Tuesday, 28 February 2017

SARAH WALK – SINGLE REVIEW

Sarah Walk – Still Frames (One Little Indian Records) 
Sarah Walk - Still Frames

Release Date: Out Now

Whatever you’re doing right now, stop it. Unless you’re operating heavy machinery or keeping someone alive with CPR then sit down, read this and then watch the video by the stunningly talented Sarah Walk. ‘Still Frames’ is one of the most arresting and instantly engaging tunes I have heard in a long time and, coupled with the beautiful video, it presents a package that has – and I’m not remotely ashamed to say this – moved me to tears on two occasions already. The gentle, almost absent minded piano that introduces this tune soon develops in to something more lush and there is a tangible but sad warmth to this song that it is pointless to resist. The repeated refrain of “you were holding on and I was letting go” speak volumes about the difference in outlooks when a relationship comes to an end for whatever reason. ‘Still Frames’ has soul, tenderness, raw passion and a dusky vocal style that threatens to crack with emotion at the end of every line. Sarah Walk might be from Minneapolis but for the way she has spoken directly to my heart and, I would wager, thousands of others makes her a truly global talent in waiting.


Live Dates:


13th April – The Forge, London

Watch the Video: 

SLEEPTALKING – SINGLE REVIEW

Sleeptalking – Professional Dreamer (Funnel Music) 
Sleeptalking - Professional Dreamer


Release Date: Out Now

Bristol collective Sleeptalking have already gained the Eavis stamp of approval with a personal invitation to play Glastonbury this year and they’re only on their second single release. ‘Professional Dreamer’ (there’s a nocturnal theme here) opens with a distorted string of static before kicking hard with a throbbing bass line and a the flailingly flamboyant vocals of a man born to perform in front of an audience. This is sexy, slithering rock’n’roll but with a brain and a sense of the theatrical about it which is all good in my book. “All that we can do is fantasize, the only truly human enterprise” they sing whilst all the while sounding like they should be naked from the waist up and only clad in leather from the waist down. Sexy and intelligent – what a powerful combination?!


Live Dates:

2nd March – Gwdihw Café Bar, Cardiff
3rd March – Verve Bar, Leeds
4th March – The Peer Hat, Manchester
7th March – The Fulford Arms, York
8th March – Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow
9th March – The Mash House, Edinburgh
10th March – Maguire’s Pizza Bar, Liverpool
11th March – The RS Bar, Sheffield
23rd March – 60 Million Postcards, Bournemouth
24th March – The Louisiana, Bristol

29th March – Notting Hill Arts Club, London

Monday, 27 February 2017

TOM BAKER – SINGLE REVIEW

Tom Baker – My Confession 
Tom Baker - My Confession


Release Date: Out Now

Plymouthian Tom Baker has his fingers in a number of musical pies but every now and again he pulls his fingers from those pies for just long enough to pen an original song or two and the latest fruits of that pie fingered labour is new single ‘My Confession’. Soft, intimate and late night keys introduce the song before some soulful vocal creeps in from the wee small hours with a John Legend feel to it. As the title would suggest, there is a confessional feel to the song that speaks of a man at the end of his tether with nowhere left to turn other than the truth. Some welcome strings add warmth and redemption towards the end of this song but at over five minutes long this has the feel of a mid-album track more than a single that’s going to get acres of airplay. Nevertheless, Baker has the voice of an accomplished performer and the songwriting ability to match so this gives us something to chew on until he decides to leave those bloody pies alone.



Live Dates:


14th April – The Inn on the Shore, Downderry (FREE)

BRYDE – SINGLE REVIEW

Bryde – Less 
Bryde - Less


Release Date: Out Now

As a boy growing up in the 90s and finding my bearings through music, I placed the likes of Nina Gordon, Louise Post, Tanya Donnelly, Kim Deal and Miki Berenyi high on a pedestal for the minds and their music which served me well. So, imagine my delight and surprise when London based Bryde comes along with a tune that would fit in so easily among these leading ladies. New single ‘Less’ is dripping in 90s vibes from the word go as a rumbling bass and jangled guitar are urged along by a stumbling beats before Bryde’s breathy, almost bored vocal comes in with all the ambivalent edge of Smashing Pumpkins before kicking in to the kind of chorus that Alanis would have loved to throw in on Jagged Little Pill. In more recent years, the likes of Anna Calvi would be an easy comparison but for me the likes of Tori Amos, Powderstrip and 12 Rounds are all there in the background of this storming, driving and utterly irresistible tune.



