Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Tremendous - Relentless

Released: 15 May 2020
Label: Horrendous Records
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Tremendous are a new band from Birmingham UK and this is their debut album. Their sound is a fusion of Glam rock, Power Pop and even a bit of Punk.

It opens with 'Don't Leave Our Love (Open For Closing)' a big ballad. It is a combination of the 90s Brit pop of Suede, and 70s Glam of Bowie. The overall sound and production is quite polished like 80s stadium rock. I'm not a huge fan of the examples I have mentioned here but this album was surprisingly enjoyable.

'Like Dreamers Do' is the standout song here and a really anthemic pop song. I could imagine this getting regular radio airplay and being sung by large crowds at music festivals.

Other highlights include 'Rock N Roll Satellite' which is reminiscent of Bowie at his most 'pop' stage and is extremely catchy. It even references the 'Spiders on Mars' in the lyrics. 'Heart Sinker' has a heavier punk edge, yet still has strong hooks and is full of energy. The terrific 'Hell is only a Blessing Away' is another favourite here, I love the loud to quiet dynamic.

On the whole, this is a great debut and there are some sensational pop songs here. Definitely a band to watch out for and if anyone could potentially start a guitar music revival, its them.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

The Late Pioneers - Isolation Tapes

Released: 17 Apr 2020
Label: _
Listen and Buy Here

The Late Pioneers had one of my favourite EPs of last year and this is their latest one. It is a 'Lockdown' and Coronavirus themed EP. It is obviously brave of them to do, due to the severity of this. A lot of people are losing their lives so is it really right to be singing about it? It is available to download for free and the band have suggested making a charity donation. 

Opener 'The Science has Changed' is a folk song about the country coming to terms with what is going on. It is surprisingly quite subtle and has some nice harmonies in the chorus.

'No one Wants To See You Anymore' sounds like a fun sing along song but is really quite dark. It is a dig at those, defying the rules of lockdown for trivial purposes.

'Quiet Riot' is an angry protest song about the UK Government's poor handling of the crisis. - 'You decimated the NHS and still you tell me you're doing your best.' The EP ends on 'Lockdown' which is a lovely and calming instrumental.

A highly recommended EP. The band tackle the issue well and their charm really shines through.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Red Skylark - Collection 1

Released: 2020
Label: Kool Kat Musik
Listen and Buy Here

Red Skylark is the work of Ed Shuttleworth from Ohio, and is a great new discovery for me. This release comprises of 2 EPs, the first being from 2015 and the other from this year.

It opens with 'Shiver' which is joyous and uplifting. The sound recalls 90s indie, particularly the band - Ride. There are hints of psychedelia in the harmonies.

'Two Shades of Fine' is the standout song. A fine example of jangle pop, and I can hear hints of The Byrds too. The melodies are strong and memorable.

Other highlights include 'Soulfire Gone' which has 80s R.E.M. vibes. The chorus really soars, which is a prominent feature of a lot of these songs. 'Hey Precious Stone' is catchy and recalls Teenage Fanclub's Star Sign. 'Justified' is another favourite of mine and very summery.

It may not be the most original sounding music but its a really enjoyable album. Especially if soaring choruses and strong harmonies are your thing.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Carwyn Ellis - Cherry Blossom Promenade

Released: 14 Apr 2020
Label: _
Listen and Buy Here

Welsh songwriter - Carwyn Ellis, better known as the singer in Folk band Colorama, is back with this enchanting new song. All proceeds go to the charity - Tarian Cymru, raising money for protective gear for Health workers of Wales. 

It is a delicate and beautiful song with subtle Japanese style melodies. It is just Carwyn and a piano, but the simplicity has high emotional impact. It is a very moving listen.

Lyrically, it is quite poetic, painting a picture in your mind, of a Spring in a bygone era. It has a vague melancholy to it, yet feels more calming than sad. 

A wonderful song, which for a few minutes, will take you away to another place. Highly recommended, especially during these worrying times.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Meritorio Records - Music for Gloves (The Maureens, Girlatones, Holy Tunics)

Released: 23 March 2020
Label: Meritorio
Listen and Buy Here

This is a great trio of songs, from artists on the Spanish record label - Meritorio. The label is a new discovery for me. Proceeds of the release will be  for providing protective gear to Hospitals, currently combating Coronavirus. 

A number of labels are taking part in this but this one caught my attention particularly.

The Maureens - Rain or Shine, is a lovely example of Byrdsian jangle. It is very strong melodically, with emotional lyrics and beautiful harmonies. The band are from The Netherlands and I was aware of their album from last year which has Teenage Fanclub vibes.

Girlatones are an indie pop band from Melbourne. 'Doing the Right Thing' is a fun song with simple yet catchy melodies. Their album 'Horn if You're Honky' from this year is well worth investigating too. The more melodic, sensitive side of indie pop. 

It ends with Holy Tunics - 60s Again. The song lives upto its title. It is very garage/DIY sounding production wise, and is a blast from the past. It does actually sound like it could be from that era. 

A superb selection of songs from a record label well worth checking out, and also for a great cause. A highly recommended listen.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Haycorn - In The Creek

Released: 14 March 2020
Label: _
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Haycorn are a duo from Montreal. They are relatively new and this song is so magical and ethereal, it is well worth a listen.

Behind the beautiful melodies and dreamy synths, the song has darker themes of mental health. It is based on the character Ophelia from the Shakespeare play - Hamlet.

The song has quite a hypnotic feel to it and is totally captivating. Their sound is largely dream pop but I can hear hints of Mazzy Star and Portishead as well. The vocals of Melissa Charbonneau Bisier are powerful yet quite fragile at the same time. The desperation is expressed so well and it is a very moving listen.

Their song 'Sing Me To Sleep' is also well worth investigating. A perfect combination of indie pop and more ambient music. Highly recommended.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Super 8 - Head Sounds

Released: 27 March 2020
Label: Subjangle
Listen and Buy Here

UK songwriter - Super 8 (also known as Paul Ryan), is a superb and relatively unheard talent in the guitar pop genre. His new album is wonderfully melodic and rich in memorable hooks and harmonies.

'Dragonfly' is a great opener, with the 60s psych vibes of The Beatles and The Hollies. Lyrically it is quite playful in tone. 'Bones' is also fun with a sound reminiscent of Graceland era Paul Simon. It builds up to an impressive ending with a range of different sounds. The arrangement and orchestration of the songs is always done well and with high attention to detail.

'Love Like Ours' is the highlight of the album. A great pop song, anthemic in quality, with a superb chorus. It is a song I could imagine reaching a far wider audience and it will definitely have you singing along. 'Across The Universe' is another highlight - a very moving rendition of The Beatles classic.

'Bebopalula' is incredibly catchy and still has that cool 60s psych quality and swagger. 'In My Room' is the only other cover, and pays homage to The Beach Boys, obviously also a big influence here. It is a stunning version and a more modern take on the song. It is done in his own style, rather than being a near exact copy, which can often be the case with covers.

A hugely enjoyable album, with well-written songs throughout. Highly recommended.