Thursday, 29 October 2015

ROBERTA HOWETT - SINGLE REVIEW

Roberta Howett - Water To Fire 
Roberta Howett - Water To Fire

Release Date: Out Now

It's not often that the words 'X Factor Finalist' pique my interest but Dublin born Roberta Howett was a finalist in the first series of the X Factor with Sharon Osborne as her mentor and since then she has been hard at work trying to build a career of her own so it's worth giving her a listen. Latest single 'Water To Fire' is a strange fish of a song in that I can't work out what era it belongs to. On the one hand this is an 80s pop ballad with cheap sounding synths and some dramatic vocals. However, on the other hand, this is the kind of direction that the likes of Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift are going in and it could easily appeal to that  market of hairbrush singers the world over. Howett undoubtedly has a strong voice but I'm not sure this is necessarily the most effective vehicle for it so here's hoping for something a little more passionate and raw to come in the future.


More information: https://www.facebook.com/RobertaHowett-672682222859654/?pnref=lhc 

VICTORY JONES - SINGLE REVIEW

Victory Jones - Warriors 
Victory Jones - Warriors

Release Date: Out Now

The wonderfully named New York City electropop songstress, Victory Jones, is here and she means business.  New single 'Warriors' starts with a spoken word piece of inspiration before the sultry beats and soulful vocals take over. Jones' vocal style is somewhere between rap and soul with traces of Rhianna, Ellie Goulding and Neneh Cherry all coming to the fore but there is a defiant almost political edge which is more akin  to MIA. Victory Jones is a fierce and determined competitor and performer who is the very definition of an iron fist in a velvet glove which is just what the music world needs right now. I mean, let's face it, Beyonce still has the glove but the fist is limp.

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


Watch The Video: http://www.afropunk.com/profiles/blogs/video-premiere-ny-based-jamaican-alt-singer-victory-jones

Download Here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/warriors-single/id991091400 

A.S. FANNING - SINGLE REVIEW

A.S. Fanning - Carmelita 
A.S. Fanning - Carmelita

Release Date: 13th November 2015

So, an Irishman walks in to a German bar and, well, that's where the joke falls apart but basically that is the story behind A.S. Fanning - to be more specific he's from Dublin and the bar is in Berlin. The darkly handsome chap (I mean seriously, look at the way he wears that hat) has a new single coming your way next month in the shape of 'Carmelita' which starts with a rich organ drone and scratchy acoustic strum but that all drifts in to insignificance when you hear Fanning's voice. Think a tone in the Venn diagram between Nick Cave, Neil Hannon, Hozier and Johnny Cash, all treacly and smelling of roll up cigarettes and red wine. Singing of being strung out on Heroine and sitting at the back of the bus while the organ rages in the background gives this a confessional feel if Quentin Tarantino is reading this then you really ought to sign this guy up to do the music for the closing credits of your next film. Dark, delicious, steeped in pathos and with the swagger of a cowboy who has killed more people than he can remember so doesn't even bother trying any more.


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

JOSEFIN OHRN + THE LIBERATION - SINGLE REVIEW

Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation - Take Me Beyond (Rocket Recordings) 
Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation - Take Me Beyond

Release Date: 30th October 2015

Josefin Ohrn is making big waves in Sweden and those waves are being felt over here in the UK as BBC 6 Music has already started backing her for greater things. This new single, 'Take Me Beyond', is a precursor to an album due in November and on this evidence there is a lot to look forward to.  Atmospheric, Anna Calvi-esque guitars open proceedings before a Stooges style garage thud starts up with the spirit of Jim Morrison flailing his arms in the background. There is an itchy urgency to the music that is calmed by Ohrn's dusky voice as you might expect an experienced cowboy to calm a stampede of wild horses. Ohrn has a captivating voice that, when coupled with the raw but perfect music of the Liberation, blends ying and yang, city and country, fire and ice or heaven and hell. This music exists in the join between things, that thin line between love and hate but I think you'll fall down on the side of love if you know what's good for you.


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

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

MAYFLOWER - DEMO REVIEW

Mayflower - Sienna 
Mayflower - Sienna

Release Date: Out Now

Manchester lads Mayflower are getting noticed by the right people. Saint Steve Lamacy and Duke Guy Garvey are already interested and other prominent DJs throughout the BBC network are starting to give their support as well. This initial demo, 'Sienna', is being touted around as an early calling card and it's something of a slow burner. Meandering guitars and some ponderous drums all mingle to create a shoegazey bed on which the vocals can lounge luxuriously. Elements of the Verve, Swim Deep and Embrace are in there which is all good but on the evidence of this single I'm struggling a little bit to see what all the fuss is about. I can imagine this tune being a near religious experience if in the right venue with the right amount of alcohol in your blood stream and nothing else to distract you. However, the slightly muddy mix and my complete sobriety leaves me a little cold on this one. Intriguing though, definitely intriguing.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/wearemayflower?_rdr=p

Live Dates:

7th November - The Workshop, London
20th November - Ruby Lounge, Manchester

1st December - Tuesday Live @ Joshua Brooks, Manchester

LUNA LEPAGE - SINGLE REVIEW

Luna LePage - Phoenix 
Luna LePage - Phoenix

Release Date: Out Now

I don't get sent much from Buckinghamshire so this debut release from the area's Luna LePage is noteworthy for that if nothing else. 'Phoenix' is the first official release from the quartet and starts with some eerie delta guitar notes and the smoky, sultry vocals of Luna herself. This is blues-rock steeped in atmosphere and weighed down by a heavy soul with influences ranging from Winehouse to Franklin and a nod to the likes of Ben Harper along the way. LePage's voice is stunning and the musicianship is sensibly sparse to allow those pipes room to breathe and flourish as the song unwinds like a recently roused snake creeping out in to the night. As a single it's a brave choice as it doesn't really grab you by the throat but it will creep up on you and before you know it you're going back for just one more hit/listen. Just one more.....


