Sunday, 24 March 2019

Pale Pose


Pale Pose

Unsigned Artist

Album: 'Doorways'

7/10

If you like 'Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds' you will love 'Pale Pose' a band that seeks to marry darkness and tenderness with the same attitude and poetry as Nick Cave. This USA band also adds a twist by creating their own blend of Southern Gothic music to the mix of poetry and spiritual truths. There is even a touch of 'Black Sabbath' influence here on the heavier sounding tracks.

'Pale Pose' is a band formed by Tom Ashton... ex 'March Violets' and 'Clan of Xymox' guitarist and Kyle Kendall who is the lyricist and the concept creator of 'Doorways.'

The general theme of the album is a wish to create a new set of morals to live by rejecting organised religion and seeking a higher truth of power and meaning within ourselves. The album cover art work reflects this idea of a figure lighting a fire. This is one fire for one person and represents the fire in each individual and calls out to the the living God that lives within each person as they understand that God.

The track 'Shadow Tooth' is the start of this theory on the album and calls for a greater feeling of self acceptance whether this is good or bad within ourselves. This track is about embracing the 'Shadow' side of being human and accepting it.

'Masks With Blue Dynamite' is the stand out track on the album. Aside from having a dynamic title which came to the lyricist in a dream the track has an abstract and powerful feeling which reflects the title.

Each track on the album invites you through a different doorway in the mind in which to view your concept of your own existence.

'A Parcel Apart'  feels like the soundtrack to a 'Gothic Spaghetti Western' movie, or perhaps stranded in the Nevada desert in California you can almost feel the sand on your lips.

This is a new band waiting to be discovered. If you love Goth music I recommend that you discover them.




Thursday, 21 March 2019

Robert Swipe

Robert Swipe

Album: 'Dollz'

Release Date: 17th April 2019 (Bandcamp)

Unsigned Artist

7/10

The track 'Angels' begins with a church choir which then merges into binaural beats and vocals. This album contains ambitiously long tracks which are not restricted by convention. In fact the whole album does not allow itself to be restricted by any sort of rules. When Queen first recorded Bohemian Rhapsody they were told it was too long at five minutes and fifty five seconds  and now with the internet age artists are able to record songs that last ten minutes or more if they wish. Such was the power of commercial radio and and now such is the power of the internet. Robert Swipe creates records and promotes his own music and very much does his own thing. This album is an interesting example of what is achievable as an independent artist.

'Did you think that angels cared?
If you're frightened and you're scared?
So I climb into bed with the angels and you.'

This track is almost a Gothic reply to Robbie Williams famous track of the same name.

The title track 'Dollz' is about WW1 soldiers being moved around like dolls in the trenches. For me however it also has a double meaning in a feminist sense of this concept in the manner that women are expected to present themselves in an artificial way in order to be more accepted in general. Interestingly this also now applies to men as equality has put the some of the same pressures on men that women have been dealing with for years. From fake tan to make-up to plastic surgery all of us as a society are fed the message by the media that we would happier and more successful if we resembled dolls. For me this is the interpretation and feeling I get from the title track and in some ways it has a gender fluid meaning in reference to the album cover artwork.

Much of this album draws it's inspiration from David Bowie, but the stand out track on this album is 'Unicorns' inspired by the image of people swimming using Unicorn swimming floats.

'I will make you beautiful. Just close your eyes'

'Unicorns' Is a pleasant transportation to a dreamy white fluffy clouds song with a laser-beam break.

an interesting album of experimentation.






Monday, 18 March 2019

The Claim 'Boomy Tella'

The Claim

Album: Title 'Boomy Tella'                                                           

Label: A Turntable Friend Records

Release Date: May 24th 2019

8/10

The revival of vinyl makes me dance with joy and 'The Claim' have created a beautiful Green vinyl release which has been remastered from the original tapes of their classic album  'Boomy Tella' a mod-influenced album that was originally part of The Medway scene and a huge influence on 'Blur.'

