Thursday, 31 August 2017

FLASHES – EP REVIEW

Flashes – Rzhev 
Flashes - Rzhev


Release Date: Out Now

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Cornish quartet Flashes but I can be pretty certain it wasn’t what I got. In fact, I expect most people on first listening to the five tracks that make up ‘Rzhev’ will have equal amounts of delight and confusion coursing through their veins. Opening with the six-minute beast ‘Summation’ that builds from a bed of gently strummed electric guitar and shuffled beat to reach a summit that beckons in some dreamy, other-worldly vocals. This is pure Shoegazing indulgence and that’s only the first track, albeit longer than most punk EPs.

‘Paintbrush’ is the second track in and it’s an altogether punchier, darker affair. Channelling the likes of Oceansize and the Cooper Temple Clause, the punchy drums and rotating bass line create the perfect foil for some meandering guitars and that trademark vocal style that communicates as if from beyond some wall of consciousness that we are as yet unaware of. On ‘The Upset’ there’s a sense of mischief lurking in the shadows between the itchy guitar notes and glitchy beats but when the chorus, of sorts, strikes you get a real sense that something positive is trying to push forth and find fresh air.

Flashes
Flashes are masters of the atmospheric and while it might not be baby-making music to some, there are others who would happily soundtrack the expansion of their family with these five intense tracks. Indeed, on ‘Obliterator’ the Radiohead-esque beginnings are a muted precursor to the groove heavy song that is to follow, complete with sexual undulations and, at about the three-and-a-half-minute mark, an orgasmic burst of distortion heavy energy that will give you goose bumps or die trying.

Closing out with ‘Dream Fuzz’, Flashes go for their most ambitious effort so far with over 11 minutes of shoegaze based meandering with ultimately climaxes in a burst of guitar feedback before trailing off like the last sounds you would hear before slipping in to a dark coma of blissful ignorance. This is music that has had time spent on it and, most importantly, time to breathe – not something you get to hear that often in this age of market lead music and expensive studio time. 





Live Dates:


8th September – Little Orchard Festival, Truro

THE LOFT CLUB FT. LISA LOEB – SINGLE REVIEW

The Lof Club ft. Lisa Loeb – Flicker
The Loft Club ft. Lisa Loeb - Flicker

Release Date: Out Now

Exeter bright-young-things The Loft Club are back and they’ve brought a 90s legend along for the ride. New single ‘Flicker’ has a sound that harks back to a simpler, purer time of free-love and revolution but set to a beat that has a more modern feel and brings a sense of energy to the piece. The Loft Club have always had the ability to write breezy and infectious indie-pop but there’s something almost cinematic about this tune that could easily accompany a montage of gentle defiance. Loeb’s contribution is an appropriately breathy vocal that speaks of summer fields and a sit-up-and-beg bicycle – that said, I think the tune would have survived just as well with the celebrity guest spot. Another great track from these guys but the question remains; when will they start to be heard and 
appreciated on a bigger scale. The clock is ticking ladies and gentlemen.


Live Dates:

2nd September – St Thomas Festival, Exeter
9th September – Smoked & Uncut Festival @ The Pig at Coombe, Honiton

Watch the Video: 

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

FONX – SINGLE REVIEW

Fonx – Can’t Get Enough
Fonx - Can't Get Enough

Release Date: Out Now

Ready to get funky? Scratch that, ready to get Fonxy? From the Motown guitar riff set to an Ed Sheeran beat that opens ‘Can’t Get Enough’ you know that you’re listening to a sure-fire indie-dance banger with just enough to soul to get a groove going. Those dirty guitars, crunchy beats and distant wailed harmonies don’t let up and soon this track crawls under your skin like the urge to find somewhere to dance at 3 in the morning. There’s something truly addictive about ‘Can’t Get Enough’ that makes this an eye-watering prospect if it gets in to the right hands or, more importantly, the right ears.


