Having already heard Empathy Test’s new single ‘Monsters’ we were very intrigued to give their new album of the same name a listen this week ahead of its release on 22nd May.
The 10 track album is full of variety from the chilled out rhythm of ‘Making Words’ to the more up-beat ‘Holy Rivers’ this is definitely an album to include in your lockdown playlists.
Not only this, the true to life lyrics resonate very deeply with us in today’s COVID-19 society. ‘Incubation Song’’s talk of containment and imprisonment isn’t too far from how we feel during lockdown and ‘Fear of Disappearing’ speaks of the loneliness of this world dominated by social media, which has perhaps never been so true as it has now. In fact, the whole album includes superb song-writing by the whole band who all contribute to the lyrics of their songs.
With this album, Empathy Test look to cement themselves as one of the most inventive, emotionally affecting and addictive musical experiences around and we believe that this album goes a long way to making this a reality.
Everyone’s favourite 80’s new wave band, A Flock of Seagulls, are making a comeback!
For the first time since 1984, all four original members of the band appear on-record together for brand new album ‘Ascension’. To celebrate their return, we’re re-living the best covers of the band’s smash hit ‘I Ran (So Far Away)’. What’s clear from the variety of versions is that there’s not a corner of the music industry A Flock of Seagulls haven’t touch with their calling card hit. From stripped-back piano renditions, to pop-punk covers, and a rap homage, there’s a little something for everyone below.
This renowned songstress covered the hit on her Original Sinsuality/Summer Of Sin tour in Denver, during Piano Bar Time, after confessing she had ‘gotten into this weird 80’s thing’. Despite worrying aloud that her cover might not be up to scratch, she later released the version along with the rest of the show in the 3rd CD of The Original Bootlegs. This video is a live audio recording from her show at Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO on 19 April 2005.
The pop punk heroes put their stamp on the single for the 2003 reissue of Drunk Enough to Danceand their Punk Rock 101 single. Both the original and the punk cover are the theme song of the American DiC dubbed version of Saint Seiya, also known as Knights of the Zodiac. The cover is also featured in the film National Lampoon’s Van Wilder: Freshman Year.
Buy Bowling For Soup – Drunk Enough to Dance here.
Hidden in Plain View
This New Jersey five-piece gave I Ran (So Far Away) the post-hardcore treatment for covers compilation album Punk Goes 80’sunder Fearless Records. It’s not miles away from the Bowling For Soup cover, but if you’re looking for a little more grit and a little less bounce, this is the cover for you. Buy Punk Goes 80’s here.
Darude & Blake Lewis (Gareth Emery remix)
Well, you never have to wonder what it would sound like to cross a platinum-selling Finnish DJ, an American Idol finalist, and a trance legend with 80’s new wave. Darude and Blake Lewis covered the tune in 2008, before Gareth Emery got his hands on it, turning it into this floor-filling banger.
The titans of rock aired their no-frills, high-octane version during several dates of their Dark Horse tour in 2010, with guitarist Ryan Peake on lead vocal duties.
The comedy duo contributed this unbeatable cover for an SNL skit entitled ‘Iran So Far’. Andy Samberg serenades Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadeinejad (Fred Armisen) with a song about their undeniable love, while Maroon 5’s Adam Levine lends his vocals for the ‘I Ran’ chorus. If you’re not sold on that information alone, know that there’s also a cameo by Jake Gyllenhaal.
You’ve heard the pop punk covers, the stripped down piano versions, and the comedy takes, now it’s time to hear the rap version. American spitter Slim Thug adds a taste of the streets with his cover ‘I Run’. The track, which was featured on his 2009 album Boss of All Bosses, interpolates through his bars.
Not many artists can say they’ve outsold legendary acts such as Earth, Wind & Fire, except for Canada’s own Crack of Dawn who are back with Spotlight, featuring a collection of classic tracks.
With other titles such as being the first black band to be signed to a major label (CBS) as well as being picked up by Otis Redding’s producer, Crack of Dawn were anticipated for bigger things, though word from them remained quiet… until now.
