Bugeye - Disco Dancer

Croydon outfit Bugeye, now a four piece since, have been working with Paul Tipler (Placebo, Idlewild, Stereolab) on their new single ‘Disco Dancer’.

Razor sharp basslines and highly sexed guitar riffs, this is a alt-pop anthem to conjure images of post-punk at CBGB’s in its late 70s/early 80s heyday. We defy you to not dance in the mirror at home to these licks!

The merging of Blondie’s funk and Elastica’s aggression feels a natural home for Bugeye and one they can expand upon to even greater things.

*Image courtesy of Stuart Bennett (Deacon Communication)  

MOSES – River Thames

Things are afoot for London’s MOSES. Their recent single ‘Cause You Got Me’ took their monthly Spotify plays from 1.8k to 193k. They supported the UK’s hottest band The Blinders and now, they’ve returned with their new single ‘River Thames’.

Produced by the legendary Gil Norton (Pixies & Foo Fighters), ‘River Thames’ kicks politicians’ banalities about “communities being left behind” into, well, the river! At its core, is a belief in people, a romanticism in their lives, a song writing trait that has drifted away in recent times.  

The sound of the underdog is so often, one of kicking and screaming at injustice (and quite right too). Here though, they’ve bypassed that and gone straight to euphoric victory. It’s a Sunday league football win, it’s a prank on your best mate. This is the re-emergence of believing in ordinary people and ordinary things as the greatest subject matter on earth.

 *Artwork by Ana Ban Ana

https://www.facebook.com/anabananabanica/

https://www.instagram.com/ana_ban_ana_illustration/

http://www.colorhood.com/anabanana


Asylums: Camden Assembly, London

Southend’s Asylums celebrated their 5th birthday in style this past Friday at London’s Camden Assembly.  Supported by the raw talent of BLAB, the furiously entertaining Suspects and a certain breakout act of 2019, October Drift, it was a stark reminder just how fucking great the music scene in the UK is right now.

No one can touch Asylums on the pop-punk circuit right now. They check all the boxes of the greats with great hooks, melody and angst. However, it’s the lyrics which catapult them to another plain. Intelligent, witty and of the moment, Asylums can carry you to the mosh pit and lead you out the other side a better person.

‘Joy In A Small Wage’ is this generations ‘Live Forever’. Gallagher’s sentiment of ‘We’ll see things they’ll never see’ runs throughout. As fun as the sonics are, it’s the honesty and integrity of Luke Branch’s vocal delivery which cuts through the room. It almost makes Jarvis’ heyday look trite.  

Togetherness is thrown into disarray on ‘Napalm Bubblegum’. Worlds are torn down as their brand of cosmic guitar licks enter hyper drive. “This bubbles gonna blow” is putting it mildly. It erupted into a rabid frenzied attack of the senses.

With the success of their second album ‘Alien Human Emotions’, this was the perfect send of for the 2018 by the Essex outfit. Intimate but far reaching, feral but loving, Asylums have hit a groove that will surely win hearts and minds for a long time to come.

*Image courtesy of Rob Humm / Si Deaves / Thomas Prescott 

The Blinders: The Garage, London

“I know I'd go from rags to riches
If you would only say you care”

Tony Bennett, 1953


In the space of 12 months, Doncaster trio The Blinders have gone from a support band in small venues to selling out the Garage this past Wednesday, oh we care alright!

Many will reference IDLES as the most vital UK band right now but, for TT, The Blinders, with their meshing of styles and face melting punkadelia have the edge. They also have an ability to unite scenes like no other. The Garage is awash with punks, skins, mods, hipsters, young and old.

Newcomers to the band are obvious from the moment 'Gotta Get Through' blasts through the room. You can see their jaws dropping and souls being blasted into the ether. It's an envious position, no one will forget their first hit of The Blinders.

Having their Orwellian psychedelic punk anthems validated by their fans with the release of 'Columbia' has given them a new found confidence. The power and the drama ‘Ramona Flowers’ is elevated to an extraordinary level. There is an added showmanship to the furious ‘Rat In A Cage’, our raw heroes are becoming masters of their trade before!

