Friday, 30 September 2016

A BAND ON HOPE – ALBUM REVIEW

A Band On Hope – A Band On Hope 
A Band On Hope - A Band On Hope


Release Date: Out Now

The words Westcountry and Hip-Hop don’t always sit together comfortably without imagining some sort of pimped up Wurzels but shame on you for your lazy musical reference points. Frontman for near legendary combo The Scribes, Ill Literate, and producer Kristian Sharpe have created a side project under the name A Band On Hope and then gone on to spawn an absolute beast of an album. From the word go, ‘Che Lives’ is an attack on modern day apathy and ‘Dead Angels’ is a slick, groove heavy piece of Jurassic 5-esque Hip Hop that pervades like the thickest, sweetest smoke. ‘Furgh Que’ shows the duo humour off with bleeps liberally scattered around over the stuttering acoustic and rippling lyrics. Gideon Conn is the closest comparison I can make to tunes like ‘God Knows’ and ‘Low Budget High Life’ as the duo mix humour, imaginative melodies and rapid fire vocals that swing between mockery and insight like a monkey easing through the high branches of a jungle canopy.  

There’s a wonderfully woozy quality to ‘Mindfields’ that was born in the music of the Beatles and grew up via the likes Jim Noir and Badly Drawn Boy in all their lo-fi beauty. I love a comedy title so ‘Phantom of Hipopera’ is right up my street and musically it tickles my fancy too with a gorgeously squelchy synth sound and the smooth lyrical flow present yet again. ‘Russian Doll’ has a real West Coast feel (US West Coast, not Weston Super Mare) while ‘So Far’ is one of the more spaced out tracks albeit with a menacing, slightly threatening edge. That darkness continues in to ‘Upsides Down’ as the tempo is taken down a notch and the duo piss all over the likes of Professor Green who would do well to listen to this album and take some notes.

On ‘Trapped Inside Escape’ the pair move in to a space more usually occupied by late 90s boy bands with its jerky melody and vocals style before ‘Standstill’ shuffles in to view with its Stone Roses vibe and day-job bashing lyrics. The album closes out with ‘Spaced Out Break Out’ which has a jazzy, almost Latin vibe and is yet more proof that these guys know how to work a groove. I hope this becomes more than a side-project as there is clearly a wealth of creativity which can be exploited here and I can only imagine that their live shows would an awful lot of fun. A hugely impressive album, then, and one that ought to be gaining a lot of attention if it isn’t already.


Live Dates (The Scribes):

1st October – The Energy Rooms, Torpoint
14th October – The Apple & Parrot, Torquay
9th December – The Social, Southampton w/Talib Kweli

16th December – The Hub, Plymouth w/Land of The Giants

ELLE EXXE – ALBUM REVIEW

Elle Exxe – Love Fuelled Hate 
Elle Exxe - Love Fuelled Hate


Release Date: 7th October 2016

There’s hype, there’s hyperbole and then there’s superhype. Scottish star in the making Elle Exxe fits in to that latter category but, I think you’ll agree, it’s deserved. I mean, how many fresh pop stars start their debut album with the sound of a Frenchman (I think) muttering uncomfortably close in to a microphone? Well Elle Exxe does on ‘Your Love…’ which segues in to the stomping pop rouser ‘Lately’ full of brattish attitude, slinky guitars and the kind of chorus that works in a ball gown as much as it does in jeans and a vest. On ‘Lost in L.A.’ our heroine uses that Shampoo-esque stomp of a beat and semi-robotic vocal to counterpoint those choppy, snarling guitars to create something akin to Sleigh Bells which is a very, very good thing. By the time ‘Home with You’ rolls around with its more laid back vibe, you are left in no doubt that Elle Exxe not only means business but has the chops to back it up with an album already brimming with great pop tunes.

Album Launch Show
The slick, multi-tracked vocals on ‘I Do’ are reminiscent of Lady Gaga or Rhianna in terms of production values but the bravery of hanging the whole song on her vocal ability with very sparse instrumentation is admirable to say the least. ‘Sick’ is a smart, sassy piece of indie-pop while ‘White Lies’ has a slightly more sparse, 80s pop ballad vibe but with 21st century beats. ‘…Your Hate’ continues the mumbling from the opening track before the Lady Hawke-esque ‘Lie to Me’ kicks in with its dancing synth notes and Elle Exxe letting her voice flex its muscles with confidence and a little swagger. The dramatic synth and beats intro to ‘The Hammer’ mixed with the affected vocal style reminds me a little of Cameo’s classic ‘Word Up’ but soon enough this tune becomes a huge 80s inspired indie-dance anthem with perfect hand-clappable rhythms going on. The attitude continues on ‘W.T.F.’ as Elle and her posse chant “Who the fuck do you think you are?” at anyone who gets in their way or tries it on without an invitation. Be warned.


