Reviewed by Liam McEvoy - July 20
Album released 24th July
The Australian 4-piece alt-pop group Cub Sport return with their fourth studio album ‘Like Nirvana’. Despite the title this album could not be further from the style of Nirvana. Cub Sport have produced an outstanding album full of echoing, surreal almost dream like tracks that are joyful euphoric and melancholy all at once.
Following a brief ‘Intro’ the album opens with ‘Confessions’. With vocals that echo and crackle as though they are being played through an old radio, which are underpinned by guitars which give the opening of the album an ethereal feel. It then morphs into an uplifting track about honesty and openness, something that has been synonymous with Cub Sport since front man and songwriter Tim Nelson came out publicly as gay in 2017.
‘Like Nirvana’ has given Nelson the opportunity to explore both the light and dark sides of himself with him explaining that “it felt good to acknowledge my whole self on this album”. Nowhere is this acknowledgement felt more than on the standout 7 minute long ‘Break Me Down’.
This is a beautifully melancholy track full of swirling echoing synths and vocals, dealing with the struggle for self-acceptance. Lyrics such “I wish my lungs were free, I wish that I could breathe” and “I’ve been getting closer to my shadow side” seemingly showing this struggle.
Whilst ‘Break Me Down’ may deal with the struggle for self-acceptance, ‘18’ gives a euphoric take on the power of love seen through lyrics such as such as “If this right here is all you have I’d die happy even if the music’s sad” and “you’re the best I've ever had”. ‘
Best Friend’ is a synth filled drum machine track about the strength of friendship seen through lyrics like “In a world where I need nothing but my best friend” and “You showed me love”.
With ‘Like Nirvana’ Cub Sport have produced a phenomenal fourth album that explores the immense highs and lows of human emotion. Set for release on the 24th July this is definitely an album not to be missed.
3. My Dear (Can I Tell You My Greatest Fears)
4. I Feel Like I Am Changin’
6. Be Your Man
7. Break Me Down (with Mallrat)
11. Best Friend
12. Be Your Angel
13. Grand Canyon
Check out the excellent debut EP from The Lotts. Garage punk never sounded so good
This 5 track EP deserves to be played LOUD, and you won't be disappointed.
“We Are The Lotts” is the debut EP from Warrington based garage-punk outfit THE LOTTS.
Produced and mixed by Thighpaulsandra at Monmouth’s Rockfield Studios, the five track EP will be released on 24th July and is also available on 12” vinyl via Liverpool based label Whispering Pines.
Formed in 2018, The Lotts’ ferocious live set encapsulates everything that the band stand for. do it fast, do it loud.
It was this mindset they first took to Rockfield Studios (Monmouth) in 2018. The intention was to record 3 tracks and see what happened. They recorded 16 tracks in 3 days, all live and straight to tape.
This began their relationship with Thighpaulsandra (aka Tim Lewis), most notable for his production work with Julian Cope, Cocteau Twins, Coil and Tim Burgess. Working in this way was a welcome change for Lewis and was reminiscent of bands he’d engineered in his early career at studios including Loco and Coach House Studios in Bristol where he worked alongside artists including Portishead and Massive Attack.
Lewis was keen to work with the band again and invited them back to Rockfield Studios where Queen recorded Bohemian Rhapsody and other legendary artists such as Black Sabbath began their careers. More recently the studio has been home to sessions from bands including Twin Atlantic, Royal Blood and The Pixies.
In September 2019 the band returned to Rockfield. Once again they worked at a phenomenal pace tracking more than 5 songs per day over 3 days. Lewis then mixed the tracks at Aerial studios, Brechfa through the very same mixing desk that had been used to Record Portishead’s “Dummy”.
1. We Are The Lotts
2. I Don’t
4. Preacher Man
About The Lotts:
The band’s main influences are Beefheart, Zappa, The Stooges and The New York Dolls with a hefty blend of the Velvet Underground. Yet intriguingly these artists only became known to the band when other people began making comparisons. At first the Lotts were just doing what they did; it wasn’t about copying anyone.
They were inspired to pick up guitars by Ty Segall and Mac Demarco but the sound that evolved was from another era entirely.
As far as the band are concerned it’s Garage Punk. “It’s just simple energetic rock, what’s wrong with that? We don’t write songs to tick a certain box or whatever. It’s music for people who like it simple and stupid” (Henry, guitar and vocals)
“Simple and a bit gross” according to Adam (lead guitar). “We just want people to get weird with us, you know?”
Reviews of the band’s live performances from their most recent UK tour describe them as raw and exciting driven by chaotic energy.
“An entertaining romp with raised guitars and guttural rasps”
“Turned a family pub into a mosh pit. SHOCKING!!!!!!!”
Independent venue week kicked off a number of gigs across the country including Manchester, London and Brighton culminating in a ferocious Liverpool show for top promoters EVOL.
Things just sort of happen at Lotts gigs. Wanna get weird?
THE LOTTS ARE:
Henry Bucanan - Vocals & Guitar
Adam Bridge - Guitar
Joel Norton - Drums
Jamie Evans - Bass
Reviewed by Levi Tubman - July 20
Album released 31st July
This British New wave band have released 8 studio albums since forming in 77, and apart from a hiatus during the 90’s have been playing live for over 4 decades, but this is their first release in almost 30 years, safe to say I didn’t expect to be reviewing an album by the Psychedelic Furs!
