New Music Releases 3rd June 2016 #MusicIsEverything

Still Parade – Concrete Vision

Steve Gunn – Eyes on the Lines

The Kills – Ace & Ice

Xenia Rubinos – Black Terry Cat

Joseph Arthur – The Family

Nick Leng – Drivers

Moonface & Siinai – My Best Human Face

The Casket Girls – The Night Machines

Fews – Means

Young Moon – Colt

Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate

Whitney – Light Upon the Lake

Speedy Ortiz – Foiled Again

Darren Hayman – Thankful Villages – Volume 1

Joshua Winstead – MMXX

Minor Victories – Minor Victories

The Claypool Lennon Delirium – Monolith of Phobos

Amber Arcades – Fading Lines

Cat’s Eyes – Treasure House

Paul Simon – Stranger to Stranger

William Tyler – Modern Country

Evans the Death – Vanilla

Erin Tobey – Middlemaze

Dark Suns – Everchild

Fear of Men – Fall Forever

Mourn – Ha, Ha, He

Ladyhawke – Wild Things

Tegan & Sara – Love You to Death

Maren Morris – Hero

The Strokes – Future Present Past (EP)

Gig Review: Spector, Basement at Rock City, Nottingham, 28th May 2016

Spector, Basement at Rock City, 28th May 2016

At 7.30pm when I arrived at Rock City for Friday night’s show on Spector’s “Tenner” tour, there was hardly anyone present and for a while I wondered if this would be a show with a shockingly poor attendance. Even when Fred MacPherson and Jed Cullen entertained the crowd with their DJ set (ok, in my opinion the tunes were questionable but that’s just down to my musical taste), no-one seemed to be showing much of an interest. My worries were soon allayed as the crowd gradually grew and became more eager, whooping and shouting for their much-loved Spector to arrive onto stage. At 8.30pm precisely, they did exactly that, much to mass unrivalled joy.

DSC_7492

From the onset, and with a look of a very well dressed gent crossed with a science professor, Macpherson instructs the crowd as a tutor does his lectures and they respond with vigorous rapture as if they are the most motivated students ever known. Performing experiments as “Never Fade Away”, “Friday Night, Don’t Let It Ever End” and “Chevy Thunder” results in an explosion of voices from the crowd and the arrival of a few extra worried looking security personnel after the first song!

DSC_7558

Macpherson quickly and willingly succumbs to the clamours of the crowd and gets up close and personal. His crowd interaction is second to none, with personal dedications for the 23rd anniversary of the couple in front of me (her advice for a long marriage? “be happy, love each other and the rest will follow”), the two French girls who have journeyed to the UK for three Spector gigs, and for birthday girl Rebecca who is beautifully serenaded. No band is under any obligation to do this kind of thing, so it’s a heart-warming sight to witness one who does.

There is a constant buzz in the air, a certain charisma emanating from the stage and a charged energy in the eclectic crowd (teenage girls through to men in their late 50s and everything in-between). Every single song whips the crowd into a frenzy during which it’s difficult at times to tell one jumping, bellowing body from the next!

DSC_7601

Following this 90-minute not entirely scientific experiment, I conclude that the whole evening depicted a love connecting the band directly to the audience, where the feeling between each party was entirely mutual.

DSC_7624

If you ever feel a little bit lost, head for a Spector gig – I have no doubt that it will provide several moments of clarity and an overriding sense of all being right with the world. A point in time to cling to, that’s for sure.

Gig Review: The Ghost Riders in the Sky at Voodoo Lounge, Stamford, 27th May 2016

It was with great anticipation that I headed down to my favourite home town venue on Friday. I was to see a band relatively new to me but who I was very excited by; The Ghost Riders in the Sky.

First on stage were a band from Cambridge called Meet Me At Dawn. As soon as they graced the stage, I spotted that bass wielding Ross was sporting a Pink Floyd t-shirt – good taste, that man!

DSC_7032

An excellent choice of opener, Meet Me At Dawn launched into a set of punk-rock tunes, deep lyrics in abundance and a heavy hint of Green Day’s style. I was impressed, and made sure to tell them post-gig. I’d love to see them in their home town as I can imagine they pull a great crowd in!

DSC_6928

Meet Me At Dawn’s self-titled EP is available now on Bandcamp, and their new single “Heartless” is out soon in all the usual places.

Next up were Cambridgeshire based Phoenix Calling – I’d heard very good things about them, but never had the chance to see them. They supported Young Guns on their recent UK tour, been featured by Johnny Doom on Kerrang! radio, and have headlined regional festivals such as The Willow Fest, reportedly going down a storm!

DSC_7097

What immediately struck me was their unbridled energy – vocalist Steve was all over the stage; getting photos of him was a challenge, but one that I enjoyed immensely! What these guys did particularly well was get the (albeit small) audience on side – the room suddenly filled with joy when they performed their mash-up of I’m Yours, One Love and Prince of Bel Air – anyone who can make a Jason Mraz song sound good has my vote!

