Sunday, 24 April 2016

TANITA TIKARAM – SINGLE REVIEW

Tanita Tikaram – The Way You Move 
Tanita Tikaram - The Way You Move


Release Date: Out Now

Well, I have to admit that Tanita Tikaram was a name from my past that I didn’t expect to see crop up in my inbox but, many years after bleeding through the walls from my sister’s bedroom, here she is again. I should clarify, Tikaram didn’t literally bleed through my walls in some terrifying blood covered apparition – I just meant her music. This new single, ‘The Way You Move’, is a lively, acoustic lead tune that lends itself to swaying hips, late evening sunshine and plenty of fruit based cocktails. Tikaram’s voice is recognisably husky yet smooth as the guitars sashay effortlessly along the Mediterranean cost from Saint Tropez to Barcelona. The video dances the line between cheezy and unashamedly fun but features a lot of escalator footage and it turns out that escalators are kinda my bag. Not the most groundbreaking piece of music I’ve ever heard but it’s fun and it sounds like Tanita had fun making it so I’m on board.



Live Dates:

24th May – Alte Oper, Frankfurt Am Main w/Concha Buika

23rd July – Manefestivalen, Fredrikstad

HANNAH TRIGWELL – SINGLE REVIEW

Hannah Trigwell – Another Beautiful Mistake 
Hannah Trigwell - Another Beautiful Mistake


Release Date: Out Now

Anyone introduced to me as a ‘Youtube phenomenon’ immediately rings my alarm bells and makes me wary but then I have to remind myself that this is the world we live in now and I should just get over my prejudices. Hannah Trigwell’s single, ‘Another Beautiful Mistake’, is riding on the wave of that online fame but she’s backing it up with some dates at a few of the UK’s most iconic venues. Sonically, this is an acoustic meander with smooth vocals and melodies based around the kind of structure that the likes of One Direction and Ed Sheeran use with such success. However, a dance beat kicks in and suddenly we’re in a Passenger-esque summer anthem that will surely go down a storm in the bars of Ibiza and could stand a pumped up remix. Trigwell’s voice is smooth and understated in a sultry way that works with both the acoustic elements and the Ministry of Sound Chillout sessions parts too. Turns out the Youtube community might just be on to something.


Live Dates:

10th May – King Tuts, Glasgow
11th May – Barfly, London
12th May – Louisiana, Bristol
13th May – Sound Control, Manchester
19th May – The Great Escape, Brighton

4th June – Nomad Festival, Cologne

LEAONE – SINGLE REVIEW

Leaone – Young Green Eyes 
Leaone - Young Green Eyes


Release Date: Out Now

Now I don’t want to judge a book by its cover but when you read that an artist has created a video to accompany his new single and done so using only footage taken of his ex-girlfriend on a holiday in Paris then you could be forgiven for thinking things might get a bit stalky. The sombre opening chords don’t do much to help this vibe either but then again this isn’t a happy clappy song. ‘Young Green Eyes’ is a dark, Cash-esque slice of blindie (that’s bleak indie, a new genre I just made up). Leaone’s voice is seductively deep and smooth in a way that makes me want to crawl in to bed and want to get over a breakup with only that vocal tone to wrap myself up. Rich musicianship, dark tones and that sense of utter, soul destroying loss you feel when you break up with the person you thought was ‘the one’ all blend like oil and sand to make a thick, inescapable and sticky mess. I think you’re well shot though mate, I mean, she chews gum with her mouth open. Who does she think she is, a Pink Lady?



Saturday, 23 April 2016

URSA MAJOR – SINGLE REVIEW

Ursa Major – 5AM/Intro 
Ursa Major - 5AM/Intro


Release Date: Out Now

I love this kid. I say kid as he’s younger than me but that applies to an increasing large proportion of the world’s population. Anyway, aging issues aside, Toronto soloist Ursa Major is back with a new single, ‘5AM/Intro’, which comes in at just under three minutes but is as far from Punk as you can get. Blissed out melodies and sparse beats are soon bounced in to life with a bulging bass line and Ursa Major semi-sung rap style. The small town angst played out against a slow-jam is an intriguing and enthralling proposition so when you throw in the nod to global McDonaldisation in the repeated “I’m loving it” lyric this song just develops multi-layer before your eyes. Ursa Major is a mysterious character for sure but I love the fact that he’s creating music that he wants to put out there and his output is all the better for that honesty and passion. New EP coming soon, keep an ear out for that one.


