Saturday, 30 September 2017

CAPTIVE FEAT. HANNAH TRIGWELL – SINGLE REVIEW

Captive Feat. Hannah Trigwell – I Could Be The One 
Captive feat. Hannah Trigwell - I Could Be The One


Release Date: Out Now

A bit of Trace-pop for you now from Belgian DJ Captive featuring the vocal talents of internet sensation Hannah Trigwell. ‘I Could Be The One’ has a pleasingly familiar beat and pulse about it while the melody seems to be played out on the ‘guitar’ sound from one of my early Casio keyboards but, hey, it sounds different so that’s no bad thing, right? You can totally hear this being dropped in a club or, as the lyric video suggests, soundtracking the late-night drive to a club. It’s no Above & Beyond or Matt Zo but Trigwell’s vocal does add a touch of class to proceedings and it got my head bobbing so it’s not far off.

More information:


Lyric Video: 


JENNINGS COUCH – SINGLE REVIEW

Jennings Couch – Serotonin 
Jennings Couch - Serotonin


Release Date: 13th October 2017

I’ve been back and forth on this track a few times but I think I’m settling on the positive side of the fence after all. ‘Serotonin’ by Jennings Couch mixes the acoustic rock of Brother and Bones with the moodiness of 90s grunge in the vein of Pearl Jam or Smashing Pumpkins and that makes for a powerful start. Throw in a great guitar hook, a pumping bass line and the kind of chorus that it’s easy to sing along too and you’ve got a winner of a tune. Wrap all of this up in the package of Jennings Couch – an Anglo-American eccentric who looks like an extra from the Lostboys – and it’s hard not to love it but the literal translation of the lyrics in to the video leaves a slightly sour after-taste in the mouth. Like Grapefruit.


Watch The Video: 


Thursday, 28 September 2017

EMBRACE – SINGLE REVIEW

Embrace – The Finish Line 
Embrace - The Finish Line


Release Date: Out Now

The 90s revival continues apace and the latest act to get involved are Leeds legends Embrace. The very Embrace that brought a touch of the soulful and anthemic to the era that preceded the millennium. This new single, ‘The Finish Line’, comes complete with a mini-tour of the UK and then a brand-new album in 2018 so they’re not messing around. Musically, this exists in that place between forlorn and uplifting, that space where you’ve just hit rock bottom and you decide to start kicking back against the world. The sombre vocals of frontman Danny McNamara mix so perfectly with the swell of the melodies to create a tune that would fit nicely in alongside the likes of Elbow, the Verve and Mumford & Sons assuming they resisted the urge to pick up a banjo. There’s no suggestion that this is a slight return, these guys are in it for the long haul and this is just the start. Good to have you back boys.


Live Dates:

4th November – Live Venue, Preston
5th November – The Empire, Middlesborough
6th November – Fibbers, York
7th November – Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton
8th November – The Venue, Derby (Sold Out)
9th November – University, Keele

Watch The Video:


SWEETMATES – SINGLE REVIEW

Sweetmates – Tapes 
Sweetmates - Tapes


Release Date: Out Now

Despite a particularly dubious taste in shirts and the fact that these lads seemingly live in a basement, this is an absolutely banging indie-dance track. Brighton combo Sweetmates, armed with new single ‘Tapes’, are ready to take the University indie-disco scene by storm and if you’ve got any sense you will get yourself front row tickets. Take a loose, Kasabian meets Stone Roses bass and guitar combo, mix in some poppy drums and then a few dance beats along with well-placed synth notes to get yourself a guaranteed dance floor filler. This is primal and exciting but also incredibly well polished and slick. Ying and Yang in one song, it almost makes me forgive the shirts…..almost.



Watch The Video: 


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

DELIA DERBYSHIRE – SINGLE REVIEW

Delia Derbyshire – Future Ghosts 
Delia Derbyshire - Future Ghosts

Release Date: Out Now

Before you go looking for live dates featuring Delia Derbyshire you should know that she passed away in 2001 but such was her visionary talent that only now is her creativity being appreciated. ‘Future Ghosts’ is a soundscape that forms part of the Radiophonic Workshop project which has pieced together extracts from over 300 reels discovered in Derbyshire’s attic after her death. As you might expect from the woman who pioneered eerie soundscapes and gave us the original Doctor Who theme that still resonates today, this is uncomfortable listening but also somewhat soothing as the industrial waves roll in and out, washing over a pebble beach formed entirely of memories, dashed hopes and regret. The imploring BBC voice at the beginning urges us to “listen with your inner ear” and if you can clear yourself three and a half minutes to let this wash over you then you might just achieve that. A true pioneer in sound engineering and an enticing project in prospect.


