Sunday, 22 December 2013


Daniel Wilson - Will You (Zap Records) 
Daniel Wilson - Will You

Some new soulful pop straight outta Detroit for you now. There's more to come in 2014 from Daniel Wilson but 'Will You' is an outstanding opening salvo from this beautifully voiced young man. Blending tenderness and fragility with a sense of braveness and wide-eyed hope is a delicate blend to achieve in a song but Wilson does it superbly. This man's will be all over BBC 6Music next year and popping up on a Jools Holland show if there's any justice because here we have a talent so pure, so unadulterated and so utterly heavenly that everyone will want a piece. 'Will You' is the perfect vehicle to show off Wilson's pipes with minimalist keyboards and finger clicks underneath layer upon layer of that voice. Simple yet stunning.


Plymouth Fury - Vaudeville 
Plymouth Fury - Vaudeville

I'll confess, my main for wanting to review this album is that I grew up in and now work in Plymouth (the original Plymouth, not that American copyist version. I mean, who spends all that time trying to get away from somewhere and then gets to a new place only to name it after the place you spent so long trying to leave?!?). Anyway, when I saw the name Plymouth Fury I thought, "that sounds like a cool gang I should have been in or at least the name of an Ice Hockey team" but, instead, Plymouth Fury is actually the name of a huge sounding and hard rocking trio from Paris. It's also a car.

Now, normally I only write about new music and, as this album has been out for a year then it shouldn't really qualify but it's a bit special so I'm making an exception because it's my blog and I can. So there. 'Baiona De Noche' opens the album with a Rage Against The Machine meets Led Zep sized riff and loose, rockin' drums just power through the shouted vocals of Will and Worzo. However, it's 'The Basement' that I think has the most potential to be a crossover smash with pendulous guitars, staccato hand claps and a Franz Ferdinand swagger that would melt the heart of many an indie girl and boy. Nevertheless, rock is what Plymouth Fury came to do and rock is exactly what they do on 'Ajo y Agua', reminding me an awful lot of the sadly missed Belgian band Les Anges. Now, I'm a big fan of sexy song title and, for me, 'Maelstrom Libido' is a very strong contender for the best of the year - it'd make a great t-shirt wouldn't it? I'd buy it.

Slowing things down a bit but with no loss of intensity, 'I Love You Leigh' is a Glasvegas vs Black Rebel Motorcycle Club shaped ballad with heavenly production qualities. The 50s swagger and lip-curl of 'Tati' would sit perfectly on any recent Queens of the Stoneage or Arctic Monkeys album while 'Black Ravines' (another great song title) has a more Black Keys minimalism to it. Ending up with 'The Snake', Plymouth Fury go for full on rock atmospherics as they spend a full forty seconds building up the intro and by the time they reach their inevitable climax, there is a sense that you've just been introduced to the spirit of rock'n'roll. No plans to venture to the UK at the moment, sadly, but when they do I'll be starting a petition to get them to play in Plymouth - it only seems right. (Oh, and check out the cover art closely - it's like Satan's own suburban pool party).

Listen/Download Here:

Live Dates:
4th January - Le Buzz, Paris
22nd January - La Taverne Elektrik, Amiens
23rd January - Extra Blues Bar, Bielefeld
24th January - Gasolina, Waregem
25th January - Classic Rock Bar, Brussels
9th May - Subway To Peter, Chemnitz

10th May - Slow Club, Freiburg


The Almighty Rhombus - Lucid Living (Cosmic Dave's Record Factory) 
The Almighty Rhombus - Lucid Living

Firstly, if you're here because you fell for my line about Alanis then I must apologise. This is nothing like Alanis. I was just being naughty. Secondly, you should stick around, though, if you like an bit of quirkiness and expansiveness to your music. You do? Wonderful. Then let's dive right on in......

The Almighty Rhombus is an awesome name for a band, I think we can all agree on that, so they've set the bar pretty high for themselves from the get-go. Nevertheless, the indie-disco speed shuffle of 'Down South' and strung out guitars of 'Blank' are a strong start. We're talking Vampire Weekend, We Are Scientists, Weezer and Belle & Sebastian with a little European electro disco influence thrown in for good measure. The visceral, nightmarish sounds of 'House Burns Down' is like something from a 70s B-Movie soundtrack while 'Butane Brain' is a lot more lilting and positive than the title suggests with elements of Cake sneaking through in the key and tempo changes. If you're a fan of organs, however, then you should prepare yourself for 'Thunderstorms' which is so twee you might as well take it to a Scottish village and buy it tea in a small cafe before a walk around the cobbled streets. 'Flourescent', however, is the tune where the quintet take things to a higher level of bat-shit crazy with more ideas than Kanye's got personality flaws and a riff the size of a monster-truck tyre.

There is a certain 80s swagger about 'Summer Dreams' that requires a soft-top Cadillac to make the most of it but, conversely, 'Red Eye' sounds distinctly Scottish in origin to me with its handclaps, jangly guitars and Edwyn Collins fuzzy guitars. The clash of fuzzy, scuzzy garage rock with tight, perfectly formed indie-pop tunes is the niche that The Almighty Rhombus are carving for themselves and it is a lovely niche at that. 'Vacation' has cavernous feel to it which lends the tune a retro authenticity I wholeheartedly approve. Meanwhile, over on 'No I Won't' the chugging guitars and dreamy vocals draw you in until you're surrounded by the luxurious keys of Clayton Drake (what a name?!?). Like a complimentary mint at the end of a five course meal, 'Standoff' is reassuringly light and refreshingly breezy with its jaunty piano work - the perfect way to finish of such a meaty, complex and thoughtful meal. I mean album. Sorry Alanis fans.

Live Dates:

28th February - The Big Basement Show, Sudbury, Ontario 

Saturday, 21 December 2013


The Medicine Hat - Old Bones (Porcelain Records) 
The Medicine Hate - Old Bones

More new music from Canada as The Medicine Hat have produced the audio version of that couple that we all know that make us want to shout "get a room" at their smug, saliva covered faces. Y'see, Toronto's The Medicine Hat are formed around the love of Nabi Loney and Tyler Bersche which will either make this a passionate and brightly burning album or an absolute slush fest of the most unbearable kind. For starters is the Kate Bush singing with Hot Hot Heat treat of 'All These Eyes' followed by the organ driven delight of title track 'Old Bones'. So far so good, this is a genuine  and heartfelt love with the fragility and tenderness of Feist mixed with the steely resilience of Tanya Donnelly. The soft shoe shuffle of 'Bodies' is dreamy and romantic which is largely fine but it flirts dangerously with the Dawson's Creek soundtrack style that would be a huge letdown.

