Dates:

8th August - The Owl Sanctuary, Norwich
15th August - Rewind, Wrexham
21st August - The Hop, Wakefield
28th August - Verve Bar, Leeds

29th August - Music Lounge, Stockton 

NAIVES - SINGLE REVIEW

Naives - Horizon (Le Peau Records) 
Naives - Horizon

Release Date: Out Now

Electro-pop seems to be reaching its zenith at the moment and there are a slew of bands chancing their arm at the genre with London chancers Naives being the latest to pop their heads up and try to get noticed. New single 'Horizon' has a certain charm about it with various electronic sounds buzzing around your head and some clicky, itchy beats scattered all over the place. The vocals are in the Everything Everything and Years & Years sphere which adds a certain class and there is certainly a summery, light feel to the tune. The only problem for me is that I was left feeling a bit disorientated as though I had been kidnapped, blindfolded and then woke up naked in a tropical aviary. This is all very well but I have a mild fear of birds and a stronger fear of waking up naked in aviaries so, y'know, I kinda feel a bit icky now. Loving the Noel's House Party inspired artwork though.

More information: https://naiveslondon.bandpage.com/

Live Dates:


8th August - Mau Mau Bar, London

Monday, 27 July 2015

MEMORY MAZE - SINGLE REVIEW

Memory Maze - The Closest Thing To Heaven 
Memory Maze - The Closest Thing To Heaven

Release Date: 31st July 2015

The talented Gavin Ellis (aka Memory Maze) is back with a frantic and frenetic new single that simultaneously exists in a downtempo space. 'The Closest Thing To Heaven' has an agitated, twitchy beat that may just have consumed a little too much Red Bull (other horrible drinks are available) but Ellis's smooth vocals and a rolling, undulating bass line keep things from getting irritating. Then the chorus drops and something Arcade Fire meets the Flaming Lips occurs as the keys swathe and some choppy, 80s guitars add a little punctuation. This is classy, soaring and emotive music which, let's face it, is more than you deserve on a Monday. I do spoil you...

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


Listen Here: https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/192120389&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

KEVIN PEARCE - SINGLE REVIEW

Kevin Pearce - Dynamite 
Kevin Pearce - Dynamite

Release Date: Out Now

OK, I'll admit my prejudice got the better of me slightly on this one to begin with. Reading that a chap called from Kevin from Essex was releasing a new single called 'Dynamite' I did imagine some horrible 'club anthem' about it all "going off" and dropping 'it' like a 'bomb'. Pleasingly (for me, anyway) what Mr Pearce actually creates is lo-fo folk indie that sits somewhere between Elbow, David Kitt and Jim Noir in the periodic table of tunes. Sombre vocal harmonies, skittish beats and some understated but heavenly melodies all combine with the video to make for a thoroughly engrossing and engaging experience that is perfect for a grey British summer's day. Bravo, Kevin, bravo for casually throwing my prejudice at my feet like an emotional indie gauntlet.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4grpXfjYus

STILLHOUND - SINGLE REVIEW

Stillhound - Think This Way 
Stillhound - Think This Way

Release Date: Out Now

The video for this new single from Scottish quartet Stillhound seems to depict families having a day out at the ruins of a castle while a moss faced man looms eerily in the background. It's a bit odd. Musically, however, 'Think This Way' sits in the electro-pop meets shoegaze slice of the Venn diagram with influences like Everything Everything, Dutch Uncles and New Order mingling with more traditional indie acts like Embrace or Ride. However, what makes this track really stand out is the way it builds to a euphoric crescendo like a club slaying trance hit ready to drop like a bomb on Ibiza. With the likes of Years & Years making headway with a similar style at the moment you could see Stillhound following suit very easily indeed.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO308rE5J0s 

PACIFIC - SINGLE REVIEW

Pacific - Those Nights 
Pacific - Those Nights

Release Date: Out Now

Piano indie. It's had a bad rap over the past few years. Keane kinda cornered the market and then threw up in said corner and let me tell you, vomit is bloody hard to get out of a piano. Cheshire quartet Pacific are cleaning up that old Joanna though with a take on the genre and the instrument that has a more epic, grandiose vibe like the Killers getting the crowd good and warmed up for U2. This latest single, 'Those Nights', has an unavoidably Keane-esque beginning but by the time the chorus hits an edge starts to emerge that puts this firmly in the alt-pop category. You can easily imagine this being used in the soul searching post-break up scene of a Hollywood rom-com as the sweeping melodies and crooned vocals seek to soothe that broken heart. Too big a sound for Cheshire, methinks, time for these guys to move up to another league, albeit via the Playoffs.

