Tuesday, 31 October 2017

LUCIE BARAT – SINGLE REVIEW

Lucie Barat – Take Me Away (Alya Records) 
Lucie Barat - Take Me Away


Release Date: 24th November 2017

Everyone recognise the surname? Good, well move on then. Lucie Barat’s debut single ‘Take Me Away’ is perfectly timed and poised to make the most of the mood in 2017. Blending the spoken word style of Kate Tempest with a dance influenced live band is the first stroke of genius. Then taking pointers from the likes of the Fall, Incubus at their most experimental, Maximo Park and Kate Nash makes this even more sweet. For a debut, this is stunningly fresh in its approach and surely acts as an appetiser to an impressive and explosive 2018 for Lucie Barat but before that there is a string of live dates to enjoy so wrap your ears around this hugely talented lady and her band.


Live Dates:

2nd November – Sticky Mike’s, Brighton w/Brix Smith
9th November – Nambucca, London
10th November – Off the Record, Manchester
11th November – Sea’s The Day Fest, Portsmouth

7th November – Café Totem, Sheffield

PINS – SINGLE REVIEW

PINS – Serve The Rich (Haus of Pins/Bellaunion) 
PINS - Serve the Rich


Release Date: Out Now

Manchester five-piece PINS are fast becoming a cult favourite with their abrupt style and infectious grooves on their clutch of singles. The latest release, ‘Serve the Rich’, has a deliciously political and malevolent edge to it as the sparse instrumentation is only embellishment to the thumping drums and megaphone call to arms vocal “I’m only here to serve the rich”. There are elements of the Fall and Joy Division but also the darkness of Nick Cave and the swagger of Jon Spencer all wrapped up in a Lush shaped package. At barely over two and a half minutes, there isn’t an ounce of fat on this track so stuff yourself silly and be happy in the knowledge that this will only do you good.


Live Dates:

3rd November – Quarter House, Folkestone
4th November – The Haunt, Brighton
5th November – The Bodega, Nottingham
6th November – Waterfront Studio, Norwich
7th November – Joiners, Southampton
8th November – The Garage, London
9th November – Picture House Social, Sheffield
11th November – Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds
12th November – Stereo, Glasgow
14th November – Voodoo, Belfast
15th November – Roisin Dubh, Galway
16th November – Cyprus Avenue, Cork
17th November – Academy 2, Dublin
21st November – O2 Ritz, Manchester
11th December – Gorilla, Manchester
15th December – ULU Live @ Student Central, London
21st December – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Watch the Video: 


Monday, 30 October 2017

OH MAJESTER – SINGLE REVIEW

Oh Majester – Chemicals 
Oh Majester - Chemicals


Release Date: Out Now

Cornish noiseniks Oh Majester have been kind enough to share their new track with me and it’s a doozy. ‘Chemicals’ is said track and the quintet open with a lazy beat soon embellished with some end-of-the-day guitar strums and an intimate vocal courtesy of frontman Martin Burn. Laconic in style but with a burgeoning energy that bubbles under the surface, ‘Chemicals’ simmers like Nick Cave singing an Elbow song with Maximo Park on production duties telling the band to be more like the National. You can almost picture the epic, sweeping Cornish landscape rolling out endlessly in front of you as this song builds and swoops like the murmurations of starlings that you see at this time of year. Beautiful music created within a beautiful landscape for beautiful people. And ugly people. And everyone else. We can all enjoy this, surely?


Live Dates:

3rd November – Finn McCouls, Falmouth w/50 Year Storm
17th November – Zafiros Bar, Truro w/50 Year Storm

Sunday, 29 October 2017

JAMIE LENMAN – ALBUM REVIEW

Jamie Lenman – Devolver (Big Scary Monsters) 
Jamie Lenman - Devolver


Release Date: Out Now

So, this is definitely one of those situations where anticipation has been building nicely until you’re left with a real Christmas Eve feeling and then Jamie Lenman drops this album and suddenly Christmas Day becomes more like the Day of the Dead mixed with Carnivale in Rio and the best Bank Holiday weekend ever. Imagine that. ‘Devolver’ is not the end of a particular road for Lenman who went through a hell of a journey with former band Reuben and then went for a double album as his first release because, well, why not? No, this is rather the merging from the A Roads of relative obscurity on to a big three lane motorway that is faster, bigger, brighter and generally more exciting.