The pulsating accordion at the start of 'Going' is pure Arcade Fire in their early days while 'Spits Out The Light' has a delightful, lilting charm to it that could only be Canadian or, at a push, Scandinavian in origin. It is this innocence that often comes with pure, unconditional love that runs like a vein throughout this album and ties all the songs together beautifully. 'Ships', for example, has a certain swagger and sassiness about it but that purity and innocence is still there like words through a piece of seaside rock. 'Moths' is a woozy, late night piece of smoky romance which is soon blown away by the restless organ and keys work on 'Statues'. Finishing up with 'Children's Song' is the only way this album could have gone as we experience the full, Polyphonic Spree style freak out abilities of the Medicine Hat and their wondrous range of genres, sounds and ideas. If these ever do get a room then I would like to be in that room too. But not in a creepy, voyeuristic way. Hmmm, this analogy is seeming increasingly ill-advised.

More information:


Solander - All Opportunities (A Tendervision Recording) 
Solander - All Opportunities

What better way to start a day with a hangover than by listening to some mellow and beautiful Swedish folk-pop? Seriously. Malmo duo Solander are purveyors of dreamy, laid back tunes like new single 'All Opportunities' that bobs along like a lazy walk through a cornfield on a warm summer's day on the way to nowhere in particular. Elements of Sigur Ros, Royksopp and Jose Gonzalez pervade as well as a sense that this is the music someone like Jim Noir might make in his more reflective twilight years. The overwhelming mood is one of peace and tranquility with a pinch of melancholy which is a pretty tasty soup in my book. My book of soup.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


Circle of Reason - Annie May (free download) 
Circle Of Reason - Annie May (from Yesterday Already)

Yum Yum Yum. Who's ready for a big tasty slab of grunge cake?  I am. This free taster of the forthcoming EP from Southampton's Circle Reason is a slow starter that drifts melodically along with beautiful, almost Hawaiian guitar harmonics punctuating the morning after a heavy night before vibe of 'Annie May'. But then, just when you've mellowed in to their world, the feds coming flying in through the window following a tip off from a neighbour about suspicious smelling smoke. Huge Soundgarden sized riffs and pounding, pummelling come crashing in to this song with Kurt Cobain-esque vocals which makes me yearn for the 90s and an era when MTV showed actual music videos (don't even get me started on MTV. Seriously, don't). Bottom line, on this evidence the EP should be pretty awesome.

Live Dates:
19th December - Facebar, Reading
10th January - Hell Fire Club, Redhill
16th January - Asylum, Chelmsford
12th May - Buskers Bar, Eastbourne
17th May - The Rockden, Hatfield

26th July - The Rockden, Hatfield

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


Denial Twist - Get In Line EP 
Denial Twist - Get In Line EP

This Ipswich/Colchester trio remind me of exactly why I started a band and what I thought was cool when  I was in a band. Their take on indie-garage-rock music may not be the most sophisticated but Denial Twist more than make up for that in riffage. Opener 'Itch' has an 'American Idiot' era Greenday riff about it and the vocal snarl of a wannabe Mick Jagger who has spent too much time listening to American 80s rock bands. 'Eve' is a slightly mellower affair with acoustic strumming and sensitive but pained lyrics that come straight out of the Extreme playbook. The Red Hot Chili Peppers style opening to 'Little Bitch' soon gives way to Buckcherry riffs and a certain crotch thrusting sexual aggressiveness that you don't expect to see in Ipswich all that often. The final and intriguingly titled '05.21' (FYI, it's 04.06 long) is the pick of the bunch for me as it opens with leg shaking vocals, earth trembling bass and the spirit of the as yet undead White Stripes. By the time the drums kick in, the black leather and nail polish is seeping out of the speakers and you can't deny their attitude is in exactly the right place. I can't pretend that this is my favourite new band of the year but I will defend to the death their right to rock out with big riffs, attitude heavy vocals and the perfect mix of sexuality and aggression.

Listen/Download for free here:

Live Dates:
20th December - The White Horse, Ipswich
31st December - Hole In The Wall, Colchester
24th January - The White Horse, Sudbury
16th February - The Eight Bells, Hadleigh
21st March - The Eight Bells, Hadleigh

3rd April - The Thomas Wolsey, Ipswich


Malka - Demos 
Malka - Demos

New York quartet Malka describe their music as Dream Pop which isn't a million miles away from the sound they make but I have to say the opening track, 'Mirame', sounds more like a French version of Simple Minds as produced by Coldplay in preparation for the Moldovan entry in to the Eurovision Song contest. The second of these two demo tracks, 'Mientras se Respira', has a bit more bite to it but it still feels and sounds like U2 having a go at shoegaze and playing at the end of a long, empty tunnel. I can't imagine having a great night out at a Malka gig but in terms of quality, 80s inspired, expansive indie-pop then Malka are your men.

More information:  

Live Dates:

31st January - Pianos, NY

Monday, 16 December 2013


Unwave - Exhale EP 
Unwave - Exhale EP

More great new music from Leeds now as post-rock trio Unwave have a snarling, scratching EP for your ears - be warned, it might make your ears bleed though. In a good way. Reassuringly, opening track 'Flicker' starts off with an At The Drive-In sized riff and continues with the attitude of a confused, disorientated but excited Golden Retriever. 'FPS' has a more mellow feel to it with deep, low slung riffs playing out underneath Cable-esque vocals and atop bone rattling drums. Just when you think 'Continuation Off Course' is going to be a slow-burning, lighter waving ballad, it turns in to an altogether darker, more primal piece of music that lasts for the best part of 7 minutes and takes more twists and turns than a night out with your mates that starts out as a couple of pints and ends up with you waking up in a disused theme park, naked in the rollercoaster. The last of the four tracks on this EP, 'Sixtieht Mile', has a delicate feel to it in a Sebadoh kind of way as the hypnotic guitar riff builds oh-so-slowly from a Sunday morning, post binge slumber before emerging, chrysalis-like in to a jagged edged, bad-ass butterfly. Unwave are the kind of band I like to listen to for hours in the wee smalls when the lights are low and the darkness is all encompassing.


The Diamond Age - Demo 
The Diamond Age - Demo

This is pretty much brand new stuff people. I'm talking hot off the presses, cellophane wrapped, price tag still on and covered in that new car smell. Southampton duo The Diamond Age have minimal buzz and seemingly not much of a following but what they do have is a picture of a bearded man water skiing and a serious sense of melody. The first of these two tracks, 'Andrew's An Android', has a smattering of Vampire Weekend and early Bombay Bicycle Club about it to begin with but by the end of the tune it has turned in to a Hot Chip vs LCD Soundsystem duel of epic disco proportions with Transformer refereeing. 'Yesterday Was' is a more straight down the line indie guitar romp with a late 80s feel to it channelling the Style Council and Squeeze but the freshness and energy is delightfully refreshing in the cynical, too cool for school musical world that exists these days. They won't be underground for long folks so catch a whiff while there's room for your nose at the trough.  