Live Dates:

13th October - Radiophonic Workshop @ The British Library, London

Listen Here:


DAN OWEN – SINGLE REVIEW

Dan Owen – Hideaway (Atlantic Records) 
Dan Owen - Hideaway


Release Date: Out Now

Dan Owen is steadily building himself something of a reputation as a moody, broody troubadour and this latest single, ‘Hideway’, is not going to halt that reputation. The steady, ominous stomp of the rhythm mixed with the chain-gang guitar rattle provide the perfect foil for Owen’s husky, wild-west vocal which could knock a man of a horse with its power alone. We’re taking James Morrison but with way more passion or Laura Marling collaborating with Florence + The Machine but hired gun on vocals. This is addictive, powerful and infectious stuff that hits you right in the feels but it’s hard not to invite that kind of sensation. It’s gloriously luxuriant and I can only urge you revel in it.


Listen Here: 



Live Dates:

3rd October – Studio 672, Cologne
4th October – Molotow, Hamburg
5th October – Badehaus Szimpla, Berlin
7th October – Kesselhaus, Wiesbaden
8th October – Merleyn, Nijmegen
9th October – Les Etoiles, Paris
11th October – Bitterzoet, Amsterdam
12th October – Rotown, Rotterdam
17th October – Brudenell Social Club, Headingley
18th October – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
19th October – The Night & Day Café, Manchester
21st October – The Actress & Bishop, Birmingham
22nd October – Buyers Club, Liverpool
23rd October – The Lantern @ Colston Hall, Bristol

25th October – Omeara, London 

CINDY WILSON – SINGLE REVIEW

Cindy Wilson – Mystic 
Cindy Wilson - Mystic


Release Date: Out Now

When you’ve spent most of your adult life in one of the most notorious bands like, say, the B52s, it might come as something of a surprise when you haven’t had your own solo record so it’s about time Cindy Wilson did something about that. This single, ‘Mystic’, has a real 80s, Gary Numan vibe about the pulsing bass and clear synth lines but it’s Wilson’s clear, perfectly pop vocals that give this and edge of class. This fits right in alongside the likes of Goldfrapp, St Etienne and Dubstar but there are also flavours of the Human League about this which is just gorgeous. Soothing, classy and pin point accurate.


Listen Here: 


Live Dates:

10th November – The Earl, Atlanta
12th November – Gasa Gasa, New Orleans
13th November – 3TEN, Austin City
15th November – Metro Music Hall, Salt Lake City
17th November – The Riot Room, Kansas City
19th November – Zanabar, Louisville
1st December – 40 Watt Club, Athens
2nd December – The Grey Eagle, Asheville
3rd December – Motorco, Durham
5th December – StageOne, Fairfield
7th December – Chop Suey, Seattle
9th December – Star Theater, Portland

14th December -Opolis, Norman

BOOTSY COLLINS – SINGLE REVIEW

Bootsy Collins - Ladies Night
Bootsy Collins – Ladies Night (Mascot Label Group)

Release Date: Out Now

For those of you not yet acquainted with William ‘Bootsy’ Collins firstly, shame on you, where have you been? Secondly, please meet the funkiest man you’re ever likely to have the pleasure, nay, privilege to meet. ‘Ladies Night’ is the new single and it’s a low-down, dirty, funky piece of shizz all hung around Bootsy’s thick slice of bass but embellished with the guest vocals of Blvckseeds and MC Eiht. In terms of being a party anthem, well, put it this way, I can imagine Snoop Dogg getting his groove on to this as the wonky synths and tight groove keep your head bobbing all the way through. The video is a whole lot of animated retro fun too so come get involved.


Watch The Video: 


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

CASSELS – SINGLE REVIEW

Cassels – Where Baseball Was Invented (Big Scary Monsters) 
Cassels - Where Baseball Was Invented


Release Date: Out Now

If there are two things I love it’s when a plan comes together and when a band or musician that has shown massive promise starts to cash that cheque. In the case of brotherly duo Cassels, they’ve been plying their abrasive and hard-hitting trade for a while now but having signed a deal with the excellent Big Scary Monsters label it seems like the sun is finally shining on them. This latest single, ‘Where Baseball Was Invented’, hits hard from the very beginning with a barrage of low slung guitar and chaotic drums – entirely their trademark. “Every tweed clad soul I despise and hate, crawl by in a procession of top of the line range rovers with personalised number plates” spit the lyrics with the anger and venom of an awareness that can only exist in the young and the enlightened. This is the small-town rage of middle-England that we’ve heard down through the ages but with At The Drive-In guitars and Kate Tempest’s eloquence all rolled in to a ball of fury. The album comes in October, be ready for it.



