Wednesday, 22 November 2017

MS BANKS – SINGLE REVIEW

Ms Banks – Bangs 
Ms Banks - Bangs


Release Date: Out Now

There’s more than a bit of a buzz around UK Hip-Hop artist Ms Banks at the moment so I was intrigued to hear what all the fuss is about. This single, ‘Bangs’, starts with a mellow synth throb before a sparse beat clicks in and then Ms Banks arrive full of confidence, class and purpose. The beauty of this track is the simplicity of it that leaves plenty of room for Ms Banks to lay her words down but even given that space she isn’t tempted to overdo things by rushing or trying too hard. The fact that Nicki Minaj has already shown more than an interest by signing Ms Banks up is always a good sign but even without that the music tells me that this is a real, genuine talent with a bright future.


GILI YALO – SINGLE REVIEW

Gili Yalo feat. Keren Dun – Africa (Dead Sea Recordings) 
Gili Yalo feat. Keren Dun - Africa


Release Date: Out Now

I don’t mind admitting that I was in a bit of a grump today but this tune has not only lifted me out that grump but it’s also made a late play for my end of year awards. Gili Yalo is an Israeli artist who seems to have a fix on creating a level of happiness in music and spreading a philosophy that I can really get on board with. ‘Africa’ is not a complex song but combined with the video it is a piece of pure joy imbued with colour, energy and light. The jerky, twitchy keys melody is soon joined by carnival horns and a rhythm that makes you want to jump and move. Lyrically, this is not complex either, the message is just to be happy for friends as well as your own achievements. The additional vocals of Keren Dun just give this a more fun, party vibe while the music gets it’s groove on like there’s no tomorrow. There’s a real live quality to the musicianship which only adds to the energy and, along with the colourful fashions, this just a good time written all over it. Perfect to blast away those winter blues with, better get some.


Live Dates:

8th December – Rencontres Trans Musicales, Rennes
20th December – Barby, Tel Aviv

Watch the Video:


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

POPPY ACKROYD – SINGLE REVIEW

Poppy Ackroyd – Trains (One Little Indian Records) 
Poppy Ackroyd - Trains


Release Date: Out Now

Poppy Ackroyd is definitely one of my finds of 2017 and latest release ‘Trains’ just heaps more glory atop her already glorious output but throws in a video of epic proportions as well. The itchy, unsettling piano riff is like the start of something on the distant horizon coming closer with urgency and promise, mirrored perfectly by dancing pebbles in the video. A scattered, crustacean inspired rhythm skits in the background and strings do their best to smooth and soothe without detracting from the tension, excitement and impending…. something. Something is coming and whatever it is has me excited. Poppy Ackroyd is at the peak of her powers with an album due out in early 2018 and I think we’ll all be hearing a lot of her creations in the next 12 months which is good news for her but even better news for us. Do yourself a favour and get in on this now before John Lewis buys the rights and makes Christmas 2018 a hugely tense affair.


Live Dates:
26th November – Lucerna Music Bar, Prague
27th November – Jazz Tibet Club, Olomouc
30th November – Tabacka Kulturfabrik, Kosice
2nd December – Klub Zak, Gdansk
3rd December – Scena Na Pietrze, Poznan
8th December – Nosta, Opwijk
9th December – ACCA, Brighton

Watch the video: 


50 YEAR STORM – EP REVIEW

50 Year Storm – Distressor EP 
50 Year Storm - Distressor EP


Release Date: Out Now

When you’re faced with a power trio from Newquay who present themselves with a debut EP produced by the legendary John Cornfield then you know you’re dealing with a band that have hutzpah and more than a little moxie. The aforementioned EP, ‘Distressor’, is a three-track blast that opens with ‘Cold Teeth’ which begins with a haunting vocal followed by synth throb and a dirty guitar riff. Crack open some steady drums and then pour in some stylish pop-rock vocals are part Brandon Flowers and part Ozzy Osbourne in his young prime.

‘Shotgun’ is up next with some Gospel organ and Blues guitar atop a lumbering, lurching, sparse beat that was born in the Louisianna swamps rather than the beaches of Newquay as they sing “I might as well kick back like a shotgun”. Closing track and ‘Naughty Coffee’ is as dirty and grizzly as they come, like walking in to a futuristic saloon bar in West World full of cyber-cowboys and oil instead of bourbon. As an introduction to this three piece, this is a powerful and intoxicating brew that only hints at what I’ve heard are heady live shows. Expect more, much more.


Live Dates:


2nd December – Charlie’s Bar, Redruth w/Citations + Majaro

FROZEN HOUSES – SINGLE REVIEW

Frozen Houses – Tax & Tarmac 
Frozen Houses - Tax & Tarmac


Release Date: Out Now

This is the last single from Cornish based Frozen Houses before the debut album gets released in 2018 so this can be considered an early Christmas present for all you good little boys and girls out there. ‘Tax & Tarmac’ is a sweet little nugget of sub-three-minute indie-pop that packs a lot in to its short life from loose guitar riff and morose vocals that open proceedings to the harmonies and steady pop beat that keeps the party moving. There’s a beautiful understated vocal harmony between male and female voices that walks the line between Badly Drawn Boy and Belle & Sebastian with determined uncertainty. Throw in some gorgeous guitar licks, some violin and the kind of build that Arcade Fire would kill for and you’ve got yourself a pretty damn decent track. Now let’s just see this year out and wait for that album in 2017.


