Sunday, 30 October 2016


Eujenics – Far Stranger 
Eujenics - Far Stranger

Release Date: Out Now

Geordie boys Eujenics (aka Sam, Chris, David and Adam to their mums) have got the uniform down in their flannel shirts, scuffed trainers and hoodies. Their press release talks about the right influences from Placebo and the Manic Street Preachers to Queens Of The Stone Age and Silverchair. But can they walk the walk on new single ‘Far Stranger’. In a word, yes. This tune comes in like a juggernaut playing the heavier end of Muse’s cannon at full volume over the CB radio. These guitars are industrial, the drums clatter and then the vocals come on pitched somewhere between heavy metal Gods and indie shoe shufflers. This is a real wakeup call and you can’t fault the musicianship or songwriting at all but I would suggest that over five minutes is too long for a song of this magnitude – you’re in danger of leaving listeners twitching in a pool of their saliva at that length.

Live Dates:

26th November – Bannermans, Edinburgh
17th December – Crez Festival, Manchester
22nd January – Tru Studios, Chilton
19th February – Tru Studios, Chilton

26th February – Tru Studios, Chilton


San Cisco – SloMo (Island City Records) 
San Cisco - SloMo

Release Date: Out Now

Wow. This is almost too funky for a Sunday evening but, hey, why not start the week with a boogie, right? Aussie quartet San Cisco are back with new single ‘SloMo’ and boy is it perky. Tight, funky guitars and the kind of beat that the Bee Gees would have revelled in collide in a state of euphoria with some slick, sugary vocals to glue it all together. San Cisco don’t quite stray in to Mika territory (e.g. irritating as fuck) but this is still as perky as a vitamin D infused 4-year-old on a diet of Red Bull and Sunny D (still less irritating than Mika). So, throw on your boldest outfit and a pair of shades – let’s strut and make today count.

Saturday, 29 October 2016


Penny Bridges – Blue 
Penny Bridges - Blue

Release Date: Out Now

This is the second single I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing from Wolverhampton lass Penny Bridges and I have to say that this one has some beautiful cover art – I do like a nice piece of cover art. ‘Blue’, for that is the name of this single, opens with an optimistic acoustic strum and then Bridges’ husky, dusky, elfin vocal joins in with a gentle, urging beat and suddenly the song is transformed. The vocal style of Bridges is utterly encapsulating and delicate in a way that Nina Persson or Joanna Newsom have done so well with and it is so beautiful it makes the world around you stop for just a moment. Throw in some Cello and a sense of hope and you’ll get a feel for how this song progresses or evolves. Gorgeous stuff for a crisp Autumn morning as the mist rises of the fields and the animals have their morning stretch.

More information:


Tigress – Power Lines (LAB Records) 
Tigress - Power Lines

Release Date: Out Now

Chelmsford quintet Tigress aren’t messing about with new single ‘Power Lines’ as it cuts in with a buzzsaw guitar and siren song vocals courtesy of Katy Jackson. Oh and then there’s a chorus the size of Wembley Stadium and a sense of anger at the world’s addiction, nay reliance, on gadgets and social media. Essentially Tigress are calling for a worldwide blackout so that we can reconnect with ourselves and the rest of the human race, they’ve just decided to share this message via a tsunami of guitars and drums with a beguiling songstress surfing the wave all the way in to shore, snarling all the way. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a British rock band with female vocals hitting with so much power but there is a flaw to their plan – a worldwide blackout would scupper their plans for worldwide fame outside of Essex and the hits on their slick looking Youtube video would be, well, zero.

Watch The Video:


Joanna Cooke – Wound Up EP 
Joanna Cooke - Wound Up EP

Release Date: Out Now

It’s not many artists that move to the Westcountry to launch a musical career but Joanna Cooke is no ordinary musician. Having relocated from Poole to Plymouth, Cooke is now gigging hard up and down from Dorset to Cornwall and is steadily cementing a reputation as a supreme talent. This new EP, Cooke’s 2nd, sees her sound develop in to something more mature, more edgy and is a great shop window for her talents. The EP opens with ‘More Than I Am’ which instantly grabs your attention with some crisp piano chords and Cooke’s assured, soulful vocal. This is a song that is drenched in a sense of defiance and lifting yourself up from the darkest moments of your life so when the chorus drops with a surging beat and scattered synth notes augmenting the piano you know you’re listening to a serious contender. This is big pop, Alicia Keys sized pop.

