Wednesday, 25 November 2015

THE INTERCEPTORS - EP REVIEW

The Interceptors - Lights Out EP 
The Interceptors - Lights Out EP

Release Date: Out Now

Three men walk in to a bar. The barman says, "alright lads, who are you?". "Fred Baylis, Thaddeus Sterianos and Luke Philpott" they chime. And so The Interceptors are born, possibly the three most unlikely band member names....apart from Luke, that's fairly run of the mill. Anyway, the Falmouth trio are joining a long list of top notch bands marching, ominously, on the music world via the A38 and the Tamar Bridge. This new EP from the three piece hits you round the chops from the word go so you'd better grit your teeth and brace those chops. Opening track 'Parallel' is a no-nonsense, smack you about the face riot of guitars and indie attitude that would have any club bouncing from the first crackle of a guitar lead. 'Flags' is up next and despite opening with the meaty might of Royal Blood, it soon settles in to a more choppy garage punk pattern with some skate pop melodies in the choruses.

By the time we hit 'Hollow' the die is cast and these three are settling in to the kind of form that a fledgling Feeder or My Vitriol used to do so well with. 'Hollow' is my stand-out track on this EP with its urgent beat and twitchy, uncertain guitars bouncing  around in the shadows only to be laced together by the cool, understated vocals. The final track on this collection, 'Lights Out', which has a touch of the Strokes about it and pretty completes the indie credentials of these Cornish crooners. Tight, punchy, full of hooks and with melodies that worm in to your head - that's pretty much the full package so, yeah, watch out world.


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

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

CANDICE GORDON - SINGLE REVIEW

Candice Gordon - Smoke In The Air (Proper Octopus Records) 
Candice Gordon - Smoke In The Air

Release Date: Out Now

On Ms Gordon's Facebook page her own description is 'goth-psych she-wizard'. I think that stands up on its own as an awesome statement of intent but I thought it was worth bringing to your attention before we get down to the music. This latest single from Berlin based Candice Gordon, 'Smoke In The Air', is a macabre piece of 60s inspired goth pop that I fell in love with by the time we got to the 30 second mark. Gordon's haunting vocal glides smokily over a room where the bass and drums are cooking up some sort of evil mischief and the guitars are flitting furtively in the shadows. I wouldn't even raise a surprise eyebrow if you told me that Candice Gordon is one of Jim Morrison's bastard offspring, such is her effortlessly theatrical style and sultry air. A truly inspiring tune that would make Florence Welch, Anna Calvi and PJ Harvey re-evaluate their output.

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

Live Dates:

26th November - Kaffe T Hof, Middelburg

4th December - Salzburg Rockhouse, Salzburg

JACK CONMAN - SINGLE REVIEW

Jack Conman - Misty Central (Warren Records) 
Jack Conman - Misty Central

Release Date: Out Now

With a name like Jack Conman, his brooding looks and influences from Ben Howard and Bombay Bicycle Club to Alt-J and Dry The River you'd fully expect this guy to be on the cover pretty much every magazine going. As it is, Beverley boy Conman is still bubbling under the surface of things so new single 'Misty Central' is a treat just for us at the moment. Lucky, aren't we? Well, yes actually. Using his acoustic with a Jake Morley-esque tapping style, Conman employs a smooth, dubby groove and his vocal is liquid soul like a James Morrison or Brother And Bones in reflective mood. The song itself is instantly grabbing but the style and swagger of the man exudes from every beat and thrum of the tune so you've got to expect that there's more to come from the man.

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


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

Monday, 23 November 2015

HUSKY - SINGLE REVIEW

Husky - I'm Not Coming Back (Embassy of Music) 
Husky - I'm Not Coming Back

Release Date: Out Now

I don't get enough music from Australia but what I do get tends to be top notch so I was excited to receive this latest release from Melbourne duo Husky. My excitement was rewarded almost immediately by 'I'm Not Coming Back' with its sunrise optimism opening and general Jose Gonzalez vibe. That said, the chorus is far more lively than Mr Gonzalez ever got and the melodies that these guys weave in between their acoustic strumming and bobbling keys are heart swellingly, tear jerkingly, mood liftingly gorgeous. There is also a stunning video to go along with this tune so even if you don't like the single (cos you're all mad and shit) then you can at least enjoy the beautiful animation. The full package, then.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyf0AelOr28 

THE CUT THROAT RAZORS - EP REVIEW

The Cut Throat Razors - Motown's Lost Its Soul EP 
The Cut Throat Razors - Motown's Lost Its Soul

Release Date: 27th November 20115

Anyone ready for an eleven piece Glaswegian funk machine? Oh really? I don't think you are, y'know. Not for this jelly. The Cut Throat Razors (more punk than funk but a great name nonetheless) have a new EP which kicks off with the title track, 'Motown's Lost Its Soul' and, well, we're off. Like a young Stevie Wonder trying to impress Craig Charles for a little air time on a Saturday night, the funk is strong in this collective as the tight guitars scratch while the keys ooze and pop like whisky and coke....on the rocks. 'Losing My Mind' is up next and has a more rock'n'roll feel with some Doors-esque keys going on and a Zutons meets Franz Ferdinand feel - not to mention the dirtiest guitars I've heard outside of a grunge record in a very long time. It is remarkable how, despite being an eleven piece band, the personality of each instrumentalist comes through at different stages and that says a lot about the song writing.