Titanics - Low Frames 
Titanics - Low Frames

New York duo Titanics have sent me a little love letter (alright, email) from across the pond and it made it here without hitting any icebergs (too soon?). The two tracks that make up this single have a sense of romance about them and are full of wistful, summer evenings spent with good friends and no worries. 'Low Frames' has a pulsing bass line and spacious, almost distant vocals the drift on the sea breeze to your friends dad's rowing boat that you probably should be out in but who cares, you're only young once, right? Later that same night, when the candles are lit and the warm blankets are out, 'YOU & ZEAL' comes on to soundtrack that moment when you stare in to the deep, brown eyes of the girl you've known for years as your friend only to realise she's probably the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. Or at least until your midlife crisis. It also has some wicked bird noises and muted female spoken word, a la the Orb's 'Little Fluffy Clouds'. It's dream sequence stuff and it's pretty damn gorgeous. I love you too Titanics.

Live Dates:

29th December - TT the Bear's Place, Cambridge MA

14th February - Machines With Magnets, Pawtucket RI

Thursday, 12 December 2013


Vast Robot Armies - Goodnight Myopia 
Vast Robot Armies - Goodnight Myopia

Seriously? More stuff from Canada? What's going on over there? It's like a musical revolution. In the snow. Vast Robot Armies is the studio name of one Jason Thomson and 'Goodnight Myopia' is a collection of expansive indie tunes that combines alot of the things I loved about the 90s with some more forward thinking. The End. Oh, what? You want more? Sheesh. Well the album opens up with 'For What It's Worth', a pounding, stomping indie tune that is soon overwhelmed by the sweeping, and Elbow-esque delights of 'The Cost Of Doing Business'. The subdued beginnings of '6 Year Vignettes' soon give way to a proper indie-pop slow dance, the kind Feeder used specailise in back in the day. 'Old Hat' is where things start to get going though as the urgency of the tubthumping and jittery, Jam-esque guitars bring the album to life in a vibrant, essential style.

Apart from potentially being a very rude anagram, 'Bullish One Hitters' is like a Duran Duran meets Gary Numan song that's been created for a sparse, bleak Bond film that hasn't been made yet. There's even some awesome use of pitch bend which there just isn't enough of these days. 'Heads' is a fairly non-descript wash of indie guitars but 'Grey Area Living' is a far more interesting affair with sinister, haunting pianos being smashed in to a thousand tiny pieces by a scuzzy bass line and in-yer-face drums and vocals that are delivered through teeth clenched in frustration. 'We Go Where We Know' has an early U2 feel about it as the drums and guitars jostle for position and attention on the record. Finishing up with a tune called 'Epic' is always going to be a brave move but the brooding, menacing mood builds and builds until a sense of frustration is released and dissipates in to the cool, Canadian night air. And you know the best thing about this album? It's free if you want it to be. Give it a listen first though, you might just decide it's worth a few bucks.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


Manou - Sadie 
Manou - Sadie

Hipster Pop. Is that a genre? It is now. Teenage chanteuse Manou is a half-German, half-English (half-schnitzel, half-banger - if you will) and entirely enthralling as a prospect. 'Sadie' is an early salvo from the songstress which is swimming in attitude, cool and a pop sensibility that is rare these days. Manou brings to mind sonic images of early Sugababes mixed with Azalea Banks all played out in a Hoxton backroom bar with hipsters lounging around sipping on obscure East European lagers. There is an 80s undercurrent to the melodies but the production qualities are bang up to date which presents an intriguing juxtaposition and makes Manou an exciting proposition.


Lyla Foy - Easy/Head Down (Sub Pop) 
Lyla Foy - Easy/Head Down

Unless there is a huge coincidence in the world of names, and I seriously doubt there is, Lyla Foy once put a cigarette out in a decorative fire place that adorned my tiny living room in Shepherds Bush. After that, our paths have not crossed until a 24 hour period this week where I heard her name on Steve Lamacq's BBC 6Music show and then her new single appeared in my inbox. Small world, huh? The first of these two tracks 'Easy' is a menacing and expansive tune with pounding drums and a sense of something lurking within the woods. Watching. Waiting. However, 'Head Down' is the more unique tune in my opinion with a laid back bass line, an even more laid back vocal and, if you listen really closely, you can hear the fresh breeze blowing of the west coast of America on a lazy, sunny Sunday morning. There is a beautiful sense of freedom and sense about 'Head Down' that I don't think I've heard in a tune since the Beach Boys were writing their odes to coastal living. All in all, these are two tasty, mouth watering treats that suggest the main course (aka the album) is going to be a hearty treat.

Monday, 9 December 2013


Abby - Monsters (Universal)
Abby - Monsters

Imagine, if you will, early Depeche Mode being remixed by Lemon Jelly and using Jonsi as a guest vocalist. Then picture them all collaborating on the soundtrack to a beautifully short animation about a girl who finds herself waking up in a world inhabited only by the devil's own Pokemon collection. Finally, stretch that creative mind a little further to allow yourself to believe that all of this will be awesome and what you have just created, inside your tiny mind, is the reality that has been achieved by Berliners Abby with their new single 'Monsters'. Normally I'd describe the music but it needs to exist with the, frankly, sublime video so check out the link below and enjoy. You can thank me later.

Listen/Watch here:


Unconditional Arms - Kinship 
Unconditional Arms - Kinship

When a child is born in to this world it is traditional to buy a present, send a card or just make ridiculous noises at an alarmingly close distance from the poor child's face. California man Jeffrey Wright, however, went one step further and wrote an album for his recently born son (Owen, since you asked). The six tracks that constitute 'Kinship' are a filmic representation of Wright's emotional state at the point of becoming a father, no doubt, but they are also potentially the most embarrassing 25 minutes that poor Owen will have to endure in his life. This is not because the music is bad, far from it, just because literally everything our parents do tends to be embarrassing at some point.