Opening the album with The boy that invented rock & roll, you can’t mistake Richard Butlers voice. It’s lost none of its unique sound, backed up with a heavy sax and bass sound it has an electronic edge harking back to their 80’s peak, while managing to not sound dated. For the fans of Butlers almost poetic lyrical style, you won’t be disappointed with lines like “A flight of Crows My insect heart, the ticking veins this godless dart”
If you put this album on expecting pretty in pink or Heaven, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. There’s not much of bright pop edge here, everything is a little more rounded and a touch sombre at times, sounding like The Smiths or a more upbeat Joy Division.
This doesn’t sound like a band that’s not produced a record in 30 years, or that their biggest hits were almost 40 years ago. Despite never getting as much fame and success as bands of the time like The Smiths, this record shows that they should have, this album is going to sound amazing when they get to go back out on tour again.
The Furs have had a fairly consistent sound throughout their career, strong vocals and bass from the brothers, Richard and Tim Butler, with the drums often higher in the mix sometimes dominating the guitars.
But as this band has matured, they have become a lot more adventurous, intros sounding almost industrial at times, with wild synths and electronic sounds punctuating the tracks. This is a band forging ahead with new material and sounds looking back at their 80’s roots and influences.
Standout tracks – 1. The boy that invented rock and roll, cracking track that sets you up for the rest of the album. 6. Ash Wednesday. Slow Piano and Drum lead tracks that shows off Butlers voice perfectly and my personal favourite on the album, and 9. Tiny hands, a simple track with a mix of 2000’s and 1980’s pop, a different lighter edge to the album.
1.The Boy That Invented Rock & Roll
3.You’ll Be Mine
5.This’ll Never Be Like Love
7.Come All Ye Faithful
10.Hide The Medicine
11.Turn Your Back on Me
Reviewed by Liam McEvoy - July 20
Album released 31st July
Fontaines D.C. return with the follow up to their 2019 critically acclaimed debut album Dogrel with ‘A Hero’s Death’. The Dublin based band it seems have gone on a journey of self-discovery with ‘A Hero’s Death’ and have produced a brilliant album along the way that is sure to capture both critics and fans attention alike.
The album opens with ‘I don’t Belong’. This is a creeping, stalking track that with guitars and drawling vocals opens the album with a menacing atmosphere that is felt throughout the album.
‘Love Is the Main Thing’ continues this theme with the refrain ‘Love is the main thing’ repeated continuously through the track in the same drawling style. This alongside the driving drums and repetitive guitars creates quite the juxtaposition between the lyrics and the track, and continues the tone set at the beginning of the album.
Title track and lead single ‘A Hero’s Death’ is one of the many stand out tracks on this album. With its pounding drums, thrashing guitars and spoken word lyrics, this track begins to give the album a slightly different feel. ‘A Hero’s Death’ gives a slightly more positive look at life seen through lyrics like ‘Look forward to a brighter future’ and ‘Life ain’t always empty’.
Fontaines D.C. close the album with ‘Sunny’ and ‘No’, and these tracks end the album with a slower more emotional feel. This gives the album a feeling of discovery, of searching through the darkness with the light being found in these tracks.
With lyrics like ‘Suddenly my life’s gone easy from ‘Sunny’, ‘and we know what freedom brings’ and ‘please don’t lock yourself away’ from ‘No’ this really feels like Fountains D.C. have gone through a process of self-discovery with this album and have come out the other side with a much stronger idea of themselves.
Set for release on the 31st July ‘A Hero’s Death’ Fontaines D.C. have gone on a journey of self-discovery and in the process have produced a fantastic album that is well worth your time and attention.
1. I Don’t Belong
2. Love Is the Main Thing
3. Televised Mind
4. A Lucid Dream
5. You Said
6. Oh Such A Spring
7. A Hero’s Death
8. Living in America
9. I Was Not Born
Reviewed by John Seales - July 20
Album released 31st July
Jon Anderson is best known for his days as vocalist in the prog rock band YES, one of the foremost bands of the 1970s and 1980s. This however is his 15th solo album and first of those since 2011. This album includes input from several musicians who have also served time in YES, along with others.
The opener “Now” is quiet, reflective and short. It’s a kind of “hello” before launching into the meat of the album. When you hear the final track, “Now And Again” it makes more sense as these two tracks serve as parentheses around the rest of the work.
Listening on, one gains the impression that this is an unusual album indeed. All tracks were written by Anderson either alone or in collaboration with one other, but there are diverse forays into reggae, jazz and funk, amongst others.
On “Ramala”, for example, Anderson’s high but clear voice dominates despite the instrumental gaining in level throughout this slightly funky Eastern influenced track. Next up is “First Born Leaders” which segues unexpectedly but somehow endearingly from multi layered vocals into reggae. Ever present however is a very strong flavour of YES, right back from the 1970s.
By the time “Activate” is halfway through, breaking out from one rhythm into another and otherwise changing melodic direction like some spooked musical sat-nav, you realise you have a fundamental choice here:
What exactly do you want from your music?
If you want some really clever stuff, played excellently by a group of talented musicians which will challenge your musical tastebuds with instrumental and vocal games then this may well be your thing.
