Friday 31 January 2014


Single review by

Get ready to unwind for the weekend with 'Give It Up' the killer debut track courtesy of the mysterious, EXROYALE. We have no idea who they are, where they are from or if they are even human, BUT this track's been successfully gaining loveage across the internet since November 2013 and we can definitely see why.

With no press release, no bio, and their Facebook info being desperately quiet besides one conundrum of an 'About' sentence... "a glow in the dark game of truth or dare"... perhaps it's all hush-hush for now because they have a trick or two up their sleeves. The track itself is positively synthsationall! If it was a sweet, it would be a Strawberry Starburst. Taste it yourselves below.

EXROYALE's website

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Golden Glow - Beauty/Duty

EP review by

We're not going to get rid of lo-fi indie music that easily, are we? And on the strength of this EP we wouldn't really want to anyway. Pierre Hall is the brains behind Manchester outfit Golden Glow, and is in fact their only permenant recording member, being joined by a band for live performances. 'Beauty/Duty' is his second EP and be ready for plenty of ticking drum machines, messy, unclean guitars, the general fug of wonderfully disorganised sound and a vocal style that changes, but never really acts as though it's auditioning for X Factor. The opening to 'Don't Forget Me' is a bit like stepping in the TARDIS and heading back to a bedroom demo session for a post-punk band from 1981; it's splendidly noisy and rough yet somehow it's pure pop at the same time. You could argue that this is perhaps more "no-fi" than "lo-fi". The vocals are tidied up and brought to the fore for the jittering 'Could've Known' which treads the fine line between brilliance and catastrophe. It is, of course, brilliance that is the result.

By the mid-point of the EP you realise that the quality of the backing isn't going to rise beyond demo level, and you also realise that you wouldn't want it any other way. That said, it's fascinating to hear two worlds collide on 'LiP' which is led by some perfectly played guitar soloing. However many different beats we get, all of them are drowning in reverb; you could argue that this is a cheap way of padding out the sound, but listening to the rest of the instrumentation it's clear this isn't the case. The chiming guitars and backing vocals on 'The Scene' being a case in point. 'Devastate' is little more than a demo, and this actually adds a certain intimacy which would probably be stripped away if it had been taken any further. There's a slight anti-climax with 'Gum Down' at the end; by no means a bad song, just a little less lovable than some of the other tunes here. Golden Glow have got some great tracks, the dilemma is whether or not to keep throwing out DIY recordings like this or aim higher and look to gain a wider audience? Me and his bank manager may disagree, but keeping things just as they are gets the vote here.

Golden Glow's website

Stream the EP in full

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Just Handshakes - Kiwi

Single review by

It's always slightly embarrassing (when you spend your life focusing on new music anyway) to hear an amazing new band for the first time and then discover that they've actually been around for years. This would seem to be the case with Leeds' Just Handshakes who have been together in some form or other since 2008 or before. Having said that, it's only recently that they've released their first full album, so hopefully we can be forgiven for letting this lot slip by unnoticed so far. Further investigation of both album and any pre-album recordings will surely be a must for anyone who's in the same boat, as this second single from the record is one of those that's best served on repeat with a side dish of more of the same.

The combination of twang and fuzz on the guitars will take you back a bit (if you're over the age of 30 or so anyway) to those post-grunge years where scuzzy and melodic alt-rock was the order of the day. It will likely be the vocals that stick in the mind the longest though; a soft, sweet and distinctive female voice carries the song with seeming effortlessness. As it drives forth through more of those guitars and crashes of drums, the words are replaced by dreamy sighs and the world seems like a great place to be all of a sudden. It's a curious juxtaposition of dreampop and alt-rock that you don't hear that often. You could lump this in with the shoegaze revival if you like, but we'd say it's special enough to be considered in its own right, not just as part of a scene. Fabulous sounds.

Just Handshakes' website

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The Sun Days - Don't Need To Be Them

Single review by

Famous lookalikes; we all get tagged with them, don't we. If you're lucky your nominated twin will be devilishly handsome or strikingly pretty; for the rest of us mere mortals however the comparisons can be a little less gratifying, with the only silver lining being there's no longer the possibility of finding yourself rolled out on TFI Friday as the perfectly rotund remodel of some ripped Adonis!

Here at the Sound Of Confusion we're by no means exempt from having our features equated to those of more well known faces and indeed one of our number has even been accosted by an overly "Keane" autograph hunter, dying to know just what exactly Tom Chaplin is doing cycling along a remote island path when the rest of his band are meant to be out on tour! As for yours truly I can confirm that, regardless of what a well oiled Glaswegian gent took great delight in repeatedly chanting, I am not and never have been the lead singer from Ash, nor, despite what certain parties would have you believe, am I a retired army captain turned troubadour who warbled his way through 'You're Beautiful' - which is just as well, as a name like A. Blunt-Wheeler is sure to get you acquainted with the inner workings of the local police station rather rapidly!

As the well-worn saying goes however, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so if you're not happy with your lot and can't be a physical mirror image, you can always do the next best thing and adopt some of the attributes of the subject of your admiration. This is exactly what appears to be happening over in Sweden, where one time indie darlings The Sundays now have an emerging doppelgänger by the name of... well, The Sun Days actually.

The Gothenburg quintet released their second single 'Don't Need To Be Them' this week and while the song title may be a call to follow your own path, the track composition lives up to exactly what could be anticipated from a quick glance at the band appellation. This is in no small part thanks to the abilities of Elsa Fredriksson who demonstrates a set of lungs fit to rival those of the much admired Harriet Wheeler, and in doing so elevates a sprightly indiepop jingle into something really pretty impressive. Beginning and closing to the sound of bar room chatter, the guitars strums sugary melodies and the drums skip along with a spring in their step, but there's no escaping the fact that it's the lead vocals that steal the limelight, with the cry of "Say" a little under three minutes in proving particularly spine-tingling. Hugely enjoyable, is here where the story ends for The Sun Days? Let's hope not.

The Sun Days' website

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K H U S H I - Phantoms

Single review by

K H U S H I has a lot of gaps in his name; the ONLY plausible reason for this is that he is trendsetting in the field of fan/musician interactivity possibilities, and thus has set himself up as a round from the popular tea-time quiz show Pointless - you know the one where they take away some of the letters and say, for example, "name this Simpsons character" by filling in the blanks. Well guess what reader, I'm really good at these so just give me a second and I’ll have the answer...