The second half of this collection, 'She's My Baby' is straight out of the West Coast swinging 60s with surfing guitars and a touch of the MFC Chicken about the song structure just without all the poultry references. Closing up with 'A Beautiful Day', The Cut Throat Razors show of a more poppy side that is reminiscent of compatriots Belle & Sebastian or Teenage Fanclub and this could be the kind of song that could see them cross over to a wider listenership, albeit not particularly indicative of their core sound. There's an EP launch coming  up in Glasgow and I can only imagine these guys will be a blast live although they must a sound man's nightmare in smaller venues - so for the sake of the band and the soundmen (and women) of Glasgow's smaller venues, buy a copy of this EP and propel these guys'n'gals to bigger things (and places).

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

Live Dates:


27th November - EP Launch @ Stereo, Glasgow w/SUPA + Da Kryptonites

Sunday, 22 November 2015

ROBYN REGAN - SINGLE REVIEW

Robyn Regan - Oh I 
Robyn Reagan - Oh I

Release Date: Out Now

Despite sounding like the confused utterances of a tightly strung Bronte sister, the new single from Londoner Robyn Reagan, 'Oh I', is actually the perkiest of all perky pop songs. From the jaunty, 80s inspired guitar line to the lyrics of love that goes unspoken delivered by Regan's sugary sweet vocals, you can't deny that this is the kind pop that should be shifting big units. Think Carly Rae Jepson or Taylor Swift before she went all world domination on our asses or, if you're thinking laterally, this is the English version of Meghan Trainor. Catchy doesn't even start to cover it and, for once, somebody has written a love song with the phrase "should I bake it in a pie?" contained in the chorus. Genius.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Svq6scqDIa0

Live Dates:

21st November - Stratford Centre Christmas Lights, London

26th November - Winter Wonderland, London

JOSEPH RUSSELL - SINGLE REVIEW

Joseph Russell - It's Time 
Joseph Russell - It's Time

Release Date: Out Now

Plymouth boy (or bhey to the locals) Joseph Russell is a hardworking kind of guy judging by his gig list and that doesn't include all the private shows! In fact, it's got to be hard to move in the Westcountry without tripping over one of his gigs or at least a poster. This new single from Russell goes by the name of 'It's Time' and should appeal to those enjoying the morbid piano music currently adorning festive advertisements on nearly every channel. In all seriousness, though, this track has a forlorn quality that seeps from the piano and Russell's gravelly vocal that is more Rod Stewart than Michael Buble. There are elements of Robbie Williams in his pomp but at 5 minutes long it never quite reaches the peak or crescendo I was hoping for when it started. That said, this is the kind of song that will either get picked up for an advertising campaign or will allow a load of guys to apologies/get engaged/get laid/dump a girl with the right soundtrack.

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

Live Dates:

27th November - The Q Cube, Exmouth
5th December - Rhodes @ The Dome, Plymouth
6th December - Four Lords, St Austell
11th December - Rhodes @ The Dome, Plymouth
18th December - Ordolph Arms, Tavistock
19th December - Bar Rakuda, Plymouth
26th December - The Union, Saltash
31st December - Tregenna Castle, St Ives
2nd January - Post Office Inn, Plympton
5th February - Ordolph Arms, Tavistock
6th February - The Imperial, Ivybridge
7th February - Four Lords, St Austell
10th February - Blues Bar & Grill, Plymouth
11th February - Bar Rakuda, Plymouth
13th February - The Sorry Head, Exeter
5th March - Bar 35, Bude
18th June - Bar 35, Bude

13th August - Bar 35, Bude

KUERTY UYOP - SINGLE REVIEW

Kuerty Uyop - The Syndrome Of Peter Pan (feat. Chainsaw) 
Kuerty Uyop - The Syndrome Of Peter Pan (feat. Chainsaw)

Release Date: Out Now

Part Italian, part Scottish, a bit priesty and a touch Karate inspired. That's the mix of ingredients that make up the gumbo that is keyboard inspired duo Kuerty Uyop. New single, 'The Syndrome Of Peter Pan', starts with a jerky guitar line and a lyric that whispers about the fear of growing old - not the normal topic for a dance song but then a steadily pumping beat kicks in and suddenly this is a dance floor tune. Sure, it's a little on the Europop side of things for my liking but it's perky, positive and the video is downright intriguing. I don't really know what to make of Kuerty Uyop which is a good thing in many ways but I'm going to wait to hear more from them before making a final decision.

