Thursday, 29 June 2017

VITALIC – SINGLE REVIEW

Vitalic – Tu Conmigo (Citizen Records/Different Recordings) 
Vitalic - Tu Comingo


Release Date: Out Now

Sometimes I struggle for words with certain songs and I just want you to hear what I’m hearing. This is one of those occasions but I’ll give this a go. Vitalic’s new single, ‘Tu Conmigo’, is a Giorgio Moroder inspired retro synth romp with some sultry Spanish vocals layered over the top to give this a real 70s vibe. I mean, we’re talking polyester, stack heels, ridiculous moustaches, miniskirts, sultry eyes and warm Mediterranean nights where the glitter balls never stop spinning and the floor constantly changes colour. The various synth sounds are a delight, the pulsing beat makes me want to get my Travolta on and the lyrics give me a thirst for something cool and fruity. The perfect getting ready for a night out song if you’ve got something a little funky in your hips. Love it.



Live Dates:

30th June – Main Square Festival, Arras
1st July – Festival Garorock, Marmande
7th July – Bluedot Fesitval, Macclesfield
8th July – Les Eurockeenes de Belfort, Belfort
13th July – Dour Festival, Dour
14th July – Vieilles Charrues, Carhaix
15th July – Musilac, Aix Le Bains
22nd July – Paleo Festival, Nyon
28th July – YO! Sissy Music Festival, Berlin
29th July – Audiodriver Festival, Plock
5th August – Lunallena Festival, Bandol
11th August – SonneMondSterne Festival, Saalburg
12th August – Rock Altitude Feistival, Lo Locle
27th August – South West Four, Clapham
1st September – Concert De Rentree, Dijon
2nd September – Twin Lakes Festival, Frankfurt
16th September – Festival Acontraluz, Marseille
20th September - Pacha, Ibiza
30th September - Festival Detonation Au Club, Besancon
7th October – The Liquid Room, Edinburgh
20th October – Nordik Impakt, Caen
21st October – 1001 Bass Music Festival, Saint-Etienne
28th October – BIME, Barakaldo
3rd November – VEGA Musikkens Hus – Store Vega, Copenhagen
10th November – Stereolux, Nantes

2nd December – Zenith de Paris, Paris

VAN DAMMES – SINGLE REVIEW

Van Dammes – Punk Rock Drummer (VILD Recordings)
Van Dammes - Punk Rock Drummer

Release Date: Out Now

94 seconds. That’s all it takes to fall in sloppy love with Finnish punks Van Dammes. Conveniently it’s also the time it takes for the entire length of their latest single, ‘Punk Rock Drummer’. This is a Ramones-esque chug with the basic lyric “Punk rock drummer, punk rock drummer, can’t think of nothing hotter”. It’s basic, its’s fun, the lyrics are easy and it makes you want to jump around like a loon. Oh, and there’s a keyboard solo. If the sound doesn’t get you then check out the video featuring a badly superimposed band floating in an out over some weird family home video of a late 50s gathering the presumable preceded a massacre of some sort. This is bonkers on every level and I love it.


Watch The Video: 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

SMILESWITHTEETH – SINGLE REVIEW

Smileswithteeth – We Fight In the Prettiest Places (Knowmad Records) 
Smileswithteeth - We Fight In The Prettiest Places


Release Date: Out Now

I can’t work this one out. This is either hilarious, surreal, ingenious or just plain bonkers. The trick, I’ve found, is to stop trying to figure it out and just enjoy it for whatever the fuck it is - which, in case you're wondering, is new single 'We Fight In The Prettiest Places'. Smileswithteeth is a Montreal based producer who likes to mix hectic 90s beats (replete with ‘Whoo, Yeah’ vocal interjections) with trippy, Lemon Jelly-esque melodies and David Kitt jangly acoustic guitar lines. I say he likes to do that but his press blurb talks a lot about Iceland (the country, not the scabby supermarket) and the split with his girlfriend so may be this is just the most tripped out and funky break-up tune ever. Is Break-up breakbeat a thing? It is now.



MUX – EP REVIEW

Mux – Can You See Who? EP 
Mux - Can You See Who? 

Release Date: Out Now

OK, I’m sorry. I have to hold my hands up on this one. I’ve been hogging this EP to my ears and not sharing it. On the plus side, I’m sharing it now so stop looking at me like that. Seriously, stop that. Londoners Mux are pretty new to the scene, they’re not even out of their first year yet, but this four track EP shows that they mean business and they know how to carry out their business. The EP opens with recent single ‘MDMA’ and for the uninitiated then we’re talking Alt-J, Dutch Uncles, Hot Chip and Depeche Mode all rolled in to one sexually aggressive tune with demonic guitar wails and rhythms that pulse and throb like a submissive tied to a leather chaise lounge. The band follow this up with ‘Teenager Father’ which starts off with the terrifying lyric “Kill me, mother, please kill me now” before a chaotic electro-punk melee ensues until the music drops out, save for a lonely guitar line, and that lyric is repeated again with chilling effect.