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

ATTICA RIOTS – SINGLE REVIEW

Attica Riots – Misery 
Attica Riots - Misery


Release Date: Out Now

So Canada have consistently impressed and surprised me over the years that I’ve been writing this blog, more so than any other country, so the pressure is on for Winnipeg trio Attica Riots and their debut single, ‘Misery’. Fortunately, the 80s influenced video and Muse meets Duran Duran vibe of the tune appeals to me in a whole host of ways. A poppy bassline, unashamedly poppy synths and the kind of confident frontman performance you’d expect from Brandon Flowers or Michael Hutchence on a really good day – what a combination!? This is high class pop music and the kind of effort that most bands only come out with after they’re fully established so these guys have got chops as well. “I see what I what I wanna see, oh sweet misery take what you what you want from me”, now that’s a pop chorus lyric and then some, eh?



Live Dates:

19th May – The Fillmore, Philadelphia

20th May – Music Hall of Williamsburg

FAT RELIC – SINGLE REVIEW

Fat Relic – Better Alone 
Fat Relic - Better Alone


Release Date: Out Now

You can argue until the cows come home about which music is cooler, more worthy or speaks to your soul more – trust me, I’ve seen those cows coming through the door – but if you give me a nice bass grove and some sexy horns then I’m happy to just dance the night away. London collective Fat Relic have ticked both of those boxes on new single ‘Better Alone’ but there is also a delightful soup of scratchy guitars, smooth keys and a tight rhythm bubbling away to keep the mood swinging. Fat Relic mix soul, funk and old skool rhythm and blues to make a tune that is sure to get any party swinging but it’s the musicianship across the band that really grabs the attention. These guys are primed to be a smash on the festival circuit in the same way that Tankus the Henge have burst through in the last 18 months. A band this good on record has to be great live, right?


Monday, 18 April 2016

PHOEBE ROBINSON – SINGLE REVIEW

Phoebe Robinson – Daytime T.V./From The Ash (Foof Records) 
Phoebe Robinson - Daytime T.V. / From The Ash


Release Date: Out Now

I’m not going to make any mustard or Partridge references but suffice to say Phoebe Robinson is from Norwich – not the musical mecca that some might expect such a talent to hail from. The wondrous folk at Foof Records have unearthed Ms Robinson and this double A-side single is an absolute delight. ‘Daytime T.V.’ is a delicately woozy number with all manner of samples, melodies and sounds swirling around like the possibilities laid out in front of a young and hopeful optimist. Vocally, this is as close to the criminally underrated Zoe Johnston as it’s possible to get and that fits musically as well if you consider the work ZJ did with Bent back in the day. ‘From The Ash’ is more angelic and pure, like a crisp morn in the countryside where only a curious robin moves on the immediate horizon. Robinson’s voice is clear and icy cool as the gentle, rippling guitar provides the early morning warmth of a slept in blanket and you would be hard pushed not to fall in love with Robinson as her Marling-esque phrasing turns in to a chaotic and semi-cacophonic crescendo. In the space of two songs, Phoebe Robinson has entirely enthralled me and I would urge you all to take the opportunity to grab yourself a free download from the link below – I know I have.




Live Dates:


25th June – Waterfront Studio, Norwich w/Avec Sans + Abigail Blake

SCARLET BAXTER – SINGLE REVIEW

Scarlet Baxter – Dancing All Night 
Scarlet Baxter - Dancing All Night


Release Date: Out Now

There is a whole lot that makes me want to dislike this new single from London vocalist Scarlet Baxter. Firstly, I’m not really a fan of the current use of R’n’B (rhythm and blues is fine but this ain’t rhythm and blues) and the connections to Busted, Westlife, Sandi Thom and Chris Brown quoted in the press release don’t help much either. But then she’s supported the likes of Chic, Bombay Bicycle Club and Hot Chop so something has to be going on here – I’m going to put my prejudices to one side and give this a listen. ‘Dancing All Night’ is sleek, sophisticated and sultry pop with an LA vibe running throughout all the skittish beats and mainstream pop melodies. Baxter’s voice is seductive in a confident way that suggests she has an experienced head on her young shoulders – this lady knows how to put in a performance. I’m not saying that Scarlet Baxter is here to revolutionise pop music or save the day but it is refreshing to have a UK artist standing shoulder to shoulder with the US heavyweights in terms of style and cool. More to come I suspect, definitely worth an outside bet.