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


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

Thursday, 19 November 2015

HUSBAND MATERIAL - SINGLE REVIEW

Husband Material - Talk Too Much 
Husband Material - Talk Too Much

Release Date: 27th November 2015

Well this is a delight. Some thoroughly English guitar based pop with a sultry swagger and a real sense of cool. Husband Material's new single 'Talk Too Much' is a blend of Franz Ferdinand, Orange Juice, Vampire Weekend, Hot Hot Heat and, weirdly, the Human League's kids messing around in a rural recording studio on a dreary weekend. Perky guitars, spiky drums and the kind of vocals that would invade your personal space at a house party and, while you would feel uncomfortable, the smell of French cigarettes and whisky is undeniably intoxicating. This is pop that has grown up and has a decent job but still buys comics and goes to obscure indie karaoke shows in Islington. That's the kind of pop I can hang out with.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuaJW8LVro0 

DRACULA LEGS - SINGLE REVIEW

Dracula Legs - Bulldozer 
Dracula Legs - Bulldozer

Release Date: 11th December 2015

First off, great name. No idea what Dracula Legs means but great name nonetheless. The band's new single, 'Bulldozer', is just a sheer delight as the London trio blend scratchy indie and some Lou Reed cool to make a thoroughly enjoyable ditty. The guitars glide and weave while the drums bash away with gay abandon and the vocals shimmy and shudder like Win Butler channelling Elvis Costello. This is music to dance to if you're not very good at dancing but you are super great at having fun and interpreting music with the most flailing of flailing limbs. Ruddy good fun all round.


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

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

FOREVER CULT - SINGLE REVIEW

Forever Cult - Tunnel Vision (Too Pure Singles Club) 
Forever Cult - Tunnel Vision

Release Date: 27th November 2015

Leeds trio Forever Cult are back with yet another single release, this time via the acclaimed Too Pure Singles Club off shoot. 'Tunnel Vision' is the latest missive from the Clue Records boys and it starts with a squall of feedback a la Nirvana in their pomp. And then it becomes a banger. A seriously loud, in your face banger. The drums and bass go straight for your ribcage while the guitars and vocals are straight out of the Reuben locker of grunge snarl meets indie-pop melodies and energy. These guys started off as a slow burner for me but now I'm in a full on forest fire and gleefully toasting marshmallows on the chard whiskers of a fox. There's a perfect mix of fun and serious intent behind this tune so you can see why it was selected for the exclusive environs of Too Pure. Well chosen, well chosen indeed.

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

Live Dates:

23rd November - Think Tank, Newcastle
24th November - Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh
25th November - Bar Bloc, Glasgow
26th November - The Green Rooms, Perth
27th November - Maguire's Pizza Bar, Liverpool
28th November - The Adelphi, 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

ILANA J - SINGLE REVIEW

Ilana J - Angel (Ilana J Music) 
Ilana J - Angel 

Release Date: 18th November 2015

It's always difficult to critically review a song that is being released to raise money for a charitable cause because nobody likes the douche who slates the work of a charity. The charity in question this time is The Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics which aims to research and treat Angelman Syndrome which is a rare genetic disorder that affects the nervous system - a worthy cause indeed. The song being release to raise money for this cause (and all proceeds go to the charity) is the appropriately named 'Angel' and it's a soft, piano focused ballad with an uplifting undertone. The lyrics directly reflect the battles and positivity in the face of adversity that people born with disabilities so often display which makes for an emotional ride. Sure, it's a fairly simple song but it has a simple message and that comes across loud and clear through Ilana J's soft but strong voice.

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

Download Here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/angel-single/id1043285103


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

THE SHERLOCKS - SINGLE REVIEW

The Sherlocks - Heart Of Gold 
The Sherlocks - Heart Of Gold

Release Date: Out Now

I can't believe there hasn't been a band called The Sherlocks before but here they are anyway. This tale of heartache and broken dreams, new single 'Heart Of Gold', is pure Arctic Monkeys meets Reverend and the Makers suburban soap opera but there is a more pop element here that makes these guys a genuinely huge prospect. It's not that they are dramatically original or strikingly unique but, in the same way that Catfish & the Bottlemen have won over thousands on both sides of the Atlantic, these lads have the tunes and the work ethic to pull of something life changing here. Probably the only thing standing in their way is the fact that the band consists of two sets of brothers which is a powder keg waiting to be ignited if ever there was one.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv7-1eJGrFE

Live Dates:

25th November - Riverside, Gateshead
26th November - Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
28th November - O2 Academy 2, Liverpool
3rd November - Rock City, Nottingham

19th November - Plug, Sheffield

Monday, 16 November 2015

JOAN OV ARC - SINGLE REVIEW

Joan ov Arc - Live Rock'n'Roll (Red Vixen Records) 
Joan  ov Arc - Live Rock'n'Roll

Release Date: 27th November 2015

All-female rock bands tend to make me feel slightly uneasy. Now, this isn't because I'm a raging bigot who believes the only place for a woman at a rock show is backstage and on her knees. No, it's because that very viewpoint exists and I've seen men ogling over women playing their hearts out, belittling their talent in one misogynistic groan. So, I'm always hopeful that bands like Joan ov Arc will blow my mind with their music and their new single, 'Live Rock'n'Roll', is their shot. The track starts with drums powered by runaway horses and the impending doom of a melody rolling over the horizon. There's a high energy, big hair and heavy melody level of fun to this that would see it fit in anywhere from 80s LA to the present day as long as it's in a rock bar and turned up to eleven. The likes of Buckcherry, Guns'n'Roses and Andrew WK spring to mind with the spirit of Siouxsie Sioux running through it like blood through a stick of rock. More please, much more.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/JOANovARC-10249741221/?fref=ts


