Joel James - Will Stewart - Berlev's Rock 'n' Roll Hotel - Winter Wilson - Natalie Shay - Young Galaxy - Sly & Robbie meet Dubmatix

Joel James - Adorn Above.

Background - Joel James makes a statement in new single Adorn Above telling the industry, he is here to stay. Adorn Above is a battlecry in the form of a rock orchestral sound. Joel James lands his delicate poetry in between the whaling sounds of triumph. The track illustrates rejection being a societal norm but shows the urge to keep fighting, while having an endless desire to come out on top.

“‘Been torn apart a thousand times, but now there’s more of me to see’ - When I wrote that line, the song made sense. It’s such a bad ass statement, so much attitude. I believe that anyone who is used to rejection, no matter the industry they are in, will live and breath those lyrics” - Joel James

Adorn Above is exactly what it sounds like, a battlecry. It’s about a certain breaking point, having a whole industry crush you, losing everything to an unfair advantage. The song highlights the burning desire to bounce back head first and straight into the deep end without hesitation. Rejection becoming the norm, and success becoming our meaning to lif

The song was written, recorded, produced and mastered in Joel’s childhood bedroom by himself. That’s how all his releases are created. In 2016 Joel James released debut EP I’m a Fool opening with hit Still Around, generating buzz on Australia’s Hit Network and creating waves in the Gold Coast reaching number 8 on the 102.9 Hot Tomato Playlist. While Joel is laying the foundations of what looks like a solid career, he continues to raise the bar with every release, always experimenting with new colours of music and building the world he dreams of. FACEBOOK.

Powerful and expansive 'Adorn Above' is fully charged right from the very start. Joel James vocals are passionate and implore the listener to take note. Dramatic? just a little...


Will Stewart - Sipsey.

Background - Will Stewart’s County Seat, coming out on Cornelius Chapel Records April 6th, explores the modern South through an interpersonal lens while reaching into it's complicated past, and present. As American Songwriter’s Brittney McKenna says “[County Seat] explores the complicated tangle of Stewart’s Southern roots, blending nostalgia and reverence with a stark awareness of the region’s dark, flawed past.” 

On the nostalgic first single from County Seat, “Sipsey”, Stewart longs for the wonder and innocence of young adulthood. “The title references a place in northwest Alabama called Sipsey Wilderness Preserve,” Stewart says. “I wanted to use that as a sort of visual, tangible anchor to otherwise vague, impressionistic lyrics. I also just like the way it sounds. But overall, the song is about trying to recapture the sense of awe, wonder and abandon — and maybe innocence, to a lesser degree — of young adulthood, coming to realize that things that were once inconsequential in youth are now the only things that matter.”

County Seat is a guitar-fueled Americana record, caught somewhere between the worlds of country and electrified rock. The songs are roomy and lush,  the result of an inspired band — led by Stewart, who handles singing and guitar-playing duties — whose members recorded all nine tracks in two short days. There are swirls of swooning pedal steel, layers of vocal harmony, and the pastoral punch of a songwriter looking to turn the landscape of his home state into music.

Co-produced with Les Nuby (who also engineered and mixed the album) and recorded in a series of live takes, County Seat nods to a number of songwriters who sing about the beauty of their homeland without glossing over its imperfections. There are electrified moments influenced by Neil Young, guitar arpeggios suited for R.E.M., turns-of-phrase worthy of Bob Dylan, and the modern-day folksy charm of Hiss Golden Messenger. On an album that evokes some heavy starpower, though, Will Stewart shines the brightest. This is his first full-length release as a solo artist: a rallying cry from a Son of the South who, having returned home after a long trip, looks at his birthplace with renewed eyes. WEBSITE, FACEBOOK.

'Sipsey' has some classic Americana feeling that resonates beautifully. Rich with fine instrumentation and delicious harmonies Will Stewart's naturally refined vocals complete the circle.


Berlev's Rock 'n' Roll Hotel - Let's Go To The Movies.

Background - Berlev’s Rock ’n’ Roll Hotel plays rock. Sometimes hard rock, other times more soft rock, certain times straight forward rock ’n’ roll but always filled with energy. Søren Berlev, the old drummer of the biggest rock n roll band ever in Denmark and Scandinavia has been working several years to write new music and has gathered a band. Berlev’s Rock ’n’ Roll Hotel succeeds in the delivery of a wild, participatory and musical performance of the songs.

The band consists of Søren Berlev on drums, Erik Winther on guitar, Esben Hegelund on vocal and Søren Fjalland on bass guitar. Together they play a live performance which leave the audience with no doubt about the bands love for rock n roll music. When the band plays their highly energetic songs they make sure to the audience is rocking to the loud guitar solo and singing along on the catchy melodies.

Musicians: Søren Berlev (drums), Esben Hegelund (vocal), Erik Winther (guitar)and Søren Fjalland (bass). WEBSITE.

