IN V A G
S S A GL
MOJO GOGO DIMESTORE RECORDINGS – THE RUBY SESSIONS – SAUCY SUNDAYS
The Manc Tank
MOJO GOGO GAVIN GLASS
Scene & Heard 7-9 10-11 12-14 15-17 18
Dimestore Recordings The Ruby Sessions Saucy Sundays Wicked Chicken SugarKing
19-26 27-40 41-46 47
Irish Album/EP Reviews International Album/EP Reviews Single Reviews 4x4
Headlining this German festival is a big deal for us so we are going out there with the intentions of blowing the place apart
The last 12 months or so have actually seen a lot from Mojo GoGo as a band. You did have a fine month in December 2012 with your tour being a resounding success. Then you seemed to hit the ground running in January, but more importantly, everything seemed to be following a plan. Did you look back at what you had gained from that tour and factor that into the decision there and then or was it always the intention of the band that all of last year was going to follow an already predetermined course of action?
You then announced in March that there would be a new EP with “Build It Up” announced as the first release. You called the EP “Heartbreaks, Hangovers and Handcuffs”. Where did the title come from? In a nutshell, we keep all our E.P’s to three words. We are building a brand. The title basically relates to all the songs on the E.P. The video for “Build It Up” went online in June to coincide with the release. How important is video as a medium for you as a band?
We always have a plan in place. We believe that planning is the key to success. So yes, we had a plan of roughly what we wanted to achieve.
We filmed and edited the build it up video ourselves. We think videos are a great way to get your music across to people and give them an insight into the band.
You also announced that you would be releasing “Dancing With Me On Your Mind” would be your next single. That showed a clear intent to anyone on the outside looking in that you were very much determined to get down to some hard work. When you look back on it now what do you see as the main positives for adopting that approach?
You gig an awful lot as a band – be that at festivals or venues. Do any gigs from last year stand out for a particular reason?
We just want to keep putting out new music which is why we released that song at that point in time.
based in Rotterdam. What did you take away from playing over there? It’s just a great country with a great music scene. They love rock bands and that’s exactly what we are. They treated us like royalty and loved every minute of the music. It’s a lot different to playing in Ireland and we would encourage other bands to get out and play in different countries. Will there be anything that you will be taking with you from that experience that will benefit you when you go to play Mai City in Germany on May 3rd? Are you guys looking forward to it in a big way then? We just can’t wait to get back out there and play again. Headlining this German festival is a big deal for us so we are going out there with the intentions of blowing the place apart. What can your fans over there expect?
Headlining our own festival “ARANMOJO FESTIVAL” was a big gig for us. In October you gigged for a few days in Holland. We are very familiar with the music scene in Holland ourselves through our co-op network
They can expect plenty of sweaty shows, raucous live shows and utter carnage.
his album is something that has been in the works for a very long time. How long have you been working on the album exactly? I’ve been working on it on and off for 3 years. How does it feel to finally see it realised? It’s a relief to be honest. It was a pretty difficult album to make in terms of actually finding the time to work on it. I was on tour with Lisa Hannigan for a good chunk of 2011-2012, and when I wasn’t on tour I was busy producing other people’s album. The cobbler’s children always have the worst shoes. When will it be released? It will probably be May before it comes out.
Gavin Glass Was this strictly a solo affair or were there other people involved in the production of the album? I had a lot of help on this one. Scott Halliday played drums as well as doing the majority of the recording and mixing, and was just a great asset. The songs were tracked with a bass player and drummer and then I asked my friends to contribute. There are appearances from Cathy Davey, Mundy, John Smith, NC Lalwor, Michael MacLennan, Lucy Wilkins, Sarah Lynch, Rhob Cunningham to name but a few! On reflection, does this album mark anything for you in terms of progression from your earlier material? Well it’s the first time I’ve used strings. The backbone of the album is very much a night-time/early morning record in my mind. I had intended for the album to be very stripped back and low-key. I don’t know if it ended up that way! You were in Sun Studios in January this year. That would appear to be a place that holds a specific place for you on a personal level as a musician. Absolutely, I grew up on the Sun Sound. What did it mean for you to be recording in that studio? Well I was honoured to be recording in the same studio that Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis all started out in. Did anything come from being there that you have transferred onto this album? No. I recorded some old songs and they will probably come out at some stage in the future. You returned to the live circuit and we caught you play live at Saucy Sundays. How good was it to be back out there on stage again as opposed to being in the studio? Are there any plans for live shows to go with the launch of the album? Playing live and studio are two completely different animals. I always enjoy playing live,
but I’m in my comfort zone in the recording studio. There will be some live shows around the time of the album coming out. To what extent, I don’t know! That night we saw you play alongside Michael MacLennan. He is an artist that you have been working as producer on for his new material. You have been working with everyone it seems. Who else have you been in the studio working with? The Hot Sprockets, Gypsy Rebel Rabble, The Eskies, Edisons, Superblondes, The Young Folk, Twin Headed Wolf, Jerry Fish, John Grant & Villagers, Jake Clemons, 2 Minutes 2 Midnight, Luan Parle and loads of others. The Hot Sprockets have announced a release date for their album “Brother Nature”. Without giving too much away, what can we expect from that album that is (a) Definitely Hot Sprockets and (b) a marked progression from their previous album “Honey Skippin’”? Are there any tracks on the album that you are glad
made the final cut? Their new single “Home Slice” has a very special place in my heart. I just adore those dudes. They should be given their own TV show. Of the other artists that you are working with, how has the recording process being overall? I kinda have a routine of how I work in the studio, plus I have some great people who work with me like Scott, Ronnie Morgan & Sean Coleman. But anything goes most of the time and I guess you just figure out what works best along the way. Every band or artist is different and unique. Do you find that you grow more as a producer or as a musician when you find yourself working on other people’s material? Or is it a balance that comes somewhere in between? I think it’s a little bit of both. You can’t really pick one or the other. I try and learn something new each recording session.
THE MANC TANK Column by David Beech
Tracks such as 'Forest Bank' exhibit this brilliantly. Drawing from a wealth of influences such as ...And Out Come the Wolves-era Rancid and The Clash, it's immediately obvious that the band refuse to bay to the generic expectations laid out by Manchester as a city. And while it can certainly be argued that 'Manc Music' doesn't have the same clichĂŠd restrictions it did twenty years ago, it's still a music scene dominated predominantly by an indie majority. The Minx, however, have other plans. Their most recent release 'Corporation Pop' was recorded in one live session, and though the production quality wavers slightly in the face of it, the punk authenticity of the session reigns supreme, giving fans another reason to fly The Minx flag high. A tumultuous, anarchic track, the sheer energy that bursts forth is untapped and unadulterated, much like the track itself. An explosive chorus of gang-chant style vocals isn't quite the icing on the cake as much as it's the safety-pin through the nose, and if any of the four remaining tracks taken from this studio session muster even half the energy this does, we're in for something truly special.
Though they've been around for a couple of years now, The Minx, a two-tone/punk hybrid from Wythenshawe, are finally seeing the fruits of their labour reaped. Their last few home-town shows have been sold-out energetic affairs, increasing in size every step along the way and it's easy to see why. Their music doesn't lend itself to the rainy city in the way that other bands do. Indeed, the inclusion of an organ injects their repertoire with a definite dose of sunshine more akin to the West Indies than Wythenshawe. As a band, they're so atypical of both their surroundings and their era, that it's hard to put a finger on what makes The Minx so special; and therein lies their appeal.
Though it has taken a while for the ball to get rolling, now that it has, it shows no sign of slowing down with the momentum behind it building with every gig and every release. A host of fairly high-profile support slots across Manchester have also done nothing to hamper the inevitable ascent to the top of the game. Loud and brash, anarchic though not without melody, The Minx are one of Manchester's most exciting young acts at the moment. You can almost bet that 2014 is going to see them follow in the footsteps of the city's most recent exports. Expect big things. Expect them soon.
Hi guys, thanks for taking the time out to answer our questions. To start with, your sound isn't inherently 'Manchester', at least in comparison to the generic indie of some acts out there at the moment, but how would you describe yourselves personally as a band? To be honest, I don’t think we fit in with the whole “Manchester” tag, and what comes with it. The Minx aren’t “trendy”, but I think that’s why it works. Don’t get me wrong, we love Manchester music, and the likes of The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Inspiral Carpets etc are big influences on us but I don’t think it necessarily shows in the music we make. Now the Buzzcocks on the other hand… You've been a band for a while now, but it seems over the last 12 months that things have really started moving in your direction, with some decent support slots for the likes of Inspiral Carpets and a string of sold out headline shows in Manchester already under your belt. Was there a pivotal point in which you started noticing stuff happening? I think last year (2013) was the real start for us. That’s when we started (properly) releasing our tunes and getting real radio play. We had a solid plan from January 2013 to get the “Hey! Mr Warden” EP out, followed by the (Can You Find) My Head? Single, with gigs around both, and we just stuck to it and it worked. There's obviously a lot of two-tone and reggae influences mixing with the punk vibes in your music. Do you think this is a cultural thing that stems from growing up in a city like Manchester, or is that just the kind of music you grew up listening to? Both! We’re all really in to reggae and have been since growing up. We’re lucky to be based in multicultural Manchester, I’m positive that’s had a spin on how our music has formed.
Similarly, what do you think it is about the city that allows such a multitude of bands to flourish the way they do in Manchester? And do you think the sheer amount of music on offer creates a competition between bands? Manchester’s always buzzing, with some great live venues. So there are always good shows on. I wouldn’t say there’s competition. In all honesty I wouldn’t mind hearing/seeing more. Your latest single “(Can You Find) My Head” came out last year and it summaries The Minx as a band brilliantly. How well has it been going down with fans and critics? “(Can You Find) My Head?” has gone down a storm. With the track being picked to soundtrack Dr Martens global AW13 campaign, it put us on a whole new level and opened our fan base globally. Everyone seems to really dig it, which is cool. You announced on Facebook the other week that you had been in the studio laying down some new tracks. When can we hear them and are they another EP or part of something longer? We popped to a little studio in Rochdale, set up live and laid down 5 new tunes in a day. We filmed it all and will be uploading each track as a series over the coming months. The first track has just gone live “Corporation Pop” and you can check it out on YouTube. You had a crazy year in 2013, and must've had some brilliant experiences. What's been some of the most memorable? Any tour stories you want to entertain our readers with? The best experiences of 2013 were definitely our 3 consecutive sold out Manchester shows at Soup Kitchen, Deaf Institute and Sound Control. Each one was just brilliant and bigger than the last. As for tour stories…we’d rather forget.
Manchester is full of eclectic venues. They're as much a part of the city's musical heritage as the bands which play them, arguably more so in the cases of some. With that in mind what do you think about the current noise complaints befalling some venues in the Northern Quarter? I think it’s all a load of bollocks. If you move next door to a music venue, then it’s expected you are going to hear noise. If you don’t want to hear noise, move to rural Wales or something. You're gigging with Darlia at SoundControl late next month, and you must've gigged with a fair few bands in a similar position to yourselves over the years. Anyone you'd like to plug or give it of exposure to? There’s some great bands knocking about. The great thing about putting on our own headline Manchester shows is we get to hand pick the support acts. So far we’ve had Guy Connor, Bourbon Street Beat, The Velveteen Saints, No Hot Ashes, Dirty North and soon to be James Munro at our next sold out Eagle show on the 28th March. They’re all great. With 2013 proving to be the year for you that it was, 2014 is going to have be pretty special to top it. What are the band's plans for the year ahead? Headline tours? Prospective albums? Festivals? Onwards and upwards. Our debut single “No Friends” is set to be re-released around April time. We’ll be looking to do our next big headline Manchester show around the same time (venue TBC). There will be a small tour and as many festivals that will have us. Finally, any parting words or exclusives you'd like to leave our readers with? Snapback crackpipe snakebelt.
SCENE & HEARD
DIMESTORE RECORDINGS Sweeney’s 6-3-14
An honourable mention must go to DAVINIA BRADY. Due to events beyond our control we weren’t able to see all of her set but what we did see showed her in a very positive light as a performer. The artist who followed her next was CONOR LINNIE and he really is a true master when he takes to the stage. Joined for the night by GYP~Y REBEL RABBLE alumni BRONAGH KEOGH and KATIE LYNN he got things underway with “Gossimer Girl”. This has a proven feel to it from the jilty way it is carried across. That is a conventional application that necessitates in the fine way that it is all traced across. Yet it brings it all through in an exact way. The blissful turn is again on show with “Unearthly Light”. The noted sweetness of the tune meets the break and fall in a kind way that makes the fluidity more determined. This adds a fitting tranquillity that embraces things as it unravels. The hard keel that he is known for is taken stock smartly. That invites the lucid strands in the play to snare the appeal. In turn this brings a strong draw to the overall delivery. It is a spirited tune in its own right but in his hands he comes to own it. A cover of the PAUL SIMON classic “Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Feet” and here the solid work pours out effortlessly with the softer style slipped into comfortably. There is something again well gathered on “Cherryblossom Bloom”. The sweet skip gets going with a marked style. The definition is captured in the performance here in a way that sees it right as it all takes off. A cover of “I’m On Fire” gets everything about the BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN number right. It then allows the barren and lush sentiment of “The Fire I’m Kindling” to pass through favourably. There is a careful kindness to be found as it opens up. That expresses in a way that signals an intent from the lyrics as it sweetly ushered in. This fleeting grace really gets it going. There is a manner about the delivery of “Crash Bandicoot Blues” that makes for a lot of admiration. The stillness spun out on the guitar in the running resonates in the air with a vibrancy that commands the stage. It is atop draw effort, with the brisk keel of the arrangement allowing the right points to ride up high on the delivery. Yet they are there by intent and this is why he catches things in the spirited way they do. The bygone feel of his final tune “The Praying Mantis Blues” imbues the sensibility finely. This features in a certified way. And from the procession of the play a presence solidly builds that is sharply felt. That he has been shortlisted as a potential act for Glastonbury 2014 is no surprise.
............................................................................................................................ We were seeing this band perform live for our first time but they left one heck of a lasting impression on us. The drumming pounds away on “Got A Good Reason” and the admirable lift given to it from the chequered pace ignites it. There is a coasting feel to it that holds in a high way as it all clicks into gear. The lean feel they have mastered shows again on “Always Waiting And No Debating”. Things veer towards a shoegazer appeal, yet they exact a change in direction that defies this. The catchy running holds firm and plays a solid role in the effective reach that the delivery comes to have. The brief “Don’t Start What You Can’t Stop” displays enough to make you take note of the band. There is a big difference to how “Satellite” then picks up because it really takes it away. The determined weight clocks in with a solid showing. What is taken stock of here is reflected in the ability that recklessly makes the most of the bold showing. Another explosive number followed with “Five In Five”. The virile slant is comfortably at home alongside the loaded pace. It adds something definite with the drops in the rhythm and how they brilliantly flash across as they fall into place. The sublime bass line of “Big Dirty Boss” stirs the appeal. How it relates to the build is progressively styled. The heavy emphasis is excellent and puts a proper order to how it all lines up. The stellar form they have as a live act shows with the excellent “Slick Ricks & Big Dicks”. The operation at work brings symmetry to the dynamics of the drum and bass. The fronting of everything from the guitar work puts a stubborn ability upon it that is amazingly brought through. This is not just good, this is really good. They then shake it all up with “One Tough Luck”. It is not too overly confident. Instead the layered feel enhances the texture in the playing to intensify the showing. Yet this is reeled in with the stern hold in the styling. The desire and intent of “Don’t Be Surprised” contains a volume that comes across like “Break On Through” by THE DOORS being processed by THE FALL. This is a fantastic tune all round and there comparison itself is a suitable superlative. They hang back with their final tune “The Splitter”. The languid tone denotes a slight shoegazer charm that is slick. The regardless stupor it has draws you in while the underlying conviction that follows hones this. How it is projected is all kept in time in a consequential way that shows.