Mux - somebody forgot to bring their own chair
In a world where the likes of Slaves, Sleaford Mods and other abrasive alt-poppers are grabbing all the headlines, Mux are striding up assuredly on the outside with all the attitude and aggression but they’ve got the melodies and wit to match it as well. ‘Stray’ is a faltering, dark, edgy piece that rumbles and murmurs in the shadowy corners as an organ bed is pummelled by stabbing beats and grating guitars. An unexpected guitar solo line rings out like Hendrix noodling in the studio during the smoke filled early hours and the vocals switch from sleazy crooner in a Vegas dive bar to anguished indie scream that wouldn’t be out of place in a Radiohead live set. The gloriously titled ‘Gold and Prozac’ brings this collection to a close and the sketchy guitar line grabs your attention while the rhythms build up from all directions until you feel like you’re in some sort of experiment where they blast Basement Jaxx, the Fall and LCD Soundsystem at you 24/7 until you can no longer make rational decisions about which members of your family you’d save in a house fire. If you were to draw a Venn diagram with circles for aggression, sexual energy, left fieldism, abrasiveness, style, substance and a sense of the unhinged then Mux would exist in the tiny cross section in the middle. Now, whether you want to join them in that exclusive club is up to you but I’m sure as shit heading in so hold my pint if you’re not coming too.


Live Dates:


22nd October – LWM presents Blogtoberfest @ The Finsbury, London (FREE ENTRY) w/Paul Armer

GOOSE – SINGLE REVIEW

Goose – Trip feat. Stefanie Callebaut (Believe Digital/Safari Records) 
Goose - Trip


Release Date: Out Now

Ah, Goose. The crazy Belgians are back and they’ve brought Stefanie Callebaut along for the party. New single ‘Trip’ is here and it’s a beast. Kicking off like Depeche Mode, all wonky and dark, this soon turns in to a Florence + The Machine inspired duet with distorted beats and juicy synths rippling to create a tune that should feature on the next Hunger Games soundtrack if there’s any justice. This kind of electro-ballad is rare these days which is shame but essentially if you take the heart out of a Berlin-esque 80s power ballad and strip it down to it’s component parts you could put it back together to create something along these lines. I don’t know if Electro-ballad is a recognised genre but if it is then this is leading the way in that movement.


Live Dates:

8th July – Rock Zottegem, Zottegem
9th July – Cactus Festival, Bruges
12th August – Brussels Summer Festival, Brussels
25th August – Scene Sur Sambre, Thuin
23rd September – Kadepop, Groningen

6th October – Goose Non-stop @ Patronaat, Haarlem

DANI LE ROSE – SINGLE REVIEW

Dani Le Rose – I’ve Told Lies 
Dani Le Rose - I've Told Lies


Release Date: Out Now

Dani Le Rose could be put on the genre shelf next to Lana Del Rey and Lordes because of her dreamy, woozy pop but there’s something altogether edgier and overtly sexual about this tune that knocks any challengers back on their heels. ‘I’ve Told Lies’ is confessional, sure, but it doesn’t really care. This is the equivalent of your neighbour telling you they’ve been watching you through your bedroom window whilst secretly hoping that you’re in to it too. Le Rose has a beautifully understated, soulful and breathy voice which, when coupled with her dead eyed Stepford stare throughout the video, makes this a compelling watch and listen. Throw in the scattered beats and sparse melodies and you’ve got yourself a genuine alt-pop seduction tune that should go on your date night playlist. Maybe don’t add the video though, it’s properly creepy and uncomfortable.


APRIL TOWERS – SINGLE REVIEW

April Towers – Takes One To Know One 
April Towers - Takes One To Know One


Release Date: 26th June 2017

I like April Towers as a name but Nottingham duo could have gone for Burley and Noble which sounds way more formal. Then again, Charles Burley and Alexander Noble (for they are April Towers) may not have been going for formal or that village solicitor vibe. Whatever their intention, new single ‘Takes One To Know One’ is a jerky guitared piece of joyousness that reminds me of Arctic Monkeys in their early days being remixed by Hot Chip playing with a box of new beats. Oh but then the chorus drops and we’re air lifted in to an 80s pop romp with Calvin Harris production values and the kind of vibe that needs tanned men in sports cars to be blasting this out while they cruise down the Westcoast highway. Classy indie-pop, then, with time taken to craft a catchy melody and place each note precisely like stars in a night sky. Lush.


Live Dates:

26th June – The Old Blue Last, London w/Thyla
22nd  July – Hy-Brazil Music Club, Bristol
8th September – The Angel Microbrewery at the Chapel, Nottingham

26th October – O2 Academy 2, London 

Sunday, 25 June 2017

BON VILLAN – SINGLE REVIEW

Bon Villan – Outta Cash 
Bon Villan - Outta Cash


Release Date: Out Now

They might have only played their debut live show last night in Toronto but this Canadian trio have the chops on the basis on this new single, ‘Outta Cash’. The synths are sexy and hipping swaying from from the get-go, the bass pulses and the hand clap percussion is so funky it’s like you’re in the neon lit club with them. Then there are vocals which have the perfect mix of funky, soul and a bit of gravel so that you know it’s real – like Bobby Gillespie in his Screamadelica prime but singing with Phoenix. Put the top down on your car, drive to your nearest city and stick this one on loud (and on repeat) just as the sun is going down and the bright lights start to come on. That’s an order. Alright, not an order but a strong recommendation.


