Wednesday, 29 March 2017

LISTEN WITH MONGER PRESENTS ONE DAY FEST – LIVE REVIEW

One Day Fest @ The Inn On The Shore, Downderry – 25/03/2017

Sometimes you find yourself in a bit of a funk and you think to yourself “I can stay deep within this funk or I can do something positive to move out of it”. I did the latter about 6 months ago, and decided to put together a day of music to raise money for a charity that had helped with my treatment after having a cancerous tumour removed from my groin – hence the aforementioned funk. The day of music was called One Day Fest, it happened on 25th March and it was glorious.

As the early afternoon sunshine beamed in through the windows of the perfectly located beachside pub, the Inn on the Shore, 15 musicians of various ages took to the stage under the title of the Deviock Community Music Group and suddenly we have an ensemble playing up some Jazz classics and easing us in to a day of live music in the sunshine. Flute, violin and brass all mix with a tight rhythm section and an impossibly cool guitar (like, clear Perspex) to make for an impressive group piece that sets the tone perfectly.

Gozer Goodspeed (Photo Don D)
Once a gaggle of music stands and instruments had been cleared off the stage there was just one man left. One man in a hat. One man in a hat with guitar. That man was Gozer Goodspeed and he brought his stomping rhythms and twanging guitar to play along with his rasping Blues vocals which kicked things up a notch. Fans young and old are captivated by Goodspeed’s raw energy and infectious melodies so you can bet on him for a sure-fire bet to get a party started whenever you need it.





Joanna Cooke (Photo Don D)
Now, for those that haven’t experienced the soulful, dusky tones of Joanna Cooke then you really haven’t been paying attention, have you? Her duo’s performance in front of a sun dappled English Channel could easily have been happening on the coast of Monte Carlo such is the classy and consummate nature of her music. A fully original set showed off her range, yet again, as we eased through soul, pop, R’n’B and the blues and discerning ears were drawn to her performance like moths to a flame. Cooke has been handpicked for a support slot with the ‘so-hot-right-now’ Rag’n’Bone Man so things are starting to stir for her but today was all about the perfect sound in the perfect environment.

The openly hungover Jamie Yost was up next and I’ve rarely seen a man take a stage so reluctantly but between the moments of uncomfortable shuffling and dehydrated discomfort, something wonderful happened. Yost’s voice is full of soul, charm and a sense of mature ease that should set him up there with the housewife’s favourites like James Morrison but the content and structure of his songs as well as the playing of his guitar gives this more depth than your average Radio 2 fodder. If this is how Yost performs hungover then if we can catch while he’s still drunk or even sober then dangerous things might happen. Good dangerous. Sexy dangerous.

Saltash lad Paul Armer takes the stage with a more quietly confident manner and sets about quickly
Paul Armer (Photo Don D)
rattling the windows from their frames with a fiercely strummed guitar and the occasional blast on a harmonica. Armer has a style that’s instantly engaging and likeable with the energy of Frank Turner in his early solo days. As the sun started its move over towards the Western part of the Cornish coastline you couldn’t have a better soundtrack to rouse you from an afternoon of drinking in the sunshine and prepare you for an evening of revelry.


To ease the gathered masses in to the twilight session of the evening we had the sounds of Devon boy (currently ensconced in Newcastle – yeah, he made the trip) Nick Gladdish bringing his radio friendly indie-acoustic tunes to an eager and swelling audience. Mixing slow, more delicate heart-string tuggers with whooping, stomping more anthemic numbers, Gladdish is a flawless performer who prowls the stage like a man born to it. He’ll be back from beyond the wall, it’s in his blood.



Mark Cornwall (Photo Marielle Newton)
Now, it takes guts to get up and perform in front of a crowd but it takes real guts to do it for the first time in front of a crowd that largely consists of neighbours and friends. Well, one Mark Cornwall did just that as the sun gave up the fight and rattled out a string of covers with a twist that had the crowd singing along with glee and support. Let that be a message to everyone, if you feel the music within you then there’s never a bad time to start.




While the gathered revellers queued at the busy bar, the hopeful listened for the raffle number to be called and one lucky woman agreed to marry this humble reviewer, something was stirring on stage. In a mass of impressively wild hair, beards and a strangely relaxing smell, the near legendary Phat Bollard took to the stage and the anticipation was palpable….and justified. From the first strum of a tightly strung mandolin, you can tell that this is a group of musicians (brothers, almost) that spends every waking and sleeping hour together. Their brand of furious folk is infectious and before long the crowd were dancing, hanging from the walls and generally enjoying life just about as much as it is possible to enjoy life with your clothes on.


The Busketeers (Photo Don D)
In terms of tough gigs, following a double encore is pretty tough but throw in the fact that the Busketeers were down a member and one of their number was performing with them for the first time then you’ve got a steep mountain to climb. That said, these two lads took to the stage with quiet determination and set about getting the crowd dancing. It is a universal truth that a packed pub that is dancing Irish inspired folk one minute will then be joyously singing along to Mark Morrison’s ‘Return of the Mack’ the next – albeit a funked up version played out on acoustic guitar and Cajon. The mood was lively, the smiles were broad and the dancing happened like nobody was watching which is surely the best kind of dancing.