The album opens with ‘Hardbeat’ and an itchy, futuristic rhythm that is more akin to Gorillaz than any of Lenman’s earlier work apart from a couple of Reuben tracks where they experimented with electronic processing. As the song evolves, unfolds and opens up to the sun it reveals itself to be euphoric and hopeful in nature but when they drums finally arrive we’re in the middle of a Viking knees up and no mistake. Lenman has announced his arrival and if this isn’t the set opener on the forthcoming tour then the man can surely only have something more fitting up his sleeve as this seems the perfect way to start any kind of party. ‘Waterloo Teeth’ kicks hard with a barrage of guitars and drums in classic style with aggression, gritted teeth and already we can hear that percussion is a theme on this album as there are persistent, mechanical rhythms clicking and cracking away in the background ominously – even when the unhinged children’s choir joins in.

On ‘Personal’ we have a funky bass line and Lenman’s vocal taking centre stage singing “looking to the heavens and singing “come and get me”, I could have been an angel, if they’d only let me”. Lyrically, Lenman has always been ahead of the pack in terms of choosing words or images that cut to the quick with a wry smile but the sheer size of the tunes on this album to back that wit up is next level stuff. ‘Body Popping’ has a more stripped down and minimalist vibe but again that percussive focus is there with Peter Gabriel or Talking Heads hints but then a hammering auto-tuned vocal that, on a loop as it is, could be used as a form of mental torture. In a good way. I think.

Jamie Lenman - not a casting couch
As much as Lenman is known (quite rightly) for his abrasive and juggernautical power, he has the ability to cross that line as he does on the bleak and sparse ‘Comfort Animal’ but before long we’re back on the road with a tank full of gas; we’re heading for ‘Mississippi’. The monotone guitar chug allows Lenman to shout his lyrics before the gang choir joins on with “I can’t let go” and the song builds slowly, ominously like early Queens of the Stone Age trying to get a track in to the last series of Twin Peaks. ‘Hell in a Fast Car’ keeps on the freeway with a stuttering beat and sleazy guitars that scream alongside “We’re going to hell in a fast car with the top down and no seat belts” like Gary Numan’s bastard son on a bender.

The bass line, beat and guitar that opens ‘I Don’t Know Anything’ owes more to Chic than any heavy guitar band of the last 20 years. Lenman disarms with the constant change of pace and throwing in a funk guitar line with the odd bit of violin is just the kind of move that makes this album so fresh, engaging and worth a second, third and fourth listen before you’ve even got to the end of the first listen. Similarly, ‘Bones’ has a sludgy, grimy bass growl mixed with a prohibition beat and some of the most tinkling ivories I’ve ever heard on a tune that matches our hero’s new dapper garb.  Another feature of Lenman’s work is in strong song titles and ‘All of England is a City’ is another peach, as is the song which explores the concept of the dystopian present that we currently find ourselves living in….if you can call it living.

Unusually, this album closes with the title track, ‘Devolver’, which features the haunting, cutting and entirely self-reflective line “the mistake I often make is how serious I take all my work and myself when I know full well that really I am irrelevant”. That line on its own should be written on parchment and given to every struggling artist, every parent working long hours and missing their children, every 20-something working three jobs but living with their parents just to save enough money to get on to the property ladder. Jamie Lenman is irrelevant but, I would argue, this album is not. As a collection of songs that move a genre forwards this is hugely important, as a challenge to other music makers out there this is timely and as a warning to those that would dumb music down ‘for our own good’ this is bang on the money. Now all we need to do is ensure that his tour in 2018 is a sell-out because I want all to be part of that crowd singing “I am irrelevant” back at the stage with relief ridden glee. It would make a belter of a T-Shirt slogan too.


Live Dates:

29th October – Truck Store, Oxford
30th October – Resident, Brighton
11th November – Lenmania @ The Dome, Tufnell Park w/Employed to Serve + Palm Reader + Bad Sign + Fizzy Blood + The St. Pierre Snake Invasion + In Dynamics + Broker + Hannah Lou Clark + Jamie Lenman
1st February – O2 Academy 2, Newcastle w/Gender Roles + Loa Loa
2nd February – Stereo, Glasgow w/Gender Roles + Loa Loa
3rd February – Academy 3, Manchester w/Gender Roles + Loa Loa
9th February – O2 Islington Academy, London w/Gender Roles + Loa Loa
10th February – The Haunt, Brighton w/Gender Roles + Loa Loa
11th February – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth w/Gender Roles + Loa Loa
16th February – The Hub, Plymouth w/Gender Roles + Loa Loa
17th February – Fleece, Bristol w/Gender Roles + Loa Loa
18th February – The Globe, Cardiff w/Gender Roles + Loa Loa
23rd February – Chinnerys, Southend w/Gender Roles + Loa Loa
24th February – Waterfront, Norwich w/Gender Roles + Loa Loa
25th February – O2 Institute 3, Birmingham w/Gender Roles + Loa Loa