Starting out, fairly logically, with 'The Family Tree' Wright takes us on an undulating journey across a sea of guitars that chime and sing in a way that would make an ace lullaby for young Owen if it weren't for the crashing crescendo. 'Television On The Weekends' is sparser and more reflective in tone, like something the Arcade Fire might use as their walk on music to lull the crowd in to a stunned but attentive silence and state of awe. Up to this point there have been no lyrics and the crackly spoken word on 'First Look' don't really constitute lyrics but mixed with the ethereal melody it does sound like the world might sound from inside the womb. At this stage I can't help but wish I was so drunk or sleep deprived that I could switch off and focus on nothing but the music as this is perfect 'zone out' stuff from Unconditional Arms.

Not only does 'Transition and Finality' sound like the title of a lost collaborative work between Rush and Genesis, it's also a hugely prog influence piece of atmospheric soundscaping that leaves you in a desolate but cleansed space. 'Conscious Whirr' is, for me, the weakest song in this collection as it feels in dire need of speeding up but you can't win them all I suppose. The acoustic lightness of 'Rest' is at odds with the weight of the rest of this collection but it's a beautiful, spring garden piece of music full of hope, innocence and genuine wonder at what the world has to offer. I hope Owen doesn't grow up embarrassed by this as I think it's a genuinely heartfelt snapshot of time from father to son - better than any scrapbook or time capsule!


Richard Lomax - [mk iii] EP (DogFace Records) 
Richard Lomax - [mk iii]

Release Date: 9th December 2013

I first came across Richard 'Dickie' Lomax a few months back when he sent me a work in progress version of a few songs from this EP so when the full version appeared in my inbox I was excited to hear the finished article. Lomax doesn't disappoint and hearing some of these songs is like catching up with old friends who've been working out and have a new haircut. 'Glamour' sounds as jaunty and cheeky as ever without too much change from the earlier version which is reassuring as Lomax should never be one of those over-polished, over-produced artists. Next up is a new track on my ears in the shape of 'Vodka Stomach' which is skiffle ode to abusing one's own body with recreational substances. For a mellower, more subdued experience, why not try the delightful 'Windmills'? This is a song that channels Badly Drawn Boy, latter-day Divine Comedy and Jim Noir in its simplicity, charm and quirkiness.

Back on the skiffle tip, 'Set Me Free' comes shuffling in with a cowboy swagger and an Alex Turner sense of cool that is undeniably attractive in a man and a song. 'Set Me Free' also has one of the best drum solo interludes I've heard recently so get involved and prepare your air drum kit for a duet. 'Wag The Wonderbitch' has a beautifully scuzzy bass sound and a sprinkly, tinkly melody that shouldn't work together but they entirely do and Lomax's Jarvis Cocker meets a young Elvis vocal is just.....well, put it this way, it needs to be heard by more people. Closing the EP with 'Wellness', Lomax walks off in to a Tarantino sunset with his hands in his pockets and his heart on his sleeve before looking back over his shoulder to give you a nod, a wink and a wry, knowing smile. Richard Lomax is that rare thing these days in that he has taken time and care over the crafting of each of these songs from penning the lyrics to arranging the musicians and it is something that shines through like a beacon in a fog of mediocrity. Well played sir, well played indeed.

More information:

Live Dates:

19th December - The Ferret, Preston

Sunday, 8 December 2013


Beans On Toast - Giving Everything (Xtra Mile Recordings) 
Beans On Toast - Giving Everything

I think Beans On Toast is a the band or artist logo I have seen most without ever having heard a single note of the music so I was quite excited to get to this album through that there internet. One listen to this album and I realise that I think just about all of us have a friend like Beans On Toast, whether you like it or not. You know that guy who disapproves of everything, knows all about obscure conspiracy theories and gives you a frown every time you eat something made by a company with questionable ethics. Kicking things off with a rile against the monarchy, 'Harry In A Helicopter', shortly followed by the jaunty but slightly directionless 'Things'. Then follows a whinge about not being able to get a gig at Glastonbury called 'Can't Get A Gig At Glastonbury' which admits that it is self-indulgent but that's about the same as starting a sentence with "I don't want to offend you but".

The sweetly honest ode to a guitar in the shape of 'Favourite Thing I Own' is a redeemable feature of the album before returning to the self pitying theme on 'Who Is Big Jeff?'. 'Sold Out Shows' has a melancholy feel about it as the death of Rock'n'Roll's edginess is lamented but when the singer admits that they are touring (albeit reluctantly) around the country and playing in O2 Academies it smacks of that friend of mine again - turning up to meet you in Starbucks only to spend half an hour blabbering on about the homogenisation of the high street. 'Post Bestival Festival Blues' is another self-absorbed number while 'Charlie' finds our singer informing us that he's giving up his cocaine habit - how noble. Beans On Toast looks at the rest of the world for a moment on 'The American' and does his best Billy Bragg impression singing about Twin Towers conspiracy theories. Meanwhile, 'Throat Cancer' tells us of a trip to the doctor that resulted in the singer giving up smoking and just how easy it is to give up (again, we all know that mate right?). Final track, 'Keep You', is a more honest and open track but why leave such openness to the end of the album when my mind is already made up? I can see why folk like Beans On Toast, the songs are original and the lyrical content is far from predictable but every time he starts going off on one I just want to skip forward a track - maybe because I can't do that in real life. Beans On Toast has the approach and style of Frank Turner and Billy Bragg with a little Cosmo Jarvis thrown in for good measure but he doesn't have the incisiveness or wit to hold a torch to any of these artists I'm afraid. Shame, I was really looking forward to this as well.

Live Dates:

11th December - Garage Venue, Swansea
12th December - The Old Bookshop, Bristol
13th December - The Haunt, Brighton

Supporting Frank Turner on the following dates:
6th February - Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
7th February - Capital Arena, Nottingham
8th February - Corn Exchange, Edinburgh
9th February - Arena, Manchester
11th February - Pavilions, Plymouth
12th February - O2 Arena, London

13th February - Guildhall, Portsmouth


Oxygen Thief - Accidents Do Not Happen, They Are Caused (Xtra Mile Recordings) 
Oxygen Thief - Accidents Do Happen, They Are Caused

Release Date: 9th December 2013

I'm getting a little bit bored of the constant stream of excellent artists just falling out of Xtra Mile's arse these days (I'm not really, I just like to pretend I'm so incredibly cool). Oxygen Thief is the latest of the production line from Bristol and is the stage name of local boy Barry Dolan whether he's part of a fully electric trio or just solo acoustic. This album is a fully electric affair and all the better for it as the visceral and urgent 'There Can Be Only One' hitting you round the chops like a sudden and blinding hang over at 10.00am on a Sunday. 'Modesty Is Dead' is a slightly lighter affair, embracing the indie-pop-punk side of the musical spectrum with aplomb as Dolan sings "If patience is a virtue what's the point in urgency?". The superbly titled 'Terry Nutkins Salute' is invokes the spirit of Reuben, Hundred Reasons and Symposium which makes me feel young again. Young and angry. Young, angry and way, way cool. The spoonerism inspired 'Mestle & Portar' is pure Jamie Lenman in its attitude, content and delivery while 'Camera Shy' is a relentless, pounding, grinding machine of a song that doesn't let go of your jugular until it's good and ready.  Dolan's songwriting skills are fully evident on 'Disaster Plan' where, despite the bouncing drums and popping bass guitar, you can close your eyes and fully imagine this being picked out furiously on a battered acoustic guitar for a small and intimate audience. Finishing up with 'Words On Walls' which doesn't relent on the furious music combined with melodies and engaging lyrics with are a theme of this short but perfectly formed album. Oxygen Thief is a great vehicle for some vital and vibrant songs that are powerful with electricity running through them but I suspect might be even more forceful played on just an acoustic guitar.