Live Dates:

6th October – Album Launch @ Birthdays, London w/Youth Man +  Vincent Vocoder Voice
7th October – Album Launch @ The Cellar, Oxford w/Fancy Dress Party + Rats Eat Rats + Lacuna Coil
15th November – Green Door Store, Brighton w/Single Mothers
16th November – Kamio, London
17th November – The Flapper, Birmingham w/Single Mothers
18th November – Star & Garter, Manchester w/Single Mothers
19th November – 13th Note, Glasgow w/Single Mothers
21st November – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds w/Single Mothers
22nd November – The Bodega, Nottingham w/Single Mothers

23rd November – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff w/Single Mothers

FROZEN HOUSES – SINGLE REVIEW

Frozen Houses – Thursday Lights 
Frozen Houses - Thursday Lights


Release Date: October 2017

You know that feeling when you wake up on a Saturday morning in the Autumn and it’s all crisp and sunny outside which gives you a little sense of optimism. Like, what could achieve today? Well, the new single from Cornish artist Frozen Houses opens with exactly that vibe and that’s what makes ‘Thursday Lights’ such a delightful listen. Gently plucked acoustic strings have a quietly jazzy feel about them but plenty of warmth too before those soft, warm vocals waft in like freshly brewed coffee from the kitchen. Frozen Houses belongs in the same category as Badly Drawn Boy, David Kitt and Damien Rice in terms of its warmth and delicacy so if you like your music lo-fi, slightly twee and with the familiarity of a warm blanket then this is the tune for you.


Live Dates:


29th September – Lusty Glaze Beach, Newquay

BARE HUNTER – SINGLE REVIEW

Bare Hunter – Dry Rot 
Bare Hunter - Dry Rot


Release Date: 22nd October 2017

London trio Bare Hunter have some serious mojo and swagger about them at the worst of times. I mean, these guys could start a riot just going to the 24-hour garage to buy some semi-skimmed milk and a multipack of Kit-Kats. But when they go and drop a tune like ‘Dry Rot’, well, a responsible person would at least put in anonymous call to the police. Scotland Yard preferably. Drenched in Blues and bad intentions, the guitars stumble in like a drunk entering a saloon bar maintaining just enough poise to get another shot of sarsaparilla.  The drums rattle and roll with a looseness rarely seen these days while the vocal performance is born of someone sucking on a razor blade to get that perfect, raspy sound. “With a soul buried deeper than an exit wound” they sing and you don’t doubt for a second that they mean it. Essential listening.


Live Dates:

22nd October – Single Launch @ Listen With Monger presents Blogtober @ the Finsbury, Manor House w/Mux + The Malthusian Trap + Lots Holloway + Paul Armer [FREE ENTRY]


3rd November – 10th Birthday Party Part One @ Paper Dress Vintage, London w/Miraculous Mule + more

Monday, 25 September 2017

CHESS GALEA – SINGLE REVIEW

Chess Galea – Money Talks (Blu Bow Records)
Chess Galea - Money Talks

Release Date: Out Now

First up, influences for Chess Galea are listed on her Facebook page as Freddie Mercury, Etta James, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga and Prince. I’m pretty much sold already but let’s delve a little deeper just in case this is awful.... Galea’s new single ‘Money Talks’ opens with a steady, stylish stomp which has a fair amount of swagger about it and the accompanying dance montage video adds an element energy to that relentless march. Vocally, there’s a ying and yang of pop and soul in Galea’s breathy vocal and you can tell that she didn’t just listen to the songs of her heroes but also how they would get the most out of each note, each breath and every piece of airtime available to them.


Live Dates:

15th October – Spice Of Life, London

Watch The Video: 

XAMVOLO – SINGLE REVIEW

XamVolo – Feels Good (Universal Music) 
Xam Volo - Feels Good


Release Date: Out Now

The excellent XamVolo is back with a new Jazz infused and twitchy single that you just have to hear, darling. ‘Feels Good’ takes a trad-Jazz vibe, cuts it in to 100 tiny pieces and then puts it back together like some sort of twisted crazy paving version of the original. Then throw in Volo’s smooth, velvety vocal to stick all together like some dubiously sourced glue and you’ve got another piece of edgy, unique and brilliantly enjoyable music that takes you (and itself) in about 36 directions at the same time. Dig it.



Live Dates:


26th October – The Courtyard Theatre, London

Sunday, 24 September 2017

DEQN SUE – ALBUM REVIEW

DeQn Sue – Juggernaut (The Pink Donut Shop) 
DeQn Sue - Juggernaut


Release Date: Out Now

Generally speaking, 2016 sucked as a year and we lost a load of brilliant, shining musical lights which left some sizeable holes in the creative world. One of those holes was the exact size and shape of Prince which, although small, was a particularly strangely shaped hole which nobody has been able to fill to date. Cue the uniquely talented DeQn Sue with a brilliant debut album and a sack full of ideas that Prince would thoroughly approve of.