Live Dates:

19th April – Camden Assembly, London
22nd April – Phoenix, Exeter
24th April – The Castle, Manchester
26th April – Studio 2, Liverpool
11th May – FOCUS Wales, Wrexham

Saturday, 25 February 2017

THE DARTS – SINGLE REVIEW

The Darts – My Heart Is A Graveyard (Dirty Water Records) 
The Darts - My Heart Is A Graveyard

Release Date: Out Now

I’ve been tracking US rock’n’rollers The Darts for a while, waiting while the skipping rope circles for the right time to jump in. New single ‘My Heart Is A Graveyard’ seems to be the right opportunity so let’s get started. The bassline and guitar riff match up like the theme for an episode of vintage Batman that was canned because Catwoman kicked too much ass while the organs drift ofver the tune like Dracula’s velvet cape on a dark night. The excellently named Nikki Stixx beats those drums with as much venom as the next guy/gal and the vocals are pure attitude wrapped up in a sugary coating – tequila filled cupcakes, if you will. There’s a sense of fun to this, for sure, but it’s holding hands with a sense of mischief and I’ll give you three guesses as to which one is leading the way…


Live Dates:

3rd March – Bunkhouse, Las Vegas
4th March – Winter’s Tavern, Pacifica
5th March – Lot 1 Café, Los Angeles
6th March – Tower Bar, San Diego
7th March – Rebel Lounge, Phoenix
10th March – Flycatcher, Tucson
11th March – Viva, Phoenix
28th March – Valley Bar, Phoenix
28th May – 3rd June – UK, France & Italy

Watch The Video: 

FROZEN HOUSES – SINGLE REVIEW

Frozen Houses – Greenhouse On Mars 
Frozen Houses - Greenhouse On Mars


Release Date: Out Now

Frozen Houses is a solo artist hailing from deepest darkest Truro who self-describes his genre as folk-grunge and I think he’s not far off. Current single, ‘Greenhouse On Mars’ has the fuzzy, lo-fi quality of grunge that I do so love but also a lot more by way of melody and intricacy. For me, the guitars and arrangements on this are a beautiful blend of Badly Drawn Boy, David Kitt, Teenage Fanclub, Belle and Sebastian and Rooney that just feels right all the way through. I’m told there are more singles planned and possibly a band to join Alex in his endeavours under the Frozen Houses moniker so this is definitely a space to watch.


Live Dates:

19th May – The Inn on the Shore, Downderry
3rd September – Gylly Beach Café, Falmouth

29th September – Lusty Glaze Beach, Newquay

YOUNG EARTH – SINGLE REVIEW

Young Earth - Got A Secret
Young Earth – Got A Secret 

Release Date: 10th March 2017

O’Keeffe, O’Keeffe, Mulligan and Maher – sounds like a distinctly Irish law firm, doesn’t it? Well it’s not, it’s the four lads behind Dublin’s latest export Young Earth. New single ‘Got A Secret’ is a sub-3-minute indie-pop-punk romp with some excellent guitar work and the spirit of the 60s running through its middle like a slice of rock with The Who running through it. Swaggeringly cool vocals, choppy guitars with the occasional noodle and a tight old rhythm section gives this song confidence beyond it’s years whilst retaining the energy of youth. A great tune that sticks in the head and I suspect a cracking tune to hear live as it lends itself to various different dynamics with an audience. This is the latest in a steady stream of promising guitar bands to have come my way from Ireland this year so something is obviously stirring over there and that’s never a bad thing.


Live Dates:


11th March – Single Launch @ Whelan’s, Dublin

Friday, 24 February 2017

THE SHERLOCKS / JORDAN ALLEN / MARTYN CROCKER BAND – LIVE REVIEW

The Sherlocks / Jordan Allen / Martyn Crocker Band @ The Hub, Plymouth – 21/02/2017

It’s a greasy, uninteresting evening in Plymouth but it hasn’t stopped a mob of people turning out on a Tuesday for three hotly tipped bands playing their own songs live – that’s got to be encouraging, right? Once inside the venue, there is a palpable excitement and anticipation in the air which is largely centred around the four lads from Bolton On Dearne who are returning to Plymouth after triumphant gigs in the past, the Sherlocks are back in town.

Martyn Crocker
(Photo credit - Marielle Newton)
The evening pans out by going through various emotions of a performing musician and it all begins with a classic; nerves. Plymouth trio the Martyn Crocker Band take to the stage with no fanfare or fuss and quickly set about introducing the swelling crowd to their unique brand of intricate indie-rock. With a bass player channelling both Chris Wolstenholme and Flea and a drummer switching between subtle and driving with consummate ease, there is a fine base on which to build a set. Then we have Martyn Crocker, not a natural frontman or performer but a uniquely talented musician. Crocker’s intricate guitar work is hugely impressive and his voice is both distinctive and pure but those nerves made the band’s performance tighten up and feel as though they were holding back. Maybe they were, maybe there was something held back for the forthcoming album launch but it was no coincidence that the band got the best response from their last song which was also the performance that saw them relax more and enjoy their performance. Great songs and great musicianship, just a little rusty in terms of performance but that’s the easy part so bigger and better things will come.

Jordan Allen
(Photo credit - Marielle Newton)
Next up, after a short break to allow the various gangs to prowl around and show their threads off, we have the jittery energy of Bolton boys Jordan Allen. Frontman Allen is a tall, gangly blonde lad holding his powder blue guitar like Hank Marvin but that is where the similarity ends. The emotion behind this quartet is that of pure joy. From the second they take the stage, the energy of Jordan Allen is infectious and they are clearly delighted to be in Plymouth (the furthest South they’ve ever been, for the record). Garage influences mixed with the energy of 90 Grunge and 00s punk-pop make for a riotous half hour which really gets the crowd whipped up. Recent single ‘110 Ways to Make Things Better’ is a particular highlight as is the affable Allen who can’t resist chatting with the crowd at every opportunity. The call and response of ‘Helter’ and ‘Skelter’ is great fun but I can’t help thinking the analogy should be more turbo-twister when the chorus kicks in. These guys with these songs and this energy is a dangerous combination but one that I would bet on working out for them.