Live Dates:

9th December - The Garage, London w/Jamie Lenman 

Saturday, 7 December 2013


The Voluntary Butler Scheme - Quinzhee (Split Records) 
The Voluntary Butler Scheme - Quinzhee

Release Date: 23rd December 2014

Multi-instrumentalist Rob Jones writes, releases and performs all his music under the pseudonym of The Voluntary Butler Scheme which is weird but, hey, what's weird these days that isn't worth investigating, eh? Apart from being a shelter made in a hollowed out pile of snow, 'Quinzhee' is also the title of Jones' attempt at a Christmas single, hence the release date. Opening with the lines "I'm building us a house out of snow, and if it doesn't melt then we'll know, that our love is unheatable and our love is unbeatable" shows that Jones has a penchant for the quirky and the fun as well as a tender, honest approach to the love in his life. Sounding very much like a mix of Jim Noir, Badly Drawn Boy and the Flaming Lips, The Voluntary Butler Scheme hasn't got a hope in hell of reaching the Christmas number 1 spot but this is by far the most fun Christmas song that has been released in some time so it's alright by me.

Live Dates:

17th December - The Macbeth, London

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


SCNTST - Self Therapy (Boysnoize Records) 
SCNTST - Self Therapy

German born producer Bryan Muller, AKA SCNTST, is being touted as a huge new talent on the techno scene and, to these uninitiated ears, the prospect of over an hour of modern German techno was not an appealing way to spend a Tuesday evening. How wrong I was. 'Self Therapy' is rhythmic delight that takes the listener deep in to the heart of club-land and then an extra mile or two further. Album opener 'Velour' is the first hint that this is going to be something a little bit special with its click-clack rhythm and dreamy melody giving way to bouncy, boingy bass noises. Once you're in to this album it's almost impossible to resist the throbbing, undulating melodies and beats that move from the click of a cricket to the pounding you get in your head the day after a REALLY good night out.

There are 14 tracks on this album and not all of them stand out on their own but the Flat Eric style organ bop of 'Percee Scan' and the woozy Parisian charm of 'Murder' are two tracks that do stick out like an accountant at a rave. Some tracks, like 'Throwback', go on a bit long for my money but then reviewing music that has been created for people to dance to is a bit of a pointless task. There are also moments of utter, explorative genius as well such as the stuttery, terrible mobile signal of 'So Though' and the Matt Bellamy dueting with Edith Piaf vibe of 'Fovea'. And then there's the downright party romp of 'King Of Beets' which is about as far from techno as you can get but still a hugely enjoyable track. This is a great pre or post club album to get your head bobbing and your shoulders loosened up so come and join the party.


Finnmark! - Branno (February Records) 
Finnmark! - Branno

Leeds indie-pop fun from a band named after a tiny northern county of Norway? Don't mind if I do. 'Branno' is a single that I am a little late coming to thanks to the obscenely disorganised nature of my inbox/life but it's worth a 'shout out' as the kids would say due to its velvety loveliness. Musically it rattles around the Fall duelling with early Long Blondes (y'know, when they were still learning their instruments) but it's the baritone vocals mixed with the persistent organ drone that really seals the deal for me. This is quintessentially English indie with pop sensibilities and an entirely unique vocal style so it's A.O.K. by me. Nevermind what the Norwegians think....

Monday, 2 December 2013


Fletcher - Open Up (Dramatico Entertainment)

Fletcher - Open Up
Release Date: 2nd December 2013

Sadly, this isn't a delayed single release by Ronnie Barker's character from Porridge. Gladly, this is the new single from Australian singer-songwriter Benjamin Fletcher and 'Open Up' is a tasty slice of munch. The relentless beat behind the child-like melody urges you to join in with whatever Fletcher wants you to do while his soulful yet fragile voice dribbles like syrup all over the lush layers of guitar, piano and percussion. I can imagine this song being used in a short film about surfing in Cornwall but, for some reason, listening to this whilst I sit next to my recently erected Christmas tree is giving me a somewhat nostalgic feeling. That and my cat's gone missing so I'm pretty bummed anyway. This one's for you Poppy.

More information:

Live Dates:

8th February - Abbey Pub, Chicago w/Mammoth Indigo


Hey, Sleeper - Gone For Ten Fingers EP 
Hey, Sleeper - Gone For Ten Fingers EP

Berkshire. Home of...Berks. And Luke Roberts. Luke is the man behind the mellow loveliness that is Hey, Sleeper with a voice like Chris Martin before he went all Bono and a sparse approach to recording. This five track EP is a thing of simple beauty that shouldn't be overlooked just because it is standing in the corner at a party nervously fingering a bottle of Becks. 'Playing Cards' is your entree and it reminds me of the tender, more bleary eyed moments of Frank Turner which is a delightful thing in my book. 'Done Deal' on the other hand reminds me of little known but much loved troubadour Avert Francis with the gentle finger picking mixed beautifully with Roberts' intimate, heart rending vocal style.

Things a turn for the slightly jauntier on 'Home #2' but this is still undeniably reflective, introspective stuff of such delicate beauty that you fear each song might just blow away on a breeze before you've finished listening to it no matter how many times you've listened to it already. One lovely fact about this EP is that it was recorded on a Tascam 8 track which means you get every lip smack, voice crackle and reverberating guitar string as fresh and honest as it was performed. 'Could You Just' is the kind of song that you hear overdubbed as a depressed bar maid clears up on Christmas Eve knowing all she has to go home to is a cold flat and a drunk boyfriend. But, as said bar maid leaves the bar it starts to snow, 'Thomas & The Good Book' begins and everything is magical for the briefest of periods. Just magical enough to make her happy for a moment and surely that's all we ever need in life. Hey, Sleeper is an awful nom de plume but who cares when the music is this good? Not I, sir, not I.