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THE DIJON BABES
LEGION OF APE We really like this band. They always have something about themselves that they carry off when they play live. The magnitude of “Tells” swells up to bring a full on and thunderous feel that is deliberately maintained. There is an investment from the band that turns things in with a proven feel. The stark showing of their next tune “Explain It All Away” comes to bear in a cracking way. The weight collects in the urgency of the delivery. What you also pick up on is the way they throw themselves into things with the ardent display. A kick denotes the stride of “The Tin Box”. There is also a disenchanted/disconnected hold from things that brings a lot to the equation. The justified resurgence is there to be found in the delivery. They feed a style into “Battle Of The Clams” that catches it head on with the intro. The crisp ignition holds the tracking in place. Both vocally and instrumentally it powers along with a demeanour that matters in the live showing. Following a version of “50 Foot Queenie” by PJ HARVEY was “Yes I Am”. This sees them get straight into it. The stray vocals personalise the sordid connection that figuratively comes through on the rhythm. A passive leaning is also there to be found in terms of the content that touches base with a fine showing that matches the flow and intent. There is a catchy side to “Electroblution” that immediately opens up. The candid side is processed to bring an edgy feel that is formidable as the playing is laid on. This is a fired up effort that pulls everything together. A neater song comes through with “The Reason Is Chemical”. The fine formations in the delivery elevate the overall appeal which runs handsomely. There is something about the playing ability that smartly shows and it allows their closing tune “The 7, 8, 9” to command everything. The heightened running gives to the song a great deal while also concluding things from them in a deserved way. A gig in Whelan’s on March 25th is next from the band.
PUNCH FACE CHAMPIONS
The thing with bands that are purely instrumental is that they fall into two categories – pretentious and those you actually give a damn about. PUNCH FACE CHAMPIONS are a band that avoids the pitfalls of pretentious. Instead what you get from them is a solid live act that provokes things with how engaging their music comes to be. “11” is astutely measured and falls into place with a level of bravado neatly squared away. That forages into the definition and gives a good account of their progressive style. The high ended feel from the style of “12” yields things in a commendable way. The hooks from the bass are forthright and they consolidate everything in a clear way. On “5” the sweet demeanour holds everything together. The tidy showing they have as a band is to their usual high standard which builds on the expectancy in the delivery. The two drummers also adds a nice touch in the delivery and procures as much about showmanship as substance. There is sweet rat-a-tat feel before an all guns blazing approach is adopted on “8”. The contrast between the approaches makes the spatial flow of things a lean affair. The manner in how it presents is well worked and the ability that they have collectively shelters all of this conclusively. A degree of funk is brought to bear on “2”. From the intro to the bridge there are neat inversions that progress imaginatively. How they do so, and their application, brings a full on showing to it all. “10” is another eventful and well managed performance. The expressive side is solid. What they produce instrumentally sells you for how impressionable it comes to be. The angled way of the delivery tellingly leads into their closing number “9” without skipping a beat. There is a considerable emphasis placed on the expressive side. As a result they manage to get underneath it all with a telling amount of intellect on an artistic level. A great tune to end a great set on really.
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MILLION LITTLE GODS
The surprise act of the night was MILLION LITTLE GODS. They were added to the night’s line-up as a late addition, but they were in town as they were playing a showcase gig in The Button Factory. We have seen them play before and they have been an act that has delivered to a high standard. “Ceteacea” has a subtlety about it that endears to the seamless quality with the considerable way it flows. This turns on a clean showing that dictates the terms in an assured way and holds securely on the pick-up. A rather eloquent feel is picked up on with “Black Kite”. The stylish way it branches out ascertains context from the consummate elements. This sees the arrangement bind to the delivery and procure a neat kick in the rhythm. The sincerity carries through on “Mammoth”. This is a signature tune from the band. Calling the shots on “Need A Little” is the drumming. It eases the song into being as the band toil away. There is also a calypso feel to the sound that is played in on the undertone. The purity is on show with “Dot The Shores”. In addition to that there is a hard tone that adds to the able bodied and measured feel from the delivery. There is also an accountability that is worked in that surmises their efforts as it closes out. There is a personified depth on show with “We Need This”. It easily calls out the bigger aspects as the delivery falls into place. This comes across triumphantly from how passive and accomplished it feels. The last song on the night was “Puma”. The firm and textured feel in the tempo gets under it with a fanciful depth. The proven quality is tracked impeccably. The riffs call it all out with a reckless abandon. That meets well with the lyrics and vocals. As their song goes with this line “we could have it all”….you actually realise -that 54 they - do have it all. They are definitely a band that could be going places.
THE RUBY SESSIONS Doyle’s Pub (4-3-2014)
Dutch artist JASPER MOOK is currently in town and The Ruby Sessions was one of his planned stops on this tour. The shapely build on show with the demeanour of the vocals carries the build through in a very consequential way. How the performance finds urgency brings it all along with a thoroughly deserved showing here. In doing so the rest of his set was set up nicely to follow suit. That is reflected in how “Ready Or Not” catches the exactness in the feeling of the song with the deliberation it does. What follows through matches the maturity from what presents. The firm standing of the delivery convinces as the structure maintains the composure throughout. It was then followed up by “A Thousand Miles”. Here the acoustic guitar setting brings a neat foray to the VANESSA CARLTON classic that is rather resilient. The catchy and hard brush of “Heartbeats” fades away after the intro. In exchanged the vocals take over that side of duties, but there is also something solid to be found in the running and beat. The controlled side of the performance takes stock of this and the formidable way it does so brings a heightened sense to it all as it rises. The fifth and final song in his set was “Take Me There”. There is a committed feel to how the rhythm builds that is exacted in a distinct way from what it brings to the mix. The cushioned feel about the delivery is beckoned quite well and processed in a way that matches that outlining.
They walked out from behind the famous red curtain and just got straight down to things. The virtue gets a lot right in “Mistake”. How the vocals cut across with the drifty of the guitar imbues the performance with splendour, while the sparser feel from the guitar finely hones the intimate hold of the song. There is a light pull on the guitar that sets “All My Years” on its way. The consummate offering moves along neatly with the co-ordination in the lyrics and comes to settle decently. The shared vocals on the chorus add to the amble appeal and turn on the charm in a big way. A brand new song followed called “Dust And Lungs” that has an apparent beauty to it. The elegant hold nurtured from the break down allows the steadfast overture in the rhythm to keep it all in line. They build things on this one. The acute derivative found in the intricate side is smartly rolled out. As a result the song comes to find itself handsomely with the vocals being a high point of note. Their fourth track, “Home Away”, picks up the pace in a noted way to give things a more determined showing. The smart side of things is there to be found and bring a great deal to the mix. It is this balance between weight and substance that gathers appropriately as it all takes flight.
The quality of what this band has to offer is immediately apparent as soon as they begin to play. Everything falls into place from the off and fixes itself in the running expertly. The handsome country style of the song is brilliantly worked and brings out a more effective drive in the delivery. What also stand it good stead are the highly attentive aspects that go into making it a great tune. The title track of their upcoming EP was next. “Irish Boys” sees a more consistent touch from the banjo in the sound. It is the Dixieland calling of the song that pushes things through with aplomb. Yet in how it is reeled in, the bayou subtleties seep through fancifully. Yet there is a merriment to admire from how the rhythm carries it all off. There is a rich and lavish curly to “On The Road” that produces the goods in the story it tells. The solemn and descript style about it allows the vocals to cleanly gel on it. As a result, what bears down on it bears fruit. The opening of “Sarah Jane” is smartly laid out. The harmony in turn then shapes the song, while there is again a heavier load bore down in the sentiment. That is assayed in a clean way that gets the passive stirrings worked through in a fine way. The timely side of “Sail Away” shows a scope and range that fix to the song in a way that give it a big kick. The solemn side is applied beforehand and the change in direction is stoked firmly. What is solid about the song is thrown down smartly and in turn gives the running something more resolute to hold on to.
THIS OTHER KINGDOM THIS OTHER KINGODM were the final act on the night and were deserving of being handed the task of bringing the show to a close tonight. The nimble beat fixed in “Ghostly Carnival” has a telling roadhouse feel to it that neatly falls into place. There is also a marvellous energy and vibe to it that enhances the appreciation, while there is something superb about the lyrics that match the intent. The psychedelic wonderment captured on “A Revolution” allows the precision in the build to excellently acquit itself. The temperament of the play aligns well with the vocal delivery. What is fashioned here lets the music do the talking and has a lot to say. The showmanship and bravado displayed when they performed “Rewind Refind” acutely feels out the way that the rhythm builds. The band excites you in a noted way here. The opportune and expansive side conditions the moody aspects of the play in a textured way that the band are highly aware of. That is an attribute that goes a long way for the live showing here. With “You Used To Be” the tumble of the rhythm guitar is highly felt, while the overall blissful turn of pace to it is expertly controlled. What falls into place with the vocals makes the content feel more deliberate. Everything expertly matches up from the process as a while and the muscle shown pushes it all through. The opening line of their last song “Sunlight” grabs you and the rest appears to have been cut from the same fine cloth. The temerity is what weighs in on it in a big way and it certainly adds up. The tempo is also catchy and it is the absolution about it that all falls into place that show how exceptionally well-worked it all comes to be. They were the acts, that was the music, we were the audience and that was The Ruby Sessions.
The Grand Social (2-3-14)
After a slight hiatus from being away on more pressing matters, we were back in The Grand Social for Saucy Sundays. As always the high standard of music and artists on show was there, but in particular the first band on the evening OH BOLAND stood out for us. The clean breakdown in the rhythm of their first track “It’s Not Heartbreaking” is excellently applied in terms of being brash and full on. This gives it a solid showing that is ignited furthermore from the vocals. In turn it brings a heightened sense of real to what they are about. “Up Her Organ” followed. It is a curt and sweet number that factors that dalliance into the showing in a neat way. It captures a charm, while the vocals cleanly push out the raw side. The undeniable spirit about it is maintained with real aplomb. The elegance of the guitar riffs on “Baby’s Gone” see things step up a gear. That urgency deliberates over proceedings neatly and rounds out the rhythm. The clean meeting of dynamics become a true tour-de force. There is a skiddy feel about “Screwin’” that is touched on quite well. It lifts off with gusto and pace. While the catchy side is turned on in a big way, there is substance to also be found. It is a solid number overall that manages to cement the appeal off the back of being a top tune. The focus of the play is brought forth with a generous helping on “Tidy Is”. There is a zest found from how it resonates, yet it bombs along into a truly thunderous performance that adds a lot more than just a hint of bravado. The energy and pomp is found again on “Where Is The Beach”. The magnitude shown in the performance sets it all alight. But it is in the live showing that they impress most because they show what they are made of. The direction is marked by the differing playing arcs on “Home Truths”. The smart handling brings a slight cult romanticism to it that is there by intent. The blissful feel coming through off the sharp guitar riff makes you fall in love with the song. They closed with “I’m So Clean”. Following a tidy rolling from the drums they get straight in and the clever kick tumbles along. That loaded feel in the way it sounds is kept in check, but how it holds together displays a truly well-disciplined effort in a big way.
SAMUEL VAS-Y We have seen Samuel perform before as TICKLY TEETH and as a solo artist. Tonight it was to be all about the latter and his solo set proved just as credible. “Creeping And Crawling” settled things. The brisk movement on show stirs the rhythm and pours out strongly on the delivery. This creates a splendour that is dutifully handled. It allows a lot of the right things come to be realised from what is on show. A cover of SERGE GAINSBOURG’s “Le Poinconeur Des Lilas” tidily leads in “That-A-Girl”. The comparative poise seeps through from the playing to make for a content number. This is spaced out steadily and is what motions the stationary side of the delivery. Here he makes good use of the solitary awareness and invests a lot of the right things to bring a great deal from his playing. A coolness comes into the mix on “Millionaire Of Hours” that suits the flow. The fondness of the song drifts through. Yet it follows through abundantly and holds in a resilient way that is easy to root for. The gentle aspects of “Jungle Dream” kindly filter through. It sits well and there is something thorough about the conventional way it all moves through. From the off it is a very tidy number. Another cover then followed. This time “Brindo” by DEVENDRA BANHART got an airing. What filters through gently tidies away and was figuratively done. His next song “Millionaire Of Hours” acquits itself well. The enamoured skip in the lyrics brings a defined feel to proceedings that display the warmth of the song. But it is also a neat tune that comfortably falls into place. He then shows some more showmanship by proceeding to include a lullaby in his set. “Coucou” neatly wiles away. The even strokes prove the value of everything. What necessitates in the grandiose terms is highly inviting. In turn it creates a candid demeanour that pulls you in. To see his set out was “Cada Dia”. Here the guitar is finely felt and holds high on the intro. Singing in French adds a flair to it that holds in a knowing way. This is tasteful and solid, which suits the placid style and bequeaths it all - 54 with a lavish touch that is quite spirited.
TORYFOLD have been away for a while, but it would appear that they are back in a big way and have lost none of their magic either. The strong opening on show with “The Underpass” is excellently tracked. From the opening it is catchy, but it is all on the money. This has a big appeal going for it that yields a great deal from the high kick in the rhythm. They acquit themselves well yet again on “True Love Tells Lies”. This is eased in and the broader side meets well here. How it all picks up is smartly done, with the collective showing from them as a band being more than apparent. The guitar locks in something solid on the opening to “Running Out Of Life”. This in turn draws out the opening with the steady hand shown on the drumming. It is refined, but it the progresses to become something harder that stokes the delivery. The urgent and purposeful way it comes through creates a big number with real presence. The way “Without You” becomes a pop tune suits the style of the band. The deliberation from the tempo is smartly pulled through which exerts a controlled focus into the play in a telling way. They are rewarded from how the lyrics grow into the progression. It carefully displays the right qualities in how it builds. A track off their first album, “The Battle” came next. This is a tune that plays its part well. The hard angled theme brings a high amount of definition that teases out the sense of vocation to it all in how it neatly breaks down. The piano brings an intricate plausibility to it that is felt along with the bass on the bridge. Their brief set was closed by “Delphine”. It is a big tune that has the intent clearly marked out and storms into proceedings. It gathers up in a big way on the playing side, but the vocals are cornered quite well and play as big a role. Here the band show what they can do as musicians, but they also appear to have thrown a keen eye on the showmanship side of things as they lead into “Misirlou” and leave the crowd in the palm of their hand. The band has an EP in the works which is due for release in April.
