Thursday, 19 May 2016

GRANDMASTER’S FURIOUS 5 FEAT. MELE MEL & SCORPIO – SINGLE REVIEW

Grandmaster’s Furious 5 Feat. Mele Mel & Scorpio – Some Kind Of Sorry 
Grandmaster's Furious 5 feat. Mele Mel & Scorpio
Some Kind Of Sorry


Release Date: 27th May 2016

Big beats, fluid rhymes and, wait, funky as shit guitars? That was on the agenda. Grandmaster’s Furious 5 are back with the legendary Mele Mel and Scorpio along for the ride. ‘Some Kind Of Sorry’ channels bits of Lenny Kravitz and a bit of Red Hot Chili Peppers but with more funk, more soul and a whole new level of attitude. It might not be the edgiest or most aggressive piece of rap you’ll ever hear but that doesn’t stop it being slick, infectious and a heavy weight summer tune that deserves to be pumped from parties, clubs and open top cars the world over. He really is the Grand Master.


Live Dates:

31st May – Tramshed, Cardiff
1st June – The Waterfront, Norwich
2nd June – Warehouse 23, Wakefield
3rd June – Hard Rock CafĂ©, Glasgow
4th June – Liquid Room, Edinburgh
5th June – Riverside, Newcastle
7th June – The Venue, Derby
8th June – The Assembly, Leamington Spa
9th June – The Marble Factory, Bristol

12th June – O2 Academy Islington, London

BLOOM TWINS – SINGLE REVIEW

Bloom Twins – Amnesia 
Bloom Twins - Amnesia


Release Date: Out Now

London based Ukrainian identical twin sisters Sonia and Anna Kuprienko go by the name Bloom Twins and, in case you’re thinking it, their new single ‘Amnesia’ sounds nothing like tATu. Breathy vocals and sultry beats kick things off before the sophisti-pop gets going with all the force of Rhianna, Beyonce and Florence. There is a slightly bleak and industrial feel to this anti-love anthem as the mechanical beats chop through the droned bass notes. So that’s industrial feeling sophisti-pop from two young East European women – OK, it  is a bit like tATu but I still quite like it.


Live Dates:

20th May – North Laine Brewhouse, Brighton w/Croox + Cash+David + ISLAND + Majik
25th May –Terminal 42, Odesa

30th May – Atlas, Kiev w/Myopia

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

MANIC STREET PREACHERS – SINGLE REVIEW

Manic Street Preachers – Together Stronger (C’Mon Wales) 
Manic Street Preachers - Together Stronger (C'Mon Wales)


Release Date: 20th May 2016

You probably won’t get three more passionate Welshman than the Manic Street Preachers so although this goes against their anti-establishment ethos it’s not that surprising to see the trio pumping out a football anthem for the principality. ‘Together Stronger (C’Mon Wales)’ is unmistakably the Manics with a throbbing rhythm section driving the guitars and soaring strings along to create one of the least cringe-worthy football anthems since New Order. Wales might be the underdogs when it comes to the football this summer but this tune is a trophy winner and no mistake – it’ll beat the Belgian tune in to a cocked hat, that’s for sure.




Live Dates:

13th May – Echo Arena, Liverpool w/Editors
14th May – Genting Arena, Birmingham w/Editors
16th May – Royal Albert Hall, London w/Editors
17th May – Royal Albert Hall, London w/Editors
20th May – First Direct Arena, Leeds w/Editors
21st May – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow w/Editors

28th May – Liberty Stadium, Swansea w/Super Furry Animals + Public Service Broadcasting

Monday, 16 May 2016

GREGORY PORTER – ALBUM REVIEW

Gregory Porter – Take Me To The Alley (Motema Music) 
Gregory Porter - Take Me To The Alley


Release Date: Out Now

Gregory Porter is a man known as much for his chocolatey smooth voice as he is for his understatedly eccentric headwear but this latest album may make people forget about the millinery all together. ‘Take Me To The Alley’ is an utterly beautiful blend of Jazz, Soul and Pop that has moments for all times of day and all accompanying moods.

In no particular order, tunes like ‘Consequences of Love’ and ‘Day Dream’ are songs to pour out a glass of wine to after a long day at work that you need to unwind from with Porter’s voice to sooth you like a shoulder rub from a loved one (not a complete stranger, that would be less than relaxing). The scit-scat beat of ‘Fan The Flames’ is pure Jazz wondrousness while ‘French African Queen’ is possibly my favourite piece of double-bass led story telling so far this millennium. On ‘In Heaven’ the sumptuous piano lays a bed for Porter to glide gracefully over as he runs you a bath and turns the lights down low – not to seduce but to relax and spoil. Meanwhile ‘Insanity’ continues the smooth vibes with delicate piano and lazy beats.

Now, Porter has a more commercial side as well as the organ infused ‘Don’t Be A Fool’ (the perfect New York breakfast tune) and superbly funky ‘Don’t Lose Your Stream’ (a tune to strut out in the morning to) gloriously attest. During ‘In Fashion’ there is a persistent and insistent piano stab that gets your day underway and keeps you going through all the trials and tribulations before you can relax with another sliver of smoothness on the spars ‘Holding On’. ‘More Than A Woman’ is another gently soothing delight while title track ‘Take Me To The Alley’ shows off some wonderfully creative arrangements. Gregory Porter is a supreme talent and, what’s more exciting, he seems to genuinely revel in making music whilst being an utterly charming guy as well. No mean feat.


