Weekend Wonders: Trudy and the Romance - Will Johnson - Bad Reed - Blood and Glass - whenyoung - Joana Serrat - Gemology

Trudy and the Romance - My Baby's Gone Away.

Background promo - With a Big Moon support slot this autumn and SXSW in the bag, Trudy and the Romance’s scurvy ascent has been as pestilent as the plague, infecting hearts and minds everywhere. Labelled ‘50s mutant pop’ by assorted members of the press, their previous single ‘He Sings’ sallied lecherously up to number 7 on the UK Spotify viral charts. Their freakbeat flavoured skiffle clearly strikes a chord with legions of mutant fans everywhere and is a broken bottle to the face of blind conformity.

6Music’s Steve Lamacq is a bona fide fan. After seeing them live at their packed-out debut London headline show at The Victoria this July he promptly made them artist of the week. Further feverish support on the wireless has come from Radio 1’s Huw Stephens who included ‘He Sings’ in his Best of BBC Introducing, John Kennedy at Radio X and further afield in LA's KCRW.

With more material in the works and more gigging before the year is out, whatever Trudy and the Romance are cooking up will be a drunken witch’s brew of lovesick sea shanties and rabble rousing ditties. To all those who thought the age of romance in music is long dead, Trudy and the Romance stand defiant as mutated specimens of a bygone era. Website here.

Live dates:
29 October Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow *The Big Moon
30 October Picture House Social, Sheffield *The Big Moon
01 November The Bodega Social Club, Nottingham *The Big Moon
02 November Waterfront, Norwich *The Big Moon
03 November Scala, London *The Big Moon
04 November Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton
05 November Yellow Arch, Sheffield *Slow Club
18 November 02 Academy 2, Liverpool *Supporting Honeyblood
25 November The Finsbury, London *Rockfeedback Club Night
13 - 19 March, SXSW, Austin, US.

' My Baby's Gone Away' has a thumping beat from the first chord, and eclectic vocals and harmonies that dance above some delightful bar room bluesy rock. It's natural and engaging and I would guess, just perfect for performing live.


Will Johnson - Nervousness Fangs.

Background - “Nervousness Fangs” is Johnson’s first output since his 2016 Record Store Day 7” single “Inclined”, which is currently in contention for a 2017 Grammy nomination for Best American Roots Performance. If you’re a Grammy voter, please do keep him in mind! ;)

Perhaps best known as the drummer in the indie rock super group Monsters of Folk alongside Jim James, Conor Oberst, M. Ward and Mike Mogis, Will Johnson has had an incredible career as a singer-songwriter and musician. 

He’s fronted various influential indie bands like Funland, Centro-matic and South San Gabriel, along with collaborating with legendary artists like Jason Molina on their joint Molina and Johnson album in 2009 (Secretly Canadian). He also teamed up with Jay Farrar, Jim James and more on the Woody Guthrie archive project New Multitudes, a project that created a tribute album of new music from Guthrie’s unrecorded lyrics to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Guthrie’s birth. Facebook here.

Live Dates:
11/05 - Dallas, TX - Tree’s #
11/30 - Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre (Sold out) %
12/01 - Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre (S
old out) %
12/02 - Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre (S
old out) %
12/15 - Montgomery, AL - Montgomery Performing Arts Centre %
12/16 - Lafayette, LA - Acadiana Center For The Arts %
12/17 - Thackerville, OK - WinStar World Casino %
# - w/ Bob Mould
% - w/ Jason Isbell

'Nervousness Fangs' is a fine acoustically driven song. Will Johnson's definitive vocals are backed by gentle vocal harmonies, in what is a beautiful roots based song.


Bad Reed - Stained Glass.

Background - Paris, Ontario pseudo-rockers Bad Reed channel a multitude of popular influences into unique snapshots of passion. Small-town art-pop going big places...

The quartet released their first professional studio EP mid-2015 online for free and are now touring south east Canada supporting this new music release. The group's second release is slated to hit the market in early 2017.

"Their self-titled EP is just three songs long but provides vivid glimpses into their sound, which has    a strong melodic drive and an equally forceful punch of power guitar lines." -Chris Kompanek, The Huffington Post, January 27, 2016

Bad Reed is Costa Chatzis on percussion, Austin Sharpe on bass, Sydney Sollazzo on vocals and keyboards, and Graham Walker on guitars. Hailing from small towns and diverse backgrounds, this group consists of members with varying music tastes. Their sounds are likened to acts from Hozier andJack White to Snarky Puppy, The Mars Volta and Amy Winehouse.

Bad Reed is engaging and danceable. Overcoming the odds and getting even. Bad Reed is coming for you... Expect to hear them on more radio stations, to see them touring farther, and hitting harder for years to come. Website here.

Latest single 'Stained Glass' kicks off with a deep bass line and builds as band and vocals kick in. It's a funky rocker, production is meaty and clear, and there is enough melody to support the very real energy that runs throughout the track.


Blood and Glass - Whiskey.

Background - Blood and Glass will have a new video for Whiskey, the first track off the album Punk Shadows which is set for release in winter 2017 on Simone Records. The video, directed by visual artist Brigitte Henry, draws us into a world of lost disco, as kitsch and strange as a David Lynch film, in which Morgan and Lisa play ghostlike characters. Just like the song, the clip is both sombre and playful.

Blood and Glass is moody punk fronted by a woman, but this is in no way girly music. Their song Whiskey was written for the guy in the Pink Floyd tee shirt sitting alone at the bar. The over-thinker. The one who enjoy s being an oddball. The one who goes home alone every night and falls asleep with his hand down his pants. So, in fact, this song is for all of us; we've all been that guy once or twice.

Punk is not a hair style. It is not a fashion statement. Punk is the expression of inner freedom, says Lisa Moore, front woman of Blood and Glass. Their upcoming album, Punk Shadows is catchy and moody at once. It is playful and full of colour yet cinematic and full of emotion. Website here.

With a dark thunderous beat and breathy vocals 'Whiskey' is somewhat hypnotic, until the chorus line takes the listener into another place. The video perfectly captures the songs feel, intriguing and seductive, and with very deep hooks.


whenyoung - Actor.

Background - Irish trio whenyoung have announced their second single Actor, which will impact on 25th November. Actor is the follow-up to debut single See How They Run and is an immediate burst of melodic rock ‘n’ roll with a swarm of unruly jangly guitars, commanding drums and sweet yet punchy vocals. Despite an untainted youthful sound, lyrically the song has a profound meaning. The band say;

“Actor is about contorting your character to fit into a disfigured view of the perfect self in order to belong. It's about acting every day and projecting artificial images of yourself through social media and in real life interactions with others. This helps to reassure you that you are important, relevant, interesting and necessary but behind it all there’s a sinking feeling. It’s not you. It’s an act. It’s tiring.” “These days we’re all doing it. It seems to be essential but there has to be another way, an honest existence.”

whenyoung are Aoife Power (Vocals/Bass), Niall Burns (Guitar) and Andrew Flood (Drums) who originate from Limerick in Ireland but are currently based in London.

First meeting as teenagers, sneaking into the only indie bar of their city in Ireland, they bonded over cheap vodka and The Velvet Underground. Soon after, Niall moved to London, with Andrew and Aoife quickly following, and here they began writing songs together. After a handful of packed out London shows, Whenyoung have just announced a further date at Shacklewell Arms on 24th November. Facebook here.

I like 'Actor'. It's melodic, powerful (but not overpowering) and the balance between Aoife's melodic vocals and the bands potent performance is just right.


Joana Serrat - Cloudy Heart feat. Neil Halstead.

Background - Spanish songstress Joana Serrat has revealed her new video for 'Cloudy Heart’, directed by Manson. The song, taken from Joana’s 2016 album Cross The Verge, is a shimmering pop-like duet with Neil Halstead (Slowdive, Mojave 3) and also features The Wooden Sky’s Gavin Gardiner on guitar. Describing the inspiration behind the video, Joana explains:

“We wanted to capture the contrast of the song’s lyrics by matching them with the dark and the light in the video. I like the fact that we also shot some of it on the beach (it’s actually a really cool detail that links me to Neil [Halstead]’s home) and it’s beautiful the idea of singing to someone that you can’t see but you can feel. I love all the superimposed images that represent the chaos and doubts of the multiple people we can become when nothing’s clear. I love that dusky Lynch road. The heart’s paths are not clear and easy.” 

Following on from her September shows opening for The Jayhawks, Joana Serrat has been confirmed to support The Handsome Family in Europe in February, which will be immediately followed by three headlining shows in The Netherlands, before heading to Austin, TX in March for her SXSW debut. UK dates TBA. Facebook here.

'Cloudy Heart' reminds me in part of a gentle Camera Obscura song. Nothing wrong with that, the comparison benchmark is set high, and it's a long way accent wise from Spain to Scotland. This is a beautiful melodic song, the video captures the mood very well, and I'm left hoping Joana and Neil might consider another collaboration.


Gemology - Come Around.

Background - The brand-new dream-pop single from Gemology, a collaborative bi-coastal duo comprised of NYC’s prolific singer/songwriter Joanie Wolkoff, and LA-based producer/multi-instrumentalist Natasha Chitayat. "Come Around” stands still in time with joyful synth accents, radiant guitar, ethereal vocals and a gripping message that radiates a steady glow even under the duresses of our current reality.

Wolkoff and Chitayat are not your average pen pals. The two first shook hands in 2014 while they were trapped in a Brooklyn recording studio during a torrential rain storm. By the time the storm had passed Gemology was officially alive and kicking, followed soon after by their anthemic first single, "First & Last”

In their words, “We wrote "Come Around" together through the digital ether with an entire continent between us. When we do hang out on the same soil, we get to be our giddy, goofball old-soul selves and get fired up over bubble tea and urban wildlife... and of course, we dish the dirt about love. We wanted to capture that energy and gift it, distilled in a song, to people at any age, in any location or any walk of life. "Come Around" is a love song shimmering with uncertainty and euphoria.” Facebook here.

'Come Around' has a melodic synthy musical background that comes to life even more with the dreamy vocals. Oozing with atmosphere, this is a delightful and soothing song.