Politicians keep dishing out the platitudes of healing a divided nation, well, The Blinders prove talk is cheap. They've ripped up the musical landscape with their sound and forged a togetherness in the darkness that no one saw coming. Long may they reign.

*The amazing image is courtesy of Sam Crowston:

https://twitter.com/Sam_Crowston_

https://samcrowstonimaging.com/

Pink Lemonade - Space Girl

As the weather turns bitter, the enticement levels need to go up to venture outside. Thank heavens for Pink Lemonade. The three piece from Cambridge have just released their debut single ‘Space Girl’ and, if this doesn’t get your DM’s laced up for the winter nights, nothing will.

Put simply, this is perfect pop music! Vocal melodies akin to the criminally underrated Pipettes and a riff from the cheer leading gods. This is pure hairbrush (Lynx Africa for the boys) sing along in the mirror stuff.

*Image courtesy of the band

Strange Cages – Silver Queen

In September, Brighton’s Strange Cages released their second EP, ‘Silver Queen’ via the record label of the moment, Vallance Records (home to Sisteray, Beach Riot and False Heads).

Sleazy garage-psyche music, is too often devoid of emotion and passion. Too often a display of self-indulgence and mass ego. Well, Strange Cages, with influences indebted to Iggy, Toy, Neu and The Horrors are hell bent on bucking that trend.

Despite the hallmarks of the past in play, Strange Cages have found ways to make this EP relevant to 2018. There are the pop machinations of Blossoms and Goldfrapp shining through the synths on ‘The Leeches, the Fakers’. Meanwhile, ‘Children of the Gutter’ is a lost single of their peers Cabbage.

‘False Prophet Death Waltz’ and ‘Lasers of Joy’ are not the sounds of sane men. Psychotic and hullucagenic, thee early fire of the The Horrors is in full force. ‘Meanwhile, ‘Sick With Desire’ throbs like The Stooges one minute before seguing into the more beautiful moments of Syd Barrett’s Floyd era.

Ultimately, Strange Cages are a band with a clear direction and clear influences but not yet their own distinct style. It won’t stop you returning to the record but, the sense the sense that something truly great can come from this band lingers in the air.

 

 

Trampolene – The One Who Loves You

Although The Libertines career is not yet done, when you look back, the one thing that halted them from mega stardom was that one single, a ‘Wonderwall’ or ’If You Tolerate This…’ . The type the of hit that X Factor zombies couldn’t deny. Welsh underdogs Trampolene, whose soul is inextricably linked to The Libertines, have returned with that single, ‘The One Who Loves You’.

Is there a purer soul walking this divided kingdom of ours than Jack Jones at present? If this were the late 18th and early 19th century, Jones would be lauded as a romantic poet. In 2018, he is kicked into the margins and forced to scrap his way out of the gutter.

Scrap away he does and, on this unrequited love anthem, Jones has delivered a single that shouldn’t but inevitably will be ignored by day time radio, the break they truly deserve. Find me a teenage boy who wouldn’t cling to this song as they obsess over the girl they’re to shy to talk to, and we’ll drive them to therapy to work on their sociopathic tendencies.

 

Methods – Mankind

Methods, a five piece hailing from Wolverhampton and Salford have their roots indebted to Depeche Mode and New Order. Big shoes to fill.

On their new single 'Mankind', they have taken a leap into their hero’s world, with a spirit to stoke the fires of this sound once more. The archetypal Peter Hook bass from Adam Hall syncs up with the lush and expansive synths from Jon Nash to create their own dystopia. After darkness must come light, that killer hook isn’t quite there but, there are chinks of light here to get excited about.

Ash Bradley's vocal, sitting between Interpol's Paul Banks and a more aggressive version of Dave Gahan, keeps ‘Mankind’ hovering above a nuclear button. Bradley is awash with danger and fury.

All hail the darkness!