Live Dates:


24th June – Wenona Craft Beer Lodge, Toronto

BERRIES – SINGLE REVIEW

Berries – Wild Vow 
Berries - Wild Vow


Release Date: 5th July 2017

There have been a few successes over here at LWM towers recently with bands we’ve backed getting their hugely deserved success and London trio Berries are just doing their precautionary stretches to make that leap up to the next level. New single ‘Wild Vow’ is another statement of intent from Holly, Lauren and Lucie as it opens with a feedback growl before setting in to those trademark angular guitars that sound so post-grunge that it’s hard to believe they come from this side of the pond. The breakdown is so assured as the rhythm section settle in to a sleazy, menacing lope and the guitar solo twitches and screams like a sweating, soul-tortured character in a David Lynch movie. Berries retain their punk ethic with keeping this comfortably under the 3-minute mark and to the point but this is more expansive that straight up punk. My only criticism (constructive though it may be) is that I think they’re still searching for a way to fully capture the power and energy of their live sound on recorded format but that will come. For now, just get involved in whatever way you can – especially the good folks of Manchester, London and Liverpool where they are playing this summer. Oh, and I'm loving the artwork too. 


Live Dates:

5th July – Single Launch @ The Old Blue Last w/ The Opera Comic + Rylands Heath
21st July – Tramlines Fringe @ The Church House, Sheffield

19th August – Soup Kitchen, Manchester w/Proletariat + King Kartel

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

CHARLY BLISS – SINGLE REVIEW

Charly Bliss – Westermarck 
Charly Bliss - Westermarck

Release Date: Out Now

I love this song. Straight up, infatuation on the train, love at first sight, love this song. Partly, it’s because New Yorkers Charly Bliss remind me of that period in the 90s when bands with female singers or all female bands were prominent and writing great tunes. ‘Westermarck’ is, by the band’s own admissions, bubblegum grunge but it’s also a slice of riot-girl garage with a razor blade smile and it’s damn infectious. From frontwoman Eva’s squeaky voice which is pure Tanya Donnelly to the perky drums and scuzzy guitars this is pure gorgeousness that reminds me why I loved Belly, Veruca  Salt and Lush so much back in the day. Consider the kick ass chorus and grunge-tastic pop-fuelled video and you’ve got yourself a song to fall in love to and with. Oh, and they’re heading to the UK for their first ever British dates too so that’s a bonus!


Live Dates:

23rd June – Garcias, Portchester
8th September – The Van Buren, Phoenix w/Deathcab For Cutie
9th September – High & Low Fest, San Bernadino
12th September – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
13th September – The Old Blue Last, London
14th September – The Garage, London w/Chastity Belt
15th September – Studio 2, Liverpool
16th September – Headrow House, Leeds
17th September – Hug & Pint, Glasgow
19th September – The Eagle Inn, Manchester
20th September – The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
28th September – MHOW, Brooklyn

Watch The Video:

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

NORA ROTHMAN – SINGLE REVIEW

Nora Rothman – Truth Or Dare
Nora Rothman - Truth Or Dare

Release Date: Out Now

Without reading any of her press release I could have told you that Nora Rothman had a link to New York (she’s a native Los Angelean but living in the Big Apple) just because of her uber cool style and simplicity on new single ‘Truth Or Dare’. With the steady strum of a highly strung guitar and the vocal ability of Regina Spektor, Rothman creates the kind of subdued but cool indie song that is more often heard coming from awkward guys in beards and glasses. Throw in that voice though (‘that voice’) and you start to hear this song grow in confidence and passion in to something altogether more powerful and proud. After a few listens you still hear new things each time, like the soft male backing vocals that creep in almost apologetically and then staccato vocal that is totally Spektor but fits so well in to a song that really should be played over the closing scene of the next Woody Allen movie.


Live Dates:

19th July – EP Release Show @ The Hotel CafĂ©, Los Angeles

Watch the Video: 

FERRIS & SYLVESTER – SINGLE REVIEW

Ferris & Sylvester – Berlin 
Ferris & Sylvester - Berlin


Release Date: Out Now

Were it not for the very ‘now’ video featuring some expressive dance and a lot of fairy lights, you could be forgiven for thinking that this tune came from the folk scene of the 60s and 70s. Ferris & Sylvester have a wonderful ability to weave their male/female vocals together to create something that is not only beautiful but also incredibly strong – like a multicoloured silk rope with which to hold on to your dreams. Musically, the acoustic guitar and Cello are nudged along by the steady beat but it’s the build and sweep of the strings that give this song it’s climactic moment that’s utterly wondrous. I don’t think there’s much you could do to improve on this tune or the tight melodies these two string together so just enjoy this taste of perfection on a summer’s eve. You won’t regret it.


