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?