Artwork by Dan Crew:

Twitter: @DanCrewAnimate

Instagram: @DanCrewAnimate

Sad Boys Club - Silverlined

Ever listened to the 1975 and seriously questioned their substance? Well, don’t bother anymore. Listen to Sad Boys Club instead. Their infectious Cure drive pop music may edge towards middle of road but is always a comfortable distance away.

The new single from the Crouch End outfit has that distinct Springsteen open road escape to it, similar their former label mates The Crookes in many ways. The pop breeziness of the music is the perfect metaphor for this tail of putting up social barriers to who we really are.

With a new EP due November 2nd, Sad Boys Club are surely going to be garnering a lot of interest this winter on this showing.

Accu - Crash To Kill

Dutch Born Welsh-based artist Accü will be releasing a brand new single entitled 'Crash To Kill' on the 19th Of October on Libertino Records.

As autumn draws in, Accu’s mission to rip it up and start again feels apt on this crisp slice of electronic pop. Although narrow in message, as the melody ambles on, you can feel her landscape begin to open as she destroys her inner demons.

Suede: Hammersmith Apollo, London (Saturday)

“Misshapes, mistakes, misfits / We'd like to go to town but we can't risk it, oh / 'Cause they just want to keep us out”

Pulp, Different Class, 1996

Every time a Suede gig comes around, it’s a constant reminder that the human condition, the clashing individualism and collective belonging can be precious thing. It’s the musical equivalent of Ken Loach’s working class life and Danny Boyle’s underclass flamboyance.

From the moment Southend’s finest exports The Horrors take to the stage, the sense that the outsiders are taking charge once more is tangible. Quite simply:

“We are the pigs, 
We are the swine, 
We are the stars of the firing line”

Emerging silhouetted ramped up the anticipation of seeing the hip shaping acrylic shirt wearing Anderson. Despite the brilliance of the band, Anderson’s light still burns brightest. Even with all the success and adulation, he still seeks out the most intimate connection with the audience. None more prevalent than on the acoustic (and no microphone) version of ‘The Power’. It’s always been an emotional cog in their live armoury, this rendition became a hymn for the bored and disaffected in England’s satellite towns and perhaps, its truest incarnation.

As the set grows, the realisation of just how remarkable their return to new releases in 2013 unfurls. The brutal examination of a Brett’s relationship with his father on ‘I Don’t Know How To Reach You’ (‘Night Thoughts’ 2016) brings a rare silence as Richard Oakes’ playing haunts this West London audience. ‘The Outsiders’ (‘Night Thoughts’ 2016), with guitar licks from the early days of The Cure, is as romantic as Anderson’s characters have ever been and if alternative pop were still a thing, ‘It Starts An Ends With You’ would be among their best.  Live, it allows Suede to convey that rock n roll desperation, the thirst to be heard is not just for the young.

As five thousand people head to the tube station, the quiet, reserved nature of the Suede fan returns. The staring begins again, Doc Martens are a sign of leprosy once more, and ‘through the slippery city we ride’. Little do they know, that art, in its purest form has been witnessed by people more beautiful than they’ll ever know.

The Spitfires: Chinnerys, Southend

It's been just under a year since the Watford band ventured to the Essex coast. Their previous visit witnessed a solid outing, this time, an evolution to something far greater emerged.

Maybe performing on national TV (The Andrew Marr Show) and chiding against the middle of the road has been a huge confidence boost. Whatever it is, their playing was tighter and harder and lead to some jaw dropping moments.

The pre-fame fire of The Ordinary Boys was all over this performance. However, with The Spitfires, it feels more earnest and pure. The stripped back version of '4am' heightened this wonderfully. The lyrical desperation collided with jagged Bragg-esque guitar licks to deliver a sense of togetherness few can deliver. Too rare are fists raised aloft and strangers hugged in moments of sheer joy today.

They should be buoyed by their new songs in the set. There was no clear piss break tonight. 'Move On' and 'Something Worth Fighting For' have embraced their love of Ska and Dub. Whilst the lyrical intensity remains, there is a brevity to them which injects a skanking euphoria to the room.