YELLOWBRIDGE We have seen CIARA DONNELLY play many
times on the live circuit over the past two years and she always brings a proven sense to her shows. That is shown in the worth of her songs and, equally so, in the voice that she has. That second point is emphasised on “Cruising”. The fine way it is all written leverages a lot alongside her voice as it is worked into the delivery. The drumming and guitar expertly play in on the arrangement to procure the excellent qualities that make it a big number, but they accommodate the more delicate aspects. She then soulfully walks in “Winter City”. Here the tone of her voice commands over everything as the lyrical content lights up. Two covers follow. The first is “Earthquake” by LABRINTH and it falls into place. The second, MATT CORBY’s “Brother” shows a lot more. In particular the high notes on the chorus and how they are pitched. “Circus” is a noted tune with a figurative calling to be found in the lyrics that manages to get underneath the play. It achieves a lot and sends the delivery through in a big way. The savoury keepsake of the lyrics savour a great degree of merit as the song takes flight. The reflective and deep side is eloquently coaxed. Her final song “The Hunter” then imparts a lot of the right qualities as it all falls into place. The forlorn aspects come through from the delivery. While the harmony is prepped in a way to get the best out of the lingering flow that merges with the harder moments. What is laid out here is also fronted appropriately and the relevance of the progression is equally marked.
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nother band that we have always seemed to miss live through various reasons is THE FALLEN DRAKES. They have been on our radar for some time and tonight they played a brief acoustic set. Although the stripped back set has a lot going for it. The solemn feel coming off the piano on “Masquerade” suitable frames the song. The conviction of the soulful side is intelligently traced. What follows that up is “Anymore Cinema” and they have a closeness sounded out on it that they are quite mindful of. The select tone manages to find the right balance between sentiment and substance. With how this is parked off in the delivery projects the softer side with a fine and elaborate manner.
THE FALLEN DRAKES
The vocals circle “The One’s That Got Out”. The song is about those people lucky to escape the current state the country is in. The acoustic setting sees it find itself at home in a complete way as it rides along finely. The choice aspects are very much the real deal and they help to smartly press ahead the warmth of the delivery. LANA DEL RAY’s “Summertime Circus” felt suitable in the set list here. Then they signed off with “Final Hour”. The band currently has a video in the works for this which will be online soon. The delivery itself manages to pry the correct amount of feeling and there is a diligence to be found. The gentle feel of the tambourine kicking away is a nice touch and suits the running here. Overall they procure the tender side finely. In turn there is a degree if intimacy keeping it all intact that is smartly felt from the off.
............................................................................................................................ This band from Kilkenny closed things for us here at The Grand Social. A virile effort opened things from them called “Kill The First”. The somewhat stark break down that comes through is picked up on. This in turn makes it come across with an offbeat gothic theme to it. They then strip it back for “Exhale”. The understated tone drags across here finely with the patient stirrings. What is trapped in the stationary is trapped down and accommodates the progressive side of their music. Comfortably numb would best describe “Forgotten”. The heavier emphasis collects in a relevant way that shows a fine level of musicianship.
They show they can play again on “Absolute” as the guitar rings out on the opening. It is constructed in a way that unravels. While it sounds well it also does overplay things. The running time is too long and the wet around the ears points they have are there to be picked up on. This again shows on “Mercy”. Yet the things they get right are well played. The catchy side adds to the allure in a balanced way. It in turn brings a vitality that shapes it all in a proportional way. With the progressive bridge these qualities are excellently kept hold of. Their last track “Doll Face” cleanly opens and they land something very neat in the overtures. The coveted feel of the vocals is nicely applied and here they begin to show some mettle. What brings the proven also shows a bit of bite. If they work on those areas they could develop things a lot more you feel.
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@ The Wicked Chicken (22/2/14)
ow coming into being on the Dublin circuit for a year, there is something about the sound that PENROSE have that is beginning to show a maturity in a noted way. Both in terms of the song writing and how they are growing into their performances each time we see them play. “Your Past” got things going tonight and this has a smart aplomb about it that makes the rhythm rather shapely. It controls things steadily and the catchy side immediately assures their presence. It packs a neat amount of hustle into the tidy number it comes to be. There is a progressive feel to “Spirit” and the sound adheres to this as it wraps around the build. It is one of those songs placed in the hands of a band who know what to do with it. The appeal is underlined by the drumming and guitar style that drives it on. They currently have an EP in the works and “Stars Shine” will be included. This has a kick that is sensibly placed putting a sharper focus on the rhythm. There is a confidence about the delivery that produces a tight showing form the togetherness they have as a band.
You are taken in by “Feel The Love” from the very beginning. The sentiment on show fashionably romanticises everything. In return they show a determined side that denotes a fine song writing ability at the source of it all. This sees it right and allows the direction changes of “Where To Go Now” come across in a mature way that feels natural. The lean feel of the guitar is greeted by a smart lyrical content. All the right things connect here and hold up in an exact way that meets finely with the progression. There is more depth to the tone on “It Ain’t Country”. That offset gives it an Americana stirring that gets under it sweetly when it takes flight. The emphasis on play supplies it with an edge that tips it towards a degree of excellence that retains a large amount of substance.
They closed with a folk song called “Drifting Away”. This is a balanced number that is quite affirmative as the build takes it away. It is one of those tracks with an apparent grandeur to the running that proves itself with the vocals being up to the task. They marry well with the overall end product here and are effective from how resolute they make the temperament feel.
Another fine act on the night who are beginning to
garner the right amount of attention is KICKING BIRD and they took to the stage here tonight and showed just why. There is an earnest placing on their opening track “Busy Day Time Traffic” that carries across on the soothing sentiment. This gives it a sweet pull and proves a big draw, while the harmonica adds a lonesome derivative that is strongly applied. The goodness in the beat of “Forever And A Day” procures a rich country influence that adds a marked distinction. It builds smartly and becomes sturdy when it gets going. This lends generously to the pace when it picks up. “The Drifter (Sugarman)” travels in an esteemed way. It clocks in sensibly and the fulfilled appreciation sees them take good stock of the playing. This sees the handling they have over the bluegrass style of everything meet with a solid vocal performance as much as it does in becoming a good song. What follows next works the crowd and still retains a solid sense of charm and appeal. The way they avoid the pitfalls of making “The Yodel Song” fall into the territory of novelty leverages the charm and appeal fully. The cajun adds a big kick, while the Johhny Cash/June Carter showmanship is excellent. The piccolo comes out on “Bluebird” and here they seem to grow in confidence as it clicks into gear. There is a readiness to it that tidies away the nimble attributes in a big way. How it meanders on the tempo very much takes things in the right direction. With “Shine” the loneliness found is cleverly traded upon. It builds an intimacy in to the play that sees it well, while the tempo has a pronounced figuration that is addressed properly in the way it all holds. The finesse of “All I Want Is You” adds to quaint appeal that easily comes to pass. The harmony and melody are highly effective. They are applied to good effect and what is yielded stands it good stead, while there is a lot to be said for the dulcet quality found in the voice. That dulcet tone is wonderfully carried across on “A Brighter Day”. The high notes are held with consummate ease. How natural it feels is a big sell here. The timing on hand in the playing from the xylophone and cajun also put the neatest of touches on things, but at the same time bring a lot to the mix. Their sound progressed and is sent up strongly from the refined showing of “What You Do To Me”. The rounded skip in the beat is quite formidable and places a hint of distinction that is very exact with all round control in the performance that matches the intent considerably. The slight Mariachi feel of “Drunk And Bruised” sees the vocals find form with the lyrical flow. The acute purpose built is felt in the bat as it is all brought through. The fine measure of weight that is collared brings a brisk jolt that is keenly felt. “The Beast” slowly and steadily grows into a tempered tune that is quite catchy. The sullen flits in the play are appropriately placed. The trade between tempo and high vocals is appropriate and gets the attributes together in a way that proves they are very much the real deal as a band. With “Tear Me Down” there is a resolve easily found from the off. It gives it an Americana feel that makes the sound serious and graceful in equal measures. How it is kneaded through brings a proven weight to what is on show, and it rises in a rich vein that has consistency to it. The bequeathed effort of their final track “Edge Of The Earth” brings a kindness to how it is structured. The natural feel to the sheltered side takes over and places that centrally. It adds a proven touch in the process that gives the countenance of the rhythm something to blend to the ethereal qualities. It is a figurative number on account of this and sees them out finely.
THE STONEY BROKES
“I’m Not Dying” brings a precision to accompany the edge. The imaginative turn here is finely caught which then turns in a blistering tune as much as it does an excellent live showing. The defiant slant brings an anthemic feel that rises up finely as they break into a stride as they step it out. A sturdy side perfects the beat on “Ms Francis”. That rises highly in an unrestrained way with generous aplomb. The grunge feels its way through and the lyrics also have a lot going for them in how it is all pieced together. Things become catchy with “The Job”. The worth is apparent from the off in the fine margins showing. The derivative of the delivery is excellent, while the management of how it all breaks down is smartly handled. They then slow things down again for “Robin Hood”, and in doing so show that they are more than capable of producing
tunes with a high ability to the structure. This is another wonderfully worked effort that leverages the romantic leanings with distinction. It is a trait that is knowingly pressed and the overall effort comes across like a souped up PORTISHEAD tune. What gradually builds on “Say Goodbye” leads it to a point of true substance. The signature feel of the band is very much on show, while the ratty motioning of the ply is highly effective. What is procured on the bridge translates to an energetic tune full of verve that is a true knockout. They then power along on “The Fear”. It is a great effort with the leaner focus working well as it does so. The content skip hangs off the rhythm and it all gets factored into the mix and shows in a big way.
Having just finished recording their new album, THE STONEY BROKES were back to doing what they do best – playing live. They got straight into it with “CV”. The zip and pace are firmly felt on it and the distinct pick-up meets well with the animated energy of their performance. Here the high standard that you come to expect of them as a band has been set down by them. The hooky feel of “Girl Don’t Sleep” reins in a superb appeal that shows in the playing gains. That clean handling makes the showy points more deliberately felt. There are also pinches in the rhythm that comes to bear smartly on the breakdown. “Eulogy” comes next. The lucid feel coming off the opening allows the ambience to build. But the approach here is what generates the soulful characteristics’ appeal. The way it is played on all fronts is truly marvellous and as a live showing it wows in a big way.
The cautious side to “Make Me New” builds the passive side and steers the opening. This is a big number that comes off in an exceptional way. To see the live showing here, and the manner in how it is delivered, is to witness a band firmly in their element. The offbeat kitsch of “Something Irrelevant” is high on appeal. The pomp in the delivery shades all the makings of the tune. The hard side that rises fashionably settles into the rhythm by design. There is also something smart to be admired form how it electively brings out the best in it. The ambient and open “Bad Man” brought the curtain down on a fine night of music. The vulnerable side of this song is felt in the reflective tone before it picks up. How it all leads in shows and catches everything on the right side in all the right ways. It is great to see a band make all the right moves, and here the angst is felt in all the right places, while the lucid tumble in the rhythm is keenly felt. Up next from the band is their album launch in Whelan’s on April 12th, while on a poignant note this was also David Kenny’s last gig with the band.
Bumper Liverpool – 22nd Feb 2014 The train from Widnes to Liverpool was delayed and I was left pondering for forty minutes or so. Sat around interminably waiting whilst listening in on other people’s conversations; wondering what I would utter in return if I was the one being uttered at; but then the train started up again and finally came to a halt at Lime Street station.I got off and hoped that I wouldn’t be asked to buy a ticket. As I left the station I was caressed wholly by the darkness of the night. Yet the city was awake and alive with no plans on slowing down anytime soon. Drunken boys and men in football shirts passed me by as a woman stood outside Maguire’s Bar smoking a cigarette. As she reminisced of what once was whilst gazing across the busy street, car after car passed her by shining their headlights to hold off the twilight. After around fifteen minutes or so I made it to Bumper and walked straight through. I walked past the bouncers, down the murky staircase and into the backroom where SUGARKING were just setting up. There was a definite sense of anticipation in the air which was now gloomy with the privation of light. I walked to the bar to order a beer before pushing back through the crowd to get a better glance at the band who were still adjusting their guitar straps and microphone stands. It wasn’t long until they hit the opening chords of ‘Bring Out The Next’ and silenced the chitter chatter amongst the audience who were now nothing more than inaudible witnesses to the charged up and fuckless brilliance of Sugarking.
Alex Turner stated a few weeks back: ‘Yeah, that rock’n’roll. It seems like it’s faded away sometimes but, uh, it will never die. And there’s nothing you can do about it’. Yeah…rock and roll does seem to fade away with the continuously worsening albums of the Arctic Monkeys – who once held the voice of youth captive so tightly and perfectly before letting it slip away as they inevitably moved further and further from home. But this band, Sugarking, certainly drive the spirit of rock and roll straight back into reality. With Al Roberts on vocals revitalising where Jim Morrison left off, it is easy to see that Sugarking deserve to be playing to a bigger audience. I almost felt lucky to be stood there, gazing up in awe at the band as a minority surrounded mea minority of fellow comrades whom I am lucky to share this sea of passion with; comrades that lust to hear the noise of creation again. Comrades that have seen the light and that understand the true meaning of value. We don’t want huge cars, fancy houses, beautiful gardens and top of the range technological devices. We just want what’s necessary and great music to accompany and compliment it. But we are a minority left to scuttle amongst what already has been done. We are all searching for differentiation. But we were searching together and in result we were all becoming the same. A girl shed tears beside me as Kyle Taylor hit the heartstrings by tearing the room apart with the
John Sykes sounding- guitar solo of “No Blame”. The entire set had the crowd solemnly infatuated. This became even more apparent to me through the melodic ‘Man in the Sky’ - a song which starts with a peculiar quietness that gradually builds with constant additions of harmonies and different chords. A great touch of Jeff Buckley with Coheed and Cambria also influencing; capturing both the beauty and the eeriness of Rezso Seress. I couldn’t prevent myself from moving uncontrollably as the effect of music took a hold of me and as the chords worked their way up and down the fret board time after time continuously hitting the right notes. The complex bassline from Jake James Brewer and the drums of Greg Scott in ‘My Way Or The Milky Way’ was definitely enough to set the room on fire and enforce an aura of shock upon the spectators. As the band left the stage screeches of cheers silenced the sounds of anything else. From the beer stained floor to the ceiling, all that could be heard was utter and sincere appreciation. But our appreciation is not good enough. Sugarking require the appreciation of more. Just as all of them do. The ones who strive to create and escape the chains of society yet are left unheard and unknown until time takes its toll and forces them all back into normality alike the slaves of the modern world.
Irish Artists TUPELO Push On
A fine marker is laid down with “Old Country” as it opens the album. The sultry side is richly applied and the finesse that comes through is well considered. But more importantly it retains a sense of purpose that sees it right from the off. They then keep the consistency going with “Ballerina’s Call”. The elegance in the calling gets so much right. The fanciful rhythm marries well with the lyrical and you sense that the band find their true calling on it. How it is ushered in is a card well played. The resilient tone of “The Shifting Ground” brings traditional Irish influences in to the mix. The nonchalant way that the rhythm tumbles across curbs this in a concrete way when it picks up. You fall for “Patagonia” in a hard way. It is a solid effort that really shows what they can do when they apply themselves. The smart way it is outlined has a candid charm that comes through with the even whim of it all. It rides high with the skip in the step and it is a blissful effort that could grow on anyone. We then come to “Wasting My Love”. The reflective sense of loss is a good contrast to how easy going the rhythm flows. The stark lyrics catch this side in a stylish way that stirs the tempo formidably. “The Hollow Of The Hill” reverts to a bucolic tracking. That is there in the gentle and still aspects of the song as much as the vivid locale of place names that are checked in the song. It is quite a pleasant offering that doesn’t demand too much of the band, but displays a fine playing ability as it all sits together.