*eight hours later* Nope, I've got nothing...UNLESS...*checks dictionary* nope still nothing. This game isn't as fun as I'd thought it would be K H U S H I!!!

While he may be terrible at setting gettable quiz questions, the London songsmith is certainly proving adept at turning the heads of those who trade on their taste and, spaces or no spaces, creating a name for himself in the music circles of the web. Catching the attention of the blogosphere October past with the release of a single, 'Magpie', and its companion track, the quasi Beach House recalling, 'Never Never', K H U S H I impressed enough tuned-in ears to be named as ones to watch in the UK Blog Sound Of 2014 list. Intent on capitalising (I see what you've done there, very good! - Ed) on that endorsement he now returns with a brand new tune, 'Phantoms', the lead-track from an EP of the same name that will be available in early March and a release which, based on this taster, could be the catalyst for a coming together with the playlists of mainstream radio. Starting in smooth and unobtrusive jazz fashion thanks to a light tinkle of piano and a twin-tracked vocal harmony, Phantoms shows off its wider appeal potential via an ascending chorus melody and hefty drumbeat, that culminate in a rousing pre-finale. Anthemic enough to attract the casual listener but retaining a level of depth that should appease more discerning parties, K H U S H I can relax safe in the knowledge that this is unlikely to be a release that many could see fit to deem pointless.

K H U S H I's  website

Pre-order the EP

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Thursday 30 January 2014

Smallpools Interview - chicken, cilantro and goo! (Oh, and some music...)

Article by

Newly signed to Sony's sister label, RCA Records, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when we were invited down to Sony Music Kensington headquarters in November of last year to have a chat with Los Angeles-based indie-rock four-piece, Smallpools. Armed with an unreasonable amount of chocolate chip cookies and free hugs, I promptly delved into what turned out to be more of an informal, friendly chat, filled with laughter and teasing than an interview with all four members of the band; Sean Scanlon (vocals), Mike Kamerman (guitar), Joe Intile (bass) and Beau Kuther (drums). Check out what we learnt about the foursome below!

TSOC: What would you call your sort of genre, is it guitar pop/indiepop or have you got another name for it?

Sean SP: Indiepop, rock, alternative... just a bunch of words!

TSOC: How long have you known each other?

Sean SP: I've known Mike since 2007 I think, and then we both moved to LA like two years ago. Then we met Joe through some mutual musical friends and then Joe brought Beau into the picture.
Mike SP: As a group we've all known each other for probably about a year and a half. We got together with the intention of starting a band so we were becoming friends as we were writing music together and stuff. Like, Beau's an amazing drummer, Joe's an amazing bass player...
Beau SP: We do what we can!
Mike SP: We kind of all got together to play this music and became friends in the process.

TSOC: Did you expect to be signed within a year of forming? What were you doing before you were signed?

Sean SP: No way! We just wanted to go out and play shows and just start, well, just start playing.

TSOC: How did you get found out? How were you discovered?

Sean SP: Well we brought some demos back to this guy *points to manager* .... I've known him since middle school and he was kinda like "Alright some of this is good, let me manage it, let me like, work the system or whatever." and we were like "SHIIIT! All we wanna do is play shows and he's telling us to hold off and be secretive?!"
Mike SP: The whole idea of the band... Well, we were working these jobs - at least Sean and I were working these jobs that we hated and Beau was working at a snowboard company which was awesome and Joe was designing shit, which he still does... But for me and Sean it was like, we just wanted to play some shows. It was like a creative outlet because working was just awful!
Sean SP: And karaoke was getting old...

TSOC: Did you ever do karaoke?!

Sean SP: Did we ever do karaoke(!)
Beau SP: We still do!
Mike SP: That was our creative outlet!
Beau SP: Where can we do it here?!

TSOC: What's your favourite song to sing on karaoke?

Mike SP: The New Radicals - 'Get What You Give'.
Beau SP: We incorporate it into our set. Mine's Limp Bizkit - 'Nookie'. I like to just change up the vibe and everyone kind of just stares at you when you play that song.

TSOC: There's been four remixes of your debut single 'Dreaming', have you got a favourite?

Mike SP: I like them all for different reasons I guess.
Sean SP: I think the most crazy whirlwind awesome one, I don't know if that makes any sense but... the one with a lot of energy was done by our friends Zookeper and its really intense and quite a ride. I think the other one I'd go to is the Magic Man one. It's quite ambient.

TSOC: I like the Charli XCX one.

Mike SP: Yeah that one was interesting: I actually really like the Chainsmokers one too. That one really exposed us to a new audience as well. They have a really good following. They do some really great remixes and we became friends with them.
Sean SP: We just dropped a Mason Jar remix yesterday. It's really good actually. We were very surprised by how awesome it was.

TSOC: You guys played Madame JoJos in London last night, how was that?

Sean SP: We didn't realise that a lot of our equipment isn't compatible. We've got adapters but they kept blowing out. The wattages are different. So it was definitely an interesting show last night. But Itwas fun. A lot of our instruments blew up!

TSOC: Have you got USA tour dates to finish up the year with when you get back to Los Angeles?

Mike SP: We just finished up about a month long tour. We did a little bit with Two Door Cinema Club. We toured with them in the US, they were really good and this band called Walk The Moon. We're gonna go home and do two weeks with this band called Twenty One Pilots. I don't know if they're really out here yet but they're doing really well in the US and then we're gonna work on our album.

TSOC: Imagine I was going to go to LA for the first time. Where would you recommend I go?

Sean SP: I would take you to the beach, that's where I would go.
Mike SP: But the beach isn't really that sunny until after one...
Sean SP: Right so you gotta go after one...
Mike SP: So we'd go to the pool first...

TSOC: OK, would we have cocktails?

Sean SP: Yeahhh... yeah!
Mike SP: We'd go to the Roosevelt pool, have some cocktails there, it's right by where Sean and I live. We actually threw a party there once. Things got kinda crazy... And then we would take an uber to the beach cos drinking and driving is bad

TSOC: What's an uber?! I've never heard that word before!

Sean SP: It's a taxi service.
Mike SP: Uber is an app on your phone where you put in your credit card and there's no tipping or anything, you watch the car come get you.
Joe SP: We don't work for Uber...
Mike SP: ...But we like them a lot!
Beau SP: We got a driver a ticket in New York the other day... he wasn't too happy with us!
Mike SP: Did you call them back?
Beau SP: No!
Mike SP: Yeah you should probably do that...
Beau SP: They never called me back...
Mike SP: Oh really? Right we've gotta figure that out... So! We go to the beach...
Sean SP: We go to Bubblegums to eat... We can maybe get Mike's discount!