Saturday, 14 May 2016

WILDWOOD KIN – LIVE REVIEW

Wildwood Kin live @ The Phoenix, Exeter – 13/05/2016

Having been invited to attend this gig by the guys behind BBC Introducing Devon, there were four bands on offer to check out but having dragged myself through a tough week I was flagging before I even got there. However, I’ve wanted to catch Exeter trio Wildwood Kin live for a while so I dragged myself up the A38 and as the crowd began to swell in the excellent Exeter Phoenix there was palpable anticipation in the air.

For the uninitiated, Wildwood Kin are two sisters (Emilie and Beth) and their cousin Meghann who
Willdwood Kin @ Exeter Phoenix
plough a furrow not a million miles away from Laura Marling jamming with First Aid Kit in an Appalachian log cabin. So when three nervous looking and slightly shy musicians shuffle on to the stage hiding behind a beanie hat and/or long straight hair I wasn’t expecting the live version to live up to the beautiful recordings I had heard. I was wrong. What this trio do is let the music do the talking and from the first intricately interwoven guitar and mandolin notes it’s obvious that this is a massively talented group of musicians and songwriters.

Old and new songs blend together smoothly and, despite a couple of technical hitches, Wildwood Kin hold the audience under their spell for the entire set. The key to the bewitching sound of these three sirens, however, is there unnervingly pitch perfect vocal harmonies that have a power all of their own. The likes of local peers Sound Of The Sirens and LWM favourites Indigo Girls have always moved me with the rich, blended vocal tones but Wildwood Kin take this skill to a whole new level which I’m not remotely ashamed to say moved me to tears. This family band have got talent to spare, a clutch of beautiful songs and a work ethic that surely makes their parents proud. If I was a hard-nosed music executive, I would say that they need to work on their stage personas a bit but actually I quite like their timid and gentle approach to audience communication which suits the music perfectly.

Apologies to the other bands performing on the night but after the week I’d had and the emotional ringer I’d been through with the Wildwood Kin experience I was in no fit state to take any more music in. Next time…..


Live Dates:

19th May – The Dolphin, Wellington
21st May – The Watering Hole, Perranporth
29th May – Exmouth Festival, Exmouth
3rd June – How The Light Gets In Festival, Hay On Wye
4th June – LemonFest, Newton Abbot
19th June – Moreton Music Day, Newton Abbot
23rd June – Glastonbury Festival, Glastonbury
30th June – Tileyard Studios, London
2nd July – The Big Mix Festival, Lyme Regis
3rd July – Smoked & Uncut Festival, Studland
5th July – Islington Academy 2, London
8th July – Chichester Festival, Chichester
9th July – The Ship Inn, Padstow
10th July – The Dolphin, Wellington
17th July – Larmer Tree Festival, Salisbury
22nd July – Chagstock, Chagford
24th July – Tonefest, Lyme Regis
30th July – Cambridge Folk Festival, Cambridge
3rd August – Sidmouth Folk Festival, Sidmouth
10th August – Creation Fest, Wadebridge
19th August – Beautiful Days Festival, Ottery St. Mary
26th August – The Plough Arts Centre, Torrington
18th September – Lostwithiel Festival, Lostwithiel
28th September – Looe Festival, Looe
10th November – Bridport Electric Parade, Bridport w/ Seth Lakeman
1st December – St George’s Church, Brighton w/ Seth Lakeman

4th December – Oxford Town Hall, Oxford w/Seth Lakeman 

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

SONNY GREEN – SINGLE REVIEW

Sonny Green – As Above So Below (Hostage Music) 
Sonny Green - As Above So Below


Release Date: Out Now

There’s a lot of pressure on the shoulders of young Essex man Sonny Green – being hailed as the voice of a generation will do that to a man. There’s buzz as well as pressure and a whole heap of excitement but when that precedes actually hearing the music itself that can muddy the waters a little. So, giving new single ‘As Above So Below’ a spin needs to be done with a clear mind. The menacing tones of the intro are matched by the urban sprawl of the video but soon you’re swept away by the speed of Green’s rhymes. This is rap for the suburban warriors and it’s articulately delivering a message, for sure, but there is something missing. OK, it’s edgy and it’s modern but there is a hook lacking that would propel this in to something that would get his message out to the mainstream audience. Maybe Sonny is the voice of his generation and he’s certainly talented but the sad truth is we’re from different generations so this passes me by a little.



Monday, 9 May 2016

NEW PHARAOHS – SINGLE REVIEW

New Pharaohs – Nothing Without You 
New Pharaohs - Nothing Without You


Release Date: Out Now

Every now and again, life reminds you that you can’t do certain things and today I have been reminded that I can’t spell ‘Pharaohs’ without really thinking about it. Still, spelling deficiencies aside, New Pharaohs is a great band name and the new single, ‘Nothing Without You’, is equally great. A feel good, summery, windows down on an open road vibe is played out on tight guitars and a chunky bassline. Vocally, Maya Marie takes her lead from the queen of 80s up-tempo pop, Cyndi Lauper, and mixes it with Nina Persson the Cardigans and a soupcon of Lana Del Ray. Impish, bouncy, positive and infectious, ‘Nothing Without You’ is a real gem of an alt-pop summer smash – or at least it deserves to be.