Monday, 27 February 2017

TOM BAKER – SINGLE REVIEW

Tom Baker – My Confession 
Tom Baker - My Confession


Release Date: Out Now

Plymouthian Tom Baker has his fingers in a number of musical pies but every now and again he pulls his fingers from those pies for just long enough to pen an original song or two and the latest fruits of that pie fingered labour is new single ‘My Confession’. Soft, intimate and late night keys introduce the song before some soulful vocal creeps in from the wee small hours with a John Legend feel to it. As the title would suggest, there is a confessional feel to the song that speaks of a man at the end of his tether with nowhere left to turn other than the truth. Some welcome strings add warmth and redemption towards the end of this song but at over five minutes long this has the feel of a mid-album track more than a single that’s going to get acres of airplay. Nevertheless, Baker has the voice of an accomplished performer and the songwriting ability to match so this gives us something to chew on until he decides to leave those bloody pies alone.



Live Dates:


14th April – The Inn on the Shore, Downderry (FREE)

BRYDE – SINGLE REVIEW

Bryde – Less 
Bryde - Less


Release Date: Out Now

As a boy growing up in the 90s and finding my bearings through music, I placed the likes of Nina Gordon, Louise Post, Tanya Donnelly, Kim Deal and Miki Berenyi high on a pedestal for the minds and their music which served me well. So, imagine my delight and surprise when London based Bryde comes along with a tune that would fit in so easily among these leading ladies. New single ‘Less’ is dripping in 90s vibes from the word go as a rumbling bass and jangled guitar are urged along by a stumbling beats before Bryde’s breathy, almost bored vocal comes in with all the ambivalent edge of Smashing Pumpkins before kicking in to the kind of chorus that Alanis would have loved to throw in on Jagged Little Pill. In more recent years, the likes of Anna Calvi would be an easy comparison but for me the likes of Tori Amos, Powderstrip and 12 Rounds are all there in the background of this storming, driving and utterly irresistible tune.



Live Dates:

19th April – Camden Assembly, London
22nd April – Phoenix, Exeter
24th April – The Castle, Manchester
26th April – Studio 2, Liverpool
11th May – FOCUS Wales, Wrexham

Saturday, 25 February 2017

THE DARTS – SINGLE REVIEW

The Darts – My Heart Is A Graveyard (Dirty Water Records) 
The Darts - My Heart Is A Graveyard

Release Date: Out Now

I’ve been tracking US rock’n’rollers The Darts for a while, waiting while the skipping rope circles for the right time to jump in. New single ‘My Heart Is A Graveyard’ seems to be the right opportunity so let’s get started. The bassline and guitar riff match up like the theme for an episode of vintage Batman that was canned because Catwoman kicked too much ass while the organs drift ofver the tune like Dracula’s velvet cape on a dark night. The excellently named Nikki Stixx beats those drums with as much venom as the next guy/gal and the vocals are pure attitude wrapped up in a sugary coating – tequila filled cupcakes, if you will. There’s a sense of fun to this, for sure, but it’s holding hands with a sense of mischief and I’ll give you three guesses as to which one is leading the way…


Live Dates:

3rd March – Bunkhouse, Las Vegas
4th March – Winter’s Tavern, Pacifica
5th March – Lot 1 Café, Los Angeles
6th March – Tower Bar, San Diego
7th March – Rebel Lounge, Phoenix
10th March – Flycatcher, Tucson
11th March – Viva, Phoenix
28th March – Valley Bar, Phoenix
28th May – 3rd June – UK, France & Italy

Watch The Video: 

FROZEN HOUSES – SINGLE REVIEW

Frozen Houses – Greenhouse On Mars 
Frozen Houses - Greenhouse On Mars


Release Date: Out Now

Frozen Houses is a solo artist hailing from deepest darkest Truro who self-describes his genre as folk-grunge and I think he’s not far off. Current single, ‘Greenhouse On Mars’ has the fuzzy, lo-fi quality of grunge that I do so love but also a lot more by way of melody and intricacy. For me, the guitars and arrangements on this are a beautiful blend of Badly Drawn Boy, David Kitt, Teenage Fanclub, Belle and Sebastian and Rooney that just feels right all the way through. I’m told there are more singles planned and possibly a band to join Alex in his endeavours under the Frozen Houses moniker so this is definitely a space to watch.


Live Dates:

19th May – The Inn on the Shore, Downderry
3rd September – Gylly Beach Café, Falmouth

29th September – Lusty Glaze Beach, Newquay

YOUNG EARTH – SINGLE REVIEW

Young Earth - Got A Secret
Young Earth – Got A Secret 

Release Date: 10th March 2017

O’Keeffe, O’Keeffe, Mulligan and Maher – sounds like a distinctly Irish law firm, doesn’t it? Well it’s not, it’s the four lads behind Dublin’s latest export Young Earth. New single ‘Got A Secret’ is a sub-3-minute indie-pop-punk romp with some excellent guitar work and the spirit of the 60s running through its middle like a slice of rock with The Who running through it. Swaggeringly cool vocals, choppy guitars with the occasional noodle and a tight old rhythm section gives this song confidence beyond it’s years whilst retaining the energy of youth. A great tune that sticks in the head and I suspect a cracking tune to hear live as it lends itself to various different dynamics with an audience. This is the latest in a steady stream of promising guitar bands to have come my way from Ireland this year so something is obviously stirring over there and that’s never a bad thing.