TSOC: What's Bubblegums?

Sean SP: It's a delicious restaurant.
Mike SP: A shrimp restaurant, it's right on the pier. Santa Monica pier. I used to work there!
Beau SP: If it was Sunday we could go to Bagatelle, an awesome daytime party and we could have drinks where my room mate works and takes very good care of us.
Mike SP: And then we'd finish the night at The Woods.

TSOC: What?! What's that? I'm scared(!)

Joe SP: It's not an actual forest...
Mike SP: It's a bar.
Joe SP: It's where the night goes dark!

TSOC: Do you have any interesting hobbies?

Joe SP: I like to cook, although that's not very interesting.

TSOC: Okay Joe I'll ask you this one personally. Imagine you are hosting a dead or alive dinner party and you can invite three people, whoever you want...

Joe SP: John Mayer...

TSOC: I haven't even finished asking the question yet! What would you cook, and who would you invite?

Joe SP: I would make... there's this pesto dish where you mash up avocado with a spicy pesto and then you put roasted vegetables on top of that. It's delicious.
Mike SP: Will you make your Granola bar?!
Joe SP: Granola bars... Home made Granola bars for dessert with coconut ice cream and maybe some Moroccon mint tea! And then do I choose three people that I'd like to invite?

TSOC: Yeah any 3 people!

Joe SP: John Mayer... don't really know who else I'm going to pick.
MikeSP: (teases Joe) John Mayyerrrr, John Mayer's Dad...

TSOC: It doesn't have to be musicians...

Mike SP: He could say some of John Mayer's hot exes!
Beau SP: I think Jennifer Aniston is coming up.
Joe SP: I wouldn't mind Jennifer Aniston being there... that could be fun. I was going to say Gandhi but he probably wouldn't eat much.

TSOC: He wouldn't drink your tea! Why wouldn't he eat much?

Beau SP: (sarcastically) Gandhi! What a dinner party.
Joe SP: He did the whole fasting thing... but I guess that wasn't for a looong time.

TSOC: Yeah I don't think he did it for his whole life.

Beau SP: (sarcastically) That sounds like a real fun party Joe!

TSOC: What about the rest of you, can you cook? Who would you invite?

Beau SP: I can cook. I' do some sort of salmon, like a smoked salmon of some sort. Classic mashed potatoes maybe some asparagus, nothing crazy.

TSOC: No Moroccon tea?!

Beau SP: No, we would drink shitty cheap beer!

TSOC: Who would you invite?

Beau SP: I'd probably invite John Bonham, Michael Jackson and...
Mike SP: A little boy?
Beau SP: ...I gotta get a babe in there, what babe would I invite?
Sean SP: Pregnant Jessica Alba?
Beau SP: Ermm, uhhh emmm... We'll go with...

TSOC: I wish I didn't ask Beau now!

Beau SP: I'd invite you! That would be my three people.

TSOC: Ah thank you, that would be amazing! Not sure that I like salmon though...

Beau SP: Ohhh...
Mike SP: She doesn't want to come to your party!

TSOC: I'll come if there's cheap beer, what beer would it be?

Beau SP: PBR.

TSOC: Here's a similar question. Imagine you're headlining a fantasy festival and you can have five artists or bands support you, past or present. Who would you pick?

Mike SP: We're headlining? We have to play after them?! Hmm. I don't really want to play this show! But I'd like to see U2, Michael Jackson would be good, Phil Collins in his prime...
Beau SP: Journey
Mike SP: Journey with Steve Perry
Sean SP: I want to see Billy Joel go in it.
Mike SP: That's five already... But we could throw Nine Inch Nails in the 'Pretty Hate Machine' era, actually 'The Downward Spiral' era, I wouldn't mind seeing that.

TSOC: Would you ever do a covers album or EP?

Mike SP: I don't think so.
Sean SP: Waste of time.

TSOC: Why do you think that?

Sean SP: Um well you don't get credit for all the songs for a start! And its more fun to create something from zero that you've done and just see it be a thing.
Mike SP: Any song that I'd wanna cover, I wouldn't be able to do as good a job with as the original. What's the term... if it ain't broke don't fix it. But Joe will probably wanna cover John Mayer songs!
Joe SP: I'll do all of 'em on my own! The bass line to John Mayer...
Beau SP: I'll do a covers album when I'm like 60.
Mike SP: They're fun to play live though. Covers are fun to play live.

TSOC: And lastly, if you could create your own burger what would you have in it?

Sean SP: Erm, there'd be chicken and cilantro.

TSOC: Would you have a beef burger in it as well?

Sean SP: Nah.

TSOC: Just chicken and cilantro?!

Sean SP: There'd be like other gooey things that make it great but those would be the two main things.
Mike SP: So... chicken cilantro and goo.
Sean SP: Chicken and cilantro goo.

TSOC: ...Okay!... Well thank you very much for talking to me today!

Sean SP: I guess only my answer then...(!)

TSOC: I don't think anyone can better that.

Mike SP: That's going to be the headline isn't it. "Smallpools Interview - chicken, cilantro and goo!"

Smallpools' website

Catch them live:

Mar 21 Buku Music + Art Project, New Orleans, LA
Mar 27 Terminal 5, New York, NY
Mar 30 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
Mar 31 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
Apr 01 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
Apr 03 The Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA
Apr 05 Stubb's, Austin, TX
Apr 06 Stubb's, Austin, TX
Apr 07 House Of Blues, Houston, TX
Apr 23 Marquee Theatre, Tempe, AZ
Apr 24 Rialto Theatre, Tucson, AZ
Apr 28 Diamond Ballroom, Oklahoma City, OK
Apr 30 KC Power & Light Distric Outdoor Stage, Kansas City, MO
May 02 MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheater, Tampa, FL

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter

Eternal Death - Head

Single review by

Scandinavia. It's not known for it's hip-hop or EDM. When you think of the music of the Nordic countries you think of three things: indiepop/shoegaze and other guitar-pop genres; classic electro-pop that encompass everyone from ABBA to A-ha to Niki & The Dove; and black metal. That's a bleak and dark looking cover to this single by Eternal Death. I wonder if that or the band name might indicate where we are with this début single by this Swedish band who's Facebook tag-line is "Life's about dying."? Why, it's only some delightfully sunny synth-pop, the big teases! Yep, it was all pointing to more hard-rock there, but it's all just a trick.