To top the night off, those that started it returned to finish it – minus a few members – as the Deviock Community Music Group took to a night time stage but this time the style was soul and Motown to top the night off in the perfect style.

The day was perfect; we raised over £2,000 for St Luke’s Hospice, enjoyed some sublime music and the sun shone for the first time in what feels like a year. Music has healing powers, they say, and on this evidence, I think I’m starting to agree.

More information:

Marielle Newton Photography: http://www.mariellephotography.co.uk/
Deviock Community Music Group: http://www.deviockcommunitymusic.co.uk/

Watch a video of the day (credit: Joe Lemin, 14)

Thursday, 23 March 2017

FIGHTING CARAVANS/COLOUR OF SPRING – SPLIT SINGLE REVIEW

Fighting Caravans/Colour of Spring – It’s A Nice Ride (To Be Fair)/Frail (Clue Records/Clue Club)
Fighting Caravans - It's A Nice Ride (To Be Fair)


Release Date: Out Now

Life goals: find a record company that you love, become obsessed with their artists and then faint with overwhelmed delight when they launch a singles club ready to bring you more great artists. This double-A side is the first release from Clue Club and features two great emerging British bands, the first of which is Leeds five-piece Fighting Caravans. ‘It’s A Nice Ride (To Be Fair)’ opens with a sense of purpose, striding in to an Arcade Fire meets the Killers indie-rock stride before the Dick Dale guitars come out and I’m suddenly reminded of Sheffield gunslingers The Clench. You see, Fighting Caravans have a real swagger about them and the layers of guitars mixed with preacher-style vocals could see these guys easily sliding in to a Grinderman support slot to get things moving.

Colour of Spring - Frail
Colour of Spring are also from Leeds (to be fair, Clue Records is a Leeds based label so you can forgive them some favouritism) and their half of this single goes by the more brief title of ‘Frail’. This is an altogether more trippy affair but don’t expect this to be a relaxed walk in the park – unless, of course, you’ve dropped some acid and the trees start talking to you. This is psych-shoegaze and the shuddering guitars mix perfectly with the sea-spray cymbals to create a tumultuous, tempestuous sound that it would be very easy to get lost in. If you enjoy some 90s shoegaze with a little twist of crazy then you should dive in and enjoy this and if not then give it a try anyway. What’s the worst that could happen?

More information:




Live Dates:

Fighting Caravans

24th March – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
9th April – Blues Bar, Harrogate
13th April – The Washington, Sheffield
15th April – Stockton Calling,  Stockton on Tees
21st April – Live Room, Cleckheaton
28th May – Karma Fest 2017, Leeds
30th June – SouthCider Festival, Burton Bradstock

23rd July – Blackthorn Festival, Stockport

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

THE RUNNING LIGHTS – SINGLE REVIEW

The Running Lights – Once Upon a Time
The Running Lights - Once Upon a Time

Release Date: 31st March 2017

New York trio The Running Lights open this single up with a bassline, a clicked beat and the breathless vocal “I just can’t the pain of being lead on and let down by somebody who I’m nothing to”. This is heartbreak from the start and ‘Once Upon a Time’ is a cautionary tale of letting your heart rule your head but also comes as slightly stalky in some of the lyrics. Whatever your take on the sentiment, however, the music should suit fans of more recent Maroon 5 or Coldplay’s work with Chainsmokers with its indie-pop vibe and clean, almost sparse musicianship. As cool and sophisticated as you’d expect from a bunch of New Yorkers.


Live Dates:

27th March – The Bowery Electric, New York
20th April – Pianos, New York
24th May – Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2, New York

RIVAL KARMA – SINGLE REVIEW

Rival Karma – Scream 
Rival Karma - Scream

Release Date: Out Now

London blues rockers Rival Karma have a new single out in the shape of ‘Scream’ and the shape of scream is a dirty, riff heavy piece of rock’n’roll. Think Buckcherry, Reef or Orphic Soop with the slickness of ‘Dakota’ era Stereophonics all wrapped up in a Maroon 5 package just ready to drive the ladies wild. Sure, this isn’t genre defying or boundary pushing but it is good, solid, funky rock’n’roll with just enough swagger about it to make it interesting. As Rival Karma say, sometimes you’ve just got to “Scream and shout, let it all out tonight”.


