Best Before 05 June 18 –  The Dated (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There is something of the late 70’s, New Wave sound to opening salvo Since You Left Me, a sort of less angsty, more rock and roll Elvis Costello or perhaps even the sort of thing the mighty Nick Lowe might have penned. And like the excellent Mr Lowe, who had a successful career penning deft and astute songs before and long after the last echoes of punk had faded away, The Dated have a similar timeless sound. Timeless in that it is a sound that defies easy genre beyond that of clever singer-songwriting form writ large for full band delivery.

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‘Springsteen On Broadway’ soundtrack album out 14th December

Columbia Records will release the ‘Springsteen On Broadway’ soundtrack album on 14th December, featuring the songs and stories from Tony Award winner Bruce Springsteen’s historic 236-show run at Jujamcyn’s Walter Kerr Theatre. Consisting of the complete audio from the upcoming ‘Springsteen On Broadway’ Netflix release, the soundtrack album will be available on 4 LPs or 2 CDs as well as a digital download and on streaming services.

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Hide and Hair –  The Trials of Cato (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

For all folks recent evolutions, its dalliances with indie chic, its wandering of shimmering dreamscape pathways, its pop hook-ups, there is something to be said for the traditional sound. Of course the art of keeping things both true to the genre and relevant for modern audiences is to walk that fine line between familiarity and freshness and that is exactly what The Trials of Cato do. And do so effortlessly.

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Losing Form –  Polly Panic (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

As long as there has been mainstream music there has been an alternative scene. Sadly “alt” sub genres have become as calculated and predictable as those they claim to provide the escape from. Alt-rockers in particular with their complicated hair and skinny, designer ripped jeans seem to be the biggest culprits. So the obvious conclusion is that we have to create an alternative to the alternative rock scene and if it does indeed exist then Polly Panic is its leading light.

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Seagate e.p. – Al Holland (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It isn’t always a groove or a lyric that hooks you into a song, sometimes it can be far subtler than that. On the first spin at least, the most immediate and beguiling aspect of Seagate for me  was its textures. There is something really artful  in the way a whole range of different styles and sounds have been threaded together into a sort of slick and melancholic pop. Note, melancholic but not maudlin. It has inherent tinges of memory, nostalgia and reflection but only as subtle details, a background vibe, rather than as its main raison d’être. And it is Al Holland’s ability to take various musical threads – shimmering dreamscaping, folky delicacy, electronic motifs and gentle, cinematic pop -and weave them so deftly that they create gorgeous musical vistas that is the real charm of the music.

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Roots Sunday : Three Beautiful Daughters – Case Hardin

No video for this one, just a slice of emotive and minimal Americana from one of the best bands on the UK roots circuit. Case Hardin have been slowly building a strong following through energetic and heart-felt live shows and some finely crafted songs.

This mellow moment comes from the album PM, but you can pick any album and find the same array of great songs and deft playing and catch them live and you are in for even more of a treat.

Shine On  (You) –  Jo Oliver (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It’s difficult to tell from this song whether Jo Oliver is a rocker who happens to write very melodic and infectious songs or is a pop artist trying to build a more robust and memorable sound. Not that it really matters that much because either way you look at it Shine On works a treat. If pop music often follows the same tried and tested pathways and rock music is riddled with cliche and bombast, here we find a song that is able to neatly walk the fine line that divides the two camps.

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Love and Music –  MD Lyonga (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

If you need proof that the world is becoming an ever smaller and more connected place you just have to look at the blends and cross-references that crop up in the art forms of the 21st century. Canadian based Cameroonian artist MD Lyonga is the perfect representation of this and his latest e.p. is a deft mix of styles and genres garnered from many different cultures and countries. As you would expect from an artist with one foot in either continent there is a wonderful clash of western rap and R&B infused pop with the more exotic beats and rhythms of west Africa’s rich musical heritage.

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Superhuman – Curtis Newart (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Curtis Newart has a fascinating sound going on here. Dance-pop it may be but it covers a lot of ground on its way to that day-glo destination. Whilst being ultra-modern and totally up to date it also echos with the sound of early pioneers of the genre, and particularly classic cuts such as Oakey and Moroder’s Together in Electric Dreams. And if you are going to go down this route those are two names that anyone would be happy to have bandied around as a point of reference.

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Fucked Up Inside –  Spiritualized (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Even before they had made a single noise, Spiritualized‘s moves were being closely watched by discerning music fans and press alike by virtue of front man Jason Pierce and his previous musical vehicle Spacemen 3. And whilst their droning, pedal heavy, shoegazing and tremolo driven sound would warp and shift to absorb many genres, particularly, gospel and blues, and reference the Phil Spectre “wall of sound” approach, Fucked Up Inside is where it all began.

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Unplugged:  Part 1 – The Hate Club (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Cliches are fun right? All that glitters isn’t gold. And they all lived happily ever after. Read between the lines. Fun but not always that useful. Alexander Poe knows, however, that there is at least one cliche that stands up to scrutiny. Less is More. Unplugged is the sound of him putting the phrase to the test as he takes The Hate Club‘s songs of emotional turmoil and disenfranchisement and strips them down to the bone. Excuse the cliche.

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A chat with She, Robot ahead of PolyFest appearance

Ahead of her appearance at PolyFest, Laura Beth sat down with She, Robot to find out more about the artist, the music and the machine.