Live Dates:

30th August – Sofar Sounds, Cardiff
8th September – The Spice Of Life, London
19th September – The Bedford, Balham
26th October – Aloft Hotel, Excel London

Watch The Video: 

CHARLY BLISS – SINGLE REVIEW

Charly Bliss – DQ (Barsuk Records)
Charly Bliss - DQ

Release Date: Out Now

Man, I love these guys. I mean, if you’re going to be in a band that sounds like a kid on a trampoline mainlining Haribo and then write a song like ‘DQ’ which literally features the line “I’m four years above 16, I bounced so hard I peed the trampoline “, then be prepared for me to get a little obsessive over you. If this is bubblegum indie-pop then it’s got a super-sour centre and it will leave your tongue bright blue afterwards and who doesn’t want that? Infectious guitars, splashes of cymbal, bratty vocals and the kind of attitude that will get Charly Bliss in to a lot of trouble but they’ll have twice as much fun so who cares, right? Oh, and they’re about to hit the UK for the first time so go get loaded on sugar and make sure you’re down the front for some serious pogoing.


Live Dates:

8th September – The Van Buren, Phoenix
9th September – High and Low Festival, San Bernadino
12th September – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
13th September – The Old Blue Last, London
14th September – The Garage, London
15th September – Studio 2, Liverpool
16th September – Headrow House, Leeds
17th September – The Hug and Pint, Glasgow
19th September – The Eagle Inn, Manchester
20th September – The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
22nd September – Pygmalion Music Festival, Champaign
23rd September – Audiotree Music Festival, Kalamazoo
24th September – MidPoint Music Festival, Cincinnati
25th September – Beachland Tavern, Cleveland
26th Septemebr – Cattivo, Pittsburgh
28th September – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn
30th September – 3S Artspace, Portsmouth
12th October – The Linda, Albany
13th October – Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto
15th October – Town Ballroom, Buffalo
19th October – Union Transfer, Philadelphia
20th October – Royale, Boston
22nd October – Black Cat, Washington
26th October – Turner Hall, Milwaukee

27th October – First Avenue, Minneapolis

Watch the Video: 

SOPHIE CORAN – SINGLE REVIEW

Sophie Coran – All That Matters 
Sophie Coran - All That Matters


Release Date: Out Now

If you’re looking for someone to finally fill that Amy Winehouse shaped hole in your life then I might just have the missing piece of your puzzle right here. Londoner Sophie Coran proves on her new single, ‘All That Matters’, that she has the jazz-soul chops to stand should to shoulder with some serious artists and Winehouse would be in that enviable line up. The vibe is loose and Sunday morning-esque with the drums doing just enough to keep things edging forwards and the lush keys laid out like a particularly fluffed up duvet to roll around in. Coran sings “you’ve become my something constant” in a voice that is as inviting as it is supremely cool and the dripping syrup of every syllable is to be enjoyed like a fine wine. So, grab yourself a glass and enjoy.


SARAH CRIPPS – SINGLE REVIEW

Sarah Cripps – Leave Behind 
Sarah Cripps - Leave Behind


Release Date: Out Now

The work ethic of the Canadian music scene is just phenomenal and Sarah Cripps is the latest superb artist to drop off the end of that particular conveyor belt. ‘Leave Behind’ is the tune that would roll up at the end of a David Lynch vs Quentin Tarantino Western flick and it is gorgeous. The muted acoustic strum is straight out of the First Aid Kit songbook but the shuddering lead notes are full of mournful regret and the drums shuffle with all the sluggish determination of a bullet riddled anti-hero. Vocally, Cripps is firmly in the sultry corner but there’s an element of feistiness here as well in amongst the sadness. As the track builds to its multi-layered and semi-chaotic climax you can feel the class and assured swagger oozing from every note and it’s an utter joy to behold. Keep at Canada, you’re doing fine things.


