Sunday, 14 February 2016

The Bohos - Leaders Don't Love You.

The Bohos - Leaders Don't Love You.

Background Promo - The distinct sound of The Boho’s new single represents the essence of the band, their trademark sound refined and re-packaged into one exciting, unique statement of intent.  A band with a message engrossed in the current movement of disbelief and disenchantment with today’s leaders.

Smashing out raucous passionate sets throughout a string of sell out shows and parties bursting at the seams amongst the like minded of Bath and Bristol.  The South West-based band have always proved difficult to pigeon-hole – moving quickly and swiftly between genres, gaining a significant cult following for their bold inability to settle into typecast while ploughing rich pop furrows

Fiercely independent and at the forefront of the collaboration of four hot UK bands teaming up to co-headline a 4 date tour across the UK this March, The Boho’s will headline their home town show in Bath, amongst shows in Sheffield, Brighton and London.  They will also head to Scotland to support 4AD indie darlings Broken Records in April.

Listening to the new single from the soon to be released debut album it is hard to believe it has been recorded in one room by lead singer Ben Angel. The new single ‘Leaders Don’t Love You’ will be released on Monday 14th March.

17/03  Brighton, The Prince Albert - With Ellekaye, Golding, Gramercy Park
18/03  Bath, The Nest - With Ellekaye, Golding, Gramercy Park
19/03  London, The Garage (Upstairs) - With Ellekaye, Golding, Gramercy Park
20/03 Sheffield, The Greystones - With Ellekaye, Golding, Gramercy Park
08/04 Edinburgh, The Caves (Supporting Broken Records)
09/04 Glasgow, The Glad Café (Supporting Broken Records).

Alternative rock with the emphasis most definitely on alternative, The Bohos refreshingly defy being easy to define, whilst knocking out exceptional songs such as 'Leaders Don't Love You'. Unless you are on extremely heavy medication, hopefully you are up to speed with the songs message, delivered within a really addictive and highly pleasing song.


Laura Jean Anderson - Righteous Girl (EP).

Laura Jean Anderson - It Won't Be Long.

Background promo - As young as she may look, Laura Jean Anderson is filled with the spirit of wisdom, amassed through years of travelling, busking, hitchhiking, touring and old time religion--just the kind of learning a prolific songwriter would need.

You can hear it in her voice and lyrics on her latest EP, Righteous Girl in which she evokes the ghosts of Janis Joplin and modern influences of Lucius, St. Vincent and Alabama Shakes, “I feel like these songs reflect that feeling you get when you get one glimmer of hope, of sunshine in the midst of a deep depression. I would go on long walks barefoot with my guitar in the neighbourhoods of LA--I felt super out of place doing that but for some reason, it put things into perspective,” Anderson says wistful.

“Take Me In” opens up the EP and Anderson gently pulls the listener into her world, her soothing voice (reminiscent of June Carter) ebbs and flows along with the electric piano rolls. However, the title track “Righteous Girl,” is a whole ‘nother beast. Crashing distorted drums clue us to a shift in tone but Anderson’s voice and guitar are there to ground the whole affair: Her haunting voice swells then dips back into a lullaby then before we know it, she belts out another howl--she's always in control, it seems to say.

Anderson’s unique sound is a direct creation of the combination of growing up in a conservative environment with years of church singing and roots music education contradicting the grunge and punk elements of growing up in liberal Washington. You can hear this in her music, soulful vocals and well crafted story lines with elements of chaotic rock n' roll and garage rock at its best. Then a stint in the mountain town of Huaraz, Peru where, with all her money stolen, she spent hours a day busking in the plaza until she made enough money to get a ticket home. “It was then and there that I realised I was put on this earth to make music,” Anderson says. “Alone in Peru, I was able to make it out just through music . . . I knew I had to come back to the States and pursue music full-heartedly.”

So she did. She went back to LA to finish school and record “Righteous Girl.” The EP was produced by Anderson and Theo Karon and recorded mostly at Kingsize Soundlabs in Eagle Rock.

'It Won't Be Long' is the single release from the new four track EP. It gives a good taste of what is a fine collection of songs. Mixing her soulful voice with more edgy garage rock moments seems to work without to much effort. I get the feeling Laura Jean does indeed have a little of the Janis Joplin in her musically, so who can be quite certain what gems might follow.


Saturday, 13 February 2016

Saturday Four: Candi's Dog - Ellie Dorman - Salt Cathedral - Witching Waves

Candi's Dog - I Couldn't Ask For More.

Background promo - Tyneside trio Candi's Dog specialise in acoustic folk-pop, combining inventive structures with ludicrously catchy melodies. The result is a mash-up akin to the likes of Bright Eyes and the lyrical quality of Ed Sheeran. Creativity isn’t something that’s hard to come by for the innovative threesome who can regularly be seen sporting Melodicas, Kazoos and a homemade Acoustic Bass.

Not content with leaving the ear candy duties to their primary instruments alone (consisting of guitar, bass and percussion), Candi’s Dog add delicious, rich vocal harmonies to their audio arsenal, echoing the melodic vocal prowess of the Beach Boys and Crowded House. The satisfying suggestion of pop along with their folksy-rock feel results in their sound igniting a feast of welcomed familiarity, allowing the band to become part of your inner soundtrack with obliging ease.

Favouring the DIY approach, Candi’s Dog have not only opted to make their own instruments but after being left with underwhelming results at the hands of recording studios, the band have taken to home recording. The decision has clearly paid off with the brilliantly catchy single “I Couldn’t Ask For More” fresh off the production line, showcasing the song craft of twin brothers, Matthew and Daniel Slee, and Stephen Justice. Set for release on Monday 29th Feb the upbeat “I Couldn’t Ask For More” is taken from the band’s debut album out later this year.

There is no shortage of folksy music these days. With 'I Couldn't Ask For More' the emphasis is towards pop, with a natural acoustic feel and some very good harmonies. Whether it's reminiscent of others is pretty much irrelevant, in part it has to be, what matters is that this is a great song, both in substance and performance.


Ellie Dorman - October.

Background promo - Music has always been a big part of my life and impossible to ignore; from a young age experiencing folk festivals to classical music at college to working with bands in clubs and venues across Europe and beyond.

Being constantly surrounded by musical influences I've always felt driven to write my own songs, from experimenting with my own adapted versions of classic folk songs on the piano to playing around with drum and bass beats on logic.

Eventually full of inspiration and broad collection of sounds, I became more serious about wanting to produce a sound that people will appreciate and like as art sharing my experiences of life through my own music.

'October' is the first of four songs on the debut EP from South East London based Singer Songwriter - Ellie Dorman. Talk about setting the bar high, this is a rich and vibrant collection of songs. Musically we are spoilt with an eclectic choice of sounds and instruments whilst vocally Ellie's singing and interpretation pulls everything smoothly together.


Salt Cathedral - No Ordinary Man.

Background promo - “No Ordinary Man” is the new single from New York-based Colombian producers Nicolas Losada and Juliana Ronderos as Salt Cathedral. Coming in advance of their full-length debut, and following on the heels of "Holy Soul," lead track off 2014’s Oom Velt EP, No Ordinary Man is a hip-hop and soul influenced ballad that speaks about love, the need for reassurance, the fear of letting go and the desire to be extraordinary.

Recorded in Williamsburg’s Bunker Studio, Salt Cathedral’s plaintive new single signals the continued development of th electronic tenor and danceable eclecticism that has defined their sonic trajectory. Through their collaborations with producer/musician John Davis (Jojo Mayer’s Nerve) they achieve a recording where every detail of the sparse arrangement pulses with heart rending clarity. Understated and achingly beautiful, “No Ordinary Man” is the duo’s most mature and affecting song to date, as well as a bold & sure footed précis for 2016, their forthcoming full length, and the remarkable evolution of their new meaningful sounds.

Salt Cathedral is the electronic project of New York based Colombian musicians Juliana Ronderos and Nicolas Losada. Their music combines elements of trip-hop and ambient genres with folkloric influences from many cultures. The band's most recent record, Oom Velt, was released in 2014. "Oom Velt," makes reference to the individuality of experience – the discrete "worlds" as they are experienced by different organisms. Guardian UK, in their coverage of the EP's lead single "Holy Soul," describes Salt Cathedral as "purveyors of breezy electronic pop with lightly tropical rhythms and deathlessly pretty vocals’’.

'No Ordinary Man' is a soothingly good electro pop song, with a huge helping of soulfulness. It's no wonder they have been noticed both sides of the Atlantic, with music and singing this well crafted, it's a simple case of 'more please'.


Witching Waves - Pitiless.

Background promo - The winners want us to believe the world is beautiful, but Witching Waves has seen the world and knows this is a lie—that everything is lost and nothing is to be trusted. We (HHBTM Records) saw them open for Eureka California in the UK in late 2014 and could not get the songs out of our head so we’ve jumped on the second album.

Emma Wigham, Mark Jasper, and Ed Shellard are Witching Waves, and they sound like exiles in their own country. And like all exiles, they know the only safety is in numbers, and the only comfort is in friends. Witching Waves come from a world of DIY and co-operation. Mark Jasper works at Sound Savers recording studio, a love of labour turned into a labour of love in one of the rapidly vanishing not-so-nice parts of London.

Every window is filled with witnesses. We watch the world go by, each of us observing and observed. You can hear them switching instruments, trying out roles. Watching the world fall apart all around them, Witching Waves knows that being right is pointless—the television tells a hundred lies in the time it takes you to speak a single truth, and for every book you read, your neighbour reads none—but the only alternative is to participate in the slow silent psychic death that is mainstream 21st century life.

When ‘Seeing Double’ breaks down towards the end and Jasper starts screaming: See them on the street you ask them why / See them in the car you ask them why / See them on the stairs you say to them / What are you doing here why won’t you leave me alone? You know he’s not going to get any answers, but he isn’t there for answers he’s there for the screaming.

Because this music is rooted in UK DIY and the only alternative to the clean smiles of 21st century surface life is dirty frowns, you might hear the fuzz, the flattened shouts, and think you’ve heard it before, but then you notice the guitars at the end of ‘Red Light,’ how they swell & buzz like an attack of locusts, and the oceanic rise & fall of album closer ‘Flowers’ and you realize that in their endless explorations of black & white, WW has created a universe of infinite textures and shade.

Witching Waves "Crystal Cafe" (HHBTM USA / Soft Power UK) - Release date: February 26th, 2016.

Taken from the forthcoming 'Crystal Cafe' album, 'Pitiless' is one of those cut to the chase songs, that sets out it's agenda within seconds. The song has an instant punk feel to it, although it is far more than that. Vocals are buried in the mix, occasionally rising and pulsating along with the instruments. It's a contradiction, both raw and yet refined.


Friday, 12 February 2016

Alternative Take: Mantocliff - Future Unlimited

Mantocliff - These Words.

Background promo - Basel, Switzerland-based quintet Mantocliff make their debut with a powerful orchestral electronic composition. Their intense blend of emotional vocals, ethereal instrumentation, and refined production will leave you in awe.

Caveman Sound writes "Led by the brilliant vocals of singer Nives Onori and steeped in a vibrant atmosphere built by the groups five instrumentalists, "These Words" is an exceptionally stunning debut. It's creativity is made apparent from the start, with cleverly echoed arrangements of lighter-than-air guitar plucks, resonant percussion and poignant lyrics drawing us in. These lend themselves organically into a rhythmic ebb and flow of energy, combining orchestral elements with exploratory pop and spirited dance. They’ve created a magnetic web that will leave you with the feeling of having experienced something cinematic, endlessly expressive, and the affirmation that Mantocliff are definitely ones to keep a keen eye on." Look out for their debut album Umbilical, arriving March 4th.

'These Words' is one of those slow building songs, that becomes increasingly layered, however they keep everything in balance and create a really fine piece of heartfelt music.


Future Unlimited - Calm Me Down.

Background promo - After a three year release hiatus, Future Unlimited haved delivered their sophomore EP, Calm Down. Shortly after collaborating with Shia Labeouf for their video "Haunted Love," the band decided to incorporate additional members and focus on a more live-driven, organic sound.

The lead single "Calm Me Down" is the direct result of the union between a gritty, pulsing live presence and the glossy synth-pop heard on the band's 2012 single "Golden".

The six song EP is a dynamic collection of the band's live sound, incorporating vicious arpeggiated rhythms and bombastic live drums. While pop elements can be found in songs like "In The City" and "Calm Me Down," the EP seeks to pierce the glassy synth-pop surface with tracks like "Come Back" and "Destroyer."

The title and featured track from this six song EP is driven by a synth, that to me sounds a little reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder production on Donna Summers 'I Feel Love'. There the similarity ends. The EP is a really good collection of songs, plenty of variety in style and not one dull moment.


Conway - Sudden Dawn

Conway - Sudden Dawn.

Promo words - Raised by a single mother in south side St. Louis, Conway's ambitious attitude moved her to New York after turning 17. While in New York she became best friends with drummer Amy Wood who convinced her to move to L.A. to record for free at her dad's studio. “She and I packed an old Honda and I moved to L.A. All I wanted to do was make music, so I was willing to leave everything in NYC with practically nothing but a bass and some clothes,” she says. “I thought I’d be there for six months. Six months turned into 2 bands and a solo project's worth of grinding it out: writing music, booking gigs, designing artwork, making videos and putting music out. When I was finally offered some support I was naïve, took some bad advice and signed a bad production deal."

After months of performing, writing and collaborating, she came up with the song “Big Talk.” When a friend's attempt at making a video didn't meet her standards, she followed her instincts and shot/edited a new video on her MacBook. Her homemade sauce went viral after a 1-day feature from boosted it stone-cold-out-of-the-blue. This led to an avalanche of label interest, causing Conway to do a little more than pinch herself.

With the song exploding on blogs, Hype Machine, and an amazing live show, labels came knocking. She was signed to Columbia records through the pre-existing production deal. Things were looking up. She supported tours for St. Lucia and after opening a few shows for Ellie Goulding, Ellie decided to take Conway on her entire North American tour. Conway supported UK dates for Broods, Charlie XCX and has done dates with Robert DeLong. But soon, there was trouble in paradise. "I started realizing that things weren't getting done. Between all the people now involved in my career, no one really knew what was going on or seemed to have an organized plan. It was beyond frustrating and heart breaking to have worked so hard and built something out of sheer will and determination, just to watch people casually mishandle it. I had to make a change."

Regardless, Conway was able to maintain a good relationship with Columbia Records and asked them, as well as the production company, to let her out of her deal. Conway was given her recordings back. "I am independent again and it feels great! I need to be free to release music, play and tour. There is nothing worse than feeling silently stuck. I have never been good at sitting still. Gotta keep it moving. It's the only way to grow."

Sometimes all you need is a good pop song. One that's catchy, memorable and with enough lift, to help put a little extra skip in your step. 'Sudden Dawn' achieves all of that, so job done.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

A Couple Of Good Ones: The Plaidians - Thelma Ball

The Plaidians - Lights Out.

Background promo - ‘Lights Out for the Boy’  is a significant collaborative recording project featuring two of Melbourne’s artists of music in the form of The Plaidians. Gaz and JP have been co-writing music for many years and have established the kind of rare connection that has helped them carve out their own idiosyncratic niche. 

Following on from the success of their first single release “The Follower” in September 2015, The Plaidians are now releasing their debut album ‘Lights Out for the Boy’. 

Their album is a flavour of pop that is both unique and familiar: fully formed and thoughtful in a way that is surprising from a duo that is new to the indie scene. The Plaidians have presented ten tracks that offer a charming blend of rock and pop, even folk, with strings, guitars, vintage synths, and signature gritty vocals. 

JP said: “Much of this album was about challenging ourselves; seeing what was really possible. We wanted to create something that brought together all of our varying and often conflicting influences where we could really define ourselves. For us, this album definitely captures that feeling of self-discovery.” 

The album is being released along with the title track “Lights Out”. Initially sweet and engaging, “Lights Out” takes you down a melodic path that switches to a dark and pulsing groove with an eerie, infectious chant. The song tells the story of a mother who medicates her over-active son; reflecting on the guilt, selfishness and the side effects of psychotropic drugs on children.

We featured the first single back last September and it's great to know the new album will be released later this month on the 26th February. The title track is yet but another small taste of what is a really fine album.


Thelma Ball - Self Help.

Background - Michael from the band contacted Beehive Candy and had this to say "I just read your review on Darla and the Blonde because we're playing with them soon".

From the bands Facebook page we also learn - Thelma Ball are a four piece from Lincolnshire/London who have put together one tasty musical BLT sandwich.

The bread and butter of Nirvana, the salty bacon of The Strokes, the crispy lettuce of Mac DeMarco and of course those Jeff Buckley influenced juice balls of tomatoes.

'Self Help' is the title song from the three track EP. I like the bands own description of themselves and as BLT's go, all I would add is that there is clearly a layer of feisty and spicy sauce. The band may have a connection to another we have featured but it's their flavoursome music that gets them on here. I finish there as a thousand other awful puns are circulating in my head.


Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Good Ones: Draemhouse - Factory Brains

Draemhouse - Mr. Kerosene.

Background promo - Draemhouse began in 2014 as a bedroom recording outlet for former songwriter/guitar player, Chris Cheveyo of Rose Windows (Sub Pop).  After Rose Windows dissolved in  January of 2015,  Pat Schowe of whom also played in Rose Windows joined Draemhouse along with Emma Danner and Brock Carless.  The quartet then began rehearsing in March of that same year.  Playing renegade shows in living rooms, clothing shops, and underpasses throughout the Summer of 2015.  The band has gained a quick following for their dræmy sound and live fiber art installations by in-house visual artist/photographer Lauren Rodriguez.

The band released "Woundlicker" as a cassette single via the Blind Blind Tiger label out of Los Angeles to positive reviews in the Summer of 2015. Only Friends was recorded in Austin, Texas in 2014 at The Wonder Chamber by Justin Morris.  It was performed by Chris Cheveyo and some top notch musicians of Austin’s local scene.  It was mixed at Avast! Studios in Seattle, Wa by Justin Morris and assisted by Jon Roberts and Randall Dunn. Their new EP 'Only Friends', which is going to drop March 15th on Blind Blind Tiger.

From the four track 'Only Friends' EP, 'Kerosene' the final track can currently be downloaded free on Soundcloud, however I really do recommend checking out the other songs on what is for me, a really great selection of beautiful dream pop songs.


Factory Brains - Down The River.

Background promo - The Stockholm based band Factory Brains has in spite of their young age already made over 100 concerts. 100 concerts that has taken the band from the youth recreation centers, via blues festivals in small city Ängelsberg, to Stockholm for a gig with Graveyard, on to Gotheburg for an evening with Daniel Norgren and finally on tour as supporting act to Rival Sons - a Rival Sons who specifically requested the band as supporting act.

Factory Brains was founded in 2010 and had on their first album (Love like hours/Universal Records) close cooperation with Peo Berghagen who passed away way too early. The band created a reputation of being one of Sweden´s up and coming and most interesting rock bands, but without Peo things didn´t go as planned and Factory Brains days at Universal were numbered before they even began. For three 17 year old guys - who thought they´d signed off on guaranteed fame and success - this could have been the beginning of the end for the band. But instead of being disheartened the band called Janne Hansson and booked a session in Atlantis Studios to be able to start working on their second album Hard Labor. 

In order to perfect the recording with something a little extra they brought in Martin Hederos (TSOOL) and Henrik Wind to play keyboards and Chips Kiesbye (The Hellacopters, Michael Monroe, Millencollin) was called to produce all vocals. After finishing the recording the task of mixing a mastering was assigned to - in that regard a somewhat odd choice - Jens Borggren (Opeth/Paradise Lost). Choosing Jens to complete this task is something the band definitely don´t regret which the audience will be aware of when listening through Hard Labor.

Factory Brains new album 'Hard Labor' from which 'Down The River' is taken is due for release on the 19th February. The collection of songs are more rock than pop, with a definite 'Americana' feel running through some tracks. Overall it's a strong collection of songs, that could well appeal to anyone who enjoys bands as diverse as Wilco through to The Rolling Stones.


Midweek Alternative Take: Apothek - Luke Chable vs The New Division

Apothek - Waiting For The Thunder.

Background promo - “There’s a gap somewhere that used to be us” – an opening premise, and emotional wormhole that lies at the core of Apothek’s latest offering ‘Waiting For The Thunder’. As solemn as it is soaring, the track navigates space and time with pitch-bending poignancy. “It’s about distance, about travelling; the spaces and places we leave behind,” explains vocalist Morten Myklebust. The sentiment is skewed in “little glimpses of memory that warp the truth,” he says. “How absolutely everything is temporary.”

It follows Apothek’s acclaimed debut single ‘Family’ – a track earning the collective praise of The Sunday Times, The Line of Best Fit, Clash and Hillydilly; also catching the keen eye of Huw Stephens (BBC Radio 1), Mark Radcliffe, Stuart Maconie (BBC Radio 6music), Maz Tappuni (Radio X), Dani Charlton, Greg Porter (Amazing Radio) at UK radio and garnering support further afield via triple j (AUS), where the track was shortlisted for this year's Hottest 100.

Sonically speaking, ‘Waiting For The Thunder’ takes a darker turn to that of its budding predecessor. “It’s a bit icier and more distant than ‘Family’,” co-conspirator and producer Nils Martin Larsen concludes. “The first part of the track was the skating-on-ice kind of bass line that goes all over the place pitch wise, which felt kind of new. It’s also the first time we started experimenting with tuning of vocals which turned out to be a big part of the record,” he says.  

Following a UK/EU tour with pop wunderkind Susanne Sundfør, amidst their own London headline late last year, Apothek returned for a sold out show at London’s Hoxton Hall yesterday with Norwegian chart-toppers Highasakite. 

We featured Apothek a few months ago, however the new song 'Waiting For The Thunder' just grabbed my attention. It flows with great simplicity and yet there's so much going on, and the vocals just nailed it for me.


Luke Chable vs The New Division - Opium (Original Mix).

Background promo - For many years, in the early 2000s, Luke Chable had been described as one of the best Progressive House producers around, renowned for his unmatched production skills & his ability to create massive hits while still preserving his underground roots. From his first release, “Accelerator” – which sold out of no less than four pressings – to his worldwide seminal hit “Ride” and his collaboration with Phil K as Lostep, it was a non-stop series of hugely successful releases for more than 5 years straight. Countless classic originals & remixes topped the dance charts all over the world whilst being championed by the world’s elite DJ’s: Deep Dish, Tiesto, Sasha, John Digweed, Eric Prydz, Dave Seaman, Danny Howells, and many more as being one of the hottest progressive house artists on the planet.

After years of production successes coupled with a hectic global touring schedule, Luke took a well deserved rest away from the scene for a few years...only to come back even stronger. Earlier in 2015, his return “Comet” EP (released on ToolRoom Zero Three sister label) instantly climbed into Beatport Top 5 and prompted EDM act Above & Beyond to propose him a guest mix spot on their massively famous “Group Therapy” radio show.

With his comeback EP now nearing 1 Million plays on Spotify, Luke follows up with his own take on indie pop cult classic “Opium” from The New Division, retaining the 2012 track original vocal and delivering a hypnotic and modern progressive house number.

Luke Chable's progressive house rethink of 'Opium', can only add to his standing as a top producer. Retaining the original vocals gives it a recognisable connection to the indie pop number, everything else just works so very, very well.


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Genre Wander: Natalie Lurie - The Boy From Space - Iska Dhaaf

Natalie Lurie - No Mercy in the Night.

Background promo - Nashville songwriter Natalie Lurie has released her debut single, "No Mercy In The Night." The track is available at all digital outlets and is the first single from her upcoming EP, No Mercy In The Night, due out March 25th. 

Natalie's fascination with the harp began at age 7 when she spotted the instrument in a music shop. She sat down and began strumming until the shop owner finally asked she and her family to leave because the store was closing. Natalie's harp studies have taken her across the globe. During her senior year of high school she attended the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. After that, she studied privately in France and Switzerland, before returning to the US where she completed her undergraduate work under renowned harpist Susann McDonald at Indiana University.

Though she is classically trained, Natalie has always held an interest in expanding the harp beyond its traditional classical genre. Before moving to Nashville to pursue songwriting and performing, she spent time in Muscle Shoals, AL working with original session musicians from the 1960s. After releasing No Mercy In The Night this spring, she will move to London to pursue a Master of Arts in Harp Performance at the Royal Academy of Music.

This is a joy to feature on Beehive Candy. When I first looked at the picture in the promo I thought 'oh no, not a Joanna Newsom copy' regarding the harp. How wrong I was. Yes they both play a harp and there it ends. This is a carefully crafted indie pop song where vocals and a fine assortment of instruments (including the harp) deliver us, one very pleasing track.


The Boy From Space - I Don't Want To Go To Work (EP).

Background promo - Nub Music Release - 6th February 2016. How many people say they have woken up on Monday morning and thought, ‘I don’t want to go to work’. The life shared by 70% of the adult population of this country. Who writes songs for them, the grind, the frustration, the dreams? This classic British pop song swoons sympathetically with the mood of Blue Monday – statistically the most depressing day of the year, bringing a sparkle and humanity with it’s synth.

In the tradition of the Smiths or the Pet Shop Boys, The Boy from Space write classic pop songs about the life shared by those who didn’t go to Eton (or Rock School), and there are a lot of us. But if you think the dramas of everyday life make for dull music, listen to the melancholic synth-pop of Ugly – a riposte to Christina Aguilera’s ‘Beautiful’ (‘What if I don’t have within, enough to break out through my skin?’), or American Beauty with its amazing build up to a beautiful chorus and if there’s any doubt about the fact that these Space People can create extraordinary music listen to their floor-shaking rendition of Pink Floyd’s Lucifer Sam which quite possibly out-mads the original.

The Boy From Space fulfil the tradition of English eccentrics by the bucket load, but we’re not talking bohemian folk, staring into space, these guys Are from space, misfits caught between the mundanity of working life and the magic, wonder and awe of life in all its possibility.

There's a video for the above mentioned title track from the four song EP, that was filmed on Bournemouth beach not far from where I used to live (and still not really that far). However although that made me pay a tiny bit more attention to the music, how could you not like it anyway? They even manage to out quirk Pink Floyds 'Lucifer Sam' on this very enjoyable EP, video over on the BeeVids page.


Iska Dhaaf - Invisible Cities.

Background promo - In 2011 Nathan Quiroga (Mad Rad, Buffalo Madonna) and Benjamin Verdoes (Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band) left their respective Seattle-based projects behind and began collaboration on Iska Dhaaf. The band was quickly embraced for their engaging live shows, and for creating the sound of a full band by way of two people. Together as songwriters they have steadily explored production, instrumentation, and an ever-expanding narrative voice.

After the release of their debut, Even the Sun Will Burn, they toured across North America, Western Europe, relocated to New York, and most recently wrote and performed in Paris and Berlin. Their upcoming album,The Wanting Creature, sees the duo emerging as producers, experimenters and genre-bending artists. The new songs show an ongoing devotion to lyrical depth and composition, and the album more fully utilizes their diverse musical backgrounds. Nearly five years in, they will surprise with their innovations-taking risks one would hope to see in a sophomore album. New album due out 27th May 2016 via Brick Lane Records.

There is something quite addictive about 'Invisible Cities'. Maybe it's the overall pace and the way the vocals glide over and along with the beat. Whatever, if it's meant to wet my appetite for the album, then it's a case of job done!


Monday, 8 February 2016

Two Good Ones: Drew Worthley - Strange Fiction

Drew Worthley - John Proctors Lament.

Background - Drew Worthley is an East London musician who crafts a curious blend of cerebral indie-pop with a twist of lyrical Americana. His newly released sophomore record 'Crucible', recorded at Echo Zoo Studios has been praised by Louder Than War as 'one of the albums of the year without doubt.' The 'blisfully atypical' collection of songs explores memory, economics, London and literature, weaving heartfelt vocals around a smorgasbord of analogue synths, guitars, flugelhorns and battered drums.

Crucible has been receiving regular airplay on BBC 6 Music, BBC London and BBC Introducing, numerous features on Baeble Music and 'Tune of the Day' recommendations on Amazing Tunes. Drew will be touring in early spring 2016.

Yet another one of those 'ones to watch out for' artists, and some! 'John Proctors Lament' is but a toe in the water as an introduction to Drew Worthley. Plenty of buzz and notice already for Drew, and not surprising, this is fine music on a grand scale.


Strange Fiction - Icarus' Last Night.

Background - Strange Fiction Release 'Icarus' Last Night', the second single from their debut album 'Orange'

Strange Fiction, an alternative rock band based in London/Barcelona, formed in early 2014. Carlos (vocals), Sergi (guitar), Marc (bass) and Joel (drums) released their debut album 'Orange', in June 2015 to hugely positive reviews. An inspired body of work, 'Orange' presents a compelling blend of influences and reference points from Incubus to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Carlos Palacio to Bruno Mars.

2015 saw Strange Fiction touring hard across the UK and Spain, doing more than twenty-five dates in both countries. The band's astonishing on stage energy has helped them to build a solid and loyal fan base that suggests this band have a very promising future. 

'Icarus Last Night' is a slick and catchy rock track. The band separate themselves from the pack with equally punchy and harmonised vocals, along with what I would describe as 'well oiled' musicianship.