Tuesday, 30 May 2017


Twin Bandit – Everything Under the Sun (Nettwerk Music Group) 
Twin Bandit - Everything Under the Sun

Release Date: Out now

Hannah Walker and Jamie Elliott, for they are East Vancouver duo Twin Bandit, have found that rare alchemy that allows them to create a sweet sound without any seams when they perform together. The simple, rootsy, country twang of ‘Everything Under The Sun’ is as warming as that first glow of sun in the morning on a country scene. The acoustic strum and smooth slide guitar notes interplay perfectly and there is something wonderfully comforting about this tune as it bounces along with a steady yet uneven beat. The voices of these two Canadian chanteuses are fittingly soothing like velveteen or caramel and altogether this creates a wonderfully welcoming tune that it’s hard not feel huge affection for.

Live Dates:

16th June – Sooke Bluegrass Festival, Sooke

4th July – Khatsalano, Vancouver


Saint Sister – Causing Trouble 
Saint Sister - Causing Trouble

Release Date: Out Now

Sonically gorgeous Irish duo Saint Sister are back with new single ‘Causing Trouble’ and it is a thing of understated beauty which is, let’s face it, the best kind of beauty. The foundations are built on a slow, clicky processed beat and then embellished with some sumptuous rippling melodies and a gently droning bass tone. Throw in the tightly intertwined vocal harmonies of Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre and you’ve got something worth paying a lot of attention to. Think Wildwood Kin with some chilled-out production from Moby or Beth Orton guesting with Portishead on a track destined for the next Daniel Day-Lewis film. I can’t overstate how utterly gorgeous this is or how much you need to try to catch this pair on their current tour, really I can’t. I’ve tried. And failed.

Live Dates:

30th May – The Louisiana, Bristol
31st May – Ort Café, Birmingham
1st June – St Pancras Old Church, London
2nd June – Gullivers, Manchester
3rd June – The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow
7th June – National Concert Hall, Dublin
29th June – Innenhof Rathaus, Binzen
30th June – Guggenheim Kulturhotel, Liestal
1st July – Café Verkehrt, Murg
2nd July – Werkraum Schopflin, Brombach
3rd July – Kesselhaus, Weil Am Rhein
4th July – Fernet Branca, Saint Louis
14th July – The Band Room, Farndale
15th July – Latitude, Henham Park

1st October – Seven Layers Festival, Amsterdam


Hannah Scott – Weight of Your Words (Casa Music) 
Hannah Scott - Weight of Your Words

Release Date: 9th June 2017

Hannah Scott describes her music as acoustic-pop but new single ‘Weight of Your Words’ exists, for me, on the horizon of the acoustic walking with purpose firmly towards the pop world. If you were organising these rippling synths, sparse beats and wispy vocals in to CD order based on genre then it would slot in nicely between Ellie Goulding’s early, less overt material and Beth Orton’s more recent, electronic material which is no bad place to slot in. The other, slightly disarming thing is that Hannah Scott’s voice has something of a timeless quality that could fit in to the 80s alongside the power balladeers and electro pioneers or the 90s with Dubstar and St Etienne. Heartbroken stuff, for sure, but gorgeous nonetheless.

Live Dates:

4th June – Café Nero, Heathrow
11th June – Homegrown Festival, Bury
22nd July – L Fest 2017, Loughborough
23rd July – A Big Weekend Of Folk, Sevenoaks
2nd September – Faversham Hop Festival, Faversham
16th September – Cherry Hinton Festival, Cambridge
28th October – Galleywoodstock (House Concert), Chelmsford
15th February – Bistro Im Bahnhof, Husum

16th February – Friends Bistro, Sylt

Monday, 29 May 2017


Stash – Glow
Stash - Glow

Release Date: Out Now

Ready for something a little bit dirty and moody? Really, well I’m not sure you’re ready for this. Stash (aka Stash Peso) is bringing us his new single, ‘Glow’, and it lives in a shadowy area all of its own. Sure, this has its roots in Hip-Hop and Rap but there’s something different here which seeps in through the slowly throbbing synths and sketchy, itchy beats and wraps all around you. The low, nearly mumbled verses are counterbalanced by the more soulful vocals of the chorus and those beats get more sultry, more seductive. The last time I heard something with this blend of originality, dirt, soul, aggression and beauty it was when I was discovering Tricky, Massive Attack and Portishead back in the day. Make of that what you will but to me that’s a really, really good thing.

Watch The Video: 


Esper Scout – Compass 
Esper Scout - Compass

Release Date: Out Now

Leeds dames Esper Scout are back with what might just be their most powerful tune to date and that’s something we should all get excited about. ‘Compass’ has an assertive rumble about it that hits you in the rib cage with immediacy and urgency which is particularly odd as I’m listening to this on my headphones. There’s also a sadness and ‘bottom of the barrel’ vibe as the guitars go all Maccabees on us and the vocals echo in the distance, bouncing off the walls of some stone chamber as the quartet prepare for some kind of fight. It’s the rhythm section that is the real tour de force here though as the pure drums and growling, thunderous bass make this so powerful and truly encapsulating. I’ve struggled for comparisons here and I love it when that happens so I’m just going to leave it at that and be happy that Esper Scout have massively delivered on the promise I’ve always heard in their music. This is a big, big tune.

