Sunday, 30 April 2017

TEMPLES OF YOUTH – SINGLE REVIEW

Temples Of Youth – Amber 
Temples of Youth - Amber


Release Date: Out Now

THE Winchester is where you go to let things blow over. Winchester, on the other hand, is where you go to listen to Temples of Youth, the hotly tipped electronic duo. The pair’s new single, ‘Amber’, starts with a real 80s feel to the melody and slightly wistful key which is only perpetuated by the sparse beat, impassioned vocals and delay-heavy production. The real joy of this song is that it is a modern synth based tune that doesn’t go for the big beats or dance floor filling, it is a subtle tune that relies on the strength of its melody and atmospher to make friends as it stands awkwardly at the edge of the dance floor, slowly falling in love with just about every it sees.


Live Dates:

11th May – The Railway, Winchester
29th July – Festiv-ALL, Southampton

6th August – Bandstand, Southsea

MATTHEW & ME – SINGLE REVIEW

Matthew & Me – Every Day (Beatnik Records) 
Matthew & Me - Every Day


Release Date: Out Now

I have such a soft spot for Matthew & Me but I sometimes worry that this is partly down to the fact that they always look a bit sad and recently rejected. Then again, they do make great tunes as well so maybe they’re happy on the inside. The latest single from the Totnes duo is ‘Every Day’ and it starts off with a Prince-esque bit of synth work before the vocals and beat kick in to give this a more XX meets the Maccabees vibe – that’s the XX, Prince and the Maccabees before we hit the minute mark, definitely happy in side I reckon. For a duo that spend most of their time in the relatively rural surrounds of Devon’s Totnes, this has a deliciously urban pulse and spirit about it which is hard to resist. It’s also really hard to avoid the urge to stick this on in the car and drive through a city centre at night – like a pimp.


Live Dates:

12th June – Servant Jazz Quarters, London

KURT SWINGHAMMER – SINGLE REVIEW

Kurt Swinghammer – Jack Layton And Grace Appleton 
Kurt Swinghammer - Jack Layton & Grace Appleton


Release Date: Out Now

Right here we have a lo-fi, quirky slice of indie-pop that also manages to pull on a heart string or two – a rare and rarefied combination. Another rarity is that this song is probably the only one, ever, to mention the Niagara Falls Horticultural Society. Toronto residing Kurt Swinghammer (great name) has produced this strangely perky tune named ‘Jack Layton and Grace Appleton’ as an ode to the passing of both Swinghammer’s mother and a politician greatly revered by many. Musically, it’s in the same sphere as Jim Noir, Badly Drawn Boy and David Kitt with complex lyrical combinations and instrumentation that builds layer upon layer to create an almost prog rock vibe. A great way to mark the passing of two people who were obviously big influences and a beautifully personal song.



Wednesday, 26 April 2017

AUCTION FOR THE PROMISE CLUB – SINGLE REVIEW

Auction For The Promise Club – See Through 
Auction for the Promise Club - See Through


Release Date: Out Now

St Agnes’ finest Auction For The Promise Club are back and new single ‘See Through’ is an absolute delight from the get go. The opening bars of this single are like opening up your cupboard under the stairs to find that there’s an indie-pop-punk in full swing without your knowledge so you might as well get involve. The circular buzz-saw riff and driving drums are abrasive but the vocals of Zoe White Chambers soothe the senses with their breathless sweetness but this is a siren song if ever I heard one. There are hints of Florence + The Machine to the structure here but also 70s garage mixed with the darker moments of Roxette. It’s this melee of styles and directions that make this so utterly delectable and I challenge you not to fall in love with this trio ahead of their new album coming later this year – go on, resist if you can.


Live Dates:

12th May – Tsunami Club, Cologne
26th May – Chill at the Mill Festival, Newquay
9th June – Album Release at the Royal Cornwall Show, Wadebridge

30th June – St Mary’s Hall, Appledore

HICARI – SINGLE REVIEW

Hicari – Stellar 
Hicari - Stellar


Release Date: Out Now

Liverpool’s Hicari (meaning ‘light’ in Japanese) may look like some kind of Benneton inspired Hear’say of the future but they actually create high class pop for a world that needs cheering up. New single ‘Stellar’ has tapped in to the beautifully uplifting 80s vibe that does so well on film soundtracks with a pulsing, bouncing synth bass line and tightly strung guitar picks. On top of that musical cake you can layer up some sugary sweet male/female vocals that are chart-ready and the kind of lyric that One Direction used to lap-up “She’s so stellar, why does no one tell her?”. This is essentially an unrequited love song with all the energy of a teenager getting ready for their first date by downing pints of Red Bull and binging on Love Hearts.