More information: https://www.facebook.com/LunaLePage1/info/

LOLA LAMOUR - SINGLE REVIEW

Lola Lamour - Double Agent 
Lola Lamour - Double Agent

Release Date: Out Now

Lola Lamour and her occasional band the Lamours have a unique sound for 2015 although it borrows hugely from the 1940s so it's not that unique in the grand scheme of things. Unique or not, however, it is definitely glamorous and that is certainly something to celebrate these days. This single, 'Double Agent', is taken from a new EP and it's a saucy little number made almost entirely of silk. Low and dirty guitar and bass are draped in Miss Lamour's smooth voice while the drums jab along to keep things swinging. The thoughtful use of a horn section adds in a sense of authenticity but there is some that irks me about this track. Musically it proficient and has a good sense of fun but if this was a Eurovision entry it wouldn't sound out of place which, for me, means there is a little too much novelty in there for my liking. Still, put me in a room with this band playing and everyone in period dress and I would swing with the best of them so it's not all bad.

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

Live Dates:

30th October - The George Hotel, Lichfield
14th November - Northfield Centre, Stafford
29th November - The Burtey Fen Collection, Lincolnshire
10th December - Weston Hall

31st December - Weston Hall

Monday, 26 October 2015

NARCS/FOREVER CULT - SPLIT SINGLE REVIEW

NARCS/Forever Cult - Blue Bags/Together (Clue Records) 
NARCS - Blue Bags

Release Date: International Cassette Store Day

Now, I'm a big fan of Clue Records and their whole roster but they are only releasing 29 copies of this split single which means they have probably already sold out by the time I'm writing this. Which is fine but I always like to imagine that for every review I write at least one person goes out and purchases the thing I've written about so your chances are limited, people. And this is a shame because NARCS are awesome and their half of this single, 'Blue Bags', is smack-you-in-the-face-and-spit-in-your-ear astounding. A brooding, building opening is crudely stitched together by the trademark gravelly tones of frontman Wilko before properly kicking in around half way through. These guys should be a mainstay of the indie touring circuit and I fully expect, nay demand, that they be more popular by this time next year. The guitars alone go on a journey from rock to indie to prog before being cut down in their prime.

Forever Cult - Together
The second half of this football match of a single belongs to Forever Cult and their offering, 'Together'. Some urgent, Cable meets Biffy-esque guitars get things off to a twitchy, itchy start and the drums try their best to fill in the gaps in between. This is a perfectly good indie-rock single with power, quirk and attitude but the problem with split singles is you are always going to open yourself up to comparison. On this evidence, NARCS win this on a bloody eyebrow and a groggy showing from Forever Cult but there wasn't a huge amount in it. Not that it matters, copies of this single are already akin to gold dust I would think.





More information:

NARCS - https://www.facebook.com/NARCSband?fref=ts

Forever Cult - https://www.facebook.com/FOREVERCULT?fref=ts

Live Dates:

Forever Cult

23rd November - Think Tank, Newcastle
24th November - Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh
25th November - Bar Bloc, Glasgow
26th November - The Green Room, Perth
27th November - Maguire's Pizza Bar, Liverpool
28th November - The New Adelphi Club, Hull
2nd December - The Old Blue Last, London
3rd December - The Lemon Factory, Swansea
4th December - Le Pub, Newport

5th December - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

MARTHA FFION - SINGLE REVIEW

Martha Ffion - So Long (Turnstile) 
Martha Ffion - So Long

Release Date: Out Now

I know a number of people who would happily propose marriage to Martha Ffion based on her press photo alone. Whether she sings like a drunk TOWIE reject or a siren, this Glaswegian songstress has the look of someone would be at the centre of any party from the early 50s until the present day with aloof eyes but a kind smile. This latest single, 'So Long', is a gentle introduction with flecks of Tennis, Best Coast and a less angry Long Blondes alongside some 60s shimmies and guitars that beg to be heard through the medium of vinyl. Martha Ffion's voice is satisfyingly aloof but with that Scottish mid-Atlantic accent that speaks of hopes, dreams and long held plans to escape as soon as the opportunity presents itself. This is charmingly beautiful and encourages minimalistic dancing in the corner of a house party so I, for one, am entirely in favour.

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

Live Dates:

19th November - The Eagle, Salford
27th November - The Waiting Rooms, London

28th November - The Moon Club, Cardiff

JOANNA COOKE - SINGLE REVIEW

Joanna Cooke - He's My Boy 
Joanna Cooke - He's My Baby

Release Date: Out Now

Plymouth based songstress Joanna Cooke is a busy lady, just look at that gig list over the next month!? That's always a sign of someone who loves what they do, in my book, and that tends to set them up to be better than most. In amongst all that gigging, Cooke has had time to record an EP and from that EP comes new single 'He's My Boy' which is a piano based ballad with deep soul. Fans of Adele, Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys or John Legend will love this and although the temptation is to turn the lights down low and get romantic to this tune, there is more bite and attitude here than just a simple bonking ballad. Indeed, when a beat kicks in around the three minute mark the song is transported in to a whole new space - from chill out room to main dance floor - before the song plays out with those simple piano notes and finger clicks. Cooke is a talented musician, no doubt, a wonderful singer, no diggity, but most importantly she can hang a song together wonderfully as well so, y'know, watch out. She's coming for you.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9jJ4BEYSwA

Live Dates:

29th October - Blues Bar, Plymouth
31st October - Coddy Shack, Looe
1st November - Thy Gylly Beach Cafe, Falmouth
6th November - The Merchant, Exmouth
7th November - The Four Lords, St Blazey
12th November - Blues Bar, Plymouth
13th November - Timepiece, Exeter
14th November - Island Street Bar & Grill, Salcombe
15th November - Cornwall Sound Lounge @ Radio St Austell Bay
21st November - Bystro at the bank, St Austell
22nd November - Soundart Radio, Dartington
28th November - The Rod & Line, Tideford

