Friday, 26 August 2016


Jamie N Commons – Not Gonna Break Me (Fiction Records) 
Jamie N Commons - Not Gonna Break Me

Release Date: Out Now

Jamie N Commons may look like Chesney Hawkes’ grumpier little brother and he may go for wearing ponchos on stage on the odd occasion but he’s got the kind of gravelly, man-of-the-people voice that you usually only hear from wizened old rocker types. New single ‘Not Gonna Break Me’ is one of those moody, montage soundtracking tunes that comes straight outta the next Fast and Furious (I’m assuming it’s on to 12 by now, “So Fast I’m Furious – angry old ladies moan about the boy racers outside their bungalows”) featuring big, booming drums and Commons’ powerful vocal tones all threaded together with some moody keys and slide guitar work. It’s slightly more Bon Jovi than it is Springsteen but I think a lot of musicians would chew your left ear off for the chance at having half the career of JBJ wouldn’t they?  


Shayla Souliere – Screw U 
Shayla Souliere - Screw U
Release Date: Out Now

There seems to be a long line of talented female pop stars coming out of Canada at the moment and Regina Saskatchewan native Shayla Souliere is the latest on the conveyor belt. The slightly uncompromisingly titled ‘Screw U’ is one of those songs that you just know is borne out of real life emotions as the stabbed keyboard melodies and Kelly Clarkson vocals emerge from the wreckage of a totalled relationship. The slightly subdued verses give way to an angry and bile spitting chorus that is delivered through clenched teeth and a sense of utter defiance. ‘Screw U’ fits in well with likes of Pink, Katie Perry and Jessie J in terms of creating pop with that defiant, sassy edge and a sense of power that is hard to ignore.

Thursday, 25 August 2016


Dollie Demi – New Girl 
Dollie Demi - New Girl 

Release Date: Out Now

I’m a sucker for a bit of bubblegum pop with a sassy attitude and it feels like a while since the dust settled on the whole girl power thing so I’m intrigued by the prospect of Mancunian pop princess Dollie Demi. This debut single, ‘New Girl’, pretty instantly sets its stall out as somewhere in the middle of the Lily Allen, Kate Nash and Brassy trifecta but with louder guitars and a real American radio friendly twang. The 90s skatepunk guitars mixed with Demi’s saccharine sweet vocals and some big drums in the middle eight make this primed for the kind of film where a teenage geek girl finds her inner glamour-puss and shocks all the mean girls at the prom but with a more English edge. This is in no way highbrow stuff but if you want something you can mosh to and have a melody stuck in your head for the bus ride home then Dollie Demi might just be your favourite new pop star.

Live Dates:

21st September – Night & Day CafĂ©, Manchester


Holy Holy – Darwinism 
Holy Holy - Darwinism

Release Date: Out Now

Aussie outfit Holy Holy are coming across to kick up a storm in Europe this Autumn so it’s only fair that us Europeans get a fix on what they sound like before they get here (apologies to any Australian readers but they’re doing a massive tour in November so you’re getting more than your fair share). New single ‘Darwinism’ is a beefy slice of indie-pop that combines the slick smoothness of the Killers or the Strokes with the darkness and despair of the National or Interpol. Interested? You should be. This is heavyweight stuff with rumbling drums, wall-to-wall guitars and there’s even a brass section before we get to an almighty guitar solo that actually makes my eardrums vibrate. For a song named after the concept of evolution, ‘Darwinism’ has something heavenly about it but always with the threat of the underworld bubbling under the surface.

Live Dates:

20th September – Paradiso, Amsterdam
21st September – Merleyn, Nijmegen
23rd – 24th September – Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg
27th September – Electrowerkz, London w/St Agnes
28th September – Oporto, Leeds
1st October – Supersonic Club, Paris

2nd October – Rotown, Rotterdam


Emily C. Smith – Far From Judd 
Emily C. Smith - Far From Judd EP

Release Date: Out Now

I don’t go much for genres but Emily C. Smith’s self-certification as a ‘Death Folk’ artist has me hooked pretty much straight away. This shiny new EP from the Londoner kicks off with ‘Don’t Leave Me Alone’ and I already love death folk as a genre. Processed beats, roomy guitars and a primal wail that Polly Jean would give a respectful nod to all mingle together to make a lo-fi but thoroughly enthralling tune with a grunge heart and so much soul it hurts. ‘Slow Death’ is more jaunty but the guitars are still buzzsaw sexy, so much so that this deserves a brightly coloured, 90s inspired video filmed on super-8 and featuring a number of musicians in an open topped car.

On ‘I Have No Use For You’, Smith explores the death element of her genre with the chugging, moody guitars and her attitude rich snarl evoking sonic images of Patti Smith, Anna Calvi, Belly and a classier version of Courtney Love. The EP closes with ‘Burn’ which is a far more sedate affair with elements of Teenage Fanclub and the Lemonheads to the lackadaisical guitar strum. Emily C. Smith is one of the most rounded, talented and vital artists I’ve heard in a long time and I’ve listened to a lot of artists in my time. The funny thing is, when I first wrote that last sentence, I instinctively put ‘female’ in the description but on reflection it’s completely unnecessary – this is an artist who transcends both gender and genre. Stick that in you pigeon hole and smoke it.

9th September – EP Launch @ The Harrison, London

21st October – Hope & Anchor, London

Wednesday, 24 August 2016


Parekh & Singh – I Love You Baby, I Love You Doll (Peacefrog Records) 
Parekh & Singh - I Love You Baby, I Love You Doll

Release Date: Out Now

This has to go down as one of the most astonishingly surprising tracks to come my way this year. Seriously. Parekh and Singh are duo of gents hailing from Kolkata in India and they sure are a pair of snappy dressers but, more importantly, they make gloriously understated indie-folk-pop with a tinge country. ‘I Love You Baby, I Love You Doll’ blends elements of Belle & Sebastian, David Kitt, Sufjan Stevens, the Flaming Lips, the Magic Numbers and the soundtrack to Inside Llewyn Davis to make a gentle, subtle and thoroughly adorable tune with soft but oh-so-sweet vocals. I don’t know what I expected from the artwork and the back story to these two chaps but it certainly wasn’t this and I’m glad. I do so love nice surprises.


Astronauts – Breakout (Lo Recordings) 
Astronauts - Breakout

Release Date: Out Now

Londoner Dan Carney, for he is Astronauts, is the latest in a long and distinguished line of lo-fi electro, folk artists from in and around the British Isles. This latest single, ‘Breakout’, is as downbeat as they come as the tightly strummed acoustic guitar battles with layers of noises, melodies and beats to create the kind of sound that forged successful careers for the likes of Jim Noir, Badly Drawn Boy and David Kitt. What’s different here, though, is that Carney’s smooth vocals and sense of the cinematic means that this could just fly in America as well as being successful in his own back yard. There’s something of the Midlake or Eels about this and that makes it even more appealing so get some in your life.