‘Juggernaut’ opens with the gorgeous piano riff of ‘Delivery Girl’ and a simple tale of wanting to be recognised as a human being even though, heaven forbid, you work in the service industry. Straight away, Sue opens with a catchy, alt-pop anthem for the masses without a hint of aggression but plenty of ideas, shovel loads of soul and an 80s inspired middle-eight break down. ‘Hello Neighbour’ follows on and although it loses some of the opener’s momentum it is still a beautiful piano based ballad that mirrors Beyonce and Kelis in its feel but with the intimacy turned up to 11 as you hear every lip-smack and breath in between the carefully selected lyrics.

On ‘Hunny’ the wonky synth melody and uber-perky rhythm belies the sad lyrics and you can’t help but imagine a sad Manga rabbit singing this as she walks around Tokyo looking for a lost love (well, I can’t at least). Conversely, recent single ‘Jack’ has a more sinister, night time feel as the vocals creep in insidiously between the rhythmic cricket croaks sparse synth melody. The absolute nailed on banger comes in the form of ‘Melanin’ which deserves a large scale flash-mob themed video to go with the racial equality focused lyrics set to stomping disco-funk tune – the anthem that all generation needs. ‘Messy’ returns us to the wonky synths and sprinkling of vocal interjections and melodious showers in between the rainbows but again the lyrics are the chalk to the melody’s cheese. This is sweet and sour in musical form and it is so, so more-ish. Luckily we’re only at the half way point of this debut long player so let’s keep on trucking, yeah?

DeQn Sue
The fabulously title ‘Pinata No Rap’ is a particularly edgy and twitchy piece with the droned lyric “I heard a shot fired, it was meant for me but it just missed me by an inch” which sets a dark tone that Missy Elliott would be pleased with. Latest single ‘Shook Up’ shows off our heroine’s more experimental side again with dramatic string stabs and an almost Latino sway building up to a full on RnB chorus but not before an almost religious, choral vocal gets smashed out of the park by those huge beats. ‘Starter Adult’ is my personal favourite on the album, partly because it uses a classic funk bass line that just makes me want to dance but mainly because it tells the story of so many people I know who tried the ‘normal’ life route before realising that it just made them miserable and now they’re happy doing what they love. It’s pretty inspirational.

The album closes out with ‘Unicorn’, a perky ode to individualism and uniqueness that fuses Katy Perry’s pop chops with Kimbra’s sense of quirk to make a song that should be played every pre-teen the world over to make sure they know that they’re doing just fine no matter what their differences. DeQn Sue is a singular talent who has the ability to take her career in any number of directions which is exciting but this is just the kick off, a starter for ten if you will. Hugely enjoyable and thoroughly recommended.


Live Dates:


25th September – Gallery 5, Richmond w/Elizabeth Owens + Zooanzoo

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

BOKITO – SINGLE REVIEW

Bokito – Aloof (Lost In the Manor Records) 
Bokito - Aloof


Release Date: Out Now

The marvellous Bokito are back with another single and more artwork that looks like a sinister ransom note. ‘Aloof’ combines circular, swaying rhythm and charismatic vocals with a swathe of instrumentation that can only be described as a party in my ears. Interestingly, the band manage to combine elements of Yello and Gogol Bordello with the melody of Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ which most DJs would struggle to manage so doing that with a live band and then moulding it around a song about not belonging that also makes you want to dance, well…it’s either madness or genius but whatever it is, I love it.



Live Dates:

29th September – The Workman’s Club, Dublin

28th October – Club 27/11 @ The Lexington, London

HARDWICKE CIRCUS – SINGLE REVIEW


Hardwicke Circus - Please Don't Try This At Home

Hardwicke Circus – Please Don’t Try This At Home

Release Date: Out Now

Hardwicke Circus look like a bunch of massive hipster douchebags and drive around in a customised police van which feels kinda douchey too so I didn’t hold out much hope for this track. ‘Please Don’t Try This At Home’, however, has a really nice AC/DC meets the Darkness via Jet vibe about it which is hard to hate so let’s throw away this particular book’s dust jacket and get on with the story. We’re talking hunky, chunky guitars, pile-driver drums and a pumping bass line which is a solid start for any song. Then you’ve got the Jagger swagger behind the vocal performance but with Justin Hawkins’ filthy mind behind the lyrics. So what have we learned? Basically, fuck fashion and let’s get on with the rock and roll show when it rolls in to town, regardless of the wheels it rolls in on.