Live Dates:


26th May – Notting Hill Arts Club, London

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

GOZER GOODSPEED – EP REVIEW

Gozer Goodspeed – The Barrel Headlong in to the Night EP 
Gozer Goodspeed - The Barrel Headlong into the Night EP


Release Date: 19th May 2017

Gozer Goodspeed is a bit of a conundrum, I’m pleased to say. On the surface of things, this Plymouth based singer-songwriter is a blues artist, through and through. It doesn’t take long, however, to realise that there are influences hidden just below the surface with rock, indie, reggae and folk all showing their colours throughout the five tracks on this EP. Opening with the title track, Goodspeed hits an immediate stride on ‘Barrel Headlong in to the Night’ with ‘Joshua Tree’ style guitars chiming out through the cold, dark night calling you in you from the shadows. The melodies and pattering percussion give this a slightly sub-tropical feel at times which, mixed with the guitar makes this a uniquely intriguing piece of music.

‘What You Got Going on Lewis’ is a lively Blues number with a wonderful lyrically journey that rolls off the tongue while the ivories tinkle and the guitar keeps a tight rein on the rhythm – it’s also probably the only song to feature characters called Lewis and Wendy which makes me think this isn’t an entirely fictional story. By comparison, ‘Far Away, Blissed Out & Free’ is a far more relaxed tune which speaks of campfires on cliff tops and sunsets wrapping the night around you as rich acoustic strings strum and Goodspeed’s breathy vocal snakes like smoke in to the air. On ‘Every Night, Saturn’s Rings’ we find our hero in more reflective mood, creating those late-night vibes yet again. Goodspeed has a depth and adeptness with a six string that is rare these days and makes for the kind of music that you can get lost in with a good pair of headphones or a great set of speakers.

This EP, the second from Gozer Goodspeed, finishes up with the best of the bunch, in this writer’s humble opinion. ‘When the Blue Man Met the Headshrinker’ is not a song to be taken lightly as it’s raw Blues stomp swaggers in to view through the saloon doors. Some background moans, a tambourine rhythm and Goodspeed’s powerful acoustic riffing make for the kind of tune that will have any venue up on its feet and stamping along. Sure, Gozer Goodspeed is a singer-songwriter, that’s a given. But he’s also a wonderful story teller, a riotous rabble-rouser and an excellent performer. All in all, this is an excellent collection of songs but with two EPs under his built, surely it’s time for an album…


Live Dates:

12th May – Inn on the Shore, Downderry (FREE ENTRY)
20th May – Old Timer’s Wine Bar, Exeter
31st May – Blues Bar & Grill, Plymouth
27th August – Haywood Cider Farm, Bodmin
2nd September – Fantasy Festival 2017, Helston
15th September – Inn on the Shore, Downderry (FREE ENTRY)
21st October – Venezia, Exeter

22nd October – The Rod & Line, Saltash

Monday, 24 April 2017

DOLLIE DEMI – SINGLE REVIEW

Dollie Demi – Ruby Lips 
Dollie Demi - Ruby Lips


Release Date: Out Now

The delectably uproarious Dollie Demi is back with a new single that is everything pop should be in this day and age – that is to say, it’s riotous, bratty and infectious. ‘Ruby Lips’ opens with a sexy little bass line and the repeated “Mwah” which is pure Shampoo meets Kate Nash. This is the by-product of a generation that grew up on the Spice Girls and Hole at the same time – sassy pop melodies but kick ass guitars and lyrics that don’t take any prisoners. Dollie Demi has moved on from the ‘potential’ stage of her career and is now in fully fledged pop-classic creation mode so I wouldn’t advise getting in her way unless it’s to get down the front at one of her gigs.


Live Dates:


9th June – Spice of Life, London

VELVET TWO STRIPES – SINGLE REVIEW

Velvet Two Stripes – Hey Boy (Rough Trade / Snowhite)
Velvet Two Stripes - Hey Boy

Release Date: Out Now

If I started talking about a trio of women named Diggelmann, Diggelmann and Mock operating out of the town of St. Gallen you’d be forgiven for thinking that I was banging on about a trio of nuns or a banking group. But no, I’m actually talking about the hard rocking three piece Velvet Two Stripes and their new single ‘Hey Boy’ is worth talking about – loudly. At almost bang on three minutes, this tune pulls together the dirty, bluesy sound of the White Stripes, the Dead Weather, We Three And The Death Rattle, Royal Blood and the Black Keys to create something gloriously uproarious in amongst the sea of distortion and tribal rhythms. The scratchy, almost desperate vocal of Sophie Diggelmann is as unique as it is enthralling and when you roll that in with the pure rock created by Diggelmann, Diggelmann and Mock (aka Velvet Two Stries) you just have to let yourself get swept away. Ya dig?


Watch The Video: 

SOFI DE LA TORRE FEAT. TAYLOR BENNETT – SINGLE REVIEW

Sofi De La Torre Feat. Taylor Bennett – Views of You 
Sofi De La Torre - Views of You


Release Date: Out Now

“Fuck me up, fuck me up if you want”. That’s what you call an opening, lyrically speaking. The marvellous Sofi De La Torre is back with new single ‘Views of You’ and she’s brought rapper Taylor Bennett along for the ride. This is tripped out, blissed out pop that is half mumbled as the sun breaks the darkness over the horizon at the start of another day. The sparse beats and mellow synths create and ambience for De La Torre to do her more-chilled-than-Lana-Del-Rey thing over the top until you can’t help but be absorbed by her and her music. Blissful.



