Seán McGowan announces debut album and tour dates

6abc8b5f-779c-4342-ab2f-924152999c9cSeán McGowan has announce the release of his debut album, Son of the Smith, through Xtra Mile Recordings on 11 May 2018. Preorders for the album on CD, LP and digital are available at this link 

The first single taken from the album is ‘Off the Rails’, out today -14th February – which you can check out below.

‘Off the Rails’ sears along with an e-bow guitar drone thrumming underneath while Seán gives the lyrical equivalent of an arm around the shoulder and kiss on the cheek of his mates for being there for him.

As a glimpse into Son of the Smith, it captures his band absolutely ploughing through the parts he wrote for them. In that spirit, Son of the Smith captures everything live. Recording at SS2 Studios in Southend with labelmate Sam Duckworth (AKA Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.) and Jay Malhotra, drums were done without a click-track, each instrument colliding with the rhythm. “It feels urgent, like it could tip over the edge at any point,” Seán says. 

Continue reading “Seán McGowan announces debut album and tour dates”


Scene and Heard – CCXXXIV : What You Make of It – The Sad Song Co. (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

600x600bfAhead of his forthcoming album, Worth, due out early February, The Sad Song Co. aka Nigel Powell has released a brilliant animated lyric video for the track What You make of It, which is also available as a free download if you pre-order the album.

As part of a number of influential and original bands Frank Turner And The Sleeping Souls, Unbelievable Truth, Dive Dive, Nigel has been part of wave of cultish bands which have broken through to mainstream success but his most intimate, poignant and thought provoking creative outlet can be found in this solo musical vehicle.

And live, the sparseness and intimate nature of the songs will be on show to their full extent as The Sad Song Co. live show filters Nigel’s songs down to their core. With only himself, and occasional help from long-term collaborator Jason Moulster, each show reveals the depth of songwriting without the churning sands atop the root of the songs. It also allows us to enjoy the warm charm of their creator, who remains modest throughout.

Nigel says: “It’s always interesting playing live because while I love producing records, this strips things down and gets to the heart of the songs.The new songs especially have many layers and it’s educational to peel them back and find what’s driving it all underneath.

It’s also terrifying! I play hundreds of gigs every year as a drummer – confident in my abilities – but put me up front and it’s far more nerve-racking.”

See Nigel play at the following dates:


18th Tunbridge Wells – The Forum (supporting Frank Turner)


7th Manchester – The Castle (w/ El Morgan And The Divers)

 10th Aldershot – The West End Centre

11th Southampton – Joiners

13th Nottingham – Bodega

14th Bristol – Exchange

15th London – Thousand Island

16th Devizes – The Lamb

17th Oxford – Museum Of Modern Art

18th Tunbridge Wells – The Forum Basement @ The Sussex Arms

Tickets are £6.50 adv / £7.50 on the door, except London which is £8.50 adv / £10.50 on the door.

For Fuck’s Sake Jake – Jake Martin (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

a3179856497_16From the title and artwork which features TV’s being thrown out of windows and pub fights you might be lead to the assumption that what follows is confrontational, rabble rousing and a mass of punk ethics. The reality is that it is confrontational only in the messages that the songs carry, rabble rousing in small, personal ways and its punk ethic is that of a year zero approach, a slaying of traditional musical heroes, a break with the what has come before.


The dual personality of what Jake does is neatly summed up in the glorious I Don’t Wanna Be Your Heroes, where he rallies against the likes of The Levellers, New Model Army and Frank Turner over music that comes from a similar place. But the message is always one of being yourself, of remembering what matters in life, the people not the payslips, the moments not the mortgage payments, finding your own way through the world and not playing by too many rules.


Musically it is great, on top of straight, honest and punchy guitar lines, there is never much more than a fleeting cello, an occasional banjo or mandolin and a steady beat which leaves the vocals as the main selling point which is very important when you have lyrics this good. Lyrics where small town, kitchen sink dramas reveal themselves to be universal life lessons and personal revolutions become templates for world change. The revolution isn’t on the streets; it’s in your head, your attitudes and outlook on life.


So it has all been done before, of course it has, but what Jake brings is a message of individuality, of rage turned to contemplation, of social comment and a gentle distain for those still star struck by scene and celebrity. But more than that these messages are grafted on to songs that are so memorable, so accessible and so great that you will be singing them on the way home from the gig long before you revel in playing the CD the next day. You did buy a CD right?

Back Into Paradise – Ben Montague (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

10982277_10153159307293789_6527914895213132415_nIt’s easy to forget when a whole music genre seems to have developed trying it’s damnedest to be Frank Turner, or failing that Oxygen Thief, that one man with a guitar does not have to result in bullish angst or political and social calls to arms. Neither does it have to follow the Damien Rice/Jake Morley model of minimalist melancholy, wistful, fragile thoughts put to music. Between the two extremes there is a whole industry built on pop aware, chart smart, accessible acoustic music and Ben Montague fits right in the heart of it.

Emotionally charged and honest but delivered in a fairly commercial package, Montague gently plucks heartstrings whilst laying out songs that have a romantic yet broad appeal. Whilst ragged-trousered rabble-rousers want to change the political landscape and late night troubadours want to break your heart, Back To Paradise is happy to chronicle the trials and tribulations of modern life, love and relationships. And that’s something we all can relate too.

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