Live Dates:


5th September – The Piston, Toronto w/ Zoe Sky Jordan + Bywater

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

TAFARI ANTHONY – SINGLE REVIEW

Tafari Anthony – To The End 
Tafari Anthony - To The End


Release Date: Out Now

Tafari Anthony is not someone I’ve ever been aware of before but I fell in love with his influences before anything else. I mean, anyone who lists Winehouse, Black Keys, John Legend, The Raconteurs and Gnarls Barkley among their influencers has got to be worth a listen, right? Latest single ‘To The End’ is definitely worth a listen as it begins with a low, slow pulse and Anthony’s dusky, soulful vocal moving effortlessly throughout the track. As the pop beats and gentle piano melodies build up, layer upon layer, you can’t help but feel enveloped by a sense of warmth and openness and smooth soul that the likes of John Legend would approve of in spades.


Live Dates:


23rd September – Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction @ Massey Hall, Toronto

CECILIA EBBA – SINGLE REVIEW

Cecilia Ebba – Breathe Out Breathe In 
Cecilia Ebba - Breath Out Breathe In


Release Date: Out Now

London based artist Cecilia Ebba describes herself as an alternative singer-songwriter which covers a pretty wide remit these days so we’re starting from a pretty broad base here. Nevertheless, ‘Breathe Out Breathe In’ deserves some attention largely due to its dark and brooding underbelly from which is born a Marling-esque slice of folk-noir. Then again, maybe the key here is the lightness of spirit that flits around the chorus balancing out that aforementioned darkness. Or, maybe, it is Ebba’s soothing and haunting voice that holds this all together like a delicate spider’s web made of the finest spun steel – strength and fragility all woven in to one beautiful strand. Actually, I think it is all of this intertwined in one meandering journey through the sunlight dappled woods that eventually opens in to a fresh, untouched and soul-stirring clearing. The stuff of beauty itself.



Wednesday, 23 August 2017

AS LIONS – SINGLE REVIEW

As Lions – Selfish Age (Better Noise/Eleven Seven Music)
As Lions - Selfish Age

Release Date: Out Now

In the month when the world of music lost a leading light in the form Chester Bennington, it feels encouraging that bands like As Lions exist. The London 5 piece’s new single ‘Selfish Age’ is a great piece of social commentary on the consumerism of modern Western society as they sing “the more I take, the less I want, the selfish age is too far gone” and that would be enough in a lot of people but then they go and do something a bit special. Not content with driving rhythm and big rock guitars, As Lions go and stick a massive anthemic chorus in the middle which is part Linkin Park, part Rudimental and a whole lot of fun. So, that’s social awareness mixed in with the kind of rock tune that should, by rights, make hordes of people go bat-shit crazy in any given field on any given summer’s day. You in? I am.


Live Dates:

14th November – Firebug, Leicester
15th November – Waterfront, Norwich
16th November – Old Blue Last, London
18th November – Hobos, Bridgend
19th November – Jumpin’ Jacks, Newcastle
20th November – Garage Attic, Glasgow
22nd November – Sugarmill, Stoke
23rd November – Rebellion, Manchester
24th November – Key Club, Leeds

Watch The Video: 

HVMM – SINGLE REVIEW

HVMM – Going Postal/Beggars & Thieves
HVMM - Going Postal/Beggars & Thieves

Release Date: Out Now

Now then, Worcester is not normally a hotbed of musical activity despite having one of the country’s more resilient independent venues in the Marrs Bar (props to the Marrs Bar crew). Nevertheless, HVMM are a band from Worcester and they’re ruddy good so maybe things are on the turn in the West Midlands. The first of the two tracks on this double-A side single is the slide blues fun of ‘Beggars & Thieves’ which exudes aggression, confidence and a sense of the unhinged – something I’m already hooked on. Think the energy of the Jim Jones Revue along with the dirty swamp rock of Moriaty and performance ethic of Jonathan Fire Eater and you’re getting close.