The Spitfires have gone from a band that only music obsessed fans know about to, the one those fans will beg their friends to come see. They have hit that level where what they do is undeniable.

Calva Louise - I Heard A Cry

With a support slot lined up for The Blinders tour and their debut album due out February next year, the London three piece have a =big 6months ahead. Kicking things of is their new single ‘I Heard A Cry’.

Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell raising the bar for what alternative pop music can be, front woman Jess Allanic is right on her heels with this vocal. Where Rowsell is fuelled with angst, Allanic has a wryness to her approach but is no less impactful.

With the spirit of Sub Pop Records in their hearts, Calva Louise have ignited their quest for glory in style!

Death Valley Girls - (One Less Thing) Before I Die

A big contender for single of the year comes from the LA five piece Death Valley Girls. Released on Friday 5th October on the Suicide Squeeze label, this is one minute fifty seconds of blood sweat and venomous victory!

There is a distinct flavour of Johnny Marr’s 3 solo albums here. Those big distorted but, insanely catchy riffs are firing out like desperate warning sirens. They’ve created a real sense of chase and escape on arguably the most immediate record of the year. Danger is coming for them and they couldn’t give a fuck.

 

Perfect Body EP

Hailing from Cardiff, Perfect Body are a five piece embedding themselves into the shoegaze and psyche music of late 80s and early 90s. Their new EP is released on the exciting Bubblewrap Collective and is split with fellow Cardiff musician Zac White.

Each track showcases a different vocalist. Whilst it may not hone an identity, it signifies a flexibility and a freshness to a genre often guilty of rehashing the past. ‘Getting Cold’ is so ethereal it will slip through your fingers as you inevitably try to clutch at its swirling beauty.

On ‘Getting Cold’ and ‘Fields’, there are clear nods to Slowdive and The Brian Jones Town Massacre but there is always a sense that pop music and melody can burst through at any moment. It does, but only in little bursts, teasing you into their world and then playing with you like a cat with a dead mouse.

Whereas, ‘Tribe of Mine’, has th clearest melody shining through but, they have expertly countered it with a Lou Reed-esque vocal to counter the bubble-gum pop.

You’d be forgiven for thinking this EP is a re-issue from an established act of its field. Thankfully, its not, this is the beginning of a beautiful trippy journey.

Echobelly: Star Shaped Festival, Brixton

Festivals like Star Shaped are often sneered at for being regressive. To those chinless wonders, we direct you to Echobelly’s set at Brixton this past Saturday. Proving the future is unwritten, they littered a set of cult classics with new material and it more than stood up.

‘Hey Hey Hey’ witnessed Sonya Madan at her spell binding best. There was a nonchalance to her performance that exuded confidence and complete control. Key to Madan’s stature on stage is her long time writing partner, guitarist Glenn Johansson. His guitar was shimmering with looping psyche riffs on ‘Hey Hey Hey’ and ‘If the Dogs Don't Get You, My Sisters Will’, he is, undoubtedly, in the form of his life.

Timing can be everything in music, and Saturdays setting was the perfect platform for ‘Faces in the Mirror’. The tale of self-reflection which, is packed with doubt, regret and hope was met with a jaw dropping awe inspired silence, just for a nanosecond before applause. The crowd came for nostalgia and, they got it in the personalised and exquisite of forms.

The powerful message of ‘Faces in the Mirror’ put a fresh spin on ‘I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me’ and ‘Great Things’. Madan’s deeply personal lyrics transcended music in this moment, they didn’t compromise, and, they did great things!

The Real People: Star Shaped Festival, Brixton

It’s easy to see why Simon Fowler and Liam Gallagher have always cited The Real People as catalysts for their own success. Their breed of free flowing paisley psyche seeps into almost all of the great psychedelic rock n roll albums of the past 20 years in the UK.

What is harder to fathom, is why they remain outsiders in the alternative music world. As the layers of ‘She’ build towards their warped solo, whoever follows them onstage at Brixton is fucked. Luckily, it was My Life Story, there was no talent to be lost in the moment anyway.  