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

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

Live Dates:

31st July - The Exchange, Stoke On Trent
31st August - Liverpool International Music Festival, Liverpool w/Basement Jaxx + Echo & The Bunnymen

10th September - Telford's Warehouse, Chester

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

THE MARKS CARTEL - SINGLE REVIEW

The Marks Cartel - Take Me Home (End Of The Trail Records) 
The Marks Cartel - Take Me Home

Release Date: 24th July 2015

So here we have a bunch of lads from South Wales who state Kasabian, Oasis and Arctic Monkeys in their influences which immediately makes me slightly cautious as these are usually the go to point for meat-head 'indie' fans in white vans on their way V-Fest in Chelmsford. But wait, what's this? New single 'Take Me Home' has some ingenuity about it with clipped beats, Bond-esque strings, the swagger of latter day Arctics and just a hint of Kasabian mob mentality in the chorus that sits on the right side of moronic. There is that glimmer of hope that the Stereophonics and Feeder always had but never quite delivered on so maybe it's third time lucky for products of the Welsh music scene. Not the finished article or a show stopper but it certainly wouldn't be out of place on the XFM playlist.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MDF_pVjXx8&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:


21st August - Sin City, Swansea 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

COPYWRITE - SINGLE REVIEW

Copywrite - Philophobia 
Copywrite - Philophobia

Release Date: Out Now

I like to think I have pretty eclectic tastes and, as such, I tend to find musical kinship in the slivers of the Venn diagram that I share with other people. Then there comes a band like Australian combo Copywrite who state their influences on Facebook (and I'm not cherry picking here, this is the full list) as Radiohead, Talking Heads, Queens Of The Stoneage, Swans, Massive Attack, Interpol, Tool, Bjork, Silverchair, First Aid Kit and Kimbra. I know, right? Amazeballs doesn't even cover it. I got the same feeling the first time I saw a girl laughing at Family Guy and realised it wasn't just a guy thing. So, I've already got a bit of a band crush on Copywrite and I haven't heard a note yet. Dangerous. This, the band's debut single 'Philophobia', is about the fear of falling in love and is an endearingly lo-fi indie number with skin-of-the-teeth  guitar picking and dusky, sultry vocals courtesy of the Justine Frischmann-esque vocals of Luna. The influences are all in there from QOTSAs fuck you cool to the down tempo beauty of Massive Attack and the seductive style of Kimbra. Sure it's raw and unpolished but the beauty shines through and I can't help but feel that there is more to come from the platform these guys have built themselves. Strong stuff for a debut.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQC79aOYWFA 

JUNKYARD CHOIR - SINGLE REVIEW

Junkyard Choir - Sun Moon Stars 
Junkyard Choir - Sun Moon Stars

Release Date: Out Now

Blues Grunge duos. They're ten a penny nowadays right? The Black Keys, Moriaty, The Graveltones, Royal Blood and now we have Junkyard Choir. But do we need them? Well, new single 'Sun Moon Stars' is certainly bluesy with a whisky soaked, roll up stained, gravel toned vocal that sounds like a cement mixer full of the shattered dreams of the also runs and might have beens. The drums have a punky edge to them - supported by the mere two minute length of this track - but the guitars exist more in the upbeat grunge sphere. To be clear, these guys are a Blues Grunge duo but with a party ethos to rival the best and a punk work ethic that others could learn from. So, yes, we do need them. We need Junkyard Choir like you need a proper blow out including shots, curry and possibly a strip club on the first pay day after Christmas. Oh, and the artwork is aces so extra points for that if I gave out points. Which I don't. But, y'know, it's cool artwork.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mS7TWFCXsI&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:


24th July - Ambition Festival @ Scream Lounge, Croydon 

TIM MUDDIMAN & THE STRANGE - SINGLE REVIEW

Tim Muddiman & The Strange - Rolling Stones 
Tim Muddiman & The Strange - Rolling Stones

Release Date: Out Now

Tim Muddiman seems to have his fingers in a number of musical pies, pies belonging to the likes of Gary Numan and Pop Will Eat Itself but with ingredients supplied by Muddiman from his organic vineyard of melodies. This project, however, sees Muddiman having full control over the pie making experience and new single 'Rolling Stones' is fresh from the oven. Middle Eastern references in the opening strains are followed by a swaggering, leather clad riff that is up to no good and determined to have a little fun. Or maybe a lot of fun. The Numan meets Depeche Mode influences are front and centre and if you close your eyes you can just picture a moody, determined montage of an assassin preparing for one last kill. It's probably Liam Neeson. This is moody, gloriously stylish and well produced stuff so, y'know, get involved.