‘Going Postal’, as the title suggests, is a more wonky, twitchy piece which takes a little while to hit it’s stride like someone with a stammer finding their words. Once those words come to mind, however, there’s no stopping them as the band fly in to full effect making a noise that would work well in a slow-mo, post-fight scene in some edgy period piece like Peaky Blinders or something similar. The only criticism (if that’s what it is) is that the repeated chorus refrain of “Going Postal” instantly made me want to sing “down in Acapulco” but when you’ve got guitars the size of Royal Blood and menace by the bucket load you don’t have to worry about things like that, do you?  


Live Dates:

2nd September – Marrs Bar, Worcester w/Tokyo Taboo
3rd September – Rise, Worcester
22nd November – The Sebright Arms, London w/Lullaby

Watch The Video: 

DEQN SUE – SINGLE REVIEW

DeQn Sue – Jack 
DeQn Sue - Jack


Release Date: Out Now

I’m not sure how many more superlatives I can dig out of my thesaurus to praise the talented DeQn Sue but she keeps churning out the impressive tracks so it’s the least I can do to try and write about it. ‘Jack’ is the latest release and it is beautifully understated using what sounds like the hum of crickets to create a sparse rhythm before layering on some minimalist synths and bass groans. Then DeQn Sue throws in her breathy, almost whispered vocal that sounds like she had to record it in the small hours but quietly so she didn’t disturb her neighbours – talented and considerate! To me, Kelis is a massively underrated artist so it is a huge compliment when I say DeQn Sue is a pretender to that particular throne. I can’t wait for the album.


ALI INGLE – SINGLE REVIEW

ALI INGLE – SINGLE REVIEW
Ali Ingle - Saintly/Kool Aid

Ali Ingle – Saintly/Kool Aid

Release Date: Out Now

One of Liverpool’s unsung musical heroes, Ali Ingle, is back with not one but two new tracks – a bold move by anyone’s standards. The first of these, ‘Saintly’ comes with a superbly retro video (and moustache) which stands at odds with the melancholy lo-fi electronica that Ingle’s smooth vocal lays across, luxuriously and yet in a depressive stupor. What I love about this track is that without the video you could be forgiven this was a po-faced East London bedroom electro fodder. That said, with the video, this has it’s tongue firmly in its cheek although the sentiment still remains beautifully pure.

‘Kool Aid’ is the second part of this brace and is a far livelier affair on all sides. With that lo-fi electro vibe kicking back in, Ingle shifts up through the gears until this feels like the montage music from some early 80s coming of age film (I’m thinking ‘D.A.R.Y.L.’). This is uplifting, optimistic and insistent stuff that pairs the lightness of the intermingling synths with vocals that are somewhere between Brandon Flowers and David Kitt which is an intriguing and entirely enjoyable space to occupy. There is a thread of commonality between these tunes which is the excellent song writing and melancholic underbelly but if these two songs were personified in a movie they would be the lead characters from Twins.


Watch The Video: 

Monday, 21 August 2017

REWS – SINGLE REVIEW

Rews – Shine
Rews - Shine

Release Date: Out Now

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


Live Dates:

27th August – Graze Festival, Hazeley Fields

Watch The Video: 

VELVET & STONE – EP REVIEW

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


Release Date: Out Now

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

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


Live Dates:

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

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

Sunday, 20 August 2017

BLUEYS IN THE CAB – SINGLE REVIEW

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

Release Date: Out Now

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


CANDICE GORDON – SINGLE REVIEW

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

Release Date: Out Now

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


Live Dates:

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

Watch The Video: 

BLESSED – SINGLE REVIEW

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


Release Date: Out Now

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



Saturday, 19 August 2017

THE DARKNESS – SINGLE REVIEW

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

Release Date: Out Now

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


Live Dates:

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

Watch The Video: 

THE BUSKETEERS – ALBUM REVIEW

The Busketeers – Different Breeds
The Busketeers - Different Breeds

Release Date: Out Now

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

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

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

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

Live Dates:

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

Friday, 18 August 2017

THE MIND MENDING PROJECT – FEATURE

The Mind Mending Project – An Introduction 
Filipe Fale

You might have guessed from reading this here blog that I have more than a passing interest in music. Music has the power to change your mood, to give you energy (or drag you down), the power to change minds and overpower hearts and the ability to heal. It is this last point that spoke to me when I heard about The Mind Mending Project, set up by Portuguese musician Filipe Fale of the band Pulmonic.