29th November - The Tamar Inn, Calstock

Sunday, 25 October 2015

BEN PHIPPS FEAT. ASHE - SINGLE REVIEW

Ben Phipps feat. Ashe - Sleep Alone 
Ben Phipps feat. Ashe - Sleep Alone 

Release Date: Out Now

Ben Phipps doesn't sound like a particularly Swedish name but I am assured by the press release that Mr Phipps is indeed a Swedish born producer employing the talents of US chanteuse Ashe. This latest release, 'Sleep Alone', has a subdued piano intro that creeps in to view like daylight seeping around your curtains on a sunny Tuesday morning. The bassline and beats join in without any great fanfare and soon the whole tune is bobbing along nicely with Ashe's soulful vocal snaking through the morning air and a feeling of optimism spreading through every beat and bar of this tune. Too lively to be classed as chill out and not clubby enough to be trance, Phipps has carved out a nice little dance niche for himself and it's pretty cosy in there.

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


Listen Here: http://phippsmusic.com/

JESS THRISTAN - SINGLE REVIEW

Jess Thristan - From Me To You (Better Than Cake Records) 
Jess Thristan - From Me To You

Release Date: 27th November 2015

Normally, a singer from Halifax doing a cover of a classic Beatles tune wouldn't catch my interest by Jess Thristan isn't just any singer and this isn't just any cover (don't worry, I'm not about to go all M&S on your ass). 'From Me To You' is already a beautiful song about the purist form of love but Thristan's treatment of the song, aided by a 22 song orchestra, is, well, epic. Starting with a simple piano line and the kind of vocal that John Lewis would kill for at Christmas, the song soon swells and builds subtly in to the sort of song people will be getting engaged or dancing their first dance to in years to come. When Thristan sings "I've got arms that long to hold you" you believe it and anyone left without a lump in the throat and the sting of a tear in the eye is emotionally stunted. Simple, beautiful and I'm sure the Fab Four would thoroughly approve.

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

Live Dates:

12th November - Fallow Cafe, Manchester
13th November - Glyde House, Bradford
26th November - Spice Of Life, London

28th November - The White Rabbit, Leeds

KUBALOVE - SINGLE REVIEW

Kubalove - This Foolish Love (Metropolis Music Publishing) 
Kubalove - This Foolish Love

Release Date: Out Now

London electropop princess Kubalove is back with a new single in the shape of the 80s ballad sounding 'This Foolish Love'. Anna Jackson - the name Kubalove's mother gave her - is a rival to the likes of Goldfrapp, Ladyhawke or Moloko with sultry, almost bored vocals slithering sensuously atop some dirty, grinding electro melodies and bed rattling beats. The accompanying video is equally sexually charged and by the end of the whole experience you're left feeling a little hot under the collar and unsure as to whether you should call Kubalove in the morning or run a mile in case she intends to make you her play thing. If you're looking for a tune to get your freak on to at a Halloween party with that sexy vampire you've had your eye on then this track gives you the perfect three and a half minute excuse so go to it - you can thank me later when you've cleaned yourself up.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aS7Kcjzkso&feature=youtu.be

Thursday, 22 October 2015

CASTLES - SINGLE REVIEW

CaStLeS - PartDepart 
CaStLeS - PartDepart

Release Date: Out Now

I can't be fully sure what the name of this Welsh trio is but I don't really care. What I do care about is that they have created, in 'PartDepart', a song of hypnotic layers, beautiful sounds and a real sense of space that is sadly lacking in so much modern music. There is a Super Fury Animals influence in there but also a whole host of other things from Lemon Jelly, Django Django and Everything Everything to the Beach Boys and Jefferson Airplane. Mixing synth loops, simplistic guitar riffs, Bez-ian percussion and some close male voice harmonies all swirl together in a cauldron of flavours and sensations which, by the time this track reaches its rhythm climax, totally overwhelm the senses. I don't know what they are putting in the water in Wales these days but I think it might be time for a road-trip.

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


Watch The Video: https://vimeo.com/141428939

VULGARIANS - SINGLE REVIEW

Vulgarians - Wet Juice 
Vulgrians - Wet Juice

Release Date: Out Now

These guys might have only formed in January of 2015 but they already have a debut single ready to release, management and a press team sorted out - take note other bands. The slightly disturbingly named 'Wet Juice' starts with some Pixies guitar shudders and the kind of bassline that Krist Novoselic would have resentfully thudded out back in the day. Then comes the alien sounds and a wrecking ball of distorted - and I'm talking an actual wrecking ball, not a metaphorical one covered in Miley Cyrus' wet juice. Elements of the Fall and My Bloody Valentine are present in the unhinged noise levels and shrieks but this Hull act have carved a jagged niche all of their own which this single shows off perfectly as it climaxes like Zed from Police Academy having a panic attack in the lingerie section of BHS.

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

Download For Free: https://soundcloud.com/vulgariansuk/wet-juice

Live Dates:

3rd November - Adelphi, Hull w/Hooton Tennis Club
17th November - Southend On Sea w/Wytches

18th November - Stowmarket w/Wytches

DANTE ELEPHANTE - SINGLE REVIEW

Dante Elephante - Never Trust A Junkie (Super Fan 99) 
Dante Elephante - Never Trust A Junkie

Release Date: Out Now

Socially responsible singles are few and far between these days and it was the Prodigy's 'Charly Says' that last made me think about my own safety whilst having a good time. So, it's rather pleasing when US upstarts  amble along with the sage advice contained within their new single 'Never Trust A Junkie'. This is a two and a half minute romp through grunge-pop guitars and shuffling beats that you would expect to hear coming from the window of a slacker living in the basement of their parent's house. Bits of Weezer, Dandy Warhols, Pixies and  the Lemonheads waft out from a tune that doesn't hang around too long but isn't in any rush to leave either. The vibe is summery but there is a tinge of sadness in there as well although that may just be the Autumn affecting my mood.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=78&v=Ads6K4VEf1Q