Live Dates:

13th April – The Islington, London


CHUCK BERRY – SINGLE REVIEW

Chuck Berry – Big Boys (Dualtone/Decca Records)
Chuck Berry - Big Boys

Release Date: Out Now

2016 may have taken some modern stars of music away from us but 2017 has taken a true legend in the form of Chuck Berry. The silver lining to this cloud is that, before he went, Chuck recorded a ten track album of completely new material and this single is the first shot across the bows from that collection, due out in June. ‘Big Boys’ chimes out with that trademark guitar sound and some splendid honky-tonk piano. Then Chuck slides in, hitting those notes bang on without a hint of his advancing years and oh boy does he sound like he’s having fun. The gang vocals in the chorus and rolling drum fills are just a joy to behold but when you remember that this was written and recorded when the man was coming to the end of his 80s, well, it makes you realise how much fun there is still to have. The new album features Berry’s son, grandson, long time band mates and distinguished guests like Tom Morello and Gary Clark Jr. so I would urge you to make allowance in your June budget for ‘Chuck’ the album.


Watch The Video: 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

JERRY WILLIAMS – SINGLE REVIEW

Jerry Williams – I’m Not In Love With You
Jerry Williams - I'm Not In Love With You

Release Date: Out Now

I must admit, I’ve not been entirely convinced by the furore around Portsmouth Princess Jerry Williams in the past but this latest single has won me over so consider me converted. ‘I’m Not Love With You’ sits somewhere between Lily Allen, Alice Jemima, Belle and Sebastian and Kate Nash with that mix of sweet and sour coming across beautifully in this slice of aloof indie-pop shuffles as sultry as can be down Carnaby Street through the last 4 decades. Guitars jangle, the drums bounce like Ringo in his prime and Williams sings with a mixture of sadness and steeliness that really shouldn’t work with this kind of bubblegum indie-pop but it adds something fresh. Like the burn you get in your throat after a smooth shot of whisky.


Live Dates:

28th March – The Waiting Room, London

Watch The Video: 

Monday, 20 March 2017

CISSI FORSS – SINGLE REVIEW

Cissi Forss – The Way
Cissi Forss - The Way

Release Date: Out Now

It might sound like a really contrived joke set-up but this song is borne from a Swedish fashion house (Gina Tricot) wanting to create a campaign around sustainable use of denim, then recruiting Swedish actress Cissi Forss to rap over a tune created by Swedish producer pair Falcor. It might sound bonkers but when you get in to the song, ‘The Way’, it just gets weirder. Furious handclaps and an up-tempo dance melody all make sense to an extent but then comes Forss’ rapping which is like something out of a compelling Eurovision tune. Sure, it’s a little bit preachy but the message is a good one (reuse, don’t over wash clothes, recycle) even if the shoe-horning of the word sustainable is increasingly difficult. The video is equally bizarre with Forss starting off chatting with her own reflection before dancing around a factory looking like a Status Quo groupie in head-to-toe denim. Then the action shifts to India and things get more colourful if not any less ‘unique’. The message and the melody is a strong one but it’s also incredibly hard to make a song about not washing your jeans twice a week particularly engaging. Good effort though.


Watch The Video: 

CHLOE MARTINI – SINGLE REVIEW

Chloe Martini – Dark Noise 
Chloe Martini - Dark Noise


Release Date: Out Now

The opening bars of this tune are skittish and suggest some Grime or dark Hip-Hop influences but then this new single from Warsaw’s Chloe Martini switches up to feisty, dirty alt-pop track that is as sexy as it is aggressive. ‘Dark Noise’ (great title) shunts, grinds and skips like a bona fide party anthem as Martini sings “your wicked smile can’t break me, break me this time”. There’s soul, rap, pop, dance and a whole lot of night time fun to be had with this urban track which, if I’m honest, is not a sound I expected to be coming out Poland. My bad for not having a more open mind.



BECCA STEVENS – SINGLE REVIEW

Becca Stevens feat. Laura Mvula – Well Loved 
Becca Stevens - Well Loved


Release Date: Out Now

When one of New York’s prime Jazz vocalists teams up with one of the finest Brit singers of the last 10 years you know you’ve got to be in for a treat. Becca Stevens’ new single ‘Well Loved’ is a light, perky piece of hope and fresh romance that bounces around on erratic rhythms that would fit in on any Tori Amos or Kimbra album. As the song builds and climaxes with intermingling and increasingly layered vocals it’s hard not to fall in love with this tune which is, ironically, about the joy of being loved. Enjoy.


Live Dates:

