Thursday, 21 July 2016

CHEESE FINGER BROWN – SINGLE REVIEW

Cheese Finger Brown – Low Down People (Humu Records) 
Cheese Finger Brown - Low Down People


Release Date: Out Now

Right, first things first, Cheese Finger Brown sounds awful as a name. It sounds like the kind of nickname they would give a kid from high school who gets caught sticking cheese up his ass in the toilets. Anyway, Cheese Finger Brown is Dutch so maybe there’s a different meaning over there and at least he’s not called Meatloaf. So, this new single, ‘Low Down People’, is a gloriously and appropriately low down bluesy ramble with every string vibration and intake of breath recorded for posterity. This sounds like the music I used to hear my dad playing when he was in a really good mood, the kind of music that used to be recorded in booths with a month’s wages and cut straight to vinyl only to launch the career of a legend. What we have here is a Dutchman who can make a guitar sing like John Lee Hooker and has the blues so bad it makes his voice distorted. There’s a full album to follow in September but in the meantime I’d pour yourself a bourbon and let this wash over you (sit on a porch if you have one, for added flavour).


IGNIS AMARE – EP REVIEW

Ignis Amare – The Genesis EP 
Ignis Amare - The Genesis EP


Release Date: Out Now

Ignis Amare is the nom-de-plume of 19 year-old Cambridge lad Rafik Daaya who professes to make minimalistic alternative-electro music which is impressive as all I could make at the age of 19 was a passible Spaghetti Bolognaise and a decent cuppa. In all seriousness, I’m pleased to get some music from the more tender end of the age spectrum as the internet’s main positive contribution to the music world has surely been to open up possibilities to people of all ages, backgrounds and scenes. This four track EP opens up with ‘Genesis’ and the sound of alien insects emerging from mechanical undergrowth in to a swamp made of low synth notes and a sense of foreboding. There’s a feel of early Depeche Mode about this with the aforementioned minimalism and slightly gothic overtones coming to the fore.

‘Dive In’ starts with more of a flutter, a panicked heartbeat of a rhythm and some chunky percussive moments before fluttering notes and basement-dark vocals emerge talking in tongues and making a mockery of the idea of ‘pop’. This is not music for the easy listening crew but if you, like me, spent your teenage years drifting off to sleep listening to extended rare mixes played by John Peel then this will have you feeling pretty excited. On ‘City of God’ Ignis Amare gets all Aphex Twin on our asses with an aggressive opening sweep followed by some heavenly tones that soon blend in to something approaching a club tune – albeit the kind of club that Noel Fielding would imagine up after a week-long Absinthe bender on his own in an igloo. Closing up with the peacefully beautiful ‘Revelations’ (there’s a definite religious them here), Ignis Amare cements his new found reputation as an uncompromising but worthwhile listen. Like very dark chocolate or fine wine this is not music for binging on but every now and again it’s good to try something that challenges and awakens the taste buds.



THE LOTTERY WINNERS – SINGLE REVIEW

The Lottery Winners – Young Love (Sire/Warner Brothers) 
The Lottery Winners - Young Love 


Release Date: Out Now

I’m sure I’ve used this story but I’m so chuffed for these guys that I’m going to use it again. The first time I heard these guys play I was setting up to DJ at a friend’s wedding in Halifax and they were whipping through the tightest set of covers I’ve ever heard. Now, years later, they’ve just signed to Warner Brothers imprint Sire and all that hard work and relentless pub gigging around the Northwest of the UK has paid off. This latest release is, I guess, a celebratory anthem of this new found success so dive in to ‘Young Love’ with all the carefree abandon of someone who has just realised their dreams. Starting out like something from Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ era, this soon slips in to the band’s trademark slick indie-pop with a sugary tinge. There is a touch of the Magic Numbers or the Beautiful South about these guys but with way more confidence and hooks aplenty so it’s no surprise they’ve been snapped up by a major with the potential to make something of their song writing ability as well as their songs. Expect big things of the Lottery Winners even if it’s through some sort of ‘Valerie’ style hit like the Zutons had via Winehouse or, better still, on their own terms.



Live Dates:

18th September – The Loft @ The Arts Club, Liverpool
19th September – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
20th September – Glee, Cardiff
21st September – Moles, Bath
22nd September – Golden Lion, Bristol
23rd September – Stereo, Glasgow
24th September – Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
25th September – Joiners, Southampton
26th September – Hope & Ruin, Brighton
27th September – Black Heart, London
28th September – Glee, Nottingham
29th September – Donkey, Leicester
2nd October – Oporto, Leeds
3rd October – Fibbers, York
4th October – Cluny, Newcastle

6th October – Academy 3, Manchester

BEATY HEART – SINGLE REVIEW

Beaty Heart – Raw Gold (NUA Entertainment) 
Beaty Heart - Raw Gold


Release Date: Out Now

South London might be where all of Beaty Heart’s bank statements are sent but the trio are truly citizens of the world and that comes through in everything they do. Ahead of a new album, this single – the evocatively titled ‘Raw Gold’ – drops on us like some kind of beautiful mongrel creature descending from the sky. There are some Asian and middle eastern flecks to the melodies, some West Coast chill mixed with some East Coast club cool and a southern hemisphere vibe that is all about that moment when the sunlight just gives out on you. Think Hot Chip but way more relaxed about things or Boards of Canada on a night out and you’re heading in the right direction. The video of Brazilian long-boarder Ana Maria Suzano flows and weaves perfectly with the music as well which makes this one tasty multicultural package. Perfect for a summer underlined by division and borders. Come together and party, good people.