The Sherlocks
(Photo credit - Marielle Newton)
So, it’s time for the final act. The Sherlocks come with good songs, live performances that are the stuff of recent legend and the looks of a band that people want to have posters of on their walls. The two pairs of brothers take to the stage amid a storm of lights and tossed plastic pint glasses as if the Gallaghers themselves were on the road to a comeback. Straight away the melodies kick in, the drums drive and songs blast you in the face with the force of a Boeing 747 taking off. This is loud, this is slick, this is powerful, this is indie-rock on a Tuesday night custom made to whip a crowd full of latent testosterone in to an unthinking frenzy. The light show is more than impressive for a venue of this size and the devotion of the fans is almost heartening. But what’s the emotion? Well, herein lies my problem. If you can look beyond the lights and stop your ears bleeding for a second, the only emotion on the faces of the band is indifference. Not one smile, no audience interaction beyond “this is called….” and they all kept their coats on which I always think is a little rude – like, are you staying or not?

All in all, the songs won out tonight but only Jordan Allen seemed to actually enjoy playing in front of a near sell-out crowd. I’d still make a point of checking out all of these bands again but if I was to offer any words of advice it would be to just enjoy it a bit more – the crowd certainly did!

More information:



The Martyn Crocker Band - https://www.facebook.com/martyncrockermusic/

Photography by Marielle Newton - http://www.mariellephotography.co.uk/



Thursday, 23 February 2017

SISTERAY – SINGLE REVIEW

Sisteray – Faaast Food (Vallance Records) 
Sisteray - Faaast Food


Release Date: Out Now

This is the second single I’ve received recently that comes in at under two minutes and I’m all for that distilled sense of purpose and trimming of the fat so I’m keen to see what London bunch Sisteray have to offer. ‘Faaast Food’ has a pleasing rattle about the guitars and a nicely driving thud about the drums which all compliments the fuzzy, distorted vocals that are fairly inaudible but that just adds to the spirit of this tune. This borders on punk but feeds from the gang mentality that the likes of the Libertines and Blur had in their earliest days. This the perfect set opener to get everyone’s attention and shut down their conversations to prepare for the main event to come. There’s an extensive UK tour starting tomorrow so get out and catch these guys if you can, you owe it to yourselves.  


Live Dates:

24th February – Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London
25th February – The Zanzibar, Liverpool
8th March – The Joiners, Southampton
9th March – The Castle, Manchester
10th March – Henry’s Cellar, Edinburgh
11th March – Verve Bar, Leeds
16th March – Bleach, Brighton
17th March – Guns & Smoke, Barnet
24th March – Firebug, Leicester

31st March – Black Heart, London

SKY KATZ & UNLOCKING THE TRUTH – SINGLE REVIEW

Sky Katz & Unlocking The Truth – Rockstar 
Sky Katz - Rockstar


Release Date: Out Now

An 11-year-old rapper from Long Island who has risen to fame through a stint on America’s Got Talent sounds like something I would hate on most days of the week. However, Sky Katz and her collaborative efforts with Unlocking the Truth on ‘Rockstar’ are actually pretty entertaining. There’s a dark underbelly to the grimy guitars and scratched beats before Sky Katz breaks in with angry but fluid rapping. Sure, she sounds like a pissed off, bratty 11-year-old girl but when she hits the chorus of “rock and roll is all about soul” then she also kinda sounds like she could be singing on a Beastie Boys track. Sky Katz sounds angry but I’d father rather her an angry kid than a mass produced stooge singing songs about love that they can’t possibly understand. Definitely one to keep an eye on.



Monday, 20 February 2017

CLAIRE – SINGLE REVIEW

Claire – Friendly Fire
Claire - Friendly Fire

Release Date: Out Now

If what you’re lacking in life right now is some cool, sophisticated alt-pop with crisp, clean vocals and a driving rhythm then you’re in luck – I’ve found you Claire to fill that hole. New single ‘Friendly Fire’ could easily stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Clean Bandit, Sia and Angie thanks to the slick production, dance floor filling choon building and a beat that just makes you want to move. Without seeing the band promo shot you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the work of a producer and guest vocalist but it’s not, this is five-piece collective who work together to make sweet, perky dance music with a real touch of class about it.


Watch The Video: 

EMPTY LUNGS – SINGLE REVIEW

Empty Lungs – Don’t Get It (Hidden Pony Records) 
Empty Lungs - Don't Get It


Release Date: Out Now

Belfast trio Empty Lungs are pissed off and, by their own admission, this new single is a massive “fuck you to a culture that warps young people into thinking that self-image and selfishness are the core values of our modern society”. ‘Don’t Get It’ is a blistering punk-pop track that comes in at under two minutes and is the bratty bastard son of the classic ‘Man Don’t Give a Fuck’ by the Super Furry Animals and Liam Lynch’s ‘Whatever’. There are handclaps, buzzsaw guitars, great vocals harmonies and a sense of breathless confusion and bewilderment at what the world is becoming. Maybe they’re getting, maybe they’re getting angry. Either way, it sounds great.