30th March – Album Launch, Brooklyn
31st March – Billy Childs: Map to the Treasure, Washington
6th April – Terrace Club, Princeton
7th April – Arch Street Tavern, Hartford
8th April – Riverwalk Café and Music Bar, Nashua
9th April – The Red Room at Café 939, Boston
10th April – Radio Bean, Burlington
11th April – Funk’n’Waffles, Syracuse
12th April – Buffalo Iron Works, Buffalo
13th April – City News, Indianapolis
14th April – Sqaure Cat Vinyl, Indianapolis
17th April – City Winery, Chicago
18th April – Zanzabar, Louisville
19th April – Cosmic Charlie’s, Lexington
20th April – 5 Spot, Nashville
21st April – Thomas Street, Charlotte
22nd April – Beyu Café, Durham
26th April – Isis, Asheville
28th April – High Rock Outfitters, Lexington
29th April – Marietta Jazz and Jokes, Marietta
5th May – O2 Academy, London w/Snarky Puppy
16th May – L’Aeronef, Lille w/Snarky Puppy
17th May – Le Rocher do Palmer, Cenon w/Snarky Puppy
18th May – L’Olympia, Paris w/Snarky Puppy
19th May – La Cooperative de Mai, Clermont
20th May – L’Amphitheatre de la Cite Internationale, Lyon w/Snarky Puppy
22nd May – Batschkapp, Frankfurt w/Snarky Puppy
23rd May – Substage, Karlsruhe w/Snarky Puppy
24th May – Kaufleuten, Zurich w/ Snarky Puppy

27th July – Stimmen Festival, Lorrach w/Jacob Collier

Sunday, 19 March 2017

DARK DARK HORSE – SINGLE REVIEW

Dark Dark Horse – Frontiers (Little Fanfare)
Dark Dark Horse - Frontiers

Release Date: Out Now

When you listen to this latest release from Leicestershire’s Dark Dark Horse you can’t help but conjure images of Westerns, cowboys looking moodily out over endless plains and skin that looks and (probably) feels like the leather chaps straddling the horse. Then, when you watch the video for ‘Frontiers’, you realise that the duo have gone full-on with this imagery and that feels kinda satisfying. The saloon piano has a sad, twilight tone to it that wouldn’t be out of place at the start of an episode of Westworld but then this morphs smoothly in to something akin to Delphic telling a ‘once upon a time’ Wild West story to subdued synths and a pulsing beat. The build on this track is slow but that just adds to its charm and you can’t help but be enveloped in its warm embrace. There was a band from Manchester called Contact Mo who I dearly loved and excelled in a similarly downbeat but comfortingly uplifting style and I just hope Dark Dark Horse don’t suffer the same fate (i.e. quietly shuffling off in to the night without getting the recognition they deserved).


Live Dates:

29th April – Fosse Park, Leicester

Watch the Video: 

THE PICTUREBOOKS – SINGLE REVIEW

The Picturebooks – Wardance (Another Century) 
The Picturebooks - Wardance

Release Date: Out Now

German duo The Picturebooks are back with a new single (as well as an album) and it’s a good thing too, you lucky bleeders. ‘Wardance’ has that trademark heavy stomp before the guitars kick with a heavy, blues-grunge sound that makes the Black Keys sound like Celine Dion. “Wardance, bring the fire” they scream like a Viking war cry as the rhythm gets beaten out on the skulls of woolly mammoths and the guts are used as guitar strings. This might make them sound primitive but if you set this to a training montage in a film or an advert for a new Apple product it would sound primal but it would also sound uplifting, inspiring and vital.


Live Dates:

21st March – Rescue Room, Nottingham
22nd March – Electric Ballroom, London
24th March – La Batterie, Guyancourt
25th March – Café Charbon, Nevers w/Monster Truck
26th March – Luxor, Cologne
28th March – Melkweg, Amsterdam
29th March – Rockfabrik, Ludwigsburg
30th March – The Floor, Luxembourg
1st April – Columbia Theatre, Berlin
2nd April – Uebel & Gefahrlich, Hamburg
3rd April – Theaterfabrik, Munich
5th April – Schuur, Lucerne
7th April – Bikini, Barcelona
8th April – Caracol, Madrid
9th April – Café Antzokia, Bilbao
28th April – The Underworld, London

29th July – Ramblin’ Man Fair, Maidstone w/ZZ Top + Monster Truck + Saxon

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

ANGIE – SINGLE REVIEW

Angie – Spun (Universal) 
Angie - Spun


Release Date: Out Now

She’s back! Sweden’s answer to the love child of Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga is back with different coloured hair and the same sense of sassy attitude that we’ve grown to love. ‘Spun’ is the latest release from the self-professed L’il Weed Hoe and it does nothing to halt her assault on the pop world. When a single’s opening lines are “Avoid eye contact, you want me, I know it’s a fact. Yeah, you want that snatch but I am moving too fast” then you know you’re in for a ride in every sense. The stuttering melody is more rhythmic than fluid but Angie’s Lana Del Ray meets Katy Perry smooth vocal in the chorus eases the juddering. Angie’s style is flawlessly poised but also effortless or at least it has the appearance of taking no effort but then that’s part of Angie’s charm. “I smoke it, I snort it, I roll it, I love it” she sings and with the way the world is going who are any of us to argue with her? If we’re all going to hell then we might as well do it with a smile on our faces.