Live Dates:

29th July – Leefest, Kent
30th July – Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle
19th August – Pukkelpop, Hasselt
20th August – Dockville, Hamburg
10th September – Bestival, Isle Of Wight
14th September – Great Scott, Boston w/Beach Baby
16th September – Beat Kitchen, Chicago, w/Beach Baby
21st September – The Sunset at Sunset Tavern, Seattle w/Beach Baby
26th September – DC9 Nightclub, Washington w/Beach Baby
27th September – Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia w/Bach Baby
6th October – The Bussey Building/CLF Art Centre, London
7th October – Deaf Institute, Manchester
8th October – Paradiso, Amsterdam
10th October – Lille VEGA, Copenhagen
11th October – Berghain Kantine, Berlin
12th October – Yuca, Cologne
14th October – Chelsea, Vienna

15th October – Neo, Zurich

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

ROOSEVELT – SINGLE REVIEW

Roosevelt – Fever (Greco-Roman/City Slang Records) 
Roosevelt - Fever


Release Date: Out Now

Just to get this out of the way, the press shot for this latest single by Marius ‘Roosevelt’ Lauber doesn’t exactly scream ‘woohoo party fun time’ but I’ve heard good things so I’m willing to give it a go. From about half a second in you know this isn’t going to be a morbid slouch-fest. No, ‘Fever’ has Now That’s What I Call Summer written all over it with its mix of Calvin Harris, Above & Beyond and Klangkarussell ready made for crowd pleasing fun. Bouncing synths, punchy beats and laid back vocals are the perfect mix of ingredients for an Ibiza smash to make the late afternoon pool parties go with a bounce and a jiggle. And maybe a wink or two.


Live Dates:

23rd July – Musik, Lejet
28th July Appletree Garden Festival, Germany
29th July – Stuttgart Festival, Stuttgart
1st August – Obonjan Island, Croatia
19th August – Lowlands Festival, Netherlands
31st August – Pop Kultur, Berlin
8th September – Bestival, Isle Of Wight

18th September – Golden Leaves, Darmstadt

LISSIE – WILD WEST

Lissie – Wild West 
Lissie - Wild West


Release Date: Out Now

Rock Island’s favourite daughter is back with a new album but ahead of that comes ‘Wild West’ and, don’t worry, it’s got nothing to do with Will Smith. The dreamy, blissed out opening bars are so suited to that point when the sun has just gone down on a summer’s evening and that pink sky gives you all the promise that only open spaces can. The relentless but subtle rhythmic stomp coupled with some expansive melodies and Lissie’s powerhouse vocals just grab you by the optimism and lift you up to make you want to spin around on a beach next to a roaring bonfire. Lissie is one of those artists who will probably never make the heights of mega-stardom but she’ll be perfectly happy and successful writing epic tunes like this and performing to adoring crowds at beach festivals and sweaty venues. She’s a star in my eyes and my ears so if you haven’t discovered Lissie yet then you really should catch up.


Live Dates:

29th November – Old Fruit Market, Glasgow
30th November – Academy 2, Manchester
1st December – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
3rd December – O2 Institute 2, Birmingham
4th December – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
6th December – Koko, London
7th December – Concorde 2, Brighton

8th December – Waterfront, Norwich

STABLES – SINGLE REVIEW

Stables – Meet You (Circashaw Records) 
Stables - Meet You


Release Date: 22nd July 2016

Matthew Lowe and Daniel Trenholme may sound like a pair of Victorian entrepreneurs who aren’t appreciated in their life time (trust me, I’ve time travelled…. I had a gap year) but when they combine as Stables they make sweet, sweet music together (not like that). The delicately forlorn opening notes of ‘Meet You’ soon get swept away by some up-tempo, dare I say jaunty, acoustic strumming and the kind of pleasingly gentle yet gravelly vocals that made Mumford his millions. The US lo-fi film budget market should be on standby to snap this up for the next Michael Cera film just in case there’s a montage about a mundane routine (let’s face it, there always is) but in the meantime there is a lovely little video that focuses heavily on the legs – an underrated body part in music videos – and made me feel slightly nauseous from motion sickness by the time it reached its inevitably romantic conclusion. If legs can be romantic.



Live Dates:

30th July – Leefest: The Neverland, London
18th August – The Lexington, London
23rd August – The Castle, Manchester
24th August – Actress & Bishop, Birmingham
26th August – The Green Door Store, Brighton

27th August – CafĂ© Kino, Bristol