GET INUIT - SINGLE REVIEW

Get Inuit - I Am The Hot Air (Alcopop! Records) 
Get Inuit - I Am The Hot Air

Release Date: Out Now

The superbly named Kent combo Get Inuit have a new single out for your listening pleasure in the shape of 'I Am The Hot Air' so strap on your listening coconuts and get on wi'it. There's a real slacker pop vibe going on here that the likes of Weezer, the Wannadies or Silver Sun have been trading in for years and it's no surprise to see the drummer sporting a Sub Pop T-shirt in the video. This is exactly the kind of single I would have lapped up in the 90s and it still gets me excited. The drums pound, the guitars zip and slide all over the place and the vocals are superbly unique which is a rare commodity these days. In all seriousness, these guys could easily become the darlings of the nerd-rock scene and I would expect the American market to go nuts for the slick slacker indie pop thang that these guys have got going on.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=229&v=I5sC9-UfuIc

Live Dates:

28th October - Soup Kitchen, Manchester w/Broken Hands
29th October - Broadcast, Glasgow w/Broken Hands
30th October - Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham w/Broken Hands
1st November - Start The Bus, Bristol w/Broken Hands

2nd November - Green Door Store, Brighton w/Broken Hands

PARLOUR TRICKS - SINGLE REVIEW

Parlour Tricks - Lovesongs/Requiem (Bar/None Records) 
Parlour Tricks - Lovesongs/Requiem

Release Date: Out Now

I feel like I should have heard about these guys and girls already but I haven't  and that seems like a real shame. Anyway, I've heard about them now and it is my duty to ensure that any of you fine people out there who haven't already had the pleasure don't go any longer without some pleasuring. The first track on this double A-side is 'Lovesongs' and immediately the New York six piece draw you in with a furtive electro rumble followed by some sultry vocals and delicately placed piano notes. This is the sound of dawn breaking over a city skyline on a day when you've decided to change things so the anticipation and excitement just builds and builds throughout like something rising inside your every sinew. 'Requiem' continues the rumbling keys motif but makes more of the triple vocal effect with harmonies and riot girl shouted backing vocals adding layer upon layer. Some scratchy guitars and subtle beats all add to the soup and that day which started so well on 'Lovesongs' is just getting better and better. It's not an exact fit but if LCD Soundsystem were ever to perform again these guys would be the perfect opening act but that will have to happen soon as these six will outgrow support slots fairly soon if there is any justice in the world.

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

Live Dates:

13th November - Spirit, Pittsburgh
15th November - Motr Pub, Cincinnati
17th November - Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto
6th December - Billboard Lounge at Barclays Center, Brooklyn

8th January - Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn

EASY WANDERLINGS - SINGLE REVIEW

Easy Wanderlings - Summer Is Away/Enjoy It While It Lasts 
Easy Wanderlings - Summer Is Away/Enjoy It While It Lasts

Release Date: Out Now

There isn't a lot of information out there about Easy Wanderlings but when a band comes along stating their influences to include the likes of Bob Dylan, the Eagles, Nick Drake, Fleet Foxes and Fleetwood Mac then I'm going to be naturally intrigued and you should be too. This double single starts with 'Summer Is Away', a tune full of autumnal mourning and each plucked guitar string is the sound of a leaf falling from a branch. The lyrics are key here as they are more like poetry than you standard song words so it is fitting that the music is kept minimalist with just guitar notes being given some warmth by occasional violin strains. The other side of this particular coin is 'Enjoy It While It Lasts' which takes a more Norah Jones approach with that simple guitar being lavished with rich, jazzy vocals and a sweetly pure tone. Easy Wanderlings are the kind of quiet, unassuming act that could easily slip under the radar but, at the same time, they also create exactly the kind of music we all need to keep us from going mad in this frenetic world. Like sinking in to your favourite chair or slipping in to a warm bath, these guys allow you to breathe and for that we should be grateful.


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

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

THE LOTTERY WINNERS - SINGLE REVIEW

THE LOTTERY WINNERS - SINGLE REVIEW 
The Lottery Winners - I Know

The Lottery Winners - I Know

Release Date: Out Now

I first saw an early incarnation of this band playing a cover of the theme from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air at a wedding reception in Halifax. They were ace back then and now, a few line up changes and a whole lot of gigs later, they are getting even better. Latest single, 'I Know', has got indie epic written all over it as it features that souring, uplifting melody that makes crowds invest as well as enough English pop quirkiness to make them feel like the boys and girls next door. As they sing "I fell in love with an idea" from a beaten up suburban semi, you feel the sense of escape and yearning for release oozing from every pore while the guitars jangle and the drums crash all around. The band name sucks, it has to be said, but the video is wondrous and the song exists on its own, on a far higher plane than most other English indie groups at the moment.

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

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

Live Dates:

4th November - The Garage, London
5th November - Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
18th November - Lancaster University, Lancaster

21st November - Butlins, Minehead

Monday, 19 October 2015

ESPER SCOUT - SINGLE REVIEW

Esper Scout - In Foreign (Bomb The Twist) 
Esper Scout - In Foreign

Release Date: Out Now

Leeds four piece Esper Scout are making good on all that bundled up promise they've been holding on to with another release and some tasty tour support slots on the horizon. That aforementioned new release comes in the shape of 'In Foreign' which is an introspective, slightly shoegazey effort that reaches out to the far reaches of your mind and familiar surroundings. Things kick up a notch half way through and if feels like moving from a day time TV malaise in to some pro-active, life affirming space where you decide to push back and make some changes. By the end, all four elements are colliding as the band rocks out to a satisfying crescendo and the subtly clever video only serves to enhance this. The Americans love these ladies too so here's hoping they get some wedge behind them and get across the pond again soon, as they say. I do like it when Brit bands kick ass in the States. 