Saturday, 22 April 2017

INGRID – SINGLE REVIEW

Ingrid – Boom (Dishonest In July) (Stereoscope Music) 
Ingrid - Boom (Dishonest In July)


Release Date: Out Now

“Ingrid slapper debutsingel!” That’s how the PR email accompanying this single from Swedish artist Ingrid began. Now, I’m all for multilingualism but this would seem to be a particularly stark way of selling a female musician so I steeled myself to consider the music on its own merits, regardless of Ingrid’s promiscuity. ‘Boom (Dishonest in July)’ is a perky, poppy piece that sits somewhere between Clean Bandit and Angie with a hint of a modern Eurovision entry about it. You could easily imagine hearing this wafting on a warm breeze out of bars and clubs on the coastal strips of Mediterranean Europe as the sexy synths and Ingrid’s sultry and confident vocal worms it’s way in to your ear. Oh, and there’s a Disney key change at the end just to keep you on your toes. Slapper or not, this is a fun slice of summery pop.


AIDA – SINGLE REVIEW

Aida – Let’s Ride
Aida - Let's Ride

Release Date: Out Now

There’s absolutely nothing to dislike about this tune from French artist Aida unless you hate the 80s in which case you’ll probably hate it. From the video that might as well be a trailer for the Goldbergs, to the squelchy synth bass line and the super soulful but poppy vocals of Aida, ‘Let’s Ride’ is a joyous romp through 80s references (the good stuff, not Thatcher and AIDS). Aida’s voice is so assured, classy and unflinching in its power that it’s hard to believe she’s not gracing national airwaves on a regular basis but I guess sometimes it’s a matter of right place and right time. For those that have enjoyed the renaissance of Nile Rodgers and the resurgence of Pharrell Williams, I would suggest that Aida might be right up your cul-de-sac.


Watch The Video: 

Friday, 21 April 2017

PLASTIC BARRICADES – SINGLE REVIEW

Plastic Barricades – How Goldfish Grow (Plastic Tribe Records)
Plastic Barricades - How Goldfish Grow

Release Date: Out Now

London based trio Plastic Barricades grabbed my attention with the video for this song which is a nicely quirky piece of animation but there is a great song behind the visual as well. ‘How Goldfish Grow’ is a tale of how the environment will impact the size of growth – from Goldfish, to ego to population – and it’s a tale worth taking heed of. Starting with a sad yet perky poppy guitar line that is part Vampire Weekend and part Young Knives, this song immediately grabs your attention before settling in to a satisfyingly choppy rhythm. “We all should know how goldfish grow” is perhaps not the most obvious or rock’n’roll lyric but the message is clear and the video rams it home. There’s a certain Europop charm about this that goes along with the indie-pop kitsch and it’s actually nice to hear a band creating something to be enjoyed whilst also listening to some meaningful lyrics.


Watch The Video: 

FERRIS AND SYLVESTER – SINGLE REVIEW

Ferris And Sylvester – Save Yourself 
Ferris And Sylvester - Save Yourself


Release Date: Out Now

First things first, this is not a duet between a quirky 80s teenager and a persistently under achieving cartoon cat. Sadly. No, instead this is London duo Issy (Ferris) and Archie (Sylvester) with their new single ‘Save Yourself’ which is, frankly, beautiful. This has all the softness and soul of Laura Marling or Joni Mitchell but there is glorious about the moment that Ferris’ vocal is joined by the smooth, deep, velvetiness of Sylvester and the song slowly swells like the orange embers of a log fire. This is almost an anti-love song or a ‘love with a health warning’ song that it’s hard not to fall in love with. Gentle, delicate, beautiful and powerful. Just like I like my women….or something less misogynistic.



Live Dates:

21st April – The Sugar Club, Dublin
23rd April – Cyprus Avenue, Cork
27th April – The Water Rats, London w/ Tom Mcrae
2nd May – The Islington, London
4th May – Spirit Store, Dundalk
5th May – The Loft, Galway
6th May – Dolan’s, Limerick
7th May – Set Theatre, Kilkenny
25th May – New Roos @ The Harrison, London w/Dariush Kanani

8th June – The Green Note, London

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

YVONNE HERCULES – SINGLE REVIEW

Yvonne Hercules – Roving 
Yvonne Hercules - Roving


Release Date: Out Now

Really early in 2017 I was publicly begging for artists to put their pen to paper to vent their anger, raise a voice against the injustices in this world and generally use their platform to stir something up. London based Yvonne Hercules has answered my call, as have many others, but her take on this particular genre is something more subtle. You see ‘Roving’ is a lonely candle in pitch black of night, shining out with every breeze induced flicker as Hercules’ smooth voice wraps around you and that Marling-esque guitar ripples like the folds of a worn but loved blanket, passed down through the generations. Singing her soulful, dusky song, Hercules explores freedom (or the lack of), subjugation of minority or fringe groups and a general feeling that the democracy we’re told we are lucky to have is built upon too much injustice to ever really be enjoyed or appreciated. The simple guitar ripples soon build in to a glorious, life affirming dawn of a crescendo before fading in to the day and it is only then that I realise I’ve heard this song before. Every night when I lie awake thinking of how I’m going to change myself, change the world, make it all better before I fall asleep only to wake again to face another day on the treadmill feeling powerless. Maybe tomorrow will be different, there’s always tomorrow, right?


