Monday, 25 January 2016

HUNCK - EP REVIEW

Hunck - Never Had A Dream EP 
Hunck - Never Had A Dream

Release Date: 29th January 2016

London nutballs Hunck are back with sexy little EP which is, seemingly, named after an S Club 7 ballad. The 'Never Had A Dream' EP gets underway with 'I'll Wait' and straight away we're in to a shadowy world of wonky guitars, Dandy Warhols-esque vocals and a flat thumping garage drums that makes you want to sip White Russians and nod approval from behind a pair of dark glasses. 'Up In The Sky', by contrast, starts like the theme tune to an 80s Mexican soap opera before settling in to a pysche rock ballad inspired by Young Knives (just take that in - 80s Mexican soap opera to Young Knives via psyche rock, that's a special talent).

The title track, 'Never Had  A Dream', teases us with a floaty keyboard line and some gentle acoustics that put you in mind of Japanese cherry blossoms and bands like Teenage Fanclub, the Watanabes and the Lemonheads which is no bad thing at all. Closing up the EP is 'So Far So Deep' and, for me, this is the pick of the bunch with an itchy, awkward guitar riff nudging some laid back vocals along through a haze of smoke and daydreams to stumble out in to the front garden to blink in the surprisingly bright daylight. A very British take on west coast slacker indie from Hunck, then. Who are we to argue with that?

More information: https://www.facebook.com/HUNCKband

Live Dates:

28th January - The Old Fire Station, Bournemouth
29th January - Arden Road Social Club, Halifax
30th January - Fred's Ale House, Manchester

3rd February - The Waiting Room, London

Sunday, 24 January 2016

QUEEN OF JEANS - EP REVIEW

Queen Of Jeans - Queen Of Jeans EP 
Queen Of Jeans - EP

Release Date: Out Now

Having only recently come across this laid back Philly bunch on their latest single, 'Dance (Get Off Your Ass'), it's delightful to receive a six track EP from Queen Of Jeans. The aforementioned single kicks things off in its own lazily beautiful style full of jangly guitars and dreamy vocals that you can't help but fall in love with. 'Pup' is up next and this is a real end of the evening slow dance as the guitars struggle to muster the energy to change chords and you hang on to your partner partly because you don't want the night to end and partly because you've drunk too much. The wonderfully titled 'Rollerdyke' kicks things up a notch with the kind of shimmy and shake that the  B52s had in their heyday before 'Won't You' gets all dreamy and ethereal on our asses again.

What Queen Of Jeans do wonderfully is blend the 'rules' of psyche rock with the melodies of pop and the work ethic of slacker indie to create the kind of music that you want to make breakfast in bed to with the hope of some warm morning sex to follow. 'Moody' has a darker tinge, however, and you could easily expect to hear this soundtrack the opening moments of a dialogue heavy bar scene between two central characters the night before the big plan plays out. The EP finishes up with 'Waffles & Mad Men' (a Philly version of Netflix and Chill, I can only assume) and they channel Best Coast, Tennis and a far mellower version of Sleigh Bells like pros. These guys are one big hook or song placement away from a breakthrough but they might just be too busy playing ping-pong and eating Doritos to notice if and when it happens.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/queenofjeansmusic/?fref=ts

Live Dates:

30th January - Kung Fu Necktie, Phildelphia
4th February - Pianos, New York
19th February - Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia

20th February - Cake Shop, New York

Saturday, 16 January 2016

COLOUR OF SPRING - SINGLE REVIEW

Colour Of Spring - Pillow (Swirly Records) 
Colour Of Spring - Pillow

Release Date: 5th February 2016

Leeds lads Colour Of Spring are a jangly bunch, and no mistake. New single 'Pillow' is delightful blend of shoegaze and lo-fi jangly pop with dreamy vocals washing around somewhere between the foreground and the background. Think Swim mixed with the Magic Numbers drifting out of a stereo that is soundtracking the early afternoon trudge through the debris of last night's party. The intensity gets ramped up towards the end with some deliciously 90s indie guitar wailing against that wall of vocals before it all comes tumbling down and everyone agrees to leave the tidying up in favour of an all day breakfast down at Wetherspoons.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/colourofspring

Live Dates:

26th January - The Sesh, Hull
30th January - Parish, Huddersfield
11th February - Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh
12th February - The Head Of Steam, Newcastle
13th February - The Bunker @ The Falcon Tap, York
15th February - The Green Door Store, Brighton
16th February - The Old Blue Last, London
17th February - Club Burrito, Canterbury
18th February - TS One, Middlesborough
19th February - Wharf Chambers, Leeds