In to the home straight and ‘Hating On You’ is the girl power anthem that the likes of Girls Aloud would kill for as a comeback tune but far too grown up for the likes of Little Mix (Katy Perry might just be able to carry it off but it’s got too much snarl for the likes of Meghan Trainor). ‘Shoot’ is sumptuous in its bile driven fury as Elle Exxe nearly raps the verses before singing “Your jealousy won’t bring me down” in the chorus. Closing track ‘Understand’ shows the artist off under a more delicate light as the scattered, processed vocals are akin to Ellie Goulding but the beats that carry the tune are far more industrial, not letting up on the energy until the very end of this 14 track beast. So, that’s a whole album of original material coupled with one hell of a voice and enough imagination and innovation to keep the listener’s attention for 14 whole tracks. Not bad for a first effort, that second album is going to be a bit of a challenge though. Never mind that though, Elle Exxe is surely about to break through so get on board now and get to a show before she’s touring arenas and killing it at awards ceremonies.


Live Dates:

3rd October – Zandari 2016, Seoul
6th October – Unknown Venue, Seoul
7th October – Mu:Con 2016, Seoul
12th October – Album Launch @ 229 Venue, London

27th October – Troxy, London

Thursday, 29 September 2016

WEEKEND RECOVERY – SINGLE REVIEW

Weekend Recovery – Focus 
Weekend Recovery - Focus


Release Date: Out Now

The idea of a bunch of kids from Kent writing songs in the style of Paramore and Green Day might not seem like the kind of thing to rouse you from your pre-Autumnal slumber but that is the prospect being presented by Weekend Recovery and their new single, ‘Focus’. From the get go, there’s a surging energy and sweet British pop-punk vibe going but I can’t help but feel like this is a little sanitised. The guitars purr rather than growl and the drums keep time fine but the belly of the beast is missing as your rib cage is left unbothered by the beat. The vocals of front woman Lorin are powerful and saccharine sweet in equal measure which just about saves this song but I think Weekend Recovery need to spend a little more time enjoying the weekend and less time worrying about the recovery in order to give their music that missing edge.



Live Dates:

29th September – The Dublin Castle, London
14th October – 93 Feet East, London
15th October – Poco Loco, Chatham
16th October – Oxford Tattoo Convention, Oxford
29th October – Halloween Special @ The Alley Cat, London
5th November – The Bedford, Tunbridge Wells

VICTORIA LANE – SINGLE REVIEW

Victoria Lane – Don’t Regret It 
Victoria Lane - Don't Regret It


Release Date: Out Now

Despite sounding like a quaint little side street in suburban England, Victoria Lane is actually a pop starlet in development down in Miami (probably riding around in shiny convertible as I type). Lane’s new single, ‘Don’t Regret It’, is a strange mix of visual and aural differences. If you close your eyes and listen, you’d expect Victoria to be a sassy, leather clad pop strumpet pushing everything her mamma gave her in to the camera. The tight guitar and smooth vocals are perfect for the electro beats to surge in to during the chorus, creating an uplifting break up tune. Then you open your eyes and see Victoria in her video appearing like something between the innocent girl next door or your friend’s mum who might just be your first fantasy. This is a moving on song and could stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Katy Perry or Meghan Trainor in the pop parade so let’s put looks to one side and focus on the music for once, eh?



Wednesday, 28 September 2016

MARLON BRANDO ISLAND – DEMO REVIEW

Marlon Brando Island – Demo 
Marlon Brando Island - Demo EP 


Release Date: Out Now

Having lived in the DMZ on the edge of East London for a while, I know full well that it dances a fine line between creative hotpot and a hamlet of pretentious wankers. So it’s with a mixture of excitement and nervousness that I unwrap the debut EP by East London troupe Marlon Brando Island. Opening with ‘A Troubled Past’, the EP gets off to jangling, ramshackle start mixing punk, garage and art-house straight away with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Pixies, the Fall and the Stooges coming to mind immediately and that’s no bad thing. On ‘True Heroes’, MBI start with a more considered beginning as the guitars strum and the luscious vocals swoon before the drums come thumping in and suddenly there’s a triumphant feel to this tune, one that lifts the band on to a new platform.

‘Fear Of The Winter’ is the halfway mark of the EP and shows another string to the bow of Marlon Brando Island as they morph in to something akin to Arcade Fire with those deep, velvety vocals, urgent drums and guitars that pick out notes in a night sky with majesty. There is something of the Libertines about ‘Drunk Driving’ as a real gang mentality takes over the steering wheel, careering through clashing guitars and scattered drums. The EP closes out with ‘Circle of Throats’ which sounds like it should be a Biffy Clyro song from the title but actually has a more considered, dramatic approach which would sit most naturally with the likes of the National and that’s no bad thing. So, fortunately for us, Marlon Brando Island have taken on board the creativity of East London rather than the wankyness and, as debuts go, this is pretty smashing. Bloody smashing actually.


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

ZOHARA – SINGLE REVIEW

Zohara – Play 
Zohara - Play


Release Date: Out Now

Ahead of the release of her debut album, Tel Aviv chanteuse Zohara is treating us to a new single ‘Play’ and I implore you to immerse yourself in its sheer loveliness. Woven together by Zohara’s distinctive vocal, ‘Play’ combines the airy lightness of Tennis, the melodies of LadyHawke, the lo-fi pop of Belle & Sebastian and the slickness of Metronomy. A wonderful mish-mash of instrumentation to create the most jazz infused approach to pop I’ve heard in a long time and that’s got to be an exciting thing these days when pop has become so frightfully predictable. On this evidence the album should be a hoot but with a November release date I can’t help but feel this it better suited to the summer. Then again, it’s always summer somewhere, right?