Live Dates:

15th December – The Liskeard Tavern, Liskeard
5th January – Lusty Glaze Beach, Newquay
18th February – Rod & Line Inn, Tideford

23rd February – B-Bar, Plymouth

Friday, 17 November 2017

WILDWOOD KIN - LIVE REVIEW

Wildwood Kin + Charlie Harris live @ the Brook Inn, Plympton – 16/11/2017 


I’m a blogger and, as a result, a blagger. I don’t get paid for my writing so if I can get the odd free gig ticket or CD (or T-shirt, hint hint) then I’ll take it as recompense for my time, I’ve no problem with that. However, as soon as this gig was announced I knew I had to buy tickets for what is surely one of the biggest gigs to ever hit my home-town of Plympton. My hunch was right and as I arrived at the Brook Inn (a shining beacon of a venue in a world where live music venues are closing quicker than you can say ‘Simon Cowell killed songwriting’) the sold out nature of the night soon became apparent. 

Charlie Harris
When opening act Charlie Harris takes to the stage you can feel the nerves emitting from the teenager who has developed a strong reputation for one so young. The Cornish musician, however, soon turns heads (and shuts a few mouths) with the voice that creeps hesitantly and then blissfully from her mouth. Working through a few covers and one of her own compositions, Harris’ voice lives up to the hype and, despite a couple of technical hitches which don’t help with the nerves, she puts in a performance that has the crowd nodding and smiling with approval – particularly the sparse but linguistically accurate Ukulele version of globe straddling hit of the summer ‘Despacito’. If she can spend 2018 relentlessly gigging and writing more of her own songs then Charlie Harris will find herself on bigger stages with bigger audiences, no doubt.

Next up are three musicians from the Exeter scene who have banded together under the guise of Club Brothers – presumably because of their mutual love of the McVitie’s biscuit. Now, one of them I’ve seen fronting one of the best wedding bands I’ve ever seen, another I’ve seen all over the internet and the other shares a name with a host of good people so, collectively, the trio of singers gave me high hopes. In terms of the quality of their vocals, there’s no denying that these three have talent and they complement each other nicely as they mix covers and original compositions effortlessly. What was a slight let down, however, was their choice of songs which all felt a little to Sunday afternoon chill-out soul vibes which seemed to dampen the mood slightly. Covers of Sugababes and Kodaline worked but didn’t really inspire any swell of emotion or dancing so it felt like these three talented entertainers were holding something back a little. Then again, as one of my gig companions said, the job of a support act is to make the headliner look good so maybe there were some generous tactics at play here.
Wildwood Kin (Pic: The Lazy Photographer)

As the iPad toting compere left the stage to huge applause, three demure and unassuming women take to the stage with hunched body language and the flicker of a smile on their faces. This is not a band prone to rock star posing or over the top displays but then they don’t need any of that, they’ve got something very, very special. This is Exeter familial trio Wildwood Kin and regular LWM readers will know I’ve been championing these ladies for a while now so it was particularly gratifying to see them playing to a sold out venue on a Thursday night. Opening with former single ‘Warrior Daughter’, the trademark three part harmonies brought an awed hush to proceedings (apart from the three guys at the back who decided to talk and laugh through the whole performance – tools) and their magic started to spread.

In between songs like ‘Dove’, Hold On’ and ‘Circumstance’, it is singer and percussionist (and avid hat wearer) Meghann Loney who assumes the role of frontwoman, quietly drawing the audience in with tour stories, an unerring ability to stare in to the audience’s soul through a camera lens and the encouragement of one of her cousins (Bethany Key) to sneeze on stage for the first time (no dice this time) which all serves to endear the band to the audience all to more.  It is on songs like ‘Steady My Heart’, however, that my impress-o-meter (patent pending) goes up to new levels as the trio explore a new, darker side to their songwriting that adds depth and breadth to an already impressive set. A superbly emotional cover of the Stereophonics’ ‘Dakota’ brings a tear to the eye while the constant switching between acoustic, electric guitar, keys, bouzouki and a variety percussion keeps you guessing without the need for a large stage rig.

Wildwood Kin (Pic: The Lazy Photography)
A year ago, Wildwood Kin sold out Exeter Cathedral as a home-town, home-coming show and you would have forgiven them for going out at something of a pinnacle but these three are not content with being an enormous fish in a medium sized pond. No, despite being able to wow crowds is large pubs like tonight, these three have a debut album, ‘Turning Tides’, under their collective belt and they’ll take a break after this national tour before going again in 2018. With a much deserved encore of ‘The Valley’ leaving the Brook Inn chiming to the closing words of “help me find my place in the warmth of your embrace”, you can’t help but feel that something special has occurred here tonight, something that is very unlikely to be repeated with such intimacy and bonhomie ever again. Something that those back of the pub chatters may well live to regret…..if there’s any justice!

More information:



BLACK GOLD BUFFALO - SINGLE REVIEW

Black Gold Buffalo - Pearls Deep
Black Gold Buffalo - Pearls Deep

Release Date: Out Now

This might be the first single from the debut album by Black Gold Buffalo but this is not the first rodeo these guys have competed in. No, South East dwellers Keziah, Marc, Joy and Hannah have been honing their sound, their attitude and their focus for a number of years and it shows. ‘Pearls Deep’ is moody, arty and too cool for its own good but it also has oodles of heart and soul which makes it interestingly endearing – like the cool kid at school who seems unapproachable but also smiles at you secretly in the corridor. Taking the production values and style of the XX and Hot Chip, mixing them with the atmospheric qualities of Bat For Lashes and then injecting them with the spirit of the Eurythmics in their prime results in a heady brew but one I want more of. 2018 is there for the taking if this is anything to go by.

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


THE RETROACTION - SINGLE REVIEW

The Retroaction - These Things For You
The Retroaction - These Things For You

Release Date: Out Now

There’s something delightfully ramshackle about this debut single and its accompanying video from Toronto upstarts The Retroaction that I just fell in love with immediately. ‘These Things For You’ takes the raw energy and ‘one-take’ vibe of early White Strips and the Strokes, mixes it with the gang mentality of the Libertines and the Subways and then looks for direction from the Who, the Faces and early Rolling Stones material. The guitars are scratchy, the production values are pretty low and the vocals are slightly slurred but don’t you dare take any of those things as a negative. This is how bands should sound when they start out so now’s the time to get on board. 