8 The poignancy on show with “Rosin’s Land” trades firmly on an identity carried through from the traditional Irish music on show. The sentiment locks in ably and it plays that forlorn card quite well. It is a feat that is repeated but with more vigour on “When The Cockerel Crows”. It strips things back and then the harsh angle of the vocals shoulders the delivery before the spry kick in the rhythm sees it all take off. The keepsake feel of “Yesterday’s News” catches a token aspect in the delivery. It is evenly felt out and the consistency in the delivery carries the resolve through, yet it also procures a relative ease that is sharply brought to bear here. We then come to “When The Night Falls”. There is a pleasance procured in the delivery. It stays the course and falls into place with relative ease. The steady way it cleverly builds accommodates the demeanour superbly, more so from how explicitly the bridge courses through .A medium between a carefree, easy going tune and one that contains more depth is how “I Am Not There” comes across. How this is situated guides the running and it manages to get underneath it all in a consistent way that oozes class and appeal. The final track is “Push On”. The intro gives way to a positive tune that is full of spirit, both from the tempo and the lyrical content. It is smartly contained and the shapely way it all runs through has a thorough conviction that is keenly taken stock of.
ED ZEALOUS Wired The tempo of “147” opens the album with their hallmark synthesised sound locked in. That presents a vibrancy that catches things in an affirmative way and easily sees them get down to business. How the expansive side is built into proceedings sells it. The electro on “Thanks A Million” sinks into the playing hooks and it retains an edgy cut that neatly hangs in the air. The absorbing manner that the rhythm collects is an inspiring trait that collects alongside the lyrical structure to bring out the best on the track. It is quite celebratory in fact. The excellent “Medicines” follows. This is a tune that borders on perfection for how it all operates. After that comes “Telepaths”. A more shapely and cursive weight travels on this one, with the vocals adding a layer to the appeal before it takes flight. It is a song marked out for the right reasons. The album becomes more ambitious on “I Will Destroy You”. This sees the album build around the lyrics and content more so than a
9 tempo. It is very explicitly felt here and in the manner it is all controlled they really step things up a gear. “Talk With Your Hands” feels like it is from the same school of thinking. This builds in a formidable way and the right attributes are accounted for. The result is a well tracked tune with an immediate countenance balancing out the tempo and flow in a big way. With “Diamonds For Eyes” the opening of the song catches a chic turn and brings a stylish overture through in a proactive way. The effective way it is all tracked gets underneath the playing and helps it take flight. The consistency in the delivery here charges along and it is quiet mesmerising from how it is placed. The steady way “These Words” builds is noted and the gradual way that it leads into proceedings is neatly factored here. It procures a placid effect in the beat. This in turn is traded upon cleverly and it allows the differing playing arcs to come together in a way that stays the course. A guitar leans into the opening of “Videohead”, then a more organic feel kicks in on the sound. The darker feel of the track is keenly felt before it becomes directed towards a more astute tune from the running. The progression is easily accommodated which makes for a bigger tune showing of the back of it. The album closes out with “It’s Only The End”. This is high on the retro appeal and it uses that to good effect in how it runs. The 8 bit loops of electronica are nice nuances when they come in to the mix, but the conventional it is all embraced closes the album with a track it is deserving of.
NEON ATLAS Absolute Magnitude
The fine way “Where Are We Now?” holds has a lot going for it. The listless vocal that sits with the flow of the tempo serves it well. Collectively it breaks down in a strong way and that situates the working qualities of it in a loaded way that is applied in a welcoming way. Expanding on their format is “Juniper”. This more ambitious offering doesn’t feel beyond them. The casual drift and laissez-faire adds a refined touch that imbues with an excellence that is par for the course. Things drop down for “Spoken”. This is a defter tune and tracked accordingly as it opens, but it keeps to it in a consistent way. Their next tune “On Your Own” is a tune that is lighter in tone and context. Playing a safe card with it, it hasn’t got the same appeal or prowess that has gone before it. On merit it does form neatly musically but not in a way that stands out. They save themselves with “Appletree(Out Of Time)”. This is excellent
8 and the seeping flow of the rhythm kindles the delivery superbly. The bounce from the guitar riffs that flit between the more progressive is tellingly embraced. That is then followed by “Echoes In Your Sleep”. This again proves the worth of the band. It is an inviting tune that accentuates fully and the formations in the play are neatly cornered. How it curtails things is a marvellous effort that shows in an influential way. With “Automatic” there is a stoic coating that is exhilarating. The shoegazer and passive styling here have wonderment. They get down to the virile side of the delivery easily. What is subdued in the running is very referential and moves with the necessary conviction. The demeanour of “Demon Days” is savoury. The warmth is cradled vocally, yet there is a broader and expansive side that sits with the arrangement to show the high production values. It has a stagnant attribute but this is a well-played card because it feels out the song thoroughly when played. The final track on the album is “The World Is Watching”. The upbeat tempo is immediately picked up on. As is the retro feel to it. The change of approach here sits well in consideration with the rest of the album’s running. It is a tune with a wonderful projection that shoots straight and the forward thinking is also evident in the effortless way it comes through.
ONE HORSE PONY Blue When I Go We saw this impressive band recently at their first gig at Whelan’s playing support to KAMMERPOP. We have now been treated to the pleasure of listening to their album “Blue When I Go”. That is the title of the opening track and it picks up with a tremendous boost in the tempo that absorbs the overall running in a telling way. The light “Folsom Prison Blues” undertone adds a touch of class. “Staring Blues” then cleanly comes up with the goods. The content amble in the rhythm sharply collects. Those brisk elements neatly convey everything that is right about this. They develop their sound more reflectively on “Walked Into A Bar”. Catching the lonesome in a way that beatifies the transition, it is the impartial way the refined hold is refined portrays everything that sells it. The more skiddled sound of “Far & Wide picks up an assured confidence that breaks forth in a captivating way. The definition about the harder side of the style gets underneath with real aplomb. That sets up a neat contrast to compare against “No Longer Around”. Here the sound is more withdrawn and reflective. As a result it delivers with an impartial feel for the content. How it all lingers is finely
9 realised and the composure shines a light on the band for the right reasons. The touch of class brought to bear on “Two Blade Shave” merits a lot of appreciation. It hones a select feel and retains an identity that is loyal to their blues influences. The clean way “My Woman Don’t Want Me” picks up the pace on the intro is easy to warm to. The noted way it is styled meets well with how the vocals spill out. That brash turn of events brings a contented style to the running that gets underneath it all in a staggered way that selectively pushes it all through. Things procure a finer touch on “Hen Gone”. The harmonica stealing away adds that inspired element needed. The definition and the timely feel both go hand in hand here which results in the excellence coming to bear in a telling way. As “Smiler” begins it catches you quite smartly. The minded way it is arranged brings a high level of appreciation for it. The gratitude residing in the sorrowful side of the lyrical content settles into things handsomely. The tempo is also arranged to accommodate this which helps everything fall into place. With “Last Fair Deal” they appear to be losing themselves in the music. Here the hearty style fed in builds with a true even keel about it all. A more spirited effort in how it carries through, the charming drift to the overall running has a spry feel. That is built upon excellently and shows them to be very much on the money with it, in particular the angst that is drawn across on it in the vocals. The tracking of “Deadman’s Blues” lays it all down sweetly. The highly absorbing resurgence in the delivery nestles within the beat with a suitable heft that stays within the margins of the play. That tight showing is followed by “No More Water”, which closes the album. The gospel demeanour carries the song. Hard in the right places, the finesse stares the right things down but it is the deft way that it all carries across that shows they have saved the best for last.
NO MONSTER CLUB Foie Gras
“Fully Formed Cavemen” traipses an apparent kick in the beat that has a remedied charm to it. The sturdy appeal of the song is there to be picked up on, while the flitting between the handling stokes the running. “I Think You Could Only Get Away With This Carry On When You’re In) The Sun” is a catchy tune. The bustle of the guitar angles nicely across and develops the catchy beat in a forward way. The blissful appeal settles into the running with the warmth projecting something truly candid way that combines well with how it is fronted. The undertone of “The Prisoner” borrows slightly from “The Masses Against The Classes” by MANIC STREET PREACHERS. It drops out and the tone steers the determination as the track drifts which exhibits the indie chic resident in their sound. The style of “Happy Days” does sound familiar and loses some of the deliberation of the impact. The sturdy countenance in the structure gathers pleasingly. However the repetition of what has gone before it restricts it even though it is a good tune. They do up their game on “I Wanna Be Brainwashed”. The slick movements in the guitar procure a highly effective and appealing demure. They seem to progress
7 artistically, while the maturity of the terms is easily caught. There is something effective about “Warm Props”. The steadfast, candid style fronts it generously. The angled derivative hangs off the rhythm in an unbridled way that the intricate touches that add charm to in a noted way. “La La Land” etches the tempo in. The offbeat and standoffish feel to it gets going. With the catchy chorus driving the running it has a balanced feel, but it is also a simple affair that is somewhat hit and miss in places. With “Damn The Weather” they do produce a tune that is truly excellent. What is on show here gets everything right. It makes you wonder where this has been hiding because it has a flair and pedigree about it that you are really sold on when you hear it. From beginning to end it is top draw. The interestingly titled “The Best Thing About Us Is We Never Grow Up” is finely worked. It holds the rhythm in firmly while allowing the eccentrics come to the fore tellingly. It is a brief tune that doesn’t do much else. A laboured feel is found on “Troublemakers”, both in the tempo and overall running. It hangs back with a lazy appeal that guides it cleanly. The impartial feel is a divisive one in places. It does flow evenly yet it has something missing, yet you can’t quite place what. There is something about “Let’s Go Digging In Wolfe Tone Square” that is worked in finely on the playing. There is sufficient pace and lift on show, and it clicks into gear amicably. Yet somewhere it falls short along the way. A noted withdrawn and hazy style creeps in on “Those Little Bastards”. They address this sensibly and it has a hearty side that is gauged squarely. There are two differing approaches on the track too which goes somewhat awry towards the end. The album closes with “Rainbow I’m Ready To Go”. The tidy skip in the rhythm adds bounce to the delivery, while the dreamy and lucid fashion it has falls out vocally. That adds an ambient texture that flourishes with a neat intent and steadies the song all the way through.
Irish Artists BROKEN VICE Implements
The brisk feel of the calypso on the opening track “S.T.O.S.” is easily noted. It gives a rise to the tempo that suits the fluid trajectory. The subtle way that that the style fuses with the indie tint that the band identify with slips into gear rather fashionably. It brings the comfort to proceedings in a bright way. The pristine floating of the vocal on the opening line of “Preachers” sets it all on its way. The nuanced appeal of the running here manages to steer things in a deliberate way. The flight and flits that twist around the arrangement manage the catchy side and sees them box a little bit clever. “Curro” grabs you from the off. The steady feel from the bongos and drumming lead the intro in strongly. The expansive side of their style is cleanly caught on it and they put a lot on show with how it flows. That is apparent before the looming vocals add that additional spark with the way they casually hang back and linger. The big focus on playing ignites it finely. The interestingly titled “Desert Aisle” follows. There is a tapered feel about it that hangs over it. The marked change in tone is impressive. What is also there to be appreciated is the maturity in the progression and how it stands out from the rest. A great tune that is all about creating an identity musically and it deservedly bears fruit. The fifth and final track is “Pasteurisation” which is a live recording from The Block C sessions. The audio is excellent and the marked raw style bringing it through is impressive. The dalliance in structure keeps things on an even keel and here the sturdy way it is all brought through gets everything right. It is a song that is kept together and holds by design in a big way.
.......................................................................................................................... AUDIO FIRES Don’t Let
The eponymous opening track gets straight down to business. The fine wrap around the rhythm hits with a true tour-de-force and impresses. The running keeps everything in check but it is the intent that it is all delivered with that grabs you for the right reasons. It is quite catchy too but it has substance. A softer approach brings “Don’t Mistake It For Love” to the table. The patient and controlled sides are steered in with precision. The vocals and the lyrics have an amicable meeting which leads the song through. The way that the music is generously laid on here is properly judged and it doesn’t feel overdone. The lean riffs of “All Of The Way” grab you and keep you enthralled. They then allow the more cautious side to show as they give way. The way this song is built has a steadiness that is reflected in how it climbs. It adheres to something that is formulaic in a way, but it manages to light the whole track up in a big way. The fourth offering is “Une Partie De La Vie”. It is a tune that is broader in terms of tone, structure and balance. The reflective side is noted in how it opens. It is big on sentiment but it brushes it through rather than relies on it. It is a good showing here and it has that big number feel about it that retains the intimacy without feeling bland.
Let’s Get Serious The first track on this EP is called “Run Wrong” The psychedelic intro wraps around the guitar and gives atmosphere to the song, which is sustained throughout. The electro influences here were reminiscent of a few Gorillaz tracks. The vocal performance is tracked with immense, 6-part harmonies that are not something you hear often. This radiates really good vibes and develops a real sense of completion. The second track “All In Between”. It is a live track. The band is renowned for their live shows so this one really feels at home. The more of a funkier feel to it and fast paced vocals give it a real groove. The song fades out before breaking in with an intense, climatic end. Altogether it is a great track and what a tight live performance. “Thinking About” again brings a really smooth flow. The guitar work really gives it a funky element. The vocals superbly flow and bring a wonderful dynamic to it all. Fourth tack, “I Tried” starts off with an acoustic guitar and harmonics
10 before releasing a really satisfying vibe. This song is quite stripped back in comparison to the other track and becomes a bit of a ballad in its own right. The vocal harmonies throughout are exceptional and impress greatly adding some dynamic range definitely earn a place on the album. “Excuse Me Sir starts off quite slowly, but it’s not long until the band step it up a gear and go into full flow. There are a few really tasty guitar licks thrown in throughout. The strongly worded lyrics seem to tell a story. I loved this track. What follows with “Taking Me Down” again starts off quite slowly with a piano/vocal intro. The bass comes in later on which is accompanied by some soft drumming that really fits the mood. Again the vocal performance on show is truly outstanding. There is a strong emotional vibe, and you sense a lot of emotion went into the composition by the sound of it. The final track is entitled “Don’t Ask Why”. It seemed only right that the last track would kick back into the funky groove that we heard at the start. The guitar work really stood out for me on this. The chords progression used throughout the middle section of this gives it a completely different feel to the start. A time signature change towards the end of the track gives the song real dynamic and an overall sense of completion. Overall I thought this was a fantastic album. Definitely one of the best Irish bands I’ve heard in 2014. A great listen that I would recommend to any of our readers. Review by Jamie Kelly
EL GREY The dark and candid feel of the tone on the opening track “Tune In” is remedied in a way that engages you as a listener. Her vocals add a sultry element that frequents the running in a way that levels out the playing in a select way. It has an added blissful overture that is sweetly kept in check but unleashed in measured ways that make the mix feel sharper. Yet it sublimely fits the synthesised sound in a determined way.