LULU JAMES – SINGLE REVIEW

Lulu James – Falling 
Lulu James - Falling


Release Date: Out Now

Southshields star Lulu James is fast becoming one of my favourite young British artists to emerge in 2016 and that is no mean feat. New single ‘Falling’ fits nicely in to James’ self-professed genre of 21st Century Soul as the opening bars throb and pulse with organic feeling electro beats. Lulu James has a voice that is part Motown and part Laura Mvula but absolutely dripping in soul as her dusky tones glide from the almost shy verses in to the more confident and proud chorus vocals. There is a sparse element to this single that may seem like a missed opportunity but to me this is just giving one of the UK’s most talented voices the room to swoop and soar without bumping in to anything else. Classy, real classy.


Live Dates:


24th October – Blogtober @ The Finsbury, London 

Monday, 26 September 2016

SOMA – SINGLE REVIEW

Soma – White Noise 
Soma - White Noise


Release Date: 27th September 2016

Soma might be based in Stockholm but her roots are long and far reaching. Musically, however, Soma’s new single ‘White Noise’ starts off a little like a Celine Dion uber-ballad before being saved by the kind of sparse beats that Portishead made their name with. Then, about 90 seconds in, Soma kicks in to full Ellie Goulding pop princess mode as those beats kick up a notch and the electro murmurings swirl in the early evening light. As a song, it doesn’t quite hit the heights that you might hope for but as a piece of song-writing it’s a masterclass in reserved poise and subtlety. Whether you like that or not is up to you.



WILLE & THE BANDITS – LIVE REVIEW

Wille & The Bandits live at Looe Music Festival, Cornwall – 25/09/2016 
Wille & The Bandits 


Take three immensely talented musicians, put them on the main stage of a festival on a beach in the penultimate slot of the weekend and give them just enough wind to make the dry ice that little bit more dramatic. That, right there, is the perfect recipe for the perfect end to a summer of music. Cornish trio Wille & The Bandits were on the tongue of many festival goer as I wended my way through the narrow streets of Looe to the main stage for my first taste of the live experience and it was so worth the wait.

Unassuming in their initial stage presence, the three amigos took to the stage and frontman Wille sat down stage left prompting my brain to instinctively think “oh, he’s sitting down, they’re going to start with a slow one” (shut up brain, stop being so predictable). No, what actually erupted from the stage was a bluesy, rootsy and thoroughly earthy rumble of primal rhythms, super slick bass licks and the kind of wailing guitar we haven’t heard since John Lee Hooker first took finger to string. Then there’s the voice; Wille Edwards’ vocal style is part hoary old blues purist and part 90s grunge heartthrob – like Eddie Vedder but with real problems to sing about. Once I had returned to the balls of my feet, having been rocked on to my heels, I couldn’t help but be swept away by this triple threat of talent.

But don’t go thinking this is a one dimensional prospect, oh hell no. Moving effortlessly between lap steel and acoustic, bass and upright, full kit and djembe, all three musicians show off exactly why they are so highly thought of and why cutting your teeth on the live circuit in the Westcountry with nothing but a van and sense of purpose can give you just the grounding you need (see their tune ‘Living Free’ for reference). And then there’s the genre shifting like some kind of musical Chameleon; Hard Rock? Check. Roots? Check. Blues? Check. Grunge? You betcha. Sounding like Jamiroquai before they got all obsessed with hats and actually gave a shit about the world? Sometimes. Squeezing in a bit Peter Green and Carlos Santana? Why not.

The crowd lapped it up and Wille & The Bandits thrived on the crowd, just the way it should be. The band now embark on a month long tour around the UK to coincide with the release of their new album, ‘Steal’, and I can’t urge you enough to get out and catch them live. Oh, and if you need any more convincing of the band’s universal appeal, I had an extremely animated two-year-old on my shoulders through the whole set and went home with someone who normally only listens to Madonna saying “I really enjoyed that” (for clarity this is my family, I don’t just steal children at festivals as a way to pick up chicks). Anyway, I digress, Wille & The Bandits are ace. That it is all.


Live Dates:

1st October – Westcoast Bar, Margate
2nd October – Junction 2, Cambridge
4th October – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
5th October – The Venue, Derby
6th October – The Donkey, Leicester
7th October – British Legion Hall, Louth
8th October – The Jericho, Oxford
9th October – Esquires, Bedford
12th October – The Brudenell, Leeds
13th October – Victoria Hall, Settle
14th October – Cluny 2, Newcastle
15th October – The Continental, Preston
16th October – The Wightman, Shrewsbury
19th October – The Winchester, Bournemouth
20th October – The Cavern, Exeter
21st October – The Junction, Plymouth
22nd October – Factory Petroc, Barnstaple
25th October – The Bassment, Chelmsford
26th October – Talking Heads, Southampton
27th October – Sticky Mike’s, Brighton
28th October – 100 Club, London
29th October – The Thekla, Bristol
30th October – West Coast Arts, Tenby

Friday, 23 September 2016

PAREKH & SINGH – SINGLE REVIEW

Parekh & Singh – Newbury Street (Peacefrog) 
Parekh & Singh - Newbury Street


Release Date: Out Now

Having only discovered this duo quite recently, they seem to making huge strides including getting some BBC 6 Music air time and having this track premiered on USA Today. Then again, they are a particularly sharply dressed pair and they do write exceedingly good songs. ‘Newbury Street’ begins with a real sense of positivity as the breezy melody skips along a dusty Spring street and the whimsical vocals bounce off roof tops like a bird singing a delicate song. Parekh & Singh are masters of making soufflĂ© pop that is lighter than air but utterly delicious and satisfying at the same time. Even the drums feel like the beat is being beaten out by two celery sticks on a white sheet billowing on a washing line in the morning sun. Such style, such grace and such melody – gorgeous.


Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/peacefrog-records/parekh-singh-newbury-street/s-saq65

PATAWAWA – SINGLE REVIEW

Patawawa – The Heat (Soundplate Records) 
Patawawa - The Heat


Release Date: 30th September 2016

Oh I do like Patawawa, I really do. From their gorgeous name to the fact that they create such delightful musical nuggets out of the relatively baron creative wastelands of Matlock, they’re just a delightful prospect. New single ‘The Heat’ is just another reason to fall in love with this trio with its bouncy guitars, funky beats and relaxed yet edgy vocals. Melodies scatter all over the place and bounce off walls leaving you feeling like you need to see a video with some impossibly young folk riding around on scooters in some neon drenched sun spot in the Med. There’s a B-Side too (another reason to love them) by the name ‘Kut Drop’ and this has an altogether more soulful feel that wouldn’t be out of place in the late 90s. Patawawa have that knack for infectious disco pop that the likes of Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams have made millions from yet they’re still hanging out in Derbyshire. It’s only a matter of time….


Live Dates:


16th October -  Rough Trade, Nottingham w/Youngr

Thursday, 22 September 2016

EBSON – SINGLE REVIEW

Ebson – Adapt To Thrive 
Ebson - Adapt To Thrive


Release Date: Out Now

Londoner Ebson is described in his press blurb as creating ‘alternative soul’ which sounds like something you might cook up with some kind of Ouija board and some backwards chanting. Instead, alternative soul, judging by ‘Adapt To Thrive’, is dark, delicious and gospel rich as Ebson’s smooth but powerful vocal emerges from the shadows of some semi-masonic chanting. There are bell chimes, chain-gang rhythms and the spirit of the blues all melting together like thick molasses and you’ll find yourself salivating before the last notes ring out. If this is alternative soul then I’m sold but I really think the blues ought to get a mention in there somewhere as this is a perfect example of the blues in spirit if not necessarily in structure.


Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/ebsonmusic/adapt-to-thrive

I DRINK THEREFORE THERE’S DARKNESS – SINGLE REVIEW

I Drink Therefore There’s Darkness – There’s Always Another Summer 
I Drink Therefore There's Darnkess - There's Always Another Summer


Release Date: 24th September 2016

Blackpool is not the kind of place that you might expect great new music to arise from but in the wonderfully monikered I Drink Therefor There’s Darkness we have an utterly enthralling prospect making music from that most illuminating of locations. ‘There’s Always Another Summer’ starts with the kind of perky and intermingled guitars that the likes of Vampire Weekend and Everything Everything do so well with but there’s more of a prog element here that sees this tune move from post-punk and prog in to grunge and shoegaze but all with a solid thread of melody. Press play at any stage in this tune and you might make comparison to Foo Fighters or My Bloody Valentine or Dutch Uncles or Swim Deep and if you can channel that kind of talent then you’re on to something good. Bigger things than Blackpool will be calling soon, I’m sure.


Live Dates:

23rd September – Bootleg Social, Blackpool w/ Du Pig + Blanket
24th September – Streetlive Festival @ The Star, Blackpool w/Dust Junkie + Eye The Bomb
30th September – The Ferret, Preston

11th November – Bootleg Social, Blackpool w/ Escape Artist

SARAH WALK – SINGLE REVIEW

Sarah Walk – Wake Me Up (One Little Indian Records) 
Sarah Walk - Wake Me Up


Release Date: Out Now

There’s nothing so heart stopping in music as the sound of raw piano notes and soft vocals whispering out through the morning mist. Anglo-American artist Sarah Walk is the creeping, resplendent dawn cutting through that mist on new single ‘Wake Me Up’ as she moves from atmospheric Bush meets Spektor introductions in to semi-rapped chorus triumphalism. With a voice so full of experience and range Walk was always likely to do well but the sheer diversity and creativity contained within this one song alone suggests she will do better than well. Here’s one to stick in your ‘Big in 2017’ pile in case anyone starts asking, you can thank me later.