Live Dates:

12th July – The Half Moon, Putney


Watch the Video: 

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BOWLING FOR SOUP – SINGLE REVIEW

Bowling for Soup – Don’t Be A Dick 
Bowling For Soup - Don't Be A Dick


Release Date: Out Now

Ah, Bowling For Soup. The kooky ones from the early 00s skate-punk scene who did a kid’s cartoon theme tune that, for some reason, I know off by heart. Well, this isn’t a comeback because I don’t think they ever went away for those that paid attention but this new single is so incredibly pertinent and to the point that it’s worth pausing to pay attention to – largely because it will get less radio play than that ‘Liar Liar’ song about how shit Theresa May is as a person. ‘Don’t Be A Dick’ is the new single and it’s basically skate-punk 101 with a sing-a-long chorus and a message that really couldn’t be any clearer – be nice, stop hating on strangers for the sake of it and just get the fuck on with your life with a smile on your face. There’s not much more to it than that to be honest so if you feel a little angry and fancy a bit of a pogo round your lounge while you sing Tenacious D level lyrics about people being dicks then you’ve found your soundtrack to that particular niche.


Live Dates:

27th June – Vans Warped Tour @ Tennessee State Fair, Nashville
29th June – Vans Warped Tour @ Lakewood Amphiteatre, Atlanta
30th June – Vans Warped Tour @ Tiner Field, Orlando
1st July – Vans Warped Tour @ Vinoy Waterfront Park, Saint Petersburg
2nd July – Vans Warped Tour @ Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre, WestPalm Beach
26th July – Vans Warped Tour @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Maryland Heights
28th July – Vans Warped Tour @ Starplex Pavilion, Dallas
29th July – Vans Warped Tour @ AT&T Center, San Antonio
30th July – Vans Warped Tour @ NRG Park, Houston

Watch the Video: 

GUTS – SINGLE REVIEW

Guts – Pick Me Up
Guts - Pick Me Up

Release Date: Out Now

OK folks, right now here in the UK we’re in the middle of the hottest June in my lifetime (official) so we need some super cool jams to stop our British selves from freaking out and doing stupid things on supermarket lager, you follow?  Praise the lord of hellfire then that Guts is back with a laid back slice of funk infused soul with a hint of afro beat and a little disco thrown in for good measure. That’s right, ‘Pick Me Up’ is the perfect tune to transition from lazing in your back garden because it’s too hot to do anything to starting to think about making the most of that warm evening air. Funky horn stabs, a nicely bobbing beat and the guest talents of Beat Assailant, Mary May and Wolfgang give this tune a real party vibe. So, grab a cold one (you’ve earned it), raise your hands up and let this one give you that involuntary hip sway you’ve been waiting all day to break out. Super cool.


Watch the Video: 

Monday, 19 June 2017

DRONNINGEN – EP REVIEW

Dronningen – Sugarbox EP 
Dronningen - Sugarbox EP


Release Date: Out Now

Two Italians, a French woman and a guy from Hong Kong walk in to a bar and, well, they rock it. This is Dronningen, the London based quartet with a beautifully international flavour thanks to their personnel and they are back with their second EP, ‘Sugarbox’. Things kick off, in every sense, with ‘Taxi Driver’ – a song that combines the snarl of Gossip with the rock’n’roll of Band Of Skulls and cranks it up to 11 as they take a road trip with Travis Bickle. The buzz-saw guitars continue on ‘White Saliva’ as the relentless drums drive things home and frontwoman Beatrice Bonnano wails through the storm like someone screaming in to a jet engine. On ‘She’s Gone Insane’ the beat and riff pace is breathless as the punk meets garage vibe makes me want to start a tight little circle pit with anyone in the room (currently my cat so, y’know, not gonna happen).

At the end of this EP we come across title track ‘Sugarbox’ which maintains the pace but throws a circular, psyched-out organ riff in for good measure, not to mention the insane(ly good) solo that defies all logic. Frankly, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard an EP so unapologetic about what it is, what it’s saying and where it wants to go which makes this a very strong contender for EP of the year already. Heavy, frenetic and abrasive but oh so melodic and hooky as well. Last year this blog went gaga for new London band Berries but I think Dronningen have come along to play their arch-nemesis role so I think we should just sit back and let battle commence (just to be clear, I don’t know if the bands even now each other but I have a very fertile imagination and I make no apology for that).


Thursday, 15 June 2017

BLOGTOBERFEST 2017 – LISTEN WITH MONGER PRESENTS…

Live at the Finsbury, London – 22nd October 2017


That’s right, it’s official, Listen With Monger is returning to the English capital to be part of Blogtober for a second year running and boy have we got a treat for you. In 2016 we brought you Berries, Seaker, Pattern Pusher, Jamie Yost and Rosa Belle who have all gone on to great things in 2017 from playing at Camden Rocks Festival to being approached by international DJs for guest vocal work. So, what have we got in store for you this year and who is going to have an impact in the next year? Well keep reading and you’ll get a hint but I can’t recommend coming down to the night enough, it’s free after all. 