Then the direction changes to a softer tone on “I Won’t Go”. How it is all brought around is accurately gathered. You sense her getting lost in the song from how expressive it comes to be. That progressive feel is trapped in with fine deliberation. It is interesting to note what the synthesised sound brings to the mix. It procures a lucid skip that enhances an already fully formed song to bring it up to another level. How things evolve adds further purpose to it all. The third track is “We Are Bound”. This is another effort that is cautiously built. In doing so it allows her voice to determine a more intricate song all round. The expansive side of things musically hangs in the background allowing the expressive side to flow and necessitate. It is how each part is played in the arrangement that sculpts it into the finished article it becomes.
.......................................................................................................................... THE SACRE BLUES BAND The beatnik charm of the opening song “Say What You Say” has the finest of opportune skips in the step. It lends a timeless feel to the rhythm before the sultry vocals pour out on it. The intention and goodness of it is finely wrapped around it. How it all comes together is magnificent and the eventful breakdown of it overall is superb. “Handyman” then sees things step out. It also retains that Olympian French style and this one is in keeping with it in a pure way. The candid and heartfelt way things accompany the running stay the course. The finesse is there in the casual appeal that is supported by a true sense of substance. It is very complete and works that to its advantage. The sweet French lyrics add that inherent chic to “Pas De Doute”. The colourful feel of the guitar traps things in a welcoming way that has a sharp, progressive continental flair that also denotes a stellar level of ability at work. The darling slide of “Stepping Stone” allows the country feel of it to come through. It has a solid commitment from the lyrical content. What is administered in the little touches of playing add the class. From the wood section and how it is ushered in to the rambling feel of the delivery, it is one of those tunes that you admire for how much effort has gone into making it work. There is a tidy pick up on the beat to “These Are The Things”. It ushers in the country style of the band and frames it cleverly. The sublime way it centres into things and the purity of it comes through with such precision that you can’t help but fall in love with the song. A cover of the RADIOHEAD classic “No Surprises”, albeit sung in French, loses none of the impact. It is so elegantly placed here that there is nothing to find fault with.
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THIS PLACE IS DEATH Low Light
This seven track LP gets underway with “Divide”. It has a heavy emphasis on the ensemble and it plays the part very well. It keeps things nicely ticking over and eases the track listings in. They lock down things and get the running right with “Soundtrack”. This is a solid effort that is handled very cleanly. The resonance from the guitar, combined with how the drumming and riffs drop down, is highly engaging. What also materialises in the vocals dictates the terms in an impressive way also. The title track comes next. “Low Light” has an abundant morose tone that draws you in. Akin to the early days of RADIOHEAD for how immaculate they imbue the running with the progressive slant. The steady and fluid structure suitably gets the best out of it, with the ebb and flow more than going the distance. A starker feel connects with “Blue Crystal”. Yet the flashes of brilliance in the playing exact a high level of musicianship and relay it into the end product. How precise and expressive it becomes ass the song matures is brilliantly applied, while in the background a catchy guitar sound stirs it emphatically. “Ghost” sees them let things off the leash somewhat. The attempt here gets under the delivery and gives the delivery the necessary lift from how purposefully it commands everything. With “Innocence Is A Smile” they venture into territory that seems to bridge things with a sense of abandon. Heavier on the mainstream rock side of things, it does cleverly envelope the style and flits between the less conventional in the right places. The overall way it is ushered through is smartly worked and they get rewarded for it here. Things close out with “Misery”. Here the direction applies other traits such as a synthesised beat in to the mix. It dilutes the organic but it doesn’t alienate either. Instead it seems to harness an edgier gild from the raw qualities that are evidently situated in the running. They more than ground out their money’s worth on the bridge and show that they are an underground band that could very well be the surprise package that people hear about in 2014.
.......................................................................................................................... STORYFOLD The Underpass
The eponymous opening track has a sturdy sense of awareness. The time spent in the studio has certainly bore fruit for the band. The guitar is angled in with a fierce and deliberate concentration. How that adds to the process shows. While the arrangement and ease at which it unfurls displays a method that is exacted to bring out everything by design. Felt out by the piano is “Beech Row”. It has a session feel to it that it comfortably slips into. The vocals and the token feel are both easy to warm to, while there is a productive showing to how the rhythm gathers that is pleasing on the ear.
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That opportune substance they have again finds its way through on “True Love Tells Lies”. Here things are more expansive in the expression which settles into the play immediately. The pressing way it is all kept together flies well. The volume and face value of the context is apparent and in how it is configured sees everything right. A dalliance is casually embraced, but it doesn’t sell it short. Instead it hinges the emotive aspects toward a leaner direction that presides over the thorough side of the delivery effectively. The fourth and final track here is “Michael”. It is noted for how brightly it is brought through. What is nestled in the running garners in an appealing way that takes it places. How it hangs back allows a very progressive and appreciative running come through that impresses. The detailed style of the play gets going and it hits a rich vein of form from the off that is emphatically on the money from the off. What a top drawer tune.
International Acts BLEECH
Humble Sky They find their feet on the opening track “Not Like You”. There is a lot given to it from the delivery that works in its favour. The passive side of the guitar is stylish brought through and ignites everything smartly. The curt and lean vocals grant it further licence. The guitar pinches away on “I Just Want You”. This is a song to fall in love with immediately. Sober and determined from the off, they match the inspiration that they intend. This is localised in the way it is tracked and keeps it on course throughout. We then come to “Love Is Free”. Marked out by a maturity in the rhythm there is a galvanised feel, but the intelligent style of it adds to the running. It is very grandiose but it has the substance to accommodate the endeavour. It is so lavish and irresistible to boot that you do get caught up in it easily. Then “Isolate” procures a lot from the acoustic delivery, while the vocals linger fastidiously. The lingering qualities of the tune allow for the expression come to pass. The endeavour and approach settle into it finely which see it right in an acquired way. The pick-up takes it away on “Marching Song”. All of the play then combines as it progresses to accentuate everything when asked of it, but it also brings things together with a harder keel when needed. “Here I Am” then follows. It has an underground feel that brings forth a twisted sentiment that is
10 dark and angst driven. It also holds distinctly and shows that they have a strong playing ability as well. That makes it all the more inviting to go with the appreciation for it as a tune. They hang back on “Sparks” and the slick way it all points to what it intends is smartly accounted for. The clean way they get down to brings a resolve that puts it all in focus from the off. The impartial way the lyrics hang about on the tune also bring out the best in it. The explicit way “Light Up The World” takes off puts a brave front on things. The angst that is there in the track is there by design. In the concentration resides a bolder endeavour that lifts off expertly on the bridge. You are immediately drawn to “Easy Ride”. It has an effective candid shape to it that is easy to warm to. It then allows a harder edge to ride in which creates a contrast in the styles. That is interestingly played to fine effect and the persistency rides high when it takes off. They see things out with “Grow”. This reflective tune t grabs you on the tidy opening line alone. The vocals are invested in here and the solemn tone denoted suits it. It is reflective and the emphasis on this in the delivery gets beneath it to apply the necessary substance and bear fruit.
FUZZY VOX On Heat
This French band are a firm favourite here in the U&I offices. “1789” hits the ground running. The energy and how it is directed marks it all out for the right reasons. They drive the playing on with a clean edge that pushes the potential they have to the fore. Scatty and benefiting from this in the running, everything falls into place superbly. The next tune “Man Of Solution” is a determined tune that is cut from the same cloth. The playing arcs hide away on it with a high grade of appeal. This seems to stoke an already vibrant tune but it is not overdone. They talk the talk and walk the walk here. “Dying Town” is another fine showing. The specifics of it see them get down to business with a rich appeal. The brisk pull from the guitar stares things down and the overall running animates the appealing way that it is all processed. On “Vibrator” the intro immediately grabs you. It tidies away the rhythm in a conclusive way that neatly works its way through. The hearty way it is all locked down makes it an attractive offering with style and substance in great measures.
10 Given the title, you don’t know what to expect from “She’s On Her Period (Again)”. Nothing is sold short by the band on this one. They fuse a clever semblance through in the delivery. It enhances the clever way that it all takes flight, while the settled feel of the vocals are easy to warm to. Especially when the chorus is singled out in the satisfying way it is done. Things are laid on thick and fast with “Let Me Ride”. Everything is charged up here. Be that the lyrical content, vocals or overall delivery. Yet not a single foot is put wrong as they take it in their stride. “Ruby Heart Stealer” is a steady punk-rich tune. The delivery breaks down into this and what is yielded holds hard on it. The raw feel of it necessitates in a sterling way that vitalises it all from the off into something of incredible prowess. The final track here is “Crumb Of My Heart”. The tidy intro forms up fancifully, while the patient stirrings behind it add a kick to it all when it takes off. A chic feel is garnered here from the way it comes through. The effective way that it is all processed really comes into being in a way that showcases the fine ability they have as a band. Inclusive and spirited, this carries things off effortlessly and how they maximise that approach results in a top drawer tune.
BRYNOVSKY Time Is Now
You take note of first track “City Of Lights”. The framework of a reggae band in terms of the sound are carried through. The cursive feel of the beat hangs back and pushes out. While light in places, as an opening track it holds figuratively with the eager way it is processed. “Put The Baby Down To Sleep” has a funky drift. The saturated feel in the rhythm slows it down and accommodates the lyrical relativity. The gloss presented is neatly floated, while the even way it all comes around retains a true identity of the genre. With “Shining Light” there is a stronger Kingston vibe hanging back which allows the embracing feel come to the fore. The ushered presence hangs neatly and the referential styling comes to pass smartly. Stepping things out a bit more is “Beauties”. But the resolve on show is appealing. The apparent gesturing of the delivery is casually stroked through. It is a laboured effort in a way but nothing to find too much fault with either. Keeping with that train of thought is the context of “You Are My Love”. With the reserved feel in the flow it envelopes an essence that guides it through. Yet in the purveyed feel on show, albeit embracing the sentiment and emotion, it doesn’t inspire. There is no spark and it is a laboured effort. Despite its good merits, the negatives outweigh them
here. A kinder effort unfurls on “What Kind Of World”. This hitches a catchy kick in the rhythm. The snappy feel pushes through with a great deal going for it. This is really good and puts things back on course with the bounce in the step. That is then felt again on “Walk Through The Night”. The determined feel sees it right. The vibrant touches of the organ make themselves felt and the terms of the bridge have the right amount of resolve. Then we come to “Pretender” which takes the tone to a different level. There is a reserved, withdrawn showing from the intro before a more urgent cut is felt. The resolve carries through in a determined manner that is matched by the fluid motions of the delivery. It marks it all out for the bolder approach in the right way. The dandy appeal of “Moving World” is a sweet affair. Somewhat swifter and graceful to the others, it stands out for the right reasons. It is very tidy and confident, and in how that assurance settles into the running the love affair with the song is confirmed. A great tune indeed. The next track “Power” is another strong tune. It has an inspired lift that catches tidily from the Caribbean drift it borrows from. The raise their game here with an enriched, opportune focus that is validated by how steady it is all contained. The winsome feel of “Fight The Rules” puts a more reflective tune into the album. It embraces the other aspect of what reggae music is about – philosophy. It comes around on this one with a neat amount of soothing satisfaction. While not stirring the grey matter in too great a way, it merely retains the identity of where the music comes from. They close out with “Freedom For The People”. The positive vibe picks up in a noted way and is an extension to the previous track in the way it embraces the philosophy again. This one has a more defined message to share with you through the music which sees it right from start to finish.
Post Everything A coveted approach is noted on the opening track “Hallowed Ground”. It touches out with a solemn stirring and the patient build is atmospheric. Highly gothic to an extent, it then progresses neatly with an electronic, synthesised beat carrying through in a credible way. The expressive feel is again picked up on “S.O.M.V.”. Languished and opportune it does hold the withdrawn characteristic at the fore in a commanding way. The mood is set out in the arrangement and the organic feel of it is administered with the alternative aspects loyally kept to. The synthesised ambience of “Tonight” comes through. The intro is guided in a way that provides safe passage and in how it forms a lot is realised. The expressive attributes are engaged, while a neat nuance seems to build in the background. There seems to be a standoff between the dark and the lucid kick at times which makes for an interesting listening experience. The soothing feel of the electronica on “Devil” has a MIKE OLDFIELD feel about it. Darkly rich and commanding in presence, it oversees everything in a panoptic way that gathers in the rhythm figuratively. It is a thorough showing indeed and one that gets a lot of things right.
8 With “I’m The Beaches” they adhere to the reserved feel they want to derive from their sound. This is a brash delivery and the tone has a select balance to it that is pressed ahead commendably. The looms in the guitar riffs add a neater touch without detracting the direction. With “Dark Light” a hiss forms on the intro. Almost akin to the tail of a rattlesnake, it then sees some vocals come into light on the album for the first time. The tidy way the tune is embraced is effective but this adds an additional layer that fulfils the album with its inclusion. On “Wreckage” the shoegazer style they have is dominating the album at the expense of the darker tone it opened with. The progression is noted and there is relevance about what is on show that is fanciful and full bodied. It energises things to a certain degree while also hanging back deliberately. A richer synth sound is called out on “Honey”. The pace builds akin to Warsaw-era JOY DIVISION and holds in that unbridled fashion. The morose context meets with the musical influx to procure a rich and embattled tune that lays it all on generously. The guitar riff that drifts across on “Whale” falls to the back. In doing so the more expansive derivative of the play comes through. The final track “Heartaches” is ushered in. the marrying of the tempo to the withdrawn characteristics is easily realised. In the process the tune envelopes this approach and brings the album full circle by mirroring the level of the opening track.
I Wanna Hollywood This Seattle band gets it underway with “Well Of Time”. The steely feel of the sound is cornered, but the running is reminiscent of a CBGB-era BLONDIE. The carefree pomp disregards everything and lets the raw cut of the music do the talking. The immediate impression is a strong one and the next song “Lilac” really stokes things. The catchy swagger of the bass and drum grab you and don’t let go. The way they wrap around the rhythm makes for something that is the real deal. On “5:02 Friday” the charm offensive is selectively worked in. The excellence on show is apparent and there is not a foot put wrong. The fourth track is amazing. “Beside Ghosts” shapes up with a lavish vocal dragging across. While the pertinent way that the arrangement falls into place seals in the relevance. The passive stirring goes a long way and the kindled comfort of the running is brilliant. The intuitive feel to “Dine Alone” plays like a dream. What is sealed in to the running is the real deal. The taut, withdrawn feel of the song contrasts with the pacier keel to offer a stellar effort for your aural pleasure. The splendid way that it all comes together is truly amazing and the high regard of the progression invigorates it in a noted way. “Bright” comes next and it retains a sense of identity. Raw and animalistic in equal measure, they very much produce a tune that elevates the album immediately. This spirited tune and the unbridled cut it has is exceptional. What a tune indeed. There is a candid Latin pitch on “Mi Amigo”. It enriches the context of the song in a pure way that drifts
10 through of its own accord, yet on a musical level defines everything about it in the process. They then get back to what they do best on “One Cup Of Coffee”. This has the catchy, grungier side down pat but it also has an appealing side that stokes the catchy side in a solid way. It dazzles with the faux-disco feel from the beat. The momentum of “The Winter Of Morrissey’s Discontent” is formidable. The chic way it takes flight is feverishly, while the overall construction of the song is there to be appreciated for its artistic merits. The sharp cut of the guitar riffs on “Summer City” take it away. The brief tune it is produces enough in that short time to warrant the appreciation and credit. It is a true case of quality over quantity as it all falls into place. “Sittin’ Around” has a more withdrawn feel that matures their sound. The raw feel of the sound adds to the impressionable way it is all formed. It has that identifiable and plausible kick that necessitates the raw drive. A more progressive effort comes to pass on “Thermopylae”. The lyrical content is a more mature effort and it takes the direction away from what has gone before. It adds something distinct to the mix for its inclusion. “Torch To Flame” sees them close out as they opened- with a roaring track that grabs you aggressively. The way it burns up is incredible and it is a ballsy affair to say the least. It catches a spirited endeavour that drives it all on. To sum this one up is to call it the best album Blondie never made.