Live Dates:

3rd June – The Chameleon Arts Café, Nottingham
5th June – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
8th June – Maguire’s Pizza Bar, Liverpool
9th June – The Ferret, Preston
14th June – The Fulford Arms, York w/Wolf Solent + Mayshe Mayshe
21st June – Wharf Chambers, Leeds
24th June – Alma Inn, Bolton
25th June – St Mary’s Park, Prestwich
29th July – Mekonville, Suffolk


Glass Ankle – JC4PM
Glass Ankle - JC4PM

Release Date: Out Now

“For more equality, for job security, for true social justice, he’s the one MP you’d have round for tea”, so sing Mancunian act Glass Ankle on their blatantly and unashamedly political new single ‘JC4PM’. This single bleeds red and cares deeply about the election on 8th June but has set the message to a laconic and suave slice of indie that ambles along the tow path beside this particularly political canal. Think Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian and Badly Drawn Boy teaming up with Super Furry Animals and Gorki’s Zygotic Mynci for some sort of uber-indie collaboration like Live Aid but in a way more lo-fi way. “To save our NHS, to reduce homelessness, to protect human rights so everyone’s a future that’s bright”. For the many.

Watch The Video: 


Eat The Evidence – Tories Go To Waitrose 
Eat The Evidence - Tories Go To Waitrose

Release Date: Out Now

With the General Election getting down to the meat of the matter, I’m starting to hear the resistance and protest songs more and more which is heartening if nothing else. The latest to ease itself effortlessly in to my inbox is the bluntly titled ‘Tories Go To Waitrose’ by London nut-jobs Eat the Evidence and it’s a lot of fun. If you like your music fast paced and witty then the urgent, almost impatient ska-rock of this bunch of angry young men will appeal. “It’s their favourite shop, running round the aisles in their rugby tops even though they clash with their Burberry socks” they sing with a sneer of derision – the almost manage the surely unprecedented feat of mentioning “fancy cheese” as a lyric. Eat The Evidence combine the energy and melodies of Madness in their youthful prime with the bite and power of the Vandals to create a mighty noise and a lot of fun all wrapped around a political viewpoint. Strange though, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a pro-Tory tune. Like, ever.

Live Dates:

3rd June – Album Launch @ Bones & Pearl Studios, London

21st October – The Garage, London

Saturday, 27 May 2017


Rylands Heath – Best Friend 
Rylands Heath - Best Friend

Release Date: Out Now

I have to admit that my expectations were low for this new tune from Luton duo Rylands Heath. Pleasingly, however, I was way wrong. ‘Best Friend’ is angular, jerky, indie-pop in the vein of Maximo Park, Young Knives and Futureheads which is already a great start but throw in the breathless vocals, 100mph energy and chorus hook that, well, hooks in and you’ve got the sound of the summer on your hands (and in your ears, for what it’s worth). This is a heartbreak and confusion song, perfect for those times when you’ve been dumped but you just can’t understand why. If you want cathartic, anthemic, fists in the air, sing-a-long indie-pop that makes you want to get in your car and go on a road trip to find adventure then you’ve come to the right place. You’re also pretty demanding so, you know, maybe just chill out a but, OK?

Live Dates:

3rd June – Vale Festival, Birmingham
16th June – The Spice of Life, London w/Prussian Dolls
8th July – Luton Live @ St Georges Square, Luton
16th July – Unplugged Corner @ Inn on the Green, Harpenden
19th July – Undersolo, London
4th August – LutonAid @ UK Centre for Carnival Arts, Luton
12th August – Luton Live @ St Georges Square, Luton

19th August – The Mall, Walthamstow


Skylar Fri – Dream Too Much 
Skylar Fri - Dream Too Much

Release Date: Out Now

I don’t know about you but I’m frequently feeling the need to chill out at the moment what with all the chaos in the world. Timely, then, that Skylar Fri is here with latest single ‘Dream Too Much’. Walking barefoot along the line between Lana Del Rey or Lady Gaga in chill out mode and wonky 80s pop with a sense of the sultry, this song is the kooky girl in the year above you at high school who titillates and terrifies in equal measure. Fri’s voice is dreamy and soft but has a sense of dangerous abandon it that suggests you might want to take her to meet your parents but she probably wouldn’t turn up. No, she’d be on the back of a motorbike heading off to the coast for the summer leaving you heartbroken but relieved. Pour yourself a tall drink and let this one help you float away.

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

Thursday, 25 May 2017


Frozen Houses live @ The Inn on the Shore, Cornwall – 19/05/2017 
Frozen Houses (Pic Don D)

Cornish soloist Frozen Houses (aka Alex) cuts a lonely and slightly hassled figure as makes the final tweaks to his pre-set preparations which, considering he has the talents of Ashley Height by his side, seems a little unnecessary. Nevertheless, this is a new venue in a new place and that’s always a daunting venture. Needless to say, once the music begins, all nerves and hints of unease soon wash away, soothed by the soft acoustic notes and gentle vocals tones that have become a hallmark for Frozen Houses.