20th February - Castle Hotel, Manchester

BULLET HEIGHT - SINGLE REVIEW

Bullet Height - Bastion (Superball Music) 
Bullet Height - Bastion

Release Date: Out Now

If you're after something heavy and ever so slightly industrial from a Berlin based duo who ooze style and don't give a fuck what you think of them then I might be able to sort you out, meet me in the alley out back in five. Bullet Height (or Jon and Sammi to their parents) are releasing their debut single on Superball Music, 'Bastion', and it hits you in the guts from the word go. Thunderous drums, wailing guitars and the kind of vocals that you would have heard all over FM radio during the nu-metal 90s. Straddling the worlds of industrial-goth and dance-pop like a care free dominatrix, Bullet Height are here to create a storm and many won't like the volume or intensity but if you are so inclined then this will have you whirling like a dervish at rock clubs all over before too long.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/Bulletheight/?fref=ts


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmlmn3YHpNs&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop 

URSA MAJOR - SINGLE REVIEW

Ursa Major - Dusk 
Ursa Major - Dusk

Release Date: Out Now

A Toronto teenager who goes the name of Ursa Major and describes himself as "Psychedelic R&B, a middle ground between the sounds of the past and the production of the future", you say? Bit claims and a high pedestal to fall from....potentially. Musically this starts with a dark, foreboding bass drone soon followed by some sexy but cold beats and some surprisingly soulful vocals. As 'Dusk' unfolds it just racks up point upon point on the 'surprisingly impressed-o-meter' (patent pending) partly for the quality of the production and partly because of the maturity behind this tune. I can see a lot of people jumping on this band wagon that mixes the panache of Justin Timberlake, the edge of Boards of Canada and the mass appeal of Ed Sheeran. What shines through though is the soul at the heart of this tune, however, with the vocals, staccato flute and faded strings all adding to the overall charm. Stick around on that pedestal Ursa Major, you've earned your place.


Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/ursaspeaks/dusk-1  

THOM BYLES - SINGLE REVIEW

Thom Byles - In Your Blood 
Thom Byles - In Your Blood

Release Date: Out Now

I'll freely admit that I had to look up Nazeing, the hometown of singer-songwriter Thom Byles, but on looking it up it turns out Mr Byles is an Essex boy so I immediately made the assumption that new single, 'In Your Blood', was about family ties and loyalty. What this song is actually about is creating the most blissful, early morning vibe with a rolling, trickling acoustic melody and the kind of fragile vocals we've come to expect from the likes of Jose Gonzalez. Some bare but entirely essential kick in around 80 seconds in and suddenly the layered guitars blend with Byles' emergent voice to create something so softly beautiful it genuinely brought a tear to my eye. This is music for new beginnings, whether it be the start of a new day after you've just gone through the break up from hell or the birth of your first child. Get this track now and prepare to weep good, honest tears of emotion before it gets snapped up and used on some commercial hell bent on pulling at your heart strings until they snap and fray.


More information: https://www.facebook.com/thombyles

LEMAITRE - SINGLE REVIEW

Lemaitre - 1749 EP (Virgin EMI) 
Lemaitre - Stepping Stone

Release Date: Out Now

Ulrik and Ketil make their music and, presumably, do their loving in Oslo - one of the only places on earth that is the anagram of a Star wars surname. The band have a new tune by the name of 'Stepping Stone' featuring the talents of Mark Johns and, if you're feeling like being good to yourself, then listen up and listen good. I mean seriously, this is an absolute beast.  A Goose-esque dirty synth bass throb gets things going like the thrum of a distant band of Hell's Angels getting closer and closer and closer. Throw in some sultry vocals and the kind of beats vs melody combo that makes you want to drive through a neon lit city in an open top car with this tune pumping out just so you can soak up the adoration from passersby. This is sexy, classy, dirty, slick and edgy - pretty much everything I want in a dance tune with an extra sprinkling of cool that you rarely outside of the likes of Daft Punk or Transformer. Superb stuff and a band I will be paying far more attention to in 2016, don't make me fly solo.

More information: http://www.lemaitremusic.com/

Live Dates:

12th February - Debaser Strand, Stockholm
13th February - Centrum Space, Oslo
14th February - Lille Vega, Kobenhaven
16th February - Musik & Frieden, Berlin
17th February - Sugar Factory, Amsterdam
19th February - Les Etoiles, Paris
20th February - The Laundry, London

April - Coachella Festival