'The Claim have recently celebrated their album launch at 'The 100 club' alongside fellow John Peel favourites 'The Jasmine Minks' This album is perfect for fans of 'The Beautiful South' and 'The Smiths' with it's working class 'slice of life' characters such as 'Not so simple Sharon' and 'Mrs Shepherd'

Hints of a  working class Catholic upbringing in 'Not so Simple Sharon says' and 'Love Letter portrays a sweet tune with sour lyrics about the funeral of a disliked relative. The Claim are truly an Indie band who have always marched to the beat of their own drum and shunned commercialism. Listening to their music you can hear their distinctive influence on later bands.

'The Claim's music is timeless as it talks about the human condition. Rather than following fads and trends in musical ideas. If you enjoy the countless bands that have been influenced by 'The Claim' you will love the original.




Louise Aubrie

Louise Aubrie

Single: 'When I don't love you I'll let you know'                                               

Label: Carrot Bone Records

Release Date: 15th March 2019

9/10

It is a bold and unique twist to write a song about a Cary Grant film and Louise Aubrie has done just that. 'It Was No One's Fault But Mine I Must Confess' has been taken from her forth studio album 'When I  Don't Love You I'll Let You Know' and was inspired by 'An Affair to Remember'

It's a smart move to revolve your lyrics around  a movie that starred the most charming man in cinematic history.

'Forever I'm wrapped in your caress. The nearest thing to heaven.'

Louise Aubrie has the kind of British voice that I love. Her voice has a direct natural sound that reminds me in tone of Kim Wilde and in attitude she reminds me of Dusty Springfield and Sandie Shaw. It's a singing voice without pretension that pulls the listener into the story of the song quickly, which is an essential quality to capture the attention of a room at a gig and also essential for radio play. No surprise then that Louise Aubrie has been heavily praised by BBC6  music and Radio 2 as her voice has a immediacy that makes you feel you are attending a live gig in a small room and an intimate quality that allows you to feel a connection with this engaging love story based on a classic film. There are also quality people behind the scenes here. The single was produced by Andy Woodard who drums for Adam Ant and guitar backing is provided by the legendary Boz Boorer (Morrisey's musical director)  Louise is also the soul writer for this album and it's good to see this female talent shining through the indie music scene.

https://open.spotify.com/artist/7p7Vqfnte6hZbTIQxrZMmx







Saturday, 16 March 2019

Black Bombers Vol 4


Black Bombers

Album Title: Black Bombers Vol 4

Label: Easy Action Records

Release date: 29 March 2019

8/10

Birmingham Rock Trio Black Bombers have created this mini-album as a homage to the music of the mid-eighties. This is proto- punk rock and roll coming at you live and in your face a mini- album recorded in one weekend.

'Animals and Cages' has a sexy drum heavy intro - and is unusual in it's style of polished backing with raw vocals, Jimi Hendrix style guitar breaks and a sudden ending.

'Day after Day' opens with 'The Who' style chords and then swings into is a change of pace with a 'Manic Street Preachers' vibe.

'Your ghost like eyes like diamonds, It gets me through the day.'

Alan Byron's vocals sound like someone who used to be angry but they got over it. A kind of muted anger. not quite punk and an element of risk taking style, while 'Hair of the dog' has a sliding guitar and almost a 'Thin Lizzy' feel.

'Gnarly' is the stand-out track on this album - Dave Twist whacks those sticks like no-ones business - it's gritty and sexy and this is the kind of rock drumming that I love to listen to. This track reminds me of 'The Damned.' and that is about the highest compliment I can pay here. Guitarist Darren Birch is a former member of   'Gunfire Dance' which were signed to 'Island' and produced by Brian James and Rat Scabies.

'Sometimes' is  a track in the same vein as 'Gnarly' and sounds like a continuation of 'Gnarly' again some fantastic drumming on here. This mini-album serves up a great taste of 'Black Bomber.' and as a new comer to this band, I am now anxious to go through their back story and hear more. Great rock with great attitude.