THE KILL CIRCUIT Low Transit
The first track on the album “Search For Echoes” starts off with a great intro and a killer riff complemented by a pick slide to lure in the vocals. The catchy chorus meets the rhythmic with a high level of musicianship evident throughout. A standard for the rest to follow is set. The tone of “Reach The Outside is set from the techno on the off. The impressive snare work in the first forty seconds is followed by a fine chugged riff and sounds great. The vocal melody the lyrics follow becomes powerful when met with the intense guitar work on show. Next track “50 Below” sets out with another heavy riff and tasty guitar licks thrown in for good measure. Again the vocal melody superbly complements the instrumental and the double pedal as it closes. “To Thin To Show” tones down the heavy side for most of it and is not quite as intense as the previous tracks. Again the vocal performance really stood out to me on this track. I can envision crowds really going mad to this because of the cool riff at the end. “Shadows” starts out with a sweet drum fill that heightens the intensity along with the vocal style. The harmonies add a smooth flow and great dynamic. The superb drumming towards the end tops it all off. I found this to be my favourite track off the album. The sixth song on the
8 album “And The Said...” has some extreme energy that I imagine would be a crowd pleaser as well. The excellent bass line really carries the song. The quite unpredictable guitar work comes in with face melting licks every so often before returning to the chord progressions that it is all built on. The vocals here truly blew me away. The drum work really stood out to me on “High Stakes” and it really fills out on the middle. This song has a great flow. The fantastic guitar solo towards the end is the icing on the cake and I found myself listening to it repeatedly. “Catalogue Of Disasters’ follows. The interesting intro creates a hugely intense atmosphere. The complicated drum beat at the start displays a high level of musicianship. This is evident throughout but is more specific here on the guitar and drumming. The closing riff really gets you moving. It is tracked by high quality running before bursting into a fantastic guitar solo to end with. The final track is “I Am The Voyeur”. What follows the strange intro suits it well and shows a band that know what they are doing. Half way through the instrumental dies out to be replaced by techno, thus giving the dynamics a bigger range. The integration together with the guitar and drums impresses a great deal. When the song returns it is amplified to epic status. It is a great closer to a fantastic album completed by the quality production values. Review by Jamie Kelly
ROGUES ON THE SEA The strength of the band makes its way through on the tight showing of the opening track “City Of Gold”. The brass sections add flair to it and they sweetly bellow out. While the urgency of the song kicks it all to the curb and has vibrancy to it that is a true quality throughout. After that is “Ghosts Inside A Frame”. The defined kick in the drumming, along with the synth beat, bring out a glorious appeal and the vocals cement this. This has tune written all over it. The formidable impact of it breaks it all down with true flair and this is scintillatingly carried through. The thorough persistence of “The Gambler” hedges its bets fairly. The way the pace is struck through on it is admirable. With the bereft feel of how it hangs back the explicit side is keenly gauged and centred with true aplomb. The guitar focuses the intro of “World On Parade” and rides it through. The lean way it falls back gradually builds, yet the framing of the song retains poise along with the progression. The steady way it is all delivered has a neatness in the overtures that befalls it in a kindly way. A piano opens “Fools In Love”, and there is a narrower feel about how it flows. The stillness makes its way through but a clever hook takes it away from being a morose offering. The play is shepherded in and
9 the unfurling of the tune testifies to how good they are as a band. It strikes it down and brings it all to life with nothing spared in the process. A more reserved and resolute track follows with “Midnight Confession”. The cold and still elements of the tune stir an ambient affair with passivity. That brief tune is followed by “Heavy Clouds”. This comes around with a stronger determination to it. Musically it is more intact and embraces this side in how it is styled. The expansive side is catered to and the results show favourably. “I’ve Never Seen This Before” catches the more immersive side of things more intently. What is called out here finely brings a certified rush through and this shakes it all up. The retention in the tempo settles it with the majestic side effectively turned on. The sharp roll of the drumming on “Letter For Lillian” builds the song. It provides an assured foundation upon which everything is built. How it is all seen right comes around commendably with a fashionable cut to it that the risible feel in the vocals holds onto sternly. The closing track is “Tokyo Dawn” and it maintains the high standard. Artistically this has a lot of merit that catches it all right, but it also happens upon something in the design that is realised in so many ways. These are effectively called out and bring the curtain down in the way the album deserves.
Zebratronic Things open with “Be Back Before Dawn”. It has a sultry pace that traces the song in a way that accommodates the vocal arrangement in a clever way. It has awe to it but it is on “Losing The Battle” that the band produces the goods. The blistering pace instantaneously transforms the album. Competent in the delivery, the fine way it is angled through garners in a way that processes everything deliberately. Then “Broken” brings a more select feel to proceedings. It rides high and has a chic to it. In some ways it has a continental drift in the derivative that allows the kooky side prevail finely. The contented style processes that in the play with a real splendour. “Pound” is impressive. The rounded feel and the edgier underground feel from the rhythm collect tidily. The eager feel of it is confirmed when it becomes expansive, yet it comfortably reverts back to the source in the delivery. The paunchy feel of “Escape” has a darker style. It processes the delivery in an eventful way that comes to bear in a telling way. There is a lonesome sense to it as much as there is a chic feel. The noir circulates well and draws out the deeper aspect smartly. With “Eternal” a tidier feel comes to pass, but also one that pushes their level of things musically. How it carries through engineers a more open effort that takes hold sensibly. In
8 particular the chorus here is highly effective and sells it. We then come to “Blood Ties” which shows they have what it takes to add a layered tracking to things. Comparative with the correct amount of resolve, this locks in the running to bring through a solid tune with a dark derivative in the electronic beat. Although not melancholic, it is there from how organic it feels. Entwined song “Resurrection” seems to branch out from this approach as well. In the undertone lies a stupor that has an allure that fixates the timid feel of the tone with an urgent process. It has a creative angle and arc about it that is expressed finely. “Epitaph” is a catchier affair with the stupor in the rhythm underlining this. How it is all caught in the partial drift evolves in the sound. The progression is noted and the undeterred feel of it is impressive. Soothing tune “Autumn” caresses the playing. The manner to it and how it all falls into place is a rich affair that is guided by the way it collects. In the lyrics are referential touches which dole out with considerable flair. The watchful feel of it all has an elusive tracking that neatly defines it. Whipped into a frenzy is “Dodge City”. Immediately gratifying, it hits the ground running hard and fast. The shapely zest procured neatly keeps it all in check. “Out Of My Mind” is a more subtle offering with a greater emphasis on things musically. This consummates everything in a fashionable way that takes hold with the harder kick replenishing it with the best of intentions. A synthesised beat comes to pass on “Leap Of Faith”. It gratifies the overall showing here and in the symmetry of the flow it gathers momentum in a watchful way. Shades of LED ZEPPELIN’s “Hush” breathe into the undertone but the overall delivery is a solid affair that lines up the music correctly. The final track here is “Pangolin”. This has an eccentric appeal that is central. It picks up well and the astute way it applies itself is noted. The movements and lyrical style are processed cleverly which gets the best out of it.
International Acts WHITE GALLERY Demostro
Review by Wynona Grant WHITE GALLERY hold a bit of a strange sound. ‘Demostro’ EP took me by surprise if I’m honest. The vocals set the tracks up to be more like a conversation than a piece of music. Going through the motions of the melody basically talking, rather than singing, it gives off quite an eerie sense. Opening track “Twisted Summer” gives off a gothic impression of a funk base. The deep vocals, alongside the drum and bass make for a prominent background melody. It shows signs of talent -don’t get me wrong. It’s just a difficult one to put a finger on. “Johnny’s Gun” and “Night Bite” don’t pick it up at all. The latter of the two blowing a more mellow depiction, which definitely suits their sound more, but it still doesn’t hold much scope for excellence. Closing track “Seagulls” is overall the standout track for me. A more vocally impressive track to previous projections, it sits nicely with the sweet backing vocals and definitely saves the EP.
5 .......................................................................................................................... MINDFLOWERS *
This six track set list was put out after “The Extended Play EP” and the Sacramento band lose none of their prowess on any of the tracks. The opening riff of “Little Prayer” is carefully brought through. The neat and catchy beat rides up high on this one. It is keenly felt and the focus of the song is there as much as the consummate appeal from the lazy stirrings. There is a connection with “Daydream Sunbeam” that candidly unfurls. In the psychedelic sequences of play lies the charm of the tune. It is tracked in a way that catches the lingering side full and brightly shines through in an unbridled way that is cleanly felt out. They employ a more deliberate sensibility on “Loser Love”. What is embraced is a spirited approach that seamlessly connects all the dots. The blissful turn here is wonderfully applied and in turn brings the whole song around tastefully.
The tidy vocals on “The River” filter through with the correct sense of balance and warmth. There is a lot realised in the process. The depth of playing is formidable here. That shows a fine level of musicianship that harks back to the heydays of “Free Love” in a big way and the natural way that it all feels is brilliantly worked in to the mix. “Death On Television” and this again brings a large amount of appeal. The settled feel of the running here has everything going for it. The neat riffs that are played in add credibility to a really solid tune. What is promised from the opening is delivered, while the pleasing vocals and lyrics pad it out sufficiently. The final track on the EP is a more progressive tune called “Beach Talk”. Yet the identifiable traits of their sound are also here. The finesse that is brought becomes more absolute in terms of how the song is felt out from its inclusion. This track steadies a well worked bridge into the delivery that the others haven’t had and gains a lot for doing so. Overall, what you are listening to here is something that feels like the height of 1968 in the 21st century.
ELECTRIC POPPIES Egoland This French act is a formidable one. This is apparent on the chic way that “Sink” comes to pass. There is an indie feel about it that equates well with the electro impact of the sound. The time is taken to allow it to develop and it procures a refined feel all the more from this approach. The casting of the lyrics also has a big say in the way the appeal is harnessed, which becomes apparent as the rise comes to pass as it takes flight. The interestingly titled “I'll Never Goooooooo” is next. The dalliance projects a stylish cut that reserves a degree of integrity. What it builds upon here goes the distance and also leverages astute qualities. Be they the neat 8-bit electronic beats or the indie credentials, but where they are applied brings the proven quality of the track on furthermore.
The remix of “For You” is a welcome addition on this EP and gets a lot of things right. While the withdrawn feel of the song is locked in with the right degree of precision, the starker moments are allowed to finely draw across in the running. The eponymous “Egoland” then follows suit. Stationary aspects in the sound are suited to the patient side of the running here. Yet there is a deeper feel along with the more lavish feel to it all. There is also a sterile feel about this that works impressively. The last track is “Not Back” and in the way it picks up on the intro you fall for it. It is unabridged somewhat and that adds to the abundant skip that it retains. The ease at which the stature grows here accommodates the electronic beats. As things collect the showy presence it has builds and that sees it right with aplomb. It is that sense of identity that works its way through with brash appraisal.
.......................................................................................................................... August Riots The Class We’re Born In Review by Jamie Kelly The debut EP from this Southampton band opens with “Black And White”; and what a great opener. A great energy is given off by this. It is very catchy throughout, and the vocal melody gives it this hook. It is finished off nicely with some intense drumming. The next track is called “All The Animals Come Out At Night”. There are bucket loads of energy radiating from this. The words “all the animals come out at night” are repeated throughout and it really sticks in your head. You will find yourself humming this for hours after listening to it. Third track on the E.P is called “Hearts And Minds”. This song has a great flow to it. The simple guitar melody gives it a very distinctive sound and a lot of character. The strong radio potential is there to be found in how catchy it is.
“141 St.Mary Street is a little more chilled out than. It creates a good atmosphere which has a real ear pleasing quality to it. The words ‘beep, beep, beep’ in the chorus create a real hook for the listener. It is again a song that you will find playing over and over in your head throughout the day. With ‘No idols’ it all starts off with a groovy little bass line that sets the tone for the track to build on. This song again has a great flow to it throughout. It seems that extreme catchiness is a trait that runs throughout this E.P. Which brings us to the final track entitled “Boredom Killed The Revolution”. This song is a bit of an anthem. It’s a very powerful track that I can imagine would sound immense live. It brings proceedings to a good close, leaving a good sense of completion with the listener. Overall it is a great listen which I very much enjoyed. I would recommend checking them out.
OUR DEAD FRIENDS Dig Your Own Grave Review by Jamie Kelly
The first track of this E.P is entitled “Run For The Hills”. From the first second of this song breaking in, this band instantly make an impact on the listener. The guitar is complemented by some great drumming and it is a really hard hitting song. I particularly liked the way in which the title is incorporated into the running itself as it creates a real catch to this first track. A very high level of musicianship is evident throughout this and sets a high standard that leaves the listener eager for what is to come. Second track “Fearing The Worst” kicks off with a nice drum fill that sets high energy levels for the rest to follow. Slightly less intense than the first track but it follows up really well. I found the vocal work on this track really stood out to me.They create a really good atmosphere throughout the song, especially near the end. This song has a strong flow throughout. “Anything” is the third track. It starts off with a real whip in the guitar accompanied by some impressive drumming. The melody of the vocals give it a strong sense of completion that really shines through in the music. The atmosphere is really deep and it gives off the sense that there is a lot of underlying meaning in the song, something that is reinforced by the lyrics. It is a very strong track overall. The final track on this fantastic E.P is called “My Saving Grace”. This song starts again withs some really impressive drumming throughout. The vocals are very powerful both lyrically and melodically. It is a long track that sustains its intensity throughout, I found this song to my favourite of the four. Overall I thought this was a great E.P and one I would recommend to everyone.