Live Dates:


14th March – Marr’s Bar, Worcester

TEARS FOR PIERS – WTF REVIEW

Tears For Piers – Songs…..of sorts 
Tears For Piers 


Release Date: It’s out there

I don’t normally go much novelty songs but there is a special place in hell for certain people and those people deserve to have novelty songs written about them. Donald Trump, Michael Gove, Katie Hopkins – they’re all there drinking some horrible cocktail and, oh look, who’s this? It’s bloody Piers Morgan. Fortunately, we now have an appropriate soundtrack provided the self-professed foremost UK based Piers Morgan tribute band (probably in the world although there may be a superior act in Luxembourg).

This collection of songs includes the direct onslaught of ‘Everybody Wants to Punch My Face’ which features the strangely desperate and confused line “everywhere I go people just want to punch me in the face…”. Then there’s ‘Flout’ (aka ‘Shout’), a song dedicated to how the wobbly faced outrage-spout likes to blatantly ignore the laws of whichever country he happens to sucking his living out of. And then there’s the uber-poignant ‘Swallowing the Seed of Trump’ that would be more funny if it wasn’t to utterly fucking terrifying. Musically this isn’t the best thing in the world but at times like this we need protest and we need satire so these things need sharing.

More information: Oh hell no

Watch The Videos:

Everybody Wants to Punch My Face: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKgcXL54NkU


Swallowing the Seed of Trump: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FSyMcwru9c

Saturday, 18 February 2017

MICHAEL JAMES – DEMO REVIEW

Michael James – Tomato Sauce 
Michael James - Tomato Sauce


Release Date: Out Now

I feel like Scotland hasn’t been sending me much music lately and I’m not sure what I’ve done to upset my Northern cousins (literally, I’m like an eighth Scottish) but I’m glad to have received this peace offering in the form of Aberdeenshire lad Michael James. This latest demo, ‘Tomato Sauce’, is a rippling acoustic number with a soft, shuffling beat and then there’s a voice that just leaps out at you from behind the curtains. Michael James’ voice is part Belle and Sebastian twee-indie and part 1930s novelty crooner which, surprisingly, really works as a delivery method but also as an attention grabbing calling card. There’s a jaunty melody that’s hard not to love despite the Bond-esque instrumental section and overall this has a personality all of its own which is a rarity these days. Let’s never fall out again Scotland…..it was probably your fault anyway.



AUCTION FOR THE PROMISE CLUB – SINGLE REVIEW

Auction for the Promise Club – Moonlight 
Auction for the Promise Club - Moonlight
(Photo: Craig Taylor-Broad)


Release Date: Out Now

From the wilds of North Cornwall comes one of the most hotly tipped bands on my radar at the moment so I’m delighted to be able to share their music with you. Auction for the Promise Club hail from St Agnes but new single ‘Moonlight’ has a much more urban vibe about it. Vocalist Zoe White Chambers has one of those voices that seduces whilst setting you on edge as our nerves jangle along with the furious, garage inspired guitars. What is most appealing about this track, however, is that within just over 3 minutes Auction for the Promise Club take on a whole range of tempos and styles. The indie-rock core runs throughout but there are grunge elements, hints of garage and a pop sensibility the likes of which I haven’t heard since that first Sleigh Bells record. Then there are tender, delicate moments that ought to be ripped apart by the heat and intensity of the guitars but, like a Chinese lantern*, this song just soars in the night sky like a guiding beacon of hope.

*seriously though, don’t use them – they mess up the wildlife.



HUNCK – SINGLE REVIEW

Hunck – Little Woman 
Hunck - Little Woman


Release Date: Out Now

It’s hard not to love Hunck, they just sound like they’d be fun to hang out with. The band seems to be expanding from two devilishly handsome gents to a gaggle (or 5 to be precise) and new single ‘Little Woman’ chimes out with some deliciously poppy guitars before the moderately sinister vocals kick in. The uniqueness of the band’s sound is such that the only comparisons I can make are to relatively obscure bands such as Stages of Dan or Holy City Rollers but that’s no bad thing at all. This is indie, this is pop, this is melody and this just the kind of tune to make you dance with pure euphoria in your Converse trainers with your best mates all locked arm in arm together. The sound track of the good times, that’s what this is.