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8frdfUj-xc0

Live Dates:

20th October - Brudenell Club, Leeds w/La Luz
25th October - O2 Academy, Bristol w/The Cribs
26th October - Rock City, Nottingham w/The Cribs
28th October - Roundhouse, London w/The Cribs
29th October - O2 Academy, Oxford w/The Cribs
30th October - Pyramids Centre, Portsmoth w/The Cribs
6th November - Chunk, Leeds
7th November - Hairy Dog, Derby w/Lovely Eggs
14th November - Islington Mill, Salford

28th November - Fox & Newt, Leeds

HIGH SAFARI - SINGLE REVIEW

High Safari - White (Good Morning Records) 
High Safari - White

Release Date: Out Now

I really, really hate to judge a book by its cover but when a band called High Safari with a single called 'White' and members called Nigel, Quentin and Josefine I have to admit that my UKIP alarm went a bit mental. But something tells me this isn't going to be an anthem for Farage and co. so let's dive in and leave our inhibition trunks on the beach. The tune itself is actually a delightfully ramshackle indie-pop tune with Libertines meets the Flaming Lips undertones and a deliciously wonky summery vibe running through the middle. Traces of Best Coast and Tennis appear in the guitars and the vocal harmonies are to die for as they waft through the late summer air, undulating beautifully. This is indulgent and intelligent, opulent and opportunistic but most of all it is utterly uplifting. So not like UKIP at all then - use that in your next press release. I dare you.


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

VIEW - SINGLE REVIEW

View feat. LCMDF - Lace 
View - Lace

Release Date: Out Now

It's not often you get an email that declares it features information on Finland's hottest up-and-coming rap artist so when I received news of the new single by Finnish rapper View my interest was piqued.  'Lace' is said single and features the guest talents of LCMDF (presumably some futuristic flat pack furniture) as the sparse, Roni Size-esque beats start to penetrate the cold night air. There are elements of Tricky in here as well but with a slightly less threatening edge and perhaps more of a nod to the pop world. View himself is a subdued and menacing talent but there is an undeniable quality to this that pulls the listener in like a strange shadow at the end of a dark corridor. Is that the outline of a ghostly figure or a trick of the light? There's only one way to find out....


More information: https://www.facebook.com/viewhki?_rdr=p

THE VELVET HANDS - SINGLE REVIEW

The Velvet Hands - Games/Who Cares (Jam X Recordings) 
The Velvet Hands - Games/Who Cares

Release Date: Out Now

OK, I know I'm a little bit biased, but in all my years on this earth I have never felt like there is such a swell of talent and excitement in the music venues and creative corners of the South West of England. Sure, it's my neck of the woods so pinch as much salt as you want but I am now discovering at least one band a week from this neck of the woods doing fine things in remote locations. The latest to hit my ears are Cornish duo The Velvet Hands who have a great band name and a sound so raw that you just want to bite down and hope it's sushi. This debut single is a double-A side and begins with 'Games' which is three and a half minutes of clattering, scratchy, raw and unhinged garage rock which only fools wouldn't dive head first in to. Sure, there's a bit of Libertines in there and some early Strokes but most of all there is a couple of lads having a whale of a time with some electric guitars and messy hair. The other half of this release is 'Who Cares' which is a little more thoughtful with a sleazy, slinky guitar line slicing through the middle as this punk ballad unfolds in all its broken-glass and broken-hearts glory. I don't get the impression that these guys are trying particularly hard which is was makes it so appealing  - two mates, two guitars, about four chords and lip curl to die for. Vive la revolution, la revolution de Westcountry.

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

Listen Here: http://www.thevelvethands.co.uk/

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9mCgAC6YxQ  / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxO0BAb-6bY

Live Dates:

4th December - The Underground, Plymouth w/Yak

TRASH - EP REVIEW

Trash - Urban Glow EP (Clue Records) 
Trash - Urban Glow EP

Release Date: Out Now

The latest missive from my faceless friends in Leeds, Clue Records, features a new EP from Chesterfield chaps Trash. Firstly, I can't believe that there hasn't been a band named Trash before so kudos to these guys for going back through the list and picking that one up after everyone else had moved on. Now, a good name is a good start but how does the EP stack up behind that title choice? Well, it starts with a bit of a bug bear for me in that there is a 48 second track that opens the EP just called 'Intro'. Along with 'All I Want', 'Intro' has to be one of the most overused album track titles, at least give it the name of the girl/boy you want to get freaky with and earn yourself some sexy points. Musically, it's a dreamy, guitar based opening that promises as much as a sunny Saturday morning does to a teenage boy with pocket full of coins, a bike and no particular place to be. Bleeding seamlessly in to '4 Miles', the EP soon takes on a 90s indie-pop vibe with more than a hint of Swim Deep about proceedings.

'Drift' follows on as track three and those dreamy guitars are in evidence again before a clatter of drums and some spaced out, Stone Roses vocals give things a sense of urgency through a haze that suggests a lack of any place to be. EP title track 'Urban Glow' is a more sinister affair with the bass taking more prominence for the first time on this collection but nevertheless that light, carefree, summery vibe is still in full effect. It's a strange mix of Madchester, Teenage Fanclub, Swim Deep and the montage soundtrack to a happy bit in any Shane Meadows flick - it shouldn't work in 2015, it should sound dated and too recent to be retro but it actually does offer something that hooks you in and makes you feel refreshed. The EP closes with 'Sad Boys (All I Wanna Do)' which has a more late 80s indie feel to it with some woozy melodies and insistent drumming that punctuates the rambling sentences that song seems to be made up of. I'm not completely sold on this on but if we had just met on a blind date I'd definitely look Trash up on Facebook and, based on any mutual friends, probably give her a call next time I was heading out to a gig. Or a pub quiz.