Live Dates:

13th October – Dukes, Whitstable
14th October – Ye Olde Rose & Crown, London
15th October – The Brown Cow, Cockermouth
11th November – Wharfedale Beer Festival @ The Town Hall, Grassington

22nd November – The Brickyard, Carlisle

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

SAY SUE ME – SINGLE REVIEW

Say Sue My – Good for Some Reason (Damnably)
Say Sue Me - Good For Some Reason


Release Date: Out Now

You might expect the folks of Busan, South Korea, might be more concerned with their cousins north of the border. However, on the basis of indie-pop quartet Say Sue Me, they’d rather be having a good old-fashioned party and forgetting about their troubles. New single ‘Good for Some Reason’ is a ball of 90s Britpop inspired energy with Shoegaze guitars propelled forward with more purpose than usual by rattling drums. Murmured vocals and a pumping bass line complete the line-up and before you know it you’re in love with a track that sounds 9 parts Camden in 1996 and 1 part Holy City Rollers.


CHERRYADE – SINGLE REVIEW

Cherryade – Blah Blah 
Cherryade - Blah Blah


Release Date: Out Now

Materialism. The very foundations upon which the pop world is built, surely. Even Madonna knew that. So, it seems brave or stupid for London upstarts Cherryade to turn on the hand that feeds and not just bite but rip it clean off the arm. Then again, this duo are not ones for towing the line and ‘Blah Blah’ is a superbly bratty and sneering view of the world where style rules over substance and the acquisition stuff is more important than, well, anything else. This is Lily Allen, early Kate Nash and Shampoo but with Years & Years at the controls just to give things a sense of the classy to underline the power of lines like “you talk shit like blah blah blah”. Fun but with a message, now that’s something I can dance to.

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

MARILYN MANSON – SINGLE REVIEW

Marilyn Manson – We Know Where You Fucking Live (Cooking Vinyl) 
Marilyn Manson - We Know Where You Fucking Live


Release Date: Out Now

Good old Mazzer, he always knows when to turn up to a party and turn the politics in to a riot, doesn’t he? ‘We Know Where You Fucking Live’ is a classically dark, moody and downright aggressive piece that doesn’t pull any punches at any stage. From the bulldozer-with-monster-machine-wheels guitars to the slithering, black venom filled vocals, this is a hugely relentless tune that couldn’t be more American or monolithic in size. However, the line “what’s a nice place like this doing round people like us?” shows Manson’s wittier, more acerbic side and it’s the combination of the weight and the subtlety that makes this such an appealing track. Throw in a chorus that is essentially the screamed song title over an even heavier riff and you’ve got yourself a rock anthem for the pre-nuclear generation ….. and then some.



Live Dates:

27th September – The Filmore, Silver Spring w/Alice Glass
29th September – Stage AE, Pittsburgh
30th September – Manhattan Center Events, New York
2nd October – House of Blues, Boston
3rd October – The Paramount, Huntington
5th October – Rebel, Toronto
7th October – BB&T Pavilion, Camden New Jersey
8th October – Express LIVE, Columbus
10th October – The Riviera Theatre, Chicago
11th October – The Rave, Eagles Club
12th October – Arvest Bank Theatre, Kansas City
14th October – House of Blues, Houston
15th October – Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie
19th October – The Fillmore Auditorium, Denver
20th October – The Complex, Salt Lake City
23rd October – Fox Theater, Oakland
27th October – House of Blues, Las Vegas
28th October – House of Blues, Las Vegas
4th November – Ozzfest @ Glen Helen Amphiteater, San Bernardino
5th November – Knotfest @ Glen Helen Amphitheater, San Bernardino
12th November – Ice Hall, Helsinki
14th November – Annexet, Stockholm
15th November – Live at HAL 14, Helsingor
16th November – Sporthalle, Wuppertal
18th November – Zenith, Munich
19th November – Tipsport Arena, Liberec
20th November – Gasometer, Vienna
22nd November – Pala Alpitour, Turin
23rd November – Samsung Hall, Dubendorf
25th November – Velodrom, Berlin
27th November – Accor Hotels Arena, Paris
28th November – Klokgebouw, Eindhoven
29th November – Mitsubishi Electric Halle, Dusseldorf
1st December – Zenith, Nancy
2nd December – Forest National, Brussels
4th December – O2 Apollo, Manchester
5th December – O2 Academy, Glasgow
8th December – Newport Centre, Newport

9th December – The SSE Wembley Arena, London

Monday, 18 September 2017

THE VELVET HANDS – SINGLE REVIEW

The Velvet Hands – Games (Easy Action Records)
The Velvet Hands - Games

Release Date: 22nd September 2017

Cornish chaps the Velvet Hands have a reputation. A rock’n’roll reputation, for sure, but also a reputation for being perfectionists when it comes to the creative process. Latest release ‘Games’ is a re-release of an old demo track but given a new spin with a dandy new video too. The choppy, garage infused guitars that rattle through the opening bars of this track are infectious in a Babyshambles kind of way with that gang vocal and furiously strummed chords in danger of tripping over themselves. A chaotic rhythm section stays just on the right side of controlled and the lyrics get spelt out with Scrabble tiles at a furious pace which give you something bordering on well-read epilepsy. So, literate, grungy, fun and energetic. Ugh, they’re probably handsome too *checks video*, yes they are.