‘Darker Days’ is up next and features the guest vocals of local legend Vince Lee as Cooke turns her hand to some Blues spliced with a little Soul for good measure. The vocals and hand claps introduction could be vintage New Orleans stomp or it could be Stevie Wonder dueting with Macy Gray/Kelis/Joss Stone. The organs swirl and the guitar is infected with funk as those hand claps persist and Lee’s deep, growly voice cajoles from the shadows, allowing our heroine to light up the sound stage. Some credit must go to Cooke’s writing and performing partner, Nathan Austin, and next track ‘Holding You’ is testament to their excellent artistry and versatility. ‘Holding You’ is a chilled dance number with a pleasingly squelchy bass track, a nice groove and that voice doing its silky, smooth, slightly husky thing all over the track.

Joanna Cooke - forgotten her keys again
Closing up this 4 track collection is ‘Before You’re Old’ and it wastes no time getting going as the vocal drops almost immediately. Once again, the Soul is strong with this tune but there is a sense of Gospel here and the keyboard sound is utterly authentic and luxurious. It’s really easy to dismiss ‘pop’ music sometimes and be disparaging but this EP transcends the genre for me and I think it’s time Joanna Cooke was taken seriously as a contender in the world of Soul, Blues and Pop (with a big P). Sure, she may have to venture a little further out of the Westcountry to get her voice heard but it would be a travesty if a vocal and, crucially, songwriting talent like this was overlooked because the masses were too busy texting in to vote on the X-Factor.

Live Dates:

3rd November – Royal Castle Hotel, Dartmouth
4th November – Rick Stein’s, Newquay
5th November – Rod & Line, Tideford
10th November – Blues Bar, Plymouth
11th November – Rashleigh Arms, Charlestown
12th November – Radio Tour: The Source FM/Soundart FM/Riviera FM
13th November – Gylly Beach Café, Falmouth
18th November – Merchant, Exmouth
19th November – Royal Oak, Marlborough
20th November – Wax, Newquay
25th November – Brook Inn, Plympton
26th November – The Terrace, Exeter
27th November – St Austell Bay Radio

10th Februrary 2017 – The Inn On The Shore, Downderry


Mae & The Midnight Fairground, Live @ The Inn On The Shore, Cornwall – 28/10/2016 
Mae & Alex

When you walk in to a quiet country pub on an Autumnal Friday night to see a girl in a pointy hat tinkling the ivories accompanied by the rich, deep sound of a cellist you’d be forgiven for doing a double take. That said, there isn’t much about Mae & The Midnight Fairground that doesn’t stand out and make you think twice. In duo form tonight, Mae and Alex soothed and wooed in equal measure as magical melodies wound themselves around the venue sprinkled with humour, tragedy and a fair few references to cats.

It is fair to say that Mae’s songs can present something of a challenge to first timers with her often rapid vocal delivery making lyrical themes hard to catch on to, like fireflies flitting around your head. However, if you relax and let the melodies and interchangeable time signatures wash over you then you can’t help but be enchanted. Songs like ‘The Mortgage Song’, ‘Weasel’ and ‘One Animal’ show off the emotional range of Mae Karthauser’s song writing as well as her astounding vocal ability that is honestly one of the most raw, passionate and natural voices I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing in the live environment. New track ‘Umbrella’ (no, not that one) was a Regina Spektor inspired thing of sparse beauty while the duo had a lot of fun with a Mexican folk song that represented the only thing approaching a cover over the course of the evening.

‘The Persian Boy’ and ‘Georgia & The Tiger’ further proved that here we have a natural story teller in the old style, a fact compounded by the gruelling European tour that has seen Mae travelling the continent with her music from May until early October. This was an intimate show which would have seen some artists shy away but Mae revelled in the attentiveness and closeness of the audience which will surely have given each and every audience member a special memory of a very special evening. Technically, this pair are residents of Totnes but, despite whatever Theresa May says, they are surely citizens of the world and the world is a better place for their citizenship.

More information:

Thursday, 27 October 2016


Shaefri – Pixelate 
Shaefri - Pixelate

Release Date: Out Now

There’s something strangely but enticingly captivating about the work of an elusive musician. Music, to me, is rooted in sharing stories and passing on messages. So to hide that element of music and be reticent in sharing your story intrigues me and that is the proposition facing me in the shape of London dwelling Irish/Egyptian artist Shaefri. The new single from this enigma comes in the form of ‘Pixelate’ and it is a thing of beauty. Delicate key notes and pulsating beats form a soft, feathered bed on which Shaefri’s voice luxuriates in a lazy, Sunday morning kind of way. To be clear, I’m not talking about the Sunday mornings when you get the papers and drink a gallon of tea, I’m talking about the Sunday mornings when you wake up next to someone you love and lust after with nothing to do for the rest of the day. Shaefri’s voice has that subtle and slightly cold sensuality that served the likes of Portishead and Everything But The Girl so well over the years and this song shows that voice off superbly. ‘Pixelate’ is a labour of love with seduction at its core and it is well worth any level of seclusion if this is the resultant story. Sheer beauty.


