The Montreals - Pallab Sarker - Warbly Jets - Niteshifters - DeQn Sue - Shannon Lay

The Montreals - deadheads.

Background - Regarded as one of “the next big things in Australian Music” (5Why), The Montreals, are a slick indie-rock outfit from Adelaide, South Australia. After kicking the door down with their debut EP Indigo Club in late-2016, the band successfully toured nationally and performed in support for internationally successful acts including Alpine, Last Dinosaurs, Andy Bull, Hey Geronimo & Dorsal Fins. Mixed by Magoo (The Jungle Giants, Art vs. Science) and mastered by Steve Smart of Studio 301 (British India, Vance Joy), the 3-track record garnered hundreds of thousands of streams on streaming services worldwide. The highly anticipated release of their first single of 2017, ‘deadheads.’, is the exclamation point on a breakout debutant year. 

In short, ‘deadheads.’ is an ode to Australian youth culture. The penniless slaves to a liquor-fuelled good time, always counting loose change to make rent, but squandering at dingy clubs on weeknights. Sonically, ‘deadheads.’ feels like a finely balanced raw polish of modern SoCal meets the foundational indie rock vibes we all know and love. 

Lyrically, as well as channelling the carelessness of twenty-somethings, this track also explores the negative aspects of this lifestyle, such as the inability to maintain long-term relationships in favour of spontaneity and the ‘now’. Facebook here.

Upbeat and sprightly 'deadheads' is a blast of original & exceptional indie rock, where the vocals and music both compete for attention.


Pallab Sarker - Not Gonna Fall In Love With You.

Background - Having found success with his debut record, ‘Morning In Brixton’, which was played extensively across the US college underground radio network, earning him a record deal in the US, British Bengali indie-pop singer-songwriter Pallab Sarker is back with his endearing follow up single, ‘Not Gonna Fall In Love With You’.

However, for a long time, Pallab led a seemingly ‘double life’; he was a press adviser to Ministers in the day, including Trade Minister Lord Digby Jones during the last Labour administration, and a musician by night, but on one occasion he merged the two, performing a gig in the atrium of the home office in the name of Children in Need, raising thousands of pounds in the process.

After Pallab’s parents fled from the Bangladesh war of independence in the 70s and raised him in Peterborough, Pallab relocated to London during his early twenties at the peak of the brit-pop explosion. The lively scene that took the music world by storm inspired the budding songwriter who quickly formed a band, ICON, who gigged incessantly across the capital and its lively circuit. Although Pallab is now based in Walthamstow, he has spent a lot of time immersed in the vibrant arts scene of South London, which inspired the single ‘Morning In Brixton’, also taken from his upcoming album, Grey Day.

Since his band days, Pallab has developed his sound as a solo artist and he can now be considered a genuine songbird, whose arresting voice and touching melodies ooze with emotional value, speaking straight to the hearts of his listeners. Within Sarker’s work is a humanizing touch, most clearly exhibited through his kind, clever lyricism and its sonic journey instigating abilities, which can be found on ‘Not Gonna Fall In Love With You’.

Not only this, but Pallab feels strongly about the lack of British Asians being showcased in the indie genre. He points out that British Asians have played a huge role in the development of garage and R&B, but there is little mainstream representation when it comes to the indie singer-songwriter scene: Sarker could well be the poster boy who kicks off a new era for British Asians in this genre. Website here, Facebook here.

Pallab Sarker vocals are likable and feel so genuine. 'Not Gonna Fall In Love With You' clearly demonstrates he also has a knack for writing and delivering really fine indie songs. This one is very catchy.


Warbly Jets - 4th Coming Bomb.