Sunday, 1 December 2013


Hannah Georgas - Hannah Georgas (Dine Alone Records) 
Hannah Georgas - Hannah Georgas 

Release Date: 25th November 2013

Earlier this year, I went on a bit of a positive rant about the specific areas of the UK that seemed to be churning out endless steams of excellent artists. Throughout the year, this here blog has become increasingly international and I'm on a new rant; bloody Canada. Canada is supposed to be lovely and safe and clean, Canada is not supposed to produce a stream of talented and soulful musicians that make me want to drink my own body weight in maple syrup and wrestle a moose. Hannah Georgas is the latest talented Canadian to arrive at the door of LWM and boy is she a talented lady?! The intermittent thrum of 'Elephant' opens proceedings with a distinct Feist-yness about it before 'Somebody' takes things up another notch mixing the Feist influences with Ladyhawke and Bat For Lashes style personality. Georgas' voice is so cool and unaffected that you feel under no pressure to hear her but you almost can't help being lured in to her fantasy world through an inexplicably ornate mirror. On 'Enemies', Georgas takes the music of the XX and cranks it up a bit whilst retaining the atmospheric sensibilities and singing "You're going to make an enemy of me" in potentially the least threatening way possible.

'Shortie' is Georgas' effort at an out-and-out pop song as she promises to "Dance, dance, dance until the cops come" and as fun as it sounds, she never really explains what she's going to do when the cops come. Are they invited to the party? Anyway, things take a turn for the mellow on 'Fantisize' before turning a sudden left turn down kooky street on 'Millions' which contains some mild swearing, a statement that "I wanna make a million buck, wanna make my millions" and a melody that seems to be played out on whatever instrument they wrote the music for 90s PC games on. 'Million's is certainly my favourite track on this album and if it had been recorded by Weezer or Fountains of Wayne it would be a sure fire indie disco hit. 'What You Do To Me' is sparse and minimalist but simultaneously seductive and a little threatening - perfect soundtrack music. The tender 'Ode To Mom' shows the depth and range of Georgas as she switches from muted guitar work to stomping, anthemic rock that should grace a festival crowd or at the very least an arena. Following on is the 80s pop throb of 'Waiting Game' which really should have been the opening music to a Judd Nelson film about trying to get 'the' girl that he works with but who just doesn't notice him because he's such a goof ball. Or something. Unusually, this album has a bonus track in the shape of 'The Hardest Part' which is a sassy, swaggering country-pop number with a dark heart and dead eyes. Georgas is at least as good as every other artist I've mentioned in this review but the fact that she is as good as all of them and she is just one woman makes her pretty damn special indeed.

Live Dates:

19th December - Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver

21st February - Huxley's Neue Welt, Berlin

Saturday, 30 November 2013


Johnathan Rice - Good Graces 
Johnathan Rice - Good Graces

Release Date: 25th November 2013

Mr Rice describes this album as a healing record that he wrote as a way to help people he loves to come through some dark times which, as a sentiment, is pretty awesome. I've had one or two dark moments (haven't we all?) and if somebody had written me an album to say 'Hey buddy, it's alright, things will get better' then I would probably have had a good cry and then gone outside to fall in love with the world again. As the album begins with the gentle, sandy swing of 'Acapulco Gold' it is immediately obvious that Rice is in healing, empathetic mood and the fact that he is channelling Evan Dando's voice only makes this all the warmer on your ears. The slow stomp of 'My Heart Belongs To You' is somewhere between Flaming Lips and the Killers with Jack Johnson on vocal duty which is a group of guys I'd want around me if I was feeling bummed out so, again, spot on. Things get a little livelier on 'Nowhere At The Speed Of Light' which is full of jangly guitars, Rice's dreamy vocal and punchy dreams which make you want to get out of your funk and in to the shower, at the very least. Considering when this album was recorded and subsequently released, 'Lou Rider' is an incredibly timely stylistic homage to the much missed Lou Reed with Rice talking on that oh-so-cool rock star drawl and roping in some doop-doop style backing vocalists for extra soul effect. I think we're ready to put some clean clothes on now.

The hopeful, optimistic opening strains of 'Empty Head' are like opening your front door and immediately getting a smile and a nod from the postman as you feel the sun on your skin for the first time in days. 'Good Graces' immediately takes up the mantle with Dylan-esque lyrical structures and a bouncy acoustic riff that will help you walk down the street to the shop for some proper food and, most importantly, a little human interaction. The crescendo ending of 'Good Graces' needs to be played to a Springsteen sized crowd for maximum sing-a-long impact but for now it's just fine rattling round my head. As we hit the final third of the album, 'Surfer's Lament' is mariachi-lite music mixed with expansive vocal effects and Dick Dale guitars that transport you to a beach party in Hawaii where you are bound to be having a good time. The gently twanging guitars of 'Soldiers' would be perfect to wake up on said Hawaiian beach to the morning after the night before as the sea gently nibbles your toes and Rice's voice tickles your ears. To wrap it all up, 'That Summer Feeling' comes along as a kind of "my work here is done" message, Mary Poppins for the bummed out generation, if you will. Rice obviously understands pain and would be a good guy to have around if you needed a shoulder cry on so I'm glad, for his loved ones, that they have him but sad that this album only exists because some people had to go through dark times. Forget time, music is the true great healer here. .

Thursday, 28 November 2013


Stacey - Stacey EP 
Stacey - Stacey EP

Release Date: 5th December 2013

OK, let's get something out of the way here. Stacey (she doesn't have a last name, she's too cool for that) plays piano and sings with passion and style that make easily comparable to Tori Amos. This is no bad thing but it would be extraordinarily lazy journalism so let's delve a little deeper shall we? Canadian Stacey seemingly has the full package and, most of all, she has the guts to kick off her EP with the hauntingly beautiful 'Worst Part' which is nothing but piano, vocals and regrets. 'Sleep Alone' is more uplifting as we reminisce with our lovelorn heroine and her sensually played piano accompanied by some simple but effective percussion. Lessons can be learned from Stacey by those that think that the Miley Cyrus T&A&LOD (that's Tits & Ass & Loss Of Dignity) approach to performing has anything to do with music or the creative process. Here we have a strong, powerful woman making music on her own terms and playing to her own beat. And do you know what? I haven't got a clue what she looks like at this moment in time which is just the way music should be heard - the only images I get are created by the songs. 'Share' is up next and is the kind of lament that Katy Perry and Lady Gaga would fight to the death, using only their ill-gotten awards as weapons. The smoky, lounge piano of 'Calling Me' is matched perfectly by the echo laden vocals and reminds me of LWM favourite Mary At Midnight in its tender fragility and haunting seduction of the listener. Finishing up with 'All To Myself', Stacey gets a little woozy  and almost drunk sounding but the piano is still played with a gently determined caress that is impossible to resist. Stacey has a talent that is rare these days in that it's entirely pure, unaffected and straight from the heart so I urge you to get involved before life and/or the music industry taints her purity.