Live Dates:


5th April – Gold Dust @ The Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London

XY&O – SINGLE REVIEW

XY&O – What’s Love Got To Do With It
XY&O - What's Love Got To Do With It

Release Date: Out Now

Cover versions are always hit and miss these days but I think we have a wee gem here. Tina Turner’s classic ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ is given the alt-pop treatment by Cardiff trio XY&O and although it leans a little towards the Years & Years or Clean Bandit end of the spectrum, the strong vocals and pulsing beat give this an authentic vibe and the synth melodies are placed perfectly between the original and something more fresh. This would work well at any kind of summer party as you move from the day time in to the evening, this is a party starter if you want to get the attention of your guests.


Listen Here: 

ANDY OLIVERI & THE MOUNTAINEERS – SINGLE REVIEW

Andy Oliveri & The Mountaineers – Sky Candy Apple
Andy Oliveri & The Mountaineers - Sky Cany Apple

Release Date: Out Now

There’s a video that goes along with this number that kinda makes the song and it’s not a bad song to start with. You see, what Andy Oliveri & The Mountaineers have created in ‘Sky Candy Apple’ is a slice of aural nostalgia full of 70s jangle and 90s melodies so the video just compliments that vibe with loads of mangled old footage of Americana and sunny skies – nostalgia always has better weather. If you like the Lemonheads, early Beck, Midlake and Grandaddy then this should be right up your street – particularly if you live on the street from the Wonder Years which, let’s face it, we all wish we did.


Live Dates:

14th April – Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham
17th April – Crofters Rights, Bristol
18th April – The Angel, Nottingham
20th April – Sneak Pete’s, Edinburgh

Watch The Video: 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

IMPERIAL LEISURE – SINGLE REVIEW

Imperial Leisure – Animal 
Imperial Leisure - Animal


Release Date: Out Now

London based alt-ska combo Imperial Leisure have been around for a while now and they frequently blip up on my radar so I was pretty excited to see their new single ‘Animal’ pop up in my inbox. Starting with trademark energy fuelled by horns that you might expect of a ska band but the angular riffs and rhythms are something more akin to Arctic Monkeys or Tankus the Henge. The stabs of luxurious organ are pure Madness while the breathless vocal is lung bustingly impressive and there’s a chorus just ripe for a good old sing along in a bouncing festival tent with sun and cider drenching your clothes in equal measure. A funky little trumpet solo kicks this one over the line and has my feet twitching on first listen. Definitely one for your summer road trip playlist.


Live Dates:


18th March – The Railway Inn, Winchester

LIFE – SINGLE REVIEW

Life – In Your Hands 
Life - In Your Hands


Release Date: Out Now

There’s a bit of a fuss brewing around these guys and for the second time this year they’re releasing a single that justifies said fuss. ‘In Your Hands’ starts with an abrupt chant, almost a demand, of “It’s in Your Hands” over a steady beat before a 90-mph melody joins and we’re speeding through the uniform high streets of the UK passed myriad cloned coffee shops and closed down tanning salons. The Fall, Liam Lynch, Talking Heads and Young Knives are all there in the influences as well as R.E.M.’s ‘It’s the End of The World as We Know It’ in terms of the speed of vocal delivery and inherent anger. Life are angry, motivated and ready to kick off which all comes across perfectly in just over two minutes of raw, melodious fury.


Live Dates:

1st April – Welly Club, Hull
2nd April – King Tuts, Glasgow
3rd April – Gullivers, Manchester
5th April – The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
6th April – The Camden Assembly, London
7th April – The Crofters Rights, Bristol
8th April – Café Indiependent, Scunthorpe
28th April – Hit The North, Newcastle
29th April – Live at Leeds, Leeds Festival
30th April – Hand Made Festival, Leicester

18th May – The Great Escape, Brighton

WHERE FIRES ARE – SINGLE REVIEW

Where Fires Are – I’ve Got The Time
Where Fires Are - I've Got The Time

Release Date: Out Now

Imagine Biffy Clyro going topless and then working on a tune with Bastille before bashing it out in a lock up during an intermittent power cut. Salivating yet? Leeds synth rockers Where Fires Are have created this Frankenstein’s monster of a heavy-indie tune on ‘I’ve Got The Time’ and it’s an absolute stunner. Slick pop melodies, huge riff heavy chops and the kind of chorus the will see semi-naked indie kid flung about festival crowds with enthusiasm and not a thought for health and safety all summer long. Infectious, fun, a huge sound and the kind of tune that makes me want to go on a big night out. Strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.


Live Dates:

7th April – The Exchange, Keighley
15th April – When in Manchester Festival, Manchester
19th April – Canadian Music Week, Toronto
1st July – Testifest, Rochdale
21st July – Tramlines, Sheffield
22nd July – Blackthorn Festival, Romiley

Watch The Video: 


Monday, 13 March 2017

K. FLAY – SINGLE REVIEW

K. Flay – High Enough (Night Records/Interscope)
K. Flay - High Enough

Release Date: Out Now

San Franciscan grunge-popper K. Flay is the real deal and new single ‘High Enough’ is a legit hit in waiting. K. Flay’s impish and innocent vocals tease you in to thinking this might be a coquettish little love song but when the chorus hits this becomes a twitching, grinding, sexually charged number with a crunching relentless beat and a sense of freedom and euphoria that usually comes with drugs or sex. The simple guitar riff allows K. Flay the space to explore a few different vocal tones and characters and her stroppy, defiant line “I only, I only got eyes for you” is delivered like a kidnapper justifying her actions to a former lover tied to a chair in a cheap downtown motel. So, a hands in the air party anthem for the obsessive kidnapper in all of us – niche doesn’t even come close.