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


Live Dates:

3rd October – The Social, London
1st November – London Fields Brewery, London
2nd November – The Hope, Brighton
9th November – Notting Hill Arts Club, London

BERNACCIA – SINGLE REVIEW

Bernaccia – Angel 
Bernaccia - Angel


Release Date: 23rd September 2016

Now I’ve been championing this North East rabble for a while and with good cause, they’re ace, but new single ‘Angel’ takes things to a whole different level. The awkward, off kilter drums and Dick Dale doing Tarantino guitars are sumptuous enough in their own right but when overlaid with a sense of the atmospheric and powerful twin male/female vocals this becomes next level gorgeous. By the time ‘Angel’ reaches its irresistible climax there is a wall of pre-apocalyptic noise that leaves you feeling like you’ve just had the most intense kiss with a jumbo jet engine in the middle of the dance floor. Bernaccia have always been an intriguing and engaging prospect on a musical level but the raw power they have added on ‘Angel’ is something altogether different….and I’m not sure it’s of this world.



Live Dates:

23rd September – Head Of Steam, Newcastle
24th September – Maguire’s Pizza Bar, Manchester

Sunday, 18 September 2016

VANESSA ANNE REDD – SINGLE REVIEW

Vanessa Anne Redd – Drona Sticks 
Vanessa Anne Redd - Drona Sticks


Release Date: Out Now

Well here’s something a little different. I listen to so much music in the pursuit of sorting the wheat from the chaff that sometimes you become immune to certain songs and melodies but London based German Vanessa Anne Redd is hugely refreshing and sticks out like a red poppy in a field covered in snow. This new single, ‘Drona Sticks’, opens with some muted guitar notes and some real campfire percussion (including hand claps) that all start to build together slowly to create a raw but utterly uplifting piece as some dissonant piano notes and layered vocals all add to the audio soup. Think PJ Harvey and Patti Smith messing about in a London studio on a grey, Autumnal Sunday afternoon or Anna Calvi and Kim Deal being pushed by Bjork to let their inner spirit speak through their playing. I normally shy away from comparing female musicians with only other female musicians but there is something intrinsically creative and free spirited about Vanessa Anne Redd that, for some reason, I cannot imagine anyone with testicles even coming close to. The best I could do was Nick Cave but his spirit is far to leaden for that to work.


Live Dates:


9th November – Servant Jazz Quarters, London

BLEEKER – SINGLE REVIEW

Bleeker – Where’s Your Money? (Five Seven Music) 
Bleeker - Where's Your Money? 


Release Date: Out Now

Toronto trio Bleeker are going to be busy boys over the next few months but that’s what you get in to a band for isn’t it? To tour the world and experience it’s delights playing a few tunes along the way. The new single by the three-piece, ‘Where’s Your Money?’, is one hell of a calling card to use in each new city but I’d lock up your daughters now if they are of age. A dirty churning guitar riff that feels like Royal Blood meets Queens of the Stone Age gets this juggernaut motoring at full speed and it’s hard, nay impossible, not to fall in love with these guys immediately. Then comes the chorus, somewhere between Matt Bellamy and Scissor Sisters falsetto comes a kind of disco-rock chorus that has be checking their lineage for any trace of a Gibb in there somewhere. This tune hasn’t even finished its first run through and I’m already filing this on in alongside my favourite rock bands with a sense of groove including all the aforementioned as well as Jim Jones Revue, Shihad and The Dirty Nil. I urge you to catch them on this tour if the rest of Bleeker’s music is anything to go by.


Live Dates:

6th October – Thekla, Bristol w/Royal Republic + Dinosaur Pile Up
7th October – The Garage, London w/Royal Republic + Dinosaur Pile Up (SOLD OUT)
8th October – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham w/Royal Republic + Dinosaur Pile Up (SOLD OUT)
9th October – Classic Grand, Glasgow w/Royal Republic + Dinosaur Pile Up
11th October – Club Academy, Manchester w/Royal Republic + Dinosaur Pile Up
12th October – Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton w/Royal Republic + Dinosaur Pile Up
16th October – Rock 102.1 KFMA Fall Ball, Tucson
17th October – Pub Rock, Scottsdale
19th October – The Casbah, San Diego
25th October – The Observatory, Santa Ana
2nd November – The Fillmore, San Francisco w/The Struts
3rd November – The Fonda, Los Angeles w/The Struts
10th November – Distrikt, Victoria
11th November – The Mule, Penticton
12th November – Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver
14th November – Better Than Freds, Grande Prairie
15th November – Better Than Freds, Grande Prairie
17th November – Canalta Centre, Medicine Hat
18th November – Marquee Beer Market & Stage, Calgary
19th November – Average Joe’s, Lethbridge
22nd November – Bo’s Bar, Red Deer
25th November – Saskatoon Event Centre, Saskatoon
26th November – Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg
2nd December – The Station Music Hall, Sarnia
3rd December – The Station Music Hall, Sarnia
8th December – Maxwell’s Music House, Kitchener
9th December – London Music Hall, London
10th December – Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto
14th December – Imperial Theatre, Saint John

16th December – The Marquee Ballroom, Halifax

SISTERAY – SINGLE REVIEW

Sisteray – Who R Ya? (1-2-3-4 Records) 
Sisteray - Who R Ya?