Live Dates:


11th March – Single Launch @ Whelan’s, Dublin

Friday, 24 February 2017

THE SHERLOCKS / JORDAN ALLEN / MARTYN CROCKER BAND – LIVE REVIEW

The Sherlocks / Jordan Allen / Martyn Crocker Band @ The Hub, Plymouth – 21/02/2017

It’s a greasy, uninteresting evening in Plymouth but it hasn’t stopped a mob of people turning out on a Tuesday for three hotly tipped bands playing their own songs live – that’s got to be encouraging, right? Once inside the venue, there is a palpable excitement and anticipation in the air which is largely centred around the four lads from Bolton On Dearne who are returning to Plymouth after triumphant gigs in the past, the Sherlocks are back in town.

Martyn Crocker
(Photo credit - Marielle Newton)
The evening pans out by going through various emotions of a performing musician and it all begins with a classic; nerves. Plymouth trio the Martyn Crocker Band take to the stage with no fanfare or fuss and quickly set about introducing the swelling crowd to their unique brand of intricate indie-rock. With a bass player channelling both Chris Wolstenholme and Flea and a drummer switching between subtle and driving with consummate ease, there is a fine base on which to build a set. Then we have Martyn Crocker, not a natural frontman or performer but a uniquely talented musician. Crocker’s intricate guitar work is hugely impressive and his voice is both distinctive and pure but those nerves made the band’s performance tighten up and feel as though they were holding back. Maybe they were, maybe there was something held back for the forthcoming album launch but it was no coincidence that the band got the best response from their last song which was also the performance that saw them relax more and enjoy their performance. Great songs and great musicianship, just a little rusty in terms of performance but that’s the easy part so bigger and better things will come.

Jordan Allen
(Photo credit - Marielle Newton)
Next up, after a short break to allow the various gangs to prowl around and show their threads off, we have the jittery energy of Bolton boys Jordan Allen. Frontman Allen is a tall, gangly blonde lad holding his powder blue guitar like Hank Marvin but that is where the similarity ends. The emotion behind this quartet is that of pure joy. From the second they take the stage, the energy of Jordan Allen is infectious and they are clearly delighted to be in Plymouth (the furthest South they’ve ever been, for the record). Garage influences mixed with the energy of 90 Grunge and 00s punk-pop make for a riotous half hour which really gets the crowd whipped up. Recent single ‘110 Ways to Make Things Better’ is a particular highlight as is the affable Allen who can’t resist chatting with the crowd at every opportunity. The call and response of ‘Helter’ and ‘Skelter’ is great fun but I can’t help thinking the analogy should be more turbo-twister when the chorus kicks in. These guys with these songs and this energy is a dangerous combination but one that I would bet on working out for them.

The Sherlocks
(Photo credit - Marielle Newton)
So, it’s time for the final act. The Sherlocks come with good songs, live performances that are the stuff of recent legend and the looks of a band that people want to have posters of on their walls. The two pairs of brothers take to the stage amid a storm of lights and tossed plastic pint glasses as if the Gallaghers themselves were on the road to a comeback. Straight away the melodies kick in, the drums drive and songs blast you in the face with the force of a Boeing 747 taking off. This is loud, this is slick, this is powerful, this is indie-rock on a Tuesday night custom made to whip a crowd full of latent testosterone in to an unthinking frenzy. The light show is more than impressive for a venue of this size and the devotion of the fans is almost heartening. But what’s the emotion? Well, herein lies my problem. If you can look beyond the lights and stop your ears bleeding for a second, the only emotion on the faces of the band is indifference. Not one smile, no audience interaction beyond “this is called….” and they all kept their coats on which I always think is a little rude – like, are you staying or not?

All in all, the songs won out tonight but only Jordan Allen seemed to actually enjoy playing in front of a near sell-out crowd. I’d still make a point of checking out all of these bands again but if I was to offer any words of advice it would be to just enjoy it a bit more – the crowd certainly did!

More information:



The Martyn Crocker Band - https://www.facebook.com/martyncrockermusic/

Photography by Marielle Newton - http://www.mariellephotography.co.uk/



Thursday, 23 February 2017

SISTERAY – SINGLE REVIEW

Sisteray – Faaast Food (Vallance Records) 
Sisteray - Faaast Food


Release Date: Out Now

This is the second single I’ve received recently that comes in at under two minutes and I’m all for that distilled sense of purpose and trimming of the fat so I’m keen to see what London bunch Sisteray have to offer. ‘Faaast Food’ has a pleasing rattle about the guitars and a nicely driving thud about the drums which all compliments the fuzzy, distorted vocals that are fairly inaudible but that just adds to the spirit of this tune. This borders on punk but feeds from the gang mentality that the likes of the Libertines and Blur had in their earliest days. This the perfect set opener to get everyone’s attention and shut down their conversations to prepare for the main event to come. There’s an extensive UK tour starting tomorrow so get out and catch these guys if you can, you owe it to yourselves.  


Live Dates:

24th February – Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London
25th February – The Zanzibar, Liverpool
8th March – The Joiners, Southampton
9th March – The Castle, Manchester
10th March – Henry’s Cellar, Edinburgh
11th March – Verve Bar, Leeds
16th March – Bleach, Brighton
17th March – Guns & Smoke, Barnet
24th March – Firebug, Leicester

31st March – Black Heart, London