Stream the Album: 


Thursday, 26 October 2017

SEPHINE LLO – SINGLE REVIEW

Sephine Llo – Paper Thin (Tape Club Records)
Sephine Llo - Paper Thin

Release Date: Out Now

The video that accompanies this latest release from Sephine Llo is at David Lynch levels of weird yet beautiful which is handy because ‘Paper Thin’ is stunningly beautiful so it needed a fitting video to go along with it. Sephine Llo’s vocal is fragile but has a latent power that can’t be denied, somewhere between Florence Welch and Tori Amos. Lay this delicately on top of scattered bottle beats and undulating, futuristic synthetic chords and you have something that has a dream-like quality to it. Be warned though, this isn’t a sunny, nostalgia-fuelled dream, it’s an uncomfortable, feverish dream where you walk in to a room and realise that something is wrong but can’t put your finger on it. Then you realise that none of them have noses and you can’t find a mirror to see whether you have one or not. It’s that kind of song…..


Watch the Video: 



LOWLY HOUNDS – SINGLE REVIEW

Lowly Hounds – Give Up Giving In 
Lowly Hounds - Give Up Giving In


Release Date: Out Now

It’s not often you come across a band that is split fifty-fifty between a Brazilian and a Brit with influences that include Supergrass, Fleetwood Mac and Alabama Shakes. In fact, it’s never happened before until Lowly Hounds got in touch with their new single, ‘Give Up Giving In’. An even more pleasant surprise is the slick pop element that weaves itself throughout the rock-blues that this pair so elegantly present. Sure, the guitar and drums are front and centre as you might expect but there’s a synth melody and vocal harmonies that add a certain class to proceedings to elevate these two above mere Black Keys copyists in to a different category altogether that has a Maximo Park meets the Killers vibe going on which is tasty. Damn tasty.


BLACK FUTURES – SINGLE REVIEW

Black Futures – Love feat. P.O.S. 
Black Futures - Love feat. P.O.S. 


Release Date: Out Now

London duo Black Futures are making a late play for my affections in 2017 with a brace of singles, the second of which is new single ‘Love’. Beginning with a throbbing guitar sound that the Prodigy would have killed for if Trent Reznor hadn’t got there first, ‘Love’ gets through the gears pretty quickly and by the time Doomtree vocalist P.O.S. joins in with some desperate vocals there’s no doubting this song. What I love (oh the irony) about Black Futures is that they blend the ferocity of punk with beats that make you want to move and a darkness that moves you to smash things, like authority, until all that’s left are the shards of light breaking through between the tangled barbed wire and twisted iron-work. If there’s an energetic live show to match then these guys might just be making my ‘nice’ list this Christmas although they’ll probably prefer to be on the naughty list, it’s where all the cool people are after all.


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

BLOGTOBER 2017 – LIVE REVIEW

Listen With Monger curates Blogtober 2017 feat. Bare Hunter + The Malthusian Trap + Mux + Lots Holloway + Paul Armer @ The Finsbury, London – 22/10/2017

For the second year in a row, this humble blogger was invited to London town to curate one of the 31 nights of Blogtober as part of a season given over to letting writers out from behind their laptops and blinking in to the dusky evening. So off to the ‘big city’ I went with nothing more than a clutch of musicians and some dreams that have yet to be shattered.

Paul Armer
For those that don’t know the Finsbury in Manor House, it is a bare but stylish venue with a pub at the front and a proper venue out back with an enviable lighting rig and over-excitable smoke machine which makes for a great atmosphere and great photographic opportunities. Up first in these auspicious surrounds is Cornish troubadour Paul Armer and, dressed all in black with just a guitar and a harmonica, you can see that there is a sense of business about this young man. As the music filters out in to the pub and the crowd begins to swell, Armer’s impassioned vocals and choppy, rhythmic guitar playing soon wins over hearts, minds and ears. As he moves easily through his set of mostly original tunes, the voices of Bob Dylan, Frank Turner and Billy Bragg chime out through this young pretender mixing blues, folk, protest songs and broken hearts together in one deliciously dark soup. This might have been Armer’s first gig in London but judging by the prolonged applause and the glint in his eye, I very much doubt it will be his last.


