Thursday, 3 September 2015

FRANKIE LEE - SINGLE REVIEW

Frankie Lee - Where Do We Belong (Loose Music) 
Frankie Lee - Where Do We Belong

Release Date:  4th September 2015

Frankie Lee is the kind of guy who was born on the banks of the Mississippi, rides around with topless girls on the back of his motorbike and plays his guitar whilst looking as smooth as shit. He's the kind of guy you either hate or want to be which makes him prime for being a rock star. New single 'Where Do We Belong' is, therefore, a bit of a surprise when it comes along sounding like Midlake, the Magic Numbers or the Treetop Flyers with a light country tinge but more than a little soul running through the heart of the tune. The video is also a marvellously lo-fi piece of 'things-to-do-in-Mississippi-when-you're-bored' film making featuring cows, horses, cigarettes, karaoke, motorbikes, the American flag and the aforementioned topless girl. This is beautifully chilled and thoughtful music so I am putting my flag in the ground - I am firmly team Frankie Lee.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8pV-gdctdc&feature=youtu.be

Live Dates:

5th September - La Chambre Photographique, Santa Barbara
8th September - Doc's Lab, San Francisco

15th-20th September - Ama's, Nashville

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

THE LIBERTINES - ALBUM REVIEW

The Libertines - Anthems For Doomed Youth (Virgin EMI Records) 
The Libertines - Anthems For Doomed Youth

Release Date: 4th September 2015

I have to admit that, much like the Smiths, I never really got all the hype around the Libertines. A couple of good tunes and some eccentric behaviour, sure, but nothing to suggest the kind of living legend status they've been afforded. Still, they are one of the most enthralling bands of a generation so a new album will always be met with a certain sense of excitement and expectation. The return is heralded by the opening tune 'The Barbarians' which has those signature rolling drums, atmospheric guitars, gang harmonies and 60s chord progressions. Recent single 'Gunga Din' is up next and takes a slower run up at that Libertines sound and, dare I say, a slight cod-Reggae vibe which is thankfully overridden by a more standard indie chorus. It is on 'Fame And Fortune', however, that Carl, Pete and the rest really return to form with London running through the centre of the song like a black tie against a crisp white shirt as the quirky guitars duel with Albarn, Suggs and Dury inspired lyrics.

Album title track of sorts 'Anthem For The Doomed Youth' sees the band casting a lonely, disconsolate shadow while they compare Cromwell and Orwell for lyrical convenience and croon as though it's the end of a Brit flick about the end of some era. The piano opening to 'You're My Waterloo' could come from the smoky backroom of a prohibition bar after hours but that voice is unmistakable in all its fractured glory as they name check Tony Hancock and sing like there is nothing left to hope for. Things pick up on 'Belly Of The Beast' as the military drumming of Gary Powell soon gives was to a skiffley scuffle and lyrics mumbled from behind a coat collar with a half smoked fag loitering between those lips. There is a pent up energy that is almost restrained, held back on this album and you want it to explode but maybe they're keeping that back for the live shows.

The Libertines - flag hags
'Iceman' starts slowly with a dirty acoustic riff emerging from the shoreline of a murky city river and stumbles on to a city street to bump in to all the workers heading to their towers of high finance while 'Heart Of The Matter' is a typically fast paced ramble through and indie disco stomper. Track of the album for me is 'Fury of Chonburi' which has the beef and menace that is a little lacking on the rest of this collection as John Hassall's popping but dirty bass keeps the tempo relentlessly high throughout. The mellower approach to 'The Milkman's Horse' (possibly a euphemism, not sure) shows a side of the band that perhaps nods to another direction while the intriguingly titled 'Glasgow Coma Scale Blues' is the bastard son of the Kinks and the Stones being looked after by Josh Homme for the afternoon.

The album closes up with 'Dead For Love' and that smoky piano is back again to create a more epic backdrop than the Libertines have any right to provide for a song as it approaches Bond theme proportions if they ever filmed a Bond film in the East End with Ray Winstone as the villain. This is a good album, there is no disputing that, there are some cracking tunes and lyrically there is a lot to give. What I'm not sure of is whether this is a great album or even an album worthy of existing under the shadow of the Libertines legend. It'll still shift mega units though and there a few songs here that will fit nicely between the classic anthems during the live shows.

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

Live Dates:

6th September - O2 Academy, Glasgow

7th September - Rock City, Nottingham

8th September - O2 Academy, Bristol

10th September - Electric Ballroom, London

11th September - Ritz, Manchester

12th September - Tempelhof Airport Lollapalooza, Berlin

21st November - Festival Corona Capital, Mexico

JAKE MORLEY - SINGLE REVIEW

Jake Morley - Allegorical House 
Jake Morley - Allegorical House

Release Date: Out Now

The wondrous Jake Morley is teasing us back in to life for the Autumn with this latest single ahead of his new album. 'Allegorical House' features Morley's signature rapid fire vocals with original lyrics and a slightly skewed view on the minutiae of the universe. The rippling guitar strings, humming bass and trickling percussion all build beautifully, nourished by the vocal harmonies and the passion and purity in that voice. That voice. Jake Morley has one of those voices that hits some part of my brain smack dab in the middle and makes me feel joyful and tearful at the same time. It's the musical embodiment of huge relief sweeping through every part of you and to be able to recreate that emotion with a few strums'n'hums is a powerful talent indeed. Like Derren Brown, though, Morley will surely only use his powers for good so open up your ears, unshield your heart, close your eyes and feel the smile spread from your lips to every part of your body. Enjoy.