Release Date: Out Now

London garage punkers Sisteray are back with a new single on the always reliable 1-2-3-4 records and, well, you’d better strap yourself in. ‘Who R Ya?’ is a proper romper-stomper of a tune with a rumbling bass and brutal drums that steam roller over you without a care in the world. Throw in some early Arctic Monkeys guitars and a singer who looks like a young Alex Kapranos but sounds like a perfect cross between Albarn and Gallagher in the respective primes, and you have one hell of a tasty proposition. But that’s not all, there’s the gang mentality of the Clash or the Libertines and a video that oozes natural style, a ‘born to do it’ work ethic and the kind of live shows where you’ll either leave drenched in someone else’s sweat or carrying someone else’s baby. Essentially, Sisteray are the full package so get yourself to one of their live shows but, y’know, wear sturdy pants.



Live Dates:

21st September – Musicians Against Homelessness @ The Water Rats, London
1st October – Southsea Fest, Southsea
5th October – The Joiners, Southampton w/Broken Witt Rebels
7th October – The Rocking Chair, Sheffield
5th November – The Square, Harlow w/Dodgy
26th November – Kazoopa Fest, Leeds

30th November – The Green Door Store, Brighton

PROFESSOR GREEN – SINGLE REVIEW

Professor Green – Back On The Market 
Professor Green - Back On The Market


Release Date: Out Now

I’ve never been able to work out if I like Professor Green or not. On the one hand, none of his tunes stick in my head and his voice sounds like a snot covered pre-teen high on too much Haribo. On the other hand, he is the enfant terrible of the British Hip-Hop world and I am always attracted to a bad boy. This new single, ‘Back On The Market’, is a return to his roots as Prof. Green takes on all those that have crossed him over the years from the Police, his former label, former lovers and anyone who didn’t think Leicester would win the Premier League last season (yes really). Lyrically, Green is excellent and swings from humorous to cutting with ease but it does leave me feeling that this is a missed opportunity; in times like these we need artists like Professor Green, those with large followings and international audiences, to be taking the big players to task from the government to the EU to the human rights issues going on all around us. Instead, Professor Green simply prefers to tell us all that he’s back on the market (presumably not an actual market, selling fruit and veg) and then has a go at breaking the world record for how many c-bombs he can drop in one verse. Like I said, bright lad but could do more if he applied himself in the right areas.



Friday, 16 September 2016

ROADSIDE – SINGLE REVIEW

Roadside – Disarm 
Roadside - Disarm


Release Date: Out Now

Roadside are a band I’ve known about for a very long time. Indeed, back in the days when I used to perform in bands rather than just critiquing them, I’m pretty sure my first band supported them in one of Plymouth’s various fleshpots. The band’s new single, ‘Disarm’, has just been released and is their latest attempt to elevate themselves from local gods to a national concern. Now, there’s a brave move in the video alone as they go for over 90 seconds of film, no talking and no music before we get the choppy and slightly menacing opening chords come crunching in. The indie-pop jangle of the guitars and sad undertones give this a feel of the Zutons or Space with its small town storytelling and dreams of something bigger, something more. Now, the production quality is a bit sketchy but there is a real song in here with quality to the songwriting. Put that together with a nicely thought out video that’s had a bit of time spent on it and things look positive for Roadside.


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWmg7vbdYYU&feature=youtu.be

Thursday, 15 September 2016

LISTEN WITH MONGER AT BLOGTOBERFEST

LISTEN WITH MONGER & LOST IN THE MANOR PR PRESENT

#BLOGTOBERFEST – 23RD OCTOBER 2016


In 2012 London promoters Ravenous Promotions slipped in to a virtual coma after a few successful years supporting new music and generally being good to people. Before they completely went under, however, a child was ripped from the womb and that child was the music blog Listen With Monger. Now, four years later, having grown up in the safety of the Cornish south coast, Listen With Monger returns to London to avenge its comatose parent bringing reinforcement from the Westcountry. So, essentially, this is going to be like Kill Bill but with bands and booze. You in? Good cos it’s free entry and there are some cracking bands playing. Who? I’m glad you asked…





Holly, Lauren and Lucie form London trio Berries and between them they are creating a bit of a storm which is why they’re headling for Listen With Monger on this special, special night. A whole lot of rock, a twist of indie and enough nous to pay some attention to the melodies and hooks makes the Berries sound with more than a nod to the likes of Biffy Clyro, Belly, Reuben and Young Knives. A tonne of radio play and positive feedback from every blog, magazine or promoter that comes in to contact with these three means the future is bright but for now, right now, you can come and see them for free. You know what to do. 





Exeter’s Pattern Pusher describe themselves as Electronic Art Rock but that only tells half the story of these party starters. Sure, there’s craft and art behind what they create but, much like LCD Soundsystem, Transformer or Hot Chip, there’s the desire to have a good time and make people dance as well. There is a real style and flair about the noise that Pattern Pusher make but don’t think for one minute that this means they lack in substance, heck no. 




London based musician Kiran Hungin has been through a number of names, personas and direction changes but her latest vehicle, Seaker, seems to be hitting all the right notes and gaining all the plaudits. Guy Garvey is already a fan having given recent single ‘Romeo’ a spin on BBC 6Music and the legendary Clint Boon is also a big supporter. Come for the carefully crafted songs and stunning vocals but stay for the enticing murder ballads and poised alt-pop. 