Lots Holloway 
Now, I have to admit, when I picked Lots Holloway for this show I did it under the auspices that she would be playing a solo acoustic slot and that she was a talented but still emerging singer-songwriter. When Holloway took to the stage with a small but perfectly formed band and some razor sharp songs to perform in front of a small army of supporters then all my foolish misconceptions were blown away. Shooting from the hip from the very start with recent single ‘Stay a Little Longer’, Holloway captivates with her hypnotic performance, striking alt-pop vocals and energetic performance. Throwing in a pin-point accurate cover of 90s classic ‘Zombie’ by the Cranberries, Holloway shows just how natural a world-wide hit feels in among her own compositions during a 30-minute performance that pleases her current fan base and wins her yet more followers.

There’s something exciting about a band that divides opinion and MUX are one of those bands so I
Mux
couldn’t wait to introduce them to the huddled masses and wait for Marmite to take effect. As the unassuming duo Tiz and Jonas take to the stage and hunch over their respective collections of equipment there is a sense of anticipation in the air and then it hits you. Hard. The rhythmic power combined with the Jazz tinged electro melodies feels like merging the precision of engineering with the confusion of wizardry. Imagine Hot Chip and Deadmau5 being produced by the spirit of Zappa, encouraging them to ignore time signatures and the rules of song writing, and you’re in the right ball park but they aren’t playing ball. Some love, some hate and a whole lot of noise – Lord John Peel would have loved them and I certainly do.



The Malthusian Trap
The Malthusian Trap arrived at the Finsbury fresh from a short tour of Germany (I say fresh, that’s pushing the definition to its limits) and ready to celebrate like some kind of a homecoming. Within minutes of hitting the stage, the Plymouth based trio had the crowd bobbing and grooving to their rhythm and I heard an audible ‘wow’ followed by ‘I feel like a teenager again’ from someone who definitely wasn’t a teenager. Hitting a high note early with the excellent ‘Lancashire Hill’, the baggy vibes were taken to a new level with the mesmerising beats and three guys clearly feeling every beat, note and word of their music which only makes you want to get involved even more. By the time frontman Damon Foster loses his cagoule under the heat of that lighting rig we all know there’s a party going on and it’s fuelled by a week of drinking das gravy.

Bare Hunter
And so, with a feeling of euphoria not remotely connected to a few free cans of Oranjeboom, I took on the slightly unnerving task of introducing Bare Hunter, a band that look like they’ve just finished a month long shot out at the Alamo and now they’re ready to rock. Taking the blues fuelled energy of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and the Jim Jones Revue, Bare Hunter give things a reboot and mix in some dirty beats to tip everyone over the edge. A sweat inducing and compelling live show flies by in a blur of moustaches, riffs and flailing drums with songs like the storming ‘Dry Rot’ and ‘Kilimanjaro’ being the highlights of a seamless set. Like waking up on a roller-coaster, Bare Hunter are exhilarating, joyous, disorientating and confusing which is just what you want out of your headline act, isn’t it?

So that’s it for another year. Listen With Monger slips away from London back to the safety and comfort of my Cornish beach hideaway safe in the knowledge that I came, saw and showed people something new, something exciting and something to believe in. See you next year? Maybe, just maybe.

More information:


Friday, 20 October 2017

HYPOPHORA - SINGLE REVIEW

Hypophora – Headlines 
Hypophora - Headlines (photo: @craigtaylorbroad)


Release Date: Out Now

When I look down the list of Hypophora’s ‘Artists We Also Like’ and it includes NARCS (RIP), Cousin Buzz, Forever Cult, Allusondrugs and Patrons I can only surmise two things; they have excellent taste and they really want a deal with Clue Records. Musical taste aside, however, what can we glean from the Cornish quartet’s new single, ‘Headlines’? Well, they know how to rock hard but in an incredibly tight and controlled manner akin to Biffy Clyro, Incubus, Reuben and anyone of the aforementioned excellent peers. In Katie McConnell they have a frontwoman who possesses power, grace, a fierce presence and no shortage of melody in a voice that would rival Hayley Williams. Also, Hypophora are not afraid to mix it up, take time out for a feedback solo or just explore a bit of a jazz in the middle of an ambitious 4 minute single. Finally, we can deduce that their video budget extended to a few fairy lights and a cameraman/woman with the shakes. So, give them a stage (or a series of stages, like a tour) and a bigger video budget then these guys have got the chops and the tunes to back it up. Blistering stuff.