If, however, you think that too much cleverness tends to border on pretentiousness and can be too clever for it’s own good, losing the feeling/emotion that you seek in your music as a result then this is probably not your thing.
There is no right or wrong answer to the question above in any context other than personal choice, and I applaud the fact that there is such a wide variety out there for us all to choose from.
There are some notable exceptions to the general flow of the work - “I Found Myself” is a simpler and delicate love song which is a much easier listen, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.
Overall there are some excellent instrumentalists at work here and (of course) Jon Anderson’s ascendant vocals.
I am sure that this will be lapped up by YES fans and fans of Anderson’s solo work. But this is not (and was probably never intended to be) an easy listen and new converts may be harder to come by.
3. First Born Leaders
5. Makes Me Happy
6. Now Variations
7. I Found Myself
8. Twice In a Lifetime
9. WDMCF (Where Does Music Come From)
10. 1000 Hands (Come Up)
11. Now And Again
Reviewed by John Seales - Aug 20
Album released 7th Aug
I Slept On The Floor is Another Sky’s debut album. They are a four-piece band with an Indie pop/rock style with an unforgettable vocalist in the form of Catrin Vincent. Catrin’s voice will be the prime subject of many reviews, yet the talent shown by the rest of the band is not to be forgotten.
The intro track, “How Long?” is a great introduction to the style of the band as a whole and sets the scene well for the remainder of the album. Multiple instruments and sounds but primarily bass, guitar and piano produce a rounded, enveloping space which Catrin’s unique high, full but mournful voice occupies with a tender though often angry clarity.
"Fell in Love With The City” is slightly more poppy and is an unusual breaking up song about finding a new identity in one’s surroundings.
Catrin’s lyrics throughout the album are poetic and often elegant, though there are a few exceptions - “Avalanche” has “A spider lived under my bed. I was scared and broke its...legs” but this is the exception that proves the rule, and her vocal delivery lets her get away with this.
“I Slept On The Floor” is a surprisingly short, quiet and reflective piece given that it is the title track, but this is immediately explained by its effective continuation in the following track, “Life Was Coming In Through The Blinds” which for me is one of the most exciting tracks on the album.
Various aural ingredients are mixed together to create something that is greater than the sum of its elements. This band is adept at musical recipes and shows much promise for the future.
A couple of other notable tracks for me were:
“Tree” - a sad and simple lengthy intro rising into a fantastic crescendo that I can imagine bringing the house down in live gigs, and “All Ends” - essentially a song about death, but suspends and supports the listener in a sphere of musical stained glass.
Although much of the inspiration for the lyrics here comes from what is wrong with the world (so a great pantheon of opportunity here), the overall message of the album is not pessimistic and there are beacons of optimism for the future, tearing down the cage and building a garden in its place as “Let Us Be Broken” affirms.
This is a strong debut album by a band who have found a good sound and know how to use it.
1. How Long?
2. Fell In Love With The City
3. Brave Face
5. The Cracks
6. I Slept On The Floor
7. Life Was Coming In Through The Blinds
10. Let Us Be Broken
11. All Ends
12. Only Rain
Review by Levi Tubman - Aug 20
Album released 7th Aug
This Exeter quintet have been steadily building their fanbase over the past 4 years, backing up a number of singles with almost a million plays on Spotify, gigs across the country, and a support slot for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Powderham castle last year, leading up the their 2020 debut album, Dreaming the impossible.
Opening the album is the title track, ‘Dreaming the impossible’, coming in at 5:30 its certainly not radio friendly! With a casual laid back feel it’s a great introduction to the album and the band as a whole, if you’ve not heard them before. Starting off with light guitars from Sam Piper, it grows, driven along by smooth intricate bass lines from Jamie Whyte, and drummer Kieran Chalmers with the snare very high in the mix giving a sharp punch. With well harmonised vocals from Josie Stoneman and front man Daniel Schamroth, complimenting each other, and filling out the band’s sound.
You can hear their wide range of influences ranging from late 60’s pop to 21st century indie. It’s not uncommon to have the guitars and drums sounding like The Strokes or White Stripes, with the vocals 50 years in the past sounding like the Byrds throughout the album. Why use one influence for the whole band when each instrument can have its own? It really helps keep the sound fresh.
‘Baby you’ll be fine’, with the exception of ‘Flicker’, is like nothing else on the album, and its bright happy country feel could almost be called bubble-gum country if such a genre exists? Sounding like Johnny Cash on a warm summers day with vocals sounding like Joe Strummer, this feel good number put a ring of fire in my head for the rest of the day!
Nestled amongst the percussion, processed full guitar and even organ laden tracks, there’s a few stripped back numbers such as ‘Made in England’ and ‘Flat broke’. Simple guitar drums bass and vocals, with the guitars acoustic and only slightly distorted, you can imagine this is how each song was written. With just guitars and vocals and you’re getting to hear them before the band goes into the studio, and these tracks in particular are some of my favourites.
This is catchy well written indie pop rock, with no weak filler tracks on the album, and all 12 deserve their place here. With their range of influences and styles, its going to appeal to a wide audience, definitely a band to watch out for in the future and you should expect to hear more from them.
1: Dreaming the impossible - this title track perfectly sums up the whole album.
