Varvara - Martha Ffion - Amaroun - Berries

Varvara - Anxiety.

Background - Varvara have released their new single 'Anxiety' and announce the new album 'Go'. Varvara from Hamina, South-East Finland have come a long way since the release of their debut album back in 2011. Varvara was originally formed by main songwriter and guitarist-vocalist Mikko Kiri in 2007 when moving back to his old childhood neighborhood after studies around Finland. Mikko wanted to start a band that would locate in Hamina and gather its’ influences from the late 90s and early 2000s; a period he had first gotten actively involved in music.

Soon Mikko found himself among friends and decided to name the band after a statue they used to gather round before nights of misbehaving. Varvara Schantin (1870-1941), the hometown hero who that statue represents, was born in Russia but became an important figure in the small town of Hamina. Schantin handed out food and refreshments to soldiers as they were preparing for war and their possible date with destiny. Varvara's beginnings were humble, but the band quickly became more than a friendly pastime as demo releases became picked up on by various sections of the Finnish music media. With the help of an old friend Tommi Muhli, Varvara helped establish Haminian Sounds, a collective of musicians which releases music from local acts including Varvara and organizes events to cheer up the small town’s nightlife.

Since then Varvara's output, three albums and an EP, has slowly been recognized as a distinctive collection that harnesses diverse influences into a unique sound. The 2016 album ”Death Defying Tricks” was the bands first release actively promoted outside Finland. The album represented a self-confident band with an exceptional sense of melody amongst a series of quirky details. Combining off kilter rock shapes to straight-up rock, Death Defying Tricks collected nothing but praise in domestic and international rock media. Following the release the band also made their first shows outside the Finnish borders.

Now Varvara is ready to unleash their upcoming fourth full-length album ”GO” to be released February 2018 under their own Haminian Sounds imprint. The new album ”GO” as a whole is about that moment when summer turns into autumn. This reality hits you right in the face reminding that the calm and relaxation of summer is over. From time to time there is a strong contrast between energetic rock tracks and gloomy lyrics. Produced and mostly recorded by the band themselves ”GO” offers an intriguing mix of aggressive garage and melodic rock sounds. WEBSITE, FACEBOOK.

We have featured Varvara once before getting on for a year ago, and now we have a foretaste of the bands new 'Go' album with the single 'Anxiety'. This is one of those songs that is energised and addictive from the opening moments, alt rock in nature and with some edge, the album is looking good.


Martha Ffion - Take Your Name.

Background - Irish-born, and now Glasgow based singer-songwriter Martha Ffion has announced her eagerly anticipated debut LP entitled 'Sunday Best’ which is released 9th March 2018 on Turnstile Music. 'Take Your Name' is the first single to be announced from 'Sunday Best'.

'Sunday Best' is by far her most adventurous and accomplished work to-date, the lush instrumentation bringing her detailed lyrical vision to life. Through a series of gleaming guitar-pop songs that drift between soft-centered balladry and something altogether more cutting and forceful. It’s perhaps true to say that our relationship with music is steered solely by connection. Sometimes that’s a very direct thing; the words we sing along to relatable to our own desires and experiences. Occasionally, however, it manifests itself in other ways, a captivation drawn from something we can’t conveniently place or pigeon-hole; songs and sentiments we watch from afar, trying to find a way inside.

Martha Ffion’s work has always flourished within the latter of these two paths. While her Irish roots and current home city of Glasgow have undoubtedly informed her work, so many of her songs resonate all the more for feeling wildly devoid of time and place, an alluring cast of characters drifting in and out of focus, each one examining Ffion’s own thoughts on what it means to be “good” in a society that has such determined expectations.

Her debut album, ‘Sunday Best’, spans the first songs she properly wrote to her most recent compositions, and is by far her most adventurous and accomplished work to-date, the lush instrumentation bringing her detailed lyrical vision to life through a series of gleaming guitar-pop songs that drift between soft-centred balladry and something altogether more cutting and forceful. Recalling the work of Sharon Van Etten and Jenny Lewis, while still sounding thrillingly distinct, ‘Sunday Best’ is a formidable coming-of-age record, and one that stands as a truly accomplished debut. FACEBOOK.