Live Dates:

28th October – Halloween Rock Night @ Bar Socio, Newquay w/Kernuyck + 50 Year Storm
12th November – Crowndale Club, London
16th November – MONO, Falmouth w/Knave + Sunbruise
19th November – The Crofters Rights, Bristol w/ Last Hyena + Hamartia

Watch The Video: 




ROSIE THE CROW - SINGLE REVIEW

Rosie The Crow – Lungs 
Rosie The Crow - Lungs


Release Date: Out Now

Cornish one woman song maching Rosie Crow is turning a whole lotta heads with her latest vehicle, Rosie The Crow and new single ‘Lungs’ is justifying all that head turning. Heading things up with bass, keys and her classy alt-pop vocal, Crow leads her trio in to battle sounding like a Venn diagram of St Vincent, Kimbra, LadyHawke, Lordes and the XX on a really positive day. The satisfying proto-80s beats provide the perfect foil for the moody guitar notes while that vocal has a steely confidence about it that is impossible to resist. Along with Auction for the Promise Club, Rosie The Crow are leading the way in classy/glassy Cornish alt-pop which is niche, for sure, but then who ever thought K-Pop would be so big and look what happened to Psy?



Watch The Video: 


REWS - SINGLE REVIEW

Rews – Your Tears (Marshall Records) 
Rews - Your Tears


Release Date: Out Now

The fact that Rews are comprised of pair Shauna and Collette makes them sound like a pair of 50s backing vocalists but this duo came here to rock out so don’t be fooled. ‘Your Tears’ is the last single from Rews before their eagerly anticipated album drops in November and it’s probably the last time I’ll be able to describe them as ‘hotly tipped’. The buzz around Rews is growing to a point of distorted feedback and this track does nothing to detract from that as the riff driven rock surges and grinds like some kind of unstoppable machine with all the force of Royal Blood, Turbowolf or Band of Skulls. Then throw in those pop melodies and vocal harmonies that make this sound like Skunk Anansie in their prime and you know there’s not stopping this particular steam roller so you may as well lie down in the road and let it roll over you*. Here come Rews.
*Don’t actually do this, it will probably kill you.


Live Dates:

8th November – The Wheatsheaf, Oxford
9th November – Epic Studio, Norwich
10th November – The Soundhouse, Leicester
11th November – Esquires, Bedford
15th November – The Greystones, Sheffield
16th November – Fibbers, York
17th November – The Met, Bury
18th November – The Lincoln Imp, Scunthorpe
22nd November – The Horn, St Albans
23rd November – The Forum, Kent
24th November – The Face Bar, Reading
25th November – Actress & Bishop, Birmingham
29th November – Old Blue Last, London
30th November – Gwdihw, Cardiff
1st December – Mr Wolf’s, Bristol

2nd December – West End Centre, Aldershot

DEADLEG - SINGLE REVIEW

Deadleg – Chinese Floats (Black Bleach Records) 
Deadleg - Chinese Floats


Release Date: 21st October 2017

You know when you hear a song and it feels like it’s been rummaging around at the back of your consciousness forever and a day? Step forward ‘Chinese Floats’ by Deadleg. Fronted by Paul Bardsley ex of Molly Half Head and Wireless, Deadleg combine the angular indie of Orange Juice with Northern Soul and the mass appeal, rightly or wrongly, of Britpop. The guitars are suitably shuffling and jangly while the drums keep things perky beneath the understated vocal style of Bardsley. Incorporating the everyman indie-pop melodies of Lightning Seeds, Badly Drawn Boy or Teenage Fanclub means this has a strong chance of showing up on a Match of the Day goal of the month montage and worming it’s way in to your subconscious as well so, you know, watch out for that.

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

THE RIGS - SINGLE REVIEW

The Rigs – The Hunted 
The Rigs - The Hunted

Release Date: Out Now

Picture the scene. A post-apocalyptic, barren landscape from which emerges a rag-tag group of Mad Max-style hunters, gatherers, warriors and thinkers. This is the year 2200 and the fall-out from Trump’s nuclear war-games has finally been dealt with by Mother Nature so tribes are starting to emerge from their generations of hiding. This is the opening scene of a film not yet even conceived but, luckily, LA duo The Rigs have already written the perfect opening tune; ‘The Hunted’. Dystopian, industrial and sparse to begin with, Caitlin Parrott’s elfin vocal soon adds the green shoots of hope and optimism to a tune that builds through the electronic pulses and trills. By the time the song fades out (to start the first scene, of course) we are left in no doubt that our group of unlikely heroes might be running from something (or someone) but they’ll be ready for a fight when they find one. Now we just need a script writer and some plucky young actors. And Morgan Freeman to do the narration.