At the age of just 36, Filipe was playing a gig with his band, a trio of musicians from across the world, and he had a stroke, right there on the stage. When he came-to, the bassist and singer was paralysed on the right side of his body and unable to speak – a pretty devastating blow and entirely unexpected.

What Filipe found was a complete lack of information on strokes for younger patients and, being the proactive type, he set about creating the Mind Mending Project. Initially, the intention is to create a hub for fellow stroke sufferers and, as part of the project, Filipe is making and staring in a documentary to increase awareness and make sure nobody has to feel alone if they have suffered a stroke or are caring for someone who has had a stroke.

Pulmonic
Of making the documentary, Filipe says “I’ve always wanted to do something artistic – but given what has happened to me, it took that opportunity away. Making this move changes that”. One thing I have learned from Filipe is that musicians are at a higher risk of having a stroke due to the unusual and constant stress they place on their bodies. Add to that the fact that in the UK alone, around 25% of strokes occur in individuals under the age of 65 and I felt that this was a cause of acute relevance to you lot, my demographic.

Anyway, have a look, have a listen and maybe get involved in some way. I am not a religious person but the phrase “there but for the grace of God, go I” seems to fit here and I don’t know the Atheist version of that piece of wisdom. 




The Mind Mending Project: http://www.mindmending.co.uk/  



Watch The Video: https://vimeo.com/220186738

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

MATT EMERY – SINGLE REVIEW

Matt Emery – Empire 
Matt Emery - Empire


Release Date: Out Now

I’m getting increasingly encouraged and inspired by the number of composers coming my way as opposed to singer-songwriters and Matt Emery is the latest to soothe my troubled soul with his mastery of the piano. The latest track, ‘Empire’, is built around a relatively simple and repetitive piano riff that moves with the slow and meaningful solemnity of a funeral march until the strings join in to make this swell in to something so utterly cleansing and beautiful that I don’t mind admitting it brought a tear to my eye on first listen. I can be a morbid and music obsessed beast at the best of times so I often consider my own funeral playlist and this tune has just put itself in strong contention which is meant as a very high complement. I urge you to clear your mind and put aside 4 minutes to listen to this, really listen to it’s simple beauty and ascending mood – do this without thinking of a lost love one or your own mortality and you’re doing well. Do it without breathing a little heavier or wiping the moistness from your eye and you’re emotionally stunted.  Don’t listen to it at sunrise though, your heart might just burst and I won’t be held responsible.



BALAKO – SINGLE REVIEW

Balako – Nervous Inn (Greco Roman) 
Balako - Nervous Inn


Release Date: Out Now

OK, these guys are fast becoming my favourite Brazilians. Possibly of all time. DJ/Producer duo Balako can do sexy things with a bassline and it makes me want to dance in clothes made entirely of manmade fabrics in garish colours, possibly in a jauntily angled hat as well. Latest single, ‘Nervous Inn’, uses that rolling, super-funky bass line to underpin the song so that the percussion can roam around, jazz-style, and the keys can be liberally sprinkled like magic dust at a Studio 54 party in the heat of summer. The trumpets slide in as smooth as Huggy Bear on a night out and, as Ron Burgundy would say, “this here is baby making music”. Sure, you could fit in some rasping, soulful vocals but you don’t need to, just lie back with a honey on each arm and let that chest hair break free. Yeeeeaaaaaahhh……



