It’s often asserted by non-musicians that “truly great songwriting is based in emotional honesty.” This grotesque oversimplification completely sidelines the technical demands of the craft, leading many to the conclusion that all one needs is “three chords and the truth” (in the words of the great Harlan Howard), and you’re good to go. There are […]
Live music on the small band circuit can be a real mixed bag. Many people who don’t regularly attend small gigs often get dragged by friends to see burgeoning bands in sweaty venues with expensive drinks prices and questionable sound quality, and come away from the whole experience with a profoundly negative view of the […]
MF Tomlinson’s name invites immediate comparison to iconoclastic mask-wearing rapper, MF Doom, whilst his debut track, ‘Nature Boy‘ shares its title with the legendary song of the same name, composed by eden ahbez, made famous by Nat King Cole and covered by everyone from Nick Cave to Lady Gaga. Clearly then, Mr Tomlinson is unafraid […]
A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to catch a double-bill, featuring artists from the legendary Sub-Pop label. Bedroom rock breakout star((s)? – it’s left somewhat ambiguous as to whether the project is a band or a persona…) Frankie Cosmos, and experimental noise musician, Ian Sweet (who had ditched her bandmates and gone […]
August 2018 saw Australian singer-songwriter Gretta Ray’s sophomore release Here And Now hit the digital shelves, running hot of the back of her 2016 breakthrough single ‘Drive’. Ray combines female-piloted pop-rock of the Imbruglia/Morissette school with a more developed lyrical persona and a sharp ear for melody. It’s the kind of music that stuck up hipsters […]
The mysterious Moon Panda, latest addition to label My Little Empire’s not-so-little collection of emerging artists, hit us with their remarkable debut Rabbit last month, impressing tastemaker blogs everywhere and leaving us all thirsty for more.
Combining young talents from California, Denmark, Bristol and London, newcomers Moon Panda embrace a line-up as diverse as their influences, with breakthrough track ‘Rabbit‘ blending breathy indie-pop vocals, snappy Allan Harrington guitar and enveloping shoegaze wash.
The time signature of 7/4 has reputation amongst musos for being the preserve of either prog addled drumheads or jazz elitists, both more interested in showing off their technical prowess than communicating with the listener. Yet when applied tastefully, it enables unexpectedly rhythmic meters to arise in the vocals, which can sound closer to natural […]
I’ve previously had the pleasure of interviewing Otzeki, and so jumped at the chance to review their latest release ‘Angry Fix.’ The track is an excellent example of Otzeki’s switched on and self aware songwriting – hooky enough to get stuck in your head, but with enough depth that repeat listens reveal undiscovered detail and […]
I certainly wasn’t in the mood for a gig that evening. I had been at a conference in Swansea all day, was knackered and had a monstrous hangover to boot. You can imagine the state of mind I was in when I arrived (late) at the Old Queen’s Head in Islington to see Genevieve Dawson’s […]
Leeds-based newcomers Loux are an outfit firmly committed to remaining forward looking without compromising on the structural integrity of their music. Their melodies and arrangements are tight and to the point, with never a second wasted on self indulgence, and every key element playing just the right role without overpowering any other. Following on nicely […]
Blending the traditional songwriting talent and uniquely nuanced voice of singer and guitar player Mike Sharp with the ominous futuristic soundscapes of electronica wizard Joel Roberts, the bizarrely named Otzeki have been making waves in all the right places ahead of the release of their debut ‘Binary Childhood.’
How do you review a song called ‘Reviews’?
I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing ISLAND three times, twice in a tiny East London boozer playing with ramshackle gear, and once at Heaven with a full road crew and a state of the art club sound system. It doesn’t seem to matter much – their sound is so expertly crafted that the music’s […]
Songs who’s constituent chords can be counted on one hand are often joked about in musicians’ circles, the assumption being that simplicity of harmonic structure can be equated with ease of construction. However, personal experience dictates to me that songs with very few chords are actually extremely difficult to write – the constraints of such […]
Talking Heads’ influence on music is inarguable, but when I come across acts drawing comparison to Byrne and company, I’m all too often inordinately surprised. Such was the case with ZoZo, the Leeds export taking the CHUNK DIY collective to the next level of weirdness.
‘Love What Survives,’ the long-awaited album that recently returned electronica duo Mount Kimbie to the spotlight, was met with pretty much universal acclaim, despite it’s challenging timbres and structures. Mount Kimbie have a reputation for being one step ahead of the game – they were already experimenting with ambient sounds and field recordings back on […]
Indie-electronica aimed at a pop audiences can sometimes be at risk of falling short in key ways. Articulation is often lacking in vocal melodies and lyrics, which alienates the pop listener who is looking for emotional connection with the singer – whereas structures and melodies are often too conventional for the abstract tastes of the […]
Where to start with Grizzly Bear…? It’s undeniable that they’re one of the most prestigiously talented and inventive acts around, but their idiosyncrasies can be off-putting to the casual listener. They’re critical darlings, with a reputation for immaculate musicianship, dazzlingly intricate live performances, and Jonny Greenwood says they’re his favourite band. With this years release […]
Ed Wallis started My Sad Captains in 2004 as a university student in London, and the group has maintained a steady output of guitar-led indie-pop over the last decade. Their most recent effort, ‘Don’t Listen To Your Heart‘, whilst by no means revolutionary, is certainly a pleasing little ditty with hummable melodies.