Background - Ask synth player Julien O'Neill how Warbly Jets fits into LA's music scene and he'll have a simple answer for you: they don't. They exist out there in the ether—caught somewhere in between yesterday and today, where massive rock 'n' roll melodies brush up against skittish breakbeats, swoon-worthy strings, and laser-guided synth lines. Warbly Jets will release its self-titled debut album on October 20 via Rebel Union Recordings and the album is available for pre-order at PledgeMusic and iTunes.
"The music mirrors the message," says the band. We’re all trying to live and breathe in this world at the same time, not noticing if we’re hurting or helping one another. It works for now, but might explode at any second." The lyrics were inspired by singer/guitarist Samual Shea's favorite quotes by writer Eugene Bell, "Aspire to inspire before you expire." "This quote alway shaped that way I create music," he says. "I hope that as an artist I can leave a lasting impression and inspire the creatives of our future even after i'm no longer around."

Their synth-driven guitar rock is a genre-bending blend of The Clash punk balladry, Primal Scream’s production infused meltdown, and the unflinching attitude of Oasis at its peak. It has catapulted them to the top of a booming independent movement in LA, where paisley, punk, and electronic influences have melted together in the endemic sunshine to become one of the nation’s most fertile scenes for emerging projects across a variety of disciplines.

Warbly Jets started in the cramped apartments of New York City and its other limiting environmental factors as the songwriting project of O’Neill and Shea. The two quickly decamped to the sunnier, sprawling climes southern California where they began to flesh out the songs that would eventually give life to their debut. “Los Angeles in my opinion was a much more welcoming city than New York City ever was for us,” Shea remarks about the cross-country switch. O'Neill continues, “The move to Hollywood felt idyllic to us as strangers in a new land. Our influences were all over the ground anywhere we walked.” 

Their look and sound is a pastiche of old and new influences that goes well beyond just music and perhaps perfectly, for its place and time, the Jets have done a little bit of everything. In addition to being named an Artist to Watch by KCRW and earning heavy rotation on SiriusXM's XMU, Warbly Jets has also racked up spins on Beats1 and "The Lowdown" is an Advanced Placement featured track at SiriusXM's Alt Nation. The LA quartet caught the attention of Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green (who used "Alive" as the official song of its SS17 line) and landed slots opening for acts like The Dandy Warhols, The Mystery Lights and Night Beats. 

Warbly Jets just completed their first tour outside of the US after a week-long run in China and play a hometown show tomorrow night at The Roxy in LA. They'll be on the road all summer leading to the release including a London residency in September. A full list of tour dates can be found below with more to be added. Website here, Facebook here.

The laser guided synths signal the start of '4th Coming Bomb' a song that soon develops into a stunning piece with layers of musical delight and some psych orientated vocals. The energy levels rise and stay high throughout, marvellous!


Niteshifters - Show Me What You've Got.

Background - Hot on the heels of the success of Niteshifters' debut single 'Show Me What You've Got' which received national and international airplay as well as featuring heavily on BBC TV's Wimbledon coverage, the band have revealed details of the new album 'Huge Disco'.

Niteshifters follow the success of their debut single 'Show Me What You’ve Got' with the release of their album 'Huge Disco'. A record that celebrates the joyful sounds of original disco, written with a modern head and a timeless sound.

Blending classic Disco sounds with killer songs and modern live production, Niteshifters provide an escape from the frenetic stresses life, propelling you to glittering new orbits. Featuring nineteen year old rising star Khadija Jajue on lead vocals, with Basement Jaxx’s Andrea Terrano on guitar, Elliot May (Do Your Thing) on backing vocals and lead on ‘She’s The Girl’, 'Huge Disco' is the go to sound of summer 2017. Facebook here.

I gave some thought as to whether to include Niteshifters as disco is not exactly one of those genres I get too excited about. 'Show Me What You've Got' and the new Huge Disco' album is however far to good to ignore. Retro styles and today's production techniques come together and ensure fun, spirit lifting and highly danceable tunes grab hold of and hang on to your attention. Distant memories of the seventies disco sounds are reignited (some good, some best left forgotten, along with the fashion crimes of that era). If disco is your thing, this album will not disappoint, rather it's more likely to astound!


DeQn Sue - Melanin.

Background - This brand new track from DeQn Sue is called ‘Melanin’. (the pigment that gives human skin, hair, and eyes their colour.) Her new album ‘Juggernaut’ is coming out August 18th 

The track struts with an instantly cool sheen and the lyrics promote race equality: “black, brown, dark and light… don’t matter what you’re like, you are precious in his eye”… “colours, why do they make a difference to you”?, for example.

Deqn Sue is an American alternative pop artist with a sharp edge bursting with message and humour. She has been featured on NPR Tiny Desk and in Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black but is still relatively unknown outside of the US. Spending most of her time between Huntsville, Alabama and L.A. here is a refreshing songmaker whose quick lyrical and sonic turns create constant surprise without ever missing a beat. With hints of Funk, R&B, pop and even vaudeville and EDM, she transcends style, spinning words and sounds and is purely engaged in the now.

Let's start with her name: an amalgam of the character name that her father Rod Perry made famous on the hit 1970s TV series S.W.A.T. - Sgt. David "Deacon" Kay - and her mother's first name. DeQn Sue describes her music as socially conscious, alternative pop. Website here, Facebook here.

'Melanin' is very catchy, indeed it's crammed full of hooks. The songs message is admirable, however foremost this is a fabulous song that deserves to be heard on that merit alone, that you get some common sense as well, is a bonus.


Shannon Lay - The Moons Detriment.

Background - This week Kevin Morby is officially launching his new label imprint, Mare Records with the signing of Shannon Lay & announcement of her new LP, Living Water. Mare Records will operate as an imprint of the Woodsist label, which also released Morby's first two solo albums.

"The first time I saw Shannon my heart was broken into a million pieces. I had known her from her wonderful punk band Feels as the lead guitarist who shouted back up, but I wasn't sure what to expect from her performing solo. But there she was - at a small bar in Los Angeles to maybe 15 people watching while she sat in a chair with an electric guitar on her knee, orange hair covering her face and a picture of Bart Simpson projected behind her. She began her set and my heart stopped the moment her voice leaped into the air - and I did what I do in those rare situations - I recorded it. I pulled out my phone, opened up the voice memos and recorded her whole set (the last time I had done this was three years earlier while watching Kris Kristofferson and Harry Dean Stanton do duets set at Cinefamily). 

After her performance I was in complete awe and wasn't sure how to approach her to convey how much I loved it. Suddenly Shannon, an acquaintance from around town, had exposed her super power and I felt instantly star struck in her presence. "I recorded your set so I could listen to it again" I told her, and then to my surprise I found myself saying "let me put out your record" and after convincing Jeremy at Woodsist to do a collaborative release with me, here it is.

Living Water is an instant classic. Recorded by Emmet Kelly (Cairo Gang, Bonnie Prince Billy, Ty Segall) in his Los Angeles home studio, this is an album where you can hear the room reacting to the music taking shape around it. Shannon has a voice that transcends time and space. You can't tell if she's old or new, if she's sitting next to you, on a mountain top, or down in some canyon. Already her second LP to be released in 2017, Shannon is a prolific songwriter, one who lives and breaths melody and with guitar skills to boot. Despite it's 14 tracks, Living Water comes in well under 40 minutes, but like Pink Moon or Just Another Diamond Day before it, this is music so potent it exists outside the realms of time - but in a world specific only to itself and the new feelings it creates.

Shannon has been dominating the local scene in Los Angeles over the past two years, leaving everyone who witnesses completely breathless. Having just finished a tour with Ty Segall, Shannon is set to support Kevin Morby on a national tour this fall." - Kevin Morby, Birmingham, Alabama, June 8th 2017. Facebook here.

Indie folk or singer/song writer, I'm never certain of which description is best, 'The Moons Detriment' is somewhere in that area and is absolutely beautiful. A sensitive musical arrangement alongside Shannon Lay's captivating vocals and a gentle melody is more than enough to put her firmly on my must hear more list.