Pale Honey – Pale Honey (Bolero Recordings) reviewed by Dave Franklin

11042996_648082878629459_938344376605833747_nThe White Stripes’ stripped down regard for the traditional band format may have lead the way for a wave of imitators but it also opened the doors to some real innovators. Many artists have taken this line of attack through some hipster bandwagoning but for Pale Honey it is the perfect way to present their music. The sparseness of such a delivery means that when they are going for the musical jugular their beats and riffs land uncluttered, uncompromising and unashamedly brutal on the listener, but the same minimalism can also produce some really enchanting moments, gentle refrains that often sit like eyes in a perfect musical storm.

It is this mix of intensity and delicacy that has people bandying around PJ Harvey references but their mercurial music has more in common with bands such as Cat Bear Tree or Flowerpot, the generation who grew up in the shadow of the riot grrrls and have appropriated their angst and creativity and moved the ideas on, a mixture of roaring fire and cool waters, raging storms and blue skies that somehow sits together perfectly.


Be Part of Cat Bear Tree’s Next E.P.

11069867_958453484167404_7895878585630407185_nWant to be part of the Cat Bear Tree story? The London three-piece who blend lo-fi DIY punk with dreamier indie-pop soundscapes are seeking crowd funding for their next e.p. Studio whizz Howard Redekopp who produced/mixed such luminaries as Tegan and Sara, New Pornographers and Mother Mother is lined up to mix it but first the appropriate funds have to be secured.

They have until 26th April to reach their campaign target and are asking for a pledge of any amount to help get them their. Pledgers can receive rewards such as digital downloads, merchandise, house gigs and more. More information can be found at the page HERE and at the video below.

Be part of this amazing bands story, be their record label and not only help some great music have an outlet but in doing so stick two fingers up to the powers that be who seek to control the way music is made.

Flowerpot E.P. – Flowerpot. (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

a3443151875_10Remember the irony of the phrase Girl Power, when a manufactured girl band were made to dance by their male manager as 12 year olds threw their pocket money into his deep pockets. Well, without wishing to talk down to those who know their history, real musically driven girl power was already being played out for real along the Pacific North-West with the grunge scene splinter movement, Riot Grrrl. The legacy of that movement paved the way for the later phenomenon that is Warpaint and in turn UK bands such as Cat Bear Tree and now Flowerpot.

These four tracks ricochet between minimal six string atmospherics and full on fuzz guitar wig outs, whilst bouncing off of skittering drum beats, the sonic hole where the bass would normally sit just acts like an echo chamber for what’s going on around it and helps lend an air of angular punkish insurrection and non-conformity to the overall sound. Add to that the strong vocal of Serena Mirelle and you have the perfect mix of attitude and accomplishment, brains and bravado. It’s a blueprint that has informed the best female alt-rock acts from Patti Smith to the newly re-animated Steater-Kinney.

To survive in music these days you have to either be suicidal or superficial. Thankfully Flowerpot strives for a third option of just sounding supersonic. Girl Power indeed.

New Music of the Day: III – Bleed My Heart Out – Harri Larkin It’s funny how the briefest of connections can often help the cause.  A brief chat over a pint after a Dead Royalties gig in the depths of one of Bristol’s less salubrious neighbourhoods has led to  this brief review of Harri Larkin’s demos. And what crackers they are. Bleed My Heart Out, okay, it’s not going to change the musical landscape weaving a path between punk and pop and channelling the spirit of the 90’s Riot Grrrl sound, but it does it’s job better than most bands who try to couple the accessibility of pop with the aggression of punk, much better. That is doing the track a slight disservice because actually it’s great, a wonderful slab of energy and direct, clean musical lines, get’s straight on with the job and easily passes the acid test in that an hour later you will be humming the chorus without realising you are doing it.

And as if to prove that this is not just a one trick pony, other tracks range from shimmering walls of underground pop-rock in the guise of Safe To Say and  the more indie vibes of  I’m Not Awkward to the ska groove of They’ll Take Anything But The Blame, a song that No Doubt would have killed for back in the day. It’s an impressive array of songs, delve deep enough and you will find a 2 year back catalogue which charts the development of a singer-songwriter building up to the fully developed sound of the more recent recordings that I have focused on. There is much to like here and at times reminds me of some of the bands that seem to be stepping through the door opened by Warpaint’s meteoric rise, particularly London trio Cat Bear Tree. In short as a set of demo’s they are great and I for one can’t wait until there is a fully produced release to get my hands on, in the meantime however, these tracks will do just fine.

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