Live Dates: 

25th November - This Ain't Hollywood, Hamilton
1st December - Queens Head, Burlington
19th December - Smiling Buddah, Toronto

Watch the Video: 




JOE DOLMAN – SINGLE REVIEW

Joe Dolman - Something Beautiful
Joe Dolman - Something Beautiful

Release Date: Out Now

There are, like all coins, two sides to this track from 20 year old singer songwriter Joe Dolman. On the one hand, ‘Something Beautiful’ fits all too firmly in to the Ed Sheeran, James Bay and Jamie Lawson category of tunes which is offensively inoffensive. This is so ready for heavy BBC Radio 2 rotation and maybe use on a montage in some popular TV show E4 that it feels a little contrived – it only avoids being ‘Galway Girl’ by a couple of chords. However, flip that coin over and what you’ve got is a young, independent songwriter with a strong, smooth voice and the ability to knock out a chorus that earworms in to your subconscious after one listen. Now, depending on your levels of cynicism and snobbishness I’ll leave it up to you as whether you want to hear this as a heads or tails track but I’m going to keep flipping the coin until the next track comes out and then I’ll make my call. 


Live Dates:

24th November - O2 ABC, Glasgow
25th November - O2 Ritz, Manchester
26th November - O2 Institute, Birmingham
1st December - O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London
9th February - Globe at Hay, Hay-on-Wye
7th March - O2 Academy 3, Birmingham
8th March - Cafe Kino, Bristol
10th March - Glad Cafe, Glasgow
11th March - Fallow Cafe, Manchester
12th March - O2 Academy, Islington

Watch the video: 


BITCH FALCON – SINGLE REVIEW

Bitch Falcon - Of Heart (Reckless Records)
Bitch Falcon - Of Heart

Release Date: 24th November 2017

There is a real weight to the new single from Irish doom merchants Bitch Falcon and that’s not to say that it’s necessarily heavy, it just weighs on you. ‘Of Heart’ lumbers and lurches with a rhythm section made of lead, mahogany and concrete blocks that has the ominous momentum of some slow moving but unstoppable evil creature in low budget horror film. The wail of the lead guitar is the chain around the neck of the desperate, pleading vocals of Lizzie Fitzpatrick – the natural successor to the PJ Harvey throne. At over six minutes long and unrelentingly oppressive this is the musical equivalent of being trapped on your own in a deep sea submarine with nothing but a list of the opportunities you’ve missed out on in life. That said, I bloody love it. 


Live Dates:

18th November – Cyprus Avenue, Cork
23rd November – Roisin Dubh, Galway

25th November – Whelan’s, Dublin


ESPER SCOUT – SINGLE REVIEW

Esper Scout - Dividing Marks (Bomb The Twist/Clue Club 2017) 
Esper Scout - Dividing Marks

Release Date: 24th November 2017

I was pretty gutted when Leeds’ NARCS split earlier this year as I was a firm fan of their style and anti-establishment attitude. Nevertheless, when one love moves on, there’s usually something waiting to fill that void and, coincidentally, that something is putting out a single on Clue Records – the former home of NARCS. Esper Scout are that special something and new single ‘Dividing Marks’ might not be as directly political as their aforementioned contemporaries but the brooding tones and pinpoint chaos is right up there. The guitars and drums thrust and parry with each other through the verses before exploding in an indie-grunge storm during the chorus. Lines  like “Tell me what use is wishing for certains when our times are in transition” and “Threads of proof weave a fabric of truth, poisoned rags then infect the cause, Layman, Lords, whose word’s worth more?” are delivered with anger, bitterness and a sense of malevolence that cuts through the squall of feedback. If you’re looking for that lost link between the dead pan delivery of the Long Blondes, the power of NARCS and the angularity of the Maccabees then this might just be what you’re looking for. I’m fairly sure it’s not what Bono’s been looking for all these years, though, so you should be safe here for a while. 


Live Dates:

21st December – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds w/The Cribs + PINS

HANNAH RODRIGUEZ – EP REVIEW

Hannah Rodriguez - Not Ideal EP
Hannah Rodriguez - Not Ideal EP

Release Date: Out Now

I honestly don’t know what I expected from the debut four track EP produced by recent London immigrant Hannah Rodriguez but it certainly wasn’t this. To be clear, when I say immigrant, Rodriguez has come from the Lake District before any Daily Mail readers burst a blood vessel (also, if you are a Daily Mail reader, please jog on). The EP opens with a four count and then straight in to ‘My Mate Says’ that sounds like Amy Winehouse singing with Morcheeba while Sneaker Pimps get experimental on production duties. The soft, warm keys and Rodriguez’s dusky tones are counterbalanced by moody, soulful horns and that clicking beat that is as lean as can be. On ‘11th Hour’, we’re transported to the back of a black cab on its way home with Rodriguez sleepily singing her way to the end of the day which puts you in a dream-like state with a vibe that sits on the fence between soul and trip-hop.


There’s some scratchy recording of a child talking at the start of ‘Not Ideal’ before we settle in to a slow, deep groove that the likes of Joss Stone and Corrine Bailey-Rae would happily get down and dirty in. Rodriquez’s voice has that wonderful quality of being both sultry and seductive to suit those late-night moods but also light, breezy and warm to suit a summer’s afternoon spent in the garden with old records drifting out from the house. The closing track on the EP is ‘Croissants & Coffee’ which takes things in a Jazz direction as that delicately placed guitar is enveloped by Rodriguez’s sumptuous voice like butter melting in to the holes on a warm crumpet. A gorgeous and versatile voice used expertly, then. The Lake District might just want this lady back.