What 'Head' is, is pop music how we wish it was made more often. Chart pop in the UK doesn't often sound like this, but it should. This isn't new, it's all been done before; all the elements can be found in bands like Saint Etienne, Lykki Li and many others. There's the slight hint of dreampop about the way the vocals are treated, but really this is a song that's as at home on the dancefloor as it is on the radio - not to mention in your record collection. Credible pop is, and has always been, available to those who wish to find it. So leave you inhibitions at the door and dive on in.

Eternal Death's website

Buy the single

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Triolian - In Your Head

EP review by

Coming to us boxfresh from London (they got together in November, so in band terms are still very much in nappies) are Triolian, which if you think about it, is a somewhat puzzling name for a duo. Perhaps they have their sights set on recruiting a third member eventually, it may help when it comes to live performances. There may just be the two of them, but they have the sound of a three or four-piece indie-rock band, so how that transfers to the stage isn't clear, but they have live gigs planned. The title-track is a top way of marking your arrival; it's pacey, well-recorded, makes good use of the dynamics of sound, and is an all-round good tune. The title fits it nicely, as it does contain some barbed melodies that ensure it's not instantly forgotten.

With drums, multi-guitars and multi-voices, the pair must have recorded these songs in sections, yet they've captured the essence of a full band really well and you wouldn't know this was the work of just two guys. Adding a little funk to their guitar-pop is 'After Dark', but it stops short of diving into the '80s sounds that the music world seems so reluctant to let go; it's the never-ending revival but Triolian want no part in it. In fact, listening to 'Till The End' they sound more in tune with the spiky guitar revival of ten years ago, but it doesn't sound dated, all the EP sounds fresh and also very accomplished considering how new they are. Ending on a more indiepop note, 'Learn To Love' almost has a nostalgic feel to it. Make no mistake though, Triolian might be able to write quality tunes and they might be a guitar band, but they're not trying to be anyone else.

Triolian's website

Stream or buy the EP

Catch them live:

Jan 30th London, Hoxton - The Workshop
Feb 12th London, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
Feb 27th London, Hoxton - Zigfrid Von Underbelly
Mar 8th London, King's Cross - Surya
Mar 21st London, Great Portland Steet - 229

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Paul Handyside - Wayward Son

Album review by

After cutting his musical teeth in '80s indie band HURRAH, Newcastle musician Paul Handyside has now taken the baton and is running with some solo material, ably assisted by his backing band. 'Wayward Son' is his second solo album following 'Future's Dream' way back in 2007. The wait hasn't been quite as long as that suggests though, as this record first saw the light of day last year, but is now getting a full relaunch this week, and it's a deserved relaunch at that, because it may be well below most people's radar, but it deserves to be far better known. There doesn't seem to be any attempt at jumping on any bandwagons, capturing the Zeitgeist, or breaking down the walls of music as we know it. Purely and simply, this album is an exercise in first-class songwriting.

Anyone who reads our drivel on a regular basis will know that a particular hatred has developed of the whole singer-songwriter genre, and this is down to the fact that anyone who can afford an acoustic guitar and a computer now thinks he (or to a lesser extent, she) is the new Bob Dylan. So for us to be making a fuss here shows that there is something worth getting excited about. Handyside's songs are largely built around a trusty acoustic, but the arrangements of his band add extra depth and mean that this is a set of songs that marry together folk, indie, rock, pop, alt-country and even hints of baroque on darker tunes such as 'Carnival Girl'. Lyrically this is far stronger than most, melodically this is far stronger than most, and in terms of consistency, well, even Anne Robinson would struggle to find any weak links. The more you hear, the more you wonder why Paul Handyside doesn't sit at the top table with other elder statesmen of British songcraft such as Chris Difford, Billy Bragg, Robyn Hitchcock, Green Gartside, Elvis Costello and more.

You could look at opener 'Glory Bound' as a rallying cry to the rest of 'Wayward Son', proclaiming with a stately grandeur that "we are death or glory bound"; that they need to succeed. With country-tinged perfection like 'He Loves Her Now', you know they won't fail. That Britishness comes to the fore (along with the Geordie accent) on the more traditional, folky 'When The Good Times Roll Again'. Perfect restraint is used on more tender, fragile numbers such as 'Precious and Rare', 'Man Overboard' or 'Rose of the Street'. The closest we come to indie-type sounds is probably the excellent 'Love Lies Elsewhere', and this contains the same attention to detail as the more subtle tracks. 'Passing Through' is another big-hitter that once more brings a certain majesty to proceedings, with the melody sounding incredibly familiar. Try as I might, I can't think what it sounds like, so I'm left to believe that it's simply another example of the classic writing that's on display. Closing with the impressive title-track is the icing on the cake. It's been a pleasure to discover the songs of Paul Handyside, and if you're a long-time fan, I'm sure you'll agree that it was worth the wait.

Paul Handyside's website

Stream the album in full

Buy the album

Catch him live:

SUN 16 MAR Union Chapel, London, UK
THU 15 MAY Uxbridge Folk Club, Hillingdon, UK
FRI 16 MAY Hot Numbers, Cambridge, UK
WED 11 JUN The Victory Club, Willenhall, UK

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Sheepy - These Clothes

Single review by

And so it has come to pass... Luke Jones began recording as Sheepy some time ago before being spotted performing live by London label Blang who wasted no time in getting some of the prolific writer's material to a wider audience, (last we heard he'd self-recorded 13 albums, that's probably increased by now) and left enough of an impression on us that we included him in our tips for 2012 list. A few stellar singles passed, and now we're being treated to the first proper album by Sheepy, now expanded to a three-piece band. The videos we've seen so far have been entertaining, and the visuals for new single 'These Clothes' are no different, being a stop-motion caper in which our caped crusader terrorises hipsters around the town by using his super power of being able to remove all their clothes, to much embarrassment to all. The "To be continued..." at the end leaves you guessing what will happen next.

As for the song? Well every other single so far has been splendid, and this is no different. One of the punkier tracks in their vast musical arsenal, 'These Clothes' is like a series of electric shocks being fired into your ears, only pausing for the odd moment of suspense and them zapping you again. The guitars sound as though they're being played with razors, they're that sharp. One thing that's characterised Sheepy's music so far is pop hooks, and despite this being a blink-and-you'll-miss-it whirlwind that will leave you feeling disorientated and possibly a bit violated, there's a pop song buried underneath it all. This track provides further evidence that even with countless songs written, Sheepy are not a repetitive band; they're full of ideas, and each single showcases a different angle. The only problem is working out how and when to get so much material out to the public, but we can likely expect much more in the future.