STAGS – SINGLE REVIEW

Stags – Where Only God Knows
Stags - Where Only God Knows

Release Date:

London Blues-Rock outfit Stags have a certain shaky, rambling dissonance about them on this track which is instantly appealing. ‘Where Only God Knows’ reminds me of the Treetop Flyers but with more edge or Midlake but with more darkness and both of those are very good things. The blues ramble is punctuated with little Edge-esque guitar chimes and flicks that act as rain dripping through the rusty roof of the shack before that humming organ lays a blanket on your shoulders and that bass throws a new log on the fire. There is comfort to be found in the cracks and creaks of a song like this and sometimes a little comfort is good for the soul.


Watch The Video: 

BEACH RIOT – SINGLE REVIEW

Beach Riot – Mr Fixer 
Beach Riot - Mr Fixer


Release Date: Out Now

London quartet are on their second single and have just played their first ever show at the Social in the last 24 hours. Nevertheless, the buzz around these guys is incredible and just goes to show what you can do with a little talent and some restraint. ‘Mr Fixer’ starts like a zombie released from a mental hospital; desperate, flailing and full of anger but with no reason to back it up. Then a gang of vocals kicks in like you’re being serenaded by a family of Chelsea fans at Christmas. The energy and relentless momentum of this song are hugely infectious and pretty soon you’re recalling all your favourite garage gang bands and harking back to your punk period whenever that was. This is part Blockheads, part the Wrens, part the Lemonheads, part Ben Fold’s Five, part Cable and all mixed up in a tankard forged in the dying embers of Britpop. There’s a satisfying distortion solo in the middle and then we’re done – exhausted, spent but certainly satisfied. More buzz to come, you just wait and see.


CHERRYADE – SINGLE REVIEW

Cherryade – Get By 
Cherryade - Get By


Release Date: Out Now

London duo Cherryade are the latest pretenders to that throne of boy-girl pop duos that has proved so popular over the years. The pair’s new single, ‘Get By’, kicks off like the Ting Tings and Sleigh Bells with attitude ridden vocals, dirty synth bass and the kind of beats that would disorientate you in a dark club. Put a snarly American accent on this and twerk-heavy video then this could easily be a Minaj chart smasher but as it is, ‘Get By’ is delivered by two old friends who are the product of the Catholic school system. Religion and pop with attitude, not bad for a Wednesday.


DASHNI MORAD – SINGLE REVIEW

Dashni Morad – Love Wins
Dashni Morad - Love Wins

Release Date: Out Now

Bloody immigrants, coming over here and having credible pop careers singing inspirational and uplifting songs. How dare they? Dashni Morad is Iraqi Kurdish with some Dutch connections and her new single ‘Love Wins’ is probably just the kind of song we need about now. This is classy, slick and club-ready pop with a deep beat and a sing-along chorus that will have clubs full of revellers singing along without a care in the world. Then you can watch the video full of images of children in refugee camps, tanks carrying soldiers and the nervous smiles of kids trying to stay focused on the hope flickering on the horizon. It turns out Katy Perry isn’t the only one who can mix politics with a banging pop tune and come out smiling.


Watch The Video: 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

CHAY SNOWDON – SINGLE REVIEW

Chay Snowdon – Around the Sun 
Chay Snowdon - Around the Sun


Release Date: 20th April 2017

Plymouth lad Chay Snowdon is definitely building some momentum for himself and getting some decent gigs booked but he needs to have a word with whoever is advising him on his cover art. The last two singles have looked a little amateurish which doesn’t support the music in the way it should. New single ‘Around the Sun’ is perfectly set to fit in with the new wave of exuberant indie currently propelling the likes of Jordan Allen and the Sherlocks to adoration and success. The clash of guitars, stabbing like Kings of Leon having a bash at a Buddy Holly song as Chay sings “Oh well, got a few more trips round the sun” like the voice of Millenials everywhere who haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on in North America or North Korea. You know what though, who cares if the world is about to blow up? We need to party while we still have the time and this might just be the start of the soundtrack to the party to end all parties.


Live Dates:

21st May – Stag & Hounds, Bristol w/Misfires (SOLD OUT)
27th May – Liverpool Sound City, Clarence Dock
3rd June – The Lanes, Bristol
2nd July – Grillstock, Bristol
6th July – 2000 Trees, Upcote Farm in Cheltenham

LITTLE HURRICANE – SINGLE REVIEW

Little Hurricane – Bad Business (Mascot Label Group)
Little Hurricane - Bad Business

Release Date: Out Now

San Diego duo Little Hurricane mean business, ‘Bad Business’. The new single is a delightful slice of blues rock with a heavy-groove whilst still retaining a sense of subtlety in the construction. The guitars ring out in the night sky like Jack White back at his best while the drums have a primal thud that I’ve only heard from the Picturebooks in recent times. There’s a pop-soul swagger about this tune as well that the likes of Bruno Mars and Aloe Blacc would get a groove on to which is no bad thing. This is music to enter a bar to, music to swagger down the high street to in your best cowboy boots and music to just generally be cool to. Strap it on and enjoy the ride.


