I Think I Saw You on the Street – MARBL (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

See, this is exactly what I have been talking about for years. Folk music and indie music make the perfect match, the deft and delicate delivery of the former and the cool and polished sound of the latter make an exquisite musical hook up. But a practical on too. If folk is going to stay relevant and Indie music interesting such musical marriages are essential. But this is no clumsy marriage of convenience, I Think I Saw You on the Street is the gorgeous off-spring of two good looking generic parents – the practical and solid folk father, the gracious and the charming hipster mother.

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The High Cost of Living Strange – Ben De La Cour (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

The Southern states of America have always been reflected, and promoted, as where the honest, God-fearing folk of America live. The vast farmland for Texan beef, the arid desert land of Nevada and the communities based on industry and hard work.

Of course every story has a dark side; for every farmer there is a greedy developer, Nevada is dominated by Las Vegas and industry changes, often leaving communities isolated when the big companies move on.

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Life Is Wonderful  – Clark Twain (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

If the single Fly High (Like Richard Branson) was shot through with musical references from throughout the decades and across the generic spectrum, then a full album from Clark Twain takes that idea to even greater heights. In fact it is like playing hop-scotch where each box represents a different era or sound. In some people’s hands this might seem like too much to juggle, might make for a messy or overly complex approach to music but not here.  And whilst Twain is a fan of a big sound, Life Is Wonderful reveals that there is much more to him than that and he manages to weave these various musical threads together into a seamless and enchanting design.

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Mr. Fix It  – Brooke Josephson (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

If ever a song was the sound of the modern clubland dance floor it is this. It seems as much built of sass and energy as it is with music and beats and with a video comprised of Day-Glo flashes and searing visuals, it is the perfect shiney object for the current crop of high-octane music magpies. Music can be staid and serious, poignant and poetic of course but sometimes you just want something to distract you from the grind of daily life, something to loose yourself in on a Friday night as the club kicks in to life, something that is more of a soundtrack or a sonic escape than anything particularly meaningful. And for those times, Mr. Fix It is exactly what the music doctor ordered.

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Miles Away –  Mark James (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Some music looks to the past, re-invents the wheel or perhaps merely polishes it in the hope that this new found sparkle will ensnare a new audience. Others follow fad and fashion, happy to piggyback on the current zeitgeist and try to slip through the doors that have been opened by other contemporary artists. And then there are artists like Mark James who are all about looking to the future. For although there is much that is familiar on his album, Miles Away, there is a definite feeling of moving everything forward, of striding confidently onto new horizons and leading rather than following the pack.

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Call of War – Millytae ft. Gwaii (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It is nice to know that in this world were a lot of rap and hip-hop has been dumbed down to mumbling bedroom wannabes talking in street tough cliches over the same off the shelf meandering beats, that occasionally you can still stumble across something which reminds you of the golden age.  Call of War has a wonderful swagger about it, like an old school hip-hop classic but is nothing if not forward looking, talking in the language of today and adding a real street edge and dark anticipation through the choice and flow of words.  It is sharp, punchy and for a change revels in its own lyricism, something which seems to have ironically been lost from the genres which arose from a cappella street poetry. Throw in Gwali’s more reggae-vibe, vocal interludes and you have the perfect combination of styles, genres and eras.

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Outsiders – The Senton Bombs (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

Blackpool is famous for it’s Tower Ballroom, it’s illuminations and seaside rock, and boy do these lads from Blackpool know how to rock!

If you like your music to have prominent drums, distortion-heavy guitar, chugging bass and a singer giving it some welly, then read on, The Senton Bombs tick all those boxes. Add to that some very good songs and you’ve got a very brief idea of what expect from this band.

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Two –  John Lindsay (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There are so many classic hallmarks and cleverly nostalgic moments to be found on Two that it is hard not to think that you have not been listening to John Lindsay’s album for decades. You can’t help but think that these songs exist on a well worn vinyl pressing, call a battered card sleeve home and both alphabetically and generically have the likes of John Martyn and Van Morrison for neighbours in a well-loved music collection.

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In Conversation with Nandan Gautam

After recently becoming acquainted with Nandan Gautam‘s recent album, The King of The Sea we where driven to find out more about his fascinating back story, his struggle to find his  own approach to making music and the revelation that opened the way for him.

You were driven to make music earlier in life, can you tell us a bit about that and why it didn’t really work for you first time around?