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

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

ELVIS PERKINS - SINGLE REVIEW

Elvis Perkins - I Came For Fire (MIR) 
Elvis Perkins - I Came For Fire

Release Date: Out Now

It's a bit like being called Pele and having a kicking about in the park if you're named Elvis and decide to take a bash at being a musician. The pressure must be immense but if you can shoulder it then you might just be able to have something of a career, like Elvis Perkins who is in the middle of an extensive world tour. This new single from the hard working musician, 'I Came For Fire', is a muted and shuffling piece of Jazz influenced indie-folk that could have been recorded at any time over the last 100 years such is the wonderfully lo-fi quality of the recording. There is an early morning, creeping sun rise quality to this tune but not with the optimism you might expect at day break, more the feeling that this is the last sunrise you will ever witness as you head in to battle or to the gallows to meet your maker. I would recommend checking out Elvis Perkins at a live show but make sure you order a whisky or a large glass of red, this is music to sip to.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/6C3gL4v5wWo

Live Dates:

11th November - Bogen F, Zurich
12th November - Fri Son, Fribourg
13th November - Studio Foce, Lugano
14th November - Covo Club, Bologna
15th November - Biko Club, Milan
16th November - Sala Apolo La 2, Barcelona
19th November - King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
20th November - Cluny 2, Newcastle
21st November - Gullivers, Manchester
22nd November - Hounds & Hare, Birmingham
23rd November - Crofters Rights, Bristol
24th November - Victoria, Dalston
26th November - La Sirene, La Rochelle
28th November - Stereolux, Nantes
1st December - Botanique, Brussels
2nd December - Le Grand Mix, Tourcoing
3rd December - La Lune des Pirates, Amiens
4th December - La Laiterie, Strasbourg
5th December - La Rodia, Besancon
6th December - La Cooperative de Mai, Clermont-Ferrand
8th December - La Fleche d'Or, Paris
10th December - Helsinki, Hudson
11th December - Berlin, New York
12th December - Berlin, New York
14th December - The Garrison, Toronto
15th December - Petit Campus, Montreal Metro Area

16th December - The Columbus Theater, Providence

ELENA ROXY ROSE - SINGLE REVIEW

Elena Roxy Rose - Message In A Bottle 
Elena Roxy Rose - Message In A Bottle

Release Date: 23rd November 2015

Some big names have been paying attention to the talented Elena Roxy Rose and it's not just because her tongue is frozen to her saxophone. New single 'Message In A Bottle' which is not a cover of the Police classic but is instead a quirky piece of sax lead electro pop that the likes of Paloma Faith and Parov Stelar would proud to have on their albums. ERR's dramatically accented vocals are a delight and the upbeat poppy chorus creates an image of 'Babushka' era Kate Bush having a bash at a Yazz song with Regina Spektor on production and artistic direction duties. This won't be to everyone's taste and it took me a couple of listens to get my head around what Elena Roxy Rose is doing here but that only makes me more intrigued. After all, art is always better when it challenges us, right?


More information: https://www.facebook.com/Elena-Roxy-Rose-284515024946367/?fref=ts

THE MIGRANT - SINGLE REVIEW

The Migrant - Silence (DevilDuck) 
The Migrant - Silence

Release Date: 13th November 2015

Thanks to having the volume turned up way to loud in my headphones, Danish outfit The Migrant nearly deafened me with the opening bars of their new single which is, ironically, called 'Silence'. Sometimes you just can't make this stuff up, can you? Once I'd adjusted the volume, I settled down in to the dreamy, beanbag like tune that features warm, comfy guitars and a beat that shuffles so much it might as well be trying to go for a pee first thing in the morning. There are some nice, subtle organ chords and a fairly non-committal vocal performance which makes for the perfect music to drift away to on a lazy afternoon. So roll yourself a fat one, get comfortable in your beanbag and let The Migrant carry you away - just check your headphone volume first. Safety first poeple.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC8EKnZ-6d4&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:

21st November - Mohawk, Austin
23rd November - Paper Tiger, San Antonio
24th November - TBA, Houston
25th November - Gasa Gasa, New Orleans

29th November - The Living Room, Brooklyn

JEFF WOOTTON - SINGLE REVIEW

Jeff Wootton - The Eternal 
Jeff Wootton - The Eternal

Release Date: Out Now

There aren't enough musicians called Jeff these days. Or Geoff, for that matter. Mancunian soloist Jeff Wootton, then, is a rare treat in that he's a musical Jeff and, just to put the cherry on the cake, his debut single is also a bit special. 'The Eternal' see the sometime Damon Albarn, Noel Gallagher and Damo Suzuki collaborator breaking out the rare African instrumentation (the Imzad for instrument spotters out there) and creating a wonderfully dark but energising sound. The strum of the acoustic strings is sewn together by the slithering Imzad and if you close your eyes you can almost see the campfire flames licking the night air. There's a 'world music' vibe, for sure, but also the likes of Nick Cave, Johnny Cash and Hunter S. Thompson can be felt if you let the music wrap around you. Jeff has been around and played with some big hitters so it's only right that he strikes out on his own but you have to admire the balls of releasing such a minimalist and stringently non-commercial tune as a debut single. A tip of my cap to you, sir.