FELIX HAGAN & THE FAMILY – ALBUM REVIEW

Felix Hagan & The Family - Attention Seeker (Debt Records)
Feli Hagan & The Family - Attention Seeker

Release Date: 24th November 2017

I have been looking forward to this album for a while and if you like the idea of the pit musicians from a Broadway musical writing and recording an alt-pop-indie album in their spare time then you’ll be glad it’s here too. To be clear, I’m not sure on the exact history of this London based collective but if at least one of them hasn’t been an understudy in the Wicked I’ll be very surprised. The album kicks in hard with title track and recent single ‘Attention Seeker’ which feels like the Strokes fronted by Mika in the best way possible and we’re off, hold on tight people. ‘The World’s Yours’ has a futuristic feeling to it as seen from the 1980s but blended with a Muse-esque synth throb and an internet friendly call to arms in the chorus.

On ‘Gene Kelly’ the band let their campness come screaming out channelling the likes of Elton John (‘Saturday Night’s Alright’ era) and early Maroon 5 to create the kind of track that will have suburban teen-queens dancing around their bedrooms, dreaming of the time they break out and be themselves. ‘Delirium Tremendous’ would have made a glorious band name but it’s still a fantastic, peacock prancing indie-pop track that wouldn’t be out of place on a Katie Perry album with it’s shimmying melodies and dirty little secrets that come creeping out in musical inspired chorus. That Muse influence is back on ‘Babe I Ain’t Comin’’ but this time it’s blended with the mischievous Scissor Sisters in the verse and Scouting for Girls in the chorus.

Felix Hagan & The Family, darlings
At the half-way point it’s safe to say that this is one of the great pop albums of 2017 and should set these guys up for another series of incendiary live shows in 2018 on the festival circuit. ‘Be A Freak’, for instance, not only works as a T-Shirt slogan, also fits as a mid-set dance inducing track with the singable line of “Dance like you don’t care at all”. The energy just doesn’t let up as the band whip in to ‘Hey I Want You’, a 50s rock’n’roll inspired tune with tinkling ivories all over the place and the kind of vibrancy that only Tankus the Henge have matched in my ears this year although if the Commitments were resurrected I’d pay good money to see that particular battle of the bands. ‘Woah There Kimmy’ edges back towards the dark pop core that keeps the band burning so brightly while ‘On The Double’ has a sophisticated little swing to it that makes you want to dress a la Cabaret and tip a hit to anyone who makes heavily mascara-ed eye contact.


Entering the home straight (I don’t want to go home yet), the band finally take a breather as ‘Burn Down This City’ starts with a mellow piano line and atmospheric percussion that the likes of Bastille or Sam Smith would happily wedge in to a new album – especially when you get to the Jean Valjean belter of a crescendo. ‘Fall Away’ is the most sparse and heart-bearing track on the album as the guitar strums in the corner to simply provide company for a morose and tortured vocal of Cohen-esque tinges. The album closes out on ‘Tough To Be A Dreamer’ which is a more confessional, reflective piece that completes what I now realise is a night out played out over an album. The anticipation, the excitement, the euphoria, the confusion, the disappointed when things come to an end – it’s all here. This last track is that night-bus journey home with your best friend/girl/boy snoozing on your shoulder as you see the people with real problems huddle in doorways sleeping on cardboard mattresses, dreaming of four walls and someone to fall asleep on. In the same way that we all need a good night out from time to time, we all need an album like this on our lives as well so if Secret Santa has got you stumped then get a copy of this beauty and make someone’s Christmas. 

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

Live Dates:

20th November - The Joiners, Southampton
24th November - Octagon, Keighley
26th November - The Borderline, London
28th November - Band on the Wall, Manchester
1st December - The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool
3rd December - The Exchange, Bristol

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

MADISON BEER – SINGLE REVIEW

Madison Beer – Say It To My Face 
Madison Beer - Say It To My Face


Release Date: Out Now

The Spanish guitar vibe that underpins this sultry pop number from New York pop starlet Madison Beer makes this a little menacing and brooding but that is a very, very good thing. ‘Say It To My Face’ is like a more mainstream version of Swedish enfant terrible Angie with an inherent sexuality that is hard to ignore. In between the sharply strummed notes and sparse percussion drips the powerfully delivered, rich vocal that borders on spoken word at times but with so much soul and attitude that you know you’re dealing with real talent. This feels like J Lo or Pink but produced by Jay-Z or Missy Elliott and pushed to squeeze every last drop of frustration out of the situation to get a raw emotional performance. If you’re looking for a more edgy and fresh replacement for the Ariana Grande shaped hole in your life then I think you can stop looking.


Watch The Video: 

https://www.vevo.com/watch/madison-beer/say-it-to-my-face/UKELY1700098?isrc=UKELY1700098&share_location=ingestion 

ELOISE – SINGLE REVIEW

Eloise – Now He Wears White 
Eloise - Now He Wears White


Release Date: Out Now

I don’t want to hate Eloise and I don’t want you to hate Eloise but she’s just finished her A-Levels and she’s already pumped out an EP and a clutch of singles. New single ‘Now He Wears White’ is the latest single from the budding star and it comes with a superb video as well so leave your hate at the door and get your feet dirty. This is woozy, unhinged and dream-like but not the kind of dream where you’re driving a convertible on the way to meet your idol for cocktails. No, this is the kind of dream where Lana Del Rey is singing at you from top the stairs but her head is on back to front and she’s wearing a bright red playsuit that won’t stop dripping on your white carpet. Eloise’s voice is sumptuous yet understated at the same time which fits perfectly with music that undulates, surges and disorientates in ways I find hard to explain. Essentially, I think someone has slipped something in to this song while I wasn’t looking but I think I’m just going to roll with it. If you haven’t heard from me in 3 days, call the police….


