Wednesday, 29 June 2016

COLTANA – SINGLE REVIEW

Coltana – Bitter Sweet 
Coltana - Bitter Sweet


Release Date: Out Now

When a band says they’re influenced by the likes of Rage Against The Machine, The Distillers, Scroobius Pip, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Skunk Anansie then you have to check them out, right? Right. Coltana are a London based Anglo-Portuguese hybrid and new single, ‘Bitter Sweet’, starts as a spooky music box melody played backwards on a guitar before settling in to an easy groove. Musically this is something like Red Hot Chili Peppers with Kate Nash on lead vocals but under Matt Bellamy’s musical direction. When the chorus drops you can hear the Skunk Anansie influence in the vocal performance and the power hits through like a shock wave flying through a thousand windows and sending shards of glass in every direction. Chunky guitars, pounding drums and a unique vocal style that will make this quartet stick out in a very, very good way. More please.



Live Dates:


2nd July – Single Launch @ The Finsbury, London (free entry)

THE UNDERGROUND MAN – SINGLE REVIEW

The Underground Man – Hysteria 
The Underground Man - Hysteria


Release Date: Out Now

Now the world is going to shit around us and it seems to be starting in the UK with legitimisation of far right thinking and open racism. Once again, however, music has a way of transcending such nonsense and nastiness so up step The Underground Man, a band of British and Polish musicians, ready to show some unity and a way forwards. New single ‘Hysteria’ (appropriate much?) is a balanced and sombre piece of piano indie-pop in the vein of Keane or more recent Coldplay but with more punch. The jerky beats and juddering drums are just about held together by the smooth vocals of Gafyn Davies and the classy power of the chorus. There is a sadness to this tune but one that gets overwhelmed by a sense of defiance, a fighting spirit and a hope for something better. This could easily end up being a rallying call if enough people hear it – so get listening and get sharing.



Live Dates:

8th July – Piaskowa Pub, Krasnik
9th July – Atrium Naleczow, Naleczow
14th July – Piwiarnia Warka, Lomza
22nd July – BSCK, Busko-Zdroj

30th July – Bajgiel, Kazimierz Dolny

RACING GLACIERS – SINGLE REVIEW

Racing Glaciers – Samadhi [So Far Away] (Killing Moon Records) 
Racing Glaciers - Samadhi [So Far Away]


Release Date: Out Now

Macclesfield lads Racing Glaciers might have a great name but before I’d even given this tune a listen I was distracted by something. I’m specifically referring to you, second from the right in the band photo. What the hell is that in your pocket? Seriously, I’m pretty sure you knew that photo was going to be taken when you set out that day unless you all hang around in the woods waiting for the right light and passing photographers. I’ll let it slide but, y’know, be better next time.

So, this single, ‘Samadhi [So Far Away]’ starts like a shoegaze folk acoustic meander before the force of the band crashes in for the chorus and you realise the size and weight of this tune (maybe that’s what’s in the pocket). There’s a west coast, slacker vibe to this like Weezer on a grumpy day but then there’s that introspective Britishness that the likes of Maccabees do so expertly as well. As the song builds to its unstoppable crescendo you get the feeling you’re on a runaway train heading for an unfinished bridge but, all of a sudden, Godzilla’s giant foot just squashes that runaway train like a lousy woodlouse. At just over five minutes, this song takes some attention but it’s worth giving your time and attention to. So worth it.


Thursday, 23 June 2016

ROONEY – SINGLE REVIEW

Rooney – My Heart Beats 4 U (Beachwood Park Music) 
Rooney - My Heart Beats 4 U


Release Date: Out Now

LA rockers Rooney are back with a new single and are probably blissfully unaware of the moderate performance of their footballing namesake in France at the moment. Despite sounding like the title of a boyband mega-ballad, ‘My Heart Beats 4 U’ is actually an indie-pop stomper with real purpose. The chugging, pounding and relentless verse soon gives way to something a little smoother and more mainstream. This is part the Killers, part early Maroon 5 but then features enough balls and grit to pack more of a punch as the guitars snarl like Kings Of Leon and there’s the swagger of bands like Weezer or OK GO. The video is gently trippy as well which is always a good thing. I have to admit to having missed out on Rooney in the past despite numerous chances to check them out. Shame on me, don’t make the same mistakes I did.