MELANIE CREW - EP REVIEW

Melanie Crew – Midnight Sounds EP 
Melanie Crew - Midnight Sounds


Release Date: Out Now

I’ve been deliberating over this opening sentence for a while but I’m just going to say it; I think Melanie Crew needs to move. You see, this isn’t my first time listening to her work and she has such a gentle, comforting, home-spun sound that it always amazes me when I see her current location as London. Don’t get me wrong, I had 10 mostly wonderful years in London but I feel like Melanie must have Rhino thick skin to have survived in that city with such a seemingly gentle demeanour. Nonetheless, survive she has and grateful we must be for that fact (sorry, started channelling Yoda there for a minute).

This new five track EP begins with the end-of-the-day lament of ‘Evening Light’ that is full of poise, sadness and the gentle regret you get when you know you’re having a great time but, right in the middle of that great time, you realise that it will have to end at some point. On ‘Visions’ Crew strips things back even more to the raindrop pitter-patter of guitar notes and her soft, vulnerable voice calling out in the twilight hours. ‘The Place I Knew’ is strangely reminiscent of ballads by the likes of REM and Foo Fighters in its key changes but that voice is so very English this might as well be Mary Poppins at an open-mic night making the audience fall in love with every practically perfectly pronounced word.

Melanie Crew
Things take a turn towards the minor notes on ‘Out of Sight’ which allows Crew to expand her vocal range and create a song that would fit in perfectly on an album by LWM favourites Sound of the Sirens. The EP closes with ‘Stay All Night’ which switches things up to a more electric guitar sound and Crew sings “I don’t know anything about but I know I’ve spent too many minutes thinking what if we could begin again tonight”. Lyrically this EP is full of sadness and laments but with a real sense of enjoying that emotion – not quite wallowing but certainly finding comfort in it. Only one of these songs comes in at more than three minutes and I think that’s the key to Melanie Crew’s tunes is that they might be gentle and vulnerable but they get to the point, they are engaging and they aren’t self-indulgent. That said, I do feel the urge to put an arm around this EP, buy it a drink and tell it that everything will be OK if it just hangs in there.


Download the EP: https://melaniecrew.bandcamp.com/

SAINT RAYMOND - SINGLE REVIEW

Saint Raymond – Night Crawling 
Saint Raymond - Night Crawling


Release Date: Out Now

There are a lot of self-appointed saints in music these days which is no bad thing as long as they are behaving in a saintly way which I somehow doubt. Anyway, regardless of behaviour, Saint Raymond (Callum to his mum) is the latest saint on the scene and his new single, ‘Night Crawling’, is devilishly good…ironically. The pop vibe is strong with bouncing melodies and a steadily driving beat that pitches this somewhere between Harry Styles and LadyHawke – not a bad sandwich to be the filling in. The uplifting, sweeping chorus is primed for festival season next year so expect this to be ploughed in to every radio playlist you can cock an ear to. Delicious stuff which leaves you feeling uplifted and ready to take on the world so there is some saintliness in there I guess.


Watch the Video: 


Thursday, 19 October 2017

MOSQUITO CABARET – SINGLE REVIEW

Mosquito Cabaret – River King 
Mosquito Cabaret - River King


Release Date: Out Now

It’s no surprise to see Gogol Bordello high up in the list of influences of Virginia collective Mosquito Cabaret as this single, ‘River King’, has that gypsy vibe from the very first accordion note and rusty cymbal trill. Soon enough, that familiar bouncing rhythm kicks in and the dramatic, moustachioed vocals of a circus ringmaster. This kind of music can be heard through the ages and across multiple cultures but wherever it is heard it will incite dancing and good times in all those who hear it so it’s always worth pausing to appreciate a timeless and lament filled piece of folk music.