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

Sunday, 19 July 2015

AMBER LEAVES - SINGLE REVIEW

AMBER LEAVES - SINGLE REVIEW 
Amber Leaves - Heaven

Amber Leaves - Heaven

Release Date: 20th July 2015

Normally, when a troupe of white guys rock up professing to play indie funk I would run a mile. Well, not run, I'm not a runner, but at least amble or mosey at the very least. Fortunately for London combo Amber Leaves, their new single hit my ears before their press release hit my eyes. Sure, 'Heaven' starts like an edgy 80s pop hit from Nik Kershaw but a smooth caramel bass line, itchy guitars and drums with a real snap to them soon have the reluctant dancers emerging from the shadows. Throw in some swoony, croony vocals and you suddenly find yourself in between Hot Chip and Transformer with a tight pair of jeans and shoulders that just won't stay still. Amber Leaves are one of the more danceable indie bands to have arrived in my ears for a while and the raunchy guitars of the instrumental middle eight just seals the deal. Before I know it I'm throwing my panties at Soundcloud and shrieking like a teenage Beatles fan in a converted 60s cinema. Sexy stuff.

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

Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/amberleaves/heaven

Live Dates:

19th July - Single Launch @ Sebright Arms, London
1st August - Farm Fest, Gatcombe

10th October - The Borderline, London

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

HANSHOTFIRST - SINGLE REVIEW

Hanshotfirst - We Fall Down (Rose Coloured Records) 
Hanshotfirst - We Fall Down

Release Date: Out Now

"Surrey's most promising rock band" is how the press release for this band starts and I can't help but feel this is setting the band's ambitions a little low. I mean, not even the best band, not even the best rock band, just the most promising rock band....in Surrey. Still, promising is promising so why don't we give them a listen, eh? 'We Fall Down' starts like a moody, boy band ballad with sparse piano and some airy vocals and continues that way for nearly three minutes before finally starting to build a crescendo of guitars, epic drums and Snow Patrol flare waving in the video. There is a swelling rock beauty to this track that is undeniable but I have to say that I think this would work better as a mid album track as it takes a little long to get going as a single. Nevertheless, it does show promise so, y'know, that's promising.

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

Listen Here: https://hanshotfirstofficial.bandcamp.com/


Watch The Video Here: https://www.youtube.com/user/HanShotFirstOfficial

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

ANNA ZED - SINGLE REVIEW

Anna Zed - Under The Water 
Anna Zed - Under The Water

Release Date: Out Now

Greek born, New York based and with British heritage , Anna Zed certainly has an intriguing back story but that doesn't always make for the most intriguing music. Zed's new single, 'Under The Water' begins with a bit of Clapton-esque noodling from our heroine before a dubby beat and Zed's sultry vocals join in to create a whole new atmosphere. Weirdly, the bulging bass lines and floaty guitar work does have a particularly watery feel which makes things sound as though you are actually hearing them from under water (or at least you've got your ears under the water line in the bath). As a single, this does pique the imagination but I can't help but feel this is more of an album track and would bet that there is a greater creativity to come from this artist. That said, this is a wonderfully chilled out and floaty track that you can just drift away to on a summer's day as long as you're wearing your arm bands.


More information: http://www.annazed.info/

JUST MILLIE - SINGLE REVIEW

Just Millie - Not OK (Groovefinder Records) 
Just Millie - Not OK

Release Date: 24th July 2015

Shaftesbury. Not somewhere I get an awful lot of music from but it sure beats the endless stream of artists coming from 'London'. Just Millie is a young singer-songwriter from the shires of Shaftesbury and this new single, 'Not OK', is a lively, sweet'n'sour delight. The sweet comes from the bouncy, ramshackle acoustic guitar, gypsy rhythms and Just Millie's pitch perfect vocal delivery which has power, range and personality. The sour comes in the attitude within that vocal, the gritted teeth determination of the lyrics and the way the tune builds to a wonderfully defiant crescendo. For fans of Kate Nash, Indigo Girls, Lilly Allen, Jamie T and Sound of the Sirens but also for anyone who wants to hear a fresh, refreshing and utterly engaging new talent who is, let's face it, unreasonably young to be creating such ace tunes. Big things, I predict, big things.