Live Dates:

8th July – On The Border, Mission Valley
9th July – Pub Rock, Phoenix
10th July – The Bunkhouse, Las Vegas
12th July – Launchpad, Albuquerque
13th July – Lost Lake, Denver
15th July – The Tank Room, Kansas City
16th July – Opolis, Norman
17th July – Float Fest, Martindale
16th September – Kaaboo Del Mar, Del Mar

LOVESTARRS – SINGLE REVIEW

Lovestarrs – Somebody Like You (DEFDISCO) 
Lovestarrs - Somebody Like You


Release Date: Out Now

Poppy upstarts Lovestarrs are back with a new single and, as they say up north, it’s reet classy. ‘Somebody Like You’ has a punchy, sumptuous synth melody and crunchy beats that are matched only by some lip curling, teeth baring pop vocals from the feisty Sarah. There’s a dark element to the tune as the duo sing of unrequited infatuation (this isn’t a love song) and this reminds me of all the best bits of pop, like Sugababes when Siobhan was still a member or Girls Aloud before they got above their station but with the raw energy of Sleigh Bells and a sense that they’re making this music for themselves, who cares what everyone else thinks. Now put your Converse on and let’s go have a pogo down the front.


Live Dates:


23rd July – Tramlines Festival, Sheffield

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

JENNEL GARCIA – EP REVIEW

Jennel Garcia – Life Starts Now 
Jennel Garcia - Life Starts Now


Release Date: Out Now

In the UK, those that don’t make it in to the final of the X Factor either tend to join the back of the queue to audition again for the next season or go on endless tours of coffee shops desperately trying to get a song on to national radio rotation or used on an advert. Jennel Garcia, it seems, has had a ‘Disney’s version of punk’ make over and decided to release and EP which intrigues me because and EP is usually what artists release when they can’t afford the studio time for an album but have more than one good song so a single seems like a waste. Shall we explore? Let’s.

The first of the six tracks on this collection is ‘Don’t Break My Heart Again’ is a poppy, guitar driven piece of breeziness that would fit straight in to an episode of any one of the teen shows on Nickleodeon. ‘Hate To Love You’ is equally pumped up and plays the quiet-loud-quiet-loud card particularly well picking up the baton where Demi Lovato and Avril Lavigne left off when they decided to go all ‘mature. The riff on ‘The Only One’ is prime Blink 182 fodder and that takes a confident vocal performance to carry off which Garcia manages with ease. Switching between poppy sweetness and emo-punk aggression, Garcia has the kind of voice that, if she was singing on top of heavier, more distorted guitars in band called something like Even After All, would see her gracing the pages of Kerrang! on a regular basis.

EP title track ‘Life Starts Now’ is easily the standout track here with its Cyndi Lauper 80s power pop vibe and grrl power spirit just ripe for plenty of pogoing and lip curling at the end of a coming of age film. On ‘If You Only Knew’ Garcia opts for the piano ballad approach and it’s a useful tool for showing off another, more tender side of her voice but the song isn’t particularly strong and sounds like a Christina Aguilera album filler at best. Now, final track ‘Looks Like You Missed Out’ shows the direction that I think Jennel Garcia should be taking. Aggressive, assertive and in your face with blistering drums and razor sharp guitars giving the power needed to match that voice as Garcia veers in to alt-pop-emo territory with aplomb. Now, ironically this is the only song on this collection that Garcia had no part in writing so there’s some thinking and soul searching to do. Does she want to stretch herself and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Pink with an edgier career or settle for the safer shores of a middle of the road pop career. I know which way I’d turn.



BEST FRIENDS CLUB – SINGLE REVIEW

Best Friends Club – Thru The Nite Feat. Kasho 
Best Friends Club - Thru The Nite


Release Date: 28th June 2016

I’ve said it before and I’m about to say it again; Canada keeps pumping interesting and engaging musicians. Best Friends Club (aka Matthew Vultaggio and various guest artists) is an intriguing project and, if ‘Thru The Nite’ is anything to go by, then it’s one worth paying attention to. It might only be two and a half minutes long and have some awful spelling in the title, but ‘Thru The Nite’ features so gloriously trippy beats, sparse melodies and the kind of vocals that can only be produced when you’re about 4 joints in and you think you’re powering out a stadium filling rock ballad. It’s a bedroom project, for sure, but it veers more towards the trippier moments of LCD Soundsystem or Boards Of Canada despite having a few touches of White Town which are just as satisfying.  Best Friends Club is the sound of one man heading in many different directions.