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singles/eps - november 2015


Chorusgirl - 'Dream On Baby Blue'

Half close one eye and you'd think it was 1988 and The Primitives had just released a new one. Fortuna Pop, you never fail to strike the right chords with the uncompromisingly retro indie schmindie and Chorusgirl are experts at it even by that label's exacting standards. Or is it 1986? Or 1983? Relaunch Smash Hits and put Chorusgirl on the cover. Do it now.


Boat To Row - 'Turn The Page''

Bigged up by practically everyone from Lauren Laverne downwards and while I'm not exactly wondering why, it's a fine song with shades of Bear's Den and other slightly gloomy alt. folk practitioners about it, only that it does sort of need that string section that appears at irregular intervals to really give the song the depth it requires. 'Turn The Page' is more than alright as songs like this go although I wouldn't get greatly excited about it.


Bevis Frond – ‘Backanile’ (Woronzow Records)

The Bevis Frond are essentially and historically, Nick Saloman (vocals, guitars and keyboards), currently joined by touring band members, Paul Simmonds: guitar, Adrian Shaw: bass, & Dave Pearce: drums, for this single, taken from their new double album, Example 22, which has been available since September, and, as the title suggests, is Nick’s 22nd album release, although his first since 2004.

While all things Psychedelic seem to be enjoying yet another renaissance, Nick is a true veteran keeper of its lambent flame, having started in a band called The Bevis Frond Museum in the late 60’s and continuing in a number of ensembles through the 70’s, until a motorcycle accident in the 80’s caused him to retreat to his garage with a 4-track recorder bought from the proceeds of a compensation claim, where he continued to self-produce and release the sort of music he liked to listen to himself, a blend of “...Hendrix/Wipers/Byrds sound, but with a distinctly British feel.” – And thus the legendary Woronzow Records was born.

All through the darkest days of the late 80’s and early 90’s, when youngsters were more likely to lust after Technics than a Telecaster, when guitar pedals suddenly went digital and you couldn’t find a Wah-Wah in Leeds for love nor money, (and I had to get on a bus to Darlington to buy a CryBaby that my brother had seen gathering dust in a guitar shop window), Nick continued with The Bevis Frond as a solo project, releasing album after album demonstrating his mastery of the guitar and skills as a songwriter.

Feted by such luminaries as Thurston Moore and J. Mascis, as well as a host of the current crop of new psych bands, as much for the DIY ethic as for the music itself, with the current album the emphasis is now a little more on the whole band.

Backanile the new single, is a somewhat uncharacteristiclly short, immaculate, fuzz-guitar pop song a la Dinosaur Jr. and can perhaps be best taken as a taster/trailer/teaser, a mere slice to wet one’s appetite for the full banquet of the new album.

Bill Howe

Bobby Shoebotham - 'Somebody Else's Girl'

'You're everything I've been looking for / somebody met you years before' runs the lyric that accompanies the ukulele and harmonica tune with which Bobby Shoebotham intends to impress the object of his desires. About that lyric though : 'you're the only girl that ever made me bleed' ... plenty more fish in the pond, that's what I say.


Vaudeville Smash - 'Richter Scale'

Above the fireplace of my parents house was a framed picture of a courtyard, signed by someone Richter, which I later found out was a print and not an Antiques Roadshow collectable, although it was probably the most interesting item in the living room. Vaudeville Smash aren't really about art though, they're about going to Japan, getting sloshed on saki, getting kidnapped by groupies and then getting blown up when the ransom demand isn't met. Think Electric Six, Hall And Oates, MGMT and some ridiculously crap Japanese film you've never actually seen.


Jack Conman - 'Misty Central'

Acoustic percussive folk from a Humberside musician with relationship issues. 'The song is about getting into a relationship where it just sort of happens and progresses into a grey area .... it's a place I call Misty Central' says Jack in the press release. Not to worry Jack, most if not all of us have at some time discovered that grey areas are an everyday fact of life, and writing moodily phrased guitar songs with tapped out percussion is quite acceptable for dealing with those less colourful moments. About the video though, taking the blindfold off could also help. Just saying.


Vagus! - Electro Looks

If the first single was anything to go by, Krautster’s Vagus! have once again delivered a fine piece of spiced up funkadelic cake. Bordering on Stevie Wonder’s 'Superstition’ and something off of Kraftwerks ‘Tour De France’, they have certainly upped their game here with their forthcoming single, thus proving there is set to be a long player on the horizon! There’s also a Daft Punk feel to both their sound as well as their music video with this new release, so be sure to hunt for it. The concept Vagus tin has a Warhol touch to it on the cover artwork, giving insight that they’re not only about the music. Anyone for beans?

Gavin Tate

Breeze - Can You Get Along?