Watch the Video: 


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

HEART TIDE – SINGLE REVIEW

Heart Tide – Medicate 
Heart Tide - Medicate


Release Date: Out Now

Finish artist Samu Hietainen goes by the name Heart Tide for non-tax based activities but the label isn’t important here. New single ‘Medicate’ is undeniably dark and brooding in its nature but sits somewhere between Linkin Park and Portishead in terms of the energy and atmosphere the music creates. However, at bang on six minutes long this also has a slightly Muse-esque vibe going on with all the different movements and directions the song takes. The drums take a jazz-rock path while musically this has many layers and genres to unpick end explore which makes this all the more engaging. Nice visuals too.


Watch the Video: 


DARK HORSES – SINGLE REVIEW

Dark Horses – XIII (Tricky Spirits Records) 
Dark Horses - XIII


Release Date: 24th November 2017

Dark Horses are a collective hell-bent on creating darkness but with a good groove at the heart of it so, y’know, it’s forgivable. ‘XIII’ (13 for the kids) is the new single from this group of apocalyptoes and it starts with an ominously approaching synth throb that brings to mind the likes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Primal Scream and early Kasabian. Then throw in a driving beat and wispy, waspish and seductive vocal and you’ve got yourself a half-decent party but it’s only when the dirty, scuzzy guitars turn up that things really get kicking. The darkness inherent in this tune is given context by the light of the melodies that are from the Florence + The Machine and the Gossip playbooks which makes for an intriguing and thoroughly engaging experience. Bravo.


Live Dates:

30th November – Fabrique, Milan w/Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
1st December – Les Decks, Lausanne w/Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
2nd December – Samsung Hall, Zurich w/Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

3rd December – Arena, Vienna w/Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

HYPNOSISTER – SINGLE REVIEW

Hypnosister – Poorly Boy (Sleep All Day Music) 
Hypnosister - Poorly Boys


Release Date: Out Now

Despite looking like the grumpy offspring of the Wicked Witch of the West standing too close to a lava lamp, Hynposister is actually Leeds songwriter Damian Hughes – once of the Allusondrugs parish. This single, ‘Poorly Boy’, is the second from the Yorkshireman and it’s a glorious noise. Fusing layers of guitars, perky drums and pop melodies like a boss, Hypnosister falls in to the category alongside the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Biffy Clyro and Reuben but with half an eye on the likes of Ash and the Supernaturals just to keep things bouncing. You could easily expect to hear this inspiring a positive spirited mosh-pits from Yorkshire to LA and that’s not an easy blend to pull off so, y’know, crack a smile Damian.


Watch the Video: 


Sunday, 12 November 2017

CHAMPAGNE – SINGLE REVIEW

Champagne – Let’s Go Out Tonight 
Champagne - Let's Go Out Tonight


Release Date: Out Now

Leicester indie-poppers Champagne look like a bunch of lads ready for a night out on the town that will start with a few drinking games and end with a kebab and some questionable life decisions. So, it’s not surprising that they’ve released a single that literally takes on the idea of going out for the night out in ‘Let’s Go Out Tonight’. If you take a song that starts like a Bieber meets Mendes lament but then feed it through a mincer in the shape of a Lower Than Atlantis meetsHard-Fi indie-disco smasher then you’ve got this one nailed. There’s something bubbling under the surface of the lyrics that is reminiscent of ‘I Predict A Riot’ but with less detachment which makes this a slightly unappealing prospect but the melodies are strong and the beat keeps pumping so the lyrics probably won’t get too much attention.


Watch the Video: 


POPPY ACKROYD - SINGLE REVIEW [GUEST REVIEWERS]

ACTIVE LISTENING SESSION WITH PUPILS FROM KEYHAM BARTON SCHOOL, PLYMOUTH – PART 2

So, just in case this confuses you, I went and took some new music in to a school (Keyham Barton, in Plymouth to be precise) and got their year 6's to review it. Here is what a couple of that class thought of the latest release by Poppy Ackroyd but first, my two pennies worth...

Poppy Ackroyd - The Calm Before (One Little Indian)

Listen With Monger Review
Poppy Ackroyd - The Clam Before

Neo-classical superstar in the making Poppy Ackroyd is bringing back a style of music to public consciousness that is sorely missing at the moment and for that alone she should be applauded. However, as if that wasn’t enough, Ackroyd has only gone and recording a stunning piece by the name of ‘The Calm Before’ and you need to give six minutes of your life over to listen to it. There’s a fluttering at the beginning of this that is an intimate and delicate woodwind butterfly wing on one side of the ocean only to build with an ominous swell in to something altogether more powerful. The sprinkled piano notes and disorientating valves clattering mix with plucked violin strings with unerring energy and resolution to move forwards. There is power, there is beauty, there is emotion but most of all there is something so utterly calming about this music that it is hard not to fall under its spell and I really wouldn’t try to resist. Ackroyd has such a huge future ahead of her but, I suspect, entirely on her terms which is just the way you’d want it. 

Year 6 Reviews
The song that I am writing about is called The Calm Before and the artist’s name is Poppy Ackroyd. All the music that she plays and that you hear, she played herself! She’s only 21 years old! After my first listen, I thought the music was very relaxing. What I also thought about the music was that it is a good song for stress relief to help you meditate and calm down. I think the theme of this song could be a peaceful jungle as I would describe it as a peaceful song. This song is perfect for me. It doesn’t have any lyrics but I love the tune that she has created. Out of 10, the rating I would give it is 9 out of 10 because sometimes it gets so quiet that it’s unnoticeable. The picture that I can imagine in my head when I listen to this song is me running through a jungle with a waterfall behind me and I have to survive in the wild with a pack of lions under my feet. That’s because I’ve climbed up into a tree and I’m eating raw pig and that’s why I ended up in a tree with the lions and a few tigers. I enjoyed the song called The Calm Before because it is peaceful and relaxing. I think that it was the best song that Roland played for us. By AH (Addy)