Live Dates:

20th April – Lockside Lounge, London
21st April – O2 Academy, London
28th May – Surya, London

14th August – Party At The Palace, Linlithgow

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

LAUREN RAY – SINGLE REVIEW

Lauren Ray – Drive (Tamlan Records) 
Lauren Ray - Drive


Release Date: 29th April 2016

London based singer Lauren Ray is hailed by her PR as a little Norah Jones in places which is not necessarily a bad thing but Norah Jones does seem to have become a watchword for bland in musical circles these days so it’s a bold move. New single ‘Drive’ is a gentle, piano lead piece of smooth Sunday morning Jazz that is designed for white sheets, broadsheet newspapers and fresh coffee. Ray’s voice is sweet and perfectly suited to this style of music but there is very little here to move me and a particularly annoying drum sound that seems to punctuate through the whole tune like a loud clock when you’re trying to sleep at 3.00am. So, in summary, lovely voice and inoffensive tune but nothing that would make me get out of bed on a Sunday morning I’m afraid.

More information:


Live Dates:

 14th April – Caffe Nero, Bristol
15th April – Caffe Nero, Birmingham
18th April – Caffe Nero, Manchester
19th April – Caffe Nero, Leeds
20th April – Caffe Nero, Nottingham
21st April – Caffe Nero, Norwich
22nd April – Caffe Nero, Cambridge
28th April – Caffe Nero, Canterbury

8th July – Cornbury Festival

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

PATTERN PUSHER – SINGLE REVIEW

Pattern Pusher – Layla And Madman 
Pattern Pusher - Layla And Madman


Release Date: Out Now

Exeter quartet Pattern Pusher have only been recording with the legendary John Cornfield which must be fairly intimidating. I mean, imagine setting up your gear in front of someone who has worked with the likes of Robert Plant, The Stone Roses, Muse, Supergrass and, erm, Razorlight. Anyway, balls of steel aside, these lads have a Cornfield produced single ready to peddle so listen up, ‘Layla and Madman’ needs our attention. I’m instantly in love with this, from the squelchy, bassy synth that reminds me of Goose and Transformer, to the smooth, silky vocal delivery that has something of the Everything Everything chaps about it. Some loose, driving drums and a persistent tambourine completes the sound and fans of LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip and the Arcade Fire should be pretty damn excited by this tune. I can just see a mass of sweaty, hedonism bound bodies bouncing in glorious unison to the drum and bass combination that builds to a glorious and quasi-sexual climax. No nerves here, then, a big tune to match those big balls. Well played gents, more please.



Monday, 11 April 2016

SLOWOLF FEAT. KIMBRA – SINGLE REVIEW

Slowolf Feat. Kimbra – White Feathers 
Slowolf Feat. Kimbra - White Feathers


Release Date: Out Now

I already love Danish producer Slowolf, simply because he’s chosen to work with Kimbra, one of the most creative but criminally underrated vocalists currently producing music. This collaboration, under the title of ‘White Feathers’, is a skittish but utterly funky piece of alt-pop that builds beautifully to provide an edgy platform for Kimbra’s smooth, soulful and wonderfully rangy voice. There is an aggression mixed with sensuality on this tune that is hard to resist with some late 80s synth sounds, beats that don’t follow any conventional pattern but, well, they just work….brilliantly. If you’re looking for something refreshing, funky and innovative then look no further. Also, just as an added incentive, Slowolf’s recently born son inspired this tune and has been suffering in hospital recently so, from one father to another, hang in there buddy.


LEO QWEST – SINGLE REVIEW

Leo Qwest – Blows My Mind 
Leo Qwest - Blows My Mind


Release Date: Out Now

Turn your lights down low, pour yourself a glass of something smooth and get ready to do some minimal dancing around your living room – preferably with a leather sofa as a centre piece. The latest release from Leeds/London based producer and vocalist Leo Qwest is infectious, smooth and dryly funny all at the same time. ‘Blows My Mind’ mixes elements of Roni Size, The Streets, 90s British dance and Massive Attack to produce a soulful tune with some crackling beats and minimal instrumentation interspersed with a bit of French spoken word, just for shits’n’giggles. I really like the style and swagger of this tune, it’s understated but super cool and lord knows we all need some cool tunes from time to time.


Friday, 8 April 2016

BLANK BIBLES – SINGLE REVIEW

Blank Bibles - Days In The Sun
Blank Bibles – Days In The Sun  


Release Date: Out Now

I have to admit that expected some straight up indie from this London based quintet but was utterly delighted with the surprise I received upon hitting play. ‘Days In The Sun’ moves effortlessly between a Motown shuffle and a country twang dragging the likes of the Magic Numbers, the Thrills and the Treetop Flyers with them as they go. The organs are irresistible, the guitars are cheeky and the drums shuffle with an infectious energy that make this an addictive tune with a high possibility of making me dance. That’ll teach me to judge a book by its cover – especially the bible, the cover of the bible is shit.