I’m reminded of The Brian Jonestown Massacre from the opening bars of the latest single by Hull’s scenester upstarts. His voice echo’s Alex Turner to some dismay! Other than that, I’m enjoying mostly the stabs of YAK-esque guitar as the verse bulgeons its way through your skull. I reviewed their debut EP some time ago, though it seems they’ve come along way since then. An excellent production and a well pieced together music video shows there’s no stopping them.

Gavin Tate

Katey Brooks - Never Gonna Let Her Go

Like the social networking site ‘Myspace’ (which has now gone to complete shit), ‘Facebook’ can also be great for discovering new music; thus proving here, as I would’ve maybe not discovered this for some time, had it not popped up in my home page. ‘Never Gonna Let Her Go’ begins with an atmospheric jazz style guitar sequence, not that far off that of Amy Winehouse’s ‘I Heard Love Is Blind’, but what follows is one of the most unique and soulful voices I have ever heard. She’s on par with Nina Simone, and that’s a weight worth holding! The delivery is somewhat reminiscent of Hendrix’s epic outlet ‘All Along The Watchtower’. I’ve had this on repeat ever since. Now one of my favourite female singer/songwriters of today. Katey Brooks, I salute you.

Gavin Tate

Semu Cà - One’s Too Many, Two’s Not Enough

It’s not often you see a group that’s just mainly instrumental, so when one comes your way sounding as intricate and improvised as this experimental duo, be sure to embrace it. Reminiscent of Mogwai and the more obscure era of Radiohead. There is a drum & bass influence to them on this track, displayed mostly in the drum machine. Everything flows together in a perfect motion, almost like a jam that was constructed in a space station hovering just outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. The outro is out of this world, you’d be a fool not to hunt for this.

Gavin Tate

David Keenan - Travelling Tree

The opening bars prove a fine delivery as well as a fine production from another of Jersey’s current singer/songwriters. I’m enjoying mostly the acoustic funk guitar pattern and the occasional brass that follows in sink. If I could compare him to anyone, it would probably be Jack Peñate, though there is a unique style about his outlet, that being prominent in his voice. If you like upbeat music that would have you up on your feet and shaking your hips, look no further.

Gavin Tate

Fidlar - Drone

After hearing the recent single by Los Angeles’s Fidlar, I knew that the garage revival was still as strong as it was over a decade ago. This fine tune borders UK Subs ‘C.I.D.’ era, meets Iggy And The Stooges ‘Search And Destroy’. Catchy, abrasive and loud. Surfy bass lines complement the immense guitar riffage and tribal drums during the middle eight. These would’ve been a perfect booking for the influential ‘Bomp’ nights hosted in Jersey twelve or so years ago by The Cryptics. If you like garage punk stompers with a hook, then this band are for you.

Gavin Tate

Squeeze - 'Cradle To The Grave'

Brilliant. Squeeze bring out a new single, the theme from the 'Cradle To Grave' tv series, and theirs is the only press release I've had this week that doesn't include a link to the song which it is designed to promote. Fantastic. I've had to resort to social media to actually hear the song, which is Squeeze sounding quite lively for a band that formed in 1973. What would the real Danny Baker say?


Opium Denn – ‘I Am A Feeling 1’

Opium Denn is the moniker of an otherwise unnamed musical maestro who, at his SoundCloud site, states “I am Opium Denn… I am a composite of You…” His concept album, Demarkation, was released on October 23rd and a set of 9 videos are scheduled to bow sequentially to promote the album. This singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has crafted a 37-minute progressive rock opus that touches upon the cycle of life and death. He used HEV (Health-Science Enhanced Vibrations) technology that is touted to modify the brainwaves of listeners of the treated music. The 9 song-long Demarkation contains 3 movements of the composition ‘I Am A Feeling’, with ‘I Am A Feeling 1’ being the introduction to the whole album. It sets the reflective mood of the album’s journey as it materializes with low-key extended dawning synths, ticking cymbals, and a firm drum beat. It slowly builds in dimension with the addition of laid-back guitar strokes. A keyboard note takes off and spirals into space while melodic, picked guitar notes settle in for a spell. Gentle piano notes precede Opium Denn’s voice, which comes in with an expressive push as he conveys the overarching theme of the album: “I am a feeling / Maybe nothing more / A journey for time / An open door.”

Jen Dan

Emilie & Ogden - 'What Happened'

Harpist Emilie Kahn and her harp is what's happened. The harp is in fact Ogden, bringing an idea about naming musical instruments that you might need to know about, if you were wondering if Ogden is either the guitarist (that's Jesse Mac Cormack) or the drummer (that's Francis Ledoux). It needs saying that musicians using harps to make alt folk sort of music can't really go wrong if they can actually play their instrument and as Emilie also sings as she plucks at Ogden, and that places her in a rarified group of modern harpists that includes Joanna Newsome, Woodpecker Wooliams and only one or two others. Charming and brittle at the same time, 'What Happened' is a notable introduction to a very talented and genuinely charming performer.