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Female Medieval Jester –  Jamit (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I know enough about the mercurial musical maestro that is Jamit to realise that any new release from him could take you anywhere, musically speaking. Admittedly, the music will normally be found in the more hypnotic, ambient dance realms but this time out the wonderfully named Female Medieval Jester seeks to underline the hallmarks of his musical world. For hypnotic and ambient are the key factors here but instead of using those as the springboard and heading out to see just how far he can push those boundaries, instead this track sees him hunker down and play to his strengths. The result is familiar Jamit but also Jamit boiled down to his very musical essence. This is the beating heart and core ingredients of the Jamit sound.

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How Do You Know –  Alison James (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Genres will only get you so far. They are fine for obvious music, derivative music, music which follows well defined templates. But when you get to artists such as Alison James you have to abandon such easy labels and dig a little deeper. It’s not that her music doesn’t resonate with recognisable sounds, its just that those sounds are better defined as classic or timeless rather than merely throwing them into a collective pool of similar sounding artists.

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Altered Cinder –  Luxury Eviction (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Although normally associated with more intricate and wilfully over-saturated music, and also best known as the powerful vocal presence in alt-rockers Absinthe Junk, Altered Cinder is part of a musical project that sees Blair B. explore a more minimalist musical landscape. Working under the moniker of Luxury Eviction, space and atmosphere are equal parts to the instrumentation, allowing for the music to ebb and flow gently around the single vocal lines.

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Hate To Say  –  Zebulon Krol (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It comes as no surprise that the wonderfully named Zebulon Krol is both a producer and a singer-songwriter. Often the drive behind a track, especially in such pop-soul-urban territory, is either one or the other. This usually results in either a slickly produced song with forgettable lyrics or a deft vocal turn with clunky and clumsy music to back it up. Calling on his wide-range of skills garnered from across the music spectrum, Hate To Say is the best of both worlds.

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Leave A Pretty Corpse –  James Dean Death Machine (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I’m always going to be attracted to artists with such cool and controversial names, after all it shows that they think outside the box, avoid niceties and are not afraid to ruffle a few feathers along the way. And if they are prepared to do that even before they have played a note, it means that the music is probably going to follow similar lines. JDDM is an east coast singer-songwriter with a fleshed-out, full band sound and Leave A Pretty Corpse is a great album of raw rock songs often taking an outsider or antagonistic stance. Why not, that’s rock and roll’s job after all.

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Paper Thin – Simon Lynge (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

A couple of weeks ago Simon Lynge’s brilliant album ‘Deep Snow’ popped into my stereo and a positive review quickly followed. The relationship between ‘Deep Snow’ and my stereo hasn’t ended, they get together on occasion and I have a cheeky listen to a few songs here and there, so it’s no great surprise that when the chance to watch a video of one of the songs from the album came my way, I took it.

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You & Me & The Sun -Annie Fitzgerald (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

Minnesota native Annie Fitzgerald has done something that not many female singer-songwriters are doing, and that is produce an album that is tender, thoughtful and emotional but deliver these songs with some oomph!

Most of us are suckers for a good love song but the path she’s chosen to present this type of song is supported by drums, bass, guitar and her voice (which will draw comparison to Tori Amos, Delores O’Rhiordan and Dido) and the songs feel so much stronger because of it. Don’t get me wrong, the opportunity to hear a singer stripped-back so the tale and the emotion is revealed is fine but if you have the talent and chance to bring a variation, perhaps that should be taken.

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Modern Cults –  Holygram (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

As the industrial white noise that kicks the album off descends into a searing, pounding explosion of shard-like guitars and cavernous atmospheres, oddly enough I have never felt so at home, so quickly. But then I grew up in the eighties. I grew up with clinical beats of The Sisters of Mercy, the beautifully washed-out and elegantly wasted soundscapes of My Bloody Valentine, the white hot riffs of The Jesus and Mary Chain, the demonic oppression of The Fields of the Nephilim and everything in between. And they are all, in some small fashion, pulsing away at the heart of Modern Cults.

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Midnight Blue  – Ben Holland (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

You can see why none other than Joan Armatrading took a shine to this young artist when she  saw him busking. It’s easy to hear the ghost-echoes of classic singer-songwriters and 60’s folk revival icons between the notes and words. It’s isn’t hard to become captivated by such a straight forward yet beguiling slice of timeless acoustica. 

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Taking Over –  Sunday Brave (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Take a simple and groovesome riff, underpin it with a confident, direct beat and a bass line that is content to drive rather than deviate into showboatery. Throw in a guitar solo that serves the song rather than the ego and top it all off with a vocal that is warm and evocative. Seems simple? Well, here comes the clever bit. You then take the sonic scissors and edit things down so that there are gaps between the beats, long pauses between the vocal lines and spaces between the instrumentation. It is these spaces that allow atmospherics to hang, anticipation to linger, for groove to build, for the song to stand out from the background.

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Cool Pop Thursday : Everybody’s Gone To War – Nerina Pallot

Proving that pop can talk about the big issues in the world, taken either literally or metaphorically, Pallot’s classic still rings true, discussing the blind faith, greed and divisions in the world today.

Also the album that this comes from, Fires, her second album and released on her own label, is a real gem, mixed with great pop songs such as this, some dreamy and gorgeous atmospherics and deft indie brilliance. It’s also a testament to giving it your all, as she re-mortgaged her house to find the additional money to get the album made, an album which would reward her with a couple of chart hits , went on to put her on the map and secured a career for her.

 

 

Pawn and Prophecy  – Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

As much as it is good to talk about how music moves on, evolves, finds new pastures to wander, there are times when you just want something familiar. After all, exploring exciting new fusion cuisine can be a lot of fun but sometimes you just can’t beat mom’s pot roast with all the trimmings. Honest, dependable and associated with fond memories. And the same is true of heavy metal.

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Hayes & Y share new single “Blue”

Mancunian, Hayes & Y have returned with a brand new single, ‘Blue’. Described by CLASH magazine as “a moody dancefloor burner with a killer chorus”, it follows recent track ‘Always So Simple, Always So Cold’ which was featured on Spotify’s UK Viral Top 50 chart. Already picking up plays at BBC Introducing and BBC 6 Music, the group adds a little more insight into their latest creation;

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The Limiñanas tour heads towards UK

French psych duo The Limiñanas will release their new album ‘I’ve Got Trouble In Mind Vol. 2’through Because Music on 16th November. Featuring rare recordings, 7″ singles and unrelased material, the collection is the follow up to 2014’s album ‘I’ve Got Trouble In Mind’.
They have just announced a string of UK dates in February, in addition to the previously confirmed European ones. The UK tour include a London headline show at legendary 100 Club on the 13th February.

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Something to Miss – Charlotte Grayson (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

The idea of just another young female artist folk-popping her way to chart success with an acoustic guitar and a chilled and minimalist tune might have collective eyes rolling and audible sighs of “here we go again”. Maybe it is a style that has been overdone of late, perhaps but rarely has it been done this well. For every hundred such artists using the format as a short cut to celebrity status you find one that really understands the genre and Charlotte Grayson, for all her small amount of years, understands it explicitly.

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Skinny Lister release new single ahead of album and tour

Batten down the hatches ladies and gentlemen, for tempestuous folk-punk renegades – SKINNY LISTER – are back with an explosive new single: “38 Minutes”.

Take it as a forewarning, for the London sextet today also lay out the incendiary plans for their long-awaited fourth studio album: ‘The Story Is….’, a record set to drop from Xtra Mile Recordings silo on 1st March 2019.

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Malihini debut album Hopefully Again out 8th March

Lo-fi pop duo Malihini will release their debut album ‘Hopefully, Again‘ through Memphis Industries on 8th March 2019. Produced by Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Ghostpoet, Darkstar), ‘Hopefully, Again’ was written in Sicily and recorded at the remote Giant Wafer Studios in Wales. Malihini, aka Rome-based couple Giampaolo Speziale and Federica Caiozzo, have unveiled the first single to be taken from the album, the soulful, superficially pretty ‘Hopefully Again’: its languid drums and woozy electric guitar hook-line usher in a sort of conversation between circling lovers – Caiozzo taking the first verse, Speziale the second, the two combining for the redemptive and addictive “Love is coming back” chorus line. “It’s about when you’re first really into one another”, explains Speziale. “When you try to be someone, as seen through the eyes of the other. It’s about flirting, and the moment when you come back from the slowness of depression, you dress up and you’re ready to confront with the fastness of love/life again”.

 

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