Returning with a selection of re-recorded classics from the band as well as some new tracks, Crack of Dawn’s Spotlight is an authentic return to the classic funk and soul sounds of their era.
The overarching theme of the album seems to be nostalgia and sentimentality, what Spotlight does exceedingly well is maintain an authentic sound throughout; it does not do anything out of the ordinary and the album is actually not that adventurous – and that’s fine.
For funk fans, there is something for everyone, from the strong Stevie Wonder vibes on one of the lead tracks ‘Booby Ruby’ to the falsetto vocals on ‘Keep the Faith’ that allude to a sound similar to what the Ohio Players had on their album Honey.
The album opens up strong with the classic and unmistakable funk sounds, ‘Crack of Dawn’ does a great job in laying out what the band is capable of, from the jazz inclined funk virtuosity to the soaring synth melodies and strong bass grooves. The first four tracks of the album maintain that uplifting funk quality as seen with their contemporaries, what Spotlight manages to capture in the earlier parts of the album are different flavors of funk from their era, ‘Somebody’s Watching’ features almost a 1970s “cop-drama” tonality to it with the wah-heavy guitars with a catchy descending riff during the chorus.
Halfway through the album with ‘It’s alright’ changes the pace with an authentic funk ballad that heavily enforces the theme of sentimentality and nostalgia throughout the album. The theme reaches its pinnacle with the track ‘Ol’ Skool’ which sounds like it could have come straight out of the late 70s, the track also pays homage to their contemporaries through the years within the lyrical content, ‘Ol’ Skool’ comes across as a a labor of love and defines the bands mission.
Whilst the album remains authentic to its sound and doesn’t deviate from its purpose, its biggest flaw is the length in which the album tends to latch on to the sentimental ballad sounds. Tracks five through to nine are all sentimental ballads with only slight variations on how they approach the stereotypical funk-ballad sounds, and whilst the dynamics of the album are thoroughly consistent, by track nine the ballads become exhausting, despite how well they are crafted. With only one track left of the album there is very little opportunity to pick up from where the album started.
‘Changes’, the final track finally picks up the pace and invokes a big finale to the album, bringing it back to the big, groovy funk tracks that started the album and brings a full circle to what the band can do.
Spotlight is a great album because it’s an authentic return to funk. In a time where experimentation is key to surviving in the music world, it’s nice to hear something new and modern that throws the listener back to the 1970’s and the dawn of funk. Spotlight is not adventurous and doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary, and that’s okay – because it’s a nostalgic throwback to the times where they outsold Earth, Wind & Fire. It’s the bands opportunity to reminisce the good old days.
You can keep up to date with Crack of Dawn and purchase the latest album by following their social network links below;
Four piece Norwegian band The Nave Blues have a sound that takes what you love about traditional blues rock and alternative rock and melded it together, all apparent in track ‘Possess You’.
The blues revivalists who have already covered and released what is considered an epic rendition of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Thank You’ are showing they mean business when it comes to reviving a genre as legendary as the Blues.
Armed with the authentic instruments, the four piece have nailed a sound that is both contemporary and pays homage to the genre. It couldn’t get any better with a harmonica player such as Nave Pundik, who opens the track with a blistering solo.
‘Possess You’ is a thoughtful blend of contemporary rock and traditional blues, though leaning more towards blues rock as opposed to delta or traditional blues. The song definitely has an alternative rock feel to it akin to Soundgarden, almost.
The song takes from the alternative sound as well as obvious influence Led Zeppelin, where the song shines is its dynamic changes, what starts of subtle proceeds to blast the listener with some catchy riffs.
‘Possess You’ also takes advantage with its mix, the raw aesthetic brings out the most in the track, particularly the harmonica solo which defines the grittiness that is accustomed with Blues Rock.
Overall, ‘Possess You’ is a great track that blends both traditional blues rock and alternative rock into a familiar package, whilst not shying away from showing off the sound that The Nave Blues have crafted.