Line Mari – Haters 
Line Mari - Haters

Release Date: Out Now

Having had a slew of Swedes recently, it’s time to hear what Norway has to offer on the pop front. The hotly tipped Line Mari is first to put her head above the trenches and new single ‘Haters’ has a strong start with some excellent cover art (never to be underestimated in catching the eye of a reviewer). A doom laden piano introduction is soon soothed by Mari’s voice coming in from the cold darkness with an almost uncomfortable closeness. At just under the minute mark, however, the song slides smoothly in to Ellie Goulding territory with floaty synth melodies and vocals that are dripping in honey and floating on air. Underneath it all, that piano keeps nudging away relentlessly giving this tune an edge that keeps it on the right side of US mass produced cheese. Not a bad start Line Mari, not bad at all.


Forever Cult – See Thru (Clue Records) 
Forever Cult - See Thru

Release Date: Out Now

There’s only one thing wrong with Clue Records and that’s that they don’t make T-shirts big enough for my considerable girth. Label stalwarts Forever Cult are back with a new cassette only single, ‘See Thru’, that will be available on their forthcoming tour and it’s a peach. The incessantly chugging guitars are matched only but the driving drums but a sneer that is pure 90s Seattle and a sense of energy that crackles and fizzes makes this sound so fresh and enticing. The repeated refrain of “It’s not my problem, it’s not my problem” says everything you need to know about this snot nosed, thumb biting, middle finger of a song that will surely be a highlight of the live set as they work the mid-sized venue circuit this autumn.

Live Dates:

11th November – The Rocking Chair, Sheffield
12th November – The New Adelphi, Hull
14th November – The Boileroom, Guildford
15th November – Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
16th November – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton
17th November – The Lock Tavern, London
18th November – Brudenell Games Room, Leeds
20th November – The Castle Hotel, Manchester


Pepe Deluxe – Go Girl Go (Catskills Records) 
Pepe Deluxe - Go Girl Go

Release Date: Out Now

A deep, bass rumble followed by the perkiest of perky female vocals and we’re off. The marvellous Pepe Deluxe are back with new single ‘Go Girl Go’ and we should all be grateful. Quirky melodies, horns and rhythms that scatter all over the place make this something that takes a couple of listens to ‘get’ but I’m more interested in songs with layers than songs that have one trick and one trick only. The cheerleader squeals are the most straightforward thing here but the Bentley Rhythm Ace meets Lemon Jelly mad professor-ness is both infectious and complex, like some sort of new strain of disease. Disco Fever, if you will, but the 2016 version.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Dollie Demi – Throw It All Away 
Dollie Demi - Throw It All Away

Release Date: 28th October 2016

Nottingham lass Dollie Demi is making quite the name for herself as the new saviour of British pop and she’s doing the right way with a steady release of pop nuggets and carefully selected, energy fuelled live performances. That said, new single ‘Throw It All Away’ is a 90s Britpop inspired, acoustic based song that will, in all probability, form the ‘slow down’ section of her EP that is due out in 2017. Demi’s style sits somewhere between Lily Allen, Kate Nash, Echobelly, Republica and Lush which suits me just fine and should alert anyone putting together a soundtrack for a gritty British comedy-drama film so if Danny Boyle is working on something new then this might fit in just perfectly. There is a certain raw naivety to the vocals on this track which just about fall down on the side of charming but in a live set I would expect the tempo to pick up considerably after this gentle strum.

Live Dates:

28th October – O2 Academy 2, Islington w/After Alice

25th November – Factory, Manchester


Death Team – Messed Up (Warner Music) 
Death Team - Messed Up

Release Date: Out Now

Yeah, the Swedes can’t stop themselves from churning out excellent pop at the moment and next on the conveyor belt is the excellently named Death Team. This male/female duo are on the fast track to pop stardom and new single ‘Messed Up’ is something a little bit special for all the right reasons. The Hip-Hop beats and swagger are wonderfully juxtaposed by the squeaky Aqua-esque vocals of Mayka but it’s all glued together by the sticky juice of the pop sensibilities that have endured since Abba broke the mould way back when. As if this pair couldn’t get any more cool or relevant, it turns out that they met Stockholm’s Spotify headquarters and fell in creative love so jump on the bandwagon and let’s all have a party in Ikea (other Swedish shops and stereotypes are available).