5. Baby you’ll be fine – Its impossible not to like this happy, energy filled track, and my personal favourite.
9: Made in England – although not high energy It’s a song for the summer, it feels like watching bands out in a tent or field at a festival.
1. Dreaming the Impossible
2. Heard Her Say
3. I’m Just A Man
4. True Love
5. Baby You’ll Be Fine
6. Keep Me Coming Home
7. Let It Slide
8. You Are The Sun
9. Made In England
10. Flat Broke
12. Flicker (feat. Lisa Loeb)
Review by John Seales - Aug 20
Album released 7th Aug
‘At Home’ was recorded these past few months as Georgie found herself suddenly housebound, locked-down and going through all kinds of hell. Forced to curtail a high-profile tour in support of The Lighthouse Family as the coronavirus began to take hold, Georgie returned home only to find a relationship in ruin. Facing an uncertain future in both music and her love life, Georgie sought solace in the isolation of her small home studio and began to write.
Recorded and (mostly) written during lockdown, this album covers the gamut of life and love, broken relationships and rejection.
Georgie has bared her soul here throughout the album. The openers “Company” and “Simple Things” celebrate relationships that are working well, but most of the rest of the album concentrates on heartache, rejection and loss.
However, there is an underlying optimism that permeates through her music, and it is this that prevents it becoming a work of wallowing and self-pity. In fact, the sense of joy and the honesty here make the listener feel that Georgie is some kind of old friend who has popped round for the evening and is singing directly to them. Hard to explain, but it’s like spending some time in her company – and its good company at that.
Georgie recorded this work on an 8-track studio (“At Home”) and has managed to achieve a great sound. Her mid-range voice has a touch of Duffy but is more fully rounded and is used to good effect. It’s not just about the voice, though. The accompaniment is confident and capable. Particularly of note in this area for me was the guitar break two and a half minutes into “Rules We Broke”, perfectly releasing the pent-up tension which had been building in the track.
Georgie should be congratulated for putting together such an accomplished album in very difficult circumstances. Why not spend some time in her company yourself?
Rules We Broke
Now We’re Lonely
Me And You Only
Review by Liam McEvoy - Aug 20
Album released 7th Aug
The Multi-talented British Emirati Layla Kaylif is set to release her new album Lovers Don’t Meet this Friday (7th August 2020).
With a career ranging from singer songwriter to screen writer the versatile Kaylif returns with an uplifting country album full of feel good country tracks.
The album opens with the title track ‘Lovers Don’t Meet’ which with its country style acoustic guitars, piano interludes and deliberately country style vocals, this track sets a tone that is stuck to rigidly for the rest of the album, and is never strayed from for the entirety of the record.
The feel-good factor is present throughout the album with ‘99’ repeating the refrain “There’s 99 ways to love me there’s 99 ways to hold me”. ‘Mario’ again is seemingly a country style love story between two people continuing the feel-good factor with lyrics like “He’s the seed to my vine” and “He’s the wine in my water”.
Perhaps the standout track on ‘Lovers Don’t Meet’ is Let Me Count the Ways’. This tack is another uplifting country style love song that is also the soundtrack for Kaylifs 2015 film ‘The Letter Writer’ for which Kaylif won the IWC Filmmaker award at the Dubai International Film Festival for her script.
This is Kaylif’s first new music since her 2008 album ‘Body of Lies’. Over a decade later Kaylif has made a triumphant return to the world of music with an uplifting Country album that is well worth your time and attention.
1. Lovers Don’t Meet
4. As I Am
5. Let Me Count the Ways
6. One Man Loved Me
Don’t You Know Me Yet?
Reviewed by John McEvoy - Aug 20
Album released 14th Aug
Busty and The Bass are a Canadian Electro-Soul collective who initially met at McGill University back in 2011 and are who are currently made up of 8 members.
They’ve been busy in the US and Canada garnering acclaimed reviews both for their live and recorded performances, and their unique blend of Hip Hop, soul and 70’s/80’s funk influence shines in abundance on their second album following the release of ‘Uncommon Good’ back in 2017.
Opening track ‘Out of Love’ feat Macy Gray sets the tone for the album with its breezy horns opening bars slips into a nice slow funk feel all perfectly complimented by the vocals of Macy Gray whose voice isn’t quite as raspy as in previous outings.
‘Kids’ with its ‘Bennie & The Jets’ style intro is the perfect radio friendly mellow dance tune with shades of Steely Dan horns thrown in for good measure along with a scorching guitar break to top it all off.
The Godfather of Funk, George Clinton makes an appearance on ‘Baggy Eyed Dopeman’ and he clearly still knows a good tune when the hears it.
Another guest vocalist comes along in the shape of Moonchilds Amber Navram, whose silky vocals are a real stand out on ‘Clouds’.
Elsewhere on this album we are treated to sublime and soulful grooves all underpinned by a fine horns section and vocals of the highest quality. All these elements are to be found in abundance, but special mention must go to ‘ET’ with its thundering bassline, choppy horns and multi layered vocals which is a genuine highlight of the album.
During my second listen of this excellent release, it occurred to me that this is the album you would get if you were able to mould Earth Wind & Fire, Andersson Paak and Donald Fagan (circa Nightfly) together to make what would be the perfect cocktail!
It is the perfect summer album, and I would suggest that yu should do yourselves a favour and get yourselves a copy of this album.