You can keep up to date with The Nave Blues on their social network links below;
After a lengthy break from the industry following the perceived ‘kick in the teeth’ by Britpop’s lad culture in the mid 90’s, The Machismo’s are making a comeback with a brand new album set to be released March 3rd. The band was voted in the NME as one of the ‘band’s to watch’ in the 90’s, and were given an NME single of the week for their single ‘My Narghile’, which was also playlisted on BBC Radio 1.
The Machismo’s are back in business ‘putting the punk back into indie’ whilst conforming to a Taoist lifestyle of peace, love, veganism, qi gong and yoga! It makes for a stark and compelling contrast, with elements of Ty Seagall, Connan Mockasin, Alt-J as well as spikier, punchier moments akin to Royal Blood or Thee Oh Sees.
The new album, subtly titled ‘Britpop Fucked My Wife’, has roots stretching back 18 years, before drugs and depression put a halt to one of Indie’s most promising trio’s. But now, reinvigorated and refreshed, The Machismo’s are back to their best with a planned future tour and more new music than ever before. There is an immediacy to their brand of rock that simply just isn’t out there anymore, and it deserves to be celebrated.
For proof, here is the powerfully pounding single ‘My Narghile’ (which is a Greek hash pipe- not something the band wishes to encourage the use of anymore!):
More experienced this time round, The Machismo’s are determined to make their way forward with their unique brand of in your face experimental indie pop, coupled with mellower songs of peace and positivity. The name itself is something of an ironic reaction to the masculinity inherent in the music business, and indeed the world, and the band want to challenge this kind of behaviour in the laudable belief that it is time women should take control of everything, to make the world a better place.
A true one-off in a music industry of copycats, The Machismo’s have overcome many personal battles and demons to return to the stage stronger and better than ever.
Single ‘My Narghile’ will be out Feb 23rd as a digital download, with album following March 3rd on 12″ vinyl and download, on Machismo’s Records.
Links: https://www.facebook.com/TheMachismos http://sturmunddrangrecordings.bandcamp.com/
‘Apple Of My Eye’ are one of the most exciting acts around at the moment and they have just announced the release of new album ‘Seven Tides’, due out 1st December.
The London lads are originally from the historic maritime city of Bristol and their songs draw inspiration from both cities and from the sea, a theme that runs throughout their second album. Their engaging storytelling style and four part harmonies explore tales of love, loss, adventure and ruin.
You may spotted the guys at a festival this summer as they played the, Tall Ships Festival Greenwich, Secret Garden Party, Wilderness and headlining Exile festival in Sheffield.
The band describe their music as “brand new old songs” and collectively generate all their own material drawing on personal experiences and carefully arranging the music on the guitar, bouzouki, violin, double bass, mandolin and harmonica.
Catch the guys live in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsyM68eQux4
The bands musical talent is most certainly something to boast about, check their credentials…
Kit Massey (Violin) and Phil Cornwell (Bass) are both full time professional musicians. Cornwell is the musical director of West End musical “The Scotsboro Boys’’ and Massey was formally a violinist with the Santiago Philamonia in Chile and has worked as a session musician with artists such as Emile Sande, Dizzie Rascal, Muse and Jamie Cullum. Arran Glass (Vocals and Guitar) and Alex Scott (Mandolin) are both professional Actor-Musicians and Puppeteers who perform and compose the music for a variety of theatre and television. Chris (Bouzouki), Dan (Harmonica) and Ellie Rusbridge (Vocals) are all siblings and come from a rich folk music heritage as their parents met in a folk club and still perform in their own folk band Thornbridge.
Links: www.applesinlondon.com https://www.facebook.com/applesinlondon https://twitter.com/applesinlondon https://soundcloud.com/apple-of-my-eye
Electronic rock group set for first four piece EP on September 1st
Having released last February’s ‘The Way I Feel Pt. 1’ EP as an electronic-rock three piece, SouLost return with part two this Autumn with an added bassist and a brand new sound.