Live Dates:

19th October – NEON Festival, Norfolk
2nd December – Hipnotic Bellydance, Chesapeake


Watch the Video: 


SOPHIE MORGAN – SINGLE REVIEW

Sophie Morgan – Hey Annie 
Sophie Morgan - Hey Annie


Release Date: Out Now

At only 19, you might expect Cheshire songstress Sophie Morgan to have a relatively naïve sound with minimalistic ideas. Then you might tune in to her new single, ‘Hey Annie’, and any preconceptions you have about age or music will surely just melt away. The soft piano notes and Morgan’s warm breeze of a voice would be enough on their own but with the swell of a band to flesh this bitter-sweet tale out a bit then this is a genuine delight. Morgan has a laconic and, dare I say it, world-weary vocal style that wraps around you like your favourite old blanket on a cold Autumn day so, like she sings, “come in out of the rain” and let this song warm you up. Everything’s going to be alright, it’s that kind of a song.


Live Dates:

21st October – London Palladium, London w/the Waterboys
22nd October – Opera House, Manchester w/the Waterboys
23rd October – The Sage, Gateshead w/the Waterboys
24th October – Sec Armadillo, Glasgow w/the Waterboys
26th October – 3 Arena, Dublin w/the Waterboys
9th November – Laiszhalle, Hamburg w/the Waterboys
11th November – Munchenbruggeriet, Stockholm w/the Waterboys
12th November – Sentrum Scene, Oslo w/the Waterboys
14th November – Theater am Marientor, Duisburg w/the Waterboys
15th November – Afas Live, Amsterdam w/the Waterboys
16th November – De Roma, Antwerp w/the Waterboys
18th November – Murcia Auditoria, Murcia w/the Waterboys
19th November – Barts, Barcelona w/the Waterboys
20th November – Nuevo Teatro Alcala, Madrid w/the Waterboys

Watch the Video: 


MALKA – ALBUM REVIEW

Malka – Ratatatat (Tantrum Records) 
Malka - Ratatat


Release Date: 20th October 2017

So here it is. A bit like Christmas. I’ve been waiting a good long time for this album by Scottish song-weaver Malka and her it is all shiny, colourful and full of promise. Like I said, a bit like Christmas. ‘Ratatatat’, love it already, starts delicately with ‘Fell for You’ creeping out from the shadows with the child-like vocals channelling Kate Nash but with a more elfin whimsy that is hard to resist, despite the lyrical content being in complete juxtaposition. Recent single ‘No No No’ has had a lot of love from the likes of BBC 6Music due to its clickety-clackety rhythm that builds in to the kind of dance beat that feels super-contemporary but also as though it could be played around a large, Pagan fire. By the time we get to ‘Wonder Why’, you can see that rhythm is a real theme of this album with the melodies being teased out from Malka (aka Tamara Schlesinger) in her delicate, lace-like vocal and bolstered by those beat and bass combinations.

We hit peak tribalism on ‘Get Out (The Jungle)’ as Malka’s voice is layered up like a solstice chant on top of a rhythm that comes from somewhere inside a translucent pool of water reflecting only the moon. ‘Freedom’ has a real sense of optimism about it between the notes that bounce like slow motion rain drops and the bass pulse that is almost comforting. Meanwhile, ‘Breakout’ has a dreamlike quality as those vocals and beats intermingle yet again. It’s at this point that you realise what Malka has done in presenting a style of music that feels very modern and as though it is pushing some boundaries yet simultaneously this music is wrapped around the basic and most primal musical core of voice and rhythm. It’s a difficult balance to strike but there is a poise to this record that leaves you in no doubt that the balance has been achieved.

Malka ..... winning that staring competition
Having said all of that, ‘Gold’ takes things in a slightly darker, more subdued direction that has some 80s inspired moments in among the sprinkled magic. The nursery rhyme vibe comes back on ‘Falling’ which feels like it was written in Malka’s playful mind whilst playing hop-scotch or just generally skipping around a market buying flowers. As we approach the end of this collection, ‘Don’t Need Anyone’ slides in from stage light to steal the show as my track of the album with it’s hypnotic, Middle-Eastern background melodies mixing with the whispered vocals and those persistent beats. Closing out with ‘Circles’, Malka seals the deal with a triumphant climax that builds and releases like a bird being let out of its cage in to a new bright world full of promise and confusion. This is a stunning collection of intricately woven songs that have a solid base in their tribal rhythms but a very modern twist that means these songs stand up to repeated listens. Like gourmet versions of standard recipes, a real eye-opener and palate cleanser.