PHILIP WHITEHEAD – SINGLE REVIEW

Philip Whitehead – I’m Gone 
Philip Whitehead - I'm Gone


Release Date: 25th August 2017

Philip Whitehead lives in Hammersmith which is not a trendy hub of music at the moment but has a rich musical heritage and not just because I used to shop in the Tesco there and partake of the odd curry. Throughout the years, many a band has made music in and around Hammersmith and there’s a timeless quality to Whitehead’s new single ‘I’m Gone’ that feels as though it has been lurking under the flyover just observing and soaking influences up the passing troubadours over the years. The song opens with near-whispered late night vocals and the gently plucked guitar strings of Cream era Clapton while the structure of the song follows a more Elliot Smith pattern that builds beautifully. The guitars layer up slowly but surely before the drums give up on their stuttering subtlety to find a loose groove that shifts the song up a gear. By the time the chorus properly rips in and Whitehead opens up his lungs you know you’re listening to a proper, died in the wool rock tune that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Jeff Buckley album, such is the soaring and affirming climax in a crescendo of guitars and cymbal crashes. Sumptuous doesn’t even cover half of it.


Live Dates:

23rd August – The Monarch, Chalk Farm
6th September – The Old Queens Head, Islington


EMMA MILLER – SINGLE REVIEW

Emma Miller – Leaving 
Emma Miller - Leaving


Release Date: Out Now

There is real heart to this song, the latest release from London based Emma Miller. In a very literal sense, ‘Leaving’ has a pulsing heartbeat coursing through it like words inked through a stick of arock and that makes it feel incredibly personal and close. Beyond that, though, there is the beautifully soulful vocal of Emma Miller accompanied by the Morcheeba meets Goldfrapp organic dance groove that lurches and lunges with unexpected elegance and the weight of some huge sadness laying heavy on the aforementioned heart. Miller sings “Wrongs I’ll never right, all the moments I denied” and you can hear the regret dripping from every word which gives this the kind of haunting tone that Portishead used to monopolise. Well, not any more.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

GABRIELLE APLIN – SINGLE REVIEW

Gabrielle Aplin – Waking Up Slow 
Gabrielle Aplin - Waking Up Slow


Release Date: Out Now

“Heaven help me, my mind changes like the wind” are the opening lyrics to this latest release from bright hope Gabrielle Aplin, new single ‘Waking Up Slow’. Lyrically, there are some nice touches to this song and there’s an underlying bass sequence which suggests something close to an edge, lurking in the shadows. However, we’re just a millennial whoop away from this being a Taylor Swift or Carly-Rae Jepson tune and that kinda sucks all the uniqueness out of this. Sure, it’s breathy and uplifting in a reliable way that KFC will always fill you up but never really leave you satisfied. I had hoped for more, I have to be honest, and I’m sad that this track didn’t deliver.



Live Date:

14th September – Sonia, Massachusetts
15th September – Velvet Underground, Toronto
16th September – The Foundry, Philadelphia
17th September – Bowery Ballroom, New York
20th September – U Street Music Hall, Washington
22nd September – Bottom Lounge, Chicago
23rd September – Amsterdam, Minneapolis
24th September – Record City, Kansas City
26th September – Larimer Lounge, Denver
28th September – Kilby Lounge, Salt Lake City
30th September – Chop Suey, Seattle
1st October – Holocene, Portland
3rd October – Great American Music Hall, San Francisco
4th October – Music Box, San Diego
6th October – Troubador, West Hollywood
19th October – Oran Mor, Glasgow
20th October – O2 Academy, Birmingham
22nd October – The Junction, Cambridge
23rd October – Concorde 2, Brighton
24th October – Trinity, Bristol