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

Live Dates:


23rd March 2016 - Night & Day Cafe, Manchester

Monday, 9 November 2015

TORS - SINGLE REVIEW

Tors - Fool On The Floor 
Tors - Fool On The Floor

Release Date: 13th November 2015

So, legendary guitarist Burt Weedon begat at least one child and that child begat at least two more sons and those sons grew up in Devon before heading off to London with some mates to create music under the name of Tors. That's the biblical version anyway. The band are releasing 'Fool On The Floor' as their next single and it's an indie pop stomper that fills you with the kind of glee that the Polyphonic Spree used to but with a more English approach to songwriting. The band have been likened to Coldplay but Coldplay were never this much fun, I'd say these guys were more like the Feeling before they got stuck down a ballad cul-de-sac. The real story here, however, is that on a budget that stretches to a gold onesie and a borrowed vacuum cleaner, Tors have created one of the most fun, watchable and genuinely uplifting videos I've seen in a very long time. Seriously, if you haven't seen a man in a VERY figure hugging gold suit dance like nobody is watching around an empty church hall then you need to. Now. I'm not kidding, there's a link to rows down, go!

More information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlryBz9mUz0

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlryBz9mUz0

Live Dates:

11th November - The Troubadour, London
5th December - Westfield, London

18th December - Westfield, London

ALI INGLE - SINGLE REVIEW

Ali Ingle - Hey Kid 
Ali Ingle - Hey Kid

Release Date: Out Now

The uber talented and underrated (or at least underexposed) Ali Ingle with a new EP and this is the first shot across the bows from said EP. 'Hey Kid' is lo-fi and high class pop at the same time which usually denotes genuine class and talent which Ingle has in spades. The lazily simple guitar line is David Kitt meets Beck while the melodies are Taylor Swift meets Elbow in their stadium filling potential. The song layers up like some kind of sumptuous all you can eat buffet that just when you think you can't eat anything more you see the fresh shrimp on the next table. There's hope, there's honesty, there's raw emotion and there's a genuine sense of song craft behind this deceptively simplistic song. Beautiful and pure, love it.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSQT9xVSuko 

LUKE CUSATO - SINGLE REVIEW

Luke Cusato - Bodies 
Luke Cusato - Bodies

Release Date: Out Now

Liverpool lad Luke Cusato is one of those frustrating talents that is teetering on the fine line between heartfelt tender genius and bland boyband emotions by numbers. New single 'Bodies' shows a lot f promise and Cusato's voice could certainly stand up to the Smiths and Bays of this world and the tune starts off like it's going to rip your heart out the way Elbow do with the change of a key. But some 80s guitars and a lack of real climax leaves me a little disappointed in this tune which is a crying shame. It's not quite pop balladry by numbers but I think someone has drawn the outline for Cusato to colour in which leaves him in the position of not being able to push the boundaries as much as he could. There's better stuff to come from this guy though, I'll put a tenner on that.


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

Sunday, 8 November 2015

VANESSA FORERO - SINGLE REVIEW

Vanessa Forero - Heaven Knows 
Vanessa Forero - Heaven Knows

Release Date: 16th November 2015

Call me sheltered if you will but Vanessa Forero isn't a name you'd expect to hear when you think of an indie-folk singer from Bradford. Nevertheless, that is exactly what we have here, albeit via a Colombian birth, so I'd best get over my preconceptions and misconceptions and get on with my job of giving my humble opinion. This latest release from Forero, 'Heaven Knows', is....well....it's stunning. Sumptuously rippling guitars roll like water over age smoothed pebbles before Forero's smooth but assured voice breaks over the horizon like the most gloriously golden sunrise you've ever seen. A subtle stomping beat joins in and suddenly that South American passion and vista is there for everyone to see, hear and generally be in awe of. There are so many influences at play here from the country guitars, and English folk to Navajo yelps and I swear there's a Didgeridoo in there somewhere as well. It's not often the PR hype is matched by the music but in this case I'm completely sold. The only mystery is why Vanessa Forero isn't getting booked for bigger stages, bigger audiences and moving on to bigger things.

