Monday, 21 August 2017

REWS – SINGLE REVIEW

Rews – Shine
Rews - Shine

Release Date: Out Now

London duo Rews have been described as “Like a female Royal Blood” and it’s not hard to see why that comparison has been made but there is so much more to this than two woman rocking hard. You see ‘Shine’ rocks out, no doubt about that, but there’s soul here and a pop sensibility that Royal Blood can only dream of. In fact, Rews are more in line with contemporaries Berries or Deux Feurieuses but without the political anger. In fact, the most wonderful about Rews is that they could be the cross-over band for a whole generation of kids who’ve been force fed polished pop like battery farmed chickens. And I want to be clear here, I’m not just saying ‘oh loads of girls will pick up guitars or start playing the drums because of Rew’, no this is bigger than a gender thing. Much bigger.


Live Dates:

27th August – Graze Festival, Hazeley Fields

Watch The Video: 

VELVET & STONE – EP REVIEW

Velvet & Stone – Embers EP 
Velvet & Stone - Embers EP


Release Date: Out Now

I’ve had a vague awareness of Exeter quartet Velvet & Stone for a while, like that person you see every day on the bus but you never really take the time to absorb them. Then, like that stranger sitting down next to you to talk to you, Velvet & Stone went and dropped their EP in to my inbox and suddenly all is clear. ‘Ragged Wood’ is as a beautiful an opening to any record as I’ve heard in a long time with its tender, haunting notes that snake like early morning mist round decades old tomb stones and dew-covered grass. The delicately plucked strings interplay with their smooth, sliding counterparts and the chime of a distant bell. Continuing the after-life vibe is ‘Raise Your Ghosts’ which has a more optimistic sound complete with a driving beat and the assured, Country-esque vocals of Lara Snowdon.

The EP title track, ‘Embers’, takes the pace down a notch again as warmly delicate piano notes are woven together by silken violin notes before a celtic inspired rhythm starts to emerge and you feel a sense of raw emotion start to swell within you – now, which emotion that is will depend on your state of mind but for me, right now, it’s a sense of life affirming gratitude towards the universe. The EP closes with ‘Trouble’, a song that has flashes of Ben Howard and Ed Sheeran in its fiercely plucked guitar strings and insistent beat that builds to a triumphant climax. The truly wonderful thing about Velvet & Stone is their ability to adapt and switch styles and that is reflected in the fact that they describe their genre as indie-folk AND contemporary AND alt-classical. This is a hugely impressive EP but I suspect this is only the tip of an even more impressive iceberg.


Live Dates:

3rd September – The Fleece, Bristol
13th October – EP Launch @ The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter
2nd November – The Prince Albert, Stroud

3rd November – Comfy & Acoustic, Coventry w/Speak, Brother

Sunday, 20 August 2017

BLUEYS IN THE CAB – SINGLE REVIEW

Blueys in the Cab - Control
Blueys in the Cab - Control 

Release Date: Out Now

Plymouth rockers Blueys in the Cab (I know, awful name but most of the good ones are taken, right?) are fairly new on the scene and this track, ‘Control’, is the first I’ve heard of the quartet. The track is raw, rough around the edges and not winning any prizes for originality but there’s something in the relentless chug that keeps your attention. Elements of early Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age are there in the twin guitar lines and bass throb but the lyrics are a little predictable and uninspiring albeit delivered by a voice that has real rock potential. This is another example of artists being able to release material so easily online when some more live shows and writing sessions might do them the world of good. There is a hint of promise or potential in there though, something worth polishing up.


CANDICE GORDON – SINGLE REVIEW

Candice Gordon – I Belong To The Night
Candice Gordon - I Belong To The Night

Release Date: Out Now

I’ve been a fan of Candice Gordon for a while and it seems other folk are starting to cotton on so this might be your last chance to get onboard while she’s still at that first rung. ‘I Belong To The Night’ is a dusky, pouty slice of dramatism with a penchant for the theatrical. Channelling the likes of Anna Calvi, PJ Harvey, Grinderman and Florence Welch, Gordon is a (seemingly) effortless talent with edgy guitars chiming out underneath the Berlin resident’s deep, velvety smooth vocals. Shane McGowan is a big fan and supporter of Gordon but where McGowan is known for his shambolic demeanour and similar musical style, Gordon is polished, poised and more than a little stylish. I’ll continue to watch and listen with interest, your move next dear reader.


Live Dates:

8th September – ACUD Macht Neu, Berlin
27th September – Servant Jazz Quarters, London
13th October – Altes Volksbad, Mannheim
14th October – Rockhouse, Salzburg

Watch The Video: 

BLESSED – SINGLE REVIEW

Blessed – See Through All The Colours 
Blessed - See Through All The Colours


Release Date: Out Now

Hands up, when I heard this track I hadn’t read any of the PR behind it and I assumed Soundcloud had just kicked in to a Rhianna or Rita Ora track as part of the advertising. Turns out, South-East London duo Blessed are just knocking out slick, polished and infectious dance-RnB tracks like it’s no big deal. Lauren and Georgia Morgan, for they are Blessed, are working through a series of club-ready track releases and ‘See Through All The Colours’ is the latest with it’s hooky chorus and phat bass line that rides all over the beat without a care in the world. The dusky, sultry vocals of the duo fill the verses like a siren call but when that chorus drops there is that assured, confident and direct vocals style that you expect from established pop royalty. Bing things are coming for these two and this is probably the last photo shoot they’ll have to do in their local corner-shop in oversized jumpers.