Watch the Video: 

SEAKER – SINGLE REVIEW

Seaker – The Waters 
Seaker - The Waters


Release Date: 24th March 2017

Rejoice and relax, Seaker is back and this time she’s doing Jazz with a Ragga influence. Just kidding, the London based singer is still working her uniquely downbeat angle which exists almost exclusively in the shadows in between days and times. New single ‘The Waters’ is a particularly bleak affair but with the trademark warmth that always comes with a Seaker song – this music for just after the breakup when you know you’re obviously devastated but there’s a whole, exciting and unwritten future stretched out ahead of you. Seaker’s voice is as rich and expansive as ever and the instrumentation reliably sparse but still there is soul here and the sense of something just beginning or emerging. There’s a gorgeous video as well but we can’t talk about that until 24th March so you’ll just have to take my word for it until then. Hopefully 2017 is the year when Seaker gets a run at your affections and maybe a few more live shows as well – a man can hope, can’t he?


MALKA – SINGLE REVIEW

Malka – Fell For You 
Malka - Fell For You

Release Date: Out Now

When one of your favourite alt-pop innovators pens an anti-Trump single and then gets one of your favourite illustrators to collaborate on the video, well, your expectations tend to rise a little. So, when the marvellous Malka pinged this over to me I was more than a little excited and ‘Fell For You’ does nothing to quell that excitement. Malka’s sweet vocals soon turn angry with a Kate Nash tone to her voice and that trademark skipping beat kicks in with tribal passion. Lyrically, this says what we’re all thinking about the current situation with Fake News and the Post-Truth era but set to a tune you can dance to and with an animated Trump dancing and singing along. “Your lies, your lies, your lies are dragging me down” Malka sings and I know the feeling. I think we all do.


Watch the Video: 

Saturday, 11 March 2017

SHINERS – SINGLE REVIEW

Shiners – (I Feel So) Blunt
Shiners - (I Feel So) Blunt

Release Date: Out Now

London based in Indie-poppers Shiners are back and I think, with this single, they might just have cracked it. You see, ‘(I Feel So) Blunt’ does that classically British thing of moaning about the futility of modern life and relationships but set to a perky guitar riff and singalong chorus. Lyrics like “five days I’m working with two to recover, no wonder we have no time for each other” and “you stayed in with your mates, I went out with mine, are we kidding ourselves we’re having a good time” will chime with just about everyone in any kind of serious relationship in their 20s. Spirit wise, this is line with Hard-Fi’s ‘Cash Machine’ and the classic ‘Up The Junction’ by Squeeze and it’s a damn catchy tune along the lines of Pulp’s ‘Common People’. So, you see, when I say they might just have cracked it, it’s because what Shiners have here is ruddy good British indie-pop song that stands shoulder to shoulder with some classics of the genre.


Live Dates:

31st March – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London

Watch the Video: 

THEA GILMORE – SINGLE REVIEW

Thea Gilmore – Sounds Good To Me (Cooking Vinyl)
Thea Gilmore - Sounds Good To Me

Release Date: Out Now

Rejoice, Thea Gilmore is back! That sounded more sarcastic than it was supposed to but I’m genuinely delighted. There’s a whole album coming in June but in the meantime, we can feed off the scraps of this offering, new single ‘Sounds Good To Me’. Now, I may be going slightly crazy here but there’s more than a hint of the Game of Thrones theme tune about the opening to this single before settling in to the more expected indie-country romp that Gilmore has a knack for. There’s a hint of Sheryl Crow in her prime but more importantly there’s a real drive and independent spirit about this which is not only infectious but also massively uplifting. We’ve just got to wait the spring out for the rest of the album now….nearly as long as the next Game of Thrones series.


Live Dates:

29th May – Sage, Gateshead
1st June – Union Chapel, London
4th June – RNCM Theatre, Manchester
5th June – The Stables, Milton Keynes
6th June – MAC, Birmingham
7th June – Junction 2, Cambridge
11th June – Contemporary, Nottingham

Watch The Video: 

LITTLE RED – SINGLE REVIEW

Little Red – Hell (Seahorse Music) 
Little Red - Hell


Release Date: Out Now

From Cardiff via Bath comes enigmatic character and songstress Little Red and her new single ‘Hell’. Opening with some dreamy, heavenly guitars, Little Red’s vocals float in on a wisp of early morning air before there’s the hint of a beat to push things along. “You give me hell, you give me hell but that’s alright” Little Red sings with a sense of unconditional love that is somewhere between Ellie Goulding’s first album and Seaker’s articulate alt-pop but always with poise, precision and the craft of building a song with consummate timing. Sensational stuff in a thoroughly understated way which is always the way to do it if you want to keep your cool, right?