Poppy Ackroyd - trapped in a piano
This song is relaxing, calm and rhythmic because it’s quiet, instrumental and unique. When I first heard this, I almost fell asleep. The noises that are in this song made me think of a rainforest and a waterfall with birds and other animals in the moonlight. The song has no theme and no lyrics, which makes it a very rhythmic piece of music. I highly recommend this song. This beautiful and cleverly-written piece of music was written by a 22-year-old woman who has just graduated from university and I really hope that she will write some more pieces like The Calm Before and I really hope you like this piece of music. There are no downsides to this song so it will be a big success! Well done, Poppy Ackroyd, you are amazing! By EP (Ellen)



Saturday, 11 November 2017

AMAROUN – SINGLE REVIEW

Amaroun – Bed Bugs (LGM Records) 
Amaroun - Bed Bugs


Release Date: Out Now

Peckham’s Amaroun comes across as a perfectly normal woman. According to Facebook, she likes stakeboarding, eating and playing music which is all cool but then you listen to ‘Bed Bugs’ and realise she’s not normal at all. Musically, this is somewhere between Afrobeat, the Cure and Bent but all viewed through the most vivid kaleidoscope on the brightest, most sunny day. Then in comes Amaroun’s voice like a dream wrapped in a cloud floating on a warm summer’s breeze like Zoe Johnston’s fragility but with the warmth of Sia or Skye Edwards. Visually, this song is tailor-made for a warm, amber hued sunrise over a strangely clean London full of hope and possibilities which is not a bad place to be. That said, I lived in a London where I actually had bed bugs so I obviously needed to live in Peckham instead of Shepherds Bush.


Live Dates:


29th November – Sebright Arms, London w/Albert Gold + Strike

BRYDE – SINGLE REVIEW

Bryde – Desire (Seahorse Music) 
Bryde - Desire


Release Date: Out Now

Not only do I have a rapidly growing affection for Bryde, I also have a lot of very fond memories of her home town of Milford Haven – neither of these facts should be construed as creepy or stalky. Anyway, childhood memories aside, Bryde’s latest ‘Desire’ is not a cover of the U2 classic but instead what we have is a pithy, direct and urgent slice of rumbling indie with a heart that glows like the velvety red at the middle of a large glass of red wine. The guitars chug along with a pumping bass line that puts me in mind of the Breeders or Veruca Salt while Bryde’s vocal is super-cool, drawled and full of passion but without really letting on. The clashing cymbals and driving rhythm that underpins this also suggests that the live show would be a treat so get your ears around this and then get out to a show. Deal?


Live Dates:

20th November – The Lexington, London w/John Joseph Brill
21st November – Studio 672 @ Stadtgarten, Cologne w/John Joseph Brill
22nd November – Nochtspeicher, Hamburg w/John Joseph Brill
23rd November – Privatclub, Berlin w/John Joseph Brill
27th November – Kaufleuten, Zurich w/L.A. Salami

12th December – Huw Stephens presents @ The Social, London

ALICE SHORT – SINGLE REVIEW

Alice Short – Harvey Weinstein Is A Prick 
Alison Short - Harvey Weinstein Is A Prick


Release Date: Out Now

When you get sent a song called ‘Harvey Weinstein Is A Prick’ you have two things to do; 1) Listen to it and 2) Share it widely in case there is someone out there who is not aware of this simple fact. British talent (raw talent) Alice Short has pounced on this new (not new) information surrounding the sexual sleazeball that is Harvey Weinstein and produced a spoken word slice of brutalism that cuts at the core of this whole sorry situation. An ominous beat chimes out sounding like a wrench banging on an old pipe while jazzy notes are sprinkled out but that’s all just background notes to provide a backdrop for the razor-sharp delivery of Short. There will obvious and understandable comparisons to Kate Tempest but there is more than enough room in this world for two angry and articulate women so there’s no harm in that. If you need a little sour to counteract all the sweet being pumped out at the moment then you’ve got to get some of this in your life.


Watch the Video:


SKINNY LISTER – SINGLE REVIEW

Skinny Lister – Christmas Calls 
Skinny Lister - Christmas Calls


Release Date: Out Now

Is it time? Are we ready? No? Tough – it’s the first Christmas song of 2017 and it’s an absolute cracker…. pun entirely intended. Punk-folk-pop upstarts Skinny Lister have gone early but they’ve also gone incredibly strong with ‘Christmas Calls’ which, if I don’t know better, I’d say is a scientifically calculated amalgamation of all the best bits of Christmas songs from down the years. There’s a base that is made of pure ‘Fairytale of New York’ crumbs on top of which there’s a sprinkling of the ‘In Dulci Jubilo’ vibe before the ‘Last Christmas’ video gets dolloped in generously and a good splosh of ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)’ is poured in. There will be another slew of Christmas songs this year, some novelty and some serious, but you’ll be hard pushed to find a better festive ditty than this one this year so I’d get your cash down early if I were you and put it all on black 32…….no, sorry, Skinny Lister.


Live Dates:

11th November – Club CANN, Stuttgart
21st November – Stylus, Leeds
22nd November – The Ritz, Manchester
23rd November – Oran Mor, Glasgow
24th November – Newcastle University, Newcastle
25th November – The Leadmill, Sheffield
28th November – Glee Club, Birimingham
29th November – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
30th November – Waterfront, Norwich
1st December – Junction, Cambridge
2nd December – Dryden Street Social, Leicester
6th December – The Globe, Cardiff
7th December – 1865, Southampton
8th December – The Phoenix, Exeter
9th December – SWX, Bristol
10th December – Koko, London


Watch the Video: 


Friday, 10 November 2017

BLESSED - SINGLE REVIEW [GUEST REVIEWERS]

