Weekend Wonders: Rome Is Not A Town - Billy The Zombie Kid - The Velveteins - OhBoy! - Billy T Band - Varick

Rome Is Not A Town - Blood And Secrets.

Background - 4 piece Gothenburg, Sweden unit Rome Is Not A Town released their debut 7” “Stupid” in late 2015. With their noisy postpunk they soon found a special place in the hearts of everyone with a fondness for cracking guitars and some furious drum beating. Swedish media got excited and the biggest ones such as Festivalrykten, Hymn and Gaffa soon compared them Sonic Youth. As a match made in heaven Rome Is Not A Town got the chance to tour a few dates with the Thurston Moore band soon there after.

Since that initial success the band’s been on tour with fellow label mates Tiger Lou in Sweden and Germany as well as recording a new EP, "Careful Like You Cared" with Per Stålberg (Division of Laura Lee) in Welfare Studios, Gothenburg. The EP consists of four brand new tracks, and six minute masterpiece “Blood and Secrets” as a b-side. All released by Startracks – home of Fireside, early Refused and so on. Guitars go in the family, they say. Facebook here.

'Blood And Secrets' rounds off the new EP in style. The four new tracks are consistently good, with a consistent and definitive sound throughout, in what for me is a mixture of alt rock, indie rock and some delightful post punk moments. Good stuff !!!


Billy The Zombie Kid - Are You Dying Just Like Me?

Background - Billy The Zombie Kid is an alternative pop/rock band from Borlänge, Sweden. Billy the zombie kid started as a no name solo project by lead singer & guitarist Stefan Altzar back in 2013. He had written a bunch of songs containing a unique mix of pop, rock and electronic elements, and to be able to take the songs from digital format out to the live stage, Stefan began putting a real band together. His longtime friend, Janne Korpela, joined the band on guitar.

They had been playing together in several different bands for many years, so it was an easy decision to make. The band also needed someone that could play keys, and that's where Max Björk came to be the perfect fit. Being a diverse musician, Max became a great asset to the band, not only as an instrumentalist, but also as a contributor to the vocal department. Finally, the band needed someone who could bring all of the computer programmed beats to life. Stefan reached out to Fredrik Olsson, who he knew from previous collaborations, and Fredrik was more than happy to join the band as the drummer, and also as a backup vocalist.

Their music was well received by the online community, and during the spring and summer of 2014 the band played several live shows and festivals around their hometown. During the fall of 2014, the idea of creating a full length album occurred, and that became the band's main focus. New songs were composed, and old songs were rearranged, and during the spring of 2015 the recording process began. From September 2015 until april 2016 videos and singles were released and in August the album “We’re always right” was finally released by the label Alternative Alien Baby. Website here and Facebook here.

The video for 'Are You Dying Just Like Me?' is something of a mini epic, which is just right for what is, a very impressive piece. More rock than pop, the band mix strong vocals with soaring guitars and a solid thumping beat that pushes the song along. Ones to watch out for.


The Velveteins - Don't Yah Feel Better?

Background - The first single off of The Velveteins' debut LP Slow Wave is Don't Yah Feel Better?

Hailing from sunny Edmonton, Canada, The Velveteins are a rock 'n' roll band consisting of primary songwriters Spencer Morphy (vocals, guitar) and Addison Hiller (percussion). Their latest work 'A Hot Second With The Velveteins' was produced by Lincoln Parish (Cage The Elephant) and has been described as "... a collision of the Kinks and the Libertines, rollicking  garage, moody surf [...and] pop classicism with a rough edge". The single is coming ahead of their debut full-length Slow Wave, which they are releasing with Fierce Panda Canada in 2017.

“I had been listening to a lot of traditional Indian music and i think that’s where the guitar melody came from. After the music had appeared so easily I decided to write the lyrics about how everything you need is there, you just have to stop and listen for it.” - The Velveteins. Facebook here.

It was back in May that we first came across The Velveteins, and it is without hesitation that the new song 'Don't Yah Feel Better?' gets a feature! The band craft music that mixes genre styles that makes the most of the rock'n'roll spectrum. Looking forward to the debut album.


OhBoy! - Dirt.

Background - This week Northampton 5-piece OhBoy! released the video for “Dirt” the B-side to a new single. It follows up on "Hey Princess." Both tracks are out now via Canvasclub (US) and Alcopop (UK).

Hailing from "a town that was once known the world over for being the home of British shoe manufacturing (the local football team is still know as The Cobblers),” OhBoy spent much of summer '16 on the road, playing Truck Festival Camden Rocks, The Great Escape, and the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury. Fans include Steve Lamacq, Huw Stephens and John Kennedy.

Website here and Facebook here.

'Dirt' is a feisty indie rock song that as B sides go, makes a wonderful A side (if you get my point). I'm not sure about the videos, elephant in the room, but the song is just right.


Billy T Band - Reckoning

Background - Billy T Band's 4th album "Reckoning" is out on CD, streaming and download (LP in March 2017). It’s filled with more of Billy T’s blues drenched rock ‘n’ soul. According to Billy T himself it’s the band’s best effort yet!

Their 3rd release won the Norwegian Grammy “Spellemannprisen 2012" for the best blues album. ”L.OV.E. (just a silly notion)” (released in 2010) also received Norwegian Grammy “Spellemannprisen 2010" for the best blues album. All of Billy T Band’s releases are filled with songs steeped in Classic American Soul, Blues, R&B and Swamp Rock. It’s a mix of original songs written by Billy T and the band and a few cover versions of obscure nuggets from Billy T’s ”wasted youth” as a hippie in Upstate New York. 

Bill was born and raised in New York City, and played and recorded with Eddie ”Bluesman” Kirkland for 12 years, and the Tom Russell Band for 10 years. Along the way, he worked with such diverse artists as Lightning Hopkins and Nancy Griffith. After moving to Oslo Norway in 1997, Billy T ran the house band at the ”Muddy Waters” blues club for 7 years, helping to launch the young Norwegian talents Amund Maarud and Chris "Kid" Andersen (now with Rick Estrin & the Nightcats). Website here and Facebook here.

Title track and the first of ten on the new album 'Reckoning' is a very good example of the quality you can expect throughout. Melody plays a big part ensuring a whole load of hooks along the way. Mixing guitar driven blues and rock, fine vocals and remarkable harmonies, Billy T is right to be pleased with the result of the obvious effort put into the album, it's a good one and deserves to be noticed when released.


Varick - Illusions.

Background - Varick has shared a video for his track "Illusions". The video was directed by Shomi Patwary (The Weeknd, Mark Ronson, A$AP Rocky) and stars actress Judy Sabin.

Keith Varick has been interested in ancient spiritual teachings since he was in his youth. These philosophies introduced Varick to meditation, oneness and enlightenment. When Varick started writing songs he found himself writing about these themes subconsciously. Varick began modernizing these ideas, by using his own experiences, to create songs that express the philosophies of non-duality, Hinduism and Advaita. Varick moved to NYC to develop his music and teamed up with producer David Sisko to release his first EP “Boundless”. 

The single “Boundless’ was included in print and online in ‘Under the Radar Magazine’ and also in their quarterly download mixtape. “We All Know the Rest” the second single off the ‘Boundless’ EP was included in CMJ’s monthly mixtape. Varick’s full album ‘Veda I’ is out now, with second album ‘Veda II’ out early next year. Website here and Facebook here.

There is a haunting vibe running through 'Illusions', a song full of atmosphere and depth. The video matches the layered sounds, and highlights the sense of angst and feeling that the song delivers.