The Star Shaped team, on all their live events and club nights, do a great service in revitalising the spirit of the Britpop days. Truth be told, The Real People probably don’t belong both spiritually and musically. On ‘Complicated’ and ‘Dream On’, their timelessness comes gloriously to the foreground.

‘Complicated’, so effortless and striking, brings The Verve’s ‘History’ to mind with its ability to be whimsical and brutal all at once. ‘Dream On’ however, just blows Brixton Academy apart with its sweeping majesty, Neil Young and paisley guitars and emotive desperation vocal from Tony and Chris.

Be sure to catch them on their remaining 2018 dates:

Sat 6th October – The Flapper – Birmingham

Sat 17th November – The Platform – Morecambe

Sat 1st December – Leopard – Doncaster

Lusts - True Romance

The psychedelic brothers are back and, their blend of motorik and New Order has hit the ground running. Their groove of psychedelic pop music is becoming indelible on the grey UK landscapes of this decade.

 'True Romance' steers Lusts towards the fine work of Sumner and Marr's Electronic era. With the melodic ease of 'Forbidden City', it swirls away like a hazy festival afternoon. What is setting it back from Electronic's greatness are those killer hooks. Neil Tennant's vocal on the chorus of 'Disappointed' or the melancholic melody and power of Marr's synth work on 'Forbidden City' have echoed down the ages. 'True Romance', doesn’t quite grab that brass ring.

 For most, to be mentioned in the same breath as Tennant, Sumner and Marr is enough. For Lusts, we suspect they want more. The talent is clearly their, could this autumns new album be the one?

The Assist - Lost

So often, when a guitar movement sparks to life, it’s closely followed by one intrinsically linked to dance music. After C86 came Acid House which spurned The Farm’s ‘Spartacus’, the Primals’ ‘Screamdelica’ and The Mondays’  ‘Pills Thrills and Bellyaches’ albums. As the Arctic Monkeys cashed in on The Libertines’ demise, Bloc Party opened up a world of possibilities, combining guitars with Breaks from the Balearics.

 As punkadelia gets into full swing with The Blinders and Cabbage both releasing albums, Walsall’s The Assist, have fired the first shot to open guitars up to the escapist climates of Ibiza once more.

 ‘All I Need’ combines a soulful Sean McGowan meets Jack Penate vocal with floaty riffs and a brand of psyche music which oozes “love”. The perfect pop antidote to the punkadelic dystopia. Their reflection of the confusion and isolation of their early 20’s will be felt by this generation perhaps more than any previous. It’s this level of detail and substance which could catapult them to the bosom of the UK.

 The aged old story of boredom and yearning for escape, continually provides the platform for bands to spring off. On ‘Exist’, they add themselves to this long list and, if it was good enough for Blur, Hard-Fi and The Enemy, it’s good enough for anyone.

 Much like Sisteray, they are hell bent on reviving the classic sounds of 00s bands who have been too often overlooked for their influence. They’re taking the psyche and funk of early The Twang further than their Midlands counterparts ever dared on ‘Love’.

 With their feet in the recent past, many may question is this the originality needed to drive guitars back to the mainstream consciousness. However, when a spirit is this pure and driven, ignore it at your peril.

Bugeye: Good Mixer, Camden

It’s hard not to think about the Mixer’s mythology on the approach to Inverness Street. The formative years of the art-rock scene congregating with the NME and Select journos, planning world domination. In 2018, the egos of yesteryear can be ill afforded in an era of isolation for bands.

Step forward London three piece Bugeye. They are back on the promotional trail with their slick new single ‘Is This Love’, this though, is where the formalities end.

It is a razor sharp display of post-punk riffs which are begging to be danced to. The in front woman Angela Martin, Bugeye have an icon in the making. Combining the wry snarl of Ari Up with the pithy sex fuelled Justine Frischmann, Martin is carving a space for glory.

Expect to see eye make up in a live venue near you soon!