Out of Love (feat Macy Gray
Baggy Eyed Dopeman (feat George Clinton)
Clouds (feat Amber Navran)
Figure It Out
Time Don’t Make Me A Stranger
Go So Far (feat IIIa J & Jon Connor)
Reviewed by John McEvoy - Aug 20
Single released Aug 14th
Fading blond from Nottingham are a band new to Wall of Sound, and we have to say that we like what we've heard so far.
There are quite literally loads of Indie/rock sounding bands out there, but at a touch under 5 minutes long, we have to say that this is a single which is a perfect slice of indie pop/rock, and the distinctive vocals of Evan Jones. and great guitar work from Owen Jones really make this band stand out from the crowd.
FADING BLONDE ARE:
Evan Jones - Rhythm guitar/vocals
Owen Downs - Lead guitar
Charlie Harris - Bass
“The vulnerability in the vocal works to perfection" - Dean Jackson, BBC Introducing
“One of the best live acts I saw last year” - Listen Up Magazine
‘Walking Distance’ marks the beginning of a new era for Fading Blonde, sonically and thematically, after enjoying a huge support slot with pop band Deco at the 450 capacity Rescue Rooms, as well as being added to Spotify’s official ‘We Are Nottingham’ playlist.
A song about coping with physical distance from a loved one, ‘Walking Distance’ is emotive and anthemic in equal measure. It’s a song to belted out at the top of your lungs, to be sung at full voice at festivals next year - everything that the band and their fans have missed out on this summer.
The trio take huge inspiration from the likes of The Front Bottoms, Pinegrove and Paramore - and this really resonates in the alt-rock tones of ‘Walking Distance’. They’ve also collaborated with top Colombian designer Cristian Alarcón D on the artwork, creating a really clear aesthetic and sense of direction.
QUOTE FROM LEAD SINGER EVAN JONES:
“With Walking Distance we wanted to create a song which people could shout back the words to us at gigs next year - that’s the feeling we’re missing and we wanted to re-create this in the recording. The song is about being with someone everyday of your life and then suddenly having to deal with emotional and physical distance. We poured all this emotion back into the song and hopefully that shines through the finished product.”
Reviewed by Liam McEvoy - Aug 20
Album released Aug 14th
Sea Girls the London based Indi rock outfit consisting of front man and guitarist Harry Camamile, lead guitarist Rory Young, bassist Andrew Noswad and drummer Oli Khan, released their debut album Open Up Your Head on the 14th August 2020.
With shades of The Killers early work felt on this album, Sea Girls have produced a phenomenal debut album that has surely set the band up for great success.
Album opener ‘Transplant kicks the album off with a brilliant Indi rock anthem that instantly feels like it should be played to large packed out stadiums. It’s also a track that draws instant and favourable comparisons to The Killers early work with its Indi style guitars and riffs, layered with synthesisers.
Camamile’s vocal style is also very reminiscent of Brandon Flowers with a similar easy drawl on the verses, but with power in reserve for the anthemic tracks on the album. Latest single ‘All I Want to Hear You Say’ is the second track and delivers another storming Indi rock anthem that is sure to be a highlight of any Sea Girls live set.
Formed in 2015, Open Up Your Head is the culmination of five years hard work by Sea Girls, and it is clear that this hard work has paid off as they have produced a debut album that goes from strength to strength.
‘Weight in Gold’ delivers another truly anthemic track that feels as though it was produced on the grandest of scales but still has the feeling of vulnerability. ‘Shake’ is another magnificent track with its moody, bass driven feel it is a track that shows just how versatile Sea Girls can be.
‘You Over Anyone’ is an altogether slower track with just a piano accompanying Camamile’s vocals it is a track all about choosing the person that is wrong for you. It is another track that compares very favourably to The Killers in particular ‘A Dustland Fairytale’.
Open Up Your Head is out now, and it is safe to say that this is one phenomenal debut album that is full of indi rock anthems that you should not miss. It will surely not be long before Sea Girls are playing these tracks to packed out stadiums.
2. All I Want To Hear You Say
3. Do You Really Wanna Know
4. Lie To Me
5. Call Me Out
8. Weight In Gold
9. Ready For More
12. Damage Done
13. You Over Anyone
14. Moving On
Back with a bang, South coast indie/rock quartet - TV COMA - release their latest single: ‘Congratulations’ today (14 August).
You can hold-fire on the cake and party poppers for now though. In a year where finding cause for celebration has been a challenge at the best of times, the ‘Congratulations’ on offer in TV Coma’s new single are rather aptly on the sardonic side.
More slap-in-the-face than slap-on-the-back, ‘Congratulations’ is a break-up song for the millennial generation. Written immediately after a messy split, the track recounts a fiery farewell with a former lover, while dwelling more deeply on the impossibility of truly escaping an ex in the digital age. “Congratulations, you win again...” deadpans Leo Troy, his vocal sneer stinging with venomous release as he spits lyrics of cutting sarcasm and knowing self-awareness throughout.
Opening up about ‘Congratulations’, TV Coma vocalist Leo says:
"It's about the unexplored paradigms of modern relationships. As the first humans to publically document relationships, millenials were pioneers in dealing with the psychological impact of social media on modern day love. Congratulations explores the aftermath of this: how hard it is to get over someone when there's a 24/7 feed of what they're doing just a click away, when you see that person with another person, followed by a unique kind of acceptance."