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

Live Dates:

13th November - Parr Street Studios, Liverpool

17th November - Ear Music  Open Mic, London 

CUCKOOLANDER - SINGLE REVIEW

CuckooLander - Mother Nature 
CuckooLander - Mother Nature

Release Date: 13th November 2015

Improbably named London chanteuse CuckooLander is back with a new track and dressed like a disco matador from the future. This new song, 'Mother Nature', is filled with funk and fun from the word go but it has a raw, DIY feel like the early independent electro releases in the 80s. That said, CuckooLander's voice is anything but raw as her soulful, rich and sassy vocal turns the heat up on this tune and gives it a kick in the jewels. There is no reason that this tune shouldn't be all over the radio and getting air time clubs across the country unless, of course, the general public and those in charge of the media are idiots with no taste in music whatsoever.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKBKup0-2P8&feature=youtu.be

Thursday, 5 November 2015

THE SLOW READERS CLUB - SINGLE REVIEW

The Slow Readers Club - Plant The Seed (Scruff Of The Neck Records) 
The Slow Readers Club - Plant The Seed

Release Date: 20th November 2015

Mancunian electro nutjobs The Slow Readers Club are back with a new single and a nice little UK tour to whet your whistle. Apart from having a stunning piece of cover art, 'Plant The Seed' also has a big ol' set of electro testicles (just say that out loud, electro testicles). Slick and sexy synths dance flirtatiously with a simple but pumping beat and suddenly you're transported to the centre of a dance floor with the whole club watching on as you pull of the best dance moves of your life. Broodingly harmonious vocals and a sense of cool run through this like a glow stick glaring through the night sky leaving streaks of melody and light in its wake. These chaps are already making waves but there's an electro tsunami on its way so cover your electro testicles and put on your electro goggles. Electro.

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

Live Dates:

6th November - The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
14th November - Corporation, Sheffield
20th November - The Packhorse, Leeds
27th November - The Magnet, Liverpool
28th November - Gorilla, Manchester
5th December - The Ferret, Preston

12th December - The Classic Grand, Glasgow

TARA PRIYA - SINGLE REVIEW

Tara Priya - Who That (Liquid Records) 
Tara Priya - Who That

Release Date: 20th November 2015

I find whistling on a the opening to a record quite an eerie sound but fortunately the beat isn't far behind on the intro to this latest single from enchanting London vocalist Tara Priya. 'Who That' has a kind of Kill Bill meets Amy Winehouse vibe with a little extra inspiration from Alesha Dixon and Priya's powerful vocal style and range is more than enough to carry the tune. The bass line jumps around and the groove is a one of a sexy slow jam that is pure R'n'B gold and you could easily imagine this song rubbing shoulders with the likes of Jessie J, Rita Ora, MIA and Rhianna on a compilation of strong, female vocalists making a name in the pop world. And it has a fade out ending which doesn't feature on enough records these days.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/Tara-Priya-1457021751205693/?fref=ts

Live Dates:


17th November - Single Launch @ Sebright Arms, London w/Ethan Breakaway + Night Games 

JOY ATLAS - SINGLE REVIEW

Joy Atlas - Notice It All 
Joy Atlas - Notice It All

Release Date: 27th November 2015

Quirky and awkward. These are the two words that immediately spring to mind when the second release from the wonderfully named electro-pop quartet Joy Atlas, 'Notice It All', starts to reveal itself. Sure you could make comparisons to the likes of Goldfrapp or Robyn but the fruity little synth squelches remind more of the likes of Bent, Bentley Rhythm Ace or early Lemon Jelly. The soothingly sweet vocals of Beccy Owen are perfect and are like a slightly more mainstream version of sometime Above & Beyond/Faithless vocalist Zoe Johnston. By the time the synths and beats come to a complicated and intricate crescendo, you are put in mind of Everything Everything and Dutch Uncles having a lovers tiff over a rare synth. So with that juicy list of influences pouring out of every pore of this tune it's hard not to be tempted, surely?

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

Live Dates:


9th December - Think Tank, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

WE THREE AND THE DEATH RATTLE - SINGLE REVIEW

We Three And The Death Rattle - Stray Rounds (PAW//PURR) 
We Three And The Death Rattle - Stray Rounds

Release Date: Out Now

I'm starting to develop a bit of a crush on these guys which is going to make for an awkward date but I think they're way out of my league anyway so let's not worry about that just yet. The new single from rock'n'roll trio We Three And The Death Rattle is the marvellously dirty 'Stray Rounds' and the warnings of "duck and cover" is sound advice indeed. Essentially this is Alison Goldfrapp in full on dominant seductress mode fronting Muse at their sleaziest with LCD Soundsystem on production and beat generating duties. It's direct, dirty, meaty and has equal measures of style and substance. Like I said, these guys have got the full package and it's a package I'd like to unwrap but for now I'll just admire from the shadows...