Live Dates:

23rd February – Thousand Island, London

24th February – The Winchester, Bournemouth

SARAH KLANG – SINGLE REVIEW

Sarah Klang – Strangers (Pangur Musik) 
Sarah Klang - Strangers


Release Date: Out Now

This is one of those songs that you have to put on again as soon as it’s finished just to check that it’s as lovely, heartbreaking and luscious as you thought it was. ‘Strangers’ was apparently written when Klang was living in Gothenburg but just about to move to Stockholm and that sense of a chapter closing and another opening up is writ large on the walls of this alt-country tune. This is First Aid Kit but darker, Johnny Cash doing ‘Hurt’ but with a sweeter voice or the perfect song to leave town on a Greyhound bus to if your head tells you to leave but your heart is hanging on to the bus stop with every last beat. The guitars are warm and inviting, the drums subtle and the organ rich and smooth but it’s Sarah Klang’s stunning voice that sells it. In fact, the only blemish on this otherwise perfect release is the press photo that looks like a reject from a 70s wedding but at least it’s an original and unusual image.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/Sarah-Klang-828606903841062/?fref=ts

SHAEFRI – SINGLE REVIEW

Shaefri – Rabbit Hole
Shaefri - Rabbit Hole

Release Date: Out Now

Previous single ‘Pixelate’ was a breath of fresh air from London based Irish-Egyptian artist Shaefri so expectations are high for new single ‘Rabbit Hole’. There’s a mellow soul to this tune with stuttering, scattered beats twitching in the background as velvet smooth keys ease the mood. This is somewhere between Sunday morning chill out and Saturday night staying in with your beau music. Something to relax to but something to intense and ‘in the moment’ to as well. The song builds gradually, progressively and intensely but never quite reaches a climax so open a bottle of wine, grab your loved one and put this on a loop for a long old kiss and, well, the rest is up to you. Shaefri can’t do all the work!



Watch The Video: 


Thursday, 16 February 2017

BOOTY FEET – EP REVIEW

Booty Feet – Booty Feet EP 
Booty Feet - Booty Feet EP


Release Date: Out Now 

Firstly, great name. Booty Feet suggest indie but also cuteness and that’s a tough combination to pull off so bravo for that. Still, cuteness is probably not what the Texas trio were after when they put this EP together. Kicking off with ‘Scotty Pippin’ and immediately I love the lo-fi, Dick Dale inspired guitars which layer up to create a nice beachy vibe that, for two and a half minutes, makes you forget that these guys come from landlocked Texas. ‘No Dad (Simple Song)’ is a grungy little number to start off with but once that groove settles in there’s a more post-rock vibe going on with a satisfying guitar chug being tempered by some delicate keys and perky, cymbal heavy drums.

One can only imagine that old George is a huge influence on the music of Booty Feet as the jazz influenced, Incubus-esque noodling of ‘Clooney’ swings in to view in a sharp suit that smells of cigarettes and infidelity. ‘Birdhouse’ has a similarly complex structure that shows off the band’s technical ability like a less aggressive Biffy Clyro or At The Drive-In cutting lose and not stressing out so much. On ‘Foxtrot’ there’s a bass sound that puts me in mind of early Veruca Salt but the expansive Math-rock is more progressive and mind bending.

This collection closes out on ‘Lungs’, the most subdued of all the tracks to begin with but at seven and a half minutes long there is plenty of room for this tune to meander, change form and change direction which it takes full advantage of. Booty Feet are a hard band to pigeon hole or classify which is a rare and beautiful thing these days. Crucially, though, they have two key ingredients in talent and ideas. Keep those two at the forefront and they’ll always make good music, no doubt about that.



BAIT – SINGLE REVIEW

BAIT – Push The Elephant (Cool Thing Records) 
BAIT - Push The Elephant


Release Date: 24th February 2017

For once I am genuinely struggling to type something meaningful here that will add to what I’ve been listening to on a loop for the last 10 minutes. BAIT is an elusive audio-visual artist from the UK (I think, information is scant) and this single is his (I think) latest release. ‘Push The Elephant’ is 165 seconds of unforgiving, relentless and churning indie-art-rock that channels the Killing Joke, Death in Vegas, the Chemical Brother and the Prodigy at their most brutalist. Throw in some punk vocals and a real sense of clenched teeth anger and you’re getting close but I wouldn’t get too close – this song will bite you if it gets the chance. I’m hooked on the circular riff and football chant of “push the elephant” which is now burrowed deep in to my brain like the earworm that tequila couldn’t kill off. A strong contender for single of the year already.

More information: There Is None


BLEEKER – ALBUM REVIEW

Bleeker – Erase You (Five Seven Music) 
Bleeker - Erase You


Release Date: Out Now

I’ve been waiting for what feels like an age for Canadian trio Bleeker to release this album and the anticipation has been making me crazy. Luckily, debut LP ‘Where’s Your Money’ hits hard and true from the get-go so all that waiting was worthwhile. ‘Highway’ kicks things off with huge rock chops but also the pop sensibilities of a chart topping hit as the guitars bounce, the drums ping and those vocals swagger and swoon just enough to make you want to break in to a carefully choreographed dance routine. The swaggering continues on ‘Free’ as they sing of the freedom of breaking away from that relationship that drags you down – this is the tune to walk out of your shitty, dead end office job to while you flip over the in-trays and smash the computers.

There’s a theme of escapism and of breaking free on this album and ‘Getting Out’ is another example of this as those classic rock riffs kick hard and Bleeker channel Reef and Jet in all their pomp and posturing. Title track ‘Erase You’ takes things to a harder, more 70s place as the influences of metal, prog and rock hit you square in the face and suddenly you want to be right in the middle of that sweaty mosh pit, swaying with the masses, part of something bigger and better than you could ever be on your own. The guitar work is excellent and that voice just rasps and roars so a bill with Wolfmother and the Foo Fighters would be entirely natural. ‘I’m Not Laughing Now’ the band take a more indie-pop ballad approach which is a fine song but I came here to rock so I’m pleased when ‘Still Got Love’ kicks in with a grinding, hypnotic circular riff that is perfect driving music and a real head bobber.