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

Live Dates:

16th July - Single Release Party @ The Frog & Frigate, Southampton
18th July - Netley Festival
19th July - Bishops Waltham Festival
20th July - Picnic In The Park, Bitterne School

24th July - Gabefest, Romsey

Saturday, 11 July 2015

ESCAPISTS - SINGLE REVIEW

Escapists - Eat You Alive 
Escapists - Eat You Alive

Release Date: 20th July 2015

Slightly creepy artwork aside, London quartet Escapists' new single 'Eat You Alive' is a slow burner of a tune as eery synths slowly build until they are chopped down by a guitar riff that is as much Muse as it is the Killers. The vocals, although fitting, are a little low in the mix for my liking as the poppy, twitchy guitars overpower things slightly but a snappy beat keeps things going. There's a frenetic guitar solo in the middle eight but otherwise this song could do with another idea to make it stand out a little more. The disco-indie-pop thing is good fun but if this came on the radio I think I'd forget it before the next song had even reached the first chorus.


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

THE GRAVELTONES - SINGLE REVIEW

The Graveltones - Big Money 
The Graveltones - Big Money

Release Date: Out Now

When I check out new bands on Facebook it's always interesting to see if any of my mates have liked their page already. When my old pal Buzz likes a band then I generally know I'm on to something good. Buzz, you see, knows his shit. London duo Graveltones consist of Jimmy O and Mikey Sorbello (yeah, I know, like New York Ice Cream Mafia, right?) and their new single is the confidence drenched 'Big Money'. The stumbling, staggering, bluesy opening draws you in like a tense Mexican standoff in a Tarantino flick but then, well, there's only two words for it: FUCK ME. Things explode for the chorus and a bigger sound from two men you won't find - don't even try looking, you'll be wasting your time. Sledgehammers for drum sticks, oil barrels for drums, jumbo jets for guitar amps and I can only imagine some sort of nuclear powered guitar all combine to make one unholy noise that gets you right in the feels. Buzz was right, as always, and it looks like Royal Blood and the Black Keys can just go ahead and give up now. The Graveltones are awesome in the true, biblical sense of the word so kneel before them.......kneeeeeel.

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

Live Dates:

16th July - Bukta Festival, Tromso
18th July - The Highland Games, Pfalzen
6th September - Jersey Live, Jersey
16th September - The Scala, London
17th September - Exchange, Bristol
18th September - Fuel, Cardiff
19th September - The Rainbow, Birmingham
24th September - Waterfront Studio, Norwich
25th September - Diamond Live Lounge, Doncaster
26th September - The Live Rooms, Chester
30th September - The Ferret, Preston
1st October - The Bowery District, Reading
2nd October - The Crauford Arms, Milton Keynes
10th October - Hackney Wonderland, London
15th October - Jazz Cafe, London

6th December - Winter Rocks Festival, Sheffield

THOSE HANDSOME ANIMALS - EP REVIEW

Those Handsome Animals - Hits EP 
Those Handsome Animals - Hits EP

Release Date: Out Now

It takes a certain sense of humour, arrogance and attitude to chuck out an EP early in your career called 'Hits' but that's exactly what London lads Those Handsome Animals have done (great band name by the way). There's a travelling theme to the four tracks on this collection that begins with 'Home Pt. 1', a tune that crashes in all drunk and disorderly inspired by the Sex Pistols, the Who and numerous West Coast punk bands. The intro is perhaps a little long but when the song finally gets going it settles in to something more akin to the Killers or Young Knives with raw production qualities and a sense of that lost hope that seems to prevalent within British kids these days. 'Away Again' is up next and has a bluster about it that is hard to ignore as delicate notes are bombed by big distorted guitars that puts in me in mind of something existing between the worlds of Maximo Park, the Rakes and the Futureheads.

On 'Right For The City' the quartet hit their stride and by now you can revel in the scratchy chords, tinny cymbals and seat of the pants vocal performances that care not for slickness or autotune (thank the lord). 'Doing Fine' closes things off and seals the deal for me as Those Handsome Animals show that they have perfectly mastered the blend of US Garage and English Indie to make a potent and probably barely legal concoction that I am starting to get a buzz off. The itchy, nervous energy in each of the songs suggest the live shows will sweaty, excited and slightly awkward affairs but then so was my sex life when I was a teenager and that turned out OK, right? RIGHT? Right. Anyway, get these guys on your radar as they will be being critically acclaimed before you know it.