.......................................................................................................................... STARS IN COMA By The Memirialurn
Review by Wynona Grant They may hold a Pop sound and nature, but it has more depth. A real tasteful synth-induced creation of three tracks. It’s the sort of EP that leaves you wishing for another seven tracks. I’d definitely buy a full length album from these guys. Opening track ‘By The Memorial Urn’ screams a 90’s influence. That idea of far too happy vocals and an upbeat melody, essentially screaming all is well in the world. We shouldn’t love it, but we do. It’s bloody good. ‘Brother Thrush’ - a Barclay James Harvest cover is next on the scene. Admittedly, I’d never heard the original until this. But equally as honestly, this outdoes it by miles. So many miles. Closing number ‘Unresolved Scenarios’ is a perfect conclusion to this short yet sweet EP. Possibly the most “classy” on the EP, if that’s the right word. Lyrical quality comes into the equation, sharing the spotlight with the upbeat melody.
Delighted to have stumbled across this EP and this band in general. I look forward to more creations.
THE VIRGIN SOLDIERS Lovestrock “Better Off Together” pieces things together commendably. There is a cushioned feel to it before the ardent strokes of the play cut across. Musically it is arranged tidily which accommodates the opulent styling prominently. The candid and softer tone is exacted with a graceful resolve, as is the vocals. The soothing saunter of “Children” is blessed in terms of how savoury it falls into place. The resolve it comes to have holds over it with a clear distinction. The string arrangement is also quite impressive and etches out the emotive side sparingly. The amble feel from the guitar on “I Can’t Breathe” has a determined feel to accompany it. The vocals are sharply felt. In the way they bring the song around is impressive. The full and textured feel to it resides in a way that tellingly angles it all, while the curt feel from the acoustic guitar brings a lot to the mix. With “Last Rites” there is a conviction laid out that slowly brings it all through. It has a lightness to it that isn’t easy to get. The weakness is evident in the delivery because of this. But in the progression things do take off.
The catchy beat of “Place To Call My Home” is keenly felt. Here they up their game. The smart way it breaks down shows in the drop down from the guitar. The flashes in the delivery get under it and drive it through superbly. There is a balance to things that is mercurial and fashioned to the offering in a stern way. An Eastern European canter shows on “Prologue II”. After that interlude comes “Rewind”. There is a tranquil hold place upon it that consummates it all. The sleight of hand processes across it in a deliberate way which enhances the appeal. The last track here is “Song For Grandma”. It has an upbeat feel to it that sells it well. The clever feel from the lyrics and guitar unfurl with a precision. The deft way that it all connects plants the appeal squarely on it.
Radical Blossom Review by Wynona Grant ‘Radical Blossom’, the earthy, left-wing Pop structured EP from Seattle band, Tangerine, is a must listen to. Evident from the opening twitch, the EP holds a quality of mellow, sailing tracks. The swift vocals are incredible, and the melodies are strangely relaxing yet uplifting. The opener, “Feel This Way” takes a mellow course before breaking into electric riffs for the breakdown. A wonderful diverse sound etching through sets a positive scene for the running as a whole. “Mars” kicks off with an almost a capella opening of beautifully pitched vocals. It almost takes on the slight rock vibe we got a taste of in “Feel This Way” the electric guitars showing their face. Closing track, “The Runner” has a killer bass line to set the track up. It is followed by the familiar electric guitars. A more rock-y Laura Marling comes to mind for this track. Perhaps as a result of the strangely pop blend of the folk-y/soul vocal approach.
Overall it is a spot on with an all-round beauty that has persistence throughout the entire four tracks.
THE C’MONS Places There is a haunting allure to “Only Ghost” that is highly effective on the intro. It then allows a catchy skit to come into the mix in how the tempo swings. It has a showy appeal to it all as it clocks in, while the defined way it takes flight collects in a sterling way that catches the right level of kitsch along with the delivery, yet there is a fine consistency going for the musical emphasis applied. Oozing appeal from the off is “Better & Kind”. How the harmony holds on the vocals is very tempting. What also keeps it all in tandem is the patient way it builds and acquires lift. What it becomes is a tune that is generous in good measures, while a sturdy side also fastens itself to the running that sees it right.
The third track is “Set A Fire”. The introduction sees it stand out for the right reasons. The ushered feel keeps it grounded. There is a blissful and momentous turn that opens out the track as a whole in a convincing way. It tracks the movements with a sophisticated touch that gathers the purer moments with a distinction that seals in the quality that the band have in abundance collectively. The sentiment of “Paper Walls” adds a virtuous level of appreciation for how it carefully holds. It takes centre stage here and the gentle way it allows the song to unfurl befits the emotive side before the arrangement configures the grander aspects to bring it all to bear. But also present is a sunken allure that sees the ambient layer fall into place carefully. The final track here is “Poison”. There is an intricacy about it that offers a lot of the right sensibilities. It holds back smartly before the roll of the guitar gets under the delivery. With how it forages ahead there is a candid overture that is taken stock of deliberately. This is able to see the more resilient building come to bear in a passive way that is constructive to say the least, while the musicianship is factored in with a fine consideration as it all comes together.
.......................................................................................................................... GORGEOUS BULLY
Nobody Hates You As Much As You Hate Yourself “Sinking Feeling” tears into the running. The fashionable feel to the skip in the running is a slick affair that is managed in a way that necessitates the raw commodities and marries them to the delivery. The end result is driven and the derivative it inherently brings through leave a lasting impression. That brashness is then to be found in the clean and clever way “Nobody Hates You” wiles away. The sweet way that the guitar motions the riffs forward are true to what the band have in their ability when they apply themselves. It holds in the leaner side while allowing it to waft through the air with carefree licence that the song wears well overall.
They again tear into things on “Sixty Bore”. It has an essence to it that is very much on the money. The manner that it occupies the delivery is noted for the balanced and stylish way it is brought through. There is an unbridled appeal to be found in the lyrics as well and the earnest feel of the song bears down well with the focus of the song being kept to a steady tracking from the off. Smart drumming leads in the loaded pace of “Couldn’t Keep It To Myself”. The smothering of the sound here takes hold before the vitality of it spreads its wings and unleashes the rhythm. The full on charge of it is excellently worked and the proven worth of what they are about as a band is found here. They sign off with “Habit And Fear”. Here things are walked in cautiously. As a result there is a neatness formed in the delivery that suits the intended depth conveyed. The languid aspects are finely kept to and they close it out with a brilliant degree of keepsake charm.
THE KINGSMITHS Arms For Legs A subtle hint of grandiose keeps “Waste You” in line. The easy way that it ticks over brings an ardent appeal to proceedings. Layered in the processing, it also sees them keep a smart eye on building things expressively. Things thread a bit lightly for that, but what is lost is made up for when it all comes around. On “Bottletop” the playing is rattled out. It has a quaint appeal which marvellously brings a level of maturity that brings an admonished spirit that salvages a lot form how it is all brought through. “Atlanta” sees the running of the EP become settled. In this instance the expansive side befalls it all by design. It holds a spatial awareness in the sound that fervently carries through yet also defines the song by the balanced approach that nuances dictate.
The blistering pace and how it picks up on “Beacon” fires up the song. The way it is all gauged allows the playing arcs to change without losing any substance as the style changes. It prominently holds court and the expert way that it is projected catches an imaginative trait that gets behind it all to rally it over the finish line with a lot to spare. The final track here is “The Vendor”. This mirrors an attractive side by embracing a nuanced approach that meshes different approaches to fine effect. It has a lean, progressive feel without being overbearing. This makes its way through on the ebb and flow with a marked distinction. How it brings everything together is clearly apparent while what is processed on an artistic level is quite bold in the attempt and rewarded justly in the end product.
.......................................................................................................................... EMPATHY TEST Losing Touch The title track of the EP gets things going and lays down a fine marker. There is a quality affirmed form the attentive way that the synthesised electronica shepherds the rhythm. The nouveau appeal of it is rich and textured. What that brings to the depth of the tracking carefully lets its presence be felt and it adds to the inspired feel along with the anomic derivative in the structure. We then come to “Kirrilee”. This is another track with a minded expressive side. You sense the inspiration is taken from the leftfield new romantic era form the context of how the rhythm wraps around it. It has a duty of care to accompany the retro chic that is apparent, yet how it contains the volume of the rhythm unlocks the real potential and sees them step up to the plate comfortably.
“Last Night On Earth” holds firm. In the electronic beat resides a noir, while the sorrow in the lyrical content complements it finely. The sullen turn is stylish here, but it connects and has a sustained rhythm that finds the substance on the track in a specific manner that gets the best out of it. With “Where I Find Myself” they again find comfort in the solitude of their sound. It occupies the delivery here with a fashionable verve that the synthesised beats imbue with an expansive turning that is ambitious in terms of scope, but are also restrained and kept in order. That proceeds across in a balanced way that sits very well, but does so by design and you pick up on the ability as it is done.
KID HARLEQUIN The industrial feel of opening track “Something” has a dark side that is satisfying to hear. It subsides on the track and brings through the raw edge of the sound in a hardened way. You get a TRENT REZNOR feel from it and it processes that style with the correct emphasis in terms of spacing the track out to allow it to breathe. The second track “Several Crashes” is more reserved. That hypnotically brings the demeanour of things across with a catatonic feel. It spreads out evenly and mixes things up well. Third in the running order is “If Only I Could”. This is a brief interlude that adds a sense of tone to it. It is included as a side note and nothing more, but when the guitar resonates on “Speak Through The White Noise” the tracking occupies a darker territory yet again. Angled into the mix is a hardened approach that drops in and out, while the heightened feel of the vocals pitch up on the chorus and thunderously heighten the feel of the song. The drop down in the song stokes it on all fronts and the flirtation between both approaches is quite good.
There is a catchy side brought to bear as “Waste Of Skin” tears into things. There is something becoming to this that is beckoned forth. It retains an underground style that is referential to the identity of the band here, yet it also has a reckless abandon to it that is very European in terms of how the organic is factored in to the mix. The final track “Vixen” is a lean affair. The drive from the guitar pulses through and the drumming is equally up to the task. There is an expressive side present as the play gets doled out that is neatly accommodated. Yet the stoic sentiments of the song are harnessed with an attentive approach. How this all connects brings the more emergent side of it through robustly. The weathered feel in the sound underlines this and sees it through fancifully.
.......................................................................................................................... VINYL THEATRE Chromatic The blistering synth on “Breaking Up My Bones” imbues things with a zest. The catchy side grows in stature as the pomp in the sound builds. It carries through with real temerity and the volume that is processed in the rhythm embraces the transition is a select that is nothing short of excellent. The opening line of “Drums In My Head” curtails the framing in a desirable way. The outlines carry through with consistency to prove more than their worth in how they come to shape the playing here. The synthesised beat occupies something relevant and it brings out what is asked of it from its inclusion.
Taking you along for the ride is “If You Say So”. Here there is a pop sensibility that is dropped into the streaming that is calculated efficiently. The astute texture in the beat gets into the fabric of the song to produce the necessary elements that neatly cement the right attributes needed to bring out the best in it as a tune. That shows from how it drops down. There is an inviting appeal to “Take Me Home”. There is an MGMT vibe about this one and that is a token aspect though. Here is imbues the presence that the track gathers and it harnesses the richer side from how it travels. It has a light hearted style but it also concentrates that urgently. The final track here is “The Rhythm Of Night”. It is another tune that relies on building the tempo and does it competently. They unleash the catchy side in the process and it provides a fine face value from how it all flows.
MODEL AEROPLANES Innocent Love
This has a kindled appeal. Locked into the tempo is a very fine ratty running which ordains everything necessary in the rhythm. It contains everything and the loose style that travels across comes to be very well contained and it allows a broader feel in the track finely find its place as it comes across.
FICTION PEAKS Donâ€™t Be Alarmed
There is a lot to like here. The lyrical structure is quite comprehensive and it appropriately gives the arrangement the suitable body needed for everything to occupy. There is a fluid motion about the rhythm that travels through with a degree of modernity, while also holding in a purposeful and exacting way that brings it all through with an appealing demeanour.
8 .......................................................................................................................... WATCHTOWER Under The Thumb
Opening with a tidy skip in the step, the dandy qualities of the tune retain a consistency throughout. This is relayed in the tempo and the hard angle that is pushed through has a careful eye cast upon it. As a result the control placed within the delivery stands it all good stead.
THE GROUND WILL SHAKE Miss Serene
A very old school rock and roll sentiment catches fire on this tune. The steadfast way this shapes the song catches a neat derivative that is honed in the delivery. It absorbs you as you listen and rewards with the correct amount of impact coming through from it. It is that assurance that brings the finesse through.
GANGS 2 15
This Tallaght band is making headway this year and this tune shows why. They seem to have a paunch coming through from the way it all hangs allows the appeal to fall into place. There is a balance between expansive and mainstream that is embraced sweetly. That gives things a level of credibility that catches a drift in the beat that amply is to the benefit of the way it all boxes clever.
SUPERBLONDES Take And Take
The resonance that comes upon the song generates the withdrawn and stoic style it has into something of reckoning. The candid way it builds is effective with the lead in from it all invoking an energy that concentrates the rhythm towards a placid front, while the lyrics are imaginatively placed and weigh in quite a cursive way.
COLM LYNCH Crazy Too
A hint of what made PAUL SIMON’s “Graceland” is immediately picked up on. That this is only a track whets the appetite for the upcoming album. An excellence is tracked from the off. The running follows through and the even appeal of the rhythm is magnificent. The majestic throes are well placed and they give it a sense of purpose. What a tune indeed.
Do You Want Me?”
Another excellent tune from the off that has a fine approach on a musical level working for it. The depth and range of how this sounds meets well with the slides of play. How they all lock into each other complement everything. What the end product results in process this to procure a truly exceptional tune with dramatic overtures residing in the background yet enhancing it enormously.
SUNCHYMES Mr. Buckstone
The rich demeanour of this tune has a 60’s vibe to it. It is akin to the heyday of THE BEACH BOYS and it has that casual appeal from the approach that sop few artists manage to get right. The lyrics and vocals impart it with something fluid that keeps it all contained while allowing the appeal to project alongside the music side of things from how it builds. It is quite stylish.
We Should Feel Like We Are In Love
This is one of those top drawer songs that sees everything fall into place from the off. The level of talent and ability are apparent. How this builds is one thing, bit how it is all carried across is exhilarating. It sounds like an anthem and plays like one. They are a band that have been on our radar for some time and if big things come their way this year we would not be surprised.
THE LOOSE HEARTS Lazy And Lacey
The crisp feel of the tune is felt from the earnest way it is all brought through. The hard way it is all locked down is evident. It imparts the running of it with a clarity that gets on the good side of everything safely, but it is not a complacent trait. It is just a natural correlation from the way it is all pieced together.
8 .......................................................................................................................... SWORDS Hips
The barren feel of this song is far removed from the usual upbeat, synth rich tracks that the band is noted for. However there is nothing lost in the transition and the more expansive feel is a solid touch. The maturity of it is evident, while the arrangement creates mood and texture admirably. It is how it all combines that lights it all up.
The Crayon Set Attack
The hard roll of the song immediately creates presence. It is a big tune in terms of stature and the promising intro is followed through. The kick in the step rounds it out in a select way that ticks a lot of boxes here. It rolls out with one eye on being mainstream but that is not a bad thing because it is a great tune from start to finish.
THE JIGSAW JAM We Have Done
A splendid beat immediately impresses from the shuffle on the tempo. How finely it carries through locks it all in and it is quite a big draw. The narrower feel in the rhythm gives it shake, while there is also something assured set out in the lyrical content that holds court in a sensible way. If this becomes a big play on national radio will be a deserved accomplishment also.