26th October – The Venue, London

NOAH GUNDERSEN – SINGLE REVIEW

Noah Gundersen – Bad Desire (Cooking Vinyl) 
Noah Gundersen - Bad Desire


Release Date: Out Now

Every now and again there are those artists that everyone around you is talking about but you just haven’t hooked in to yet. Now, it’s not through a lack of interest but just through not crossing paths with the music which, you know, just happens sometimes. Noah Gundersen is one such musician that a number of, shall we say, ‘acquaintances’ have been banging on about for some time and, luckily, his new single ‘Bad Desire’ just landed in my lap. The Seattle artist is, undoubtedly, a supreme talent but one that seeps in to your consciousness rather than one that screams for your attention. The keys that open this particular tune are so soft that you wouldn’t be surprised to discover the keys had been covered in velvet before committing anything to tape. Gundersen’s voice is dusky and smooth with just enough teeth-clenched growl when you need it to urge those drums on. This is the kind of song that would make grown, testosterone fuelled men cry at the thought of their dead partner/mother/grandmother/cat on a wet day when they could just do with a hug and a bit of looking after. Simply beautiful stuff, I’m converted.



Live Dates:

11th September – Borderline, London
12th September – Night & Day, Manchester
14th September – Auster Club, Berlin
15th September – Bitterzoet, Amsterdam
5th October – The Olympic, Boise
6th October – The State Room, Salt Lake City
7th October – Armory, Fort Collins
8th October – Bluebird Theater, Denver
10th October – Fine Line Music Café, Minneapolis
12th October – High Noon Saloon, Madison
13th October – The Back Room Café, Minneapolis
14th October – The Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids
15th October – The Opera House, Toronto
17th October – The Belmont, Montreal
18th October – The Sinclair, Cambridge
20th October – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn
21st October – Wonder Bar, Asbury
22nd October – World Café Live, Philadelphia
24th October – 9:30 Club, Washington
25th October – Visulite Theater, Charlotte
26th October – Cannery Callroom, Nashville
27th October – Revelry Room, Chattanooga
28th October – Terminal West, Atalanta
29th October – The Grey Eagle, Asheville
31st October – Saturn, Birmingham
2nd November – The Heights Theater, Houston
3rd November – The Kesler Theater, Dallas
4th November – Barracuda, Austin
6th November – Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix
8th November – El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles
9th November – Great American Music Hall, San Francisco
10th November – Hi-Fi Music Hall, Eugene
11th November – Wonder Ballroom, Portland
12th November – Imperial, Vancouver

17th November – Neptune Theatre, Seattle

JAMES DAVIDSON – SINGLE REVIEW

James Davidson – Shape of My Soul 
James Davidson - Shape Of My Soul


Release Date: Out Now

The very beginning of this single from James Davidson sounds like it might veer off in a slightly esoteric and obscure angle. However, before long ‘Shape of My Soul’ settles in to a gentle, country tinged slice of singer-songwriter standard fare. Now, that’s not to say that this is a bad song, there are traces of Del Amitri and Deacon Blue in there that are more than a little pleasing. The slide guitar notes are smooth and comforting, like the first sip of whiskey after a long day and Davidson’s voice has a soft, inviting tone. No, the only problem I have with this tune is that it doesn’t give me that tingle moment when the chorus drops or the guitar kicks in. A solid start though, there’s no arguing with that.


THE BOTTOM LINE – SINGLE REVIEW

The Bottom Line – I Still Hate You 
The Bottom Line - I Still Hate


Release Date: Out Now

Among the likes of Sum 41, New Found Glory and Simple Plan, London pop-punkers The Bottom Line list Blink 182 twice in their list of influences which kind of tells its own story. New single ‘I Still Hate You’ doesn’t fall far from that particular tree but when it falls it doesn’t stop bouncing for a good four minutes. As you might expect, the guitars are huge and choppy, the vocals have a mid-Atlantic sneer and the rhythm section chugs satisfyingly. When the chorus kicks in, then you know you’re expected to bounce like your life depends on it and with an infectious little melody like this who are we to argue? If you like your punk with a slick melody and a sense of pop bordering on the McFly/Busted end of the scale then this will be right up your street. Enjoy.