Live Dates - March 2018
Wednesday 7th - Cardiff - Clwb Ifor Bach
Thursday 8th - London - The Waiting Room
Friday 9th - Edinburgh - Sneaky Pete's
Saturday 10th - Glasgow - Mono
Sunday 11th - Newcastle - Think Tank.

It's a very welcome second feature for Martha Ffion and another fabulous taster for her forthcoming 'Sunday Best' album, this time with 'Take Your Name'. Melodic dream pop, with a timeless feel that could be decades old and yet it's fresh and beautiful, love it!


Amaroun - Made A Fire.

Background - Peckham, London newcomer Amaroun's new single is a slice of soul infused indie-pop titled ‘Make A Fire’. Amaroun (singer-songwriter Jay Brown) joined the highly acclaimed Communion Presents stable of artists in December – a natural fit for her unique brand of electronic soul-tinged guitar pop.

Of ‘Made A Fire’, Jay says: “The song was written in a heightened state, in the aftermath of my coming out. It’s a narrative progression from my previous single ‘Bed Bugs’, where I was deep in confusion, distraction and escapism. In ‘Made A Fire’ I’ve found clarity in the thrill of meeting someone new. When you find that person and there’s this instant connection you can’t deny, it’s something that’s hard to describe. This song is simply gratitude in musical form for that person and that feeling.

Currently working with artists including Charles Watson (Slow Club), LA Salami, Adam French, Fyfe Dangerfield (Guillemots) and Francobollo on a forthcoming recording project, Amaroun headlines Archspace in London on March 6th and is confirmed for this year’s Liverpool Sound City festival. FACEBOOK.

'Made Of Fire' is immediately catchy indie pop infused with melodic hooks and plenty of soulful feeling. One of those songs that would make any music radio play-list all the better for it's inclusion.


Berries - Faults.

Background - Berries’ new single “Faults” is the second single from their much-anticipated upcoming EP. ‘Faults’ showcases the fresh, surprising alt-rock sound that they have become well known for. Laced with Holly’s brooding vocals and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, Faults is both relatable and unexpected and sarcastically plays with those all-too-familiar battles of independence, responsibility and unrealistic expectations.

Berries are an alt/rock trio known for their energetic shows and original take on riff-driven rock. Their upbeat melodies and cool guitar riffs, powerful bass lines and distinct drum beats have earned them regular support from Tom Robinson at BBC 6 Music, John Kennedy at Radio X, Jim Gellatly and Shell Zenner at Amazing Radio and Gary Crowley at BBC London Intro where they were recently featured guests. They have also been selected by Fender as one of their top ten favourite new acts and have been picked up by Fred Perry Subculture, Record Collector Magazine and most recently Lock Magazine. Berries spent the past year travelling the UK playing various shows and festivals including a sold-out show in Manchester for Scruff of The Neck, Tramlines Fringe, Head For The Hills, Camden Rocks Festival and Kazoopa and ended the year with a sold out headline show in London.

Holly from the band explains, “Faults is the latest release from our second EP. We feel this track showcases a different side to us, we have taken our sound in a different direction. We always aim to write music that is exciting live, which means our set is full of very diverse songs that try to keep the audience on their toes! Faults still has all the energy and breakdowns that we love but with an added eerie, bluesy element in the verses”. FACEBOOK.

Upcoming Tour Dates
March 2nd – Liverpool, Popped Music Presents, Sound
March 3rd – Manchester, Scruff of The Neck Presents, Aatma
March 16th – London, Camden Assembly Scruff of The Neck Presents
March 23rd – Brighton, Scruff of The Neck Presents, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
April 11th – London, Mark Beaumont Presents at The Monarch
May 12th – Hanwell Hootie Festival.

Alt rock with a few other similar genres circling around, Berries are refreshing to hear and 'Faults' is a natural and unpretentious rocker, one that makes the upcoming EP a very attractive prospect.