A set of entirely original material has the audience captivated and the songs on their own would be a delight with their hints of John Martin, Badly Drawn Boy and Paul Simon all played with a gentle ease. However, the subtle and beautifully placed guitar notes of Ashley Height (he of Red Foot Crow fame) turn these from fine songs in to wondrous melodies of the night that hold the attention and make time stand still. Lead notes and some lap work give these Frozen Houses songs an extra dimension but without excellent foundation there is no room for embellishment. If a Frozen Houses live performance were a fine meal, I’d be recommending a robust red wine to go with it, a comfortable chair and clearing yourself a good couple of hours to savour every morsel. Fine stuff worth taking time over and that’s a rare and beautiful thing in music these
Frozen Houses feat Ashley Heigh (Pic Don D)

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

Pictures From: https://www.facebook.com/thelazyphotographers/

Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Parekh & Singh – Ghost
Parekh & Singh - Ghost

Release Date: Out Now

Good lord I’ve only just realised that these two are in the UK so I had to make a quick point of getting this review up to urge you down to one of their remaining 4 shows if you’re in one of the relevant areas. New single ‘Ghost’ is a typically delicate and understated affair with a jazzy heart and the swagger of a dapper gent entering a well-to-do establishment for a liquid lunch. There is no fat here, each note has been placed as carefully as the flower of a retired gardener while and each beat is done with gentle care. There’s an adorable video to go along with this as well which should see this grab the attention of lo-fi film directors all over the world – this tune is perfect for that heartbroken montage before the hero/heroine gets their shit together and cracks on with life.

Live Dates:

25th May – Hug & Pint, Glasgow
26th May – Dot to Dot Festival, Manchester
27th May – Dot to Dot Festival, Bristol
28th May – Dot to Dot Festival, Nottingham

Watch The Video: 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


The Screens – Avalanche (Paintbox Records)
The Screens - Avalanche

Release Date: Out Now

When you look at the ‘Home Town’ section on the Facebook page of the Screens it says London and Malaga – not a combination you often see but one that obviously agrees with this duo. The sweeping, dramatic pop of new single ‘Avalanche’ is as ambitious as it is uplifting and it exists, as the video so wonderfully depicts, in the high life. Think My Life Story’s penchant for the theatrical mixed with Badly Drawn Boy’s dusky storytelling and the camp pop sensibilities of the Feeling. All in all, this tune is a refreshing piece of luscious indie pop with great ideas and a great, if a little gritty, video as well. Definitely something a bit different and if you like cinematic strings with your love songs then this is one for you.

Watch The Video: 


Gitta De Ridder – Till The Day That I Die 
Gitta De Ridder - Till The Day That I Die

Release Date: Out Now

I’ve been looking for protest music a lot this year, songs that speak of anger and injustice. Sometimes, though, you need to soothe your soul and calm the storm inside so it’s with delight that Dutch songstress Gitta De Ridder popped up in my inbox. De Ridder is a firm favourite at LWM and new single ‘Till the Day That I Die’ is a reassuringly smooth, slick and delicate piece of acoustic atmospheric mood music. The song builds on a picked riff to include a sprinkling of xylophone and warm strings while De Ridder’s voice dances that line between confidence and crumbling completely with the emotion of the lyrics. This exists in the same spectrum of music and feel as Laura Marling and David Kitt which is no bad place to live and there’s an utterly compelling video to accompany this as well which is just dandy.  

Live Dates:

17th May – Sofar Sounds, Utrecht
19th May – T Podium, Hilvarenbeek
20th May – Buitenfestival, Almere
21st May – De Nieuwe Anita, Amsterdam
11th June – Livingroom Concert, Purley (SOLD OUT)
17th June – Manana Manana Festival, Vorden
18th June – De Rheezer Kamer, Rheeze
25th June – Servant Jazz Quarters, London

Watch The Video:


Public Service Broadcasting – They Gave Me A Lamp (Test Card Recordings) 
Public Service Broadcasting - They Gave Me A Lamp

Release Date: Out Now

There’s something joyously hopeful, optimistic and positive about this tune which, lets’ face it, the world needs in abundance right now. The peerless Public Service Broadcasting are back with a new single ahead of a new album and ‘They Gave Me A Lamp’ speaks to that park of you that wakes up one morning and decides to stop suffering a broken heart. The circular guitar riff and emerging horns are all about that sunrise after the darkest dawn and the spoken word sample from a woman involved in action during the 80s miners strikes on Wales is inspiring but understated in that way only the Welsh do brilliantly. If like many of us, like me, you’re struggling to breath in the current air of despair, corruption, injustice and hate then I highly recommend strapping this one on for a listen and taking a long, deep breath. It will get better.