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

Live Dates:

28th October - JD's Lounge, Dronfield
30th October - The Cornershop, Sheffield
8th November - Headrow House, Leeds
16th November - The Hop, Wakefield

22nd November - Plug, Sheffield

Sunday, 18 October 2015

HOO HAS - SINGLE REVIEW

HOO HAs - Yankee (Lost In The Manor Records) 
HOO HAs - Yankee

Release Date: 30th October 2015

Kent quartet HOO HAs look like they could either be a bunch of annoying hipster twats or the life and soul of the party who will always make good times happen around them. People who look like that will always attract attention and that's a good quality to have in a rock'n'roll band but is the music any good? Only one way to find out. 'Yankee' is the debut single on the new label for these gents and it is a smidge over two minutes of blues garage inspired, slacker fun served up on a platter of roast potatoes and gravy. There's suburban rebellion at the heart of this, the idea of following in the 9-5 grind is just unthinkable and some early Blur riffs mixed with Ian Dury are the best way to go about voicing that inherent horror. It's not the most punchy of debut singles but it perfectly captures that Sunday afternoon down the pub feeling when you sit with your mates, a hangover and an overwhelming feeling that there must be something else, something more to life than repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

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

Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/hoohas/yankee

Live Dates:

27th October - Single Launch @ The Victoria, London w/Desert Planes + La Horse + Mystery Jets DJ set

TREETOP FLYERS - SINGLE REVIEW

Treetop Flyers - Dance Through The Night (Loose Music) 
Treetop Flyers - Dance Through The Night

Release Date: Out Now

When I left London 3 and a bit years ago, the tune that was playing in my car as Chiswick disappeared in my rear view mirror was the undeniably beautiful 'Rose Is In The Yard' by Treetop Flyers. Ever since then I have been unable to listen to that song without feeling wistful but I've also been waiting for this bunch of countrified city gents to hit big. So far, they haven't quite fulfilled their promise but times, well, they are a changing. New single 'Dance Through The Night' is a six and a half minute romp through psyche'n'roll melodies played out in an abandoned cinema in LA with a Terry Gilliam inspired video. What Treetop Flyers do so wonderfully is to put a sound to the concept of subtlety as delicate guitar flicks, understated drumming and some soporific vocals all weave gently together like sand dune reeds in a warm breeze. The lavish organ solo and Doors-esque call to action of the repeated refrain, "dance through the night", show how much these guys have developed their sound and how much care they have taken over that process. This might only be a single but there are more ideas here and more hidden corners to explore than most album these days so tune in, download and freak out. Or just have a nice cup of tea and listen to some awesome music, it's your call.

More information: http://treetopflyers.co.uk/

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D9I6CNlcUk&feature=youtu.be

Live Date:


21st November - Whisky Sessions @ Victoria Warehouse, Manchester w/I Am Kloot + Tim Burgess + British Sea Power + Dodgy + more...

Sunday, 11 October 2015

HUNCK - SINGLE REVIEW

Hunck - I'll Wait 
Hunck - I'll Wait

Release Date: 16th October 2015

Sinister looking London duo Hunck have a new single out with a vaguely threatening title. 'I'll Wait' sounds like something your passive-aggressive teacher would have shouted back in the day as you nervously tried to think of an explanation for acting out, instead it is actually the latest single from this pair of no good dirty muthas. The gentle guitar strum that opens proceedings is soon augmented by a slightly off-kilter electric guitar riff and some perky drums. Go-go clubs would lap this up as Charles Manson watches on with a semi and a quickly developing murderous plot in his head. The half awake vocals snake in between the guitar notes to create a Doors-esque sound that would fit nicely on a bill with the likes of Lost Dawn, the Zutons and Redd Kross. Guitar pop with an undoubtedly sinister but classy edge - not an easy one to pull off but achieved with mastery here.

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

Live Dates:


12th October - The Shacklewell Arms, London

Thursday, 8 October 2015

SQUEEZE - SINGLE REVIEW

Squeeze - Happy Days 
Squeeze - Happy Days

Release Date: Out Now

Ah Squeeze. The soundtrack to innocent summers and dad dancing at New Years. The good thing about Squeeze is that, fun as they may be, they've always sounded like chaps that are a little bit older than me so this new slice of Dad Pop just, well, it just works. 'Happy Days' is a breezily strummed, organ lavished and lightly sprinkled with sunshine piece of English indie pop in a long line of tunes that these guys have churned out over the years. Sure, this isn't going to sell millions or change the face of music or get them a headline spot on the MTV Awards next year but, fuck it, they don't need to do that anymore. They've had their hits, earned their reputation and, as far as I'm concerned, they can churn out as many sunshine dad pop tracks as they like. Perfect for a little summer festival action, if you ask me.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS2w2jUuyOI&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:

10th October - Cliffs Pavilion, Southend
12th October - Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
13th October - Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth
15th October - Royal Albert Hall, London
16th October - Corn Exchange, Cambridge
17th October - Indigo at the O2, London
19th October - Regent, Ipswich
20th October - New Theatre, Oxford
21st October - The Sage, Gateshead
23rd October - Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
24th October - International Centre, Harrogate

And then they go to America.....

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

FINE FINE TITANS - SINGLE REVIEW

Fine Fine Titans - Mistress (CI Records) 
Fine Fine Titans - Mistress

Release Date: Out Now

'Mistress' is the debut single from Grand Rapids trio Fine Fine Titans and it is quite the noise. An absolute cluster bomb of drums are laced together by some laser beam guitars and the twin vocals. This is labelled as post-hardcore but to me it's more like a slick, pop-metal with the musicianship to stand shoulder to hairy shoulder with heavy rocking peers but the melodies and hooks that wouldn't be out of place on a Taylor Swift or Avril Lavigne album. There's a fair amount of screaming and some slightly emo lyrics ("oh my dear, what have you done?") but overall this is an interesting and refreshing take on the metal genre with some lightness to offset the mandatory weight of the tune. Like I said, quite the noise.