Bleeker - Sexy beasts
There’s an element of surprise when the next track turns out to be a punked up garage version of Elvis Costello’s ‘Radio Radio’ but it still sounds so fresh and relevant that it kinda works. Scratch that, it totally works. And then, well then it’s time to rock. ‘Where’s Your Money’ combines the campness of the Darkness with the chug of ACDC and it completely works so just strap it on rock out with your cock out (or other genitals, this music does not discriminate). ‘Emergency’ is slick indie-rock with a stop start rhythm and some cave singing while ‘Close My Eyes’ is a relatively run of the mill rock ballad with a piano riff and a bit of a nod to Bon Jovi.

The album closes off on ‘Every Time You Call’ which keeps the rock motif going well and underlines the band’s ability to rock hard whilst keeping an eye on the melody to keep you hooked in. All in all, totally worth waiting for although if you made this an 8 track album and lost the last three tracks you wouldn’t be missing out on much. Bleeker, I suspect, will be one of those bands that just need a cross-over single and some hard touring to make it but it will all come down to their live shows and from what I hear they are pretty legendary.


Live Dates:

3rd March – Maxwell’s Concerts & Events, Waterloo
4th March – The Pheonix Concert Theatre, Toronto w/Luke Austin
14th May – Somerset Amphitheater, Somerset

21st May – Rock On the Range, Columbus

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

VAARWELL – SINGLE REVIEW

Vaarwell – YOU
Vaarwell - YOU

Release Date: Out Now

Something a little different all the way from Portugal now. Lisbon trio Margarida, Ricardo and Luis – aka Vaarwell – have a new single out under the simple title ‘YOU’ and it is a little bit special. The delicate, early morning keys are matched by the delicate vocals of Margarida and that combination already puts you in a dream like state and we’re only 30 seconds in. This is the kind of music that soundtracks your loneliest moments, the darkest moments before the dawn but there is a sense of optimism here that tells you that day will break any minute now if just keep staring at that horizon. File this under the XX but with more soul or Sia but more blissed out. Sumptuous stuff. Oh, and there’s a person dressed as a giant Polar bear in the video and you can’t hate that, can you?


Watch The Video:

DYLYN – SINGLE REVIEW

DYLYN – Mimosa (Home Music Co.) 
DYLYN - Mimosa


Release Date: Out Now

There’s a lot of great, fresh music coming out of LA at the moment and the latest on that eclectic conveyor belt is the vowel averse DYLYN. New single ‘Mimosa’ is alt-pop in the mould that the Swedes have been using so well recently. Brutal beats, ‘whatever’ vocals and mingling electro melodies all lead up to a party anthem chorus where DYLYN sings “I’d rather swim in my Mimosa” – an anthem of decadence and the quest for a good time in the same vein as Angie’s ‘Housewife Spliffin’’. The only snag is that to make this work in the UK, DYLYN is going to have to rename this tune ‘Bucks Fizz’ which loses a little in translation.


Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/homemusiccompany/dylyn-mimosa-1

BIG LONELY – SINGLE REVIEW

Big Lonely – Dream Boat 
Big Lonely - Dream Boat

Release Date: Out Now

Canadian winter plus a pool party and some big vibes equals a great single from Ontario’s Big Lonely. ‘Dream Boat’ is like the harder edged big brother of Tennis who has been listening to the Beach Boys, Rooney and a load of Mersey Beat songs on scratchy vinyl. A gloriously prominent bass line and some simple but punch drums keep things swinging while the smooth vocals and harmonies keep those twitchy, jerky guitars well in line. This is a summer anthem with a tinge of regret and a fine line in guitar solos so strap on your best Hawaiian shirt, pour out a daiquiri, ignore the grey skies outside and let’s have a little fun.


Watch the Video: 

BEACH RIOT – SINGLE REVIEW

Beach Riot – B.A.D. 
Beach Riot - B.A.D.


Release Date: Out Now

This is what I love about doing this blog. Brand new bands still shitting in their nappies coming to me with their quivering songs, still learning how to breathe and scream. London quartet Beach Riot (great name btw, really great) are shiny and new and their debut single is ‘B.A.D.’ and it. is. glorious. A grinding, relentless grunge-pop riff comes burning in to view like a flaming motorcycle straight from hell with a beat that is straight out of the Keith Moon school of drumming. I’m reminded of Cable, the Dirty Nil, Kerbdog early Nirvana and really early Feeder due to the retention of melody along with the dirtiness of the riffage. Gritty, angry, melodic and sub-three minutes. Like I said, glorious!