Live Dates:

20th April – A&R Music, Columbus
21st April – Double Door, Chicago
22nd April – Slowdown, Omaha
25th April – Globe Hall, Denver
29th April – Rhythm & Blues Nights, Groningen
30th April – Mezz, Breda
2nd May – Borderline, London
4th May – AB Club, Brussels
5th May – Bevrijdingsfestival Overijssel, Zwolle
6th May – Studio 672, Cologne
7th May – Paradiso, Amsterdam
9th May – Espace B, Paris
28th May – Bottle Rock Fest, Napa
31st May – The Catalyst, Santa Cruz
1st June – Echoplex, Los Angeles
2nd June – Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach
3rd June – Valley Bar, Phoenix
4th June – Hullabaloo, Flagstaff
21st July – Karoondinha, Centre Hall 


Watch The Video: 


Monday, 17 April 2017

GELATO – EP REVIEW

Gelato – Weird EP 
Gelato - Weird


Release Date: Out Now

There are four drum stick clicks at the start of this EP’s opening track, ‘You Ain’t No Match’, but they may as well be the bell at the start of a boxing match such is the smack around the face you get from the opening riffs. Think Queens of the Stoneage mixed with the tight intensity of Zappa and some of the more adventurous moments of the Incubus back catalogue and you’d be thinking right for this tune. London trio Gelato waste no time in getting things going on this EP which suggests they a) mean business and b) know what they’re doing as this first tune takes time out for a little Police-esque break half way through before getting back on track.

‘Breaking the Spell’ is the meat in this musical sandwich and has a more subtle, theatrical opening before settling in to an ominous, almost mechanical riff that puts me in mind of Reuben (I bloody loved Reuben) but with a little more showmanship about their performance. Finally, we have ‘The Optimist’, a tune of Muse-esque ambitions as the drums jerk and stutter in direct opposition to the sliding, winding guitars and soaring vocals of frontman Drew Wynen. This is an accomplished, polished and engaging set of songs that stand up to multiple listens and reveal more about themselves each time – substance AND style, if you will.


GHOSTS OF SOCIAL NETWORKS – SINGLE REVIEW

Ghosts of Social Networks – Outside the Wheel (Integrity Records)
Ghosts of Social Networks - Outside the Wheel

Release Date: Out Now

Manchester’s Ghosts of Social Networks is the vehicle for Nathan Till’s solo material and this new single has a wonderfully dark side that it’s hard not to stare in to the heart of even though it’s likely that you’ll get pulled in, never to be seen again. ‘Outside the Wheel’ embraces the darkness and drama of Nick Cave/Grinderman, Queens of the Stoneage, Richard Hawley and Mansun as the guitars chimes malevolently, the melodies soar and the drums drive on. This is the audio equivalent of watching that scene in a horror/thriller where you think the heroine is going to get away but the villain is relentless in their pursuit and the tension just makes you want to mainline popcorn until your nerves are sufficiently dulled. Dark, sweet, tempting, dangerous, full of hope but soaked in fear – everything rock’n’roll should be.


Watch The Video: 

MONARCH – SINGLE REVIEW

Monarch – Remember Me 
Monarch - Remember Me


Release Date: Out Now

I reviewed Maya Killtron’s solo single a little while ago and I fell in love with her soulful voice so it’s ace to hear her come back as part of Toronto electro-pop trio Monarch. The threesome’s new single, ‘Remember Me’, is pitched somewhere between Daft Punk’s most recent material, 80s pop that would have had your average Top of the Pops audience shifting weight with the best of them, and La Roux but with a far more appealing vocal. The synths are a delight and, if there’s any justice, this tune will be used on the live action film of Thundercats if they ever get around to making it. This is as perky as a Pop-tart sat on a glitterball and I, for one, love it.


Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/monarchmusicofficial/remember-me

NICK MEARS - ALBUM REVIEW

Nick Mears – Life’s Golden Era 
Nick Mears - Life's Golden Era


Release Date: Out Now

If you give this debut album from Nick Mears a listen (which you can, free Soundcloud stream link below) then you won’t really need me to tell you that this is the work of someone residing in Cornwall. The chilled acoustic riffs and Reggae undertones are perfectly suited for the laid-back beach culture that prevails in the Duchy (not to be passed on the left-hand side). The 9-track collection that forms ‘Life’s Golden Era’ opens up with a mood-setting ‘Take It Slow’ which has a gentle Reggae strum and Mears’ trademark laid-back vocal – think Jack Johnson’s younger English cousin and you’re in the right ball park. ‘Never Comin’ Down’ has a livelier tempo and speaks to that side of you that has wanderlust but also fully appreciates that feeling of belonging that rushes in when you wake up in your own bed for the first time in ages.