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

SLOW RIOT - SINGLE REVIEW

Slow Riot - City Of Culture (Straight Lines Are Fine) 
Slow Riot - City Of Culture

Release Date: 10th July 2015

I went to Limerick once and was told by the people I was there to see that I shouldn't hang around and should just get on the first bus out of there. Seems a little at odds, then, that trio Slow Riot (who hail from Limerick) have a single by the name of 'City Of Culture' but then again they make yoghurt out of culture don't they? The song itself is a sped up race through city streets at night with a bass line that doesn't just throb but actually spits blood from the seams. The moody, Editors-esque vocals and guitars give this a classy feel but it's hard to get away from that bass line and the crashing drums that follow you round the room like the eyes of locals when you walk in to a small town bar on your own on a Saturday night. Menacing, malevolent and bristling with paranoid intent, Slow Riot have captured the essence of a walk home alone along dark streets in the early hours but I'll leave it up to you decide whether you will get home safe or not....

More information: https://www.facebook.com/slowriot.theband


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ext-xe4MsE

CAIROBI - SINGLE REVIEW

Cairobi - Gristly Words (Week Of Wonders) 
Cairobi - Gristly Words

Release Date: Out Now

'Gristly Words' is one of the best single titles I've come across in a long while and the opening to this track from London based Cairobi is equally refreshing. The band seemingly tumble down some stairs like a slinky being produced by Django Django before a San Francisco summer of love vibe kicks in, chivvied along by a skittish drum beat. The spaced out vocals and woozy guitars layer up and up and up until they disappear in to the blue sky to be scorched by the high noon sunshine. The arrangements on this single keep you guessing and the production quality is either wonderfully lo-fi or expertly simplistic but either way it works superbly. I'm struggling to draw comparisons which is always a plus point and the only conclusion I can draw is that these guys are pushing at some new doors with a few old ideas and I can only support that with every bone in my body. Bravo, Cairobi, bravo indeed.


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

JOE BOYD - SINGLE REVIEW

Joe Boyd - Driver (Agony & Ecstasy Records) 
Joe Boyd - Driver

Release Date: Out Now

Now, London based artist Joe Boyd has an intriguing list of influences on his Facebook page. I defy anyone to ignore an artist creating music influenced by the likes of Black Flag, Miles Davis, The Beach Boys, Chet Baker and Jimi Hendrix. So latest single 'Driver' has a lot to live up to and immediately see those influences seeping out of the music. Edgy, pent-up guitars build the tension before the Jazzy drums roll in and Boyd's smooth, West Coast inspired vocal swoons in to keep things from boiling over....just. One influence not mentioned is that of Incubus and their namesake singer Brandon Boyd which is where my mind and ears go when I hear this track. The accompanying video makes for slightly uncomfortable viewing like the most awkward video dating profile tape ever but by the time this song reaches its climax you are already lost in the bluesy, jazzy, edgy rock'n'roll with soul that Joe Boyd presents. Just goes to show that taking the right ingredients can often come up with a delightful dish.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnji4RrK1PE&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:


16th July - Jazz Cafe, London

Thursday, 9 July 2015

ELLIE MAKES MUSIC - SINGLE REVIEW

Ellie Makes Music - Mountains 
Ellie Makes Music - Mountains

Release Date: 27th July 2015

Cardiff based artist Ellie James who goes by the stage name Ellie Makes Music which is essentially taking the Ronseal approach to artist naming activities and who are we to argue? This new single from the one woman singing machine, 'Mountains', is anything but obvious though. The off-kilter clickety-clack rhythms and stabbed organs are held together by James' furious acoustic guitar playing and pure vocal. There are elements of Flight Of The Conchords about the arrangements and more than a smidge of Jake Morley to the songwriting which are both very good things but previous reviewers have likened Ellie Makes Music to Taylor Swift (no, just no) and Laura Marling (maybe) and I think that's just lazy journalism. What this artist has in abundance is a confidence to try new things, push on unopened doors and, as borne out by the lyrics, to stand up for her own individuality regardless of what the sheep think. Sublime and refreshing stuff.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtyZfY9UsOY&sns=fb

Live Dates:

10th July - The Bell, Bath
22nd July - The Louisiana, Bristol
25th July - Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