Wednesday, 13 March 2019

The Urban Voodoo Machine

The Urban Voodoo Machine

Album Title: '15 Shots from The Urban Voodoo Machine'

Label: Gypsy Hotel Records

Release date: 11th May 2018

9/10

I am going to make no secret of the fact that I LOVE The Urban Voodoo Machine. Paul-Ronney Angel's gravelly vocals are right up my street. When you have started to feel that there are no original ideas happening out there and you have given up hope of finding something interesting and unique. I urge you to listen to this album. The tracks on this album vary in subject but are all about the human condition such as 'The Kinks' inspired 'Pipe and Slippers Man.'

'The things he’s seen
The things he’s done
He’s not too proud of
But they can’t be undone
So he pours himself another drink
And tries to forget'

But you also get the downright political track  'While we were all asleep.' is a thoughtful track all about fake news and the way that the mainstream media successfully distract the public with trivia while real issues go unchallenged.

This album is studded with unique ideas. Orphan's Lament is about Paul-Ronney Angel's tough childhood and 'January Blues' is perfect therapy to help get you through January as you realise you are not the only one suffering in this miserable month as you listen to the lyrics of this song you enjoy a sort of therapy, a twisted therapy admittedly, but much of The Urban Voodoo Machine's lyrics offer up a roundabout sort of reassurance that both audience and band are in it together. This band has a philosophy of entwined audience connection both in live performance and on record. The really special quality that TUVM have is that you can't put them in a box. This music isn't blues it isn't punk it isn't jazz it's a combination of all of these things plus ideas you never heard of before plus attitude. It's Bourbon soaked Gypsy Blues Bop 'n Stroll' and it's unique only to 'The Urban Voodoo Machine.'

This is a band that are disarmingly honest about such difficult subjects as mental health, addiction, anger which results in a feeling for the listener that no one is truly alone. That we are are all part of the human experience and in the end, this album is life affirming.










Slowness 'Rose' single review

Slowness

Album Title: 'Berths'

Single Title: 'Rose'

Label: Schoolkids Records

Single Release Date: April 3rd 2019

9/10

'Slowness' were formed in San Francisco and are now based in New York. 'Rose' is the first single release from their long play album which will be released in June. This follows from their 2014 album: 'How to keep from falling off a mountain' and 2013 album: For those who wish to see the glass half full.' The band are called 'Slowness' as they wish to keep their music mid tempo on purpose as lyricist Geoffrey Scott explains that this reflects the psychological state of the USA at the current time. All the band members were going through personal break-ups in the middle of the creation of this single. However 'Rose' does not reflect sadness or angst. Rather it reminds me of 'Morcheeba'
and makes me visualise a time when you have just been let out of school or the workplace and the whole summer is ahead of you. It made me feel as if I was at Brighton Beach at the start of the season of optimism. Or on a Californian beach digging my toes into wet white sand. Drummer Christy Davis has been playing for 30 years in New York City working with such names as Adam Horovitz (Beastie Boys) and Julie Lynn has said that she has opened up 'Slowness' in a new direction. I agree and I felt transported by this single and look forward to hearing the album release.




Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Your 33 Black Angels 'Eternities I' album review


Your 33 Black Angels                                     

Album Title: 'Eternities I'

Release date: May 7th 2019

8/10

If you like 'Talking Heads' you will like this album as it possesses the same New York attitude with a surreal vibe. Take a bag of  'space dust' sweets and add a swig of lemonade and you get the feeling of this album - frothy but dangerous. The lead track of this album is 'Hott Fun' which starts like a spacecraft landing then switches to a jangling catchy dance beat, then surprises you again on the Bowie influenced key change to 'Sugar sweet gumdrops' and an irresistible seventies vibe.

'Your 33 Black Angels' music takes me back to an 80's sensibility highly influenced by Bjork and Lou Reed. The Track 'Dark G' starts you off gently before pulling you in with a guitar riff then swooping away again, moving backwards and forwards in depth of sound. Artwork for the ears.

'Loathe' is a clever title as it sounds very like 'Love' and has an upbeat feeling. You could easily think you were listening to an ordinary love song until you study the lyrics. This is my favourite track on the album, I like it's contorted charm.

'Britpop Reveries' is a wistful ode to Brit Pop taking it's cues from 'Pulp' 'Blur' and 'The Kinks' but maintaining it's original take on this era. Josh Westfal has a vocal style reminiscent of Russell Mael from Sparks. 'Eternities I' reminds me simultaneously of several of my favourite bands and music genres but also throws out several of it's own revelations. An enjoyable slice of New York style.



Friday, 8 March 2019

BLACK LIGHT WHITE DARK ALBUM REVIEW



Album title Black Light White Dark

Label Solemn Wave Records
Release date: 22 February 2019
8/10


If you like your female vocals strong and raw then alternative rock artist Evi Vine is the perfect voice for your ears - smashing all expected conventions  Evi's voice tears through the tracks on this powerful album from the focus track 'Sabbath' to the mellow and tender 'My only Son.' Evi puts her individual stamp on all the tracks. Evi is accompanied by Stephen Hill, Matt Tye and David GB Smith who complete the group and create a deceptively large sound for only four humans in a studio. 

Evi Vine has previously collaborated with Peter Yates (Fields of the Nephilim) and Michael Ciravolo from Gothic inspirational album 'Beauty in Chaos'

'I Am The Waves' is an oceanic bluesy track submerged in sorrow whereas 'Afterlight' is a dystopian wasteland: 'We rearrange the sky in the white sunlight foundations falling pulling back time.'


'We Are Made of Star' is an unusual track based on white noise whispering, ghost-like hypnotic which conjures up the feeling of your stereo being invaded. 

'Sad Song Number 9 is an epic journey of improvised emotions.

Never turning to Gothic cliques - this is an ethereal album with a unique viewpoint and searing vocal technique turning musical storytelling on it's head. 








Sunday, 3 March 2019

shapeshiftingaliens album review

Album title: shapeshiftingaliens
Label: The Sublunar Society
Release date 15 February 2019
8/10

Welcome to the wonderful eccentric world of 'shapeshiftingaliens' the debut of their album of the same name allows you to delve deep into the concept of electronic music in a whole new light. Reminiscent of David Bowie and Gary Numan, this album takes you on a surreal trip through childhood memories of seventies rock and T-Rex with the excellent track 'Little Bit' leading up to the climax of a swirling circus nightmare of electric dreams with the track 'Stay' The duo of shapshiftingaliens provide the soundtrack to their own surreal lifestyle. Their music creates a world for the listener to inhabit for the duration of the album, a world that marries Salvador Dali with Blade Runner futurism all wrapped up in a steampunk aesthetic. Runquist and Cleve met when they were working with eccentric Swedish wizard 'Iodine Jupiter and their partnership has gone from strength to strength ever since. Johan Cleve providing the vocals and Niklas Runquist providing songwriting and at times electronic violin. The track 'Fade away' is a haunting yet beautiful vision of a dystopian future. The movie influences of 'Blade Runner' are clear in Runquist's lyrics:

'A new world order stained and tagged in grime
Illusions trapped when our religions disappear
The flight of footsteps am I sure they're mine?
Don't fall asleep you might be next to be aware'

The LP is also titled 'shapeshiftingaliens' and it draws it's influence from such diverse artists as David Bowie, Tin Machine, Brian Eno and Rundquist's additional band 'Leather Nun.' (a groundbreaking band from the 1980's) There is a sense of the dramatic to all of the songs on this album and the listener could easily imagine this as a film soundtrack as the images the music creates span vividly in your mind. This album makes the eccentric accessible and allows the listener to experience electronic music in a whole different light. A unique album with a David Bowie vibe this music evokes memories of the seventies with a contemporary twist. 

An enjoyable album which may convert people who think they don't like electronic music. 






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