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Monday, 13 February 2017

TRAPDOOR SOCIAL – SINGLE REVIEW

Trapdoor Social – Never Stop Listening
Trapdoor Social - Never Stop Listening

Release Date: Out Now

There is so much to be angry about right now as the world burns with every turn so it’s important to remember the individual injustices as well as the bigger picture. LA troupe Trapdoor Social have focused their latest single, ‘Never Stop Listening’, on raising the profile of the protest at Standing Rock and battle between history, heritage and corporate greed. The message is noble, for sure, but the delivery of that message is also glorious. In the style of Incubus, Trapdoor Social put forward an impassioned Westcoast indie-rock message with some haunting harmonies blended with some urgent, agitated guitars that burrow and persist like the insistent protestors forcing their message on to the ‘powers that be’ through any channel possible. This is anthemic, rousing and emotion filled – all the things music should be if you want to get a message across without any confusion.


Live Dates:

13th February – Springwater, Nashville
14th February – The Open Chord, Knoxville
16th February – Rake’s End, Cincinnati
18th February – Wilbert’s, Cleveland
20th February – Teavolve, Baltimore


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JUSTIN CURRIE – SINGLE REVIEW

Justin Currie – This Is My Kingdom Now 
Justin Currie - This Is My Kingdom Now

Release Date: Out Now

According to the press release, Justin Currie lives in Glasgow, collects beer mats and makes his own cushions. Of course, the PR company weren’t to know that Currie’s ‘Always The Last To Know’ was one of the formative songs of my childhood when he was then fronting Del Amitri so he’s a little more than cushion making Glasgow dweller to me. The new single from Currie, ahead of a new album, is the intriguingly titled ‘This Is My Kingdom Now’ which comes with a strikingly odd and unnerving video. The soulful acoustic strum is met by Currie’s distinctively gravelled voice and smooth delivery and the subtle click of a snare rim to keep us in time. There’s a bleak, funereal feel to this tune but with the optimism of someone who’s about to end it all and, with it, end all the pain they’ve been living for as long as they can remember. This is shit or get off the pot music where you decide to roll over and give up or stand up and fight. There’s a trumpet solo and an element of resolution to the song but that video is might weird.


Live Dates:

26th May – Concert Hall, Perth
28th May – Picturedome, Holmfirth
29th May – Arts Centre, Pocklington
30th May – Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton
31st May – Hangar 34, Liverpool
2nd June – Junction 1, Cambridge
3rd June – Assembly Hall, Islington
24th June – Northern Roots Festival, Inverness

Watch The Video:


GOOSE – SINGLE REVIEW

Goose – Call Me (Safari Records) 
Goose - Call Me


Release Date: Out Now

I’ve always had a soft spot for Belgian electro-nutters Goose and felt that they weren’t given enough respect so now is my chance to help redress the balance a little. New single ‘Call Me’ comes ahead of a new album and it has the feeling of something big about to happen with its ominous tones droning at the beginning before a skittish, itchy melody starts to bleed in with huge portent. Soon enough the tune starts to build up with the atmosphere and tension of an Above & Beyond floor filler – all class and melodies designed to make your spirit soar. The subdued vocals give this a dream-like vibe that would go down perfectly in the midst of a massive high in Ibiza or just as the sun is coming up and you are coming down. Glorious.


Live Dates:

18th February – Generiq Festival, Besancon
16th March – Snowcase, Wiehl
13th April – Camden Assembly, London
2nd June – Gladiolen, Olen
8th July – Rock Zottegem, Zottegem
9th July – Cactus Festival, Bruges

Watch the Video: 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

BEN MARWOOD – SINGLE REVIEW

Ben Marwood – Baby You’re a Mess (Xtra Mile Recordings)
Ben Marwood - Baby You're A Mess

Release Date: Out Now

I’m always intrigued to get new releases from Xtra Mile Recordings as they have a strong track record of unearthing excellent songwriters and tunesmiths. Although Reading’s Ben Marwood may not be brand new on the scene but he’s new to me and he’s pretty special to boot. New single, ‘Baby You’re A Mess’ has a touch of the Frank Turner’s about it but with less of that anger and a little more confessional introspection as the song grows from delicate acoustic tones to a strummed full band romp in direct correlation to Marwood’s confidence in the message he’s delivering. If you like you’re folk impassioned and with a touch of Americana about it then this might just be up your street, idly strumming a guitar in the corner of an Irish bar with a half drunk pint of Guinness on a stool.


Live Dates: 

6th April – Brunswick, Brighton w/Helen Chambers
7th April – Monarch, London w/Helen Chambers
8th April – Southsea Sound, Portsmouth w/Helen Chambers
10th April – Crofters Rights, Bristol w/Helen Chambers
11th April – Bodega, Nottingham w/Helen Chambers
12th April – Fulford Arms, York w/Helen Chambers
14th April – Opium, Edinburgh
15th April – Hug & Pint, Glasgow
16th April – Gullivers, Manchester


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MARTYN CROCKER – ALBUM REVIEW

Martyn Crocker – Favourtism 
Martyn Crocker - Favourtism


Release Date: 24th February 2017

I’ve been aware of Mr Martyn Crocker for quite a while now, in the periphery of my awareness like one of those floaters you get in your eye that you can’t quite focus in on. Nevertheless, like a persistent eye disease, Crocker has forced his existence (and music) in to full view and after some scratching and swearing I’m incredibly pleased to have him in focus. This new album opens with the feisty ‘Abacus’ which is driven by a passionately strummed acoustic guitar and a sense of pent up energy, frustration and genuine need to say something which is always a good place to start. Instantly, the precision of Crocker’s vocal style is apparent, coming across like a slightly more melodic Jake Morley (huge praise round these parts as Morley won two LWM awards in 2016). ‘Out Of The Dark’ is up next and the acoustic energy continues with a West Coast American vibe in the polished indie-rock that could easily be accompanying a moody video on MTV sometime soon.