ACTIVE LISTENING SESSION WITH PUPILS FROM KEYHAM BARTON SCHOOL,
PLYMOUTH – PART 1

You know when you chat to a friend and you come up with great ideas but they never actually see the light of day? Well, this time a great idea not only saw the light of day but it blossomed in that light. Months ago, a teacher friend of mine and I were chatting about how to make literacy more interactive in schools and how so much music has just become part of the background noise these days. Putting the two problems together, we set upon the idea of bringing this humble blog, a few genuine new releases and this even more humble blogger in to a school classroom on the first Monday back after half term. Below is part 1 of 3 as the kids of Keyham Barton school take on new single ‘Pride from Blessed. But first, it would be rude not to give the standard LWM view…

Blessed – Pride

Listen With Monger Review
Sisterly duo Blessed are back with another slice of polished and stylish R’n’B pop in the shape of new single ‘Pride’. Working on a lion based metaphor, the pair create a pumping party vibe full of furtive glances and emerging romance. Using throbbing synth melodies and a beat that keeps hitting where it hurts, Lauren and Georgia (aka Blessed) keep things commercially accessible with a catchy melody but also edgy, cool and worthy of sitting alongside the likes of Rita Ora, Beyonce and Little Mix in terms of pop melodies with R’n’B cool. Now, let’s see what the kids have to say…..

Year 6 Reviews
Blessed - Pride
Today, I will be reviewing ‘Pride’ by the duo, Blessed. The teenage girls will be millionaires in no time. The girls are from South-East London, but they will be touring the world in no time. Their songs are catchy and upbeat. You will fall in love with this song in no time. My reaction to the music was ‘oh my gosh, I love it!’ It’s a poppy and fascinating song to listen to. I wanted to get up and dance. I was mesmerised by their voices. This song is an interesting love song. Also, I love the fact that it mentions female lions and male lions.

The song has some really fabulous lyrics and they blend in with the song very well. It was unexpected how good they are. They’re perfect! Their lyrics are very well thought out. This song creates a picture in my mind. There are two girls on an extremely large stage with thousands of fans gathered together. Also, the girls were wearing pink and purple glittery dresses and are singing their hearts out.

I really loved this song. It has meaningful lyrics. It’s upbeat, it’s flawless, skilled and successful. That’s what people are looking for. It’s a breath-taking song. I love this song but it might not be for everyone. Look out, Little Mix; Blessed are coming for you! By AC (Amelia)

Relax, close your eyes and listen; you will have a great time. What I think is that this is the best song in the world. The two sisters are 16 and 18 and they are a good band together. My picture was that I was in a jungle with both of my guinea pigs. The song was joyful. It was amazing, peaceful, magnificent. The song has a strong theme and I like the way the chorus repeats in the song because I think it’s a really good tune. By LB (Lewis)

Now, Blessed is a group of two sisters aged 16 and 18. They were born in London. This is their third single on YouTube with over 3000 views and this is their newest song – it was only made a few days ago. My first thought on Blessed’s ‘Pride’ was that it was jazzy and funky and the song was dramatic. They are really talented young girls. I reckon there was an emotional theme in their song lyrics and all I can say is “Well done, girls!” I would also recommend buying their album when it is released. Overall, I would rate it 10/10. By JGW (Jacob)

Above me is the blue sky. In front of me is a sea-shaped stadium with seaweed for fans, cheering the two iconic sisters who make the duo of Blessed. They are aged 16 and 18 but their voices make them sound like Sofia Carson, who’s in her 20s or 30s. They’re really skilled and talented and their song ‘Pride’ shows it all.

The song lyrics sort of remind me of The Lion King by saying, “You can be my lion and I’ll be your lioness” and these words, “Taming just like, taming just like me.” This really put a smile on my face. It’s also the best song and the only one that reminds me of Sofia Carson, so 10 out of 10. Now I gotta shoot, bye! By JH (Josh)

These talented girls from South-East London have released a new song and it is epic. The theme of the song is about pride and I really liked it because it was more my style of music. It was also a bit more girly because it sounded like Little Mix, but better because there’s only 2 people in Blessed! This is an awesome, funky band. By LC (Lottie)

In this song, I picture a scene where Little Mix are battling Blessed over and over again non-stop. Well, this song has a good beat to it. I highly recommend this song; the lyrics are amazing and their talent is flawless. It has a mesmerising sound and it can pull you out of your moody self. The two sisters have picked the right year to come and write this song! The vocals need a bit of work because I couldn’t hear it all clearly but in general, it’s a brilliant song. I think this song (Pride) will be very successful. I thought it was faultless when I first heard the song but now I have another issue. Some of the lyrics don’t make sense. However, it is very skilful and if I could, I would always listen to it. By MB (Mia)

Today was the worst day ever because I’ve just heard a new album. You wouldn’t believe two sisters sing the song but they’re very young and they actually live in South-East London. I’m not a fan of this song because I think it’s too girlish, slow, and squeaky. The song, as I didn’t say, is called ‘Pride’ and the two sisters are called Blessed. When they grow up, I don’t think they will achieve a lot. The song is just about how they lie to this boy to get him to love them but the boy didn’t like them. The two sisters did make their own lyrics but my opinion on them is that I think the song is too long. Well, when I was listening to the song, it made a picture in my head and it felt like I was in a random world because I didn’t really like the song. Like I said, I didn’t like the song because I thought it was too girlish but that’s just my opinion. So that was ‘Pride’ by Blessed. By LT (Levi)

Today, I will be sharing my opinion about the song ‘Pride’ by the artists Blessed. This song was written by two teenage sisters. Their ages are 16 and 18. I thought this song was a really nice song because it relaxes me and it was a calm song and it was also quiet.

It’s a song that would calm people down. It had a lot of grand tunes and lyrics. The lyrics were pretty good and they didn’t repeat any verses which can be boring. The picture in my head was two girls with a microphone singing and playing instruments. I enjoyed the song because it has a lot of detail to it and it was interesting to listen to. This makes me want to relax. By KR (Kelsey)

Here’s the picture in my head, so imagine this! Lions in the wild, running and having so much fun because they are happy and excited. The girls that wrote the song are from South-East London and they’re 16 and 18 years old. The song is funky and jazzy. When I heard it for the first time, I felt like I needed to dance and jump around and do cool moves.