Live Dates:

12th September – The Fillmore, Philadelphia
21st September – Wonder Ballroom, Portland
22nd September – Columbia City Theater, Seattle
24th September – Swedish American Hall, San Francisco
26th September – Soda Bar, San Diego

28th September – Troubadour, West Hollywood

Friday, 19 May 2017


She Makes War – I Want My Country Back
She Makes War - I Want My Country Back

Release Date: Out Now

There are two approaches to this new single from Bristolian one-woman powerhouse She Makes War so I’ve done two reviews which you can stick in your collective pipe and smoke.

Review One: This single couldn’t be better timed. The anger, disbelief and utter disgust with the barefaced and unashamed arrogance of the Conservative party in the UK ahead of the June 8th General Election is reaching fever pitch. Jeremy Corbyn is being treated like Che Gavara at his revolutionary best because, shock horror, he wants to put humans before profit and do things that benefit the majority of society. What She Makes War encapsulates so wonderfully on ‘I Want My Country Back’ is that bottled up rage with the blatant corruption going on all around us and the apparent wilfulness of so many to just lap it up because “it doesn’t bother/affect me and mine”. Lyrics like the opening lines “I want my country back from unelected liars, hypocrites and sleazy hacks” cuts straight to the point and the chorus of “So let’s make Britain great get your fake news from the Daily Hate” is so on the money it’s almost funny. Almost. Now, this would all be superb and laudable enough on its own but then there’s…..

She Makes War - Laura Kidd
Review Two: This single couldn’t be better performed. From the opening vocal that sneers out of the shadows to the bubblegum-indie of the chorus, this is a song that evokes memories of so many indie-grunge greats like Veruca Salt, Echobelly, Lush, Breeders and Belly. The guitars grind and surge, the drums bounce in a way that makes you want to dance while the vocals of Laura Kidd (the aforementioned Bristolian) are delivered so sweetly that the passive listener might be forgiven for thinking that this is just a delicate little indie song. It’s not, there’s bite, bile and anger here but if you want to know about that then you’ll need to go back to review one. Whatever your take this is a brilliant song and free to download until 8th June so get it, turn it up and then lock your grandparents and disaffected teen acquaintances in a room with this on a loop until they get the message. 

Live Dates:

31st May – The Boars Head, Kidderminster


Muse – Dig Down (Warner Bros Records)
Muse - Dig Down

Release Date: Out Now

Phew! Everyone’s favourite anti-establishment prog-rockers have returned just in time to rouse their followers in time for the forthcoming general election in the UK. Sort of. Muse’s new single, the first off a forthcoming album, comes in the form of ‘Dig Down’ and it’s very much in the same vein as ‘Madness’ with its electro throb and processed beats providing a bed for Matt Bellamy’s softly soulful vocal. As the song unfolds, however, there’s an air of a futuristic gospel choir to this which feels almost evangelical and, along with the typically bonkers video, gives the impression that the band are trying to stir something in technologically addicted society. “Dig down and find faith” they preach. “When God decides to look the other way and a clown takes the throne” they accuse. “We have entered the frey and we will not obey and we must find a way” they tell us. So who’s up for a fight? Not a physical, angry, aggressive fight. No, this is an assertive, proud and honest fight that says “I matter, I count and I will be heard”. A fight with a big, sexy electro-prog soundtrack with screeching guitars, of course. 

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

Watch The Video:

Thursday, 18 May 2017


Andreas Moss – Stop Me
Andreas Moss - Stop Me

Release Date: Out Now

There is space in this tune, space that grabs you around face and demands your attention. Space that makes you want to stop what you’re doing and start this song again straight away. ‘Stop Me’ opens with this sparse synth riff and that soulful vocal that is soft and poppy in equal measure. When the beat starts to nudge in then this takes on an ominously powerful form. The chorus drops and then we’re in to this big style – we’re talking Rag’n’Bone Man with a House soundtrack, Ed Sheeran with way bigger balls and something super, super sexy that should have bodies popping and hips winding all over the Balearics this summer. Soul meet House, go get it on.

Live Dates:

19th May – The Great Escape @ The Black Lion, Brighton

Watch The Video: 


Shitkid – Two Motorbikes (PNKSLM) 
Shitkid - Two Motorbikes

Release Date: Out Now

My new favourite Swedish import is back (sorry Angie)! Shitkid is tearing up the streets of Brighton right now at the Great Escape but for those of you not hanging out on the British south coast, I thought I’d share the new single from Gothenburg’s finest. ‘Two Motorbikes’ opens like the pained birthing call of a whale before the vocals kick in like a pissed of dolphin and the guitars roll like waves in a sheltered bay. This is as dissonant as it is sweetly melodic and many will hate it but if you can open your ears and your mind then you might just hear something special, something edgy. Maybe something a little bit different.