BARE HUNTER + THE MALTHUSIAN TRAP + MUX + LOTS HOLLOWAY + PAUL ARMER


PAUL ARMER
PAUL ARMER 



Hailing from Saltash in Cornwall and opening affairs will be Paul Armer who follows in the footsteps of the likes of Billy Bragg and Frank Turner as wrings tunes from his guitar and passionate, blues-punk songs from his rasping throat. Armer has toured Europe with his songs and has carved himself a notch on the Devon/Cornwall musical bedpost but it’s time for the rest of the world to hear more of this man. 




LOTS HOLLOWAY

LOTS HOLLOWAY



Cornish by heart but currently residing in the big smoke, Lots Holloway is a woman with a dazzling mix of talent and passion. The talent comes in the form of edgy, angular yet somehow direct alt-pop that speaks to your feet as much as head. The passion comes from a will to get a message out there, to change world views and to wake you the fuck up. Lots will be successful but on her terms, not yours. 








MUX
MUX 



Think of Mux as the wildcard entry for this year’s line-up. The London trio are like a simmering pot ready to boil over as they whip up a frenzy with their beats, guitars and a hunched over electronics. Some will find this aggressive, some will find it mesmerising, some will find Mux too much but anyone with an open mind and open ears will get a lot from this. No pressure.  (NB The Chicken is just a model, not a musician). 





THE MALTHUSIAN TRAP

They might be based in Plymouth but the Malthusian Trap draw more from the Manchester sound when they hit the boards and whip the crowd in to a frenzy. The beats are dirty, the guitars are steeped in rock’n’roll heritage and the vocals snarl and sizzle with all the focused aggression of Ian Brown or Shaun Ryder in their prime. These guys are on the rise and this is your chance to catch them on the way up. 



BARE HUNTER 
BARE HUNTER
https://www.facebook.com/barehuntermusic/

These guys are great. I mean, for one thing they’re just fun guys to hang out with and funny ‘lads’. But what’s more important to LWM is that they rock. Like Jon Spencer Blues Explosion meets Jim Jones Revue rock. And if you like your rock with cowboy hats, impractical facial hair and at least three dashing gents then I think you’ll agree there’s no finer way to finish this evening off. Bring your dancing and/or cowboy boots.


So, you’re convinced right? Free entry, 5 great acts on the edge of greatness and there’s pizza as well. Get your asses down to the Finsbury then. Or else….

More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1903398213263275/ 

LION BABE – SINGLE REVIEW

Lion Babe – Hit The Ceiling
Lion Babe - Hit The Ceiling

Release Date: Out Now

New Yorkers Lion Babe with a new song and video which are both triumphs of style and soulful gorgeousness. ‘Hit The Ceiling’ is slung loosely around a woozy melody and Sunday morning rhythm which gives vocalist Jillian Hervey space to let her luxurious Beyonce meets Kelis vocal roll out like the most velvet carpeted of welcomes. This has all the style and sophistication of the Weeknd in terms of melody and production but with the added class and sophistication that you might expect from someone like Alicia Keys or Corinne Bailey-Rae. The really intriguing thing about this duo (apart from Hervey’s frankly incredible hair) is that they are just that, a duo. Fully self-sufficient and not reliant on a studio to put words in to Hervey’s mouth, Lion Babe are as impressive vocally as they are musically which speaks volumes for the talents of Lucas Goodman. Get involved in this pair now, you won’t regret it.


Watch the video: 

MY – SINGLE REVIEW

MY – W.I.L.D. (Relentless Records) 
MY - W.I.L.D.


Release Date: Out Now

When I first heard this tune I made two assumptions. Firstly, I assumed that this was a polished and finished US Pop product and secondly that this was a duet. Wrong on both counts. Sweden’s latest musical prodigy (seriously, what are they feeding them over there?) is MY and she is probably one of the most important Swedish exports for years – musically speaking, she can’t compete with IKEA. The single, ‘W.I.L.D.’ opens with a wonky, Indian beat and sketchy samples before a slick Katy Perry meets Paramore vocal kicks in with defiant vocals and the sense of more to come. And then more comes. The chorus builds with innocent anticipation before MY sings “welcome to the wild” in a dirty, M.I.A.-esque vocal snarl and that beast of a melody drops. Stick a great video on this and play it on an hourly basis at every festival this summer and you’ve got yourself a nailed on banger that will stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Lordes, Katy Perry’s new material, Rihanna and Angie. Love it.

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

BILLY BIBBY & THE WRY SMILES – SINGLE REVIEW

Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles – Hamburg 
Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles - Hamburg


Release Date: 23rd June 2017

So, Billy Bibby. William Bibby. The fella has a penchant for odd band names. You see, for seven years he was part of Catfish & the Bottlemen but now he’s touring the land with a bunch of ne’er-do-wells calling themselves the Wry Smiles. Whatever next? Anyway, the point is, Bibby went to Hamburg and wanted to write a song about it so here we are, listening to ‘Hamburg’. And it’s reet good. Sure, it’s not going to top any John Peel charts for original or ground breaking material but if you want something to sing along to on a road trip or at a festival then look no further. Reverend and the Makers style story telling atop Stereophonics melodies with a US twang for that added road trip with the top down vibe. That’s what Billy & Co. are offering and I for one am happy to lap it up with a pint in my hand and a smile on my face. They sing “sunshine, that’s what we hoped but in Hamburg it was worse than home but forget it, it cost forty quid and I won’t lose a week” and basically encapsulate that very British trait of making the best of a holiday because, well, it’s our holiday and we’ve waited months for this so let’s just have a good time regardless. Just in time for festival season too, well played Billy.


Live Dates:

7th July – Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton
14th July – Club 147, Llandudno
21st-23rd July – Tramlines 2017, Sheffield

26th-27th July – Kendal Calling, Loather Castle & Gardens

GLASSMAPS – SINGLE REVIEW

Glassmaps – Summer Rain 
Glassmaps - Summer Rain


Release Date: Out Now

Well this is a bluesy swamp stomp and no mistake, you up for that? Good. Howling Bells guitarist Joel Stein has broken off on his own for a bit to explore new territories and avenues and Glassmaps is the results of that wanderlust. ‘Summer Rain’ is the first harvest of fruit from that labour and it’s a gloriously shambolic in its bluesy, stumbling stomp. The drums awkwardly lope like an afternoon drinker trying to make his way home along country lines while the guitars keep a Hozier-esque vibe going as though the throb of a heartbeat is coursing round your head. Stein’s vocals is smooth and woozy if it weren’t for the swamp rock attitude of this song it could be a contemporary of the Kinks or the Faces which is no bad thing. Side projects or solo efforts can go one or another but, like that wobbly drunk at a fork in a road; Glassmaps chose the right path and brought this on home for a snooze in the garden.


ALEX J – SINGLE REVIEW

Alex J – You Say 
Alex J - You Say


Release Date: Out Now

Plymouth artist Alex Jennings has been honing his craft for a while now and this offering, ‘You Say’, is an interesting blend of Pop and Motown that takes a couple of listens to uncover fully. You see, at less than three minutes you could be forgiven for thinking this is a throw away Pop tune but when you get to the very end of the song you’re just left with the bass and drums for a few seconds and you realise this has been a Motown song along. Vocally and melodically, this is more in the vein of something like Badly Drawn Boy or the Feeling in that it’s that very English indie-pop sensibility with notes placed perfectly. The Pop and Motown combination sort of works but my brain is split in half with the Pop side wanting the rhythm section to calm down and the Motown side wanting the vocals and guitars to let rip and get wild on my ass. I can’t work out whether this is a clever blend or a weird crossbreed of a genre but I’m going to call it Potown and have a lie down. Music that makes you think, though, and that’s never a bad thing. Not ever.


TRASH – SINGLE REVIEW

Trash – Migraines (Clue Records) 
Trash - Migraines


Release Date: Out Now

There is something of a twisted music box vibe about the opening of this latest offering Leeds’ finest indie-poppers Trash. Another release from the ever-reliable Clue Records stable, ‘Migraine’ is way more energetic and perky than my migraine suffering pals would have me believe having a migraine actually is but everyone’s different I suppose. The melodic guitars chime out and the drums bounce around with the energy of an excitable 8 year old. The slightly haunting lyric of “pills won’t do and neither will you” precedes the kind of chorus that should have indie discos pogoing with the best of them – a juxtaposition I can get on board with. Heady, care free and energetic indie-pop with a super-sour centre and a twinkle in the eye, I’ll take that.


Live Dates:

23rd July – Tramlines Festival, Sheffield
30th July – Y Not Festival, Derbyshire
5th October – The Lock Tavern, Derbyshire
7th October – Neighbourhood Festival, Manchester
20th October – Ku Bar, Stockton
21st October – The Leadmill, Sheffield

26th October – The Venue, Derby 

CROOKED TEETH – SINGLE REVIEW

Crooked Teeth – Mirrors 
Crooked Teeth - Mirrors


Release Date: 16th June 2017

A childhood of listening to my Walkman/mini-disc/portable CD player in various locations means I often hear songs and see music videos rolling out before me but the debut slice from Londoners Crooked Teeth is a prime example of this ‘condition’. ‘Mirrors’ opens with a bubbling synth thrum that is the sound of a city coming to life as a sped-up sunrise appears through the gaps in the office blocks. The constant, unrelenting energy of this tune is all about the hustle and bustle of a city going through its day-to-day lifespan, the stop and go of traffic marked out by the processed beats and the weave of people given some level of beauty by the chiming guitars. The deadpan vocal is like early Depeche Mode and adds a loneliness to the song, a loneliness that can often be a feature of city living despite being surrounded by people and rats at every turn. Despite the sometimes bleak and often industrial vibe, there is soul and hope here that you’re used to hearing from the likes of New Order or Everything Everything. The repeated refrain of “You’ll be like no-one else” is the very embodiment of breaking free from the shackles of that urban conveyor belt and choosing something different.


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

BLENDA – SINGLE REVIEW

Blenda – Mama Mojo’s Club (Dick Pic Song) 
Blenda - Mama Mojo's Club (Dick Pic Song)


Release Date: Out Now

Blenda (aka Mama Mojo) is making a stand. A stand against aggressive, arrogant and assumptive men and their dick pics. Indeed, her anthem ‘Mama Mojo’s Club (Dick Pic Song)’ is a place for women to party and feel comfortable but still have a great time without needing to see a man’s junk. “Let’s take a moment to feel fucking perfect, we don’t need no high heels to reach the sky, let’s take a short break from all those dick pics cos we’re getting new ones tomorrow” sings Blenda as her Conogolese roots come through on rhythms while the European pop vibe is strong in the synths. But it’s Blenda’s vocal that really shines here as she switches from sweet and melodic on the middle eight to Kelis meets Macy Gray fierce on the chorus. This is a feminist party anthem and it couldn’t be more uplifting so come let your hair down and leave your sexual aggression at the door.


Live Dates:


27th July – Hudik Kalaset 2017, Hudik Kalaset

SMILER – SINGLE REVIEW

Smiler – Death Certificate 
Smiler - Death Certificate


Release Date: Out now

It can often frustrate when bands don’t have a thorough online presence but then there’s the other side of the coin where you just want bands to focus on making great music and not worry about raising their Twitter profile or getting more likes. Devon punks Smiler fall in to the latter category and new single ‘Death Certificate’ is a tight little number with punk at its core but Slash-esque guitars snarling throughout like a reluctantly caged beast. The drums are furious and relentless and there’s a real US Punk vibe flowing through this with the likes of the Ataris, the Wrens and early Offspring flowing through the choppy guitars and breathless vocals. Don’t worry about online lads, just keep rocking out but maybe add a couple of gigs, yeah?



ALIEN TANGO – SINGLE REVIEW

Alien Tango – Sexy Time
Alien Tango - Sexy Time

Release Date: Out Now

I’m always on the lookout for original and fresh things to listen to, that’s one of the main drivers of the blog in case you hadn’t noticed. So, when Madrid nut-jobs Alien Tango zig-zagged in to my inbox I had to pay attention. Also, if you get the chance to listen to a song from Spain called ‘Sexy Time’ then you know you’re in for a good time, right? This opens like Mika fronting a new alt-pop band sponsored by some new energy drink with synths bubbling away and musical style drums splashing all over the place. It’s definitely different and almost avante-garde in its complete disregard for standard structures or melodies but it works when you listen to it along with the, frankly, bonkers video. In essence, though, this is Frank Zappa for the Millenial generation singing a song that tries to capture that feeling when you know you’ve got a nailed on shag coming your way before the sun goes down. You don’t get that from Olly Murs now do you?


Live Dates:

28th June – Buenas tardes Pulitzer, Barcelona
29th June – Vida Festival, Vilanova I la Geltru
1st July – Festival SoundEat!, Barcelona
14th July – FIB Benicassim Festival, Benicassim
12th August – Festival Noroeste Estrealla Galicia, A Coruna
15th-16th September – Zaragoza Psych Fest, Zaragoza

Watch The Video: 

KANADIA – SINGLE REVIEW

Kanadia – Ocean Blue 
Kanadia - Ocean Blue


Release Date: Out Now

There’s a whip of a storm brewing around this Oxford four piece that has peaked my interest. Kanadia’s new single, ‘Ocean Blue’, opens with a pensive, Maccabees-esque guitar line atop some shuffling beats before breaking out in to full indie swirl and a baggy, atmospheric swirl. The melodies and vocals are a bit pop-star does rock for me, like when Robbie Williams had a go at pleasing the Gallaghers, but there’s something pleasingly prog about the structure that it’s hard not to enjoy. Elements of Madchester, hints of Shoegaze and a whole lot of indulgent jamming but they keep things just the right side of the getting wanky. So, promising stuff but not quite justifying the buzz for me on this evidence.


Live Dates:


20th July – The Horn, St Albans w/Sacred Shapes + Kid Luna  

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

DAN RAZA – SINGLE REVIEW

Dan Raza – Pay Day 
Dan Raza - Pay Day


Release Date: Out Now

He might be based in London in 2017 but Dan Raza comes from an altogether place and time, musically speaking of course. The Anglo-Indian singer-songwriter already has the backing of Neil Young as well as the spirit and sound of the likes of Dylan, Guthrie and Elliot Smith. New single ‘Pay Day’ is a lively road-trip of a tune that should only be played with the top down, your foot down and the volume waaaaay up. The guitars and fiddles bounce off each other like a mid-West hoedown and there are tones in the background that speak of Indian melodic structures. This is a startlingly finished and polished product and you can see why people are getting so excited about Raza – this has got Later with Jools Holland and Hyde Park Calling written all over it, mark my words. Go on, mark them I say!


DELTA HOWL – SINGLE REVIEW

Delta Howl – Mary
Delta Howl - Mary

Release Date: Out Now

Black Country boys Delta Howl are back with another single in the form of ‘Mary’ and it’s a sad number full of pathos and regret. There’s more than a touch of the Paul Simons about the guitars and percussion mixed in with some Passenger-esque yelps and Kings of Leon croaky edged vocals. The song grows in terms of spirit but also musically as the guitars and percussion layer up in ripples and surges as the duo show off their blues-tinged indie folk that lasts just two and a half minutes. No fat, nothing wasted and a real sense of leaving the audience wanting more which is a key skill to learn so early in their career.


Watch The Video: 

Monday, 12 June 2017

TOMER YOSEF – SINGLE REVIEW

Tomer Yosef – Holy Water (Ape Records)
Tomer Yosef - Holy Water

Release Date: Out Now

It’s not often I get new music from Israel, or old music for that matter, but Tomer Yosef is an artist worth pausing to pay attention to, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s because his new single, ‘Holy Water’, is coming out on the increasingly impressive Ape Records which should be high on your watch list. Secondly, this track is a dirty, grimy slice of dark rap meets hip-hop which sees Yosef rhyming over the top of distant beats and scattered melodies which jump around so much it’s almost disorientating. This is Tricky in his dark prime meets East Coast Hip-Hop which is a disturbing but delicious treat. Finally, there’s a fantastic video that is evil and brooding in mood whilst being 
extremely cleverly shot. So, yeah, the full package from Tomer Yosef then.


Watch The Video: 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

AMANDA DELARA – SINGLE REVIEW

Amanda Delara – New Generation (GR:OW Records)
Amanda Delara - New Generation

Release Date: Out Now

Amanda Delara exists in a sliver of a niche that is Norwegian/Iranian pop but they always say if you want to succeed then you need to find your niche and make it work for you so all power to her. This single, ‘New Generation’ is undeniably pop but with an edge of defiance and socio-political awareness that is not so much creeping in to pop but marching in with a banner and a purpose. Ibiza inspired synth stabs give this a party vibe but the opening lyrics leave you in no doubt that this is a song borne out of anger and injustice - “My momma would hear bombs drop two blocks away from her rooftop waiting for the day to change, She didn’t get a lot to say, oh they took her voice away, Motherfuckers”. There’s a sway and a swagger to this that is full of street attitude as the beats kicks in hard and those melodies put this up alongside pop heavyweights like Rihanna and Rita Ora. It’s a crying shame that the world is full of injustice that needs to be fought back against but it’s a comfort that there are artists of every genre ready to stand up and fight with word, music and ideas. More please.


Live Dates:

9th June – Mablis, Stavanger
11th June – Minioya, Oslo
13th June – Kulturfest Toyen, Oslo
24th June – Piknik I Parken, Oslo
8th July – Traenafestivalen, Mo I Rana
15th July – Slottsfjell, Tonsberg

Watch The Video: 

ITALIA 90 – SINGLE REVIEW

Italia 90 – Competition 
Italia 90 - Competition


Release Date: Out Now

First things first, Italia 90 is a great name for a band. It was the World Cup that got me in to football and it spawned the greatest football song of all time so I’m chuffed that there is a band named after this iconic tournament. This single from the London quartet starts with an unholy slab of feedback and a military rhythm (I say military in the sense of Viking army) and at around the minute mark some sort of beat breaks out from the haze and then the kind of vocal that Ian Dury made a living from. This is intense stuff and some would call it art rock or post punk but to me this is just powerful honesty and a passion to say something. This near spoken word mantra “freedom to choose, freedom to lose” is repeated and the guitars spiral in to a never-ending landscape of concrete bleakness straight out of an 80s HIV public warning advert. Essentially, if you want to hear what Theresa May’s Britain will look like in a few years then listen to this. All seven minutes of it.


MADE IN GIBRALTAR – SINGLE REVIEW

Made In Gibraltar – Climbing Up The Walls
Made In Gibraltar - Climbing Up The Walls

Release Date: Out Now

So, just to get this straight, here we have a duo named after a place famous for a rock and some monkeys but they’re actually from Madrid, currently based in London doing a cover of a Radiohead song. Still with me? Good. ‘Climbing Up The Walls’ was a classic of ‘OK Computer’ with it’s atmospheric, dystopian build up and Made In Gibraltar have captured that vibe perfectly with sparse instrumentation and some Portishead-esque vocals. This is one of those tunes that, if heard live, would absolutely entrance an audience and have them hanging off every click, pick and groan. Made In Gibraltar describe themselves as a small fish in a big pond having just arrived in London but with this approach to music they will surely be growing in to their new surroundings soon enough. At the very least, a guest spot on a future episode of Twin Peaks surely beckons.


Watch The Video: