Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Basement Revolver - Johnny Pt. 2


We all enjoyed "Johnny", the debut single from Hamilton, Canada based trio Basement Revolver, didn't we? The answer to that is yes. Yes indeed we did. For that single went on to accumulate over half a million streams on Spotify, and the eponymous E.P that it was taken from picked up a lot of love from all the cool blogs.

Well, it turns out that the band loved "Johnny" so much that they've written a sequel to it. Actually, 'loved' is probably not the best operative word, seeing as "Johnny Pt.2" was written directly in aftermath of the break-up with the titular fellow. In comparison to the more wistful "Johnny", the follow-up seems quite a lot more forceful & hopeful, underpinned by the punchy drums, and the central refrain of "my doors will always be open for you", a statement not of yearning for the past, but of hope for a fresh new future. Another solid slice of reverb-drenched indie-pop from Basement Revolver.

"Johnny Pt.2" is taken from the band's upcoming E.P "Agatha", which is released on July 21st.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Great Escape - Saturday May 20th 2017

The final day of The Great Escape has drawn to a close, as we leave the better than okay town of Brighton for another year, with all the music that came with it. We saw lots of great music, as well as lots of music that we didn't get around to - as is sometimes the way with TGE, large queues meant that we weren't able to get in to some of the artists we would have liked to see, like Ibibio Sound System, Childcare & Jane Weaver. 

But we did get to see lots of great music on Saturday, so here is what we saw, complete with our hastily taken pictures: 

Biuret

Location: Latest Music Bar

The day was kicked off with some rock music direct from Korea. Really fantastic and surprisingly diverse sounding set of songs, and a really charismatic lead singer who really got the crowd going. Plus they gave me a stuffed toy to mark the Winter Olympics in Korea in 2018, so extra marks for them. Evanescence would perhaps be the closest musical comparison by our reckoning.

Bokito

Location: Queen's Hotel

Their lead singer sure is a right old hairy fella. (Note to the band - you have our permission to use that quote in any press releases you send out).

Quite nice tropical infused indie. Quite a big crowd for them in one of the smaller venues.

The Rhythm Method

Location: Komedia

We didn't expect to like The Rhythm Method as much as we did, but we were absolutely blown away by their stagecraft. Fronted by quite possibly the campest hard lad we've ever seen, the duo (plus guest vocalist) put in a blinding set of contemporary sounding, socially deft tunes, like a cross between The Streets and a lower budget Pet Shop Boys. The crowd went bananas for them, and given the positive reception we've heard from others for their set, this could prove to be a breakthrough moment for the band. 

 Penelope Isles

Location: St Mary's Church

We stumbled across this local band playing in a church right next to the hotel we were staying at. We must say that it was the perfect venue to see the band, for their lo-fi indie-rock stylings sounded incredible with the acoustics offered by the venue - we don't think we've heard drums sound so good before.



Luxury Death

Location: Horatios

Probably the only band we saw during the weekend that actively bored us. Still, at least it gave us the opportunity to walk all the way to the end of Brighton Pier. You get a lovely view of the sea from there.

The Kolin

Location: Queen's Hotel

We caught the tail end of the Hungarian band's set. Their tunes were okay, but their lead singer had us all laughing, as he sarcastically joked about how much money and fame they were going to get as a result of playing at The Great Escape, and gently took the proverbial out of their guitarist.

The Monotones

Location: Queen's Hotel

Our second Korean band of the day. The band opened the set joking about their matching outfits ("we were going for The Beach Boys, but ended up like the Backstreet Boys"), and launched into a pretty decent set of rock songs, culminating in an unexpected cover of "Disco 2000".


Parekh & Singh 

Location: Patterns

An absolutely lovely set of dreamy pop songs from the dapper Indian band. "Newbury Street" and "Philosophize" were the highlights of a set that was 30 minutes of pure loveliness.

Drones Club

Location: Green Door Store

What a way to finish our time at the Great Escape 2017. Dressed like a cross between astronauts in training and paramilitaries, Drones Club put in a blinding set of electronic dance tunes that were part rave, part revolutionary call to arms. "Hurricane" is quickly becoming our favourite song of the year, and the ecstatic reaction of the crowd just showed us exactly why that is. It was definitely the highlight of our festival, and sets Drones Club out as a band that we feel are going to be incredibly important over the next 12 months, in one way or another.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Great Escape - Friday May 19th 2017

So Day 2 of The Great Escape has come to its conclusion. Despite it being a much brighter day than day 1, where it rained so much that several streets had to be re-designated as rivers, it was a less intensive day in terms of who we went to see. Still, it gave us the opportunity to explore several acts whom we were unfamiliar with before the festival began. And here they are, alongside our hastily taken photos of each act - 

One Word. Supervisor

Location:  Komedia Studio

Kicking off the day with some Swiss psychedelic-rock. Quite War on Drugs-y, if that's your type of thing.

Delaney Davidson

Location: One Church

This New Zealander was a bit of a surprise. Delaney Davidson appears to be the Antipodes' version of Tom Waits, with his blues-rock sound, grizzled, gin-soaked vocals and tales of lust and murder. It was interesting to see a loop pedal being used to create that sort of throwback blues-rock, which isn't something we've seen in the live arena before. Top marks for using an antique microphone to nonetheless recreate that antiquated sound.

La Jungle

Location: Sticky Mike's Frog Bar

Belgian electroclash. Some nice noises, but nothing that really grabbed us...

Goose

Location: The Black Lion

...for straight afterwards, we witnessed the true kings of Belgian dance-punk, Goose.

It was surprising to see the veteran band play at The Alternative Escape, and at such a small venue, but their set was nonetheless impeccable. Really great songs, and a quite subdued yet effective lighting arrangement too. Will have to dig into the band deeper as a result.

The Age of L.U.N.A

Location: Patterns

At a festival like The Great Escape, we do think it's a good idea to dip your toe into musicians in a genre that you may not exactly enjoy, for if there's one place you're likely to find some of the most exciting practitioners of each genre, it's at The Great Escape.

We're not the biggest fan of hip-hop, but we thought that we'd take a change of The Age of L.U.N.A on the recommendation of another music blogger. Although they weren't really our cup of tea, there were many things to like about them - the production on their songs is quite strong, we did enjoy their mash-up/shprt mixtape of hip-hop classics like "Ready or Not" and "Ghetto Superstar", plus we must give top marks for any rap group that plays live sax of stage.



Busty & The Bass

Location: One Church

We definitely didn't think that we'd be treated to Canadian brassy-funk in a church at The Great Escape, but treated we were. The packed out crowd really enjoyed the performance, with much dancing and arse-slapping (?) abound.



Draper

Location: The Mesmerist

We discovered last minute that the artist responsible for making one of our favourite songs of 2016, Draper, was playing. The set from the electronic artist saw him adding live synthetic percussion to his pre-recorded tracks, with lights synchronized to the performance. Great songs, wish it felt a little bit more live though.

Friday, 19 May 2017

The Great Escape - Thursday May 18th 2017

Day 1 of The Great Escape has come to its conclusion, and we begin to digest all the music that we consumed in our first day at the festival. Here are the artists that The Metaphorical Boat witnessed on the opening day, complete with our usual hazy, badly taken pictures - 


Confidence Man

Location: Komedia

The first band of The Great Escape was definitely our favourite of the day - cool danceable pop tunes, complete with semi-improvised, semi-choreographed routines from the lead singers. A fun time was had be all by the end of the set. Not sure we get the significance of the costumes of the backing musicians though, who were dressed like gothic beekeepers.

The Lottery Winners

Location: Queen's Hotel

The in-between song banter from the Salford band had many people in the audience (metaphorically) rolling on the floor in fits of laughter, which as a result meant that it's possible that we liked The Lottery Winners more as people than we did as musicians. That's not to say they weren't good though - they've got some cracking little indie-rock songs in their set, somewhere between Feeder and The Pixies.

Dat Brass vs Brass Funkeys



Location: Jubilee Square

Jubilee Square played host to not one, but two brass bands with a twist in Thursday afternoon. Dat Brass took it in a hip-hop direction, with the band covering songs like "Clint Eastwood" and "Stronger" with a strong brass flavour, with the Brass Funkeys, as their name suggested, taking a more funk orientated approach to their music.

It all culminated in a "Brass Off", where the two bands alternated performances, throwing shade at each other between performances, with Dat Brass taking the proverbial out of Brass Funkeys being conservatory trained, and Brass Funkeys mocking Dat Brass for playing too many covers. Dat Brass just about won for us, but we did enjoy both bands' spin on the genre.

Anteros

Location: Bleach

We saw Anteros at the festival last year, and loved them so much we had to see them again. They've added some great songs to their set since last year, like "Drunk" & "Bunny", but it is the old favourites like "Breakfast" that seem to go down the best with the heaving crowd. Blondie still seems like the closest comparison in sound. 

PATHS

Location: Hotel Pelirocco

Electronica act PATHS put in a good performance in Hotel Pelirocco, although unfortunately the size of the venue means that the light show doesn't have the same impact as it has in previous gigs from the act.

 Howl

Location: Sallis Benney Theatre

Howl were one of the bands that we knew little about before seeing them, and came out incredibly impressed. The band remind us of a modern day Stone Roses, with their baggy influenced songs like "Lost" really winning us over. 


Brian Deady

 Location: Sallis Benney Theatre

Cork fellow Brian Deady has a really strong, soulful voice, although sometimes during the set it felt like he didn't have the tunes that it deserved behind it. "Clap Both My Hands" is a genuine banger though, very O Brother, Where Art Thou.



Outlya

Location: The Hope & Ruin

For a band that's only been together a few months, Outlya feel incredibly polished already (although given that the members had been in a band together previously, it's not that unexpected). A really strong set of songs very much in the mold of Coldplay.

The Amazons

Location: The East Wing

Only caught the tail end of this hotly tipped band, but we can definitely say that they do indeed make music.

Flyte

Location: The East Wing

When a band starts their set with an acapella cover of "Archie, Marry Me" by Alvvays (a song we first discovered during our first visit to The Great Escape in 2014), then you know that you're going to enjoy their set. Great indie-rock songs with sumptuous 4-part harmonies are the order of the day for Flyte.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Great Escape 2017: Artists To Watch



From Thursday 18th May through to Saturday 21st May, Brighton will be playing host to The Great Escape, a music festival that for fans of new music offers a smorgasbord of great live acts.Over 30 venues across Brighton will play host to hundreds of acts over the three days from 12 in the afternoon to well after midnight, with even more venues opening their doors for free events as part of the Alternative Escape. We attended the festival for the first time in 2014, and again in 2016, and this year, your humble captain is once again heading over to soak up the sun, atmosphere, and most importantly, the bands, for those three days.

With so many bands playing, it can be hard to decide who to go to see. From experience, we love going to a venue at random without any forethought and discovering a new favourite band that we'd never heard of before. This happened with us with Alvvays when we saw them at our first festival in 2014, and has a surprising knack of happening whenever I'm queuing up to get the free hot-dog that the Australian showcase puts on every year - third time lucky this year? However, it's always worth picking out a few artists beforehand that we'd like to check out, either because it gives us an opportunity to see some new and emerging bands for the first time (especially given our location, as Belfast isn't usually a first port of call for artists at the start of their career), or to see some bands we've enjoyed in the past in a completely different environment. 

So to give you a taster of what to expect, here's a couple of artists that The Metaphorical Boat are intending to see at The Great Escape, and very much hope that you hope to see as well. We should also note that although Ten Fé, Anteros and INHEAVEN are playing this year and I hope to see again this year, they were included in last year's preview, so am not including them again.

All aboard for The Great Escape. and if you see me at the festival, please be sure to say hello. I am usually to be found wearing my captain's hat, and I promise you I'm friendly! - 

Beauty Sleep

Venue - (1) The Hope & Ruin
(2) Jubilee Square

Date/Time - (1) Friday, May 19th 2017 - 2:30pm
(2) Friday, May 19th 2017 - 10:30pm

Why do I care?

The Belfast dream-pop trio have given us such sumptuous gems like "The Dark" & "Living Right", so if you want some chilled-out guitar pop, then these are the guys for you.


Bokito

Venue - Queens Hotel

Date/Time - Saturday, May 20th 2017 - 1:30pm

Why do I care?
The 'tropical indie' band got us excited with their song "Better at Getting Worse", and if they've got a few other songs of that caliber in them, then we'll be in for a real treat.

CHILDCARE

Venue: Queens Hotel

Date/Time - Saturday, May 20th 2017 - 3:30pm

Why do I care?
They've given us one of the best songs of the year so far in "Kiss?", and having supported Bastille recently, the band are clearly being marked for big things, so it may be your last chance to see them in such a small venue. 

Confidence Man


Venue - (1) Komedia
(2) Sticky Mike's Frog Bar
(3) Horatio's

Date/Time - (1) Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 12:10pm
(2) Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 11:30pm
(3) Saturday, May 20th 2017 - 1:30pm

Why do I care?
The Australian band have been firmly on our radar since we fell head over heels with their earworm-y pop number "Bubblegum" a few months back. The videos of them performing live show a group that put on an amazing yet barmy performance, although how well it'll go down in the sort of venues we're used to at The Great Escape is anyone's guess. Might be an idea to see them at one of the larger venues they're playing at.

Drones Club

Venue - Green Door Store

Date/Time - Saturday, May 20th 2017 - 11:15pm

Why do I care?
Drones Club appear to be a mixture between an electronic music collective and a cult - their live performances are described as "devotions". With their visually arresting image, their choreographed dance moves, and irresistibly catchy tunes, Drones Club feel like an act that are going to be important, way beyond their music. 



Ibibio Sound Machine

Venue - Paganini Ballroom

Date/Time - Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 9:15pm 

Why do I care?
Fronted by Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine fuse West-African funk with electronic elements to create something quite special. We've been an admirer of their unique sound for some time, so we're really relishing the prospect of seeing them live at last, particularly when they've got such great songs like "Give Me A Reason", which sounds like it could be the theme tune for a Ghostbusters remake set in Nigeria.




Isobel Anderson

Venue - (1) The Hope & Ruin
(2) Unitarian Church

Date/Time - (1) Friday, May 19th 2017 - 12:00pm 
(2) Friday, May 19th 2017 - 7:30pm

Why do I care?
The first time we saw Isobel Anderson, when she was playing alongside fellow blog favourites Lauren Bird & Ciara O'Neill, she had injured her hand, so was performed entirely acapella, yet completely captivated ourselves and everyone in the room. She's likely to have a bit more backing playing in Brighton, but with several critically acclaimed albums under her belt, as well recent attention for her most recent alt-folk single "Flint Shingle", then you'll be in for a real treat at the festival.

*Update 16/5/17 - Isobel Anderson has pulled out of  The Great Escape due to illness*


OUTLYA

Venue - The Hope & Ruin

Date/Time - Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 8:30pm 

Why do I care?
One of our favourite  performances at The Great Escape 2014 came from the band Port Isla. They've now gone their separate ways, but three members of the band are now going under the name Outlya. They've taking a poppier direction than their previous incarnation, but they've already delivered a few great songs, so will be worth a listen.



Parekh & Singh


Venue - Patterns (Upstairs)

Date/Time - Saturday, May 20th 2017 - 9:45pm 

Why do I care?
The dapper duo from Kolkata have been creating a stir with their dreamy-pop numbers, so if you want a heap of pure georgeousness fed into your ears, these guys seem to be the ones to provide it.


PATHS


Venue - Hotel Pelirocco

Date/Time - Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 4:30pm (part of the Alternative Escape).

Why do I care?
Northern Irish musician Jules Shawe went solo this year after being involved in several local bands over the past few years with her new project PATHS, and after winning over blogs with her cool, electronic sound, she is now playing her first gig outside Northern Ireland at the Great Escape. She's got a heap of great songs in her arsenal, and with a pretty sweet live visual setup, it would be a shame to miss out on it. 




Swimming Tapes


Venue - Coalition


Date/Time - Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 7:00pm 

Why do I care?
Because I said so.

Plus, they've got some lovely jangle-pop songs like "Tides",  and members of the band used to be members of other much loved NI bands like Kowalski & CODA. 

The Rhythm Method

Venue - (1) Brighthelm Centre
(2) Komedia

Date/Time - (1) Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 1:30am 
(2) Saturday, May 20th 2017 - 2:45pm

Why do I care?
Whether you think of them as a disco-infused version of The Street, or the Sleaford Mods with some actual melodies in them, the cheekily-named duo have some really enjoyable tunes infused with pop-culture references.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Apache Darling - Go


Top tip - if you really want us to really, really like your song, you should call it "Go". At least this is the conclusion that we have reached in the past few years, when we've noticed that we've been dis-proportionally attracted to songs of said name within the past few years. In 2015 no more than THREE songs made our list of top songs of the year, from Chemical Brothers, Public Service Broadcasting and Pleasure Beach. Then in 2016, we added another song to our Go-tastic quiver when M83 blew our little cotton socks off with a similarly named song. And of course, there's been other older songs that we love that are called "Go" as well, such as ones by Delilah & Moby.

We're somewhat at a loss to explain why we're so drawn to songs that are called "Go", aside from the obvious fact that they are all rather awesome songs. If I were to put on my amateur cognitive scientist hat on, I may posit that as the word usually denotes a call to action, when our simple little brain sees the word, we are immediately triggered by our innate survival instinct into taking action. I know that whenever I hear the word 'go', I immediately feel the need to take action, regardless of where I am, and regardless of whether it is being directly addressed to me, and I'm sure it would be the same for you.

 In the example of songs called "Go", we are immediately drawn to pressing the play button of a song with this name more than songs with other, less active words attached to them, and by the balance of probabilities, I am more likely to listen to more songs with this word, ergo like more songs that are called "Go". But then again, what do I know? I'm a number-cruncher with a degree in Drama, maybe I'll leave the sciencing to actual scientists.

All that preamble leads us on nicely to the new single from Glasgow quartet Apache Darling. The band have certainly managed to pique our initial interest and trick my simple little brain into hitting play by cleverly titling their single "Go". What made us stick around however, is the fact that it is quite a wonderful song indeed. Written about a prior band break-up, it is a tender yet soaring synth-pop song in the mold of Chvrches or Goldfrapp. A great introduction to a band whom we expect to hear much more from.

"Go" is out now, and will feature on the band's debut E.P, which will be released in the summer.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Emmét McGonigle - No One Likes The Good Guys Anymore


Well, we definitely didn't expect to be writing about more than one musician from Limavady in the space of a week - after all, how much musical talent can a town with approximately 12,000 residents contain?

Well, it seems like it's definitely punching about its weight - first we had Glass Wings earlier in the week, and now comes the turn of singer/songwriter Emmét McGonigle.  Self-described as 'just like Damien Rice... if Damien Rice was a twenty year old curly-headed hipster', he has recently released his debut E.P, from which the single "No One Likes The Good Guys These Days" is taken from. You can definitely hear the influence of Damien Rice on the track, as well as a little bit of Villagers in there as well.

The biggest touchstone in our humble opinion however would be Radiohead, with its acoustic-meets alternate production, with all its atmospheric bells & whistles positioning it somewhere between the band's "The Bends" & "OK Computer". His vocal as a touch of the Thom Yorke in places as well, albeit a 'twenty year old curly-headed hipster' version of Thom Yorke.

"No One Likes The Good Guys These Days" is released on May 8th, and is taken from "The Blame E.P", which is out now.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Sam Fender - Play God


It was inevitable after the success in 2017 of Rag n Bone Man that we'd see quite a few people coming up to make their claim for his throne. So step forward Mr Sam Fender.

The Tynesider has already started to make some waves with his debut single, "Play God". The song has garnered nearly 200k streams on Spotify, been playlisted on Virgin Radio, topped the iTunes singer/songwriter charts, and has been touted by Elton John. It's a song very much in the mold of Hozier & the aforementioned Rag n Bone Man, with its mixture of indie-rock instrumentation and Fender's husky voice. It's a song that we think will have some legs to it, and we predict that before the end of the year, "Play God" is going to be an official top 40 hit in a European country.

"Play God" is out now.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Metaphorical Boat Spotify Playlist - March/April 2017

For those of you who like your musical recommendations in playlist-able Spotify form, on a bimonthly basis The Metaphorical Boat posts a selection of songs that we have been enjoying over the prior eight weeks or so, containing songs that we've written about, new songs that we haven't written about but are enjoying nonetheless, and a few older but fantastic tracks that are currently floating our Metaphorical Boat.

Below you can find our playlist of songs that we really enjoyed in March & April 2017. If you like what you hear, or just want another playlist to add to your growing list of playlists, then we really hope that you'll take the time to visit the playlist on Spotify and give it a follow. You never know, your new favourite song of all time could be somewhere on this playlist!

This month's playlist feature songs from established artists like Public Service Broadcasting, Kasabian, alt-j & British Sea Power, songs from newer bands such as Confidence Man, Tangerines, The Good Water & Clean Cut Kid, plus local acts like Owen Denvir, Glass Wings, Sullivan & Gold, WASPS & BROR. Lots of great music from lots of great people for your ear-based amusement.



In addition, as of 2017 The Metaphorical Boat has started a rotating playlist of songs, which we will update on a regular basis. You've seen it on the sidebar of our blog, now you get to see it in a blog post as well. Hurrah for duplication!

 As soon as we come across a new song that we like, it will automatically go to the top of this playlist, and we will remove a song from the playlist as soon as it has been on it for 2 months, so if you give it a follow, you will always have a fine conveyor belt of fantastic music courtesy of us at The Metaphorical Boat. You can find the playlist as it stands as of now below -


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Glass Wings - Made For Me/Jana From Barcelona


Glass Wings is the new project of Limavady's Stephen Jones, who has been involved in bands locally for many years, starting Glass Wings last year as an outlet for his solo material. He quickly came onto our radar in the past few weeks, after having the pleasure of seeing him live twice in the space of six days, firstly playing as a finalist at Chordblossom's Kickstart competition, then watching him put in a strong support slot for Aidan Logan.

He's gearing up to release his first E.P next month, and so far he has released two rather nice songs from it. Firstly, there's "Made For Me", a slow, folk-infused song that would go down well with fans of fellow local act PORTS among others.



It is the second song from the E.P that he's released however that we have really taken a shine to. We heard Glass Wings play "Jana From Barcelona" live both times with just an acoustic guitar and really loved its melody. Now that we've heard the full band studio version, we have fallen in love with it even more.

It's a tune that gives us echoes of 90s American "grown-up" guitar-pop songs, and although it's not a strongly country-sounding song, it does seem like something we could imagine being covered by The Mavericks. An absolutely lovely, infectious, Adult Contemporary Radio-friendly song.



Both songs are taken from Glass Wings' debut E.P, "Jana From Barcelona", which will be released in May.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Tom Williams - Everybody Needs a Home/Little Bird


Now here is an artist that has been on our radar for several years now, but have never felt the urge to write about. Until now that is.

Tom Williams has been plying his trade for several years, with many of his releases as Tom Williams & The Boat receiving airplay on 6music, which is where we first came to hear from him. Since then, we've come across several songs by him that we've liked, but nothing that has really grabbed our attention. However, now that he is no longer the helmsman of The Boat, and is back to recording as a solo artist, he recently released a brace of singles that have made us sit up and take notice of him.

The first song is "Everyone Needs A Home". Inspired by the ongoing refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, the song harks back to 70s American rock, and is topped off by soaring, lush strings that are just simply irresistible. It is a song that came out of nowhere, really took us aback, and finds itself as a strong contender to be our favourite song of the year come December time.



The second song from Tom Williams that grabbed our attention came out earlier this month, and has a rather different sound altogether. "Little Bird" is more of a driving, rock & roller of a song, with strong blues-y guitar riffs, somewhere in the vicinity of Miles Kane.



So that's two great singles from Tom Williams that he's given us in 2017. If the rest of his upcoming album is anything like that, then it's going to be a brilliant, diverse record indeed.

Both "Everybody Needs a Home" and "Little Bird" will both feature on the fifth album from Tom Williams, "All Change", which will be released on May 26th.

Brödet - Loser


This is a great little song from Brödet, a band based in Stockholm in Sweden. "Loser" is a song that is very much in the mold of  a more laidback version of The War on Drugs, with its atmospheric, hazy sound. Really nice indeed.

"Loser" is out now.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Step Rockets - Money


Goodness gracious, has it really been three years since we last wrote about Minneapolis trio Step Rockets on the blog? Apparently so, although thee of "Kisser", "Phantom Flower", and many other groovy songs have been keeping busy these last few years, including compiling their best singles into a consolidated release, "Future Nature", last year.

They've a new single out, which given that it's been released right in the middle of the tax season, is rather aptly called "Money". It is a song that is very much in the style of Step Rockets, in taking the rock format and tweaking it slightly to make it more palatable for the current audience - once again, we think that Imagine Dragons would be the closest musical comparison. Unfortunately its rather liberal use of profanity does preclude it from being the alt-rock radio hit that it has the capability of being, but I'm sure there's a less cuss-y edit of it out there if needs must.

"Money" is out now.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

BRØR - Something New


Last night, the winner of Chordblossom's Kickstart competition was announced, and after much deliberation among the judges (full disclosure - your humble captain was part of the panel), it was decided that the winner of the competition was BRØR. They will receive a raft of support to help them in their musical career, including recording time, CD duplication, and a number of supporting slots at gigs and festivals over the next couple. The runners up on the night included Glass Wings, Claire Louise and Sam Wickens, and although they didn't come out on top, we have a feeling we will be covering them on the blog in the future.

So who are BRØR? They are an Armagh based duo made up of brothers Ben & Johno (Hence the name BRØR, which is Swedish for brothers). They were previously members of HOW (a band that we covered on the blog three years ago), and are purveyors of driving rock of the alt and noise variety. "Something New" is their first single, and the song by that won many of us over to their sound. Both their band line-up and sound call to mind Japandroids, with its heavy, bass-absent sound, yearning lyrics and rocky harmonies. They've got a lot of other great songs waiting in the wings, so we are looking forward to what they're going to do now that they've got a bit of traction behind them.

"Something New" is out now.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Sullivan & Gold - Guatamala


The first album by Sullivan & Gold, "For Foes", was well received on its release, being nominated for the Northern Ireland Music Prize and spawning great songs like "Jigsaws". Since then, Sullivan & Gold has gone from being a duo to being the solo project of Ben Robinson, who has now left the North Coast to relocate to Durham. He's spent some time in between travelling to places a far flung as Uganda, and Guatemala, the latter of which has inspired his first single in quite a while.

"Guatemala" is a song that twists the personal and the political into one package, with its soaring strings and tender vocals underpinning a song filled with both pain and hope. It's a strong song with a soaring melody, and quite possibly the strongest single that Sullivan & Gold has given us to date. A wonderful return.

"Guatemala" is out now, with an album to follow later in the year.