Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Dollie Demi – Throw It All Away 
Dollie Demi - Throw It All Away

Release Date: 28th October 2016

Nottingham lass Dollie Demi is making quite the name for herself as the new saviour of British pop and she’s doing the right way with a steady release of pop nuggets and carefully selected, energy fuelled live performances. That said, new single ‘Throw It All Away’ is a 90s Britpop inspired, acoustic based song that will, in all probability, form the ‘slow down’ section of her EP that is due out in 2017. Demi’s style sits somewhere between Lily Allen, Kate Nash, Echobelly, Republica and Lush which suits me just fine and should alert anyone putting together a soundtrack for a gritty British comedy-drama film so if Danny Boyle is working on something new then this might fit in just perfectly. There is a certain raw naivety to the vocals on this track which just about fall down on the side of charming but in a live set I would expect the tempo to pick up considerably after this gentle strum.

Live Dates:

28th October – O2 Academy 2, Islington w/After Alice

25th November – Factory, Manchester


Death Team – Messed Up (Warner Music) 
Death Team - Messed Up

Release Date: Out Now

Yeah, the Swedes can’t stop themselves from churning out excellent pop at the moment and next on the conveyor belt is the excellently named Death Team. This male/female duo are on the fast track to pop stardom and new single ‘Messed Up’ is something a little bit special for all the right reasons. The Hip-Hop beats and swagger are wonderfully juxtaposed by the squeaky Aqua-esque vocals of Mayka but it’s all glued together by the sticky juice of the pop sensibilities that have endured since Abba broke the mould way back when. As if this pair couldn’t get any more cool or relevant, it turns out that they met Stockholm’s Spotify headquarters and fell in creative love so jump on the bandwagon and let’s all have a party in Ikea (other Swedish shops and stereotypes are available).


Rebecca & Fiona – Shotgun (Universal Music) 
Rebecca & Fiona - Shotgun

Release Date: Out Now

There’s something happening in Sweden at the moment, based on the sheer number of new artists being spawned within the country’s borders and more than a few of them are dabbling in the genre of alt-pop. The latest pretenders to the Swedish pop throne are the duo Rebecca and Fiona who arrive with their new single, ‘Shotgun’, riding high on a wave of pop sophistication and the kind breathy, seductive vocals that grace a good chunk of Top 40 hits these days. There is a lightness to the melodies but an aggression to the vocals and underlying bass drones that gives this tune edge and menace covered in a sugar glaze. There’s no distinguishing between the voices of Rebecca and Fiona but if you imagine a 21st Century Shampoo doing the soundtrack to Spring Break 2 then you’re probably not far off the mark.

Live Dates:

4th November – Tempel, Karlstad
5th November – Entourage, Sandviken
12th November – Hostyran, Umea
19th November – Ritz, Orebro
25th November – Liljan, Borlange
2nd December – Statt, Karlskrona
3rd December – Vara Konserthus, Vara
9th December – Puls, Norrkoping
10th December – Karallen, Linkoping
16th December – Metropol, Hultsfred 


Listen With Monger/Lost In the Manor presents #Blogtober live at The Finsbury, London – 23/10/2016

So here’s the premise – the fine people at Lost in the Manor PR wanted to put on 31 consecutive nights of live music in October, make it all free entry and pay all the artists with each night being curated by a different music blog (or ‘tastemaker’ as is the parlance these days). Listen With Monger was asked to be involved and that was an opportunity not to be turned down so along I trotted to the Finsbury venue in North London with five of my favourite UK acts in tow and a fairly heavy Westcountry influence as is my wont. What follows is an account of what happened next and be warned, it was glorious.

Rosa Belle
In a room lit only by the stage lights in the corner and swirling with dying embers of dry ice, a diminutive figure sits on the stage, nervously clutching an acoustic guitar. This figure is 19-year-old Rosa Belle and on a Sunday evening in late October she seems fragile, tiny and unaffected by the darker side of the music industry – in short I’m a little nervous for her. Then, with a couple of strummed chords and a deep intake of breath, Rosa Belle starts to sing and tell her stories with the most soulful, perfectly pitched and dusky voice that filled the room like a warm fire on a cold evening. Original compositions sat easily alongside covers of Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’ and Sam Sparro’s ‘Black & Gold’ as Rosa Belle chatted with the audience like a nervous first timer before unleashing song after song of polished, accomplished and velvety smooth acoustic soul-pop that started the evening off perfectly. Impossibly young and improbably talented.

Devon lad Jamie Yost was up next and this was his first ever London
Jamie Yost
show so there was a certain amount of pressure on the young man’s shoulders as he hunched, unassumingly, over his guitar in that unapologetic spotlight. Sparse but shuddering guitar notes broke the silence and then that voice came over loud and clear through the night air. Soulful, for sure, but there is a maturity and depth to Yost’s voice that belies his few years and sits more comfortably alongside old Bluesmen singing from the corners of smoke filled bars down the years. A well placed cover of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ didn’t miss a beat as Yost showed the audience what can be achieved with just a guitar, a voice and sense of passion. Then, as if he were readjusting his hat, Yost slid that guitar down on to his lap and strummed, slapped and knocked the crap out of it like a man trying to get a radio to work with an increasing sense of frustration but the sound was sublime and the reaction from the audience was triumphant.

After some stage rearranging, the quartet Seaker opened their set and mood changed – not for the better or for the worse, it just changed. Frontwoman Kiran dressed all in black captained her crew from the control panel of her keyboard as they steered through the kind of musical landscape that is, in equal parts, ethereal, precise, organic and genetically modified. Vocals that filled the tall room, guitars that bounced and clanged of the walls and drums that pushed and challenged at every turn all combine to make a sound so utterly perfect that it should be getting more than the few meagre airplays it has had on national radio. Comparisons could be drawn to the XX, Florence + The Machine or Bat For Lashes but this would only a lazy comparison when the live experience is so singularly unique. Seaker are a game changing band and are so much greater than the sum of their parts.