Live Dates:
5th December - Measure, Toronto (EP Release)
6th December - The Casbah Lounge, Hamilton
7th December - Imbibe Food & Drink, Kitchener
8th December - Mahtay Cafe, St Catherines
9th December - The APK, London
10th December - The Spill, Peterborough
11th December - Red Brick Cafe, Guelph
14th December - Alphasoul, Ottawa

15th December - Raindow Bistro, Ottawa


Carlos Nobrega - Breath Me 
Carlos Nobrega - Breath Me

It's always tricky to judge a song you've been told is a cover version when you don't know the original song, you have to take it on its own merits. Carlos Nobrega's version of 'Breath Me', originally by the hugely talented Sia, is a sparse, piano lead lament which builds nicely with some programmed beats and breaks adding to the sonic landscape. Nobrega's voice is frail and fragile enough to convey the emotion of the song but there are moments when the intimation of a man singing another person's song in another language shines through and something is lost in translation. It wouldn't get through very far on the X-Factor but then who would want to?

More information/Free Download:


Sivu feat. Marika Hackman - I Hold 
Sivu feat. Marika Hackman - I Hold

This is exactly the kind of tune that my teenage music collection is full of on CD single or 7"....or the rare cassette tape. 'I Hold' is yours for free, you lucky devils, and it's a delicately playful piece of music that reminds me of artists like Emiliana Torrini, Ani Di Franco or 12 Rounds. There is a sinister edge to this tune as well which is lurking in the shadows, threatening but never quite coming out to show its face in the full light. Marika Hackman's voice has a clenched teeth menace to it as it drifts out atop the delicate acoustic guitar, bass drones and processed beats. Sivu seems to be on tour supporting the great and the good this year so get and catch this stuff live if you can, it's sure to be a mesmerising experience.

Live Dates:
10th December - The Hope, Brighton
11th December - The Lexington, London
12th December - The Portland Arms, Cambridge
13th December - Gullivers, Manchester

14th December - The Birdcage, Bristol

Tuesday, 26 November 2013


Royksopp - Running To The Sea (Wall Of Sound/Cooking Vinyl) 
Royksopp - Running To The Sea

Release Date: 16th December 2013

So those Royksopp boys are back with a new single and it's something of a lively number. Featuring the vocals of Susanne Sundfor, 'Running To The Sea' is an eery, almost trance like tune fuelled by sparse piano and a fast paced beat that sounds like the determined pitter-patter of an early morning jogger. This song promises a lot and certainly delivers if you're in to that Above & Beyond with Ellie Goulding on vocals writing a song for the next Girl With The Dragon Tattoo soundtrack kind of thing. For me, I feel like there's a little bit more to come from these guys but, hey, they've given us a B-side too so stop your moaning! 'Something In My Heart' features the vocal talents of the improbably named Jamie Irrepressible (weakest Viking name ever?) and is a more thoughtful tune with undulating synths mixed with a laid back, almost R&B beats. There's no doubting that these are both beautiful pieces of music which the world is a better place for experiencing but neither of these tunes quite manage to reach the uplifting climaxes I was hoping for.

More information:

Sunday, 24 November 2013


Bedfellows - World Apart 
Bedfellows - World Apart

Brooklyn is supposed to be the centre of the musical universe at the moment, if you believe everything you read which I absolutely do. Bedfellows are three fine gents who hail from this particular corner of New York but, weirdly, they seem to be channelling the electro beats of late 80s/ early 90s Manchester. Opening track 'Like A Hostage' is pure New Order, even down to the slightly uninterested vocals, and that's no bad thing. 'Coming Up' is a little more lively and upbeat, something akin to Vampire Weekend trying to write a new theme tune for a revamped version of Saved By The Bell. The drum and bass combination that opens 'Receiver' is pure 80s fodder and, if I didn't know better, I'd swear that Peter 'Hooky' Hook was slinging his bass as low as is humanly possible to churn out the bass line. What Bedfellows do nicely is mix the synths and beats of the 80s UK dance scene with more modern guitars whilst keeping the vocals firmly in the moody and cool section of the musical kitchen. 'As She Whispers' is a particular triumph that could be ABC or Heaven 17 until the guitars kick in and bring things more up to date. That blend of old technology and more contemporary guitar techniques creates a unique and perplexing sound. Final track, 'Range Of Love', is a seven minute indie-dance-pop romp that could easily be a young Michael Stipe trying out different styles of music before settling on whatever it was R.E.M. settled on. Bedfellows have definitely got something and it's the kind of something I would expect to hear on late night radio driving home from a gig in my car which is a great place to find nuggets of genius from around the world. As is this blog.


Northcote - Northcote (Xtra Mile Recordings) 
Northcote - Northcote

I'm starting to get excited when I get a release and I notice it's from the Xtra Mile Recordings camp. Northcote (aka Matt Goud) has thankfully not letting the team down with this collection of songs that fit perfectly with his fellow artists on the roster. The Canadian opens proceedings with the Springsteen-esque duo of songs 'How Can You Turn Around' and 'When You Cry' that are acoustic driven numbers full of inspiring, sing along moments. New single 'Hope The Good Things Never Die' has a slightly Killers feel about it but without all the Vega glitz and glamour while 'A Thousand Nights' betrays Northcote's early country music leanings before settling in to a good time rock'n'roll rhythm and taking you deep in to the night. But there is subtlety to Northcote too and the Bragg-meets-Costello thrum of 'Burn Right Past Them All' shows off a more tender side that label mates Frank Turner or Crazy Arm would be happy to jam on. Although 'Counting Down The Days' may sound like the title of a Bryan Adams love ballad, Northcote has a more road-trippin' approach to the sentiment.

'Drive Me Home' gets back to the tight, acoustic strumming and idealistic but wistful lyrical content before things take a turn for the smoky and cigarette lighter waving lilt of 'Knock On My Door' which shows off Goud's gravelly voice superbly. In terms of big songs, 'Find Our Own Way' has Killers meets Kings of Leon with a pop melody written all over it so I'd put five bucks on that baby. Then again, I get the feeling that Northcote is on a musical journey that is nothing to do with the destination as the tender and heart rending 'Speak Freely' perfectly exemplifies. Finishing up with 'Walking Home In The Rain', Northcote typifies just what it is that drives him - proper songs with lyrics that mean something set to rock'n'roll tunes that lift your spirit and free up your mind. Goud and the gang are over in Europe for a few dates before Santa comes to visit so get out and see him if you can, I'm sure the live experience will be intimate as well as energising.