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

Live Dates:

7th November - Camp H Skate Park, Grand Rapids w/Eidola + Que Sera + Of Virtue

19th November - Album Release, Grand Rapids w/Anchors Calling + Rip VanRipper + Blisshead 

SPACE - SINGLE REVIEW

Space -Strange World (Ocean Waves Productions) 
Space - Strange World

Release Date: 19th October 2015

You remember Space, right? 'Neighbourhood', 'Female Of The Species', doing the Zutons before the Zutons were doing the Zutons? Well, they're back and jumping on that 90s reformation bandwagon with a new single in the shape of 'Strange World'. This return by the cheeky scouse quartet starts off with a mix of 80s and bayou rhythms before those trademark wobbly guitars and strained vocals kick in and the band are back to their sinister, swaggering best almost immediately. Some smoky trumpet and a Jazz-Mariachi vibe combine to make for a sound that is still stubbornly unique, even in today's market of musical saturation and genre bending. It's a weird one, really, it's like meeting up with a mate you used to knock about with who only had two good jokes and finding out that they've still only got two good jokes - albeit bloody good jokes.

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

Live Dates:

21st October - The Vic, Swindon
22nd October - The Horn, St Albarns
23rd October - Chinnerys, Southend
31st October - Brindley, Runcorn
6th November - Shiiine, Minehead
7th November - Beachcomber, Cleethorpes
8th November - Diamond, Doncaster
13th November - Monroe Bar, Cumbria
14th November - Georgian, Stockton
20th November - Old Courts, Wigan
22nd November - FAC 251, Manchester
24th November - Sin City, Swansea
25th November - The Globe, Cardiff
26th November - Bowery, Reading
27th November - The Fleece, Bristol
28th November - The Kasbah, Coventry
30th November - The Point, Sunderland
1st December - Electric Circus, Edinburgh
2nd December - Tunnels, Aberdeen
3rd December - Classic Grand, Glasgow
4th December - Epstein, Liverpool
5th December - Jamm, Brixton
10th December - Form, Tunbridge Wells
11th December - Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton
12th December - Platform, Lincoln

19th December - UEA, Norwich

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

UNDERGROUND OCEAN - SINGLE REVIEW

Underground Ocean - I See Through You 
Underground Ocean - I See Through You

Release Date: Out Now

If you're after a bit of punchy, intense rock'n'roll with a gravelly edge then Worcester's Underground Ocean might just be the band for you. New single 'I See Through You' fits nicely in that part of the record shop that looks after Feeder, Stereophonics and the Manic Street Preachers with the drums nudging things along nicely and a barrage of guitars coming at you, wave after wave. The vocals of front man Stuart McDonnell are rough and ready which fits the music but as melodies go it's fairly forgettable so would be more suited to being an album track than a single. Still, plenty of intensity and a tight sound so there is plenty of grounds for optimism.

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

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

Live Dates:


15th October - The Marrs Bar, Worcester

Monday, 5 October 2015

PATAWAWA - SINGLE REVIEW

Patawawa - Red And White 
Patawawa - Red & White

Release Date: Out Now

There are some linguistic delights to be had here. Firstly, this trio go by the name Patawawa which is a lovely word to say out loud. Go on, give it a go. Patawawa. Patawawa. See, ace isn't it? Secondly, these three hail from the Derbyshire town of Matlock which, to me, is wonderful as I can only ever hear that place name spoken by Abe 'Grandpa' Simpson in a strained and desperate voice. If you don't know what I'm on about then you're not alone, I assure you. Anyhoo, new single 'Red And White' is pigeon holed as "Nu Disco" and certainly the Nile Rodgers guitars are there from the get-go as well as some processed horns that are more Brother Beyond than Chic. There is something beautifully infectious about this tune as the synth stabs and alt-pop vocals give it something of an edge but if you wanted to put this in a Venn diagram it would have to be where Disco, Stock, Aitken & Waterman and the Ting Tings intersect and I can't work out if that's a good thing or not. What I will say is that this is an unapologetically upbeat and perky slice of electro-pop that would work well as the warm up tune for Daft Punk or Transformer so that in itself is something to get excited about.

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

Live Dates:


10th October - Bedroom Bar, London

MEMORY FLOWERS - SINGLE REVIEW

Memory Flowers - Cartwheels 
Memory Flowers - Cartwheels

Release Date: Out Now

Cricklewood. The centre of the musical universe. Or not. Either way, quartet Memory Flowers hail from that neck of the London woods so you should give their new single, 'Cartwheels', a listen and see what the Cricklewood sound is all about. On first listen, the Cricklewood sound is one of simple but soaring melodies and ambitious, horizon scanning pop hooks that were conceived in the 80s despite coming of age in the age of austerity. Snow Patrol-esque deadpan vocals are the perfect balance to those synths and guitars that just won't quit with the soaring optimism and edge-of-the-future vibe. This is music to finish High School to or the soundtrack to the moment that you get that thing you want that has eluded you for so long - whether it be the girl, the boy or just to get the hell out of your dead end town/relationship/job. One thing is for sure, I want some of the water they're pumping in to Cricklewood these days.


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

JOHNNY BORRELL & ZAZOU- SINGLE REVIEW

Johnny Borrell & Zazou - Black God (Atlantic Culture Records) 
Johnny Borrell & Zazou - Black God

Release Date: Out Now

Every now and again, the music world takes against someone for one reason or another and for a while that thorny crown belonged to Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell. To be fair, he brought it on himself with some awful music and rock star behaviour that he, frankly, hadn't earned yet but it's still cruel when one person gets singled out. Fair play to the man, though, he keeps churning out the music and here we have the latest single in the shape of 'Black God' - even the title suggests he's still courting pretention but let's keep our minds open, shall we? A sinister banjo riff accompanies some fairly primal chanting and, frankly, a beast of a moustache. The tune layers up like a group of jazz buskers freestyling in a Parisian square on a sunny Saturday afternoon while Borrell yelps and scats like a man losing his mind to Absinthe and shoes that are too tight. As a song, it's fairly inoffensive and has a certain catchiness to it but the resounding question is why? Why was this song created and what purpose does it serve other than a vehicle for a moustache?