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

DAMN VANDALS - SINGLE REVIEW

Damn Vandals - I Hate School 
Damn Vandals - I Hate School

Release Date: 6th November 2015

Everyone's favourite London racket makers, Damn Vandals, are back with another suitably rebellious single. 'I Hate School' might sound like the sulky anthem of a bunch of grumpy teenage grunge fans but it's actually more like the cruising anthem of a bunch of pissed off, Ray Ban wearing wasps looking for trouble. Snarling guitars, chunky drums and a Shane McGowan meets Mark E Smith vocal yelp make this a perfectly attitude fuelled slice of garage punk that comes in at just over the prescribed three minute mark. There is also an ace video featuring an awesome l'il dude doing trick shots on a pool table and filmed on a Super 8 which fits the tune superbly well. Keep them coming Damn Vandals, one day the world will wake up and smell your beans. Coffee beans, that is.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fowuu_F_4iI&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:


27th November - The Dublin Castle, London

REIGNING DAYS - SINGLE REVIEW

Reigning Days - Friendly Fire 
Reigning Days - Friendly Fire

Release Date: 26th November 2015

Three broodingly handsome chaps in a variety of black attire making a racket in the sleepy coastal town of Teignmouth. It has to be Muse, right? Wrong. New pretenders to the rock throne are starting to make themselves heard and those pretenders are Reigning Days. This new single, 'Friendly Fire', kicks off like a kookier version of Band Of Skulls before the heaviness kicks in with Matt Bellamy's swagger but it's less eccentric Maths teacher and more a defiantly unique band of brothers. The metronomic tick-tock rhythm maintains throughout despite the Royal Blood-esque onslaught of bass and guitars. Imagine standing your ground as the mighty Mississippi breaks it's banks and the water comes rushing through you full of debris and urgency. This is infectious, infused with a nervous energy and utterly perfect for a good stomp or an angry drive so on this evidence it can't be long until these guys are storming bigger stages and impregnating the first six rows with their rock'n'roll genes. Poor old row seven, eh?


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

ROLE - SINGLE REVIEW

Role - Full Of Magic 
Role - Full Of Magic 

Release Date: Out Now

Role originally hail from Madrid but have recently relocated to London, presumably in search of golden pavements, a damp climate and inferior cuisine. Oh, and fame. Whatever their reasoning, they have brought with them a nap sack full of beats, bleeps, wobbly synths and processed vocals that make for a truly confusing but enthralling listening experience. This new single, 'Full Of Magic', is perfectly named as listening to this track is like being transported through the looking glass in to a slightly skewed, electro Wonderland where Alice has tattoos and a robotic hand. If you're looking for comparisons then you really ought to try being less lazy but I guess you could look at the likes of Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin or a slightly less light-hearted Lemon Jelly. Whatever you think of them, hearing their music twisting and jerking out of an East London bar would not sound out of place so I think they may just have found a home for themselves. For now....

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


Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/wearerole/full-of-magic

Monday, 2 November 2015

THE ABSTRACTS - SINGLE REVIEW

The Abstracts - Smells Like Summer 
The Abstracts - Smells Like Summer

Release Date: Out Now

It seems odd to release a single in the Autumn with a title of 'Smells Like Summer' but I've decided this title must refer to the smell of a girl called Summer and how amazing that smell is. For example, I've got a pair of old football boots that smell like Peter Beardsley - not that I'm about to write a song about those boots or Peter Beardsley. Anyway, back on topic, Cambridge chaps The Abstracts are releasing the aforementioned track whether I like it or not so I might as well take a listen. Musically, this tune is drenched in summery vibes with jangly guitars, stompingly defiant drums and a gravelly vocal that reminds of early Stereophonics material. This is fairly standard lad-indie in the vein of the Pigeon Detectives or Hard-Fi which isn't a crime but doesn't really get my juices flowing. That said, there's plenty of energy here and a definite melody so whatever Summer smells like it can't be that bad.

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

Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/pluggin-baby/the-abstracts-smells-like-summer-1

Live Dates:


21st November - The Portland Arms, Cambridge

RUSSELL SINCLAIR - ALBUM REVIEW

Russell Sinclair - Bought & Sold 
Russell Sinclair - Bought & Sold

Release Date: Out Now

Plymouth based musician Russell Sinclair is rapidly developing a 'name' for himself as a bit of a modern Blues legend but it's the fact that he can throw in a bit of Swing and Roots that makes him really stand out for me. This latest album, 'Bought & Sold', is a fantastic advert for his various talents and gets off to a flying start with the instrumental 'The Rock' - presumably an ode of love to the former wrestling persona of Dwayne Johnson. Listeners are treated to a full band tune that would either work as a musical interlude on Happy Days or be some fantastic music for a cheesy American voice over artist to introduce a chat show host over. Album title track 'Bought & Sold' is a more slow burning, Louisanna style Blues tune with snake hips and seductive organs whispering away in the back room. It's party time again on 'Mr Bigshot' as things get groovy with a slick horn section and some more excellent organ work giving Sinclair the space for his vocals to take flight.

There's a more country vibe on 'Brave New Day' with some shuffling drums and lots of lyrics about long blonde hair and drinking while the mandolin tinkles away in the background. There's a slightly Latin vibe to 'Beautiful War' while 'Bigger Man' settles in to a more Sunday afternoon style with some lazy saxophone and drums that are emerging yawning from a New York apartment bedroom with a semi and serious bed hair. The Boogie-Woogie of 'Born Blind', however, is absolute triumph as Sinclair makes his guitar sing and wail while the rest of the band pull all the stops out including some excellent harmonica work. There is a delicate feel to 'Face The Rain' which gives us a chance to experience Sinclaire stripped back to acoustic guitar and raw vocals as a countrified ballad builds superbly.