Rebecca & Fiona – Shotgun (Universal Music) 
Rebecca & Fiona - Shotgun

Release Date: Out Now

There’s something happening in Sweden at the moment, based on the sheer number of new artists being spawned within the country’s borders and more than a few of them are dabbling in the genre of alt-pop. The latest pretenders to the Swedish pop throne are the duo Rebecca and Fiona who arrive with their new single, ‘Shotgun’, riding high on a wave of pop sophistication and the kind breathy, seductive vocals that grace a good chunk of Top 40 hits these days. There is a lightness to the melodies but an aggression to the vocals and underlying bass drones that gives this tune edge and menace covered in a sugar glaze. There’s no distinguishing between the voices of Rebecca and Fiona but if you imagine a 21st Century Shampoo doing the soundtrack to Spring Break 2 then you’re probably not far off the mark.

Live Dates:

4th November – Tempel, Karlstad
5th November – Entourage, Sandviken
12th November – Hostyran, Umea
19th November – Ritz, Orebro
25th November – Liljan, Borlange
2nd December – Statt, Karlskrona
3rd December – Vara Konserthus, Vara
9th December – Puls, Norrkoping
10th December – Karallen, Linkoping
16th December – Metropol, Hultsfred 


Listen With Monger/Lost In the Manor presents #Blogtober live at The Finsbury, London – 23/10/2016

So here’s the premise – the fine people at Lost in the Manor PR wanted to put on 31 consecutive nights of live music in October, make it all free entry and pay all the artists with each night being curated by a different music blog (or ‘tastemaker’ as is the parlance these days). Listen With Monger was asked to be involved and that was an opportunity not to be turned down so along I trotted to the Finsbury venue in North London with five of my favourite UK acts in tow and a fairly heavy Westcountry influence as is my wont. What follows is an account of what happened next and be warned, it was glorious.

Rosa Belle
In a room lit only by the stage lights in the corner and swirling with dying embers of dry ice, a diminutive figure sits on the stage, nervously clutching an acoustic guitar. This figure is 19-year-old Rosa Belle and on a Sunday evening in late October she seems fragile, tiny and unaffected by the darker side of the music industry – in short I’m a little nervous for her. Then, with a couple of strummed chords and a deep intake of breath, Rosa Belle starts to sing and tell her stories with the most soulful, perfectly pitched and dusky voice that filled the room like a warm fire on a cold evening. Original compositions sat easily alongside covers of Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’ and Sam Sparro’s ‘Black & Gold’ as Rosa Belle chatted with the audience like a nervous first timer before unleashing song after song of polished, accomplished and velvety smooth acoustic soul-pop that started the evening off perfectly. Impossibly young and improbably talented.

Devon lad Jamie Yost was up next and this was his first ever London
Jamie Yost
show so there was a certain amount of pressure on the young man’s shoulders as he hunched, unassumingly, over his guitar in that unapologetic spotlight. Sparse but shuddering guitar notes broke the silence and then that voice came over loud and clear through the night air. Soulful, for sure, but there is a maturity and depth to Yost’s voice that belies his few years and sits more comfortably alongside old Bluesmen singing from the corners of smoke filled bars down the years. A well placed cover of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ didn’t miss a beat as Yost showed the audience what can be achieved with just a guitar, a voice and sense of passion. Then, as if he were readjusting his hat, Yost slid that guitar down on to his lap and strummed, slapped and knocked the crap out of it like a man trying to get a radio to work with an increasing sense of frustration but the sound was sublime and the reaction from the audience was triumphant.

After some stage rearranging, the quartet Seaker opened their set and mood changed – not for the better or for the worse, it just changed. Frontwoman Kiran dressed all in black captained her crew from the control panel of her keyboard as they steered through the kind of musical landscape that is, in equal parts, ethereal, precise, organic and genetically modified. Vocals that filled the tall room, guitars that bounced and clanged of the walls and drums that pushed and challenged at every turn all combine to make a sound so utterly perfect that it should be getting more than the few meagre airplays it has had on national radio. Comparisons could be drawn to the XX, Florence + The Machine or Bat For Lashes but this would only a lazy comparison when the live experience is so singularly unique. Seaker are a game changing band and are so much greater than the sum of their parts.

Pattern Pusher
The four gents who take to the stage next could be described as unassuming or non-descript at the best of times but despite appearing from the back of the stage through a tiny door, Exeter’s Pattern Pusher didn’t exactly give you the ‘wow factor’ when they arrived onstage at the Finsbury. Roughly 15 seconds later, however, the wow arrived. With the two main protagonists side on to the audience and duelling with their selected weapons of keyboards, guitar, vocals and a big box of gadgetry, we are treated to a visual and sonic onslaught of wondrous proportions. Sure, Hot Chip, Everything Everything, Dutch Uncles and LCD Soundsystem elements are evident but despite the calculated nature of this music, there is something soulful, something guttural coming from within these four gentlemen which is absolutely encapsulating. Recent single ‘Layla and Madman’ is still the standout track in the set but the overall energy, boundary pushing bravery and genuine enthusiasm for their art is infectious and by the time the set comes to a triumphant close, Pattern Pusher have converted the congregation to their religion….whatever that may be.

The final act on stage tonight are one of those bands that just makes you sit up and pay attention within seconds of hearing them play. The all-female London based threesome Berries have a raw energy and power that hits you at first but they follow it up with superb melodies, sweet harmonies and hooks that you just can’t shake off. The power trio played off the energy that had already been built up in the room and occupied that space between Biffy Clyro, Young Knives and Veruca Salt that nobody else has bothered to even try occupying before. Recent singles ‘Siren’ and ‘Written In Paint’ were present and very correct which bodes well for the forthcoming new EP but what really struck home was how skilled they were at performing these intricate tracks without turning in to the kind of navel gazing band that leaves an audience cold. As the lights refracted off the cymbals and the guitarist and bassist swirled whilst maintaining note perfect precision I don’t think there was a single doubt in the room that we were in the presence of something more than a little bit special.

And then it was over. Months of anticipation and preparation, an evening of serious talent and good vibes, the start of a number of musical adventures and proof, if it were needed, that live music is not quite dead just yet. The crowds drifted away in to the cool night air with a new musical love in their hearts and Listen With Monger prepared for the long journey back to the wiles of Cornwall with a slight sense of satisfaction but also a very real determination that this wouldn’t be the last show this blog curates. Watch this space…

More information:

Thursday, 20 October 2016


Langfinger – Fox Confessor 
Langfinger - Fox Confessor

Release Date: Out Now

Swedish trio Langfinger have come to my attention via one of the best written bits of PR I’ve seen in a long time so, y’know, kudos for that. The band’s new single, ‘Fox Confessor’, is a balls to the wall slice of rock’n’roll that the likes of Jet and Wolf Mother have peddled so well in their time. There’s a relentless, remorseless sense to their music as the band chug and push through this four-minute behemoth with only one intention – to rock. The video takes a swipe at promoters giving bands a bum deal which is a common problem throughout the music world, it seems, but, speaking as a part-time promoter, I can confidently say I’d give these guys the shirt off my back if they rocked this hard at a show of mine. Devil horns to you gentlemen, devil horns.

Watch The Video:


Sam Jordan & The Dead Buoys – My Nirvana (Oceans Post Transmission Co.)
Sam Jordan & The Dead Buoys - My Nirvana

Release Date: Out Now

The Brighton boys are back with a bit of a stormer of a single. ‘My Nirvana’ is the shuddering, Mariachi El Bronx meets Brother & Bones inspired new single from Sam Jordan & The Dead Buoys which includes some gloriously dramatic guitars and the kind of earth shaking drums that make your rib cage shake in the live arena. As Jordan’s meaty baritone booms out, you’re transported in to a lo-fi Tarantino film or an early 00s British gangster film featuring Ray Winstone. This is unapologetic, stark and stylish which is a hell of a combination and one that surely deserves more attention.

More information:

Wednesday, 19 October 2016


Ani Di Franco – Play God (Righteous Babe Records)
Ani Di Franco - Play God

Release Date: Out Now

I once bought an Ani Di Franco CD for a girl I liked to impress her. It worked and we dated for a while. It’s not one of my better stories but significant but it’s pretty much the only time that my taste in music has helped me in the wooing of the opposite sex so it’s worth putting down in black and white for posterity. Di Franco’s new single, her first release in 2 years, comes in the form of the politically charged ‘Play God’ and the wonderful accompanying video. As singles go, this is a gloriously blues infused funk tune with a message to pass on to anyone who will listen all delivered by Di Franco’s distinctive voice – part subtlety and part ferocity. This is somewhere between Ana Calvi, the Indigo Girls when they get funky with their full band and Ben Harper with his Innocent Criminals which is a mighty fine Venn diagram to be in the middle of. Like the music that followed where Motown left off, this is politicised but funky, angry but soulful, pissed off but ready to dance. Pro-choice with a kick ass bass line, as the lady says “you don’t play God, I do”.

Live Dates:

8th November – Higher Ground, South Burlington
9th November – Hart Theatre at the Egg, Albany
11th November – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn
12th November – Landmark on Main Street, Port Washington
14th November – Berklee Performing Arts Center, Boston
15th November – State Theatre, Portland
17th November – Calvin Theatre, Northampton
18th November – NY Society for Ethical Culture – Concert Hall, New York
19th November – NY Society for Ethical Culture – Concert Hall, New York

Monday, 17 October 2016


Kobadelta – The Metaphysical EP 
Kobadelta - The Metaphysical EP

Release Date: Out Now

I’m about 10 days late with this, strictly speaking, but sumptuous Geordie combo Kobadelta have a new EP out this October and it’s five tracks are really well worth your time and your ears. Recent single, ‘Hold Yr’self’, is as dark, sticky and lava lamp-esque as ever it was with that hypnotic melodic refrain weaving in and out of the swirl of Doors inspired guitars. On ‘Ride by the Light’ the darkness continues but the guitars take more of a leading role as the tune, pitched somewhere between the Zutons and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, glides relentlessly after its victim down a foggy, black and white Victorian street an hour after the last orders bell was tolled. There is a cinematic quality to the music of Kobadelta that will appeal to fans of the likes of Nick Cave and Arcade Fire but the delicious, treacly blackness is more akin to the tar pit that Queens of the Stone Age crawled from, fully formed, which is a wondrous thing.

‘Bathsheba’ has a slightly more garage feel about it with the drums urgently pushing things forwards as the bass rolls relentlessly like the paint in the middle of the road illuminated only by the single headlight of an old, beaten up motorcycle. I haven’t mentioned the vocals on this EP yet but the dark, lip curled swagger should, by rights, grace stages the world over from the dark, seedy bars of the remnants of the UK live music scene to the sacrificial hipster celebration of Coachella. These rich tones are particularly evident on the sprawling and expansive ‘Is This The Start Of Something Beautiful?’ which would easily grace any album by a Josh Homme project. The EP closes up with ‘You Don’t Need To Ask…’ and the dirty, grungy guitar sound is back with flavours of My Bloody Valentine and Richard Hawley all mingling in a huge cauldron of distortion and sexually charged vocal delivery. Kobadelta truly are a class act with tunes, ideas and (allegedly) a pretty comprehensive contract with the devil to let them live forever as long as they keep rocking.

Live Dates:

4th November – EP Launch @ The Head of Steam, Newcastle

11th November – O2 Academy, Newcastle w/The Doors Alive

Sunday, 16 October 2016


Gozer Goodspeed – Live @ The Inn On the Shore, Cornwall (14/10/2016) 

Live music is struggling right now. It’s the same story all over the UK in towns and cities; venues are closing at an alarming rate and pubs are preferring DJs or karaoke as a cheaper alternative when it comes to weekend entertainment. So it should be applauded when a venue bucks that trend and reintroduces live music to its agenda. Downderry’s Inn On the Shore is such a venue and Plymouth based bluesman was the man to kick off this new era of live music on the South-Cornwall coast.

With nothing but a guitar, a bag of songs and a hat (to be clear, he had other clothes too), Goodspeed set about a set of songs filled with the spirit of blues but touches of country, folk and good old fashioned rock’n’roll. Original compositions like ‘You Make Your Own Townhouse Bed’, ‘Faraway, Blissed Out & Free’ and ‘Attuned’ got the crowd’s attention with deft guitar touches switching to impassioned slide work with capo in full effect and the flick of a wrist. Goodspeed’s original compositions are superbly crafted, excellently performed and smoothly delivered on the guitar with his vocals keeping everything on message.

What I really enjoyed about this performance was the consummate ease with which he could incorporate well known melodies, snippets or full blown covers. At various points throughout the set, Goodspeed blended his own music in to tunes by the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Violent Femmes, Paul Weller, Bob Marley and, bizarrely, the All Seeing I. The full cover of Lou Reed’s ‘Satellite of Love’ was a particular highlight of this side of Goodspeed’s set but my feet really got stomping to originals like ‘The Blue Man & The Headshrinker’ and ‘Rattlebone Colour’. There’s a new EP on the way in the new year and based on some of Goodspeed’s new material it’s well worth keeping an eye out for.

Live Dates:

29th October – The B-Bar, Plymouth w/Paul Armer + Jamie Yost

Thursday, 13 October 2016


Red Rosamond – Damn 
Red Rosamond - Damn

Release Date: Out Now

With a barrage of bullets coming as snare kicks LA’s Red Rosamond announces her arrival and new single ‘Damn’ pushes the saloon doors open to reveal the silhouette of a women hell bent on pleasure and revenge – and not necessarily in that order. Dripping in Dick Dale guitars, whip crack drums and a chord sequence to die for, ‘Damn’ is something fresh and something slightly dangerous in this day and age. Red Rosamond’s voice is huge and velvety like Florence Welch or Anna Calvi but soaked in a smooth old whisky. Essentially, if Tarantino were to release a Kill Bill 3, Red Rosamond would need to be cast in the film and ‘Damn’ would need to be the theme tune – it’s genuinely that good.

More information:


Sofi de la Torre – Flex Your Way Out ft. Blackbear 
Sofi de la Torre - Flex Your Way Out

Release Date: Out Now

A Spanish singer, a Finnish producer and a guy from LA called Blackbear walk in to a studio (or more likely they never actually meet but record their parts separately, such is the nature of the music industry these days) and the result is ‘Flex Your Way Out’. The super slow-mo beats and sparse melodies give De La Torre’s voice space to emerge, breathily from the shadows. This is seductive pillow talk in its tone but then Blackbear’s more forthright vocal cuts through to make this argument duet bristle with a very real tension. There is raw emotion and genuine hurt on show here and despite the song growing in to a smooth, soulful pop ballad it is almost a little uncomfortable to listen to. It’s like watching a couple having a fight in a pub; you want to look away but you just can’t.

More information:


Unique Hastings – Skip The Talking 
Unique Hastings - Skip The Talking

Release Date: Out Now

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to judge anyone for their name but when I saw the subject of this email I thought I’d been added to the mailing list for a new beauty salon or nightclub in Sussex: Unique, Hastings. Instead, Unique Hastings is actually a soul-pop singer from South London and his new single, ‘Skip The Talking’, is a classy slice of urban soul with a cool edge. Hastings’ voice is smooth with a slightly gravelly edge that would sit nicely in the US charts while the skittish beats and hypnotic melodies have a definite UK flavour. There’s a subtlety and almost shyness to this tune which is refreshing for the genre and I would think a certain Mr West could learn a thing or two from this (just to be clear, I mean Kanye West not Fred West).


Boston Building – Rule The World feat. Iago 
Boston Building - Rule The World feat. Iago

Release Date: Out Now

There are times when you hear a song and you think you’ve heard it before. And then there are times when you hear a song and you think it’s the wrong time of year. This latest release from Boston Building (aka producer James Barr) is both types of song as ‘Rule The World’ could be a summertime smash in Ibiza and the soundtrack a hundred festival montages. It could also be a Calvin Harris crowd pleaser or a Clean Bandit crossover hit or a Klangkarussell earworm. Rippling melodies, pumping beats and euphoric vocals all mingle together to create a slick pop tune with a real sense of soul and positivity. Maybe it will be a huge hit in the Southern hemisphere and then this will match with the summery vibe but October in the UK is not known for its poolside parties which would need a tune of this calibre to kick things off.

More information:

Wednesday, 12 October 2016


Love Zombies – Birthday 
Love Zombies - Birthday

Release Date: 28th October 2016

On the face of this new single from Love Zombies, the band are a straight up pop-punk garage band with one foot in Camden and one foot in 70s America. However, if you listen more closely to ‘Birthday’, there’s an element of Blondie in there as well as a Motown influence in the melodies event though it’s played out on low slung bass and snarling guitars. This is bouncing, pogoing, sweaty fun which is, after all, what we all want for our birthday isn’t it? Throw in some leopard print, plenty of leather, a healthy smattering tattoos and more lip curls than a Ramones convention and you’ve got the full package. Picture the Yo-Yos with Debbie Harry on vocals and you’re on the right track. Fun stuff.


This Burning Age – Tatterdemalion 
This Burning Age - Tatterdemalion

Release Date: 28th October 2016

When you call your band This Burning Age and have a frontman called Friday you are setting yourself up to be judged as a slightly pretentious outfit but if you’ve learned anything by now I hope you’ve learned that we don’t judge books by their covers around these parts. Nevertheless, the Birmingham 5 piece are to be approached with caution, such is the caustic and acerbic nature of their single ‘Tatterdemalion’ which burns brightly and sharply. The throbbing, rolling bass line drives things along relentlessly while the snare punctuates things like an annoying younger sibling banging on your bedroom door with alarming rhythmic aptitude. Friday’s voice is an accomplished wail with just enough gravel to be appealing as the single drags in influences from the likes of Incubus, At The Drive-In, Smashing Pumpkins, Sponge and all the darkest bits of the 90s grunge scene. This Burning Age is still a bit of a pretentious band name but then all the best ones have already been taken and when the music is this good, who cares about the name, right?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


BEING – Over 
BEING - Over

Release Date: Out Now

West Sussex duo BEING are perfect for a certain time on a certain day which is particularly niche. Their debut release, ‘Over’, is downtempo durge folk with an ambient side that brings to mind certain obscure but much loved (by me) acts like Contact Mo and the Slow Life. The throbbing guitar strings and morose vocals are perfect for the kind of grey day that only the UK can serve up but then that could be true of Nick Cave or the Tindersticks. No, the particular day that this music is perfect for is some time between Christmas and New Year when you’re a teenager or perhaps you’re living away from home and your significant other has just dumped you. Sure, things are bleak and the vocals capture that perfectly but there is a new year, a new hope and a new you just around the corner and the subtle power in the rumbling bass strings force that home sublimely. These two gents create magic with just a bass and a voice, bleak magic but magic nonetheless.

Live Dates:

13th October – Marwood Café, Brighton w/Talitha Rise


Alev Lenz – If Love 
Alev Lenz - If Love

Release Date: Out Now

This year, more than any other year, I have been touched by the beauty and emotive impact of music on so many levels. So when a simple yet hugely powerful tune like Alev Lenz’s new single ‘If Love’ comes along I was always likely to be stopped in my tracks. The bare piano melody and intimate vocals of the German native but London dwelling singer-songwriter are reminiscent of Regina Spektor, for sure, but there’s also something of Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’ about this as the relentless, almost funereal swell of the song forces the sting of tears in to the back of your eyes. A beautifully subtle talent, then, but one that you could really do with giving your undying attention to for three minutes of your life.

Monday, 10 October 2016


BANGS – Overdose (Haxrummet Records) 
BANGS - Overdose

Release Date: Out Now

Swedish duo BANGS are described as Stockholm’s pop queens of darkness and that is an impressive, albeit niche, claim. Nevertheless, new single ‘Overdose’ allows Nicole Khadivi and Moa Andersson to show off a mischievous and malevolent side as their sparse melodies wind like fog around your senses and the pulsating rhythm sounds suspiciously like someone gulping with fear and apprehension. As debut releases go, I want to say that this is brave but I don’t think bravery really comes in to it with this pair. BANGS are as punk as they are ambient, as garage as they are darkwave and as edgy as they are aloof. Throw in to that mix an innate sense of cool and you have a pair of artists who could easily move from late night radio airplay and critical acclaim to the world of mega-producers and artists in their own right if anyone is brave enough to back them. Are you? Well? Are you?



Chay Snowdon – Famous 
Chay Snowdon - Famous

Release Date: Out Now

There are a lot of talented artists emerging from shadows in the South West of the UK at the moment and one of the brightest burning lights seems to be a talented young chap by the name of Chay Snowdon. The Plymouthian’s new single, ‘Famous’, is the latest effort to justify the buzz and it starts with a punch as a pile driver riff and crashing drums wake us from our early Autumn slumber. Snowdon’s voice is characterful and his style is rock’n’roll with a slice of indie on the side which is no bad thing. Think Jake Bugg’s angrier little brother fronting a super group made up of members of Catfish & The Bottlemen, Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age and you’re getting somewhere close. Providing there are other tunes like this in his arsenal (and I’m reliably informed there are), I would put money on Chay Snowdon being a) well worth catching live and b) a hot tip for further success in 2017. I’m not convinced that’s him in the chair though, I think Photoshop has been used.  

Monday, 3 October 2016


The Step – Stay Awake 
The Step - Stay Awake

Release Date: 28th October 2016

The Step are a London based duo but from their names (Stefano Donato and Oliviero Aldous Fella) I’m guessing they’re not London natives (who is though, really?). New single ‘Stay Awake’ is a gorgeous slice of epic indie fitting in with the likes of Coldplay, Keane, Bastille or a European version of the Killers (i.e. slightly less showy). A skipping beat, undulating guitars and the kinds of vocals that you might expect from Brett Anderson if he was a little less hyped up all combine to make something full of passion and power with a sense of the desperate around the fringes. There’s also an excellent if slightly perplexing video accompanying the single which I always applaud – music videos can be so one dimensional these days.

Live Dates:

23rd October – Sofar Sounds, Cambridge
29th October – The Camden Assembly, London
5th November – Listen Up for Stroke @ The Finsbury, London

12th December – Sofar Sounds, Leeds

Saturday, 1 October 2016


Sweet White – Genine 
Sweet White - Genine

Release Date: Out Now

Six scoundrels from Scotland is what Sweet White are and new single ‘Genine’ has a tantalising cover so let’s dive in and hear what it’s all about. The slow shuffle of the opening bars would suit the closing moments of a bar as one man sweeps up and an old tune is played out on an old guitar. Then the power kicks in and you realise that this is actually a love song, even better, an unrequited love song full of Richard Hawley guitars, Teenage Fanclub pop melodies and Edwyn Collins cool. It might only be two and a half minutes long but this song undulates and swoops wonderfully as you 
would expect your emotions to if your love were unrequited. Gorgeous stuff.

Live Dates:

8th October – Tenement Trail, Glasgow w/Milburn