Live Dates:

28th September – Mono, Falmouth w/Skinny Milk
1st October – Main Stage @ Looe Festival, Looe

Watch The Video: 

MARTYN CROCKER – SINGLE REVIEW

Martyn Crocker – Wishful Thinking 
Martyn Crocker - Wishful Thinking

Release Date: Out Now

Plymouth musician Martyn Crocker is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with and this latest release, along with the excellent accompanying video, is doing nothing to slow his momentum. ‘Wishful Thinking’ has a tense, fraught opening with just guitar and vocals before a tighter than tight rhythm section kicks in and we’re off and running. There’s a genuine, died in the wool indie anthem chorus to get behind which will appeal to indie audiences and rock kids too with its guitar solo and outsider lyrics of “I just know what it feels like alone”. The ringing organ notes that ride this one out to the end are a sublime wave on which to end a great journey. Keep ‘em coming.


Live Dates:

8th October – The Carriers, Bude
11th October – The Junction, Plymouth w/Meadowlark
21st October – The Cellars, Teignmouth
4th November – The Deck, Perranporth
25th November – The Old England, Bristol
24th November – The Palladium, Bideford

Watch the Video: 

Friday, 15 September 2017

NOAH GUNDERSEN – ALBUM REVIEW

Noah Gundersen – White Noise 
Noah Gundersen - White Noise

Release Date: 22nd September 2017

There are restaurants you can go to where you eat in the dark to heighten your senses of taste and smell which allows you to appreciate the food more by shutting off your sight. I feel like blindfolds might be easier but who am I to argue with a fad? And at least you don’t have to get dressed up. There is, however, something to be said for your surroundings and how they impact on your senses but I’ve listened to this album in the sun, rain and wind, in my car, in my home and walking the streets, in good health and with chronic back pain. Whichever way you slice it, it’s an absolute work of genius.

Seattle’s Noah Gundersen is shortly releasing ‘White Noise’ and, in a lot of ways, that’s a good description for the album but once you start to actually listen (y’know, put down your $1000 iPhone and actually listen) you can hear the subtleties and some shiny lyrical nuggets. Opening up with ‘After All’ Gundersen creates a distorted synthetic bass rumble and, a short yelp later, he’s standing in the eye of the storm – all calm, delayed vocals with guitars swirling around him. It’s a beautifully calm start to an album. On ‘The Sound’ there is a more urgent chug and you feel this is where the album starts to hit it’s stride with the first of many great lyrical moments; “just a pain in the ass Johnny Cash middle finger, no shoot ‘em up drugstore quitter is a winner”. This is triumphant, vital and vibrant – just the way I like my music. And women.

Taking a sharp left turn, ‘Heavy Metals’ opens with a rich 80s synth vs beat intro that sounds like the darker cousin of LadyHawke or a Berlin comeback while ‘Number One Hit Of The Summer’ is the real anthem of the album with Buckley-esque guitars and a road trip vibe push everything forwards, relentlessly onwards because there’s no going back. Not now, not ever. One of my favourite song titles in a while, ‘Cocaine Sex & Alcohol (From a Basement in Los Angeles)’ (not sure if the missing comma is intentional but I hope it is), introduces a song built on forlorn pianos, soothing strings and Gundersen’s voice doing that heartbroken, singing through pain with clenched teeth thing to perfection.

Snakes are not jewellery kids
The lo-fi pulse juxtaposing with the delicate piano work on ‘Bad Actor’ is perfect for a film or the darkest of the early hours but it only acts as a pallet cleanser before the main course to come. ‘Fear & Loathing’ is the American anthem from the reality of the Trump era and it’s so good that I’m going to put it in Springsteen territory. As Gundersen tells the story of a rundown American town, Fear & Loathing (population: everyone), you are drawn in to the picture he is painting by the gentle hum of acoustic strum and gentle piano notes as you fall in love with the characters – Quarter backs, Prom queens, old drunks; “no-one gets a break in this town”, “there’s nothing left for us here now, in Fear & Loathing. It’s a beautifully crafted story that the whole album revolves around as it builds from lap steel gentility to an almighty, frustrated crescendo that is the absolute release of years of being down trodden and forgotten about.

After a long fade out, there’s an ominously insistent metronomic beat like the drip of rain after a heavy down pour which brings about the new clarity of ‘Sweet Talk’, replete with high pitched vocals, intricate guitars and an (almost) overdue splash of drums to break the tension. There’s a wonderfully simple piano intro to ‘New Religion’ before the Killers-esque crowd pleasure shifts through the gears with ease before leading in to ‘Bad Desires’, a love song for a generation of defeated romantics. ‘Wake Me Up I’m Drowning’ is one of the most genuinely terrifying songs I’ve ever hear so younger readers may want adult supervision for this. It’s the gently persistent drip of piano notes that build in to a pool, a well, a lake of water that becomes oppressive and weighs down on your soul before Noah Gundersen sings as though this was recorded while he was actually at risk of drowning. Radiohead did the video, Gundersen seems to have taken it a step further to magnificently claustrophobia inducing effect. “It’s just a dream I’m having, wake me up, wake me up I’m dreaming and I can’t swim, wake me up, wake me up….again” – It’s Lynch-level stuff.