On ‘Pale Blue California’ Mears hits his stride as more than just an acoustic strummer as a full band backs him in his Red Hot Chili Peppers inspired endeavour wit louche guitars and the kind of drumming that can pretty much only ever come from a topless drummer with a backwards baseball cap on. ‘Hometown Blues’ shows off a more Blues tinged side to it as you might expect from the title while ‘Freedom’ has the sound of an acoustic outing from the Goo-Goo Dolls or Pearl Jam with that US rock vibe flowing throughout. There’s a standout album moment on ‘Dance in The Rain’ that could easily be featured in a Hollywood Rom-Com and is perfect for a million wedding first dances for those couples that fancy themselves as slightly to the left of the norms of society.

The delicate acoustic picking of ‘1973’ is perfect for a late-night session with a bottle of red and some curious smoky scent in the air but as Mears explores that common fantasy of being alive in a better, freer time that held more wonder and fewer selfies. ‘The Fly High Club’ is slow but steady acoustic strum that builds to a moody crescendo reminiscent of the likes of Cream or Joe Cocker. This debut offering finishes up on ‘Up To No Good’ which has a swagger about it that is indicative of someone who surely enjoys walking down on to the beach as the sun starts to tickles the waves of a morning – despite its political undertones and sense of dissatisfaction with the world. This style won’t suit everyone but if you’ve ever watched a sunrise over a beach or surfed or even just slept out under the stars in the south-west of England or the west-coast of the US then there is part of you that will fall in love with this.



Live Dates:

21st April – Inn on the Shore, Downderry (FREE ENTRY)
23rd April – The Stable, Newquay
1st May – Smugglers Pie & Ale Festival, Newquay
25th May – The Stable, Falmouth
28th May – The Tywarnhayle Inn, Perranporth
9th June – Inn on the Shore, Downderry (FREE ENTRY)
16th June – The Tywarnhayle Inn, Perranporth
7th July – Rick Stein’s, Newquay
9th July – The Tywarnhayle Inn, Perranporth
28th July – The Old Success, Sennen Cove
4th August – The Old Success, Sennen Cove
5th August – Farmers Arms, Saint Merryn
18th August – Inn on the Shore, Downderry (FREE ENTRY)
25th August – The Old Success, Sennen Cove
26th August – Cornwall Folk Festival, Wadebridge
17th September – Sandbar, Penzance
24th September – Rod & Line, Saltash

6th October – Sandbar, Penzance

Thursday, 13 April 2017

FAILURE MACHINE – EP REVIEW

Failure Machine – Wake Drake Skate (SNAFU Family Records) 
Failure Machine - Wake Drake Skate


Release Date: Out Now

Take these four songs at face value and you’ve got a soul-punk EP that lasts less than ten minutes and it’s high-octane, up-tempo fun. Then give it a second listen and you’ll realise that half of this EP was originally penned by sweater wearing R&B star Drake while the other half is written by LA garage punkers FIDLAR. Yeah, this is happening, so strap yourself in because Reno’s finest are back, it’s Failure Machine time.

Things kick off with that most recognisable of Drake tunes, ‘Hotline Bling’, but this time it sounds like it’s being ripped a new one by the Blues Brothers and that sounds amazing. Take the chilled vibes out of a song and replace them with a little aggression, desperation and a horn section and suddenly you’ve got a party going on – somebody bring me a keg. Then we switch to FIDLAR’s ‘No Waves’, opening with the lines “I feel, I feel like a cokehead, I feel, I feel like I can’t get drunk no more cause I’m on the floor looking for some matches to cook up a score”. Then the 100 mph guitars start and Spencer Kilpatrick’s razor-blades-in-a-blender vocals kick up a notch – who has a length of hose?

Back to Drake for the Blues rattle of ‘Energy’ – “I got enemies, got a lotta enemies” – and those horns shine through as the guitars jangle and the drums thud superbly which must suck if you’re Drake, to hear your own songs played 100 times better than you ever managed. Cuckold much? Let’s finish up on FIDLAR’s ‘Cheap Beer’ which is basically the sound of a house party tipping over the edge in to chaos as pictures fall from the wall, windows smash and somebody somewhere is getting it on with somebody they probably shouldn’t be getting it on with. There’s a sax solo and then I threw up a little but the keg is empty and the party is roasting so I ain’t complaining. Are you? ARE YOU???


Listen/Download Here: https://failuremachine.bandcamp.com/album/wake-drake-skate

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

BITCH FALCON – SINGLE REVIEW

Bitch Falcon – Syncope 
Bitch Falcon - Syncope


Release Date: Out Now

I have to admit that I’m basically drawn to this single release from a trio of Dubliners because of their fantastic name. Bitch Falcon. It sounds like an awesome villain from an X-rated version of He-Man which puts them half way over the line but then there’s the music, we have to consider the music, don’t we? So, new single ‘Syncope’ is up for consideration and it doesn’t disappoint. Coming on in a swirl of distortion before settling in to a heavy chug this is somewhere between Silverchair, Veruca Salt and Fu Manchu which is a hell of a noisy place to be. Fuzzed up guitars, Viking drums and a wail that is as powerful as it is melodic all combine to make a rhythmic, almost tribal noise that gets you right in the feels….with a pair of biker boots…..repeatedly.