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr-VOal1lZg

Live Dates:

4th October - Castle, Manchester
5th October - Basement, York
7th October - Rocking Chair, Sheffield
8th October - Moon Club, Cardiff
9th October - Louisiana, Bristol
11th October - Phoenix, Exeter
17th October - Railway, Winchester
18th October - Latest, Brighton
21st October - St Pancras O.C., London

23rd October - St Peter's, Ipswich

Sunday, 30 August 2015

BRUJA - EP REVIEW

Bruja - Bruja EP 
Bruja - EP

Release Date: Out Now

If you're looking for the bastard child of the Long Blondes, the Lovely Eggs, Nirvana and Helen Love then you can stop looking....you weirdo. Barnsley trio Bruja have a new EP for you and those that love their music with a raw, unbridled energy will love this. 'XXX' kicks things off with a guttural, gang-like grunge romp that leaves you in no doubt that these three have arrived. The deadpan delivery of the vocals on 'Drone' puts frontwoman Delyth Wadsworth in the same league as Courtney Love or, more importantly, Kathleen Hanna while 'Horsey & You' takes things down an energy peg and gets a little more spaced out on your ass while retaining the spirit of Nirvana at all times.

'Sugarbaby' is not the sweet, love ode that you might have expected but is, instead, a bass driven and thumping tune full of menace and a macabre spirit with an unhinged sense of perspective. On 'Buzzy Bee' the trio take the rock aspect up a notch and the bass work of Wadsworth again makes for a dirty foundation while Lewis Naylor's guitar wails like a recently released banshee. Final track 'Bon' has a more jerky feel to it that returns to that Lovely Eggs space on the Venn diagram as the bass pops and bounces before a Brassy-esque melody sweeps in to end this EP on a positive note. Bruja have definitely made it on to my list of bands I want to see live but as their forthcoming tour only gets as far South as Reading and I'm holed up down in Cornwall this is unlikely to happen......yet.

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

Listen/Download Here: https://bruja14.bandcamp.com/

Live Dates:

4th Sept - The Intake, Mansfield
5th Sept - The Sun Inn, Reading
6th Sept - The Parish, Huddersfield
8th Sept - West Street Live, Sheffield
9th Sept - Verve Bar, Leeds
10th Sept - TS One, Middlesborough
11th Sept - The Shed, Leicester

12th Sept - The Rigger, Stoke

VICTORIA - SINGLE REVIEW

Victoria - Summertime 
Victoria - Summertime

Release Date: Out Now

As the British summer (stop laughing at the back) draws to a close it's probably a bit late to discover a stomping indie-pop summer anthem but there's always next year, right? Looking like Marcus Mumford's chirpier little cousins, London five-piece deliver 'Summertime' like a tune that was written by Ed Sheeran for One Direction before they announced their split so instead they offered it to the Feeling to give it a sense of authenticity before selling the rights to a major mobile phone network for their summer advertising campaign. In all seriousness, this is a song with serious pop chops and the commercial potential huge - especially if the US market picks up on this and makes it the main montage tune of next summer's big rom-com. This might be your last chance to get a slice of sunshine in to your summer months so jump on board (no reference to the Victoria line, honest).

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


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

ABLE ARCHER - SINGLE REVIEW

Able Archer - The Warden 
Able Archer - The Warden

Release Date: Out Now

This is a more mellow affair than this Dublin quintet's last effort but where 'Ghost Maker' was all edgy guitars and impassioned vocals, 'The Warden' is more mature and influenced by alternative 80s tunes. A wash of keyboards and bouncing guitar notes are nudged along by gentle but persistently rolling beats and a vocal full of charm and wit. This isn't the most instant or immediately engaging track every created, not even by this band, but it fits the mood as the light fails on a disappointing summer and the greyness starts to set in.

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

Listen Here: https://soundcloud.com/pluggin-baby/able-archer-the-warden-1

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdJVDc2mB74&feature=youtu.be


MELANIE CREW - EP REVIEW

Melanie Crew - Until The End EP 
Melanie Crew - Until The End EP

Release Date: Out Now

So much of what I get sent these days is packaged as 'new', 'fresh' or 'emerging' but the truth of the matter is that it has come through a PR Agency or direct from a record label who represent the very fact that these artists have had at least a little investment already. London singer-songwriter Melanie Crew feels much more like the real thing. For example, the opening song of this 6 track collection, 'Hiding Away', is a timid, gently probing song with an acoustic guitar that occasionally falls out of tune and a tambourine that is far too high in the mix - but I love it. There is a purity to Crew's voice and an innocence to her guitar playing that makes the listener feel privileged just be listening in, especially on the child-like waltz of 'Finding A Place'.  

If you fondly remember the delicate vocal of Stina Nordenstam on her hit 'Little Star' and combine that with the imagery of the film Amelie then you will enjoy the St Etienne meets Belle & Sebastian beauty of 'Do You Know?'. 'Take Me Back', on the other hand, channels some Pulp melodies and a long-lost acoustic Dubstar demo as the vocals layer up beautifully over the top of that simple but effective guitar refrain. We're waltzing again on 'With You' with its East European vibe before the EP closes off with 'Waiting For Someone' - the most indie lullaby you'll ever hear that could have been a softly sung ditty from the 1940s which would only be improved by making this a duet with Nick Cave. This is the very epitome of why I write this blog, to connect with music at all levels and to find a talent like Melanie Crew who I can now follow and, hopefully, watch steadily rise to the acclaim she richly deserves. Now pour yourself a drink that makes you feel warm inside, wrap yourself in a blanket and let this EP fill up your emotional cup.

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


Listen/Download Here: http://melaniecrew.bandcamp.com/