Coupling the elastic basslines and Coxon-esque guitars reminiscent of early Blur, with the rollicking bravado and emphatic choral hooks of Weezer at their peak, ‘Congratulations’ buzzes with an electrifying fusion of each. Reaching a critical mass of sprawling feedback, thunderous rhythms and toxic ripostes, like the relationship at the heart of the track, ‘Congratulations’ goes into an exhilarating and chaotic total melt-down.
Recorded at The Ranch Studios in Southampton, ‘Congratulations’ was produced by Neil Kennedy (Creeper/Milk Teeth), before final mastering by Pete Lyman (Weezer/Fallout Boy) at his LA studio.
Formed in a cesspit of post-university malaise, TV COMA are a power-pop band based in Brighton. After gaining coverage on Spotify’s “Hot New Bands” playlist, plus airplay from Radio X, BBC Introducing, Louder and Fresh On The Net, the four-piece are now gearing up for the release of WUSS, their debut full-length album.
WUSS is named after an essay by Bret Easton Ellis called "Generation Wuss" which criticises the millennial generation. On their debut, TV COMA look to re-appropriate the word for their own disenfranchised generation by writing punk-flecked millennial pop songs drawn from the personal experiences of co-frontmen and siblings Max and Leo Troy. Delving into the psychology of the disoriented 20-to-30 year old, WUSS will present a scathing, empathetic and essential new record; laying bare all facets of a generation left blinking at the lights of a rapidly changing world that they helped create, but no longer understand.
A break up anthem for a post-truth digital age, ‘Congratulations’ is the latest single to be cut from their upcoming album: WUSS - out this Autumn.
Reviewed by John Seales - Sept 20
All versions released 4th Sept
Let's be honest, The Rolling Stones and their music need no introduction!
Goats Head Soup was originally released in 1973. This was of course when these chaps were young angry men and their music had an angry edge. Much time has passed since then, but their music has stood the test of time.
The 2020 issue reviewed here is available in three basic formats:
1) Goats Head Soup digitally tidied up and remastered
2) As 1) above plus a selection of rarities
3) As 2) above plus the 1973 Brussels Live recording (“Brussels Affair”) and other items including a 120 page book, a Blu-Ray DVD and four facsimile tour posters
Given that option 3 costs about ten times as much as option 1, let’s consider the various options and who may be the target customer for each.
Goats Head Soup is a slightly unusual collection of Rolling Stones material, being a tad more reflective and slightly less brash than much of their earlier output. Although it reached number 1 in both the UK and the USA on its release, it has fallen a little into relative obscurity but to the nostalgic listener there is much of merit here.
Firstly, the original release has been accused of being “muddy” in sound. The digital reworking has done much to address this and is pretty sharp for something originally recorded nearly half a century ago.
Secondly, the relatively wide range of styles gives a good rounded view of Stones’ output,
All in all, then, one for relative newcomers to the Stones (where have you been?) or pecuniary confirmed fans who have worn their 47 year old vinyl through so much that it is now nearly transparent.
The addition of the rarities opens up another two target customers – Stones fans who would like a record of these things including some new tracks (“Criss Cross”, “Scarlet” and “All The Rage”) and also fans of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, who appears on “Scarlet”.
These three new tracks are undoubtedly the most significant on the rarities selection. There is always a nagging doubt about tracks released as “previously unheard” but these are definitely not stinkers. Why “All The Rage” in particular has never previously appeared is a mystery. Rock and Roll at its best.
The remainder of the rarities is mostly comprised of historic remixes, interesting in their own right but definitely for the Stones afficionado.
This option is about one and a half times the cost of just the basic Goats Head Soup album, so is probably worth pushing the boat out for if you like the Stones.
The Brussels Affair is a set of 15 tracks and from the first “Whoo” on the opening track, “Brown Sugar”, you know you’re in for a good time. The energy of the Stones live is well captured and the quality of recording is good. Some of the track ends/starts are a little abrupt, but soon forgotten once properly into the track.
The 120 page book is split into three sections, looking at the history of Goats Head Soup, the Brussels Affair live show and the Goats Head Soup artwork respectively. Much of the book is photographic but the accompanying text is of real interest to the Stones fan, and overall the book contains some very interesting nuggets (e.g. the original tracklisting papers showed “Muddy Waters” as the artist name, to confuse bootleggers.)
Additionally, the Blu-Ray disc included in this set offers the original ten-track album in 5.1 Surround Sound, Dolby Atmos and Hi-Res mixes, along with the videos for “Dancing With Mr. D”, “Silver Train” and “Angie”. This disc was not available for review but I fully expect that the quality will be up there with the rest of this re-issue.
The extra cost of this third format option is such that it will probably only be taken up by those who truly love the Stones, which is a bit of a shame as the live recording in particular is well worth hearing, showing as it does the Stones entertaining at the peak of their powers.
CD1 - 2020 Stereo Mix 1. Dancing With Mr D 2. 100 Years Ago 3. Coming Down Again 4. Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) 5. Angie 6. Silver Train 7. Hide Your Love 8. Winter 9. Can You Hear The Music 10. Star Star
CD2 - Rarities & Alternative Mixes 1. Scarlet (featuring Jimmy Page) 2. All The Rage 3. Criss Cross 4. 100 Years Ago (Piano Demo) 5. Dancing With Mr D (Instrumental) 6. Heartbreaker (Instrumental) 7. Hide Your Love (Alternative Mix) 8. Dancing With Mr D (Glyn Johns 1973 Mix) 9. Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) - (Glyn Johns 1973 Mix) 10. Silver Train (Glyn Johns 1973 Mix)
CD3 - 'Brussels Affair - Live 1973' 1. Brown Sugar 2. Gimme Shelter 3. Happy 4. Tumbling Dice 5. Star Star 6. Dancing With Mr D 7. Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) 8. Angie 9. You Can't Always Get What You Want 10. Midnight Rambler 11. Honky Tonk Women 12. All Down The Line 13. Rip This Joint 14. Jumpin' Jack Flash 15. Street Fighting Man
Reviewed by John McEvoy - Aug 20
Release date - 21st Aug
The last few months have been very strange for all us, but Snow Patrol have clearly been busy little bees.
This 5 track EP was written during lockdown and unusually these tracks were written with the assistance of their fans during Saturday night sessions on Instagram and is officially released by ‘Snow Patrol and the Saturday Songwriters’.
All proceeds from the profits of this EP are going to the Trussell Trust Charity which is working to end the need for foodbanks throughout the UK. A truly worthy cause I think you would all agree.
You won’t find a ‘Chasing Cars’ style tune here, but there’s an urgent folky feel to the tracks and the multi layered vocals are a perfect fit for these tunes. Stand out tracks for us are ‘The Curve Of The Earth’ and ‘Dance With Me’ which uses a banjo to great melancholy effect, and the line ‘Ride the storm out in quiet isolation’ pretty much sums up how a lot of people have been coping over the last few months.
· Reaching Out To You
· On The Edge Of All This
· The Curve Of The Earth
· Dance With Me
· Light Years
Reviewed by Liam McEvoy - Aug 20
Release date 21st Aug
The British synthpop duo of Andy Bell and Vince Clarke reunite to release their new album on the 21stAugust 2020.
With this new album Erasure have produced a feel good synthpop album that is sure to be heard in clubs and bars everywhere. (Whilst social distancing of course!)
Album opener ‘Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling)’ kicks off the album in typical Erasure fashion with thumping drum machines and layered synths this track harks back to their glory days of the mid 80s and 90’s, and opens the album with a feel-good factor.
The latest single released from the album ‘Nerves of Steel’ is the second track on the album and offers more of an anthemic pop track packed full of synths and drum machines that will surely be a fantastic track when played live.
The Neon definitely delivers on the feel-good factor and as Vince explained “Our music is always a reflection of how we’re feeling. He was in a good place spiritually and so was I. this is clear throughout the album with tracks like ‘Shot a Satellite’, a storming dance track with lyrics like “you spun a web of love for me” and “you make me come alive”.
‘Diamond Lies’ again delivers a great synthpop track and keeps the feel-good factor going with lyrics like “what a sight for sore eyes” and “we could go up anytime cos life is a blast”.
‘New Horizons’ changes the pace of the album slightly with Bells vocals acquiring a choral echo and being accompanied by a piano but with lyrics like “you’re my love, you’re my saviour” and “you’re my rock in the storm” it again has the feeling of hope and positivity.
Having always been popular across Europe and Germany in particular, it seems that this new outing will be no different, and if you like Erasure, you will LOVE this!
1. Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling)
2. Nerves of Steel
3. Fallen Angel
4. No Point in Tripping
5. Shot A Satellite
6. Tower of Love
7. Diamond Lies
8. New Horizons
9. Careful What I Try To Do
10. Kid You’re Not Alone
Reviewed by John McEvoy - Aug 20
Album released 28th Aug
You would think that Katy Perry, someone with over 108 million followers on Twitter would have something interesting to say on ‘Smile’, her 7th album due out on the 28th Aug, and I can report that she does indeed have a lot to say.
Perry has said that this album is her ‘"journey towards the light, with stories of resilience, hope, and love. What I do know is that Perry has personally had a bit of a tough time recently, and a look at some of the song titles will tell you that life hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns of late, and as a result this album feels like it’s a cathartic experience for her.
Note: Wall of Sound doesn’t do tabloid crap, so if you want to know what her ‘issues’ have been, we’ll let you find that one out for yourselves!
The album kicks off with 2019 single ‘Never Really Over’ about a lost love and sets the tone with its tightly produced electro pop bouncy feel, and you have to say that her voice is still as powerful as ever.
From there its straight into the infectious ‘Cry About It Later’ which has single release written all over it.
‘Daisies’ which was released as a single back in May of this year is a slightly darker track, which asks “When did we all put our hopes in the attic” and ‘Resilient’ continues the darker elements of this album with the opening line “I Know there’s gotta be rain if there’s gonna be rainbows” but a lush orchestral arrangement, and her soaring voice ensure that this finishes on an optimistic note with her a statement of intent of “Flowers growing through the cracks”
Midway through the album up comes title track ‘Smile’ which as she says was written when she was going through one of the ‘darkest periods of her life’.