Watch The Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8W1LvQiOnE 

NANCY AND BETH – SINGLE REVIEW

Nancy And Beth – Please Mr Jailer
Nancy And Beth - Please Mr Jailer

Release Date: Out Now

None of the members of Nancy and Beth are called Nancy or Beth. One of them is called Megan Mullally, which will peak the interest of Will & Grace fans. But this isn’t really about the people this is about something really refreshing, interesting and immediately engaging – new single ‘Please Mr Jailer’. Take an ivory tinkling blues lament calling on the law man to release the lover of Nancy and/or Beth but set it to a video that could have been a David Lynch creation for Talk Talk in their pomp. This is as sublime as it is ridiculous and that’s no easy combination to achieve. Mullally and her partner in crime Stephanie Hunt are perfectly in sync with each other in terms of harmony and moves which makes for a deliciously fluid piece of entertainment, fluid like a well-mixed cocktail in a tall glass but one that packs a punch and leaves you woozy.


Live Dates:

20th April – Royal Festival Hall, London
22nd April – Palace Theatre, Manchester

Watch The Video: 

KATIE LAFFAN – SINGLE REVIEW

Katie Laffan – Tastemaker
Katie Laffan - Tastemaker

Release Date: Out Now

Dublin’s Katie Laffan has been compared to Jamie T, Lily Allen and Kate Nash because of her direct style and vocal delivery but I think she’s smarter than that. New single ‘Tastemaker’ is a straight up pop tune with soul in that pulsing bass line and a classic disco vibe going on, that’s all well and good. But then Laffan has infused this tune with a healthy cynicism in the lyrics (“only fools fall in love”) as well as a beautifully shot video of the singer’s grandfather doing his morning physio routine in time with the music whilst wearing the snappiest suit I’ve seen in quite some time. All in all this is the full package but I’d be interested in hearing more from Laffan, I think she’s got a few things worth saying.


Live Dates:

27th April – The Bowery, Dublin

Watch The Video: 

THE DIRTY NIL – SINGLE REVIEW

The Dirty Nil – Caroline (Dine Alone Records) 
The Dirty Nil - Caroline


Release Date: Out Now

I’ve been enjoying Hamilton’s the Dirty Nil for quite some time now but hadn’t realised quite what a back catalogue they had built up. Enough of a back catalogue to put together a collection of these tunes as an album (‘Minimum R&B’ is out at the end of April) but there is one brand spanking new track involved and that track is ‘Caroline’. The guitars are huge and swaggering from the word go but then, wait, what’s this? The ban break in to a soulful, staggering, bluesy piece of whisky bar rock that the likes of the Stereophonics, the Faces and the Libertines did so well with. This is sexy, rock’n’roll foreplay for the most part but there’s a satisfying climax at the end that lets you release all that pent up sexual tension in delirious freedom.


Live Dates: 

18th April – Talking Heads, Southampton
19th April – Koko, London
20th April – Academy 2, Manchester
21st April – Bierkeller, Bristol
22nd April – Oran Mor, Glasgow w/The Menzingers + The Flatliners
23rd April – The Venue, Derby
24th April – Epic Studios, Norwich
26th April – Underground, Koln
27th April – Musik & Frieden, Berlin
28th April – Skaters Palace, Munster
30th April – Molotow, Hamburg
2nd May – Beatpol, Dresden
3rd May – Nachtleben, Frankfurt Am Main
4th May – Orangehouse, Munich
5th May – Kellerklub, Stuttgart
6th May – Obenuse Fest, Zurich
7th May – Kofmehl Raumbar, Solothurn
8th May – Arena Wien Dreiraum, Wien
19th May – Pouzza Fest, Montreal
25th May – Club Absinthe, Hamilton
26th May – London Music Hall, London
28th May – Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
9th June – The Park Theatre, Winnipeg
17th June – Lee’s Palace, Toronto
23rd June – Molotow, Hamburg
24th June – Molotow, Hamburg
28th July – WayHome, Oro Medonte

30th July – WayHome, Toronto

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

THE HACKNEY COLLIERY BAND – SINGLE REVIEW

The Hackney Colliery Band – Heart Shaped Box 
The Hackney Colliery Band - Heart Shaped Box


Release Date: Out Now

Despite a press shot that looks like the ‘before’ shot of your standard Stag Do, The Hackney Colliery band have been making a cast iron name for themselves as the kings of the brass band playing adaptations of popular songs. Sure, that may not be the toughest market to corner but they always say that the best business ideas come from identifying a niche and filling it. Now, ‘Heart Shaped Box’ is a classic of indie and rock discos the world over so it takes a brave bunch of Stags to take it on. But they did it and it’s bloody marvellous. The brooding riffage is replaced by more of a Ronson-esque swagger and when that chorus drops you feel like this tune was made to be blasted out on horns. I can only guess at the power of these guys on the live stage but even with the muted jazz trumpet solo this still packs a serious punch so have a listen, enjoy it and then find the closest gig to you this summer – I doubt very much that you’ll be disappointed.