Live Dates:

1st November – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh w/Chuchoter
2nd November – Hug & Pint, Glasgow w/Chuchoter
13th November – The Walrus, Brighton w/Charlie & The Villas
14th November – The Lexington, London w/Alessandro Ciminata

15th November – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham w/Danielle Cawdell

SON OF DAVE – SINGLE REVIEW

Son Of Dave – Pow Pow (Goddamn Records) 
Son Of Dave - Pow Wow


Release Date: Out Now

Son of Dave is a one many show with, presumably, a dad called Dave. Or David to you. This new single, ‘Pow Pow’, is childish in the best possible way. Whistling, kazoos and/or harmonicas with the addition of casual beatboxing and what is possibly a tea-chest bassline. This is the kind of music that should be the theme tune of an off-kilter kid’s TV show but is more likely to end up as the soundtrack of the next big Ikea advert campaign. The energy is infectious and if you can’t get your boogie on to this then you may well have been shot in the legs by one of the myriad cowboys in the charming, accompanying video.


Live Dates:

3rd November – The Louisiana, Bristol
4th November – The Railway, Winchester
8th November – The Hug & Pint, Glasgow
9th November – Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
10th November – The Green Room, Stockton on Tees
11th November – The Actress & Bishop, Birmingham
15th November – Gullivers, Manchester
17th November – John Peel Arts Centre, Suffolk
18th November – The Owl Sanctuary, Norwich
23rd November – Centre des Arts et Loisirs, Buchelay
25th November – Sunset, Paris
29th November – The Bodega, Nottingham
30th November – Face Bar, Reading
1st December – Hope & Ruin, Brighton
3rd December – The Borderline, London

Watch the Video: 


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

AKIVA – SINGLE REVIEW

Akiva – M.O.D. (Kurb Records) 
Akiva - M.O.D. 


Release Date: Out Now

It’s not often that I agree with the description given by the Press Release that accompanies a new tune but Lost in the Manor have it spot on with this one; “think George Orwell meets the Killers”. Bedfordshire boys Akiva’s new release ‘M.O.D.’ is tense and dramatic but with a sense of driving cool that comes with the likes of the Killers, Gary Numan or Muse. The electro throb is industrialised by the pounding drums and then given a purpose by the assured vocals. You can hear the preaching confidence of Reverend & The Makers coming out of the vocals that speak of the brainwashing of war and the pawn-like use of human beings in the war games of the rich. This has film-montage written all over it but the animated video does that job superbly so maybe, just maybe, this song has the full package.


Watch The Video: 


GOOD BOY – SINGLE REVIEW

Good Boy – Fishing With A Shotgun (Badly Dressed Records) 
Good Boy - Fishing With A Shotgun


Release Date: Out Now

Brisbane punks Good Boy jumped feet first in to my heart with the opening bars of new single ‘Fishing with A Shotgun’. The riff that opens this track is reminiscent of the start of Everclear’s ‘Electra Made Me Blind’ but with much more fun at its heart before it settles in to an unsettling pace and unapologetic lyrical message. There’s a hypnotic video that goes a long with this but even on its own Good Boy have created the kind of tune that should have indie and punk clubs bouncing with enthusiasm across the world. The repeated lyric of “what do you fear?” is eminently shoutable by crowds and the clatter of the drums makes this two and a half minutes of pure joy that I would thoroughly recommend you make time for.


Live Dates:

8th December – Brighton, Mandurah
9th December – Mr Lonely, Fremantle
14th December – The Workers Club, Fitzroy
15th December – The Lansdowne, Sydney
16th December – Crowbar, Brisbane
22nd December – Cats, Adelaide


Watch The Video: 


THE PINK DIAMOND REVUE – SINGLE REVIEW

The Pink Diamond Revue – Go Go Girl (Acid Dol Records) 
The Pink Diamond Revue - Go Go Girl


Release Date: Out Now

London botherers the Pink Diamond Revue sound like they could double as a seedy Gentleman’s club in everything from name to the scuzz pouring out of their amps. New single ‘Go Go Girl’ is dirty from the buzz-saw guitars to the saucy beat that drives this one along but the fact that this duo look like a young Christoper Walken and Henry Rollins makes this both and enthralling and slightly unnerving experience. This is the Stooges and Death in Vegas in a Soho nightclub having the time of their lives but being completely indifferent to the experience because they are just that cool. It’s hard not to love a tune that feels awkward and raw but overtly sexual and supremely confident at the same time so why bother resisting? Just give yourself over to the fun.


Live Dates:

Watch the Video: