Monday, 21 July 2014

ARKELLS - SINGLE REVIEW

Arkells - 11:11 (Heavy Plaid/Universal Music Canada) 
Arkells - 11:11

Release Date: 21st July 2014

I have to admit that on my first experience of this single I didn't really take in much of the music as the video is incredibly compelling which is odd because literally nothing of note happens. On second listen I realised that '11:11' is actually a slick, beautifully crafted and fun indie-pop single that could you easily imagine wafting out from the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury to a crowd of appreciative and loved up indie fans. The slick guitars and perky drums are woven together by layers of synths and a Brandon Flowers style clean vocal delivery that will have teenage girls falling in love by the first chorus. And maybe some boys as well...

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

Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHcQiEqjtzs

Live Dates:

1st August - Springer Market Square, Kingston
9th August - Open Flair Festival, Eschwege
10th August - Studio 672, Cologne
14th August - FluxBau, Berlin
16th August - Highfield Festival, Leipzig
17th August - Chiemsee Festival, Uebersee
19th August - Paradiso, Amsterdam
20th August - The Islington, London
22nd August - Elora Riverfest, Elora
23rd August - Kitchissippi Music Festival, Foresters Falls
30th August - Sun Peaks Summer Concert Series, Sun Peaks
5th September - Jackson Triggs Amphitheatre, Niagara-On-The Lake
11th September - Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, Fredericton

12th September - Supercrawl, Hamilton

ANTO DUST - SINGLE REVIEW

Anto Dust - Traitor's Gate 
Anto Dust - Traitor's Gate

Well these guys seem to be getting a bit of a buzz around them in that there London town so it's time we had a listen, don't you think? Anto Dust are a female fronted quartet who peddle shoegaze-esque melodies with a dreamy aura to them. New single 'Traitor's Gate' is a wonderfully, sweeping, swooning example of their music with layers of delicately intricate melodies weaving in and out of each other like spiders dancing with fairies in a dusk lit woodland clearing. As the song progresses, the wooziness increases and you get the impression that this might the ring tone on Wayne Coyne's phone or the special mating music for some kind of intergalactic race that dress entirely in white leather boots and vintage American 60s clothing. Beautiful stuff and buzz fully justified. Carry on about your business now.

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


Listen/Download Here: https://soundcloud.com/antodust/traitors-gate/s-xy6PN

VILLAINS - SINGLE REVIEW

Villains - Wicked Ways 
Villains - Wicked Ways

Release Date: 21st July 2014

Essex boys Villains have a new single for your enjoyment and, aside from  Villains being a great band name, this is fantastically 90s influenced grunge indie tune. 'Wicked Ways' is a wall of guitars and pounding drums that beat you round the senses until you are tenderised enough to absorb the smooth, luxuriant vocals that come shining through. I can hear the influence of bands like Addict, Bush, Headswim, Idlewild and Redwood in here which is no bad thing at all...more than can be said for the chunky knit sweater the singer is wearing in the video for this track. Shocking.

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


Watch The Video Here: http://www.muzu.tv/villains/villains-wicked-ways-music-video/2266781/

ARTHUR WALWIN - SINGLE REVIEW

Arthur Walwin - This Feels (Like Summer) 
Arthur Walwin - This Feels (Like Summer)

Release Date: 21st July 2014

Remember Sum 41? I freakin' loved that 'Fat Lip' song when I was younger and 'In Too Deep' was a tune and a half. Well, South London lad Arthur Walwin has fully embraced that pop-punk energy on new single 'This Feels (Like Summer)'  which will could well make it a hit if it gets the right airplay. This is transition stuff, a gateway drug if you will, from the likes of One Direction and Ed Sheeran on to harder stuff like McFly or the Kooks. That sounds flippant but there is a place for this kind of light, uplifting and unashamedly poppy music but the unusual thing is that place is usually West Coast America rather than the place that cab driver will go; South of the river. The other appealing aspect is that part of the melody seems to have been lifted directly from a  Super Mario Brothers game which I always enjoy.

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


Watch The Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkydRnEb0ak

Sunday, 20 July 2014

PORT MANTEAU - ALBUM REVIEW

Port Manteau - To Far Away Friends 
Port Manteau - To Far Away Friends

Time for some Canadian indie music and this time it's the turn of Ottawa four piece Port Manteau to show us what Maple Leaf country can do. Kicking off with 'Away From Here' and after a relatively subdued start the band immediately hit their stride with choppy, razor sharp guitars and a sense of agitated energy that is somewhat infectious. 'Nickels & Dimes' has a wistful, end-of-summer kinda feel that bursts beautifully towards the end while 'Moon Boy' has an edgy, Pixies-esque feel to it. By the time we reach 'Burden' the mood takes a turn for the darker side of things and the likes of The Wrens and Engine 88 come to mind which is no bad thing.

There is a child-like quality to 'Pioneer' that is reminiscent of the lighter moments the Smashing Pumpkins create while 'l'll Be Damned' is a more slacker grunge affair with jangling guitars and padding, thumping guitars that are muffled in the background. 'Stay Loud is a lively, punkish number with snappy drums and a sense of teenage-angst driven fun which gives way to the brooding, slinky bass line of 'The Lookout', a song steeped in Placebo-esque tendencies. As the album winds up, 'After Hours' gives a good quality end of the night vibe while 'All The Others' ends things with a positive thrum and some seriously wailed vocals. This is a strong whisky of an album that takes a few sips to get to grips with but once you do the subtle flavours and rich textures will reward you in full.

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

Listen/Download: http://officialportmanteau.bandcamp.com/

Live Dates:


29th July - Club Saw, Ottawa 

MORIATY - ALBUM REVIEW

Moriaty - The Devil's Child (Saucy Cant Records) 
Moriaty - The Devil's Child

Duos are pretty popular on the music scene these days, that's an accepted fact now, but rarely has a duo come along with such honesty, passion and raw desire to make music as can be seen in Devon two-piece Moriaty. Jordan West and Matthew Partridge, for they are the melody and rhythm of Moriaty respectively, have forged their way through a number of different bands and line-ups to find themselves left with no better option than to link arms and run head first off the pier. 'The Devil's Child' is the resultant album and everyone should stop what you're doing, put down the guns and listen in because this, this right here, is what gets me out of bed in the morning: exciting new music*.

The album opens with the tense, atmospheric strains of 'Belding' which starts like Rage Against The Machine, morphs in to The Black Keys and ends up like an early Muse wig-out. Former single 'Esperanza' is up next, introduced by what appears to be one of the old duffers from the Wonga adverts having a rant about the youth of today, and it is a real rock'n'roll stomper. West knows his way around a big, chunky riff and has a vocal range that can go from intense, under his breath mutterings to head thrown back screaming in the blink of a mischievous eye.  Kelly Louise Naish lends her vocal abilities to 'Venus Fly Trap' as Moriaty arrive at a place somewhere between the Black Keys, White Stripes, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and vintage Kaiser Chiefs. Call it peaking too early if you will but track four is possibly my favourite on the album as 'Jealous MF' is a twelve bar blues at 100 miles an hour romp that has a chorus just begging to be shouted back at the stage by sweaty gig goers the length and breadth of the country - "Don't try to understand me, don't fall down at my feet, cos a woman like you is far too pretty for a dog-gone, dead-beat, jealous Motherfucker like me", as you asked.

They can only come in if you invite them over the threshold 
What I love about Moriaty is their ability to switch from fun and flippant to dark and moody without losing any of the integrity of passion. A perfect example is the transition in to the fabulous dark country rock of 'Dhamer Blues' that features snippets of the infamous Jeffrey Dhamer and the wonderfully malevolent line "If a person doesn't think there is a good to be accountable to then what's the point of trying to modify your behaviour to keep it within acceptable ranges". 'The Devil's Child Part 1' is a two minute interlude of lazy guitars and shuffling drums with a looped vocal which leads in to 'No. 7', a snarling beast of a song that features one of my new favourite lyrics "I rise for your eyes, they're like heaven, all bad boys they come from Devon". The album takes a reflective moment on 'Goodbye Love' as some gently twanging guitar notes and Richard Hawley style song writing  shows off a more thoughtful side to the band and Matthew Partridge is allowed more space to show off his drumming range.

The final third of the album starts with 'If' which is the famous Rudyard Kipling poem set to a swaggering, jerking guitar riff with blues at its heart. Partridge tries his hand at lyricism on the Noel Gallagher-esque acoustic strum of 'Move On', a touching ode to moving on through various cities and lifestyles that is possibly the only song in existence to feature the line "I don't give a fuck-a-doodle-doo". 'House Of Hell' is an almost cartoonish take on rock'n'roll debauchery which should be included on the soundtrack of a remake of any 80s houseparty family - Animal House for example. The album closes up with 'The Devil's Child Part 2' and the dirty, sleazy, gold toothed slide guitar just reeks of swamp gas and moonshine as it swaggers in through the saloon doors just looking for trouble. Moriaty's beauty is in the unpigeonholeability (yes, it is a word) of their music which could see them slip easily in to any line up on the rock, indie, blues or alternative spectrum. Makes me proud to be a Devonian.