Sheepy's website

Buy the single

Catch them live:

07.02.14  SANTIAGO'S, Leeds
12.03.14  THE FULFORD ARMS, York
14.03.14  KELLY'S, Galway, Ireland
15.03.14  SIN É, Dublin, Ireland
16.03.14  CAVANAGHS, Tuam, Ireland

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Escapists - Breaking It Up

Single review by

The path through rock music can be a treacherous one. There's gold if you look in the right places, but go just slightly wayward and you'll stumble upon some truly awful bands and songs. There can be no denying that London's Escapists are a rock band, but one that may be prefixed by the words "alternative" or "indie", themselves broad terms that can lead to good or bad. Despite being around for a few years now, new single 'Breaking It Up' is the first time we've heard this quartet, and on the strength of this we'd say they're one of the good finds. For a long time now, alt-rock has meant a DIY sound and scoffing at anything approaching ambition or, worse still, making music that has the chance of selling more than just half a dozen copies to some pissed-up punters at one of your gigs.

Big. bold and aiming high, Escapists are making music to sound as good as it possibly can, and when doing this, taste is or paramount importance. Only the misguided masses like stadium sheen to be applied to formulaic anthems; it's music for people who buy one or two albums a year, probably whichever ones Q magazine votes as albums of the year. 'Breaking It Up' gets the balance just right; the band use the studio to great effect, making this single sound great, giving it a certain commercial appeal, but never over-egging the pudding, never falling into the trap of making sanitised stadium fodder. Just because a band becomes big it doesn't make them the enemy (or, God forbid, The Enemy) and it doesn't make them bad. Depending on whether guitar bands begin slipping back into fashion again, Escapists, on this evidence, have what it takes to be one of those big bands, and deservedly so.

Escapists' website

Buy the single

Catch them live:

Feb 01 Borderline, London, United Kingdom

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Mechanimal - Obscure

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It's often said that recessions produce great music, and a prime example was the punk explosion that grew from the disastrous economic downturn in the 1970s. Could the well-publicised financial crisis in Greece be the reason why we're hearing so much great music from the country all of a sudden? Or is it simply the ever evolving musical landscape of the internet that's providing us easier access to sounds that have been there all along? That's probably a debate for another time, all that really matters is that following an excellent debut album last year, Athens group Mechanimal are back with the first single from the forthcoming follow-up, and that they're sounding perhaps even better than before.

References to the darker side of post-punk and new-wave (particularly Depeche Mode) were littered across the album, but on 'Obscure' they take the music made by such groups and reinvent it for a new generation. This doesn't sound like a trip down memory lane, it sounds like now. Sure, krautrock and early electronic pioneers as well as the darkwave of the early '80s is an influence, but that's all. They don't replicate it. 'Obscure' is a deadpan vocal delivery on top of the constant screech of electronics hidden right at the back of the mix, and it's also a driving and constant journey through industrial wastelands that have suddenly come to life to spew forth this mechanical, almost robotic electro-pop. The twist here is that this isn't bleak or cold, Mechanimal allow a human touch and a warmth to filter through as well, connecting the two worlds together in a new way.

Mechanimal's website

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COLOUR OF BONE - The Superstitious Twist

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If or when COLOUR OF BONE release an album, then beforehand the bookies should start taking bets on what it'll sound like. We've said it before and we'll say it again: everything they do seems barely recognisable from the track that preceded it, yet whatever they turn their hands to always turns out sounding great. It's for this reason that they were one of the first names on our sound of 2014 list. Take something as beautiful and gentle as the acoustic-led 'Keep It That Way' and then the thumping alt-rock exploration of 'Ashtrays For Earrings'; it's difficult not to back-reference continually as they throw us surprise after surprise. Their first single of 2014? You won't need telling that this is different yet again...

You could say that the heavy ending to 'Ashtrays For Earrings' perhaps pointed in a punchier direction, but nothing's that simple in the world of COLOUR OF BONE. 'The Superstitious Twist' isn't a heavy rock track, but it does contain more bile, more vigour and more urgency than what they've given us in the past. There's a constant battle going on between electronics and scuzzed-up guitar, all backed by drums that sound like gunfire. They've shown us their gentle side in the past, they've shown us they have no fear of experimenting or of letting the music lead the way instead of finding a niche for themselves. On this track they're showing us that when it comes to producing electro-rock that's built for keeping the neighbours awake at night, they can do that as well as anyone.

Colour Of Bone's website

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Gypsy Charms - Stupid Melodies

EP review by

When Illinois-based singer-songwriter Tommy Komorowski (formerly known as Dexter Poindexter) wrote the line "it's freezing and the frost's still fresh", he was probably unaware that it would actually be dangerous to leave his house by the time the song was released due to record low temperatures sweeping the state and warnings of skin actually freezing because of the severity. Perhaps we should blame him for the extra-cold snap then, as this EP by his new alias Gypsy Charms was released earlier in the month just as the mercury began to fall (or possibly even freeze itself). Those lyrics are from 'Bottles', the opening track from the 'Stupid Melodies' EP, a project which he describes as "based more on rock 'n roll type licks and melodies".

The "melodies" part is particularly apt, as these four songs are very much based on that aspect, taking the classic indiepop sound and throwing in more sounds from the past. The doo-wop influenced 'Take It Easy' could be a reinterpretation of an old song with a more modern guitar-style sound. It does introduce those aforementioned rock 'n roll licks too, and feels very summery after all that talk of winter. If you really want to know what he means by that phrase, the a skip to 'Dirtnap' will tell you everything you need to know, taking in rock 'n roll piano, bluesy guitar riffs and classic American rock sounds. It never takes itself too seriously, although that's not to say it's novelty in any way, more an exercise in exploring the music that built the sounds that surround us today. Country elements creep their way into final song 'Tempted', but those melodies are always there, making this a short but sweet trip through some of the touchstones of popular music's past.

Gypsy Charms' website

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Five For Free #259

twin hidden - A Berry Bursts

Formed in Manchester but based in London, twin hidden are sometimes a duo and sometimes a quintet. So we're guessing there's a core creative unit and a live band, but don't quote us on that. 'A Berry Bursts' is their début single and they're already reaching some impressive people, having been covered by NME and caught the ear of the Glastonbury organisers. We might be hearing more of this quirky indie-type bunch.