Devon singer-songwriter Jamie Yost has that rare thing in the acoustic world; a soul. So many string botherers have the ability to sing, play and close their eyes in pain/delight but what Yost can do is take you away to somewhere altogether more appealing. Although an accomplished songwriter in his own right, it was actually Yost’s cover of Jackie Wilson’s ‘Higher and Higher’ that piqued my interest with a sparse guitar accompaniment giving his voice room to soar. A real talent that just needs nurturing a little so, y’know, come nurture him.


ROSA BELLE (https://www.facebook.com/musicrosabelle/?fref=ts) Splitting her time between her native Devon and London where she is honing her craft at BIMM, Rosa Belle is the very definition of an emerging talent. With a versatile voice and some delicate guitar playing, Rosa Belle has dipped her toes in the water of song-writing with a handful of songs and some excellent covers as well. Rosa Belle will be opening the night so order a glass of red wine, grab a seat and let yourself be swept away.






REGISTER HERE FOR FREE ENTRY: https://billetto.co.uk/en/events/blogtober-listen-with-monger-curates-23rd-october-the-finsbury 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

OTTI & THE VOICES – SINGLE REVIEW

Otti & The Voices – Joy & Tender Brightness 
Otti & The Voices - Joy & Tender Brightness


Release Date: Out Now

Sussex chap Otti Albietz approached me so tentatively with this tune that I was moved to give it some ear time, so bereft was it from all the usual hullaballoo that comes with most releases these days. This release, ‘Joy & Tender Brightness’ follows this subtle approach with sparse guitar notes and soft yet firm voice filling the air only to be joined by a starlight scattering of piano notes. Many would describe this as bleak or lacking in warmth but to me this is the sound of joyous relief you might feel at the death of a close loved one who had been suffering over a long period. Otti Albietz has the kind of blues and jazz tinged approach that Hozier has done so well with so I’m looking forward to more from this unassuming talent.



Live Dates:


8th September – The Observer Building, Hastings w/Karl Blau + No Middle Name + Humour Jail

SHE DREW THE GUN – SINGLE REVIEW

She Drew The Gun – Pit Pony 
She Drew The Gun - Pit Pony


Release Date: Out Now

As we all know, there are certain songs that come along every once in a while that you are convinced you’ve heard throughout your life. Whether it be the chord progressions, the chorus or a lyric, there is something familiar and instantly comforting about it. The new single by Liverpudlians She Drew The Gun is one such song and ‘Pit Pony’ is its name. Its sense of familiarity is hard to pin point or describe but the incessant piano riff in the verses reminds me of Breeders, PJ Harvey, My Bloody Valentine and September Girls but then they go and pull out a big, uplifting chorus that soars and swoops just to blow your mind. Throw in some gorgeous, cymbal heavy drumming and a Dick Dale-esque solo in the middle eight and you’ve only gone and got yourself one hell of a song. She Drew The Gun, where have you been all my life?



Live Dates:

8th October – ShebFarmFest, Beaworthy
18th October – The Prince Albert, Brighton
19th October – Moth Club, London
21st October – The Chameleon Arts CafĂ©, Nottingham
22nd October – Simple Things Festival, Bristol
23rd October – SWN Festival, Cardiff
25th October – The Musician, Leicester
26th October – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
27th October – The Hug & Pint, Glasgow

30th October – Liverpool Music Week @ Leaf, Liverpool

ELLA ON THE RUN – SINGLE REVIEW

Ella On the Run – Walk Away 
Ella On The Run - Walk Away


Release Date: Out Now

Having abandoned her native Zurich for the bright lights of LA via Berklee College of Music, Ella On the Run’s name suddenly makes a lot more sense. New single ‘Walk Away’ seems to be continuing that theme in name, at least, but musically speaking Ella On The Run is akin to the likes of Ellie Goulding, Jess Glynne and Clean Bandit. This is sophisticated pop with expansive melodies and excellent use of beats that feel more like pulses than processed rhythms. Ella’s vocals are soft and caramel-like in their sweetness and, if listened to closely, can feel slightly uncomfortable such is the closeness of the production quality that you can almost hear each lick smack and shallow breath. There is a desperation to this song that you normally only experience in those supercharged early moments when an infatuation or base attraction turns in to something more tangible. Sensuous stuff, then.



Monday, 5 September 2016

GO DOUBLE VISION – SINGLE REVIEW

Go Double Vision – Disconnect Me (Dudes Of Mayhem) 
Go Double Vision - Disconnect Me


Release Date: 23rd September 2016

So, first things first, when you get an email from a new Swedish record label calling themselves Dudes Of Mayhem you have to pay attention, right? Right. Their first release is the new single from the equally impressively named Go Double Vision with their song ‘Disconnect Me’. If you’re after something perky, upbeat and primed to hit the mainstream pop market with a slightly indie edge then this might just be the track for you. Crazy processed beats, energy levels at a dangerous high, some earworm whistling and the kind of vocal effects not seen since the Crazy Frog last toured all combine to make something incredibly irritating but, well, I kinda like it. I’ll be honest, it’s not what I expected from any of the sparse information provided but I reckon it might just fly in this day and age. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up to you. You pays your money, you makes your choice.