MONSENIOR Raise A Glass
The new disco feel of this is worked in excellently. The sharpness of the approach amounts to a great deal as it neatly shades things in a classy way. The brisk manner of it adds a degree of effortless cool that fills it out with a deserved chic. The smooth operation and dynamics add to the pristine feel it all has.
Baby On The Brink
The third single off the â€œArcadiaâ€? album roars into being. The permeation of the guitar fixes in the resonance that whips across. How the tune sits up is rather fluid despite the emphasis on a rock side that takes it all through. The depth of the tone, along with the heightened stirrings, collects ardently and they keep things in line with a noted brisk pull.
GLASS SPELLS I Feel It
This is another tune that has it all. The pomp and catchy derivative of the synthesised beat is magnificently processed. How it generates the rhythm into something of pure energy keeps one eye on the prize and the other on keeping it indie. The fortitude of the song is a smart affair that keeps things constantly in check and punches well above its weight.
LOBO Y BRUJO Bad Girl
The swagger of this tune has as much to say as the conservative way it lays on a full appreciation for the music. The overtures and playing arcs are administered with a clarity that really pushes this out and fastens to the delivery in a stark way. The vocals are pitched in a way that makes the footing of the tune overall a formidable affair.
Forgotten This track has a progressive feel about it that is fanciful. The shared vocals are a compelling feature and give a lot to things. The playing sustains the build and the deeper tone comes to settle here in a deliberate way. Yet they seem to usher it all through with a togetherness that is quite telling.
KID COY Sun God
This tidy number busies itself in a remedied way. The pleasing skip in the beat draws it out in a noted way. It neatly hangs back and the reserved approach neatly garners appeal, while the string section in the arrangement process a wider range and scope to it that is sensible played in to great effect.
THE JACKOBINS Prussia
The hard edge of the delivery is quite proactively felt. The deep and harder impact of it is what surges through. It is finely maintained with the overall running. The darker climb it has is quite referential and sits well with the strained play in a select way. It has the indie side tied down equally so and it brings it all through in this vein.
7 .......................................................................................................................... SKRIPTURE Shine
This London act harnesses a fine mix between electronica and hip-hop. The tumble in the lyrics is dropped in to the mix to necessitate a great amount of vocal ability. How it is all collected gives it a recognised elevation. It has a consistency and high end about it that processes the elements to procure a complete end product with largesse to it in the formation that is excellent.
APOLLO JUNCTION If I Fell
The piano and emotional heft both come to be well tracked from the offset. It is a settled tune with an enamoured reach from the way it is all laid out. The even spacing comes into its own here with the subtle way the style is embraced bringing a degree of purpose to proceedings. Al in all they stare it down with the right amount of consideration which befits it finely from the consideration processed.
8 .......................................................................................................................... OF CLOCKS AND CLOUDS Your Love Will Be My End
The pomp is apparent from this New York band and it shoots straight across from how they fire up the delivery. The consistency in the tracking proves a fine means to an end. It has an unbridled kitsch in some places and this prominently sees it straight. The infused kick in the step adds to the high end feel of it all and is quite select.
FEMMEPOP/TIMECOP1983 Our Time
This has a retro feel to it that makes you imagine you are back in the heyday of the decade that fashion forgot. The synthesised feel in the rhythm is tight and moves across here in a showy way that is graceful and select in equal measure. It matures the neater aspects of the tempo with little fuss and this is why the track has the casual appeal it does.
THE OPEN FEEL Sidewalk Zombies
This sees a more shoegazer approach fastened to their sound that hasnâ€™t been present in previous tunes. But it still carries a formidable appeal and temerity. The deep bass tone and lingering guitar flush out the sound, while the expansive touches add scope to the running that marks it all out referentially as it breathes. A seductive weight also passes through that is fanciful.
WISEGIRL Iâ€™m A Freak
This is a pop-rock tune and that is how it comes across. It plays it safe in that regard, but it plays it well. There is a clean cut to it and the relative styling of the lyrics allow the catchy side to reside in the build. For the merits it aims for they are there to be found and it is a tune that actually carries a degree of weight that comes through competently.
HANDSOME HANDSOME So I Can Remember
The first release from this band has been a long time coming but it has been worth the wait. It collectively picks up with a clean drift in the rhythm. That puts a catchy and appealing sense of style to the fore that tellingly holds at the fore in a kind way. It is what allows the rest of the song be built upon and the meander here is quite pleasing on the ear also.
THE TWOKS First Light
This is a tune in all the right regards of the term. The lean and pristine pop sensibilities heighten the appeal as they fall into place. The precision with how everything is readied commands the tune as a whole, while the layered feel that cuts across has a lot going for it. They keep that chic feel running through it with authority and this brings out the best in it.
THE VINCENT(S) The Throne Song
There is a hint of JIM MORRISON about the vocals here that is high on appeal. In the attempt things hold in a sensible way that is courteous and relevant. The dark side of the tone is felt out smartly and placed inside the running in a way that catches the moodier side of proceedings in a fitting way. The languid and stoic transitions are impressively applied. They find their way as much as they do substance.
JESSICA ALLYN Le Vide
This is a fantastic tune. The coveted feel to it as it opens flourishes in a big way. It steadily leads the track in and the elegance felt from the vocals is endearing in a truly promising way. The tranquillity that is touched out on this resides alongside the expansive aspects with excellence on all fronts. What is built in implicitly denotes the brilliance.
PAUL BYRNE Iâ€™ve Got You
There is a high level of musicianship applied to the track that is quite impressive. The savoury feel of his voice gives it an additional reach that is noted. The reflective positives of the song add to it in a favourably way. It gathers the feeling in a way of note and it is a tune that has a feel good vibe to it that takes you along with it in a good way.
FREE SUNSHINE ACID Lykke Til Med Boka
This rich psychedelic tune from the off traps the right level of musicianship in the arrangement to relay it effectively. It is a textured tune that is tracked in a pleasant way and imbues the warmth through the medium. The volume and placid feel to everything catches a stylish derivative that completes the overall running with no fuss.
WOLF LIKE CHILD Wars
The song has a laid back appeal to it that it is somewhat over reliant on. There is a consistency to the rhythm and how it carries through. It lends it a lean cut in how it meanders through on the tempo, and there is a seductive allure to it that collects in the delivery. While it is sturdy and full-bodied it does fall short a little or hasnâ€™t quite got everything in place.
Kings Among Men What works through is a patient affair at first, before picking up in a way that carries on the feel of the song in a bigger way. The noted kick in the rhythm is felt in with a reserved and cautious approach. It has a safer feel to it that can be considered here. It leverages that against everything which works in some ways, and in others feels a bit short changed. Overall it holds its own though.
CHRIS FLYNN Pandora
The acoustic guitar gets underneath the tune and refines everything. It pulls on the sentiment in an attractive way. Shades of PORTISHEAD are felt from the manner things are procured and hang back. The arrangement in particular fastens a contentment that works alongside the morose feel of the way it is all carried through, with the relative ease of it all denoting a more withdrawn effort at the same time.
How To Create a KILLER EPK By Johnny Dwinell These days a killer Electronic Press Kit (EPK) is becoming more important as an effective, immediate method to demonstrate yourself as an artist to live venues, booking agents, PR firms, promoters, investors, labels, lawyers, etc. A good EPK is tricky to put together mostly because artists get confused as to the intent of the EPK, who the audiences will be, and precisely how it will be consumed. What you believe doesn’t matter. A poorly or naively constructed EPK is a red flag that defines you immediately. To look professional you need a professional EPK. I will define these formerly mentioned terms now in more detail and with a more strategic emphasis: Intent of the EPK The intent of the EPK is to demonstrate/define/promote your act to possible venues, promoters, label executives and so on. It is almost like a mission statement, but what an EPK should never be used for is ego stroking. Too often I see 30 minute long submissions and when they are that long, no matter how good you are, you are wasting your time. Your audience are not going to want to wasted theirs either. To the people you want to catch the attention you are just a number and they do hold all the cards, which you need to keep in mind constantly. Who is your audience? Your audiences are industry professionals in the music business and they are not only crushed for time with their respective job requirements, but they also have families, private lives and other obligations so you must respect their time. Since the audience for your EPK is professional they are interested in if they can make money working with you and then exactly how that will happen. The more you can stick to business the better off you will be because the more you stick to business in your EPK the more professional you will come across. How will your EPK be consumed? Time is money, so think of the time factor from their perspective. If they need to experience 500 EPK’s per week and they consume just 5 minutes of each EPK that’s almost 42 hours per week. Their job description entails a lot more than just viewing EPK’s so you need to make sure that they give your EPK their time over everyone else’s. They are going to view the most efficient summary of the content (called a “One Sheet” or “Elevator Pitch”) and then decide if they will commit from there. The BIO is the last thing they look at, and only if it is a slow week. Spend as much time as you can on making the one sheet grab their attention above everything else. That is the most important aspect for your EPK. 8 Points to creating a KILLER EPK Here are 8 essential points to assembling a super effective EPK. Where a band focuses their best points will differ individually. If you are about image then photos should be what you lead with and so on for example.I will put them in order of importance the best that I can. 1. One Sheet – A one sheet is the summary of everything about your act on one sheet. In the world of business plans this is called an executive summary. This is the first thing your audiences will see in your EPK but should be the last item you create for your EPK because you will need to view all the necessary components of your EPK to get a feel for strengths and weaknesses to create a potent one sheet that sells. Your one sheet should have a few of the following items: a. A great photo b. Quick list of milestones/accomplishments c. Press quotes d. Contact info i. Band ii. Management iii. PR iv. etc e. Band member names and instruments they play. f. Links to your 2 or 3 most popular songs (DON’T ANYTHING OR THEY WON’T GET DOWNLOADED DUE TO FEAR OF VIRUSES) g. Link to live videos where applicable. h. Link to press page on your website or links to a few choice reviews or press interviews, etc. i. Social Media links – These should demonstrate your popularity on whatever social media sites you choose to be on. 2.
Remember this simple rule and you can’t go wrong: Good photos = more press, bad photos = no press.
A great photo is worth a thousand words and is usually the first way you communicate with the person viewing your EPK. Whatever you identify with as a musician you need to make that your image. If you were a hippie, folksy, organic, acoustic band you wouldn’t take a photo in biker leathers and boots like a heavy metal band, right? HELL NO, it would give people the wrong first impression. Up and coming photographers are always looking for good content so don’t be afraid to ask for a deal. The worst thing anyone can say is “no” but if you serve it up like your band could add quality content with the photographer’s talent to the photographer’s portfolio, you just might get a deal. If you have friends that are a bigger act than you are, ask them to “piggy back” on a photo shoot. My band was shot by Prince’s photographer (3-rolls of film) with Prince’s make-up lady for just $600 because my buddy who had the budget was shooting with the photographer earlier that day and lined up a bonus deal for me. Here are some important points to remember: a. Your photo has to be awesome because it’s the first line of communication b. Don’t waste time or money on a crappy photo. c. Don’t use a friend to save money, use a professional. Investing in a proper EPK is investing in your band. 3.
Press quotes offer social proof that you are making a dent in the music scene. This is what will get promoters excited to work with you. Do NOT put quotes in from friends or family as this will make you look unprofessional. More press is better no matter how small the periodical or blog may be. When you list the press quotes, list the most important press first and least important last, etc. If it is possible, provide the quote in the form of a hyperlink to the actual quote to offer a quick 1-click method to corroborate your story with the truth; again, think time constraints here. I would include: a. CD reviews b. Live Show Reviews 4.
Music Video –
This is super important, especially for the live venues. If your audience is a booking agent for a live venue it stands to reason that they would want to see videos of you performing for their venue. You definitely want to show your band in front of a jam-packed house. If you don’t have a big draw, cheat a little by getting footage from a smaller venue to enhance context or get it from an angle that suggests it is. Getting good talent to shoot your video can be a bit of a challenge. I recommend scouring your local universities for film students who are looking for some content. You can also check out a pretty cool website called Radar Music Videos. This web site puts directors all over the world with bands and their respective budgets. Live videos show that: a. You can actually play live b. You have a draw c. Your stage presence d. Professionalism NOTE: don’t show any overtly violent mosh pit shots, instrument destruction, etc. It’s much easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. 5.
Next I would put the music in there but send the streaming links. Simply provide links to 3 of your very best songs on your website, Soundcloud, Reverbnation, etc. Unless they are sporting some killer consumption statistics, I always advise our artists to link to mp3’s on their own website as there are no metrics to judge how many people have listened. Perception is reality. Your EPK is not the place to put demos, or iPhone recordings or anything unprofessional. There is simply no excuse for sonically poor recordings anymore so if you don’t have good recordings you really don’t need an EPK. Try to keep in mind that every other band sending in their EPK is professional so you need to be as well because you are judged on it. Professional promoters will not look past this because they think you have potential. That just does not happen. . 6. Gig/Tour Calendar – This is obviously important. The more gigs you have the more attractive you look. If you don’t have a ton of gigs yet, don’t put the calendar in the EPK. If you do have some pending dates make sure: a. The gigs are constantly up to date. This is crucial, so include listing a few shows in the EPK and a link to your tour/gig dates on your site. b. Define types of venues, frequency, etc. c. Remember that you are looking for appropriate venues, not to win over everybody. d. 7. Social Media Links – These demonstrate your marketing prowess and marketing momentum. These links will show how many fans you have and demonstrate how engaged they are. For instance, if you have 100,000 Twitter followers but all your tweets only get retweeted or replied to 5 times, there is a problem. It can also be a dead giveaway that you bought followers to make you look bigger than you actually are. Professionals know how to spot these things. 8.
This should be short and sweet. Nobody cares about your whole story until you’re famous. A bio should stick to the basics and have the following: a. Where you are based b. Short summary on your professional milestones/work accomplishments c. Band member names and instruments they play d. Nobody cares about your struggle Conclusions Here are some quick points to think about in conclusion: • You should always be looking at other people’s EPK’s to keep up with the latest trends. Good artists borrow; great artists STEAL. • Keep your EPK short; no more than 5 minutes. An EPK is NOT A MOVIE; it won’t be consumed as such. So keep a “Director’s cut” to scratch your ﬁlmmaker itch if necessary but deliver a short, potent, EPK; remember that all your audiences HATE reviewing EPK’s so make it as painless as possible. • I recommend that your ﬁrst draft have everything you want in it and then chunk it down to 5 minutes from there. If you have to make decisions on eliminating quality content, this is called a “High Class Problem”. • Constantly cultivate your EPK by replacing old content with more up-to-date substance. Try to keep the shelf life current to the past 12 months or so. • Take higher proﬁle gigs regardless of ﬁnancial compensation to bolster the legitimacy of your EPK.
This is the March 2014 4x4. It is a selection of four videos by four artists selected from four of our music networks. At U&I we work with 88 co-ops across 48 countries and the music network that the recommendation comes from is indicated in brackets.
Candice Gordon "Sound Of Horns"
The Whereabouts -
"Don't Bring Me Down" (Dublin)
Ali Ingle -
"The Locker" (Liverpool) The Twenty -
"You Can't Be Lonely Forever"
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