Live Dates:

21st September – Fleece, Bristol
22nd September – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
23rd September – O2 Academy 2, Newcastle
24th September – King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
26th September – Key Club, Leeds
27th September – Academy 3, Manchester
28th September – Underworld, Camden
29th September – O2 Academy 2, Birmingham

30th September – The Haunt, Brighton

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

KANSAS SMITTY’S HOUSE BAND – SINGLE REVIEW

Kansas Smitty’s House Band – Party Party Party 
Kansas Smitty's House Band - Party Party Party


Release Date: Out Now

I normally steer clear of three genres that do nothing for me – Jazz, Thrash Metal and modern R’n’B. This latest release from Londoners Kansas Smitty’s House Band, ‘Party Party Party’, fits firmly in to the Jazz pigeon hole but I’ve let it through my filter on the basis that they sound like they’d be a hell of a lot of fun live. This is a live recording of the 8-piece doing their horn filled thang with some pretty simple sing-a-long lyrics (“party, party, party” if you want the full transcript). There’s a trumpet solo that makes me a little edgy and lots of encouraging shouts of ‘ho’ and ‘hey’ that I’m not entirely on board with but these are clearly talented musicians with a lot of energy so if I was in the vicinity of this going down on a stage somewhere then I’d definitely want to check it out some more.


PABLO AND THE APPLEHEADS – SINGLE REVIEW

Pablo And The Appleheads – Zaida
Pablo And The Appleheads - Zaida

Release Date: Out Now

Coming straight outta the cultural hotbed of Barcelona comes this infectious slice of indie-pop that I would urge you to add to your summer play lists asap. Pablo and the Appleheads are fronted by the enigmatic Pablo Villavacchia and it’s his deadpan vocal delivery combined with his jaunty acoustic strum that makes this such an instant and engaging prospect. ‘Zaida’ bounces and bobs on a summer breeze with all the effortless charm of George Ezra but the sweet melodies of a young Supergrass and the story telling chops of the Libertines in their prime. “Zaida, she’s flying like a spaceman” sings our Pablo before a Kinks-esque chorus that is by no means complicated or ground-breaking but it’s a whole lotta fun. Definitely one for the car with the top down.


Watch The Video: 

NOSAJ THING – SINGLE REVIEW

Nosaj Thing – UG (Innovative Leisure) 
Nosaj Thing - UG


Release Date: Out Now

I’m undecided on quite why I love this new track from LA creator Nosaj Thing. ‘UG’ is the single that precedes a new album and, on the one hand, it is a macabre slice of unhinged electro that pulses and swerves like a skittish and paranoid drunk trying to get home without being followed. This would perfectly suit the end credits of a recent episode of Twin Peaks and fits in with the David Lynch aesthetic of high art mixed in with beats and a sense of the left of centre being the norm. Equally, there’s something beautiful Aphex Twin-esque about the incomplete vocals and juddering beats that keep you on the edge of your seat, second guessing the whole way through. It’s great to see this kind of music going out on an extensive live tour around the US and Canada rather than just being broadcast from a bedroom or studio somewhere anonymous.



Live Dates:

31st August – The Ritz, San Jose
1st September – Harlows, Sacramento
7th September – Knitting Factory, Spokane
8th September – Knitting Factory, Boise
9th September – The Top Hat, Missoula
11th September – Commonwealth Bar & Stage, Calgary
13th September – Amigos Cantina, Saskatoon
14th September – West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg
19th September – The Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids,
21st September – A&R Music Bar, Columbus
24th September – Brighton Music Hall, Boston
26th September – Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia
27th September – Warsaw Concert, New York
1st October –  Echoplex, Los Angeles
2nd October – The Broadberry, Richmond
3rd October – Motorco, Durham
4th October – New Mountain AVL, Asheville
5th October – Georgia Theatre, Athens
7th October – The Social, Orlando
8th October – Crowbar, Tampa
12th October – Hi-Ho Lounge, New Orleans
13th October – 1884 Lounge at Minglewood, Memphis
17th October – The Black Sheep, Colorado Springs
19th October – Metro Music Hall, Salt Lake City
20th October – Beauty Bar, Las Vegas

21st October – Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix