Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Do you come from a land down under: Curbside Drive - The Treehouse Children - Hurricane Fall - The Byzantines

Curbside Drive - Sidelined.

Background - Starting off as a not so secret band within a band, three dudes assembled and bonded over their love of punk rock. Keeping the cliché alive, Jack, Danyon and Zac jammed to poorly recorded drum tracks on Youtube in a small study turned studio room, nicknamed "the toaster shack oven". Never being able to start simultaneously with the internet, Youtube was easily replaced with the arrival of Jedd who completed Curbside Drive.

The Perth based band have been leaving their mark on the local scene through their ‘90s punk inspired riffs accompanied by their happy sad lyrics. Being described as pop punk, punk rock and even grunge at times, Curbside Drive are channeling their inner awkwardness and insecurities through their upcoming debut EP, 'Outside Your Window'. Recorded and produced by John Prosser of Vision Studios in their hometown of Perth and mastering done by James Newhouse of Reel2reel Studios, the EP leaves listeners with powerful driven chords, highlighting short catchy riffs whilst sneaky bass riffs linger beneath it all.

“Sidelined is about being average and not being sure what to do with your life but being okay with it. It follows the realisation that you don’t meet other people’s expectations of yourself and being fine with not being in the spotlight.”

The EP gives listeners the chance to share a collection of relatable experiences the band has gone through growing up, from making bad decisions and dealing with the outcomes. Tracks such as ‘Out of Luck’ and ‘Indecisive’ have captured their ‘90s punk influences through short catchy riffs, happy sad lyrics and been described sounding “like so many of my favourite punk bands, and you do it well.”

Looking to tour the local scene in WA, with hopes of making it over to the Eastern states in 2017, Curbside Drive are making themselves heard, bringing back late '90s and early '00s punk rock, one song at a time. ‘Sidelined’ will be in Digital Stores on 3rd March 2017. Facebook here.

There is a feisty modern punk feel to 'Sidelined'. It's good to hear a natural rock feel rather than any pretentious punk anger, the band have enough drive and the vocals add a touch of melody to make this play me again material.


The Treehouse Children - Please (EP).

Background - The Treehouse Children's new EP, Please, includes their latest single ‘Woo’. This most recent offering from the Newcastle outfit will have you whistling its undeniably catchy melody and cranking this bouncing, pop-rock rollick.

The band writes: “‘Woo’ came together rather quickly in the studio (The Grove). Edge (drums) and Bes (Bass) smashed through their parts in 2 takes. Allowing us to spend time pulling tones and experimenting with sounds. Nigro (producer) was super keen on making this one explode with riff and backing vocals, we think we achieved this.
Most of our tracks begin with Oz and a guitar and a lyric idea, but this one quickly became collaborative. As soon as the verse was written Oz rang Edge whilst he was on the train excited to show someone. Edge beat-boxed his idea for the beat and they went into their storage unit with Bes the following day and laid down a demo. We injected hooks and catchy BVs, it was a fun writing process.”

In just 12 months they’ve played stages such as; Oxford Art Factory Gallery, Bar On The Hill, Cambridge Hotel NYE Street Party, The Small Ballroom (just to name a few) and often sharing the stage with a number of well known acts including Ball Park Music, The Delta Riggs, Saskwatch, Allday, KLP, Davey Lane, Glass Towers, The Owls, Thundamentals and Steve Smyth.

The band closed out 2016 with the release of their latest single ‘Please’, which received airplay on triple j, and turned the heads of fans and industry professionals alike.

Their latest national tour, saw the band play some of their most successful headline shows to date. Some say it’s their tight live show and polished sound, others say it’s their boyish good looks and cat-like reflexes, whatever it may be, The Treehouse Children have shown that they are a band to watch amongst Australia’s independent music scene. Live dates on our tour page, website here, Facebook here.

'Please' is a fabulous EP where The Treehouse Children treat us to a vibrant collection of songs, often upbeat, occasionally a little more refrained and always catchy and exciting. 


Hurricane Fall - How We Get Down.

Background - There’s a hot wind blowing: the kind of gale that lays a field of cane down flat against the earth, whips the roadside paperbarks into a frenzy, and buffets the windows of a solitary Landcruiser sailing down a moonlit red dirt track. It’s the kind of wind that heralds the arrival of a ferocious summer storm, and at the eye of the storm is Hurricane Fall.

Tamworth-born-and-raised and now based in Newcastle, Hurricane Fall is comprised of Jesse Vee (lead vocals & guitar), Pepper Deroy (lead vocals & bass), Jimmy Hick (lead guitarist) and Lachlan ‘Dusty’ Coffey (skins & percussion). Hurricane Fall confirmed their arrival onto the music scene last year with the release of their debut self titled EP, which peaked at No.2 on the Itunes Country Music Chart – the bands success was immediate!

Driving home their rock edge country sound, Hurricane Fall now release their new single ‘How We Get Down’, which was recorded at Spinlight Studio’s in Newcastle, and produced by the band.  This is the lead single from their second studio EP also titled ‘How We Get Down’ (out now), which debuted at No.4 on the Itunes Country Chart.

Regulars on the touring circuit, the band have performed at many festivals including Gympie Music Muster, Tamworth Country Music Festival, The Mountain Cattleman Festival and Hats off To Country, live tour dates on our tour page. Website here, Facebook here.

There is a rather intriguing introduction to 'How We Get Down' on the video, before a the music kicks in. The films storyline continues, however the quality of the music takes over, with a fine country rocker, from a clearly talented band.


The Byzantines - You Pull It (EP).

Background - Hailing from the great South Australian state that brought you two giant balls, Farmer’s Union iced coffee and Cooper’s Pale Ale come brit pop band The Byzantines. The new EP, You Pull It, was released via Marshmallow Pavement Records on last Friday. Following the release of their debut EP and a successful European/UK tour in 2014, the boys head out on an east coast Australian tour during February and March in support of the new EP. The tour kicks off at The Karova Club in Ballarat on Friday Feb 24 with label-mates The Montreals, and Melbourne Garage- Rock darlings BATZ. They’ll make their way up the coast on a 9-date tour, hitting Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and other cities along the way.

There’s nothing pale about these Adelaide lads and best mates; vocalist Michael Pietrafesa, guitarist David Zammit, Jose Moucho on bass and Johnny Zervas on drums. Considered ‘Australia’s answer to Kasabian’
The Byzantines have incorporated a varied mesh of sounds and layers, all the while feeling organic and staying true to the British sound that bands like The Stone Roses and Primal Scream made famous.

After polishing off The Delta Riggs’ rider and copping abuse for it from them manager whilst supporting them at their Rolling Stone Magazine Live Lodge event, guitarist and talented engineer and producer Alex Markwell was impressed and a friendship was born. Markwell offered to help produce and engineer the EP so in 2015 the boys decided to hit the recording studio.

Recorded between competing national tours and other commitments, The Byzantines also enlisted the help of friends Dan Crannitch (Love and Other Crimes) to assist with pre-production and Luke Godson (Luke Million/The Swiss) to help capture the more electronic aspects of the band’s sound. L
ive tour dates on our tour page, Facebook here.

Our third feature for The Byzantines in the space of three months, as we arrive with the new EP 'You Pull It'. This is a marvellous collection of songs from a band who are clearly comfortable and capable of exploring different ideas and genres and do so with style and feeling.


Monday, 20 February 2017

Monday Mix: Go Fever - Ten Five Sixty - Miccoli - Jason Ayres

Go Fever - United States Of My Mind.

Background - Austin-based band Go Fever have shared "United States Of My Mind," the second single from their self-titled debut album. The track is characteristic of the band's surf pop sound mixed with classic rock and roll influences and front woman Acey Monaro's heartfelt lyrics. On the meaning of the track, Monaro says:

"I wrote this song during a huge personal turning point for me- fresh out of a 7 year relationship that had started in my teens. I was travelling a lot and sleeping around, and experiencing the mind-altering freedom and perspective that those two pastimes arouse. The expression 'what if?' - which makes up the bridge of the song- was a favourite of mine when

I was a kid and I drove my parents mad with weird hypotheticals. This song is about eliminating the 'what ifs' by doing every bloddy thing I felt like doing, after being confined by the limits of my own imagination for a long time.” Website here, Facebook here.

This is the second song from Go Fever we have introduced this month. 'United States Of My Mind' is another fine track, the bands hallmark surf pop meets rock & roll sound is really engaging and the emotion in the vocals is notable.


Ten Five Sixty - You Say.

Background - Ten Five Sixty make music. It is music that can be anything you want it to be. Let them draw you into their world, and they will make you dance with a broken heart.

Others will see them and need them in different ways, but you can make them your own. Because transparency is pointless when you can have magic.

 New track "You Say" is currently available for streaming.  The track, off of the UK duo's upcoming EP entitled E.P., is a haunting track that showcases singer Jenny's soothing voice over 80s synth. Website here, Facebook here.

'You Say' has a stripped back electro start where the vocals are beautifully upfront in the mix. The musical arrangement develops layer by layer, without ever becoming to intense, providing a finely crafted arrangement for a striking song.


Miccoli - Idle Stranger.

Background - There aren't many bands that can boast a history like Miccoli; they've gigged in LA's Viper Rooms along with every other key rock venue across America, hung out with Motley Crue, performed at the Hyde Park Wireless festival, had music videos featured on MTV, VH1 & ASXTV, lived in their car (equipped with a mobile bar and cooker) had one of their members suffer a near fatal heart condition, and attended the same music production school as Grammy Award winning producer Paul Epworth. They've spent time living in Penang, landed several sponsorship deals, moved back to the UK, and somehow through it all, they've managed to prioritise writing, recording and performing a huge number of songs.

Miccoli, their name taken from the sibling trio's surname, formed in 2010 after spending most of their childhood studying and making music. Growing up in Birmingham, England, they were brought up listening to Simon and Garfunkel, Don Mclean, The Police, Fleetwood Mac and the sounds of Motown, to name just a few of their diverse musical influences.

Twin brothers Adriano (vocal and acoustic/electric guitar) Alessandro (piano, vocal and acoustic guitar) and their younger sister Francesca (vocal, piano and harmonica) have toured extensively, giving the band the opportunity to explore their musical identity and fine tune their live set - a compelling blend of haunting, melodic and eclectic sounds, interlaced with breathtaking harmonies. Facebook here.

A melodic and gentle duet and creative soundtrack ensured 'Idle Stranger' gained my attention. The song flows naturally and put simply, is gorgeous.


Jason Ayres - Got My Heart (EP).

Background - West Australian, Jason Ayres, releases his brand new EP titled ‘Got My Heart’ on April 1 and is set for a series of launch dates in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Having released a string of EP’s since he began in 2007, Jason’s forthcoming EP titled ‘Got My Heart’ delivers a unique brand of alternative country. It is a new style of music that he’s dabbled in for this release but insists that he maintains his grass roots.

“It’s the first time I’ve got the full band back together after seven years of being a solo acoustic artist,” says Ayres. “I’m finally feeling free enough to write what my heart feels and this time it feels alternative country”.

An avid collector of vintage guitars having almost thirty in his collection, Jason recorded the EP in its entirety using a slather of vintage Gibson acoustic guitars that were built back in the 1940’s and 1950’s. He also wrote the EP in pieces whilst travelling the country on his last tour as he dealt with the breakdown of a long-term relationship, the result capturing his intense feelings and inevitably finding a fresh start to his life.

“It’s a record about breaking the pieces only to put them back together again. Albeit stronger, better and more uniform,” says Jason. “I came out of a ten-year relationship that was damaged and irreparable just twelve weeks before the wedding date. I hit the road with my guitar and made music for a while. With space from the chaos, and the damage dissipating in the rear view, I was able to dust myself off and focus on the future. Little did I know that the future held a new love.” Website here, Facebook here, live dates on our tour info page.

The new EP 'Got My Heart' is a collection of five diverse alt country tracks. Mixing up both the styles and the moods, each song is quite individual without losing the overall core flavours. It's a good collection of unpretentious and fresh songs.


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Sundays Finest: Sarah Klang - Loved Ones - Ary - Sipprell - Terra Lightfoot

Sarah Klang - Strangers.

Background - Sarah Klang is an artist that immediately encapsulates you with her voice, an utterly fascinating universe. Since releasing debut single ”Sleep” last year (a track that quickly made it on to Spotify’s taste maker list Fresh Finds) she’s teamed up with producer Kevin Andersson (Troubled Tracks) in native Gothenburg, Sweden. The first result from this collaboration is ”Strangers” – a beautiful next step for Sarah.

- I wrote ”Strangers” during my last days in Gothenburg prior to leaving for Stockholm. It’s about a old relationship that ended. It was hard hanging around in the same town, bump into each other. You know, when you know everything about a person; the dark sides and the bright sides. It’s not so much about missing someone, more about having shared it all and then suddenly act like you don’t know each other.

When you listen to ”Strangers” you get images of old reel tape recordings in your head. Inspiration is found in old brides dresses, Barbra Streisand, ambient electronica, 80’s dads and plastic flowers.

2016 saw Sarah hit the road in Sweden – doing both headline shows and opening slot for acts like Matt Corby. Spring 2017 sees her performing at Swedish festivals for the first time in her career, with Where’s The Music in Norrköping and Umeå Open coming up first. Facebook here.

Sarah Klang has a melodic and passionate voice that is accompanied by a gentle soundtrack and choral harmonies on 'Strangers'. There is something of an Americana feel to the song, something Scandinavians seem to produce on a par with artists the other side of the Atlantic.


Loved Ones - End Of An Error.

Background - It is said that a change is as good as a rest, so when it comes to Liverpool quartet Loved One’s re-emergence, coupled with their shift in musical direction, things can only bode well for the swell of new material they are set to release in 2017.

Releasing themselves from the lo-fi and ambient rock of their debut album “The Merry Monarch” – having spent much of their recent time involved in soundtrack work - the forthcoming full length “Harness” sets its stall out as a move into an eclectic, but no less focused, sphere of operation. The album’s first single “End Of An Error” offers a first look into what they’ve been working on.

With this track we get a sense of the record’s more anxious moments and themes of escapism, which conspire here to erupt into a dilating and expansive chorus. Lead singer Nik Glover comments; “We tried to turn our traditional song structure on its head in End of an Error, piling all the melodies into the verse and letting the chorus speed past with hardly any vocals. It's a song about naive teenage love and regret, and why sometimes ripping up all your memories of a relationship is better than trying to hold on to it.” Facebook here.

'End Of An Error' has a sense of urgency about it. Vocals are anxious to convey their message and the band provide a soundtrack that gives a feeling of being in a hurry. It's a splendid and original piece that as mentioned above, seem to bode well for the 'anxiously' awaited new material.


Ary - Childhood Dreams.

Background - Trondheim-raised, and now Oslo based Ary (real name Ariadne Loinsworth) has been carefully plotting her career path for the past 12 months or so. Debut single ‘Higher’ was released via prestigious electronic label Eskimo Recordings in 2015 and was quickly A-listed by NRK P3 in Norway. That collaboration with fellow Norwegian producer and artist Carl Louis proved to be a fruitful one, with their follow up effort together, 'Telescope’, following a similar trajectory to the P3 A-list.

Following this early success in her home country, new single ‘Childhood Dreams’ stands as an impressive, and exciting step forward - undoubtedly holding the potential to break through to an international audience. Premiered by Julie Adenuga on Beats 1 - lyrically the track deals with Ary’s thoughts on her own development as an artist; how she’s grown as a songwriter and performer. Speaking a little more on the lyrical themes of the new single she said: "The song represents the balance between love, safety and ambition. How I remembered looking back to my childhood dreams, and comparing my expectations to my reality.”

In a recent vote to select a top ten “Ones To Watch", a group of 38 Norwegian insiders comprised of taste makers, festival bookers and music journalists were unanimous in their praise; they all agreed Ary is the most promising new artist to come out of Norway this year. Many foresee a bright future for her, and she might just be exactly what this industry needs. Facebook here.

'Childhood Dreams' begins with a minimalist electro pop soundtrack enabling Ary to take full advantage of utilising her delightful vocals. The song builds into a fuller sound, the hooks dig deeper, this is one very catchy number.


Sipprell - Trust Issues.

Background - South London singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sipprell returns with her new track ‘Trust Issues. Beautifully stripped back and soulful, the track was written and produced by Sipprell herself, with additional production by Maths Times Joy.

‘Trust Issues’ follows the stunning track ‘Journey’, produced by Ragz Originale (Skepta, Dej Loaf, Girli), and ‘Broken Ground’ a collaboration with HW&W Recordings’ Melo-Zed, or Radar Radio DJ Ralph Hardy’s new compilation ‘Growing Pains 2’. ‘Trust Issues’ is Sipprell’s first release of the year, which has already seen her perform at The Roundhouse in London, supporting Little Simz at her ‘Welcome To Wonderland: The Experience’ festival.

Since the release of her debut EP ‘Letter D’, Sipprell has garnered radio and press support from the likes of BBC Radio 1Xtra, The Fader, Complex and The 405. Sipprell’s honey textured vocals and honest songwriting continue to enamour taste makers, and see her make waves in 2017 and beyond. Twitter here.

Another artist who can rely on their vocals to deliver both a dreamy and melodic feel, Sipprell also adds a layer of atmosphere on 'Trust Issues', a beautiful and natural acoustic wonder.


Terra Lightfoot – Lily's Fair (Live).

Background - The new Terra Lightfoot live album "Live In Concert", is out now on Sonic Unyon. Since the release of her acclaimed album 'Every Time My Mind Runs Wild', the soulful roots rocker has wowed audiences across North America, the UK and Europe, playing hundreds of live dates in venues from cafés to coliseums and everywhere in between.

As part of that touring, she collaborated with the National Academy Orchestra of Canada to present those songs in dynamic orchestral arrangements that gave fans an amazing chance to experience the performer’s talent, charm and emotional power as never before.

Those collaborations were staged for two intimate hour-long shows on one memorable night at McMaster University’s LIVELab, joined by special guest John-Angus MacDonald of The Trews. The entire set was recorded and is now seeing release as Live In Concert — a special Valentine from the artist to her fans. Only a handful were able to watch first-hand as Lightfoot and the NAO revisited the sweeping orchestral treatment of songs off her sensational sophomore album. Live In Concert is a fresh chance to discover the remarkable talent that critics have been buzzing about. Website here, Facebook here.

I do wish more artists would release original live material or as the case is here, develop their music further with the National Academy Orchestra of Canada. It gives the featured song 'Lily's Fair' a fresh and imaginative direction. Looking forward to hearing the whole concert.


Saturday, 18 February 2017

Saturday Seven: Wayde - Línger - Jackson Boone - Curse Of Lono - No Joy - Altar Eagles - Hiva Oa

Wayde - Easy (don't be long).

Background - Having only released one previous single (‘Eleanor’), which earned them plaudits from the likes of BBC 6 Music and more, Essex four piece Wayde are now ready to unleash their new Lucky Aide EP. Recorded in guitarist/vocalist Tyrone Foster’s flat in Stoke Newington, in between the banging on ceilings and floors from disgruntled neighbours, Wayde’s sound is an amalgamation of sardonic indie, enveloping shoegaze and psych-infused grunge. There is a nostalgic comfort amongst Wayde’s combination of warm guitars, mid-tempo grooves and vocals, which are lyrically sharp, saccharine and melodically contagious.

Speaking about the themes behind the forthcoming EP, Miles Shawyer (bass) said, “There’s no consciously imprinted themes on the EP, however the songs were all written in a period when we were all just about to finish university and the anticipation of having to become real people and getting jobs was looming. So there’s an almost entirely unintentional coming of age/fear of adulthood theme running throughout the EP.”

It’s this charming yet almost serendipitous honesty that resonates the loudest throughout every track on the EP. The themes come naturally and candidly, whilst Wayde place their focus entirely on infectious hooks, reverb and fuzz, only abating to take rapid turns into hazy garage-punk and feedback-laden grunge. Facebook here.

'Easy (don't be long)' has a slow haunting feel from the very start. Vocals are set deeper in the mix and surrounded by a wall of slowly morphing sounds and some thunderous moments, no wonder the neighbours felt the need to join in with the beats...


Línger - Downfall (tuple EP).

Background - In late September 2016, Línger released her debut single ‘Flyon’ and has already proven she is a powerful force to be admired. The single, and EP tuple were recorded in her home in Sydney, Australia, produced by fellow Sydney artist, Xavier Dunn. Her latest offering from the forthcoming EP is ‘Avoid’, a lush electronic-pop journey characterised by Línger’s signature vocal harmonies. They provide the foundations for an pulsing and dramatic electronic track, all supporting Línger’s beautiful melodic whimsies.

Línger is a collaboration between experience and emotion that has come to fruition through years of feeling, longing and by simply being. Her words, originating in part through the creation of poetry, seek to make sense of the world which at times mystifies us all. Her EP tuple is inspired by the five elements of air, fire, water, earth and space. Attuned to divinity, each of Línger’s songs is able to insightfully capture moments in time that reflect what it means to be human.

Flying on to the Australian music scene in late September 2016, Línger has already proven she is a powerful force to be admired. Línger has been featured on Acid Stag’s Australian artist to watch list, and received glowing reviews throughout the blogosphere. Línger will meet you in your world and her song will carry you upwards to a sky filled with ethereal beauty that is forever unfolding and everlasting. Facebook here.

This is our second feature for Linger following on from sharing 'Avoid' a few weeks ago. The new EP 'tuple' comprises of five tracks and I have chosen the final song 'Downfall' this time around. This is a refined collection of music and is well worth checking out.


Jackson Boone - Mystic Winds (from the East).

Background - Jackson Boone is a songwriter who quietly emerged from the misty magic of Portland, Oregon. His lo-fi folk rock sound is comparable to Kevin Morby, Kurt Vile, or Damien Jurado.

With the help of producer Riley Geare (Unknown Mortal Orchestra), bassist Randy Bemrose (Radiation City), and Violinist Patti King (Radiation City), Jackson recorded his first solo album, 'Starlit,' in the basement of a green house in NE Portland. Immediately after his release, Boone, his five piece live band, The Ocean Ghosts, and Riley Geare, packed up their equipment and took off to the Oregon Coast. They spent two weeks by the beach tracking his sophomore record, 'Natural Changes' (2015).
On March 10th, Jackson Boone will release his third full length studio album, 'Organic Light Factory,' which features Jackson’s most realized and mature songwriting to date.

Boone and his band, the Ocean Ghosts, have honed their performing skills at festivals such as SXSW, Treefort Music Festival, Pickathon, and CMJ. They'll be on tour this March, including a stop in Austin for SXSW. Live dates on Beehive Candy tour page. Facebook here.

As lo-fi music goes, there is no shortage of atmosphere and content in the song 'Mystic Winds (from the East)'. The vocals are one of the key attractions, as is the gentle melody in this imaginative piece.


Curse Of Lono - Pick Up The Pieces.

Background - Acclaimed new London five-piece Curse Of Lono will release their debut album ‘Severed’ on Submarine Cat Records on April 7th. A sumptuously cinematic record that combines spaced out, harmony-laden indie-folk with driving, gothic alt-rock, ‘Severed’ was produced at Gun Factory studio by Oli Bayston (Boxed In).

Founded and fronted by Felix Bechtolsheimer, formerly the singer-guitarist in British roots pioneers Hey Negrita, Curse Of Lono formed in early 2015, though the songs on ‘Severed’ were written over a 14-year period. 

They range from the perky, Paul Simon-ish new single ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ to the more lugubrious ‘He Takes My Place’, the almost jazzy ‘London Rain’ and the rootsy, rhythmic ‘Send For The Whiskey’. The album belongs as much to the Americana tradition and old faithfuls such as Little Feat as it does to more modern, playful practitioners of the form such as Beck. Website here, Facebook here.

It was last summer when we came across Curse Of Lono and the new track 'Pick Up The Pieces' immediately grabbed my attention with the lively riffs and overall vibe. Album eagerly awaited.


No Joy - Hellhole.

Background - No Joy recently announced the Creep EP, which will be released on Feb. 24 on the brand new label collective Grey Market, and this week shared the second single from it, "Hellhole".

For most listeners, No Joy are a standout from the shoegaze revival, that wall of noise lead by its two female band members Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd and their long headbanging blonde locks. In a 2011 Blackbook piece on the band’s detached yet visceral live show, the writer coyly commented “they are playing with their backs to the audience…shy girls.” 

As the principal writer of their past catalog, White-Gluz steers the material on Creep in new directions, drawing on varied influences ranging from Industrial to New Age. With co-writer and producer Jorge Elbrecht, the pair create a soundscape that is both familiar and fresh. Tracked in Montreal at Hotel 2 Tango and in White-Gluz’s Little Italy apartment, the sound is huge. Dynamic juxtapositions of dark and light, feminine and virile are cemented together with their signature earworm hooks. No Joy are challenging themselves by distancing from the traditional rock band formula, creating a new live show to accompany the release. Live dates on our Tour page, Facebook here.

We featured the first single a little while back and the new song 'Hellhole' is of equal stature, and one that makes the forthcoming EP even more enticing. Plenty of atmosphere and energy works so well against dreamier vocals.


Altar Eagles - What Are You Coming To?

Background - Quote: "'What Are You Coming To?' is a song about hindsight. Basically about looking back on a relationship and trying to own up to your own mistakes while realizing you don’t even recognize the person that you thought you knew so well. Kinda like that line about listening when people tell you who they are, but in this case you didn’t. All past tense."

Bio:Erik Alcock has been a professional songwriter since he was 17 years old.  He talked his way into a live audition with EMI Canada in his native Toronto and then proceeded to cut himself on his guitar, bleed all over the auditioning executive’s office, and play terribly. He was signed on the spot.

After getting signed Erik left home and school and spent the next two years living in a jam space.  While the experience was not all that conducive to his songwriting, Erik was able to develop his chops by playing constantly.

His quality of life improved substantially when he joined a band and spent the next few years on tour. When the band broke up he started working with DJ Khalil, Chin Injeti and Liz Rodrigues, forming The New Royales. Since then they've written songs for  Eminem, Kanye West, Pink and a host of others, which led to several Grammy wins, having the theme for  Mission Impossible 4, the Call of Duty video game, and Jake Gyllenhall’s movie “Southpaw.” Facebook here.

It's the sort of song that John Lennon could have written, asking deeper and searching questions. 'What Are You Coming To?' is however very much Alter Eagles work, and it's a pleasing and superbly delivered song and a fine showcase for his song writing skills.


Hiva Oa - So Many Lies.

Background - Belfast duo, Hiva Oa are pleased to share their brilliant new single 'So Many Lies'. The track is taken from their forthcoming EP, mk2 (part 2) - out April 7th.

'So Many Lies' stays central to the ideals and themes presented within previous EP 'mk2 (part 1); however, it takes to the fore principles of accountability where there has been a catastrophic loss of control. It's about a personal frustration against the misuse of power in all its forms; be it introspective or a wider shared communal disapproval.

‘We have suffered all this while, for your lies.’ The track also harnesses a counterbalance, where one can look at their own guilt by association or inaction in a situation. ‘You stole it all in front of our eyes, wasted enough to gather it all for your lies.’ Hiva Oa are: Stephen Houlihan & Christine Tubridy with Matthew Collings and Daithi McNabb. Facebook here.

Our third feature for Hiva Oa who consistently deliver really good alt rock music. 'So Many Lies' is notable for the emotive almost pleading vocals. The soundtrack gradually builds into a formidable and expansive piece that adds even more potency to this really fine song.


Friday, 17 February 2017

Weekend Wonders: Mt. Wolf - Emerald Portal - Among Criminals - Ned Roberts - Joseph Eid - Fujiya & Miyagi - Young Astronaut

Mt. Wolf - The Electric.

Background - London’s Mt. Wolf ended last year teasing the world with the smart-pop stylings of “Golden”, which saw significant pick-up internationally from the likes of The Independent, Indie Shuffle and others but was moreover a distraction of sorts, to maintain momentum whilst the band continued working away in the studio on a debut album and the huge sound they have always threatened. With the 6 minute + “The Electric”, the first material from their as yet untitled debut LP, this sound is very much realised. This year marks a fresh start for a band whose promise is set to be fulfilled.

The road up to now has been nothing if not eventful – including a line-up change, sell-out shows across Europe and the US, a brief hiatus last year that only invigorated the band and significant, ongoing critical support. Getting to this point hasn’t been easy but the feeling is that the real rewards, for the band and for us the listeners, are now just around the corner.

Punctuated by apocalyptic visions, the accompanying lyric video ebbs and flows as the song swells, and shows the strength – and importance – of lyrics in the band’s ever-growing sonic palette.

Since last year’s comeback EP and single the band have kept busy writing and recording with Ken Thomas (Sigur Ros, M83, Daughter). Early listens confirm this as their boldest, most ambitious output yet; expect the full album to land, and awe, shortly before the summer. Facebook here.

The brand new track 'The Electric' has distinct emotive vocals that are accompanied by a powerful and expansive soundtrack where even the drums add to the atmosphere, rather than just driving the momentum. The video is serious and fascinating adding even more to a dramatic, fabulous song.


Emerald Portal - All The Running.

Background - Emerald Portal is the brainchild of Thomas Ouziel and Brad Rundblade, two musicians, who at a young age immersed themselves into all aspects of art. As a sound designer and screenwriter, respectively, their music is heavily influenced by their cinematic backgrounds. Emerald Portal seeks to make engaging music that not only tells stories, but transports listeners.

Born in Europe, Thomas from Paris, France and Brad from Crete, Greece, both grew up learning how to play piano and guitar. They each spent years playing music before entering the film industry. Upon meeting on the set of a music video in Los Angeles, where the duo currently live, they found they had a mutual interest in creating music and began working on a number of songs. After a period of creative activity they had written enough material for an album. Each song on their first LP, Beyond The Edge of Reason, was a glimpse into different worlds and stories that all culminated into a grander, overall universe. Using their background in film, the duo created music videos for six of the songs from the album.

Emerald Portal works in various artistic fields often collaborating with directors, musicians, and artists to expand their vision and sound. They’ve received numerous awards for their music videos (LAIFFA, Orlando Film Festival, Los Angeles CineFest) and have a new EP, Trouble In Paradise ready for release in 2017. The ambitious band is currently working on three separate concept albums, each another glimpse into the many stories populating the Emerald Portal.Website here, Facebook here.

Emerald Portal come across from this song alone as artists that are comfortable to test boundaries and are not positioned comfortably in any one genre. 'All The Running' has so much going for it, superbly crafted music, melodic hooks galore, and vocals that just melt into the music.


Among Criminals - Patience And Regret.

Background - Among Criminals, have just launched their new single "Patience and Regret" from their upcoming record Kill The Precedent.

Among Criminals threads together 1990s alt-rock, modern indie rock, punk rock, and Jamaican dub, ska, and reggae. It’s an adventurous aesthetic that conjures the fearless musicality of the Mars Volta and At The Drive In, Nirvana, and Manchester Orchestra.

The band’s recordings are visceral and dynamic, and also subtly layered for a multi-dimensional “headphones experience.” The trio originally formed in 2008, but burned out after a grueling schedule of 250-300 shows a year that tested its sanity, creativity, and commitment. Facebook here.

'Patience And Regret' is a fast flowing rocker where the guitars & drums provide a feisty backdrop for the vocals. It's actually the fine and natural vocals that drive the melody. If you like your rock'n'roll cutting straight to the point, Among Criminals should be on your radar.


Ned Roberts - Lights on the River.

Background - Ned Roberts is a hotly-tipped, London-based folk musician, who has drawn comparisons with the likes of Tim Hardin, Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen. With a timeless quality to his sound, a poetic turn of phrase, excellent musicianship and a perfectly judged vocal sensibility, his songs sit comfortably amongst the classics of the Laurel Canyon era.

Lights On The River is the first single to be released from his new album, which was recorded in LA and produced by Luther Russell (Sarabeth Tucek, Richmond Fontaine, Noah & The Whale) who discovered Ned some years ago and has championed his music ever since. The highly anticipated new album Outside My Mind is due for release on March 24th on Aveline Records.

Outside My Mind felt a long time coming for Ned, with songs written over a period of three or four years. Largely an album of love-songs, both hopeful, devastated, and all things in between, the album was in a sense cathartic to record, a way to explore a moment and also to move beyond it.

The recording in LA was a much quicker process. They went into the studio with 15 acoustic guitar demos, and within 5 days came out with the finished record. “Recording to tape kept things tight explains Ned, we didn’t have endless reels, so couldn’t indulge in take after take. I enjoyed these practical limitations as they really focused the creative process, and kept everything fresh.” Facebook here.

Ned Roberts has one of those distinctive voices where every word has the feeling of being individually crafted. 'Lights on the River' is an exquisite song and also my introduction to Ned. For me the new album is not only a must listen, based on this track it will be a must own.


Joseph Eid - Watch it Fall.

Background - Americana-singer/songwriter, Joseph Eid has been writing poetry and dreaming of a career in the arts as long as he can remember. He grew up in the suburbs of New York.  Raised in a strict and traditional home, the arts were only supported as a hobby and never as a career.  During his college years, Eid studied psychology and pre-med.  After his first semester at med school, his dream got too big to hold and Eid made the bold choice of dropping out to move to New York City to pursue music.

While in New York, Joseph Eid picked up a guitar, joined a band, and the songs poured out of him like rain.  His journey then led to Los Angeles where he started playing regularly at open mic nights and showcases.  Shortly after, he began working with world-renowned guitarist/songwriter, David Lamar, honing his songwriting at weekly showcases at the Stone Bar. This lead him to write over 30 new songs as well as record a debut EP, Cardiac Output, followed by a full-length LP, Human.

Known as a dynamic solo performer, Joseph Eid has brought his one-man live show to many of Los Angeles’ premiere music venues, including stints at Room 5 and El Cid and residencies at The Stone Bar, Crane’s Hollywood Tavern, and Bar Lubitsch. He has also toured the West Coast including a handful of house concerts as a part of the Concerts In Your Home series.

Since the release of his Human LP, Joseph Eid has been garnering considerable buzz. He has been featured in American Songwriter Magazine’s “Best New Music” column and was recently named as one of the 100 Hottest Live Unsigned Artists by Music Connection Magazine. His latest EP, Watch It Fall, will be released in Spring 2017. Website here, Facebook here.

There is a crisp and melodic acoustic vibe, right form the opening chords as 'Watch It Fall' develops into a beautiful Americana song where Joseph Eid's vocals are centre stage. There is a timeless feel to the piece, where both the music and vocals are perfectly matched, the melody just right, and with Joseph's vibrant vocals, all in all this is a delightful song.


Fujiya & Miyagi - Solitaire.

Background - The new 'Self-Titled' LP from Fujiya & Miyagi, will be out 4/7 on Impossible Objects Of Desire. A new single entitled "Solitaire" has now been released.

Many musical projects approaching almost two decades of existence begin to shows signs of stagnation or perhaps start to crook their neck as looking over their shoulder becomes a more common stance than focusing on the horizon. However, for the Brighton-based, genre-hopping, Fujiya & Miyagi the opposite can be said as they see in 2017 by wrapping up a unique year-long musical project that represents one of their most adventurous to date.

Two EPs join a third to make up this album, a carefully staged project that sees the group traverse disco, electro, pop, and the now synonymous 1970s Germany-inspired groove they so seamlessly ooze. Whilst the EPs all contain a distinct personality and fluidity of their own, the new dynamically focused position of the tracks as a full album embodies a long-term plan. “From the beginning I have always thought of this as an album rather than three separate records” Singer David Best says.

The now melded album is a vast one stylistically with influences and references that span from Arthur Russell to JG Ballard, yet the undercurrent that connects it all into one universal groove is one of honesty and joy, a surging sense of euphoria and hope that attempts to cut through the foggy world that welcomes its release. “On this album I have tried lyrically to find the positives and not rely on my factory setting of a general contempt for the world around me.” Best says. Website here, Facebook here.

With a fresh funky beat and smooth vocals 'Solitaire' is a really good electro pop song, that might also be a dance track. The band create a distinct, hypnotic sound, that is extremely addictive.


Young Astronaut - Chasing El Dorado.

Background - Young Astronaut is an indie 4-piece from New Forest. Having gained fans in both the UK as well as China with their debut LP ‘Fawn’, last year saw them perform at a wide variety of venues, from London’s Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen to numerous bars and bookshops across Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong.

They are now back and ready to release their new album called ‘A Gold Frontier’. By teaming up with Grammy-award winning Geoff Swan (White Lies, Ed Sheeran, Bastille), Young Astronaut have decided to take it upon themselves to unite the various meanings of “indie” by intertwining them all together. Through linking the numerous indie sub-genres across 11 beautifully crafted pieces of music, the band takes the listener on an unpredicted sonic journey, beginning with the opening number called “Chasing El Dorado”.​​​​​​​

“Chasing El Dorado” begins softly with a guitar, bass and the vocals by introducing the theme of the song in the vibes of Two Door Cinema Club. Soon after it is followed by Stornoway-like harmonies and Iggy Pop’s “Sunday”-esque groovy drumbeat, only then to pass through an intrumental mid-tempo bridge and later finish in a grand and almost cinematic way.

In short, no matter what kind of indie one falls under; indie pop, indie rock or maybe even pastoral indie folk, Young Astronaut’s single “Chasing El Dorado” has something in there for everyone, and it will be out everywhere 7th April. Website here, Facebook here.

'Chasing El Dorado' gradually builds into a montage of musical ideas where the vocals and harmonies are well up in the mix and rightly so, they are a key feature of the song. That said the musical arrangement both understated and later with full on power is dynamic and distinct. This is one very fine track.