If you like a little rock & roll then 'Let's Go To The Movies' ticks a whole load of boxes. Unpretentious and full of magnetic hooks this is the business for rockers of all ages.


Winter Wilson - Far Off on the Horizon.

Background - Winter Wilson are preparing to hit the road with the legendary Fairport Convention - but they could very easily be on the dole. This is the story of a couple who turned the nightmare of redundancy into a dream of playing music for a living... "We gave ourselves a year to see how things would turn out," says singer Kip Winter. "Five years later we are still getting away with it! It’s not easy, but playing music professionally beats working for a living."

Kip and partner Dave Wilson were popular part timers on the folk scene and released Winter Wilson albums at their own leisure. But, following the banking crash and global crisis of 2012, things changed for the couple and music became the priority. Since then, critical acclaim has followed their every move and they even made one of the Daily Telegraph's 'Top Ten Folk Albums' of 2014 in the redundancy-inspired and intrepid 'Cutting Free’.

The music they make is as sharp in sound as it is observational in message and is delivered with a keen ear for melody and instinctive harmonies. Dave Wilson’s songs pull no punches and are as comfortable in a contemporary box, as they are at home on the floor of a folk club. Indeed, his songs have found their way into the repertoire of many a seasoned floor singer, as well as several other recording artists.

The duo has been hand-picked to support musical legends Fairport Convention in 2018 and are ready to delight audiences around the country. To coincide with this, they are releasing their brand-new album ‘Far Off on the Horizon’ on January 25th and it’s another outstanding collection of original songs on subjects as diverse as migration, old age, young love and Australian weather! This latest collection of songs fits very well with the emotional geography of the roads they're now travelling. WEBSITE.

Winter Wilson touring with folk legends Fairport Convention in 2018:
25 Jan 2018, Tewkesbury, The Roses Theatre
26 Jan 2018, Southport, The Atkinson
27 Jan 2018, Lincoln, Drill Hall
28 Jan 2018, Buxton, Opera House
30 Jan 2018, Nottingham, Playhouse
31 Jan 2018, Peterborough, Key Theatre
01 Feb 2018, Coventry, The Albany Theatre
02 Feb 2018, Morecambe, The Platform
03 Feb 2018, Settle, Victoria Hall
04 Feb 2018, Salford, The Lowry
06 Feb 2018, Milton Keynes, The Stables
07 Feb 2018 Stoke, The New Vic Theatre
08 Feb 2018 Durham, Gala Theatre
09 Feb 2018 Whitby, Pavilion Theatre
10 Feb 2018, Leeds, City Varieties
11 Feb 2018, Banbury, Trades and Labour Club
13 Feb 2018, Canterbury, The Gulbenkian
14 Feb 2018, Canterbury, The Gulbenkian
15 Feb 2018, Worthing, Connaught Theatre
16 Feb 2018, Frome, Cheese and Grain
17 Feb 2018, London, Union Chapel
18 Feb 2018, Winchester, Theatre Royal
20 Feb 2018, Farnham, The Maltings
21 Feb 2018, Exeter, Corn Exchange
22 Feb 2018, Tunbridge Wells, Assembly Hall Theatre
23 Feb 2018, Bury St Edmunds, The Apex
24 Feb 2018, St Albans, The Alban Arena
25 Feb 2018, Bromsgrove, The Artrix

I imagine that Fairport Convention are rather discerning when it comes to choosing touring partners with the emphasis on quality. Either way that is what they have with Winter Wilson as demonstrated by the tender and touching song 'Far Off on the Horizon'


Natalie Shay - This Feeling.

Background - Natalie Shay is a 19 year old multi award-winning, indie pop/rock artist from North London. Deemed as one of London’s hottest emerging talents and having already acquired an impressive array of awards, Shay is ready to launch herself into the forefront of the industry, with her highly anticipated upcoming release.

As a classically trained guitarist from the age of five, Shay's outstanding talents soon found herself accepted into the prestigious BRIT school, known for producing such prodigies as Adele, Jessie J and Katy B. Shay credits her time at the famed BRIT school for encouraging her independence, “It allows student’s to develop creatively and socially so that they are prepared for the world once they graduate”, explains Shay.

Shay's experience at the BRIT school propelled her into a successful solo career, performing to sold-out audiences at some of London’s most iconic and renowned venues, including The Roundhouse, Ronnie Scotts and Brooklyn Bowl, O2. Her successes to date include her long list of awards from ‘Best Undiscovered Talent’ London Music Award, Winner of The Guardian’s Music Award and two time winner of the Mayor of London Gigs. Shay’s debut single ‘Follow You Home’ reached number 15 in the iTunes singer/songwriter charts, championing Ed Sheeran.

Leading single ‘This Feeling’ is thematically about the excitement of young love and the passionate desire for someone. The emotions this song conveys, combined with Shay’s raw vocals, creates a heartfelt song which resonates with listeners from all different aspects of life. Sonically ‘This Feeling’ highlights Shay’s distinctly powerful and vibrant vocals. Featuring gritty melodic guitars, punchy drum beats and an infectious anthemic chorus, Shay has established a sound beyond her years. With Shay’s mesmerising lyricism, her impressive vocal prowess and a unique flair of delivering listeners with compelling live performances, it is to no wonder that she has had the privilege of sharing the stage with artists such as Soul II Soul, J P Cooper, Alex Francis and Sex Pistol, Glen Matlock.

After extensively gigging around the UK and perfecting her sound, Shay is now ready to focus on the release of her new music. Driven by the desire to inspire other young women in the arts and helping them to flourish with confidence, Natalie Shay is set for a promising 2018. ‘This Feeling’ is due for release January 19th. WEBSITE, FACEBOOK.

A refreshing dose of indie rock comes our way in the shape of 'This Feeling' a feisty and very catchy song. Has England found it's own Amy MacDonald, not to worry Scotland there is plenty of room for artists of this calibre.


Young Galaxy - Under My Wing.

Background - Montreal’s electro-pop duo Young Galaxy have announced the upcoming release of their first fully independent, “punk spirit” album. Down Time stories Young Galaxy’s shift into complete independence and positions the band as a countercultural beacon during the current climate of isolation, corruption and despair. 

Showcasing the band’s new independence is lead single, “Under My Wing”. The track intentionally blurs what listeners have come to expect from the band. Musically it’s cloudy and swirling, the lyrics obscured, almost unintelligible by design. As the band puts it, “it’s a song that sleeps during the day and walks the empty streets at night. It’s about the failure of capitalism, the isolation of suburbia, and the drive to discover sensuality, connection, and a spark of life in the face of despair.”

Young Galaxy began writing Down Time with a sense of reinvention in mind. In order to stay ahead of the ever-shifting landscape of the music industry, the band felt the need to step away from the industry entirely and take stock of and control over their career. Tired of the industry’s exploitative, conservative nature, the band started their own label in an effort to create a sense of community, and to stay true to an ethos of experimentalism and independence.

Young Galaxy’s Catherine McCandless says: “Beginning to write and record is always a question of seeking the headspace that will manifest the life that we want to live – it feels essential that we get up against what feels most valuable to us: love, art, subversion, risk and vulnerability. Those are the tools of the work of writing for us. In immersing ourselves in a kind of daily labour that brings about questions of whether we’ve gone far enough, left out enough, left bare enough, said too much, sweated enough, bled enough, I think we are putting out into the world powers and vulnerabilities that could be the balm, or even antidote to it. The music industry needs it, politics need it, people need it. It’s love and sex and comfort and blood and unity amongst seekers on the outside of what seems to be an absurd and lonely state of normalcy currently.” FACEBOOK.

We receive a constant supply of new electro pop music and are perhaps more choosy with this genre. 'Under My Wing' stands out both by the musical arrangement, atmosphere and level of originality, that and the "punk spirit" which an independent band I suspect, has more chance on delivering.


Sly & Robbie meet Dubmatix - Dictionary.

Background - In reggae, all roads lead to the “Riddim Twins”, Sly & Robbie. They’ve been revered as style-defining icons for years, and together and individually have a massive influence on the genre. They are also renowned for their willingness to shatter boundaries and experiment with sounds. Over the past decades, they have never been shy of leaping over into other genres – for instance, their timeless, super-tight production work for Grace Jones...!

Now, Sly & Robbie meet Dubmatix. The Canadian producer and multi-instrumentalist got his hands on original Sly & Robbie tracks and spent months crafting this new album, Overdubbed. Dubmatix is celebrated for his out-of-the-box thinking and willingness to experiment, and the album shines with fresh ideas.

Sly & Robbie’s tunes, which are originally without vocals, haven’t simply been dubbed: extracting the individual essence of each track, Dubmatix has added a plethora of tweaks, ideas and individuality, making his musical signature clearly audible. On some tracks, he invited vocalists, including Jay Spaker (John Brown's Body), Screechy Dan and Prince Alla, to contribute their unique style. As well as Dubmatix himself, the album features many other musicians.

The result is an album that shines with eclectic diversity. From roots oriented tunes to dubs for the clubs, there’s a bit of everything. Dubmatix’s refreshingly playful, bass-heavy approach creates new highlights while at the same time paying deserved homage to two world-class musicians.

The guest vocalist line up is jam packed including: Prince Alla, Screechy Dan, Megative, Jay Spaker, Treson, Pato Irie, Bill King, Pablo Paul, Shaky, Illorn, Aaron Kazmer and The Heavyweights Brass Band. Dubmatrix WEBSITE.

OK I am an unashamed reggae and classic dub fan, that is always a little suspicious of modern variants. 'Dictionary' which opens the album settled my doubts from the beginning, Dubmatrix has delivered something very special here, this one is for collectors and those just discovering the genres, fabulous!