Download 'A Berry Bursts' for free by heading here

twin hidden's website

Catch them live:

SAT 01 FEB Jam in a Jar, London, UK

Chronic City ft Henri Joel - Key Biscayne

Chronic City are from Vienna but this track could easily have come from the current Brooklyn music scene and merges indie, electro and dreampop together very nicely, as did 'The Man Who' which we featured last year. Both are on free EP 'Myra Falls' and this song features French vocalist Henri Joel providing the melody that flows over the twinkles and chimes.

Chronic City's website

Buy the single

Highrise Empire - Bones Of Gold

If you like you electro/indie hybrids to be a little more complex and experimental then bedroom-producer Highrise Empire might be someone to look out for. The Californian is self-taught and is giving away the very impressive track 'Bones Of Gold' for free. We say electro/indie as a loose term, as really the sounds this guy is making here are not easy to pigeonhole.

Highrise Empire's website

Dave Rave And The Governors - Wake Up Song

We sincerely hope Dave Rave is his real name, because as aliases go, it's all a bit 1980s mobile disco DJ. Still, the song's good! 'Wake Up Song is from the album 'Ashtray Makeup' and is his first with The Governors after working as a session musician for the likes of Alex Chilton, Andrew Loog Oldham and Daniel Lanois. An impressive CV and an impressive melodic alt-rock tune.

Dave Rave's website

Stream or buy the album

Sväva - Heather

We've focussed a lot of the Danish music scene of late, so it makes sense to venture further along the coast to see what great music the Dutch have to offer, and in Sväva they have a real delight. The band are from the north of the country and their current single 'Heather' is a very fine example of unhurried, carefully considered dreampop that acts like a warm blanket in these cold days.

Sväva's website

Catch them live:

Sat, Feb 1, MC Theater, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Wed, March 5, Café Het Vliegende Paard, Zwolle, Netherlands
Fri, March 21, Podium De Klomp, Ovezande
Sat, March 22, De Spot, Middelburg, Netherlands
Fri, March 28, Leeuwarden, Friesland
Sun, March 30, Winschoten

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Tuesday 28 January 2014

Electric Eye - Pick​-​up, Lift​-​off, Space, Time

Album review by

If three of your main inspirations are blues, India and the ever expanding universe, then there's a fair chance that you won't be writing nice conventional pop songs. Norwegians Electric Eye haven't given us a list of songs to listen to on 'Pick-up, Lift-off, Space, Time', they've asked us to follow them on a sonic exploration of the musical cosmos. We first featured this album upon its official low-key release last year, but with SXSW dates lined-up it's more than worth a re-evaluation. Usually when track lengths get extended it can be off-putting and trap you in a niche market, but despite only two songs coming in at under five minutes, you're never allowed to switch off when listening to this record. Space-rock isn't new; just ask Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Spacemen 3 or countless others. Rarely though, has it been as consistently engaging as what we're offered here. Yeah, 'Tangerine' passes the nine-minute barrier but you don't tire of it, none of it is superfluous.

In fact it may be 'Tangerine' that best exemplifies Electric Eye. They mention India as an influence, and so you may expect an Eastern flavour to the album, but it's rarely seen unless you go digging for it. This song puts the mid-period Beatles melodies and sitars up front and lets them be one of the most noticeable aspects of this track. You can also hear the sound of Barrett-era Floyd tripping-out on extended freeform jams, the difference being that the groove isn't allowed to stop. Comparisons could be made to Wooden Shjips in that respect; Electric Eye surge ever forward, never looking back, and surely that's what true space-rock should be about. Including the terms psychedelia and drone-rock has become increasingly common in the current alternative musical landscape, but few bands have the consistency and the drive that this quartet have.

Skipping back to the beginning, '6 AM' launches into a searing riff and and a beat that all the police stingers in the world would fail to stop. For over seven minutes it chops and changes but doesn't lose power or groove; it's a real tour-de-force of modern psych, and one they swiftly follow with 'Lake Geneva', a tune that takes samples and sound effects as intermissions and piles on the guitar - not in an indulgent way, more to capture the proper atmosphere, also that word crops up again: groove. By now the flow and the feel of the album are fully apparent, and so when 'Morning Light' bursts forth with a repetitive bassline and a sightly funky beat to go with the sounds of the guitar and swirling vocals you just jump on for the ride. Electric Eye haven't forgotten the blues they spoke of, and the riff to 'The Road' has its roots there; 'Kruskontroll' is strangely danceable, again bringing to mind Wooden Shjips, and as with all the songs on here, each instrument is equally important and integral to the music. They close out with 'Electric Eye'; a drift through space that could have been engineered by Sonic Boom, offering a slightly more serene take on things, but it's quite beautiful. One of the best psych albums of recent times.

Electric Eye's website

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National Pastime - Judge A Book EP

EP review by

When what we know as pop and rock music began, it was all about singles. Three-minute pop songs to play on the radio and buy on 7". Albums were really a means to sell more copies of the singles. You'd have the couple of songs you know and love, several covers and maybe a couple of poorer originals if you were lucky. When people talk about classic albums they rarely mention much before the 1960s (in pop and rock that is), for it was in that decade that bands evolved away from the throwaway nature of single songs to looking at a complete body of work. By the middle of the decade we were getting records like 'Pet Sounds', 'Revolver' and many others. In a strange way, this throws up another problem. With a general length of around 40 minutes or so, a whole album can be a bit much for casual listeners to take in. They're still likely to skip to the singles and miss out on plenty of other equally good music.

Last year Exeter indiepop band National Pastime released their latest album, 'All Our Yesterdays'. It was an enjoyable and nostalgic trip through the sound of indie music as it used to be. Anyone who missed out on the full-length might find this bite-sized sampler an easier route into some delightfully melodic and endearingly DIY guitar tunes. The four songs here represent a good cross-section of the album, from the opening, Housemartins-esque pop of 'Judge A Book' to the more upbeat yet reflective 'Long Lost Summer', there are hooks aplenty and melodies to spare. You could perhaps call 'All Of My Life' the most typical of the '80s indie sound that National Pastime favour; if you took it to the Antiques Roadshow the specialists would have a tough time dating it. Much like the album, this EP is about growing older, about looking back on the past through rose-tinted spectacles ("will I ever stop dreaming about yesterday?"), but it's not in a sad way, it feels more like a pause for thought. Fans of the indiepop genre will surely enjoy the album, so if this EP is the gateway then so be it. With the Belle & Sebastian piano of 'My Star Has Fallen' and the almost live, intimate vibe of the songs, it's really a bit of a hidden treasure.