Live Dates:


21st May – Rising Sun Arts Centre, Reading

Thursday, 7 April 2016

YES BABEZ! – SINGLE REVIEW

Yes Babez! – Madame Beaujolais 
Yes Babez! - Madame Beaujolais


Release Date: Out Now

OK, so finally we have a band just intent on having some fun, which is a relief. It feels like the pithy, self-deprecating press release and novelty band name died out in the 90s so it’s with a sigh of relief that I introduce you to West London duo Yes Babez and their new single ‘Madame Beaujolais’. Armed with the bottled spirit of the Ting Tings, some cheap keyboard sounds (I’m talking early 90s at best) and a strange obsession with the MILF next door, Yes Babez have created a light, breezy and perky piece of indie-pop with a very English sense of humour. Sure, I’d put money on the fact that Lily and Mick will never headline Wembley Stadium but there is an outside chance of one of their songs becoming a cult hit with strong backing from Steve Lamacq and perhaps some advertisement placement.


Live Dates:


21st April – 93 Feet East, London 

SAM JORDAN & THE DEAD BOYS – SINGLE REVIEW

Sam Jordan & The Dead Boys – Sister 
Sam Jordan & The Dead Boys - Sister


Release Date: Out Now

Brighton’s Sam Jordan and his accompanying Dead Boys have a genuinely touching and heart-breaking sound that deals in both the icily fragile and the battering ram powerful. This latest single, ‘Sister’, is a masterclass in subtlety and muted power as it channels the likes of Hozier, Brother & Bones and Jake Morley through the thudding drums, teased guitar notes and those vocals that speak only from experience. There is honesty, soul and respect in this song and those are a triumvirate that you don’t find in many people let alone a five-and-a-half-minute song. The video is also a rare beast in that it is as compelling as it is uncomfortable viewing but it fits the song perfectly and I think this might be an early contender for my single of the year – there’s a long way to go, mind.  



Live Dates:

13th April – Shacklewell Arms, London w/Jingo
6th May – The Joker, Brighton
16th June – The Islington, London


Tuesday, 5 April 2016

TEAM ‘O’ – SINGLE REVIEW

Team ‘O’ – Still You 
Team 'O' - Still You


Release Date: Out Now

OK, so I have to admit that it was the artwork for this single that caught my attention as I thought it was either a spoof or one of those awkward couple photos that they do slide shows on Buzzfeed. Anyway, it turns out it’s neither of those things and is genuinely a loving picture of London based husband and wife soul duo Team ‘O’. The couples’ new single, ‘Still You’, is a wonderfully 80s inspired soft-soul melody, the likes of which has recently experienced something of a renaissance thanks to the likes of Lionel Ritchie and Nile Rodgers. Lyrically this is a heartfelt love song between a man and his wife but really it’s a slow soul jam that is made for some sexily close dancing at a wine-bar before going home in a brand new VW Golf and impressing your lady with some Black Magic and a glass of Babycham.


Monday, 4 April 2016

NEW PORTALS – SINGLE REVIEW

New Portals – Groove Boy 
New Portals - Groove Boy


Release Date: Out Now

How about a bit of alt-soul with a Belfast accent? No problem. Duo New Portals write the kind of sophisticated pop that would prove enough for the likes of Katy Perry and Justin Bieber to be classed as credible by the broadsheets. This latest single, ‘Groove Boy’, has a flavour of Ellie Goulding just before she went down the tits out and pumped up lips route. Soft but assured vocals dance over sparkling keys and subtle beats in a way that Morcheeba and Sneaker Pimps used to do so well back in the day. If you’re after something chilled, sexy, soulful and classy then look no further, New Portals are the ones for you.



VELCRO HOOKS – SINGLE REVIEW

Velcro Hooks – Chinchilla Woman (Louder Than War) 
Velcro Hookws - Chinchilla Woman


Release Date: Out Now

I’m really, really glad that Bristol combo Velcro Hooks are making a return to my ears and what a return it is. ‘Chinchilla Woman’ is a sinister, woozy and grungy tune with its roots in Pixies, Mudhoney and Nirvana as the bass growls and the guitars chip and chime in a way that Velcro Hooks have perfected. The loose drums and drawled vocals should be coming from the basement of a Nowheresville, USA so it’s a source of pride that a tune like this is coming out of the South West of England. The full album is also due out now so keep an eye and ear out for that as well – if this single and the last album are anything to go by then we’re all in for a treat.