*There is often an unavoidable need to pee as well but I can't hold Moriaty responsible for that.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/moriatysounds / http://www.moriaty.co.uk/

Live Dates:

25th July - Lansdowne, Dawlish
2nd August - Kingston Festival, Plymouth
15th August - The Royal Inn, Par
17th August - Hannah's Festival, Newton Abbot
22nd August - Waynestock, Gwinear

5th September - Barrel House, Totnes

MFC CHICKEN - ALBUM REVIEW

MFC Chicken - Solid Gravy (Dirty Water Records) 
MFC Chicken - Solid Gravy

Trying to explain the phenomenon that is MFC Chicken to the uninitiated is tantamount to arguing for the need to wear to tie with a man who doesn't own a shirt. I would assert, however, that there is a great need for MFC Chicken in this world than there is for the neck tie - although I'm sure the band would disagree as they are far snappier dressers than this humble blogger. This second Long Player from the London based, multi-national group is not a far stretch from their first but then again, if ain't broke why the hell fix it? Instead, MFC Chicken have done some fine tuning and put those months of relentless gigging to good use. The album opens with a mock advert aimed at bored housewives in need of some greasy, meaty satisfaction in every sense during the 'Chicken 'Bout You' and we're off. I hope you're wearing something comfortable.

The first real song of the album is 'Pocahontas' which starts with a tribal chant that you might have heard in a 1950s Leopard Lodge before Spencer Evoy leads the band through a rock'n'roll riot that pivots on the line "Pocahontas ain't got nothing on me" - surely a Disney franchise is only a matter of time? '(Get Outta The) DJ Booth' will soon be a theme tune to all purist alternative DJs across the land as Spencer, in between saxophone rasps, sings "I'm digging the sax, I digging the Pianah but I really want to hear just a little Rhianna....NO!". A band like MFC Chicken need their own dance craze and 'Voodoo Chicken' is exactly the tune to start that off as the horns blast low and sexy over the top of some wild surf guitar courtesy of Mr Alberto Zioli. The storytelling beauty and humour of 'I'm Her Pet' features a sexual predator enslaving a man in a cage for her own titillation but in a fun way before 'Hot Friend' goes all instrumental on us to let the sax wail and the bass take centre stage for a change.

They're modest too...
Every one of these 14 tracks is entertaining and infectious with the intention of making you dance until you sweat through every layer of clothing and no longer care what the rest of the audience think. '(Show Me The) Gravy, Baby' is a tune to twist to which you'll need to do if you eat all the food name checked in this little beauty....including mushy peas. Ironically a band who really heavily on poultry for their lyrical inspiration, the next song is 'Don't Wanna Talk About Chicken' which features some spooky, Dick Tracey style guitar notes and shuffling drums until the chorus kicks in which you can almost imagine John Travolta singing in a deleted seen from Grease where they visit a chicken shack after winning a drag race. The sax fuelled 'Well Now' will have you singing along in no time, largely due to the simple lyrics but also due to the Johnny Cash vibe of the music. Possibly my favourite track on the album is 'M.F. Sea Chicken' which rolls Dick Dale, the Beach Boys and a big pile of organ, courtesy of Reverend Parsley, in to one sexy, brooding lump of instrumental seaside fun with a hint of the Manzareks about it.

As we enter the home straight, 'Chicken Shack' rolls around to get the hop jumpin' and jivin' as well as getting them thinking about getting some sticky, greasy chicken on the way home to soak up all those malt shakes. Evoy's rasping vocals are once again in evidence on the bluntly titled 'Horseshit' while 'White Leather Boots' shows off a slightly stalkerish or predatorial side to the band as they keep to the shadows to follow you home. The album closes with 'Dirty Little Bitch', opening with some gentle organ and guitar before Evoy gets ever so slightly Springsteen in his vocal approach and then the drumming of Ravi kicks it up a notch and we're up for one last spin on the dance floor. The thing with MFC Chicken is that you could just dance to the music and have a whale of a time and nobody would mind. But if you want real value for money then you should also take time to appreciate the clever and often funny lyrics as well as the complete dedication to a style of music that is so often approximated but rarely presented in its purist form as it is here. Oh, and if nothing else then you should at least take a shot every time they use Chicken as a metaphor for sex - you'll be drunk by the end of the album, trust me.

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

Live Dates:


6th September - Plaza, Quintana Martin Galin