Russell Sinclair in full flow
The wonderful 'Cigarettes & Whisky' is an absolute triumph and shows just why Sinclair and his band are in such high demand as a live act around the UK with energy bursting from every note and beat. Swing is usually seen as more of a dance move these days but Sinclair is bringing it back with an authentic  feel and a whole lot of passion to boot. There is a slightly vaudeville feel to 'My Oh My' as a kazoo makes an appearance but, as with every tune on this collection, there is an honesty and joy behind the performance and the songcraft. The album closes on 'Turn It Black', a beautiful banjo lead tune that conjures up imagines of long grass, longer afternoons and denim dungarees with a button missing. Long, ramshackle trains will roll through the American country with this tune rattling between the wheels and hobos humming along. Russell Sinclair was an unknown to me before hearing this album but he sounds like he's been singing these songs for decades and perfecting them along the way. He's a real talent and a pioneer for bringing original Blues and Swing music back to the UK scene - who would have expected that to come out of a South Devon city, eh?!

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

Listen/Download Here: http://russellsinclair.co.uk/

Live Dates:

5th November - The Blues Bar & Grill, Plymouth
6th November - The Lopes Arms, Plymouth
7th November - Oval Tavern, Croydon
12th November - Refectory Bar, Plymouth
13th November - B-Bar @ Barbican Theatre, Plymouth
19th November - The Blues Bar & Grill, Plymouth
26th November - Refectory Bar, Plymouth
28th November - Celtic Beer Festival, St Austell
19th December - Annabels Cabaret, Plymouth

16th April - The Carclaze, St Austell 

BILL HICKS - DVD BOX SET REVIEW

Bill Hicks - Ultimate Bill Hicks ([PIAS] Comedy) 
Bill Hicks - Ultimate

Release Date: 9th November 2015

Well this is a first for Listen With Monger. This is the first article that isn't centred around music that has featured on this here blog but I've always considered Bill Hicks to be an honorary rock star so I'm you'll excuse this rare change to normal proceedings. This new box set contains four seminal stand up sets from the late 80s to early 90s ('One Night Stand', 'Sane Man', 'Relentless' and 'Revelations') as well as the wonderful documentary, 'It's Just A Ride', featuring interviews with the likes of Eddie Izzard, Jay Leno, David Lettermand and Richard Belzer. Hicks died at the tender age of 32 but in his short stint on this earth he made sure that burned  his particular torch as brightly and fervently as possible, leaving his mark not just on comedy but on social commentary, satire and the way in which a whole generation views the world - he would have eaten the Facebook and Twitter generations alive and burped them out before lighting a trademark cigarette and smiling wickedly.

One Night Stand (1989) is first up and this is where the rock'n'roll reputation was forged. Just look at the topics in this legendary set - sex, drugs, smoking, booze, music and, ahem, the evils of advertising. This show alone would have been enough for most but, within the same year, Hicks went and brought us Sane Man (1989). Sensing that the tide of support was with him, Hicks went for the kill and started to attack corporate, consumerist America from within the walls of the vault. The shackles are off from the word go as Hicks goes with a pre-show rant about the temptation of hijacking a plane just to get over the boredom of sitting on endless miles of runway tarmac (this was obviously pre 9/11). There are also some great examples of Bill's sexually charged side as he explores the difference between proper rock stars and the sanitised pop stars of the 80s (essentially Jimi Hendrix vs Rick Astley - there's only one winner in that battle).

Bill Hicks - Smokin'
Relentless (1992) was recorded at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and sees Hicks in unstoppable form spitting bile at religion, war, morality and pornography - the big topics and not ones that you take on if your main aim is to achieve popularity, fame and riches. Hicks had opinions, he had theories, he had thoughts and he really wanted the world to listen and then do something about it - he was only one man, after all.

On Revelations (1993) we see the last recorded special by Bill Hicks, less than a year before his untimely death, captured for posterity at the Dominion Theatre in London. Fully aware of his illness, Bill was in no mood to lose himself in melancholy or self pity but rather wanted to ensure that his last chance to convert some hearts and minds wasn't wasted.

It's Just A Ride (1994) wraps this collection up with a look at the life of Hicks and commentary from peers, friends, family and admirers alike. It's almost worth watching this first to get the background on this great man but I can see the logic of enjoying/appreciating the comedy and observation before finding out who influenced it.

Let's face it, this is a repackaging of something that already existed and there isn't anything new here - all the material is over 20 years old - so, on that basis, Hicks would have absolutely hated it. This is the epitome of cashing in, selling out and forgetting about the soul of the art in favour of the price tag and it would essentially be about half an hour's worth of bitter, bile filled diatribe for Bill to utterly revel in. That said, Bill isn't around anymore and it's important that new generations are exposed to his unique view on the world in its original form so I will let it pass. Just this once mind, don't go re-releasing it in 5 years now.


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