You are playing PolyFest this year. You are obviously an X-Ray Spex fan. What tracks  will you be playing from the classic ‘Germfree Adolescents’ album which is being celebrated for its 40th anniversary? Also, could you explain what those tracks mean to you?

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Cool Pop Thursday : Grass – XTC

If for no other reason than I managed to unexpectedly get a ticket to last night’s TC&I show at Swindon Art Centre here’s a reminder of just one of the great songs that XTC were responsible for. With TC&I only having a small arsenal of new material at their disposal, the bulk of the show was obviously made up from the extensive XTC back catalogue. Including this sweet little pop gem.

And as I spent the night in the company of the charming Sarah Palmer from Fassine it seems only appropriate to point you in the direction of their lovely XTC cover too.

 

 

December Rain (Carol of Love) – Craymo (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Music is made for many reasons. Sometimes it has something to say, other times it tells a story and sometimes it is merely fashioned for the euphoria and fun it brings. But music is a very poignant and powerful tool too and can be used to celebrate and honour the lives of those no longer with us and to organise our thoughts and feelings towards those people. And it is the latter, exquisite use of the medium that Craymo has been working with lately as a way of remembering his parents who both passed in recent years.

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An Elephant in The Room – Ignacio Peña (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I think the thing that impresses me most about this artist, more than how well-crafted the songs are and how deftly executed they may be, is the fact that this is someone who remembers that musicians have a great platform from which to talk to a lot of people. Why waste that opportunity telling everyone that you are down because your girlfriend left you when you can actually instigate discussions by pointing people in the direction of topics of societal, political and cultural importance? Music as education, how great is that as a concept?

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Leathers – Leathers (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

As much as I love intricate, sweeping and clever music, sometimes you can’t beat a low slung guitar, a basic proto-punk-blues beat and some stripped back lyrics. And it doesn’t get more stripped backed than Leathers. Four songs, two guys and pretty much one groove. All four songs found on this eponymous ep seem variations on the same wonderfully raw two chord rhythm and it’s brilliantly refreshing. There is more to it than that obviously but Joe Satriani this most definitely is not and for that I thank them.

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Halo – tunnelmental experimental assembly (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Sitting somewhere between those early 80’s sonic experiments, ones undertaken by disenfranchised punks swapping guitars for broken keyboards, and a modern clubland minimalist chill out zone, Halo sucks us back into the strange and wonderful world of this mercurial duo. The term punktronica is often associated with their music and it is easy to see why. Punk was after all an attitude rather than a music genre, it’s just that skinny art students wielding guitars seemed to be the point where it crossed over into the commercial conciousness. And so meld that same attitude onto a more measured and subtle dance groove and you have punktronica, I guess.

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Samantha Fish announces 2019 UK tour

Multi-Award-winning American Blues guitarist and singer-songwriter Samantha Fish returns for a nationwide UK tour in May 2019. Tickets will go on sale on Friday 2nd November via www.alttickets.com/samantha-fish-tickets.

The tour coincides with Samantha’s new studio album to be released in early 2019 which is the follow-up to her critically acclaimed 2017 albums Belle of the West and Chills & Fever.

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Be Still My Heart – Chris McEvoy (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

For every few hundred singer-songwriters who thinks its enough to buy a wide-brimmed hat, grow a week’s stubble, slip into some black jeans with professionally distressed knees and rattle off a few James Bay inspired ballads, you come across people like Chris McEvoy who are really exploring what the format has to offer. The very term singer-songwriter might be a much maligned label these days but Be Still My Heart reminds us of classic writers such as John Martyn or Roy Harper who wove warm and sophisticated musical strands into exquisite albums.

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Road Junkie  – Ewan Macintyre (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

As someone who deals with generic descriptions on an almost hourly basis, I am usually fairly cynical of them. You see that a band who have elected to use the term “cinematic indie” and you know that that is just wishful thinking and they are probably going to sound like the tracks that Oasis never pursued beyond demo recordings. So I see the term Celtic Soul/Country Swing and I’m thinking if this lives up to the expectation of such a combination I will eat my hat!

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Calling Your Name –  Parabola West (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

For someone who grew up around both traditional folk music and the dreamscaping post punk machinations of the 80’s, Parabola West is the logical and latest point on a musical journey through the sweet spots of my record collection. It links back to the likes of Kate Bush and Bat For Lashes and also rubs shoulders with a whole host of indie musicians fusing roots music with more pop accessible sounds and just as many dyed in the wool folkies working out ways of keeping their genre relevant, fresh and perhaps even lucrative.

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Monkey See –  Russ Still & The Moonshiners (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Ahead of a forthcoming album, Bootleg, Russ Still and his country infused rock posse have given us a taste of what’s to come with the excellent Monkey See. It strides cowboy-booted along a perfect line between roots and rock, is packed with hooky grooves and wonderfully infectious choruses ticking boxes in country, commercial and rock camps as it does so.

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Boyography Pt.1  –  Jaguar Grace (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

By and large pop music tends to follow some pretty tried and tested templates. Most chart bound offerings fresh off the music industry production line seem to have more in common than the things that instead make them stand out from each other. Homogenisation thy name is modern pop music. But even if the creative benchmarks in the genre weren’t currently so low, Jaguar Grace, perhaps the coolest name in music, would still shine like a beacon in the murky musical night.

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