6th August - Dublin Castle, London

COSMO SHELDRAKE - SINGLE REVIEW

Cosmo Sheldrake - Pelicans We (Transgressive Records)
Cosmo Sheldrake - Pelicans We

Release Date: Out Now

Time for the new one from LWM favourite Cosmo Sheldrake and I'm so confident that this is going to be a smasher that I haven't even considered that it might disappoint me. Dangerous. The intriguingly titled 'Pelicans We' is, of course, absolutely wonderful from the outset. A twitchy, jerky, clicky beat is soothed with some whimsical keys and, if you're not distracted by the video that was filmed in the Budapest Baths, you'll soon notice Sheldrake's eccentric voice joining in like the more indie son of Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer. Those hip-hop beats, layered vocals and dark, woodland inspired vibes are all trademarks of the genius that is Cosmo Sheldrake but the man just gets better with every tune. This one is more subdued than others that have gone before but even in downtempo mode, this guy beats most other people in to a cocked hat. A big, cocked hat.

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

Live Dates:

20th September - Kyoto Music Expo, Kyoto
25th September - Reeperbahn Fesitval, Hamburg

26th September - Berlin Independent Night, Berlin w/Palma Violets + Lucy Rose + Young Rebel Set

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

JOINTPOP - SINGLE REVIEW

Jointpop - Simply Beautiful 
Jointpop - Simply Beautiful

Release Date: Out Now

Trinidad & Tobago outfit Jointpop are an intriguing prospect who don't look or get sold in their PR anything like they actually sound. This new track, 'Simply Beautiful', and the accompanying video have a smooth, slick charm that you might have expected from an 80s pop legend like Billy Ocean or Lionel Ritchie but then there's a quirky edge that is more akin to Elvis Costello or Ian Dury. There's a big guitar solo and a ballady build up which is grander than the understated sentiment behind the lyrics. I have to say, this isn't necessarily a song that I would have crossed the road to hear but coupled with the mannequin inspired video it becomes a different prospect altogether.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBrasuzg9Gw 

MARIANN ROSA - SINGLE REVIEW

Mariann Rosa - Banjo For My Bitches (Popjoy Records) 
Mariann Rosa - Banjo For My Bitches

Release Date: Out Now

Former Surferosa frontwoman and Norwegian Idol judge Mariann Rosa has a new single for you and it's called, wait for it, 'Banjo For My Bitches'. Yeah, stick that in your pipe and smoke it Rhianna. The opening cry of "Banjo for my bitches" rings out over a sparse Nordic landscape before a tune comes crashing in that is it the precise fulcrum between Hole and Sleigh Bells. I love this song. Before the first chorus even hits I am in love. It's got everything. Club anthem dancey bits, big distorted rocky bits, unintelligible euro-pop bits and always that lyric - "Banjo for my bitches". Wrap all this up in the kind of big, slick, anthemic production that the likes of Katy Perry or Pink are always aiming for and you've got one hell of a package. I'm actually, for once, a little bit lost for words at how wonderfully and insanely perfect this song is. Get on board people. And bring your Banjos.


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

CALUM FOAD - SINGLE REVIEW

Calum Foad - MeMeMe 
Calum Foad - MeMeMe

Release Date: 13th July 2015

Now, on paper, I was not sure I was going to have much time for this track. The press kit described this as 'quirk pop' from Reading based singer-songwriter Calum Foad and, well, look at him - he's the kind of guy designed to make other guys feel a little bit shit about themselves and their lack of gym time. Still, I'm never one to judge a book by its cover, so I nervously pressed play on new single 'Me Me Me'. Sure, it is pop and there is an element of quirk to it - if by quirk you mean Reggae beats and a slightly thin production quality - but what immediately shines through is Foad's ability to string together a witty lyric and deliver it with a certain charm. The winning moment f the song, however, is when you realise that this is an uber-thinly veiled attack on those people (you know who they are) who update every little minute detail of their mundane lives on social media until you either want to kill them or find yourself worrying that you don't know what cereal they had for breakfast and, therefore, they may have just collapsed and died under the weight of their own self importance. So well done Calum, possibly the most interesting thing to come out of Reading since the First Great Western train to Cornwall but I reckon there is some room for improvement if Calum could add a little more edge and bite. Worth keeping an eye on it.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5AhsLFDiJw 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

KITTY FINER - SINGLE REVIEW

Kitty Finer - Girls In The Garage 
Kitty Finer - Girls In The Garage

Release Date: Out Now

There are some famous connections to the stupendous Kitty Finer but I want to discuss the music with you first. This new single, 'Girls In The Garage', starts off with a fairly innocuous riff but Finer's smoky vocals and a clicky beat give this a kind of a Jona Lewie vibe (more 'In The Kitchen At Parties' than 'Stop The Cavalry'). As the horns sashay in and a ska rhythm makes an appearance you can't help but get swept up on Finer's repeated plea to "Just Dance". This is the kind of lo-fi, understated song that will be a cult classic in years to come whether Finer goes on to huge acclaim or not....and she should. Oh, and those famous connections? Kitty is the daughter of Pogues founding member Jem Finer and the video for this track was directed by Gina Birch of the vastly overlooked and underrated Raincoats. The song isn't improved by these facts but it's fun to uncover trivia.

More information: http://kittyfiner.bandcamp.com/releases


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSaeW2bg0pM&app=desktop 

FOREVER CULT - SINGLE REVIEW

Forever Cult - Antonio Banderas (Clue Records) 
Forever Cult - Antonio Banderas

Release Date: Out Now

Now, it's no secret that I'm a big fan of Leeds label Clue Records and their small but oh so perfectly formed roster of artists so I am always keen to get a new release from them in my inbox.  This latest release comes via trio Forever Cult in the shape of their intriguingly titled new single 'Antonio Banderas'. The track kicks off like an Arctic Monkeys tune but with more bile and spit flying with the delivery of every syllable. The swagger of the guitars and the bombast of the drums are fine on their own but it is the sheer size and, well, balls of the bass line on this tune that wins the day as it strolls in, fashionably late of course, scans the room and then walks up to the hottest girl with a look that says you're coming home with me tonight and you already knew that before you put that dress on tonight. This song has the style of Antonia Banderas in Zorro or Shrek but the lethal sex appeal of a 
Desperado era Banderas.....with a killer bass line.

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

Live Dates:

13th July - The Forum, Tunbridge Wells
14th July - Green Door Store, Brighton
15th July - Old Blue Last, London
16th July - Sound House, Leicester
17th July - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
18th July - Head Of Steam, Newcastle

19th July - Castle Hotel, Manchester

Sunday, 5 July 2015

THE MAGNETTES - SINGLE REVIEW

The Magnettes - Sore Feet & Heartbeats 
The Magnettes - Sore Feet & Heartbeats

Release Date: 6th July 2015

So imagine, if you will, that the female half of Abba had a couple of daughters who went off the rails fuelled by a trust fund and the burden of being daughters of pop royalty. Then, one day, high on schnapps and teenage bitterness they stumble across their mothers' home studio and decide to bash out some 'ironic' electro pop. 'Sore Feet & Heartbeats' is the result of said ironic jam but the problem they fail completely as this is a genuinely great indie-electro-pop tune with sass, class and a misleading lightness. The beats and bass bounce while the melodies floats airily through the summer air giving the honey roasted harmonies of Sanna and Rebecka space to soar. The defiance of the lyrics ("Let's forget about the others cos they're not worth our time") adds a little sourness to an otherwise sweet tune and seals this Swedish duo as a quality act to take seriously...but not too seriously.


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

Friday, 3 July 2015

RIPPLE GREEN - SINGLE REVIEW

Ripple Green - Timepiece 
Ripple Green - Timepiece

Release Date: 6th July 2015

Ripple Green are a trio of rockers from Oklahoma who filmed their video for this latest release during the Summer Solstice of 2014 at Stonehenge. Now, I don't want to get all historical or political on the eve of 4th July as I write this but, well, bloody Yanks coming over here stealing our mystical national monuments for their music videos. Ahem, sorry, just had to get that out. Anyway, 'Timepiece' is a laid-back piece of funk-soul-rock but it's not as bad as that sounds like it should be. Sure there are elements of early Maroon 5 which is right on the border of my taste parameters but then there are hints of Red Hot Chili Peppers at their best and the bluesy middle 8 featuring muted vocal harmonies is actually a thing of beauty that the likes of Brother & Bones or Incubus would have no problem including on a track. By the time the song winds to a close it has crept under my skin and I'm hooked on the hook which is surely the main challenge these days in terms of getting yourself noticed.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hoDzskv3rw&feature=youtu.be 

A BILLION LIONS - SINGLE REVIEW

A Billion Lions - Doomsday Babies (End Of The Road Records) 
A Billion Lions - Doomsday Babies