We might be talking about a solo artist here but there’s a full band backing him and that comes in to full force on ‘Wishful Thinking’ as the guitars become more electric, the bass grumbles menacingly and the drums beat on relentlessly with military force. Crocker has a dark side we now discover but this is still presented with superbly crafted melodies and well placed power. ‘The Places That We’re From’ is a perfectly poised tale of small town frustration with hints of Del Amitri and Rooney mixing folk, indie and pop as we hear a story that will be familiar to millions the world over – surely a hit in waiting. On ‘Hope’ things are stripped back to just Martyn and his acoustic and while the song is still well crafted it lacks the edge of some of the others here and feels more like a B-side than anything else.

Martyn Crocker - in a hat
Things get back on track with ‘If Only He Knew’ with some furious and creative percussion below a flamenco inspired acoustic riff and Biffy Clyro-esque chanting harmonies. In terms of arrangement, ‘If Only He Knew’ is the most interesting and progressive track on the album as different melodies and instruments all vie for space without sounding cluttered or directionless. There’s a gritty edge to the indie-rock of ‘Stick Around For Good’ as Crocker’s voice delivers the lyrics in his inimitable smooth but impassioned vocal style that is surely destined for bigger audiences. The eight track album closes on ‘Hold Your Hand’ which is the first tune that gives away our hero’s Westcountry roots with the folky acoustic picking sounding like a Crazy Arm tune lifted from an old Cornish sea shanty but with melody that would easily grace more mainstream airwaves. Martyn Crocker currently resides in Plymouth, a city renowned for looking out towards the rest of the world and sending explorers to the four corners – this music deserves to be heard the world over as well so maybe it’s a fitting place to start.


Live Dates:

21st February – The Hub, Plymouth w/The Sherlocks
25th February – The B-Bar, Plymouth
4th March – Unit 23 LIVE, Totnes
11th March – The Wharf, Tavistock w/Nova Grey

18th March – Studio Bar, Penzance

Saturday, 11 February 2017

WE THREE & THE DEATH RATTLE – SINGLE REVIEW

We Three & The Death Rattle – (Hail Mary) Sister Six (PAW//PURR) 
WTATDR - (Hail Mary) Sister Six


Release Date: Out Now

London trio We Three & The Death Rattle have been regularly and consistently producing ear bleedingly good singles for a while now so the pressure is on with this new release. ‘(Hail Mary) Sister Six’ is, thankfully, yet another storming release with the band’s trademark raw power and energy coursing through its veins. Opening with some spoken word about computer viruses, we soon kick in to a grungy, ballsy and snarling beast of a tune all full of distorted guitars and gun-riff drums. This is perhaps more lo-fi, more raw than previous releases but that rawness and energy builds like the relentless approaching thrum of a motorcycle belonging to the grim reaper. There’s a nice little organ interlude and then the guitars drive this through to the climax. This is sassy stuff, dressed in skin tight leather trousers and a matching jacket so I’d clear a space at the bar if I were you.


Thursday, 9 February 2017

TAFFY – SINGLE REVIEW

Taffy – DD (Club AC30)
Taffy - DD

Release Date: Out Now

They say the way to man’s heart is through his stomach but while I enjoy that route, you can’t go wrong with a fuzzy guitar and a load of distortion if you’re trying to win my affections. Japanese quartet Taffy, therefore, are well on the way to the centre of my heart in the opening ten seconds of ‘DD’ as the furious drone of the guitars burrow through your ears before the delicate, barely audible vocals chime in with some sweet melodies. There is something utterly delightful about the relentless, circular nature of the riff ‘DD’ that some will find massively annoying but I could listen to it all day with glee and excitement like listening to a garage rock icecream van circling the neighbourhood.



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BRODIE MONIKER – SINGLE REVIEW

Brodie Moniker – Push Play DJ (Extra Credibility Records) 
Brodie Moniker - Push Play DJ


Release Date: Out Now

Dapper Canadian gent Brodie Moniker might just be my new best friend. I mean, firstly, just look at him!? Who wouldn’t want to hang out with this dude? He’d get you in to all the best parties, for sure. Then there’s this song, ‘Push Play DJ’. It comes in like ‘Tell Me Something Good’ by Rufus and Chaka Khan but played by Lynyrd Skynyrd. But then it swings in to Weezer territory and the wall of organs, distorted guitar and sleazy, snarling assured vocals make this a real rock’n’roll wonder. It’s over four minutes long but oh that riff? I could listen to those fuzzy, scuzzed up guitars all night long and with an album due out in March I might just get the chance. I wonder if Mr Moniker would hand deliver me a copy?