DSC_7178

 

Powerful, compelling tunes are what makes up Phoenix Calling’s set. They somehow manage to compress warmth, intensity and fun into one package. The band’s rapport is genuine and heart-warming, and their passion for what they do is palpable.

You can buy their album “Forget Your Ghosts” here and see them live at various shows up and down the country, including a very recently announced gig on 2nd July at Festival Too supporting The Vamps!

Finally, the band I had been so looking forward to seeing, The Ghost Riders in the Sky, crept almost nervously onto the stage.

When I first stumbled upon them, the fact that their band name was taken from a Johnny Cash song had not gone unnoticed – I figure that anyone who likes his work is onto a good thing. I then learned that the band is the brainchild of former Gallows guitarist Steph Carter (brother Frank was also in Gallows – you may also associate him more recently with The Rattlesnakes…) and my interest increased a fair few notches!

DSC_7306

Fronted by singer Gillian, who I heard someone describe as a cross between Audrey Hepburn and Hermione Grainger, and with the band on an equal pegging looks-wise, this was to be a gig with something for everyone in the eye candy stakes, at the very least!

It may have been the sum of being shattered after a hard week at work + insomnia + out of work “stuff” + a few beers = a hypnotised state, but I doubt I’d have felt quite so mesmerised if some shoddy pop group or mediocre covers band had been in attendance. From the very first note, I felt as hooked on the music as the band looked.

DSC_7448

Every song was gracefully delivered, each note eloquently pronounced, and whenever I looked at a different member of the band they were fully immersed in what they were doing – I doubt that even an earthquake at 9.5 on the Richter scale could have stopped them playing.

Gillian has got a cracking voice – in places, she reminded me of Suzanne Vega, and at one point I thought of Maria McKee when singing “If Love is a Red Dress”. Beautiful, and matched perfectly to the both the searing rock music and that with a more sympathetic, tender feel.

DSC_7267

Carter describes their genre as British Americana, and having witnessed it live that makes complete sense. It’s a definite departure from his work with Gallows – it’s not so deliberate that it feels forced, though, and therefore has a natural honesty to it that is very attractive.

In essence, The Ghost Riders in the Sky brought another world to Stamford that night. I have no doubt that they are absolutely made for bigger things, but conversely they suit this venue perfectly – I just wish more people had been there to witness this phenomenal evening!

New single “Wastelands” is out now – have a listen…

You can buy (in Gillian’s words, not mine) “t-shirts and vinyls and CDs and bullshit and bullshit” here – I bought “The Death of Everything New” album on vinyl, and am waiting for some time alone when I can be fully engrossed in it.

New favourite band? I think so!

New Music Releases 20th May 2016 #MusicIsEverything #NewMusic

Andy Shauf – The Party

Marissa Nadler – Strangers

Kate Jackson – British Road Movies

Bird of Youth – Get Off

Eric Clapton – I Still Do

Lonely the Brave – Things Will Matter

 

The Rubens – Hoops

 

William Ryan Fritch – New Words for Old Wounds

Brett Dennen – Por Favor

 

onDeadWaves – onDeadWaves

Pantha du Prince – The Triad

 

Highasakite – Camp Echo

 

Mrs Magician – Bermuda

Rachael Sage – Choreographic

 

Yuna – Chapters

 

Randolph’s Leap – Cowardly Deeds

Bob Dylan – Fallen Angels

 

Saosin – Along the Shadow

 

The Posies – Solid States

Arthur Beatrice – Keeping the Peace

 

Debo Band – Ere Gobez

 

Mutual Benefit – Skip a Sinking Stone

Misha – All We Will Become

 

Angel Du$t – Rock the F**k On Forever

Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial

Mudcrutch – 2

 

Tim Heidecker – In Glendale

 

Richard Ashcroft – These People

 

Adult Jazz – Earrings Off!

Issues – Headspace

 

New Music Releases 13th May 2016 #MusicIsEverything

Oscar – Cut and Paste

Brodka – Clashes

Eagulls – Ullages

Islands – Should I Remain Here at Sea? and Taste

Yak – Alas Salvation

United Fruit – Eternal Return

Arbor Labor Union – I Hear You

Gordi – Clever Disguise (EP)

Fruit Bats – Absolute Loser

Jessy Lanza – Oh No

Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow

Trashcan Sinatras – Wild Pendulum

Mossy – Mossy (EP)

So So Glos – Kamikaze

Book Group – The Great Indoors

Head Wound City – A New Wave of Violence

Those Pretty Wrongs – Those Pretty Wrongs

The Lines – Hull Down

Corinne Bailey Rae – The Heart Speaks in Whispers

Kvelertak – Nattesferd

Torn Hawk – Union and Return

Twin Peaks – Down in Heaven

Masta Ace – The Falling Season

3OH!3 – Night Sports

Pierce the Veil – Misadventures

Hard Working Americans – Rest in Chaos

Modern Baseball – Holy Ghost

Young Magic – Still Life

Jameszoo – Fool

Oddisee – The Odd Tape

The Red Krayola with Art & Language – Baby and Child Care

Mark Pritchard – Under the Sun

David Banner – The God Box

Jennifer Nettles – Playing With Fire

New Music Releases 6th May 2016 #NewMusic #MusicIsEverything

Ry X – Dawn

Jean Michel Jarre – Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise

The Virginmarys – Divides

Thomas Cohen – Bloom Forever

Alaric – End of Mirrors

Dietrich & Barnes – The Coral Casino

JMSN – It is.

LUH – Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing

The Duke Spirit – Kin

AHOHNI – Hopelessness

Mary Chapin Carpenter – The Things That We Are Made Of

Seratones – Get Gone

White Lung – Paradise

Shit Robot – What Follows

Homeboy Sandman – Kindness for Weakness

Little Scream – Cult Following

Beverly – The Blue Swell

Aloha – Little Windows Cut Right Through

Rooney – Washed Away

Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room

Goo Go Dolls – Boxes

Julianna Barwick – Will

Royal Tusk – DealBreaker

Mike Posner – At Night, Alone

Kaytranada – 99.9%

Yoni & Geti – Testarossa

A Giant Dog – Pile

Tourist – U

Rittz – Top of the Line

Cole Swindell – You Should Be Here

 

Gig Review: @TheBluetones @Rock_City_Notts , 30th April 2016

The Bluetones, Rock City, Nottingham, 30th April 2016

The Ruffs

The first support came from local band The Ruffs. Singer Connor Spray looks like Stu Macher from Scream, but thankfully doesn’t appear to be the murderous type, especially when it comes to his songs.

DSC_5732

A band whose music is firmly rooted in the traditional indie style, they are a cross between The Verve and Oasis with endless natural energy for their on-stage endeavours. Strong, distinctive vocals are at the forefront of a set of catchy tunes that make your feet tap involuntarily.

DSC_5686

It’s clear that some of the crowd know and love this band already, and they get an excellent reception all ‘round! Much deserved, I say.

Nigel Clarke

It was very pleasant to see Dodgy’s Nigel Clarke wander onto stage armed with his acoustic guitar. Even better was the realisation that his voice hadn’t wavered over time and that the crowd was up for joining in.

DSC_5743

Nigel performed some of his solo tunes and upcoming new songs from Dodgy, promised for release later in 2016. I doubt he could have got away with not playing some much-loved older songs – “In a Room”, “Staying Out for the Summer” and “Good Enough” transposed well to one man and his guitar.

The collective mood was immediately lifted, and the audience were enjoying being 20 years younger again!

The Bluetones

I shall commence with a confession. I’ve never seen The Bluetones live before, despite being a consistent listener and lover of their music for the past 21 years. I did see Mark Morriss do a brilliant, intimate solo gig in Stamford a few years back, but have always felt that I missed out big time on seeing the band back in the day, so when the second leg of the 20th Anniversary Jukebox Tour was announced I was 100% determined to be in attendance, no matter what.

Walking out onto stage, it struck me that none of the guys seem to have aged at all, which adds to the feeling of stepping back a couple of decades in time. Having said that, although this is something of a trip down memory lane, it doesn’t feel entirely like reminiscence as the music is still hugely relevant and wouldn’t be out of place as a new release – these are songs that stand the test of time.

DSC_5891

Frontman Mark Morriss has an irresistible charm and audience-deprecating humour which does the opposite of alienating, it merely brings about another level of affection directed from the floor to the stage.

DSC_5901

Selecting songs for this particular jukebox must have been joyful yet difficult with their prolific back catalogue to choose from. They ended up with the perfect mix of the more obvious songs that the punters would hope for along with some of the lesser-known tracks such as “Fast Boy”, “Never Going Nowhere” and the very beautiful “Tiger Lily”.

DSC_5894

Multi-faceted guitarist Adam Devlin really colours in the songs with his intricate, craftful six-string skills.

DSC_5841

What I love about The Bluetones is the indie jollity and the fact there is none of that brash Madchester vibe to go with it. There is a certain sophistication to this band, enhanced by elements of The Mutton Birds, The Monkees (particularly Pleasant Valley Sunday) and gentler moments of The Jam.

DSC_5879

After “Firefly” came a tribute to Prince as the guys slotted “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” into their set. This was preceded by a short speech from Mark about enjoying while we’ve got while it’s here, with the band’s merch stand as an example… cue much laughter!

DSC_5825

In conclusion, and in the deliberately sarcastic words of Mark Morriss himself, this gig was “quite nice”.

Set List:

Talking to Clarry

Are You Blue or Are You Blind?

Cut Some Rug

Mudslide

The Fountainhead

Keep the Home Fires Burning

Marblehead Johnson

Sleazy Bed Track

Fast Boy

Never Goin’ Nowhere

Bluetonic

Tiger Lily

Carnt be Trusted

Solomon Bites the Worm

Firefly

I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (Prince)

Slight Return

After Hours

Encore:

The Simple Things segueing into Express Yourself (Madonna)

If