Live Dates:

18th May – The Great Escape @ Brightelm, Brighton
19th May – The Great Escape @ Komedia Bar, Brighton
20th May – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
21st May – Tom Thumb Theatre, Margate

22nd May – Windmill, London

Wednesday, 17 May 2017


Caesaria – Wavin’ Goodbye (Try And Dye Records)
Caesaria - Wavin' Goodbye

Release Date: Out Now

Some French electro pop for you now in the shape of quartet Caesaria and their new single ‘Wavin’ Goodbye’. What hits you immediately is the classy, slick pop vibe along with the charmingly wonky English vocals before the Goose-esque beats and bass kick in. There is something reminiscent of the Holy City Rollers about this which I love and a real vibe that suggests you should be starting a new day with a new plan and a new dream. I can’t get enough of that squelchy bass line and rattling beat which fits perfectly with the clever backwards shot video that will have you thinking by the time it’s finished. Clever, slick, perfectly produced and wonderfully executed.

Live Dates:

4th June – FIMU, Belfort
5th June – FIMU, Belfort
15th June – L’Elastic Bar, Strasbourg
16th June – Au Temps Perdu, Bar Le Duc
17th June – L’Estaminet, Vagney
20th June – Jam du Cam, Strasbourg
21st June – Fete de la Musique, La Bresse
23rd June – Dame De Canton, Paris
30th June – Chez Jeanne, Saint Maurice Sur Moselle
8th July – Les Eurockeennes de Belfort, Belfort
1st September – Festival BULE, Besancon
16th September – AU CAM – Release Party, Strasbourg
18th November – La Java, Paris

Watch The Video: 


Clever Thing – Fixer Upper (Be Pacific)
Clever Thin - Fixer Upper

Release Date: Out Now

Brighton’s Clever Thing have previous with stints in 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster and Bad For Lazarus but I hardly think that matters when a song like ‘Fixer Upper’ comes along. If you’re looking for a sexy rock song to grind to then you’ve come to the right place so lube yourself up and let’s get down to it. The stuttering start is akin to huge, petrol guzzling machine jerking in to action and then the grinding guitars snarl in to life and you know this tune means business. Somewhere between Royal Blood, the Dead Weather, Led Zeppelin and Whale is where Clever Thing exist as they spin off in a hundred directions at once and create the soundtrack to the hedonism that will surely follow the impending revolution. A strong contender for single of the year in my book and my book is rarely wrong.

Live Dates:

8th July – Smoked & Uncut Festival, New Forest

Watch the Video: 


High Signs – A Much Larger Ocean 
High Signs - A Much Larger Ocean

Release Date: Out Now

Toronto duo High Signs (aka Sam and Rich) are releasing ‘A Much Larger Ocean’ as a single and, in their own words, this is a song about ‘the struggle to remain positive without clinging to empty hope or unfounded optimism’. Sounds cheery, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. It’s aggressive, it’s direct, it’s desperate and it’s urgent – it’s everything we need right now. The guitars rumble as much as the drums do and it sounds like they’ve been eating razor blades for breakfast to get a voice that sounds this shredded. For a song that is of blistering pace and only two and a half minutes long this has remarkable amounts of space in it and that space is needed as much as the desperation contained within ‘A Much Larger Ocean’. You’ll either love or hate this but for me it’s definitely the former.


Vista – Allegiance 
Vista - Allegiance

Release Date: 19th May 2017

New York’s finest (no, not the fire department) Vista are back with their wonderfully unique take on the pop-rock genre with a sense of rebellion and protest. Essentially, ‘Allegiance’ is the song that Katy Perry would have made if she’d teamed up with Linkin Park to write the soundtrack to the latest Spiderman film where Donald Trump’s wig ditches his saggy human vehicle to go for world domination alone. The guitars are tight and huge sounding, the beats are skittish yet pounding and frontwoman Hope Vista’s voice is made to belt out anthems with enough melody to keep you hooked in. Epic stuff with a great rock’n’roll ending, sweet.

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

Tuesday, 16 May 2017


Is Bliss – Into A Dream (Club AC30) 
Is Bliss - Into A Dream

Release Date: Out Now

This is the kind of indie romp that grabs you by the groovy bone from the get-go and I’m not sure if it’s the sitar-esque guitar melody or the churning rhythm section but either way I’m hooked. ‘Into A Dream’ has that loose groove that the Charlatans traded in so well but there’s a tightness to the hook created by this Portsmouth trio that is like the base for a Chemical Brothers tune before they go and through the synths in. Is Bliss know indie, they know psyche, they know pop and they know how to freak the fuck out with a butt-load of distortion and shoegazing like a bunch of crazies. Love it, love it, love it. More please.

Live Dates:

21st May – Cellar Bar, Oxford
22nd May – Thousand Island, London
24th May – The Tunnels, Aberdeen
28th May – The Lock Tavern, London
1st July – Kamio @ Red Gallery, London

6th-8th July – Blissfields 2017, Winchester

Monday, 15 May 2017


Bait – Waspy (Cool Thing Records) 
Bait - Waspy

Release Date: Out Now

Southend’s favourite angry agitators BAIT are back with another single and it’s hugely satisfying in all its unforgiving energy, bile and aggression. The press pack suggests that this is like Keith Flint and John Lydon attacking a Wasps nest but there’s more than that to this track, even though the title ‘Waspy’ is somewhat appropriate. The buzz that introduces this number is soon hammered out of its prominence by the factory line beat making something brutalist and unforgiving. The guitars are borne from punk and garage but fed through a filter of the KLF and Carter USM just to make sure they have a pop edge. This is bubblegum grunge with a razor blade hidden in the middle and a healthy dose of energy that will inspire a number of circle pits and moshes around the country this summer – are you in?


Where Fires Are – Die Or Survive
Where Fires Are - Die Or Survive

Release Date: Out Now

Leeds combo Where Fires Are have wormed their way quickly in to my affections with their own unique take on the rock genre. New single ‘Die Or Survive’ starts off with a slow, almost lumbering rhythm but it’s in the pauses and breaths that the personality of this song shows itself. This is a swaggering, glinting behemoth of a song that isn’t afraid of a well-placed piano break in between the jack hammer drums and grinding guitars. This will fit nicely in my collection alongside the likes of Biffy Clyro, Boy Hits Car, Incubus, Hundred Reasons and Reuben and that is more than enough to turn my head. I can only expect that their live shows are just as incendiary so I they’ve definitely made my ‘ones to catch’ list.

Live Dates:

18th May – Cargo, London
2nd June – Mercantile, Dublin
17th June – Live in Barnsley, Barnsley
1st July – Testifest, Rochdale
21st July – Tramlines, Sheffield
22nd July – Blackthorn Festival, Romiley

Watch The Video: 


There are two misconceptions about Listen With Monger that I need to put to bed. Firstly, there are no ‘guys’, there is no ‘team’, there are no ‘writers’ – it’s just me, one Monger writing about music. So that explains why LWM isn’t represented at more events and can’t cover all the music that gets sent in. The second is that I don’t get paid to do this. Someone was genuinely surprised the other day to learn that I had a job as well! Anyway, the point is that every year I forlornly read the listings and line ups for festivals in the UK that I can’t attend through lack of time, money or both and then get grumpy and tend to ignore them altogether. However, I have always had a massive soft spot for the Great Escape Festival on Brighton due to its unwavering commitment to blooding new talent rather than wheeling Coldplay and Tom Jones out to entertain the masses. 

So, I thought I’d knock up a little LWM guide to the best new kids on the block to check out at the Great Escape this weekend (not THE New Kids on the Block, obviously, although I hear their Grime comeback album is a peach). It’s in alphabetical order too, cos I’m organised like that:

Alice Jemima
Alice Jemima – Having signed to Rob Da Bank’s Sunday Best label, things are looking mighty promising for this Devon damsel and her uniquely soulful take on the singer-songwriter thang. A beautifully pure voice and songwriting talents to match – what a combination!?

Bokito – London based bunch Bokito would score well on the beard front if you were playing new band top trumps but more importantly they’d rank pretty high on the wonderfully unhinged indie with a portion of melodies on the side swing-o-meter. A double threat then.

Bryde – Lo-fi but high art from London based Bryde and one for all you Anna Calvi, PJ Harvey and Scout Niblett fans out there. She also seems like a really nice person so that’s got to be worth supporting, hasn’t it?

Cassels – I’m so pleased these two brothers are getting the recognition they deserve for their
angular, acerbic art-rock. It’s not polished and it’s not mainstream but there’s real substance here as well as the kind of ‘death or glory’ passion that rock is missing at the moment.

Childcare – They might have been out on tour with Bastille last year but Childcare are still very much in their infancy band wise. Don’t let that fool you though, their tunes are razor sharp and the melodie will catch in to you like a fish-hook baited with a kebab at three in the morning.

Goose – Not exactly the wise old men of the Great Escape (the Charlatans take that crown) but Belgian electro nuts Goose have been around a fair while. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of one of their intensely fun shows then get yourself deep in to the crowd and just let those beats and bass lines assault you.

Hannah Georgas – One of the many wonderful Canadian imports that have come my way in recent years and one that keeps rolling around when I rotate my car tunes. Blissful and powerful in equal measure.

Jerry Williams – Following in the Lily Allen and Kate Nash vein of things, Jerry Williams is an indie-pop heroine for the millennials and I mean that with all the love in the world. Sublime songs delivered with a wry sense of, well, knowing.

Life – Hull’s political agitators Life are riding that ‘right place right time’ wave all the way to the top (or as close to the top as Supreme Leader May’s regime will allow). These four gents are exactly the band we need right now as they speak their minds with the perfect balance of aggression, melody and articulacy.

Nova Twins
Nova Twins – These two ladies of London town put on a pretty fierce live show by all accounts and they’ve got the songs and the chops to match the reputation so I’d urge you to check out their bubblegum-rock if you can handle the pace.

Parek & Singh – There has suddenly been a bit of a stir whipped up around these two and I’m so glad that these most dapper gents from Kolkata are getting some attention. Twee-indie is where Parek and Singh start but they usually end up with some large scale pop by the time they’ve finished with you.

Shitkid – Of all the recent imports, Gothenburg’s Shitkid goes against the grain of the sultry pop that is largely drifting this way but instead goes for the bonkers agit-pop of Whale or early Bjork. Really Marmite stuff but definitely worth experiencing.

Xam Volo
The Lottery Winners – This quartet have done it the hard way with endless gigging and a fair few line-up changes but that hasn’t dampened their spirits or dulled their knife-edge indie-pop that should have fans new and old bouncing along in euphoric unison.

Wildwood Kin – If you’re looking for some soothing yet rousing sounds then the folk-pop of Exeter’s Wildwood Kin has to be right at the top of your list. These women work hard and the rewards are coming in with tour dates aplenty as well as recently signing to Sony imprint Silvertone.

Xam Volo – THE man with THE voice. Funky, soulful, jazz influenced but with a real sense of
adventure and innovation. Expect Jools Holland to be snapping him up for a show any day now.

Sunday, 14 May 2017


Jamie Martin – What’s The Use 
Jamie Martin - What's The Use

Release Date: Out Now

When the press release that came with this track mentioned a likeness to Hozier they were pretty spot on but with one key difference. See, when Glasgow lad Jamie Martin raises the curtain on new single ‘What’s The Use’ there’s a comforting, rolling organ sound and gritty, soulful vocal that fits the description perfectly and we feel like we’re in familiar territory. Then the things kick up a notch in to slightly sexier territory than Hozier usually inhabits, like a punchy younger brother borrowing a car without asking permission and going cruising on the wrong side of the tracks. The ensemble are all bang on form and the guitar solo is particularly on point so just let yourself get swept up in the soulfully sexual mood of this piece.

Live Dates:

12th August – Clamjamfry Festival, Irvine


Peter Fij/Terry Bickers – Let’s Get Lost Together (Broadcast Recordings) 
Peter Fij/Terry Bickers - Let's Get Lost Together

Release Date: Out Now

Pete and Terry, or Fij and Bickers. I prefer Fij and Bickers personally. These two gents have been around the miserablist indie block a few times so the new single ‘Let’s Get Lost Together’ comes with a certain level of expectation. The chilled, almost laconic acoustic guitar strum is met by a meandering lead note before the sleepy, pre-dawn vocals creep in from the shadows. This is a bro-mance love song for the twee nation which will appeal perfectly to those that like Belle & Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub, David Kitt and Badly Drawn Boy. Lyrics bounce back and forth between the two, along the lines of “You put the why in why the hell you doing this?” and you feel a little like you’re overhearing two life-long friends hatching a grand plan in a pub over some ale and a bowl of chips. Gorgeously personal and introspective so listen in.

Live Dates:

22nd July – St Paul’s, Worthing

Thursday, 11 May 2017


Creative Edge presents Sound of the Sirens + Sadie Horler + Stuart Taylor live @ PSCA, Plymouth – 10/05/2017

Stuart Taylor (Photo: Marielle Newton)
There’s something slightly punky and surreal about walking in to a school at 7.30pm for a gig and being offered a beer from the pop up bar.Those innovative guys at Creative Edge have circumnavigated the lack of mid-sized venues in Plymouth by putting on a gig in the performance space of the relatively new Creative Arts school in Britain’s Ocean City. And what a space it is? Fully seated in lecture theatre style but with some of the most pin point and crisp sound I’ve heard in a long time – this is not just a pub gig my friend. Up first in this unique space is Stuart Taylor along with his co-conspirator Bernie who created a warmth in a fairly cold space with their own take on acoustic indie-rock originals. Some well-placed harmonies and delicately placed guitar interplay set the tone for the evening with an attentive audience and a space with little to distract from the music.
Sadie Horler (Photo: Marielle Newton)
There isn’t so much a stage here as a space on the floor marked out by guitars, microphones and a few cables. As Sadie Horler enters this space, like a sacrifice walking in to a pentagram, it feels like we’re stepping back in time to see a young Janis Joplin. Dressed in bohemian garb, Horler had a huge reputation to live up to and, I have to admit, I was initially unimpressed. There was, I thought, a sense of naivety about her performance and almost rehearsed links between the songs – her cover of Pulp’s ‘Common People’ was nicely arranged and performed but seemed to lack the essence of what that classic people’s anthem is all about. However, something happened around mid-set that kind of clicked with me – I realised she was just being honest. You see, Sadie Horler is just 16 years old and like most teenagers is looking at the world with eyes that are as wide with wonder as they are wide with terror. Her voice is cripplingly beautiful with a real Jazz vibe about it and her guitar playing is delicate, subtle and well placed. What set’s this Exeter songstress apart, however, is her innocent and unaffected lyric writing that speaks with humour, pathos and a real honesty that is an extremely rare commodity these days. Closing song ‘Why Should I Tidy My Room When The World’s Such A Mess?’ is the perfect example of this songwriting talent that some might see as teenage angst….because it is….because she’s a teenager. Teenage angst performed to chilled out Jazz vibes, an intriguing and beguiling combination.

