Saturday Seven: Neville Staple - Beatrix Players - Black Dough - A Treehouse Wait - The Routes - Nozart - Josephs Coat

Neville Staple - Return Of Judge Roughneck.

Background - On February 17, legendary Specials and Fun Boy Three founding member Neville Staple will be releasing his new studio album ‘Return of Judge Roughneck’ via Cleopatra Records. This double LP features brilliant new re-workings of classic Jamaican cuts, some brand new material, and a few gems from Neville’s past, along with a bonus dub album offering serious bass-bin shaking mixes.

Known as The Original Rudeboy, Neville Staple is a Jamaican-born British singer credited with changing the face of pop music not only once but twice. His 35-year career in the music business is well documented, from the early days with The Coventry Automatics, The Specials and Fun Boy Three to collaboration with Ranking Roger in The Special Beat and various other collaborations during his solo career from the 90s until the present day.

About his musical legacy, Neville Staple comments: “The way we brought it was mixing Jamaican music with the English style, which was actually punk at the time. Now most people are into ska, they listen to all the people that we talked about that they might not have listened to before... This has happened again and again with the different waves of ska. I am hearing lots more young bands now also putting their own spin on ska – some with dance music and some with a rock beat. It's all good. The music just makes you want to dance. Even when singing about tough times, every-day things or bad things, the beat and the rhythm makes you want to move!" The Neville Staple Band is playing shows all around the UK in late winter and spring in support of ‘Return of Judge Roughneck’. Website here, Facebook here.

The Original Rudeboy has returned with a new album and if featured song 'Return Of Judge Roughneck' is anything to go by, we are in for some seriously special ska sounds. Once again Neville Staple reminds us of just how important his role in both The Specials and his other projects were.


Beatrix Players - Molehill.

Background - Following their single 'Lady Of The Lake'; London-trio Beatrix Players have announced their debut album Magnified will be released on March 31st. Beatrix Players are a London-based all-female trio who make florid, adventurous music that operates at the interface between folk, singer-songwriter acoustica, prog and quasi-classical baroque chamber pop. 

There is a light, translucent quality to the music, and yet when it is not being hushed and reverent, it has the attack and thrust, the surging dynamism, of rock. It can be soft and intimate, but it can also be fiery and intense, epic and immense. There are tempestuous passages in their music that you can imagine being delivered by traditional rock instrumentation but it is the very absence of guitars and drums that means that there is nobody out there quite like Beatrix Players.

Through their enchantingly dark and evocative melodies, expansive arrangements and empowered orchestral sound Beatrix Players tell stories of real life and fantasy. Citing influences as diverse as Michael Nyman and Regina Spektor and drawing comparisons to the likes of Kate Bush and Einaudi Ludovico. In 2015 the band (Amy Birks, Jess Kennedy and Amanda Alvarez) took their unique sound – a beautiful combination of vocals, piano and cello – into the studio to record their self-produced debut album, which has been mixed by two-time BBC Folk Award winner, Jim Moray. Website here.

One of thirteen exquisite and intricately crafted songs on the new album, the featured track & video for 'Molehill' is our second chance to share some of Beatrix Players music. 'Magnified' is a wonderful collection of material that, drifts across genres from folk to chamber music and a good number of styles in between. Vocals and harmonies are on a par with the musical arrangements, this is an album I would seriously recommend if the featured song appeals to you.


Black Dough - Nighty Night.

Background - Black Dough was formed in Gothenburg, Sweden back in 2013 – and shortly upon that the four piece recorded their debut EP, ”first punch!”. Since then Black Dough has been playing constantly, visiting clubs and festivals all over the world – from Dublin, Ireland to Rabat, Morocco. Sporting a sound hard to define, the experimental unit has been called everything from jazz punk to voodoo rock. With the release of ”Freaky Family”, the band’s new full length album due to May 2017, Miranda Raeder – front person and composer – decides to label it experimental rock. Beautiful, dissonant, heavy and dirty.

I have a thing for the strange and dramatic. When I write a song  I see pictures in front of me like a film. I create a mood in harmonies, lyrics and expression. The music should  fairly be treated as a play in 8 acts.  The story is you as a listener, you create the frames but I provoke them.  It’s not ‘easy listening’ music, you will feel it.

Miranda is the center of the group. She writes all the material and also directs the band’s music videos, but the Black Dough sound first and foremost stems from the four musicians of the unit playing together. Black Dough is a band with 4 members and the sound requires that all 4 of us are involved. I write all the music and decide roughly how it will sound but we rehearse and form the songs together and in that process we all contribute. Website here, Facebook here.

'Nighty Night' immediately gained my attention with fabulous vocals that tease out so much more than just the lyrics, and interact so well with an equally distinct and pleasing soundtrack.  


A Treehouse Wait - Waves.

Background - A Treehouse Wait would now like to invite you to check out the video of their new single 'Waves'. Waves is taken from the album Interludes.

After spending a month in the USA, being the opening act for a Swedish folksinger, singer and songwriter Jenny Wahlström plucked up the courage to put the songs down on paper and record the songs she didn’t think she’d ever share with the rest of the world. A Treehouse Wait was born.

The music is mostly inspired by the things one is so familiar with, but mostly would not talk about. Like empty city streets during the summer. Or when anxiety leaves. Giving up your love or the fear of leaving home. It’s not all beautiful, but it’s all life. And sharing that experience, the music suddenly creates a place for you to be, and you know that someone else has been there, too. Facebook here.

Our second feature for A Treehouse Wait, this time for the new video and single 'Waves'. With this particular song Jenny Wahlstrom's vocals seemingly move from vulnerable to powerful and back again. Melodic, gentle and full of atmosphere this is one beautiful track.


The Routes - No Permanence.

Background - The Routes always seem to be do something different stylistically on every record they release; from their largely R&B influenced debut album “Left My Mind”, to the playful US garage drenched “Alligator”, to the Strummin’ Mental madness of the “Instrumentals” album, right up until “Skeletons” in 2016 which saw them on more of a modern garage punk trip. It doesn’t seem to matter what they do, and who plays in the band; it still unmistakably sounds like The Routes .

“In This Perfect Hell”, the fifth album by The Routes, brings you ten original songs. No filler and no covers. From the start, you can tell it’s not going to be your stereotypical garage album. This time The Routes seemed have strayed far from your average garage bands comfort zone. They have stripped everything right down in the playing department, with leader Chris Jack playing pretty much everything apart from the drums.

The stripping down seems to have the opposite effect, of creating a huge, thick, heavy wall of sound. The nasty Japanese fuzz pedals, and very simple guitar leads stab through the wall, and stick into your brain. It’s not exactly your typical garage, it’s not exactly psych; it’s not exactly any one thing in particular. Is this a mutant musical manifestation of Chris Jack’s musical taste? One wonders if he opened the floodgates on his musical tastes and just let it all come through.

The brain penetrating heavy fuzz, and Maureen Tucker-esque rhythm of opening track “Thousand Forgotten Dreams”, instantly tells you we are again on a new, different tangent. The hypnotic guitars are actually not unreminiscent of early Spacemen 3 or Jesus and Mary Chain. “Worry” sounds like it could be the cover of a long lost Tamrons acetate, being played by The Fall. You have catchy up-tempo lyrically playful numbers like “Peeling Face” and “Housework In My Head”, sounding like The Kinks meet The Modern Lovers, meet Guided By Voices; “Something Slipped Through My Window” and “Oblivious”, again see the band in fine songwriting form, with The Routes Acetone organ resurrected. Website here, Facebook here.

The video reminds me of an early Pink Floyd performance, however that's where comparisons must stop. 'No Permanence' is a feisty rock'n'roll number with fuzzy and vibrant guitars, loud and proud vocals and a driving rhythm.


Nozart - Puppet.

Background - Nozart is a cinematic post-rock project lead by composer/pianist/producer Noah Kellman, based in New York City. He grew up in Syracuse, NY, where he often sat at the top of the staircase in his home, listening to his father play a variety of pieces by Chopin, Beethoven and Mozart. 

By age 5, his father had taught him most of these pieces by ear. When he was 10-years-old, Kellman heard Duke Ellington for the first time and began studying jazz intensively.

While building his skill as a jazz pianist, Kellman was constantly composing and producing songs. Kellman's musical foundation stems partly from his long devotion to jazz. He was often inspired by the story-like musical nature of the collaborations between pianist Brad Mehldau and composer Jon Brion. Other important influences come from classical music and soundtrack composers, including greats such as John Williams, Danny Elfman, Stravinsky and Ravel. Website here, Facebook here.

Despite Noah Kellman's musical upbringing 'Puppet' is a long way from any classical or jazz genre. However as is often to be expected with those a fore mentioned styles originality is here and in abundance. Post rock is a reasonable label, it's also accessible, and the vocals tend to give the whole piece a consistent sound, whilst the music dips into different places, adding layers of sound.


Josephs Coat - Breathe.

Background - Josephs Coat is the new project by multi-instrumentalists and song writers Abe and Ben Camden. Together they have founded a number of bands over the last 15 years, each being an integral part of the musical journey they boys have been on. 2017 finds the band on the cusp of releasing their second EP, and they could not be happier with the direction it has taken them.

‘Breathe’, the first offering from the upcoming EP is a lyrical celebration of new love, with the verse spilling a message of reassurance, before leading into a triumphant chorus were the vocalist gloats over his new-found situation. With a funk driven pulse through this track, it maintains its rock thread with an infectious vocal melody that will get stuck in your head for days.

After spending a few years apart exploring separate parts of what the east coast of Australia had to offer, the Camden brothers decided it was time to get back in the studio and do what they enjoy most. So, in 2014 the sessions began for their debut EP titled The Black Ocean, and were recorded at Love Street Studio on the Gold Coast. They both decided to call Coffs Harbour home again. Between surfs and catching up on good times with family and friends, the year was spent launching their genre defying sound. Which is a unique, alternative take on funky blues, hints of jazz, with a tasty twist of reggae rock grooves. Best to be heard to understand the marvellously eclectic sounds being projected into your ears.

Playing some prestigious and vibrant venues such as The Basement in Sydney, to the great northern in Byron Bay. The list of artists that the Brothers have together shared the stage with kept growing, Adding Jebediah, Sea Legs, Tired Lion to a list of previous artists such as Cog, Grinspoon, Dead Letter Circus and The Butterfly Effect. With appearances at festivals such as Turtle Fest in Bellingen with Mark Seymor, Katie Noonan. And The Banana Field Festival in Coffs Coast with Illy, British India, Phil Jamison, Art Vs Science, and with Sea Legs at the Falls Festival pre-party in Byron Bay. Facebook here.

At first 'Breathe' seems to tease the listener as to which particular direction the song is going to take. It settles on a funky alt rock style and throws up enough hooks to keep my attention, and settle on another listen.