Wednesday, 7 December 2016

CHRIS HURN – SINGLE REVIEW

Chris Hurn – If I Were You (Monkey Records) 
Chris Hurn - If I Were You


Release Date: Out Now

There is no doubting or mistaking that New Zealander Chris Hurn is a composer for film and computer games as well as a regular musician in his own right. ‘If I Were You’ romps and bounds like an excitable teen in a suburban slice of life movie featuring tortuous pregnant pauses and the kind of sexual tension that only teenagers can have. Perky bass licks and guitar flicks bounce around while those smooth vocals coast over like ice cream melting on warm chocolate cake. Hurn sings “Here’s the thing, I’m not stupid, I’m just optimistic” and that’s the very core of this song – unbridled optimism. The video deserves special mention as well in all its Wes Anderson meets Flight of Conchords glory. Quite the package then, Mr Hurn.



JAKE ALDER – SINGLE REVIEW

Jake Alder feat. Eliza – Horizon 
Jake Alder feat. Eliza - Horizon


Release Date: Out Now

Every now and again you come across a polished, finished article of a tune that could be gracing any top 40 rundown or Now compilation and this new track from producer Jake Alder is one of those occasions. ‘Horizon’ is a slick piece of dance pop that, with the help of vocalist Eliza, creates a twilight anthem to get your summer party off to a classy start. Tight guitar notes roll and flux with pulsing beats and synths weaving in to fill in the gaps in between. Eliza’s smooth, sweet vocal is the perfect fit for a tune with this energy that speaks to the part of the brain that just wants to run away from it all and have some fun in the sun. Keep this one on the back burner until next summer.


THE VELVETEINS – SINGLE REVIEW

The Velveteins – Don’t Yah Feel Better? (Fierce Panda Canada) 
The Velveteins - Don't Yah Feel Better?


Release Date: Out Now

More talent from Canada on its way for your listening pleasure now, in the shape of three piece of The Velveteins. New track ‘Don’t Yah Feel Better?’ has a distinctly British flavour about it with the likes of the Zutons, the Coral, Jake Bugg and the Magic Numbers being evoked by the jangling guitars and sunny chord progressions all nudged along by the shuffling beat. This is a delightful two and a half minutes of indie pop with an emphasis on melody and the only problem I have with it is that it’s almost too summery to be coming out in December – especially in Canada for the love of Santa.


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

LULU JAMES – SINGLE REVIEW

Lulu James – Colours 
Lulu James - Colours


Release Date: Out Now

South Shields talent Lulu James has been one of the revelations of 2016 and this new single and video don’t disappoint. ‘Colours’ is a glorious combination of soulful vocals, sparse beats and rich piano tones that all blend together perfectly. Sure there are comparisons to Laura Mvula but there are also elements of Kimbra, The XX, Portishead and a mainstream pop flavour that jars beautifully with edgy, artistic video which sees James exploring the different sides of herself and all the parts that make up what she is now as well as what is to become in the future. This is real, hugely appealing and the kind of tune that has an international market just waiting to lap it up if we can only give it the air time it deserves.



THE SHAKERS – SINGLE REVIEW

The Shakers – Brixton Kiss 
The Shakers - Brixton Kiss (Photo: Jonjo Roony)


Release Date: Out Now

London quintet The Shakers are pretty much bookending the year on Listen With Monger which is no bad thing as so many bands have that have fallen by the way side in 2016 – never mind legends. The bands new single, ‘Brixton Kiss’, is simultaneously skittish and relaxed with the guitars lurching and swaying around while the drums keep things tight and funky like a Bruno Mars chart smasher. I can just imagine a club full of indie kids losing their collective nut to this song as long as they keep just the right side of that white-boy funk line which they just about achieve by the skin of their skinny jeans.

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

Listen Here: 

Live Dates:

22nd December – OTC Bar @ Off The Cuff, London

12th January – The Half Moon, Putney

STELLA RIO – SINGLE REVIEW

Stella Rio – Don’t Go Away 
Stella Rio - Don't Go Away


Release Date: Out Now

There is a slew of singers, performers, artists (call them what you will) who are great at interpreting the songs of others these days but they don’t tend to worry themselves with song writing as an art form. Now, normally I would be raging at this slacktivity but what this does mean is that there is a group of unsung heroes (pun intended) in the background writing the songs and biding their time until the limelight is theirs for the taking. Toronto native Stella Rio is one such heroine who has paid her dues (and her rent) writing for the likes of Little Mix and DVBBS but now, with ‘Don’t Go Away’, it is her time to shine. The hypnotic, circular piano riff is gorgeous in its own right but then you’ve got the muted industrial beat and Stella Rio’s stunningly soft vocal that creeps in through the sea mist and winds unnoticed around your legs, your heart, your senses until you’re completely enveloped in it. I’m sure her song writing talents will continue to be in high demand but with a voice like this I’m betting Stella Rio is ready to fly solo and boy is she gonna soar.



BARE HUNTER – SINGLE REVIEW

Bare Hunter – Cash Money 
Bare Hunter - Cash Money


Release Date: Out Now

There’s something wonderful about crossing paths with a musician at a random gig, falling in love with the EP they send you, being promised a T-shirt (still waiting, gents) and then getting a very early look at their swanky new video. London trio Bare Hunter have given me exactly that experience which goes down as a 2016 highlight as does this superb release. ‘Cash Money’ is just the most gloriously infectious and immediate song I’ve heard in a long while as forces the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in to a keg of whiskey, ties up to Royal Blood and then lights the touch paper. The screaming harmonica, the expansive drums and snarling guitar are all just flames licking at the moustachioed vocals and diamante cowboy-boot stomp. All this and there is a social comment to the lyrics too – the perfect Christmas gift.