KEEZ – ‘Feels Right’

KEEZ is the alter ego of Bend, Oregon native, producer/singer-songwriter/musician Brad Jones and he dives deeply into many musical genres including reggae, R&B, dance-pop, and funk. He’s collaborated with other artists and his music has been featured in film trailers including Ant-Man and Neighbors. KEEZ’s latest album, Water Creatures, which came out at the end of September, is stamped with his upbeat, R&B-flavored sonics, deep to fun lyrics, and plenty of catchy grooves. ‘Feels Right’ fits right in with its laid-back, starry-synths sparkle, crisply clacked, non-stop beat, and winding synth lines. It’s a peppy disco-boogie tune straight from the 70s, but radiates a more modern sheen. KEEZ’s lightly processed vocals take a spin on the dancefloor as he intones “You’re doing right / You know that I’m back for more / You’re feeling right…” amid a slightly distorted, thumbed bass line and short guitar strokes, squiggly synth notes, and electro-note reverberations. ‘Feels Right’ feels good.

Jen Dan

Thus Owls - Turn Up The Volumes

What, isn't it loud enough for you, Thus Owls? Moodily noirish electronica usually works more effectively if the volume is kept down a bit but that's just my own preference. It's all about the bass for this Swedish/Canadian duo.


Hologram Teen – ‘Tracksuit Minotaur’

Morgane Lhote may be best known for playing keyboards in Stereolab from 1995 to 2001, but that will soon change with her new, bizarrely mesmerizing, self-described ‘horror-disco’ music project Hologram Teen. Morgane is releasing a 2-song single November 9th on London’s Deep Distance label. She gets devilish droll on side A with a number titled ‘Post-Apocalypteacakes (Such a yummy name!) and then gets wickedly witchy on side B’s ‘Tracksuit Minotaur’. An audio sample of a gnome-like voice intoning “Through the trees / witches wander there.” is repeatedly scattered throughout the track while a bouncing dance beat skips along merrily in contrast. Scurrying electro-notes and fuzzy synth lines support Cylon-like cyber talk while the pace speeds up and warped symphonic strings slow down. A fiery reverberating guitar line keeps things recognizable and rockin’ – only to have “Tracksuit Minotaur’ end with piercing stabs of Psycho-inspired strings. Crazy never sounded so captivating!

Jen Dan

Landshapes - 'Francois'

Years and years ago, before anyone had ever heard about the Internet, it was said that Virtual Reality was the future of entertainment. Thirty years later and we all now know that things didn't happen like that, although that isn't to say that VR technology won't one day find itself making a comeback as an idea that was slightly ahead of its time, along with Laser Disc (basically a 12" CD) and Mini Disc (basically unusable although someone might improve on it) and other now forgotten ideas from the 80s and 90s. Why am I writing about this instead of Landshapes and their song? Well, the video for 'Francois' is all about someone going to a Virtual Reality parlour and freaking out over the 3D visuals of clouds and ocean that, in fairness, it looks as if they're being slightly overcharged for, although the edgy electropop of the song itself may have had a hand in that.


Ted West – ‘Bittersweet Descent’

California-located singer-songwriter Ted West seems to have accidently entered the music field a few years ago when he accompanied his girlfriend at the time to a recording studio for her own audition. A producer asked Ted to sing and several months later Ted found himself in the studio recording his own songs. In actuality, however, Ted has been preparing all his life for performing musically, even if he didn’t quite know it right off the bat. Starting when he was a teen, he wrote down his thoughts and poetry in a journal and he drew from this material for the creation of his 11-song album True West which came out October 27th.

Starkly magnetic lead single ‘Bittersweet Descent’ merges pop, jazz, and lounge genres with aplomb. A brief streak of jazzed-up horns starts the number and is quickly followed by little drops of plinking piano notes, a measured beat, and tapped cymbals. The sinuous, smooth vocal tones of a guest singer mirrors Ted’s more forthright vocal delivery as he intones “I’ve loved and learned / I’ve lived and lost… / I want your sweet descent / no matter what it costs.” As the song moves along, striking clacks and rhythmic hand drums begin to comprise the beat, along with shaken percussion, and Ted comes in like a sultry, but ominous torch singer, singing about love, loss, and regret. The ambience Ted creates on ‘Bittersweet Descent’ is cool, spare, and noir – and also highly alluring.