National Pastime's website

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Artist To Check Out: The Ferdy Mayne

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Shane Firek of Michigan has recorded a solo EP of original acoustic folk songs called 'Within The Silent End' under his project called The Ferdy Mayne. The Ferdy Mayne have released two full-band, non-acoustic albums in '09 and '13.

The only equipment used for this EP were a couple SM57s (mics) a Taylor and some wine, recorded this winter over the new year. Firek sites some of his influences as Neil Young, Gram Parsons and Cat Power. The cover is a picture of his father who played for the Cincinnati Reds. Firek now resides in NYC and will be releasing more material shortly.

The Ferdy Mayne's website

Buy the EP

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PREMIERE: Cassels - Our Faces On A Screen

Single review by

Since their debut single 'Seasick' at the end of last year, it looks like Cassels have taken something of an about turn. The guys' first effort was slightly grungy, melodic and mildly understated, only really erupting for the scorching chorus that sounded like a guitar having a fight with a chainsaw. New single 'Our Faces On A Screen' could have come from a totally different band (or in this case, a duo who consist of brothers Loz and Jim Beck), as they do away with the bobbing melody and '90s fuzz-rock in favour of something a touch harsher. This time around the chainsaws don't stand a chance; the guitars would totally maul them. Again there are a couple of softer moments, but by soft we mean like concrete compared to the granite of the rest of the song.

As soon as they hit that chorus the walls around you begin to crumble as they bark "we all bleed the same", just at the moment when your ears actually start to bleed, but this is likely down to me being determined to listen to this song at full volume through headphones and no real health warning should be issued. This is a visceral and riotous blast of noise though, and one that may surprise fans of the previous track. Also, it begs the question of what Cassels are really about. Do they have a style? Or will they just drift wherever the music takes them? It could be an intriguing journey. Oh, and with a title like 'Our Faces On A Screen' the accompanying video should pretty much sort itself out, right? Maybe with a director adding some kind of twist at the end? In the world of Cassels it's seeming more and more as though we should expect the unexpected, so we congratulate them on the year's best video so far, and one that might not be beaten. If you've watched that film of Noel Gallagher slagging-off all the old Oasis videos (fan or not, it's piss funny), then you'll probably find the timing of this absolutely perfect.

Cassels' website

Catch them live:

Old Blue Last, 4th February - FREE ENTRY

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Monday 27 January 2014

Mode Moderne - Occult Delight

Album review by

Discovering the music of Vancouver quartet Mode Moderne is a bit like reading a detective novel. Suppose you'd never heard a single song, and then look at the clues. Mode Moderne sounds as though it should be a post-punk/electro band from the early '80s. It could be the name of a record by New Order or Kraftwerk; so there's that potential aspect. The title is 'Occult Delight', a signpost pointing towards gothic sounds if ever there was one. Then this little tale: the band released their debut album back in 2009, and in between that and their second full-length, they released a mini album as well as a single, 'Real Goths', a track that left such an impression on one Serbian fan that she had some of its lyrics tattooed on her. It would be reasonable to assume we should be in for some of the darker post-punk and new-wave sounds here.

Since those records, band member and producer Felix Fung has departed the group, but this hasn't altered their direction wildly. If you're expecting doom and gloom then you're only partially right, as the band themselves say they've always wanted to incorporated the darker side of that scene with the accessibility of indiepop groups, and this is the perfect description of what they've achieved here. A quick glance at the song titles reveals names like 'Strangle The Shadows', 'She, Untamed' and 'Severed Heads'; they have the morbid side of things sorted, but then when you hear 'Strangle The Shadows' it is a melodic, catchy and fairly radio-friendly post-punk tune. You're probably best comparing Mode Moderne to The Cure, a band who are archetypal goths and adored even by fans of black metal, yet many of their songs were love songs and were jangly, light and poppy. 'Occult Delight' doesn't sound like The Cure, but its view of music is much the same.

'Grudges Crossed' piles on the gloom a bit more, but it then throws in a memorable chorus; there's a big highlight in 'Thieving Babies Breath', a song with a dark title and moody post-punk verses, but the biggest pop hook on the album for the chorus; 'She, Untamed' is pure new-wave that could be a period piece rather than a reproduction, and again it merges lyrics like "the pleasure is grey... a bitter tongue" with melodies that stick in your head. This is an album of total contrasts, much like The Cure, but it's also incredibly strong with most songs having single potential and this yin and yang approach continuing throughout. The title-track is something of a centrepiece and offers a more atmospheric and stately take on things; and other stand-outs include the anthemic rush of 'Unburden Yourself', the Smithsy 'Come Sunrise' and pretty much the whole lot. A band worthy of a lifelong bodily memento? Well, for extreme fans maybe, but for the rest of us it's definitely an album to remember by more conventional means.

Mode Moderne's website

Stream the album in full

Buy the album

Catch them live:

FRI 21 FEB Tsunami, Cologne, Germany
SAT 22 MAR T.a.g, Brussels, Belgium

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Band To Check Out: Native Roses

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Merging the authenticity of classic rock, pop and folk, Native Roses are a London-based four-piece who hail from The New Forest, England, and consist of James Knaggs, Jacob W.N Stevens, Moses Bogarde and Jessica Illsley. Formed in 2010 by the founding members of Modern Fighting Vehicles (whose original line up included solo artist Birdy before she was nabbed by Atlantic Records), Native Roses released their first beautiful four-track EP, 'The Colours' on Creek Records back in 2012. This year will see the release of their wonderful nine-track debut album, also on Creek Records, and produced by multi-platinum songwriter and Dire Straits bass player John Illsley as well as Guy Fletcher of Roxy music.

Moses says: "We've been working at this since we were 15. We've toured, made records, made money. We've been f***ked by greedy promoters, unhinged producers and flakey major labels. We've played shows to thousands of people and empty rooms in the same week. We've played through bar fights, in torrential rain and recently underwater… We've never had a break but we've stayed together because our fans keep buying our music, keep coming to our shows and keep showing their support in every way they can. They make it possible for us to keep making the music we want to make. We love every one of them!"

With this in mind, and the help and financial support of their friends and fans via Kickstarter, Native Roses were able to create a quirky, artistic music video to accompany their magnificent, broody track 'Mainline'. The guys are back again with a new crowd-funding project to raise money for finishing a video for their awesome track 'Shadows'. Where some bands/artists greedily abuse these kinds of fundraising projects, Native Roses have tirelessly worked their little socks off to provide an array of give-to-get merchandise and opportunities that you can't put a price on. Like what you hear? Support the artist, pledge to their cause, be a part of something big.

Native Roses' website

Native Roses' Kickstarter Campaign

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SHE - Sheezus

EP review by

It's the rock and roll parable that's most readily and cyclically recounted, the audiophiles take on an Aesop fable; away from the eyes of the general populous, in some dank, defiled rehearsal space located beneath railway arches or in the decaying body of a former nightspot, a time served band on the local scene plug in their amps in readiness for a run through of their smoothly planed formula - only to be rudely disturbed by the raucous commotion emitting from the neighbouring quarter. There they find a collection of teenagers, thrashing away at their instruments with a vigour that suggests they’re revelling in a headline tour of the globe's iconic amphitheatres, rather than swallowing each others' sweat in a banged-up box room. The seasoned musicians look on in bewilderment; this is messy, bonkers and more than a little bit thrilling!

Whether the desirable hamlets of Hertfordshire play home to rotting British rail bunkers is, let's say questionable, nor for that matter do we have any guarantees that Ware-based quartet SHE are young of years, but nevertheless, on listening to their debut EP 'Sheezus' (spotted the not-so-subtle Kanye reference? Yep, thought so) it really doesn't require a great leap of imagination to cast them as the wide-eyed protagonists in the above portrait. "Play like nobody's watching; play like the whole world's watching" seems to be their mantra over nine frantic minutes split into three invigorating segments.

Bookending the EP are 'Father Knows Best' and 'Criticism'. The former is an archetypal helping of vintage post-punk; a twister of fuzz envelopes a surf guitar riff as the bass and drums launch into a loggerheads game of full-on one-upmanship that permeates right through the trio of tracks on the record - whilst even those of us with the faultiest grasp of pigeon French will be familiar with the chorus instruction to "ferme la bouche". On the latter the drums tumble into the action at the outset, before a driving bassline counterattacks immediately, and it's this ongoing interaction that provides the canvas for the track, allowing the guitar lead to break out his wah-wah and distortion pedals and scribble freehand intermittently over the piece.

Best of the bunch though is middle offering ‘Kevin’ (named after our Sound Of Confusion head honcho? Probably not) and it’s here that all the elements synchronize to best effect, channelling a groove that pushes SHE into the dance-rock crossover territory presently left vacant by the demise of The Music, a prolonged absence from The Longcut, and the apparent disappearance of the once promising Fonetiks. If SHE can again tap into this collective connection of skills on future recordings then they really do sound capable of producing something hugely exciting. Keeps your ears tuned on this lot readers, we think it could be worth your while.

SHE's website

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Out This Week - 27th January 2014

Drowners - Luv, Hold Me Down

You have to feel a little bit sorry for New York band DROWNERS. Had they appeared a decade ago then UK press and radio would be all over them. The quartet release their self-titled album this week and, as single 'Luv, Hold Me Down' shows, they're makers of very good indie-type guitar tunes that are fresh and full of bounce. Let's hope they pick up the recognition they deserve.

DROWNERS' website

Buy the album

Catch them live:

Jan 30 Great Scott, Allston, MA
Jan 31 Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
Feb 06 DC9 Nightclub, Washington, DC
Feb 07 KungFu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA
Feb 17 Electric Ballroom, London, United Kingdom
Feb 18 La Maroquinerie, Paris, France
Feb 19 Gebauede 9, Cologne, Germany
Feb 20 Lido, Berlin, Germany
Feb 27 The Exchange, Bristol, United Kingdom
Feb 28 Hare and Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Mar 01 Cockpit 2, Leeds, United Kingdom
Mar 02 Bodega, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Mar 03 King Tuts, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Mar 04 Deaf Institute, Manchester, United Kingdom
Mar 05 Dingwalls, London, United Kingdom
Mar 06 Joiners Southampton, United Kingdom
Mar 11 SXSW Austin, TX
Mar 12 SXSW Austin, TX
Mar 13 SXSW Austin, TX
Mar 14 SXSW Austin, TX
Mar 15 SXSW Austin, TX
Apr 12 Coachella, Indio, CA
Apr 19 Coachella, Indio, CA
Jun 06 Governor's Ball - Randall's Island, New York, NY

Mountain Bird - Don't Mind

Led by writer, arranger and producer Adam Ohman, Mountain Bird are based in Stockholm and 'Don't Mind' is their debut single. It's also something of a grand entrance. Don't let initial impressions have you thinking we're in for some routine, if slightly experimental, post-rock, because this song builds and builds to a glorious and towering finale.

Mountain Bird's website

Buy the single

El Libero - Come a Little Closer

It was Irishman Eoghan Gallagher who formed El Libero upon moving to London, and since then the band has included various notable musicians and played some impressive venues. The brand of guitar music we find in debut single 'Come A Little Closer' takes influence from classic British songwriters as well as a hints of folk, alt-rock and jangle-pop too.

El Libero's website

Buy the single

Catch them live:

Wed  Jan 29 Single Launch Show, Monto, Water Rats, London

Coolwave - So Sad

Coolwave is the alias of British artist Jake Shea who's fairly new on the scene, having released his debut EP last year. That he lists his location on Facebook as Malibu is telling, because 'So Sad' may be downbeat and something of a lament about life's difficulties ("I'm clueless, I don't know what to do..."), the music itself is pure sunshine and recalls mid-period Beach Boys in the way it twinkles.

Coolwave's website

Buy the single


Longfellow - Siamese Lover

Most people won't know who Longfellow are, although they actually played at the Olympics' opening ceremony after winning an emerging bands competition, so we're well within our rights to expect something impressive. Last summer's single 'Gabrielle' definitely showed promise, but we suggested they'd need to go one better to really leave their mark, and that's exactly what they've done with new single 'Siamese Lover'. This is a big and bold indie-rock number that sounds pretty huge without the need for overproduction or too much studio trickery. With a bit of luck, this year will see word spread further and the London quintet will grab the gold medal after all.

Longfellow's website

Buy the single

Catch them live:

Thurs, Jan 30, The Lexington, London, United Kingdom

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