‘The Way I Feel Pt. 2’ marks an evolution of sound from the London based group, with new bassist Lux joining Ceira (vocals), Stef (guitar/songwriter) and Law (drums) to create a heavier, more expansive sound that veers closer to melodic speed rock than the songs on its predecessor.
For a taste, check out this sneak peak – EP track ‘Without Me’:
Boasting a brilliant female vocal and a huge, layered sound, the track indicates a genuine step forward for the band in terms of sound, and should see them build on support already garnered for their first EP.
The lead track from ‘The Way I Feel Pt. 1’ was titled ‘Save Me’, and saw SouLost featured on the Best of British Unsigned playlist, leading to airplay in 16 countries over 88 radio stations. It was also featured on Amazing Radio’s ‘Amazing Rock Show’ playlist upon release, and SouLost will be hoping their new direction provokes similarly positive feedback.
Not bad at all for an EP written by Stef during a 6 hour wait to be rescued with a broken down car.
‘The Way I Feel Pt. 2’ is available from September 1st
https://www.facebook.com/soulostofficial Tweets by SouLostOfficial
Album, The Futures Mine to Make, to follow August 11th
Alternative rock group, Pavilions, have release debut single ‘Futures’ off their new album The Futures Mine to Make. The band, hailing from The Wirral, has taken their local area by storm with their post-hardcore sound influenced by musicians such as Don Broco, Sleeping with Sirens and Emarosa.
‘Futures’ begins with a lingering, flawlessly crafted vocal and guitar riff, exploding into an exciting upbeat rock track – a sound the band have become known for and accentuates their musical talent. The single sums up the whole vibe and direction of the album namely that it is about making the most of your time on this planet and the realisation that the past will always stay the same but you have the ability to shape the future you want.
Check out the video for the track here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXOn1YWgLEE
Pavilions’ have certainly found their musical direction with new album The Futures Mine to Make, seeing exciting collaborations with the likes of producer, Dan Lancaster (Don Broco, JLS, Rita Ora, Little Mix) and track features from Johnny Craig and Violet front man, Charlie Bass.
Their career highlights include a support slot with Jonny Craig and playing to an almost sold out crowd supporting Fearless Vampire Killers and the o2 academy in Liverpool. They have also played a whole host of hometown shows supporting the likes of Deaf Havana, Alkaline Trio and Lower than Atlantis.
With such charisma and dedicated support, the potential this band has is colossal and 2014 is looking like it could be their breakthrough year.
“absolutely excellent. A good blend of melody with a hint of aggression… they fed off one another to give a thoroughly enjoyable show”
Natalie Humphries – Soundscape
“Finding pure, unadulterated talent like this is rare”
Claire Sheridan – Bring the Noise
Tezz Roberts – Vocals
Ryan ‘Coop’ Cooper – Guitar/Vocals
Tel Earthey – Drums
Matty Daley – Bass
Alexander Headen – Guitar
https://www.facebook.com/pavilionsband Tweets by pavilionsband
Ahead of releasing their fourth Album in October, Haight-Ashbury will be supporting Paolo Nutini on his sell out European dates starting this weekend. After taking a break from touring to record their new album, the Glasgow band will be releasing a new single “ Hard Handsome Woman” on September 7th and their own UK/European dates starting in November.
3rd May | Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht, Netherlands
5th May | Le Trianon, Paris, France
7th May | Docks, Hamburg, Germany
8th May | E-Werk, Cologne, Germany
9th May | Backstage Werk, Munich, Germany https://www.facebook.com/HaightAshbury www.haightashbury.co.uk
Owing a clear debt to the New Wave 80s rock of The Cure, Den Haag are a four piece based in the South of the UK. The track ‘Haunted’ is taken from their debut full length album ‘Bleak Unknown’, a follow up to first EP ‘Trials & Tributes’.
Typical of their style, this is a track built around a solid drum and bass line that kicks the whole thing off. From there, the guitar lines and raw vocal are the cherry on top – a looping, rasping pair of melodies that intertwine and entertain.