Live Dates:


21st April – St John the Evangelist Church, Cardiff

PIP HALL – SINGLE REVIEW

Pip Hall – James (My Little Empire Records) 
Pip Hall - James


Release Date: Out Now

So, I’ve been watching a lot of Twin Peaks recently, like all of it and this song seems tailor made for the new series. Aside from the title, ‘James’, there is a vibe about this tune that just fits the eerie and more than a little bit twisted tone of any David Lynch work. The synth bass notes drone ominously and the drums thud lazily before some more optimistic melodies sashay in through the side door of One Eyed Jack’s and sing like Tennis guesting on a Ladyhawke track produced by Arcade Fire. This is down-tempo alt-pop and some may see it as gloomy but to me this is not only luxurious in its wallowing emotion but it’s also the sign of an artist developing, growing and progressing before our very ears and eyes. There was a lot of hype around Pip Hall last year because of her tender years and I think this is the track that justifies the hype but makes it more about her talent and less about whether she was even born when Twin Peaks first aired.



Thursday, 9 March 2017

JEN JANET – SINGLE REVIEW

Jen Janet – Dangerous
Jen Janet - Dangerous

Release Date: Out Now

Rhode Island Goth Pop waif Jen Janet looks like she would bring you something haunting and slightly dark. However, what we actually get is some driving EDM with the kind of vocals that you’d expect on an Ibiza anthem or an uncharacteristically good Eurovision entry from Croatia. This is the kind of tune that would get any house party jumping and when that chorus drops after a well-timed build, you just want to throw your drink in the air and forget that you’ve got to go to work in the morning. There’s enough commercial pop nous about this to make it a potential radio hit as well but let’s just keep it for us shall we? Perfect for that gym/running playlist as well, if you’re in to that kind of thing.


Watch The Video: 

I SEE RIVERS – SINGLE REVIEW

I See Rivers – Da Ram 
I See Rivers - Da Ram

Release Date: Out Now

Here we have three women from Norway who have relocated to Liverpool and gone to the Hairdresser’s and asked for three differing haircuts that cannot be tied to an ear. Not bad for a day’s work. On the next day, I See Rivers penned ‘Da Ram’ and it’s quite the delight. Think of a more perky First Aid Kit or Sound of the Sirens with a more mischievous bent and you’re getting the idea. This romps like 6 Day Riot at their peak and skips with impish delight through the delicate notes and three part vocal harmonies that would soothe the most tortured of souls. The video is also a joy to behold and at only two and a half minutes long this is like a light and zesty hors d’oeuvres which makes me salivate for the main course.


Watch The Video: 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

JOSH WHEATLEY – SINGLE REVIEW

Josh Wheatley – Runaway
Josh Wheatley - Runaway

Release Date: Out Now

It was only a matter of time until management companies, record labels and PR companies start picking up on the Ed Sheeran popularity and start looking for the talent to fill the void he has created in his wake. Unassuming Nottingham lad Josh Wheatley is next up with his new single ‘Runaway’ and, by rights, it should be a bit of a hit. Opening with some gentle acoustic guitar and a soft, almost broken vocals, there soon comes an Ellie Goulding-esque beat and vocal melody that just, well, it works. This is a song that speaks of real and raw emotion at the reak up of a relationship that will chime with so many listeners and for that reason (as well as the slightly weird but compelling video) there is no reason this shouldn’t get A LOT of attention. The rest is up to you.


Watch The Video: 

ZAFLON – SINGLE REVIEW

Zaflon – Sincerity feat. Gilan & Lefty
Zaflon - Sincerity feat. Gilan & Lefty

Release Date: Out Now

OK, I’m declaring this from the outset; this tune couldn’t sound much more like Portishead if it tried but I am absolutely delighted that it does – not enough people follow in Portishead’s footsteps. ‘Sincerity’ features the gloomy, minor key melodies and the slow, tinny beats that are all about the wee small hours and rolling those last dregs of booze around in the bottom of a glass, contemplating that next move. Gilan’s vocals add some rich, soulful tones that quench the uneasy thirst that Zaflon’s melodies create while Lefty freshens things up with some smooth but not overcomplicated flows. To my ears this sounds both reminiscent of the 90s Trip Hop vibe but it also sounds incredibly fresh, clean and relevant for the here and now. And you can quote me on that. No, seriously, quote me on it.