JINNWOO – SINGLE REVIEW

Jinnwoo – Woman 
Jinnwoo - Woman


Release Date: Out Now

Genius in residence (in Brighton, at least), Jinnwoo, is back with another single and on ‘Woman’ I feel like he’s starting to step over that line from potential to realised. The simplicity of the acoustic guitar notes is given a sense of the dramatic by some rumbling drums and percussion. Jinnwoo’s unique vocal, which is reed thin but still engaging like a tender Bob Dylan, carries this song as the twin streams of fragility and defiant power cross to cause something quite, quite beautiful. Jerky, quirky and full of genuine character, Jinnwoo is surely a reluctant star in the making if there is any justice in the world. 2016 seems hell bent on proving that justice is a thing of the past, however, so it might just suck to be Jinnwoo. Or not. The world is a fucked up place right now.



Live Dates:

11th September – Blue Man, Brighton
17th September – Songs From The View, Leicester
23rd September – George Tavern, London
24th September – The Bicycle Shop, Norwich
11th October – The Servants Jazz Quarters, London
16th October – The Hare & Hounds, Brighton w/Little Brother Eli
25th October – The Servants Jazz Quarters, London w/Threaded
30th October – The Servants Jazz Quarters, London
11th November – Bacon Street, London

ARCHIVIST – SINGLE REVIEW

Archivist – Everything Is Wanted 
Archivist - Everything Is Wanted


Release Date: Out Now

South London gents Archivist have a new EP out in October but ahead of that we must satisfy ourselves with new single ‘Everything Is Wanted’ and it should keep us feeling full for now. This is immediately angular, quirky and slightly twitchy music that appeals on a cerebral level but also makes you want to move your ass. Think elements of Hot Chip, Kraftwerk, Transformer and LCD Soundsystem all sewn together by the thread of a sexy bass line and polished off with a fine, groove laden beat. ‘Everything Is Wanted’ has a certain sophistication about it but if you can get it drunk enough I reckon it would it would do some dirty dancing with you at a funk club and might just come home in a cab with you too.

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

Sunday, 4 September 2016

SAN BLAS – SINGLE REVIEW

San Blas – Zaid/Reckless 
San Blas - Zaid/Reckless


Release Date: Out Now

When artists come to me a say they’re doing something a bit different, I tend to get a weird mix of nervous and excited. You see, ‘different’ can mean ground-breaking and original or it can mean uniquely terrible or it can mean derivative and without original thought. Throw the word ‘ukulele’ in to the mix and I’m starting to break out in a nervous sweat. All’s far in love and new music though so London quartet San Blas will get my unbiased ear on these two tracks, their debut releases no less. First up is ‘Zaid’ and straight away the ukulele is evident but this isn’t twee folky stuff, oh no, this is positive, up tempo indie pop with more energy than a preteen on six cans of Red Bull and a packet of Skittles. I can’t help but feel the American market would love this as it would fit in alongside your Barenaked Ladies with its perky guitars, gang vocals and snappy drum sound that is Reggae tight. ‘Reckless’, the other half of this release, is initially a more lilting, palm tree swaying tune with the thin vocals and ukulele floating away on a sea breeze but the rest of the band soon join in and give this a bit more punch like G Love & The Special Sauce in their pomp. I suspect San Blas will be a Marmite band but they will please crowds with their positive vibes and I would always rather be a love/hate band than a band that nobody has an opinion on.

More Information: https://www.facebook.com/sanblasmusic?_rdr=p

DAN OWEN – SINGLE REVIEW

DAN OWEN – SINGLE REVIEW 
Dan Owen - Made To Love You


Dan Owen – Made To Love You

Release Date: Out Now

Shrewsbury lad Dan Owen seems to be doing pretty well for himself and it never ceases to amaze me how a lad with a songbook, from a place like Shrewsbury (no offence Shrewsbury folk) can rack up over 20,000 fans on Facebook, hitch a ride on a UK tour with Birdy and be playing around Europe – who says music is dead, eh? Owen’s new single, ‘Made To Love You’, has a funereal feel to it as the plodding piano notes and soaring yet gravelly vocals speak of the rollercoaster ride that is your average relationship. Dan Owen displays a maturity, tenderness, frailty and sense of power that belies his young years not to mention the musical ability he clearly possesses. Special mention also goes out to the superb video that accompanies this song which highlights the still taboo subject of domestic violence against men. All round, this package explains why Dan Owen has got to where he is and suggest he will continue to garner success wherever he turns.



Live Dates:

4th September – Gibraltar Music Festival, Gibraltar
7th September – St Pancras Old Church, London
16th September – MMVV Festival, Amsterdam
17th September – 7 Layers Festival, Amsterdam
22nd September – Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg
20th October – Hammersmith Apollo, London w/Birdy
21st October – O2 Guildhall, Southampton w/Birdy
23rd October – O2 Institute, Birmingham w/Birdy
25th October – Olympia Theatre, Dublin w/Birdy
28th October – O2 ABC, s w/Birdy
29th October – Corn Exchange, Edinburgh w/Birdy
31st October – The Sage, Newcastle w/Birdy
2nd November – York Barbican Centre, York
3rd November – Albert Hall, Manchester w/Birdy
4th November – O2 Academy, Bristol w/Birdy
6th November – Madrid La Riviera, Madrid w/Birdy

7th November – Razzmatazz, Barcelona w/Birdy