Saturday, 19 August 2017

THE DARKNESS – SINGLE REVIEW

The Darkness – Solid Gold (Cooking Vinyl)
The Darkness - Solid Gold

Release Date: Out Now

“We’re gonna blow people’s fucking heads off, people gonna shit themselves”, sings Justin Hawkins without so much as an introduction and you know you’re in for a good time. ‘Solid Gold’ is the second single to be released on The Darkness’ comeback trail and it’s a satisfyingly solid slice of rock’n’roll. The vocals are falsetto, the riffs are AC/DC sized and the chorus is, well, “We’re never gonna stop shitting out solid gold”. I know it’s not cool or big or clever but it’s a lot of fun and if you leave your hipster man-bag at the door then you might just enjoy yourself. The video is so tightly packed full of rock’n’roll clich├ęs that you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a pair of Derek Smalls’ undercrackers but no, it’s just the Darkness doing what they do so well. The only question that remains is why the’ve been away for so long. And how on earth to they squeeze in to those trousers….


Live Dates:

27th August – Rock The City, Bucharest
13th October – Dolans Warehouse, Limerick City
14th October – The Academy, Dublin
15th October – The Limelight, Belfast
3rd November – Razzmatazz 2, Barcelona
4th November – Sala But, Madrid
5th November – Kafe Antzokia, Bilbao
8th November – Alcatraz, Milan
9th November – Orion, Ciampino
10th November – Vox Club, Nonatola
12th November – Simm City Festsaal Zentrum Simmering, Vienna
13th November – Technikum, Munchen
14th November – Columbia Theater, Berlin
16th November – Matrix, Bochum
19th November – Le Trabendo, Paris
20th November – Z7 Konzertfabrik, Pratteln
23rd November – O2 Guildhall, Southampton
24th November – Academy, Manchester
25th November – King George’s Hall, Blackburn
27th November – O2 Academy, Leeds
28th November – O2 Academy, Newcastle
29th November – O2 Academy, Glasgow
1st December – Victoria Hall, Stoke On Trent
2nd December – Rock City, Nottingham
3rd December – Norwich Nick Rayns LCR UEA, Norwich
5th December – G Live, Guildford
7th December – Southend Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff On Sea
9th December – O2 Academy, Birmingham
10th December – Eventim Apollo, London
11th December – Dome, Brighton
13th December – St David’s Hall, Cardiff
14th December – Colston Hall, Bristol

Watch The Video: 

THE BUSKETEERS – ALBUM REVIEW

The Busketeers – Different Breeds
The Busketeers - Different Breeds

Release Date: Out Now

For those living east of Bristol (or outside the UK), Plymouth based quartet the Busketeers are local legends in the Southwest and this, the first album from the multi-instrumentalists, is a foray in to pastures newer and horizons broader. That said, the seven tracks that make up ‘Different Breeds’ (does seven songs constitute an album? Just about) are something of a calling card for the different song writing styles of the four members, which gives you a flavour of what the live experience holds. Opening with ‘Howlin’ At The Moon’ and you’d be forgiven that this was a funk band hell bent on surfing, good times and wearing silly hats. The man-made howls and barks are reminiscent of Rootjoose in their pomp but the rhythmic acoustic and slick lead notes are more aligned to Brother & Bones. ‘Arrows’ is a more reflective, road-trip of a tune but still maintains that acoustic energy and rhythm which is a corner stone of the collective’s songwriting and performance. Indeed, it is on ‘Arrows’ that you get the first glimpse of the commercial potential of the Busketeers as this is the kind of folk-pop that could be easily given a dance beat and chanted back at stages by hordes of millennials (is a horde the correct collective term for millennials? Gaggle? Google?).

On ‘Leave It Burning’ the band explore their more bluesy side with some borderline cheesy lead lines but overall it’s an atmospheric, almost cinematic piece that conjures images of a line troubadour walking off in to the sunset, guitar in hand. Conversely, ‘Above The Water’ is a more straight up folk number which sounds a little like Morrissey having a go at Dylan or the much missed Avert Francis with that ability to cut like a knife with the softest of tones. There’s a gratifying chug to ‘Old Blue’ that is, presumably, and ode to the geriatric frat member in Old School who dies in the best way possible. The bluesy acoustic twang and furious Cajon work make for an urgent, primal tune that would work well in the roadhouses of Route 66.

The Busketeers - facing the wrong way for a change
Now, no band is without fault and, for me, track 6 represents the weak point of the Busketeers. For a band that makes something like a living from busking it’s perhaps excusable that they include a bit of indulgent noodling and jamming on their album but ‘Cuppa Java’ is a step too far. The bass goes for a trad-Jazz walk and then the quartet seem to attempt recreating some sort of South of France vibe with gentle strums and vocals about drinking coffee in bed with your “babe”. I’m just going to leave that one there. The album finishes on a strong point, however, as ‘Gone For Good’ channels the likes of Ben Howard, Richard Thomas and James Morrison to make a husky, desperate and, let’s face it, sexy noise. As a calling card for the versatility and range of these four musicians ‘Different Breeds’ is hugely effective but I have a sneaking suspicion that if they were given more time, more instruments and some more folding money then these guys could create something very special indeed. 

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

Live Dates:

25th August – The Inn On The Shore, Downderry w/Kenoby
13th October – The B-Bar, Plymouth