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSTchm8kuV8

CHRISTINA MARTIN - SINGLE REVIEW

Christina Martin - Take Me Back In A Dream 
Christina Martin - Take Me Back In A Dream

Release Date: Out Now

Nova Scotia. I've always loved the name Nova Scotia and really hope to visit the Eastern Canadian peninsula one day but, for now, I shall have to make do with some of the traditional local music from songstress Christina Martin. The soloist's new single, 'Take Me Back In A Dream', is as haunting and chilling as it is enthralling and enticing. Channelling the likes of Sia, Kate Bush and Ani Di Franco, Martin has a quietly assured elegance about her voice that I haven't witnessed since a young Annie Lennox took the pop world by storm. The stylish video which perfectly accompanies this track is a real work of art and a joy to watch as well but it is the voice and songwriting of Christina Martin that really impresses here. Anyone with half a soul will be left feeling raw and emotional after experiencing 'Take Me Back In A Dream' and if this just washes over you then you have possibly never loved and have almost certainly never lost which, in turn, means you have never really lived. Simply beautiful stuff.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgFqXq5DYZw&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:

7th October - Sunrise International Film Festival, Pugwash NS
10th October - Patchworks Concert, Bedford NS
16th October - Glasgow Square Greenroom, New Glasgow NS
24th October - Petite Rivere Vineyard, Petite Riviere NS
13th November - The Capital, Fredericton NB
14th November - The Seahorse Tavern, Halifax NS
17th November - Petit Campus, Montreal QC
19th November - The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON

20th November - Irene's Pub, Ottawa ON

JENNIFER BUDD - SINGLE REVIEW

Jennifer Budd - Don't Even 
Jennifer Budd - Don't Even

Release Date: Out Now

I tell you what, from the word go I like this artist. Ontario singer-songwriter Jennifer Budd has done what many an aspiring artist does and has put herself on the cover of her CD. What she has done differently, however, is to avoid the temptation to put an anatomical picture up from which you can determine her bra size and whether her collar matches her cuffs, as it were. So, on to the music. New single 'Don't Even' is a sultry number from the get go as the moods of Winehouse and Amos blend with the assured kookiness of Hozier and Kimbra. Budd's voice is rich, powerful and cuts through the layers of melodies like a polished, platinum sword. The verses are smoky, jazzy and seductive whereas the choruses are more bold, brash and crawl across tables just to get your attention. Every now and again, this track flirts with the rock ballad but there is more class and more substance behind the style here to ensure that this stays not only credible but also massively impressive. Bravo.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Budd-306813299404772/timeline/


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL41tb8jOn8  

Sunday, 4 October 2015

ALEX VARGAS - SINGLE REVIEW

Alex Vargas - Giving Up The Ghost 
Alex Vargas - Giving Up The Ghost

Release Date: Out Now

Half British, Half Danish but entirely full of talent, Alex Vargas is one of those vocal talents that is able to adapt to almost any musical style without losing any integrity or depth. This latest single, 'Giving Up The Ghost', is a piano lead, soul infused and thoroughly intriguing piece of pop that the likes of Sam Smith would die for. Literally. He'd stop breathing and everything. Beats that skitter and scatter in every direction, rich velvety vocals, a dirty electro bass line and a whole host of melodies that swirl around your head all combine to create an utterly uplifting and energising experience. The closest I've come to this in the past is the excellent Tempo Shark but this is less poppy and more soulful while comparisons to the likes of Above & Beyond only work in terms of sensations as the music has a totally different vibe. Vargas is a talent, that's for sure, but I am eager to hear a full album of his tunes to see if he's got the consistency. Cards on the table, I reckon he could pull off a great album but we'll have to wait as the EP isn't due until January 2016.

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

Live Dates:

23rd October - The Eagle Inn, Salford
25th October - Start The Bus, Bristol
26th October - The Hope & Ruin, Brighton
27th October - Oslo Hackney, London
29th October - HQ Headquarters, Aarhus
30th October - Kulturmaskinen, Odense
31st October - Musikkens Hus, Aalborg
1st November - Dr Koncerthuset, Copenhagen
16th November - Botanique Rotonde, Brussels
17th November - Le Pop Up Du Label, Paris
18th November - Paradiso, Amsterdam
22nd November - Bergwacht, Cologne
23rd November - Kantine am Berghain, Berlin
24th November - Pret a Ecouter Festival, Heidelberg
25th November - Exil, Zurich

26th November - Barn, Bern

TOKEN JOKER - SINGLE REVIEW

Token Joker - Green 
Token Joker - Green

Release Date: Out Now

Dawlish rockers Token Joker are back with a new single ahead of a new EP and the Westcountry boys are still hell bent on rocking out. The simply titled 'Green' is a crashing, throbbing, chiming, Kings Of Leon sized piece of rock'n'roll with the kind of sleazy sex appeal that INXS traded in for so long. This is great music for stomping down a street in the dark to, getting yourself all pumped and swaggering before you hit the bars for a night out. My only criticism is that at nearly six minutes long this does go on a bit longer than it perhaps should do but I guess the temptation is there to just rock out once you get in to that studio. Still, the live version is surely going to be worth the wig out, isn't it?

More information: https://www.facebook.com/TokenJoker1?fref=ts

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

Live Dates:

16th  October - Oxjam Takeover, Teignmouth

17th October - Oxjam Takeover, Exeter