It wasn’t long before the anticipated headliners Sound of the Sirens took to the stage space to whoops and applause – the Exeter duo have been knocking on the door of sustainable success for a while with the backing of pretty much anyone that has the pleasure of hearing them. Looking like a pair of folk troubadours frozen in time since the 1950s with a new hair do upon defrosting, the pair set about working through material from their new debut album with their trademark vocal harmonies and rhythmic guitar work. Songs like ‘The Voices’ and ‘Grow’ show of the hard work that Abbe and Hannah have put in to perfecting their art as the vocals intertwine around each other and the guitars bounce off one another. An unexpected Madonna cover crept in due to their need to rehearse for a TV appearance (‘Like A Prayer’ if you wanted to know) and some of their more up tempo material caused a conga line to break out which would surely be disapproved of during assembly the following morning.

Sound of the Sirens (Photo Marielle Newton)
Aside from the music, the chemistry between to the two is absolutely enthralling and I’ve never heard so much laughter at a gig that isn’t a comedy gig – stories around impulse clothing purchases in Brighton, Jane MacDonald, an oversized banner and men in drag have the audience in raptures, cementing their relationship with the band. Then again, Sound of the Sirens have the ability to bring a tear to the eye and a lump to the through with some of their more tender material. All in all, what we have here is a pair of musicians who have found success with expertly written songs, hugely engaging performances and the kind of personalities that just draw people in. The tour goes on, the album comes out this month and TV, Radio and Press appearances are gathering pace - the time of Sound of the Sirens is now, are you coming along for the ride?

More information:

Creative Edge – https://www.facebook.com/creative.edge.events.uk/

Marielle Newton Photography - https://www.mariellephotography.co.uk/

Tuesday, 9 May 2017


Harbottle & Jonas – Anna is a Dancer 
Harbottle & Jonas - Anna is a Dancer

Release Date: 26th May 2017

Despite sounding like Victorian money lenders, Harbottle & Jonas (David and Freya respectively) are actually a superb folk duo based in Totnes but with at least one heart still in the North-East. This new album from the pair opens with an ode to ‘Northumberland’ that begins with a country-esque guitar twang that puts me in mind of Brother & Bones before those gorgeous vocal harmonies seep in. The beast awakens part way through this song and the thumping drums mix with a medley of melodies to create the perfect vehicle for the words of poet Wilfred Gibson. Next up is the perky, nay downright lively folk romp of ‘My Boy Jack’ which gives life to the prose of Rudyard Kipling as the melodies bounce around and you can almost picture bestockinged folk skipping round a fire as the vocals are delivered with pin-point precision and energy.

On ‘Song for Jonas’, Harbottle and Jonas steer close to Mumford and Sons territory such is the soft, delicate opening that builds in to a triumphant, chest beating, life affirming piece that will work well live, I have no doubt. If Harbottle’s ‘Song for Jonas’ is Mumford then Jonas’ tune ‘When the Devil Holds’ is the Laura Marling of this piece but with more than a hint of Joanna Newsome about it. The jangling banjo warns of what is to come but when the full band join in this is a thing of natural force and beauty. “Oh, Grimsby is a pleasant town as any man may find” sings David Harbottle improbably at the beginning of ‘The North Sea Ground’ before settling in to a massively enjoyable folk romp that should have crowds singing along to the call and response of “wake up Johnny”, blissfully unaware that they’re singing the poetry of early 20th Century poet Cicely Fox Smith.

Jonas & Harbottle
‘Gaudete!’ is based on a 16th Century Christmas carol and you can hear the years of history peeling away as the squeeze-box and Jonas’ gorgeous vocal welcome you in to their sparsely decorated cottage to share in some mead and warm your hands by the fire. Album title track ‘Anna is a Dancer’ is well chosen as is probably my favourite on this album with the lyric “She’s a miracle, time and time again” bringing a lump to the throat and tear sting to my eyes with every listen. The piano, acoustic guitar and violin intermingle perfectly to create something both intimate and expansive which is full of simple, pure beauty.

The eight-track album comes to a close with the Harbottle composed ‘Mother’ which is a gorgeous song and hopefully makes Ma Harbottle very proud as her son sings “Flesh and blood, brick and bone, I fill my heart, I feel my soul”. As an album, this is impressive on so many levels; for one there is absolutely no fat on these eight tracks with each note and lyric placed lovingly and carefully in to the songs. On another level, the way original songs sit so comfortably alongside musical adaptations of prose and poetry. And on yet another level, you have two musicians creating music that could have been written at any point over the past 400 years but they still manage to keep it feeling superbly contemporary. Bravo Harbottle and Jonas, bravo indeed.

Live Dates:

13th May – Bayard’s Cove Fort, Dartmouth (Afternoon)
13th May – Sloping Deck Restaurant, Dartmouth (Evening)
14th May – Lostfest, Lostwithiel (Morning)
14th May – The Longstore, Charlestown (Afternoon
19th May – Cantina, Paignton
20th May – King’s Arms, Georgeham
26th May – The Seven Stars, Totnes
28th July – The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle

30th November – The Blue Man, Brighton