Live Dates:

24th November - BiNuu Berlin, Berlin
26th November - Gloria, Cologne
27th November - Batschkapp, Frankfurt
28th November - Strom Linienclub, Munich
30th November - Factory Area2, Milan
2nd December - B72, Vienna
3rd December - Universum, Stuttgart
4th December - JH Kavka, Antwerp
5th December - Joiners, Southampton
6th December - The Garage, London
7th December - Bodega Social Club, Nottingham

8th December - The Cluny, Newcastle


TDeL2 - Barnegat (Monkey Records) 
TDeL2 - Barnegat

The improbably named Nebraskan resident Tony De Luca, aka TDeL2, is back with a thirteen track album that ranges from chilled out electronica to acoustic introspectiveness and I, for one, am mighty pleased. 'Counting Trees and USBs' starts proceedings with some instrumental and uplifting sounds before the electro romance of 'Fearless Youth'. The gentle introduction to 'Valves and Sneakers' gives way to a more urgent, A-ha inspired indie-pop romp before 'Kenwood' takes over with its subtle acoustic picking and ambient keys. 'Two Systems' and 'Greta' show off TDeL2's more commercial appeal and hints at his best possible route to widespread success in terms of getting his accessible ambient music to the largest audience possible. The electro swamp noise and campfire crackle that open up 'In Your Mind' blend beautifully with the processed beats and sparse piano melody before that piano motif is continued in to 'Selection Sunday' which, I assume, refers to that day of rest dilemma where you have to decide which old film to watch and what junk food you are going to eat to accompany it - either way, it's perfectly chilled out Sunday music until the huge, stadium filling crescendo shakes you awake.

TDeL2 has a beautiful approach to electronic, ambient music that is as dispassionate as it is tear jerking. The somnambulance of 'Running' is a great example of this ethos until the driving, forging drums kick in and the background voices swirl around your head like the words that appear mid-fever. The 80s synths of 'Tulips' and 'Neon Keys' are immediately immersive and combine the best of electro with the best computer game music from down the years - the only artist to come close recently for me is UK based Ions In the Ether. Penultimate track 'All I Know' is a frantic but uplifting slice of electronica that leads directly in to album closer 'There, The Morning Light' which is a piano riff lead piece of dance music that would be a perfect start to a day when you just want to get things done - whether it's cleaning out the shed or running a marathon, this music would be sure to get you pumped up. TDeL2 is one of those musicians who is probably happy producing this stuff in his 'den' and sending it around the world but, with the right marketing, this could be huge stuff in the mainstream market.


Little Matador - Liar Liar EP 
Little Matador - Liar Liar EP

Well I did not expect this. The email that accompanied this EP was from Nathan Connolly, guitarist with Snow Patrol, introducing his new band Little Matador featuring members of Idlewild and The Frames among others. Now, I've got time for both Snow Patrol and Idlewild plus Little Matador is an outstanding new band name but I didn't have the highest hopes for this debut EP. But then 'Reasons' happened. Queens Of The Stone Age sized riffs with the bombast of Span or INXS at their most rocking hit you like a sledgehammer to the gut before the chugging guitars and thumping drums set about boxing your ears until they a good way. Next up is 'Boom Boom' which is part The Cooper Temple Clause towards the end of their career and part Terminator soundtrack but those intense and unapologetic guitars are back with a vengeance. There is an urgency about Little Matador that is so pleasing to hear coupled with the experience and honed song writing skills of musicians that have been there, done that and sold the t-shirt on their merchandise stands. 'Gimme All You've Got' is a slightly more laid back affair but the brooding, menacing rhythm of the drums combined with the constant drone bring to mind the night time scenes in films like the Lost Boys or a REALLY good way. Final and title track, 'Liar Liar', is a little more punky in approach with fierce, furious and distorted vocals over the top of incessant guitars and pounding drums. I am genuinely really impressed by this as a debut and, in a way, I'm glad this is something of an indie supergroup as if this was a band at the start of their careers I would be hugely worried for the competition. Oh and the artwork is ace too, complete package then!


Caravan Palace - Panic (Dramatico Entertainment) 
Caravan Palace - Panic

Release Date: 2nd December 2013

So apparently French electro swing is a thing now and Caravan Palace are hot on the heels of Parov Stelar (not technically French but who's counting?) in terms of pushing this new genre to the forefront. The Caravan Palace collective have been touring relentlessly with their electro take on swing, jazz and gypsy jazz and "Panic" is the culmination of all this touring in 18 tracks of fun. Kicking off with 'Queens' and the slightly 90s feeling fun of 'Maniac, Caravan Palace set their stall out for fun and you can almost see the circus performers and burlesque dancers trouping in to join them. 'The Dirty Side Of The Street' is particularly manic whilst '12 Juin 3049' is a distinctly laid back, river side ode to the distant future. Alvin and the Chipmunks are apparently the guest vocalists on 'Rock It For Me' but 'Clash' is a stand out track which sounds like the Puppini Sisters remixed by Bentley Rhythm Ace with Bernard Cribbins on guest vocals - yes, it is that bonkers.

'Newbop' takes things back to a more laid back vibe (nobody could maintain that pace) with Django Reinhardt inspired guitars and a bouncy, dubby beat underneath. There is a marmite moment on 'The Glory Of Nelly' as dreamy guitars and chimes mix with TLC style rapping that I'm still not sure whether I like but then I'm never sure whether I like Marmite so I'm probably not the best judge. As song titles go, 'Dramophone' is pretty ace and the bassline is plenty squelchy, meanwhile 'Cotton Heads' is Lemon Jelly-esque in its bleepy-bloopy delights. Delish. Title track 'Panic' is glitchy, scratchy piece of hyperactivity while the melody on 'Pirates' is pure summer morning fun. Another stand out tune is 'Beatophone' that has a bassline that would turn heads at traffic lights and stands out from the general hum drum of the chart obsessed dance world. The album proper finishes with the Winehouse meets Piaf lilt of 'Sydney' as the bars spill out on to the Parisian streets and the cobbles resonate with the chatter of laughter and the pronouncements of love. Then follows a spicy remix of 'Dramophone' and three different versions of 'Clash', including a huge sounding live version from a hometown gig that hints towards the power these guys must wield in the live arena. So, wax that moustache, pop in a monocle and crack those glow sticks: French Electro Swing is here to stay, daaahhhhling.