Jen Dan

Wand - 'Sleepy Dog'

You cannot not like this, either the song, which is blissfully hyperdelic garage prog psychedelia, or the video, which is the animated tale of a dog that lives in a castle and goes on an adventure where he/she/it has a confrontation with death, in a manner that references Bergman's 'The Seventh Seal', and also meets a dancing tooth and watches a real dog on a television. You cannot fail to appreciate what Wand are putting into all of this and 'Sleepy Dog' is a good enough song to work even if Wand just filmed one of their own dogs running around a park on their phone. Or several dogs. Or if they dressed up as dogs and strung a load of lights around the back of the stage while performing a track that just about equals what really is the best animated video you've seen for a while. I like Wand.


Joel Ansett – ‘Already In Love’

Denver, Colorado-based singer-songwriter Joel Ansett blends the piquant pluck of folk-pop with the smooth soulfulness of R&B on his debut album The Nature of Us which comes out on November 23rd. Lead single ‘Already In Love’ has just arrived on the scene and it’s a silky, but heartfelt number that features softly lilting acoustic guitar strum, subtle percussion that includes finger snaps, and Joel’s gently gliding, upbeat vocals. Joel coos brightly “I’m already in love with you / Nothing to do but receive it / Sit back and believe it.” His lyrics only get more pleasantly complex from there, as Joel, sure in his belief of being in love, breaks out with some plaintive exclamations of joy. The song moves along with a laid-back groove and is lifted up by Joel’s positive sentiments and the mellifluous acoustic guitar lines.

Jen Dan

Andy Evans - ‘Miracle’

Texan singer-songwriter and musician Andy Evans has been steadily advancing his career over the years, starting with receiving a bass guitar as a teen and continuing with his being on the central Texas music scene as the frontman of the blues-rock act Andy Evans & The Brotherhood. Now, as a solo musician, Andy’s ready to release his debut album, Miracle, in January 2016. Andy mixes soulful blues, classic rock & roll, and evocative storytelling lyrics to captivating effect. Lead single ‘Miracle’ encompasses all these points, kicking off with a steady, but kinetic drum beat and tambourine hits. The song sways with a seductive, rhythmic groove that hinges on a catchy, lightly squelching guitar line that mimics the human voice. Andy’s up-front and assured vocals roll along with the smooth flow as he intones “…we were meant for each other / …never want another lover.” Bittersweet and bright synth lines hang over the other instruments as the acoustic guitar lines pick out a pleasant pattern to support Andy’s vocals. A sliding electric guitar line breaks out near the end of the song, driving home the point of this potently direct ode to love.

Jen Dan

Sophie Lowe – ‘Pink Flowers’

Sophie Lowe is best known as the talented Australian actress who has graced the big screen in such films as Beautiful Kate, Adore, and After The Dark and the small screen in TV shows like Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, The Returned, and The Beautiful Lie. She has, however, built up a substantial music career over the past 10 years as a singer-songwriter that she dubbed SOLO as a way to separate her music work from her acting career. Sophie has now decided to drop the SOLO moniker and is creating compositions under her given name. ‘Pink Flowers’, set for a November 6th release date, is the 2nd track to be made public from her upcoming EP, titled EP 2, due out on November 27th.

‘Pink Flowers’, which was produced by Neal Sutherland, is a mesmerizing number with a sweetly seductive, yet still slightly menacing Sophie singing slowly in an airy, twisting, echoed vocal register. The instrumentation is minimal and subdued with an eerie synth line running through the track. Sophie murmurs tantalizingly “What are you waiting for / It’s been so long and I’m getting bored.”, backed by a hint of deeper male vocals, the sporadic smack of the clacking beat, little squiggling electro-notes, and deeply winding synths. Listeners won’t be bored by this track – They’ll be entranced!

Jen Dan

Pink Milk – ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’

Not that much is known about the mysterious duo known as Pink Milk, except that it consists of singer and drummer Maria and guitarist Edward and that they hail from the cool musical hotspot Gothenburg, Sweden. They’ve debuted a single/video of their cover of Foreigner’s ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ and it’s a dreamy masterpiece that drifts with a soporific languor. The power-ballad force of the original song is stripped down to its wistful, wounded core as Maria sings softly, but expressively in a potently emotive tone. A shimmering percussive shake envelopes the song and it’s punctuated by brief, burnished guitar lines and a thudding drum thump. The result is touching – and haunting…

Jen Dan

The Orielles - 'Joey Says We've Got It'

Halifax's answer to Best Coast turn in a groovy summery pop tune that ticks every box in the 'minor classic' questionnaire. Sun drenched guitar melodies? Anthemic power pop production? Quotable lyrics? Actually sounds like a really good Best Coast track? It's all here.