Live Dates:

22nd April – Subscription Rooms, Stroud
29th April – Tower Complex, Great Yarmouth
5th May – Colston Hall, Bristol
12th May – The Stables, Milton Keynes
13th May – Birmingham Rep, Birmingham
26th May – Koko, London
27th May – The Met, Bury
6th June – Hall for Cornwall, Truro
16th June – Band on the Wall, Manchester
17th June – Unity Works, Wakefield
14th July – Into The Wild Festival, Newton Longville
15th July – Artrix, Bromsgrove
3rd August – Lusty Glaze, Porth
4th August – The Platform, Morecombe
7th August – Bestival, Lulworth

4th November – Junction 2, Cambridge

THE PICTUREBOOKS – SINGLE REVIEW

The Picturebooks – I Need That Oooh (Another Century)
The Picturebooks - I Need That Oooh

Release Date: Out Now

Fynn and Philipp from Gutersloh, for they are the Picturebooks, are back but they present a conundrum. You see, these are big, hairy biker guys but their new single is called ‘I Need That Oooh’ which sounds like the title of a comeback single by Gina G. Nevertheless, we’ll dive in and when we come up for air we find that the Gutersloh boys are rocking just as hard as ever. Those Viking drums are front and centre while the country’n’roll slide guitar with a nice layer of feedback is just, well, it’s sexy, let’s just say that. This is Royal Blood producing the new Black Keys tune with ZZ Top and Monster Truck sharing a bottle of Jack in the control booth. The Picturebooks look like a whole lot of fun to hang out with but if their hogs roll in to town then I’d recommend locking up your daughters....on second thoughts, they’d probably like that so maybe just leave them the keys to your liquor cabinet and leave town for the weekend.


Live Dates:

28th April – Underworld, London w/Turbonegro + Candlemass + Lowrider + Black Spiders + Samsara Blues Experiment + Satan’s Satyrs + 1000 Mods + Yuri Gagarin

29th July – Ramblin’ Man Fair, Maidstone w/ZZ Top + Monster Truck + Saxon + Extreme + Rival Sons + Vintage Caravan


Watch The Video: 


FAST ROMANTICS – SINGLE REVIEW

Fast Romantics – Everybody’s Trying To Steal Your Heart (Light Organ Records) 
Fast Romantics - Everybody's Trying To Steal Your Heart


Release Date: Out Now

Yup, that’s it. I’m pretty much fully in love with Toronto’s Fast Romantics now. New single ‘Everybody’s Trying To Steal Your Heart’ cements the band’s reputation as one of the few acts around today who are trying to make music with some ambition, some sense of grandeur and, most importantly, a message. Sure, there are Springsteen, Arcade Fire and Edwyn Collins similarities but the real genius lies in stealing, as they say, and this sound belongs to Fast Romantics. Six people, one message and a real sense of purpose all wrapped up in excellent melodies, some bombast and the guts to shout about something. Something to get excited about in 2017. Oh, and watch this space for the full album coming very soon….



Live Dates:

13th April – Mills Hardware, Hamilton
20th April – Crocks, Thunder Bay
22nd April – Durty Nelly’s, Regina
25th April – The Slice, Lethbridge
26th April – International Beer Haus & Stage, Red Beer
27th April – The Blue Grotto, Kamloops
28th April – Sugar Nightclub, Victoria
29th April – Vogue Theatre, Vancouver
3rd May – The Habitat, Kelowna
4th May – Commonwealth, Calgary
5th May – Starlite Room, Edmonton
6th May – Cosmopolitan Seniors Centre, Saskatoon

7th May – The Park Theatre, Winnipeg w/Said The Whale

PENNY BRIDGES – SINGLE REVIEW

Penny Bridges – For The Things 
Penny Bridges - For The Things


Release Date: Out Now

Consistency is a tricky thing to achieve in any walk of life but if you can achieve it within art then you’re on the path to achieving something truly worthwhile. Wolverhampton’s Penny Bridges is well on the way to achieving that elusive consistency with a series of excellent singles, the latest of which is ‘For The Things’. An optimistic, pulsing beat wakes you up before Bridges’ impish vocal drifts in soulfully like a cross between Corrine Bailey-Rae and Nina Persson all atop a magic carpet made of delicately woven piano notes and a grumbling bass. This is music for Spring time, music to watch the sun rise to and music to make you hope again and God knows we could all do with a little hope right about now couldn’t we?


FROZEN HOUSES – SINGLE REVIEW

Frozen Houses – Hey Leanne 
Frozen Houses - Hey Leanne


Release date: Out Now

Truro’s Frozen Houses (aka Alex Hill) is like an unnerving baddie pursuing the damsel in an old black and white movie. This may sound sinister and creepy but what I’m alluding to is Hill’s unswerving determination to keep churning out subtly great tunes that creep in to your consciousness and, dare I say it, your heart. New single ‘Hey Leanne’ is another step towards addiction with an opening that evokes memories of Paul Simon’s early solo material before that warm, familiar vocal shuffles in like a coy new boyfriend meeting the in-laws for the first time. Frozen Houses has a Badly Drawn boy meets Simple Minds and Vampire Weekend vibe about him on this tune and that is a uniquely wonderful combination that is hard to resist. So why try?


Live Dates:


19th May – The Inn on the Shore, Downderry (FREE ENTRY)