Watch The Video: 

SPEECH DEBELLE – SINGLE REVIEW

Speech Debelle – Strange Ways
Speech Debelle - Strange Ways

Release Date: Out Now

Remember when Speech Debelle won the Mercury Music Prize and then everyone thought she would change the world? Yeah, well luckily that kind of pressure didn’t stop her from creating and her latest single is the perfect evidence that she’s still letting those creative juices flow. ‘Strange Ways’ is a Tracy Chapman-esque piece with rippling guitars and the kind of rhythms that get a party starting by easing you in to the groove rather than forcing it upon you. There’s an almost rural and reminiscing feel to the music but then the lyrics are so much more urban and speak of, well, just a normal life. No airs or graces, just normal life presented in a way that is both comforting and infectious. There’s a great video as well that exists in the category called Youtube Scrapbook.


Watch The Video: 

PADDY HANNA – SINGLE REVIEW

Paddy Hanna – Bad Boys
Paddy Hanna - Bad Boys

Release Date: Out Now

Despite a press shot that looks like a photographer captured the exact moment Paddy Hanna was told his girlfriend was cheating on him with his boss and they’ve just decided to fire him, this is one of the perkiest most charming songs I’ve heard in a long time. ‘Bad Boys’ is nothing like the reggae tune made famous by the movie, no it’s actually a sunny little Saturday morning tune that will have you skipping to the paper shop with a spring in your step. There are elements of Me Me Me, Jim Noir, David Kitt and the Divine Comedy in here as the melody bumps along and the vocals sing in a hundred voices to create a rich tapestry of characters. There’s a jaunty little trumpet solo and the kind of shuffling beat that makes your feet itch.......but in a really good way.


Live Dates:

5th May – Whelan’s, Dublin

Watch The Video: 

Monday, 6 March 2017

STEALTH – SINGLE REVIEW

Stealth – How Much Further
Stealth - How Much Further

Release Date: Out Now

I’m really enjoying watching and listening to Birmingham talent Stealth as he continues to impress and develop in front of our very eyes and ears. New single ‘How Much Further’ is another step on that road to success and it’s one hell of a step. The driving beat and lose bass is somewhere between Jamie T and Aloe Blacc but Stealth’s voice is full of soul, the blues and angry gospel. Singing “how much further? Can’t carry our feet no more” over the rhythmic hand claps and that bass line (oh that bass line) sounds like a protest, a rallying call or, at the very least, a point of opposition to the status quo in the way the blues and gospel always used to be. This is sexy, dark, brooding and it’s got one of hell of a chorus. This tune deserves a huge audience so I’m going to start with you guys and see where we get to.


Watch the video: 

JACK WOODWARD – SINGLE REVIEW

Jack Woodward – Let It Happen 
Jack Woodward - Let It Happen


Release Date: Out Now

Young Jack has been sending me music for a while now and there has always been promise or potential to his music but I think new single ‘Let It Happen’ might just be the money shot. From the word go this is a stomping, guitar driven slice of indie-rock which pays attention to the details – from sharp, Jam-esque guitar stabs to the intakes of breath before the chorus starts to build. If this was a Take That song or Coldplay going back to the basics commercial radio stations would be all over it but actually this is more in the Paolo Nutini or Jake Bugg category for me with a triumphant, singalong chorus and the kind of energy you just can’t ignore. There’s a really satisfying late 80s indie breakdown in the Del Amitri or Deacon Blue vein before one last stomp through that chorus and then surely Radio 2 playlist is just a matter of time. Great tune from an artist developing in all the right places and all the right directions.


Sunday, 5 March 2017

YOU WANT FOX – SINGLE REVIEW

You Want Fox – Liar Liar 
You Want Fox - Liar Liar


Release Date: 10th March 2017

Nottingham band You Want Fox are riding that duo wave and bringing you a heavy-pop single that is as infectious as it is straight-forward. ‘Liar Liar’ trades in garage-pop melodies and the lo-fi directness of the Lovely Eggs or Long Blondes off-shoot the Bon Bons with not much more than a bass, some drums and a sense of anger. You Want Fox are a glorious blend of power and sweetness, softness and steel. Think Royal Blood or the Black Keys but with a young Cyndi Lauper on vocals and the spirit of Shampoo cryogenically frozen until just the right moment. And now is just the right moment.


Live Dates:

11th March – Derby w/Mouses + Unqualified Nurse Band

Watch The Video:

TUXEDO – SINGLE REVIEW

Tuxedo – 2nd Time Around (Stones Throw Record) 
Tuxedo - 2nd Time Around


Release Date: Out Now

Brooklyn duo Tuxedo (aka Jake One and Mayer Hawthorne) have a new single out ahead of their second album and it plays perfectly to the rebirth of funk and disco that the likes of Mars, Ronson, and Rodgers have brought about. ‘2nd Time Around’ has a perfectly smooth click to it that it’s hard not to bob your head and click your fingers to as you get ready for a big night out. The synths dance and flutter, the bass pops and the vocals are so smooth that I wouldn’t trust the singer with any female friend that I care about! I think there’s more to come on the album and Snoop Dogg himself is down as a guest on one of the tracks so I’d keep an eye on this pair if you like the funk.


Live Dates:


14th April – DJ Set @ The Jazz Café, London