Pattern Pusher
The four gents who take to the stage next could be described as unassuming or non-descript at the best of times but despite appearing from the back of the stage through a tiny door, Exeter’s Pattern Pusher didn’t exactly give you the ‘wow factor’ when they arrived onstage at the Finsbury. Roughly 15 seconds later, however, the wow arrived. With the two main protagonists side on to the audience and duelling with their selected weapons of keyboards, guitar, vocals and a big box of gadgetry, we are treated to a visual and sonic onslaught of wondrous proportions. Sure, Hot Chip, Everything Everything, Dutch Uncles and LCD Soundsystem elements are evident but despite the calculated nature of this music, there is something soulful, something guttural coming from within these four gentlemen which is absolutely encapsulating. Recent single ‘Layla and Madman’ is still the standout track in the set but the overall energy, boundary pushing bravery and genuine enthusiasm for their art is infectious and by the time the set comes to a triumphant close, Pattern Pusher have converted the congregation to their religion….whatever that may be.

The final act on stage tonight are one of those bands that just makes you sit up and pay attention within seconds of hearing them play. The all-female London based threesome Berries have a raw energy and power that hits you at first but they follow it up with superb melodies, sweet harmonies and hooks that you just can’t shake off. The power trio played off the energy that had already been built up in the room and occupied that space between Biffy Clyro, Young Knives and Veruca Salt that nobody else has bothered to even try occupying before. Recent singles ‘Siren’ and ‘Written In Paint’ were present and very correct which bodes well for the forthcoming new EP but what really struck home was how skilled they were at performing these intricate tracks without turning in to the kind of navel gazing band that leaves an audience cold. As the lights refracted off the cymbals and the guitarist and bassist swirled whilst maintaining note perfect precision I don’t think there was a single doubt in the room that we were in the presence of something more than a little bit special.

And then it was over. Months of anticipation and preparation, an evening of serious talent and good vibes, the start of a number of musical adventures and proof, if it were needed, that live music is not quite dead just yet. The crowds drifted away in to the cool night air with a new musical love in their hearts and Listen With Monger prepared for the long journey back to the wiles of Cornwall with a slight sense of satisfaction but also a very real determination that this wouldn’t be the last show this blog curates. Watch this space…

More information:

Thursday, 20 October 2016


Langfinger – Fox Confessor 
Langfinger - Fox Confessor

Release Date: Out Now

Swedish trio Langfinger have come to my attention via one of the best written bits of PR I’ve seen in a long time so, y’know, kudos for that. The band’s new single, ‘Fox Confessor’, is a balls to the wall slice of rock’n’roll that the likes of Jet and Wolf Mother have peddled so well in their time. There’s a relentless, remorseless sense to their music as the band chug and push through this four-minute behemoth with only one intention – to rock. The video takes a swipe at promoters giving bands a bum deal which is a common problem throughout the music world, it seems, but, speaking as a part-time promoter, I can confidently say I’d give these guys the shirt off my back if they rocked this hard at a show of mine. Devil horns to you gentlemen, devil horns.

Watch The Video:


Sam Jordan & The Dead Buoys – My Nirvana (Oceans Post Transmission Co.)
Sam Jordan & The Dead Buoys - My Nirvana

Release Date: Out Now

The Brighton boys are back with a bit of a stormer of a single. ‘My Nirvana’ is the shuddering, Mariachi El Bronx meets Brother & Bones inspired new single from Sam Jordan & The Dead Buoys which includes some gloriously dramatic guitars and the kind of earth shaking drums that make your rib cage shake in the live arena. As Jordan’s meaty baritone booms out, you’re transported in to a lo-fi Tarantino film or an early 00s British gangster film featuring Ray Winstone. This is unapologetic, stark and stylish which is a hell of a combination and one that surely deserves more attention.

More information:

Wednesday, 19 October 2016


Ani Di Franco – Play God (Righteous Babe Records)
Ani Di Franco - Play God

Release Date: Out Now

I once bought an Ani Di Franco CD for a girl I liked to impress her. It worked and we dated for a while. It’s not one of my better stories but significant but it’s pretty much the only time that my taste in music has helped me in the wooing of the opposite sex so it’s worth putting down in black and white for posterity. Di Franco’s new single, her first release in 2 years, comes in the form of the politically charged ‘Play God’ and the wonderful accompanying video. As singles go, this is a gloriously blues infused funk tune with a message to pass on to anyone who will listen all delivered by Di Franco’s distinctive voice – part subtlety and part ferocity. This is somewhere between Ana Calvi, the Indigo Girls when they get funky with their full band and Ben Harper with his Innocent Criminals which is a mighty fine Venn diagram to be in the middle of. Like the music that followed where Motown left off, this is politicised but funky, angry but soulful, pissed off but ready to dance. Pro-choice with a kick ass bass line, as the lady says “you don’t play God, I do”.

Live Dates:

8th November – Higher Ground, South Burlington
9th November – Hart Theatre at the Egg, Albany
11th November – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn
12th November – Landmark on Main Street, Port Washington
14th November – Berklee Performing Arts Center, Boston
15th November – State Theatre, Portland
17th November – Calvin Theatre, Northampton
18th November – NY Society for Ethical Culture – Concert Hall, New York
19th November – NY Society for Ethical Culture – Concert Hall, New York