Wednesday, 28 September 2016

New Music: Shells - Jailbird

This is a beautiful piece of pop music. In fact, to call it pop seems to lessen it's value. It's worth far more than that. Delicate in its creation but bold in its lyrical content, Sarah Sheldrake who goes by the name of Shells, sings the prettiest of melodies of how she’s “losing all control, I’m giving in to desire.” Don’t be fooled by the purity and gentle construct of the music, there’s plenty of deep seated passion and courage here. 

I first caught Shells live earlier this year at Bushstock Festival and although her live set up was relatively simplistic, what came across is what you hear on this song – something that has been painstakingly constructed and performed by a singer with a wonderfully natural, elemental voice.

Just lovely. 

If only all pop music was like this.

Shells - Jailbird

New Music: S U R V I V E - A.H.B

My route into the music of S U R V I V E is probably the same as many others – through the addictive Stephen King / Steven Spielberg referencing Netflix hit of the summer Stranger Things and its immersive score. That score was put together by two members of this Austin based four piece, namely Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon after show producers The Duffer Brothers came knocking. With near perfect timing Stein and Dixon were also readying their latest work with the two other members of S U R V I V E, namely Adam Jones and Mark Donica, and by the time I finished the TV series it was possible to pre-order the new album, which is simply named after its catalogue number RR7349.

Although it’s not officially released until this Friday, the album is already streaming on a variety of websites and my CD copy arrived in the post a few days early, enabling my recent journeys to work to be filled with the bleak menacing sounds of vintage synth soundscapes. If you enjoy albums by the likes of John Carpenter, Tangerine Dream, Vangelis or Goblin, or like the embrace of brooding almost druggy sounding ambient music then RR7349 is for you. Alongside Cliff Martinez’s brilliant soundtrack for The Neon Demon film, also released this year, this record has rejuvenated my interest in instrumental atmospheric electronic music. S U R V I V E are worth more of your attention than just Stranger Things and RR7349 deserves your investment. From the record here's the opening track A.H.B - a pulsing spacey sounding piece of warm electronics.

Order the album by clicking here

S U R V I V E - A.H.B

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

New Music: Minque - So Precious, So Small

“Let’s go to the beach, kiss the stars goodnight and maybe have a glass or three…” sings newcomer Minque over a twitching synth riff that sounds like it might have just found a place on the debut La Roux album. Whilst her debut song Bones was melancholy night time pop, So Precious, So Small is much more hedonistic – a dance banger that embraces the idea of losing minds, then going one further and losing it all. Yet despite the hands in the air house vibes, Minque retains a sense of cool detached majesty in her vocal delivery, and it’s all the better for it. A party anthem for those who shudder at the idea of ending up in their cities' tackiest nightclub dancing alongside a plastic inflatable penis, tiara and L plates sporting hen party perhaps?. Let’s all go down to the beach and drink some wine instead yeah?

You could do just that when Minque plays a show in Southsea, Portsmouth on Friday 14th October at Drift Bar - it's very close to the beach. Tickets are only £3 (here), so if you are anywhere on the south coast, that’s that Friday night planned for you.

Minque - So Precious, So Small

New Music: Anteros - Ring Ring (Video)

Over the last year Anteros have definitely edged up my league table of favourite new credible pop bands and so tonight, for the second time, I’m very pleased to be catching them live. If you’re in the south coast region, then come, Southampton Joiners is your destination. (Tickets here)

And what better way to prepare for the gig than one of those ‘classic’ band on tour videos, for Ring Ring, from the truly excellent Breakfast EP. So, what debauched activity can we expect from the band in this video? Obscene drug use, maybe something similar to the dreaded Cocainus chapter in the Tim Burgess book Telling Stories? Or maybe rampant alcohol fuelled sex orgies that would make the likes of Keith Richards blush? No, it seems not. Today’s modern band has to take a somewhat more low-key approach; so expect a bit of larking around in a service station, quite a lot of sleeping and various puzzled faces whilst putting up tents at festivals. 

Call me boring, but frankly I’m all for this less exuberant approach – at my age all I want from a gig is some good music and to be home by midnight for a nice cup of tea. Please take note all touring bands that I go to see. It’s not much fun for the punter if the artist is busy shagging a stranger backstage*, high on illegal substances before arriving an hour late to give a shit-faced useless performance.

*Unless perhaps, in certain circumstances, you are that stranger.

Anteros - Ring Ring (Video)