Release Date: 13th July 2015

These Leeds/Bradford boys rocked up on my radar earlier this year with their single 'Torquay' which grabbed my attention, without asking I might add, but in my review I said I thought there was even more to come from the quartet. So, new single 'Doomsday Babies' is my first opportunity to see if that bit of amateur fortune telling was correct or just hokum. Things start promisingly enough with a tub thumping beat and strained, screeching guitars chiming out through the night sky. When the gang style vocals kick in you can't help but get swept away in the energy of the song and undeniable US influences that inspire audio images of Fall Out Boy or The Ataris in my mind's eye. Sadly, I don't think this is the step on from the first single that I had foretold but it's certainly not a step backwards. No, A Billion Lions are displaying consistency which is no bad thing but I still think there's a moment of brilliance to come from them somewhere down the line and I will keep a candle burning for that moment to arrive.


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

TOSIN 'EWA' ALONGE - DEMO REVIEW

Tosin 'Ewa' Alonge - Freedom/Mumbaka 
Tosin 'Ewa' Alonge - Freedom/Mumbaka

Release Date: Out Now

This is my absolute favourite way to come across new artists, I think. Forget the hype machine, forget the trendy PR companies and the hotly tipped London gigs. I just love getting sent a couple of tunes that an artist has put together, maybe with a little self shot video, and sent over with very little else - not even a Twitter account. Bliss. So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Tosin 'Ewa' Alonge, a singer-songwriter from Nigeria making some inroads in to the music world. The first of these two tracks, 'Freedom', shows a mellow, soulful side to this artist and despite the poor recording quality there is plenty here to get excited about. From the picked guitar to the steadily emerging horns and saxophone, it's all promising stuff but it's Alonge's voice, full of passion and a sense of soul, that stands out as she sings of revolution and freedom for her nation. 'Mambuka' is the stronger of the two tunes, though, as Alonge lets loose her unique guitar playing style which gives her voice a more steady platform from which to take flight. Soulful, bluesy, chilled out but with a sense of fun and a big, full heart full of love. Again, the recording quality is a bit sketchy but the song and talent is there which is what really matters. Finally, a genuinely fresh and engaging talent that is completely unfettered by the machinations of the music industry - if such a thing still exists.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/tosin.e.alonge?fref=ts


Watch The Video for Mumbaka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQXP-NnlO-8&feature=youtu.be 

SOUND OF THE SIRENS - SINGLE REVIEW

Sound Of The Sirens - The Confession 
Sound Of The Sirens - The Confession

Release Date: 3rd July 2015

The excellent and, frankly, prolific Sound Of The Sirens are back with a new single ahead of another EP and they just keep getting better and better. 'The Confession' continues with the superb twin vocal harmonies that we've come to expect from Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood as well as the stomping rhythms and hypnotic guitar riffs. But this time there are two new developments in the form of a snaking violin melody and an increasingly defiant edge that has been creeping in to the duo's tune for a while but is now far more prevalent. Following a busy Glastonbury and a live schedule that is more often packed than not, the reputation of this pair is on the rise both in their native Westcountry and around the UK so keep an eye out for the new EP and get down to one of their enthralling live shows as soon as you can, capiche?

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

Listen Here: http://www.soundofthesirens.net/

Live Dates:

10th July - EP Launch @ Phoenix, Exeter w/Tobias Ben Jacob + Lukas Drinkwater + Wildwood Kin + The Rushes
11th July - Tiverton Balloon Festival, Tiverton

28th August - Watchet Festival, Watchet

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

ROCK-CRIMINALS - SINGLE REVIEW

Rock-Criminals - Clock Is Tickin' 
Rock-Criminals - Clock Is Tickin'

Release Date: Out Now

Ready for some punk rock from four Finnish teenagers that go by the name Rock-Criminals? I thought you would be. Rock-Criminals are fairly elusive online but their single, 'Clock Is Tickin'' is four and a half minutes of noisy, angry punk rock with chunky riffs and a rolling drums. These aren't the most original or hair raising group of lads around but they are full of youthful vim and vigour as well as a fair amount of spunk, snot and sneer. They also have a drummer with a kit that should belong in a metal band (I mean, double bass drum in a punk band? I don't think so) and a look that suggests they were raised on a steady diet of 70s punk bands. Rock-Criminals are a band just starting out so there's more to come but their attitude is right and their style is on the money so let's hope they start spewing out a few more songs.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-pFBtl-hwg