The album concludes with two tracks that provide something approach closure after this experience. Firstly, ‘Dry Year’ is a clean, pure acoustic and vocals track that feels like Gundersen possibly wrote it as he recorded it, such is the stream of consciousness lyrical theme. And then, to finish, we have ‘Send The Rain (To Everyone)’, another of Gundersen’s softer, more intimate songs that show off those song writing skills again. This is an album I could (and will) listen to again and again. There is triumph and despair, love and loss, anger and peace. All of human life is reflected here and that is in no way an easy task. Noah Gundersen has, with this album, put himself in amongst the great modern American songwriters like Dylan, Springsteen and Buckley, those who only need surnames and if their president lets them down in the worst possible way then you could do no better thing than taking this album in to your fallout shelter with you. 


Live Dates:

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

NELSON CAN – EP REVIEW

Nelson Can – EP3 (Alcopop! Records) 
Nelson Can - EP3

Release Date: 29th September 2017

It’s not often I review two all-female Danish trios in a week but having fallen in love with Velvet Volume earlier this week I am now rekindling my affections for the glorious Nelson Can with their new EP. Hurra! ‘EP3’ opens with ‘Break Down Your Walls’, a tune pegged to a glorious bass line that puts me in mind of that classic Breeders tune ‘Canonball’ with its loose groove maintaining some shape while the rest of the tune loses its shit everywhere else. ‘Digging Your Grave’ 96 seconds of spooky, atmospheric melody clearly intended to make you pause and stop being distracted by the rest of the world around you while you focus on what is, presumably, the new theme tune for the Morticia Addams spin-off show.

On ‘Downtown’ Nelson Can get back to those slinky bass lines and coolly menacing vocals that are straight out of a Tarantino scene, preferably a director’s edit of Pulp Fiction. ‘Miracle’, by contrast, has a sinister disco bass melody before those dark, husky vocals join in and then the track explodes in to a crossover anthem. The only issue is that this appears to be a crossover between PJ Harvey fans and disco aficionados which is one hell of a niche market to aim for. For ‘Move Forward’, the trio get loose and channel the likes of the Gossip and the Darts with a more garage punk feel but still that bassist (the wonderfully named Signe SigneSigne) keeps things groovy which is a big part of what gives Nelson Can such a unique sound.

If Nelson Can, anyone can
Sounding like an 80s wrestler, ‘Stonewall Frank’ closes out this six track EP and it’s a triumphant way to finish things up.  Blending the crossover between Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Boss Hog, the band go heavy on distortion and put their foot to the floor with three part harmonies and a rhythm section that just won’t quit…..except it does for few seconds while they sing “a giant woman called Frank, helps me to the car, she says let’s go for a drink in a neighbourhood bar”. Then they get back to rocking out and it’s so much fun.





Live Dates:

23rd September – Nordic Delight @ EKKO, Utrecht
5th October – Rampleys, Silkeborg
6th October – Studenterhuset, Aalborg
13th October – Atlas, Aarhus
14th October – Musikhuset Posten, Odense
20th October – Pumpehuset, Copenhagen
17th November – Sub 89, Reading
18th November – Engine Rooms, Southampton
19th November – Phoenix, Exeter
21st November – The Globe, Exeter
22nd November – The Fleece, Bristol

23rd November – Waterfront, Norwich

THE ACADEMIC – SINGLE REVIEW

The Academic – Bear Claws 
The Academic - Bear Claws

Release Date: Out Now

I’m sensing some sort of sync opportunity as this Irish indie quartet hail from Mullingar  so we could soon see a Listen With Mullingar hook up if we play our cards right. Anyway, corporate shenanigans aside, The Academic’s new single ‘Bear Claws’ is a delightful indie-pop romp that will have audiences swooning and swaying in equal measure. Smoother than Vampire Weekend, more romantic than the Strokes but with more of an edge than Bombay Bicycle Club and the melodies of early Teenage Fanclub you can see why these four lads are making a name for themselves. Off they go to America with at least one great tune and who’s to say they haven’t got more?