Anyway, the theme for the song is about lions or something like that. Well, I think it’s about lions running in the world very happily. All of the lyrics were funky exciting and powerful. The song was awesome, neat, exciting and it has a feel-good song. The two sisters are very talented and it I was a judge, I would give it 10/10. By FP (Faye)

It’s like waves crashing and the soft sand between your toes. There are green, beautiful, swaying palm trees with hard wooden chairs. This is what I see when I listen to the song ‘Pride’. The band are called Blessed and they are two young sisters; one 18 and one 16. Both of the girls are from South-East London. They already have three singles out and this is their new one, Pride. I can see them making a lot of money. I would definitely give it 100 out of 100 for sure. If you like Little Mix, Rita Ora or Katy Perry, then you will love these girls. The lyrics for the song are very catchy and bouncy. I also think it’s quite summery as well. Their song is very funky, classic and catchy. I would definitely buy this even if it’s not free. By KR (Katelyn)

Today was one of the best and worst days in the universe – it’s 50/50, really. I heard the band Blessed and they are two sisters. One is 16 and the other sister is 18 and they are from South-East London. Their song Pride is amazing and it’s very mesmerising. The words made me feel really powerful when I first heard the song. The song appears to be about lions. I liked how they sang; it was very cleverly written and I predict that this song will have a great, massive, successful future. It’s also easy to dance to it.

I think that this song is romantic as it creates an image of two lions becoming a couple. They are catchy and brilliant words. Then here’s where it gets worse! Suddenly, these awful pictures come into my big, beautiful brain! I see myself in a world full of pink with things that girls like! I did not enjoy that! Overall, I enjoyed the song. It was entertaining and it was focussed a lot on lion and I think people will want to dance to it. It is a highly recommended and entertaining song. By HG (Harishshawn)

On a rock like out of The LION King, there are two beautiful girls. (They’re not really on a rock, it’s just what’s in my head!) Today, I will be reviewing a song called ‘Pride’ and it’s by a duo group called Blessed. Blessed are a group of two and they are both girls. The two girls are 16 and 18 years old and they live in South-East London. They write, dance and sing their own songs.

The first time I listened to this song, I felts as if I was behind the scenes. My reaction was ‘I love it! This might be better than Little Mix!’ This song has a lot of musical harmony. I reckon that this song has a theme and the theme is a lion love story. The song mentions a girl being a lioness and some boy being a lion. The entertaining piece of lyrical music shows a sensitive touch with complex words. They are meaningful, fresh and unique.

As I listened to it for about the fifth time, it started creating a picture. The picture it created was of a flawless lioness falling in love with a powerful lion. I really enjoyed this song because it was lyrical and layered. If you like Little Mix, you will like Blessed. These girls might be the next big thing! By MC (Megan)

This piece is called Pride and encourages people to break away from their group to form a new relationship, like a pair of lions. The duo is made up of two sisters; one is 16 and one is 18. They are from South London. Together, they call themselves Blessed.

I am speechless. At just 16 and 18, they can already produce a poetic, rhythmic and cleverly-written piece of music. This new single is about how you should not let your feelings get the better of you and that, like a lion, you should be courageous and let your emotions fly when you’re besotted with someone new.

Blessed is a breath-taking example of art fully accompanied with catchy and flawless lyrics and I loved them. Who knew that 16- and 18-year-olds could produce such mesmerising and danceable lyrics? As the music and the lyrics combine, the image of two caged lions breaking free and coming together floods into your mind. For me, this song is like a dream in heaven. I think the pair will achieve so much in life, especially at such a young age! By RW (Raeanna)

Imagine if you and another girl, aged 16 and 18, are on your way to fame. How amazing would that be? That’s what these two girls are doing. They come from South-East London to burst out our eardrums with their ground-breaking songs. Blessed can definitely rock out some good vibes! If you’re into Little Mix, Paloma Faith or Rita Ora, then these girls are for you. The catchy song channels your anger into a heart-beating love. This song is flawless, in my opinion. You can really tell they have polished this piece. It’s good to have you with us, girls! Blessed seem to include passion and pride in all they do.

Like the words are telling a story, they sing this energetic piece with a strong tempo. It’s musical, fresh, sophisticated and stunning. Picture this, you’re running away from home, heading into the safari. A gypsy caravan stands by, waiting. As the wind blows through your hair, you start dancing while all the zebras and lions are watching. I would definitely recommend this song to a girl band lover. Keep rocking, girls! By MP (Millie)

Today, I am going to tell you about this song called Pride. There are two sisters and they come from South East London. They are only 16 and 18 years old. They wrote the song themselves and they even do their own dancing! The song sounds relaxing and calming and I would like to listen to it more. The sisters sound like Little Mix and they are cool as well. The backing music sounds beautiful, fresh and delightful. I think it’s a love song because they background music keeps me calm and relaxed. The lyrics are gorgeous and it reminds me of Little Mix but even better. The two sisters are really cool. I feel like they are in a car with the roof down and the wind blowing in their hair as they sing really loudly. I thought they would be between 20 and 30 but they’re only teenagers! I really enjoyed the song and the chorus made me want to sing along. I would give it 10/10 and I will definitely be buying their album. By BH (Bradley)

These two girls, writing and performing their own songs, are shooting for the stars with this song. Blessed (the name of the band) have released their third single, Pride. The girls are sisters and are from South-East London. One is 16; one is 18. The girls will be fighting for fame but as they are so young, I think they still have room to improve. The song is modern and catchy, so they may take Little Mix’s place in the UK Top 40! This is not your average, ordinary, everyday girl group! I think if you like Little Mix, you will like Blessed’s Pride. By OR (Owen)