Ironically this is one of the most upbeat tracks on the album and is a joyfully happy slice of funk which would get any party started!
The funk feel is maintained with both ‘Champagne Problems’ and ‘Tucked’. Both are perfectly constructed tracks that are genuine earworms.
‘Harleys In Hawaii’ a single that was released late last year and co-written with Charley Puth slows things down a touch, with a mellow laid-back insistent bass beat that is hard to resist.
‘Only Love’ and ‘What Makes A Woman’ bring proceedings to a close and whilst being almost subdued in their sound and production, they finish on an optimistic note.
Whilst this is quite a dark album in its subject matter, ultimately it has an optimistic feel to it and there moments of genuine joy scattered throughout, and it’s good to see that whilst life may have been tough for Katy Perry recently, she is coming out the other side and seems to be in a much better place.
There is little doubt that this album will sell in lorry loads, and I suspect that the personal nature of this album will only endear her to even more people.
I think her 108 million followers on Twitter will love this album!
· Never Really Over
· Cry About It Later
· Teary Eyes
· Not The End Of The World
· Champagne Problems
· Harleys In Hawaii
· Only Love
· What Makes A Woman
Reviewed by Levi Tubman - Aug 20
Album released - 28th Aug
This German indie rock group have been putting out EP’s and playing shows across Europe for the past 5 years, growing in popularity leading to their 2020 Debut album ‘Rookery’.
Covid permitting, they will be touring and promoting the new album in the new year.
The line-up consists of Frederik Rabe (vocals, guitar, percussion, synthesizer), Finn Schwieters (guitar), Luca Göttner (bass), Finn Thomas (drums) and Jonathan Wischniowski (piano, synthesizer)
The album has a lot going on, some of the tracks having multiple guitar, synth and vocal parts with a heavy bass line over the top, but there are a few exceptions throughout on tracks like ‘Watershed’ with sections of just drums bass and vocals, this change, bringing the vocals to the front and stripping back the rest of the sound shows their versatility and quality of Frederik’s vocals.
‘Heat Up’ starts up with a simple electronic drum loop, building synth chords, when the rest of the band join in, it becomes a straight rock track with the keys change from synth to piano. This soon calms down, the vocals become gentle and softer and the music slows, before crashing back into a louder rock track again.
I didn’t get the song first time round, but the more you listen to it the more you like it, the more you hear something else that’s going on, its one of the standout tracks on the whole album.
By far the standout track has to be ‘What all I know is Quicksand’. Opening with acoustic guitar and bass intro into loud drums and vocals dropping down to quieter vocal led sections. Using spoken word and acoustic guitar, this is a band who isn’t scared to change the energy of a song part way through and they have all the elements of this album into this one song.
More indie pop than rock in most places, Giant Rooks bring a unique catchy sound with remnants of 80’s electronica, toe tapping drums, lead bass and a wide-open full sound.
While you’re not likely to hear this on a night out, I can see this band doing well and they are another to look out for when they tour in 2021
01 The Birth of Worlds
03 Heat Up
04 Very Soon You'll See
08 What I Know Is All Quicksand
09 Wild Stare
10 Head by Head
11 All We Are
12 Into Your Arms
Reviewed by John McEvoy - Aug 20
Album released 28th Aug
Occasionally a little gem of an album comes along from someone who is certainly new to me, and I suspect will be to many of you.
Karrie O’Sullivan Holmes is a singer songwriter who hails from Killarney and is actually quite a big deal in Ireland with 3 top five singles under her belt.
Like everyone else, she has been living through lockdown and during that time she got together with producer Jimmy Smyth to do some covers of well-known tunes. Initially intended only for Facebook publication, they proved so popular that they decided to release them all together on the ‘Home Thoughts’ album.
This was a wise move as these cover versions are stunning in their quality and simplicity, and frankly are deserved of a wider audience.
The stunning vocals of Karrie and the simple acoustic accompaniment of Smyth on guitar and banjo throughout, have managed to deliver a fresh perspective on tunes that have been covered countless times before, which is no mean feat.
Have a listen for yourselves and make your own mind up!...
· Life On Mars
· Yellow Brick Road
· Carolina On My Mind
· Here Comes The Sun
· You Wear It Well
· Home Thoughts (From Abroad)
· God Only Knows
· Check E’s In Love
· God Give Me Strength
· Romeo And Juliet
Review by Liam McEvoy - Sept 20
EP released 2nd Sept
Having lain dormant for eight years British synthwave duo Affair return with their debut EP Clouds. With this EP Affair have produced a pulsing swirling EP that captures the listeners attention from beginning to end.
Clouds EP opens with ‘To Get’ which sees Kirsty’s intermittent vocals layered with swirling, pulsing synths and opens the EP in style. Clouds EP continues in brilliant style with the strong drum machine beats of ‘Lead To One’ underpinning the staccato synths.
‘712’ again has swirling echoing synths that create an almost ethereal feel. Newest single ‘Higher Still’ closes the EP with an uplifting almost euphoric feel that show the Affair at their sparkling best.
Having been away for eight years Affair have made a triumphant return with their debut EP Clouds.
Available online on the 2nd September 2020 This is an EP that fans have waited a long time for, and they will certainly not be disappointed.
1. To Get
2. Finger Tight
3. Lead To One
6. Shoulder Length
7. Higher Still