Live Dates: 

All dates with Judah + The Lion

28th September – The Blue Note, Columbia
29th September – First Avenue, Minneapolis
1st October – The Intersection, Grand Rapids
2nd October – The Rave II, Milwaukee
5th October – Newport Music Hall, Columbus
7th October – Minglewood Hall, Memphis
10th October – Maverick’s, Jacksonville
14th October – Music Farm, Charleston
15th October – The Ritz, Raleigh
16th October – Jefferson Theatre, Charlottesville
19th October – Town Hallroom, Buffalo
22nd October – 9:30 Club, Washington
25th October – Metroplex, Little Rock
26th October – Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa

Watch The Video: 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

MALKA – SINGLE REVIEW

Malka - No No No (Tantrum Records) 
Malka - No No No

Release Date: Out Now

We’re getting very close to the new album from Scottish songstress Malka now but there’s just time for one more single before we hit the jackpot. The stroppy sounding ‘No No No’ starts with an uncharacteristic deep bass throb before Malka’s trademark impish vocal kicks in with a carnival beat and a school yard melody that, by rights, be used as the soundtrack for some serious street skipping action. There’s a distinctly wonky guitar and those drums layer up in to a rhythmic lattice like a stack of funky waffles one on top of the other. Gloriously, there’s a juxtaposition here between Malka’s sweet, soft vocal and the lyrical subject matter that holds a mirror to the world and the way we treat the natural resources around it. Throw in some horns for the crescendo and you’ve got yourself what is sure to be a live favourite and perfect little mid set number to whip up a frenzy in the festival tents next summer.  


Live Dates:

1st November – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
2nd November – Hug & Pint, Glasgow
3rd November – We Are Robots, London
13th November – The Walrus, Brighton
14th November – The Lexington, London
15th November – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham

16th November – The Wonder Inn, Manchester

RIDER – SINGLE REVIEW

Rider – A Little Light (Sapien Records)
Rider - A Little Light

Release Date: 15th September 2017

If you’re in the market for some slick, classy and superbly crafted pop then I’d thoroughly recommend giving US singer-songwriter-producer Rider a listen. New single ‘A Little Light’ is full of Katy Perry meets Taylor Swift sized melodies that pull on the heart strings and give you something to hang on to through a difficult break up. Then there’s the supportive children’s choir repeatedly chanting “a little light” throughout the track which lifts your spirits – the kids have got your back. Rider’s voice is powerful and pure, just the way you want your pop stars and there are some nice little touches of 80s power-pop brought up to date which gives this a LadyHawke from time to time. I hear a lot of pop, particularly from female solo artists, but this definitely stands out from the pack with a glint in the eye and a knowing smile.


Live Dates:

19th September – The Water Rats, London
20th September – Virgin Money Lounge, London
30th October – The Camden Assembly, London

Watch The Video: 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

VELVET VOLUME – SINGLE REVIEW

Velvet Volume – Look Look Look! 
Velvet Volume - Look Look Look!

Release Date: Out Now

Velvet Volume have got it all: Great name, check. Great look, check. Recorded the Danish version of the theme tune for the Power Puff girls, check. Made a video where they look a bit like the Power Puff girls, check. Like I said, they’ve got it all and new single ‘Look Look Look!’ even has an exclamation mark in the title which I love. Musically, these three sisters can rock out as well. The colossal rumbling of the bass and drums is like the hum of a finely tuned engine revving up in the street. Then throw in the dead-eyed, gritted teeth vocals (with harmonies) that make this feel like the perfect marriage between the American power of Belly, Looker or Breeders and the British sass of Echobelly, Elastica or Lush. This is a strong contender for single of the year and Velvet Volume are on my new favourite bands list, I told you they had it all. They’re pretty good at tennis too!


Live Dates:

14th October – Studenterhuset, Aalborg
20th October – Konfus, Esbjerg
21st October – Kulisselageret, Horsens
27th October – Gimle, Roskilde
28th October – Verhuset, Naestved
3rd November – Fermaten, Herning
10th November – Kulturmaskinen, Odense
11th November – Turbinen, Randers
17th November – Lille Vega, Kobenhaven
25th November – Voxhall, Aarhus

Watch The Video: 

GLASSPOP – SINGLE REVIEW

Glasspop – I Need Somebody 
Glasspop - I Need Somebody

Release Date: Out Now

OK, holding my hands up here, the only thing I knew about Poznan before hearing Glasspop was that they had inspired a specific football celebration of sorts so I was keen to hear what this indie-pop bunch had to offer. ‘I Need Somebody’ has a compelling beat and slick pop production that, from the word go, draws you in and hooks you completely. Mixing the mass appeal of the Killers with the indie-pop of the recent Kaiser Chiefs material and some of the melodic signatures of Muse is a bold move but it all mixes together beautifully to create a tune that would be perfect in an indie club but also has mainstream appeal. So that’s two things to thank Poznan for (and probably more if I had the time to look).

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

Live Dates:

26th November – Lido, Berlin w/Mew
28th November – NIEBO, Warsaw w/Mew

29th November – B90, Gdansk w/Mew 

Watch The Video: