Jamie T – Don’t You Find

Jamie T, the South London lad. He’s been missing for some time now, 4 years to be exact.

But the troubadour, the man of the people is back and with something very different.

After announcing three small shows in Glasgow, Liverpool and Portsmouth he announced another show in London, due to how quickly his tickets ran out they almost seemed non-existent.

Firstly to answer the question on everyone’s lips; is this track worth the wait?

A resounding yes.

As evident in some moments off his second album, Kings & Queens, Jamie T can write some really heartfelt stuff when he wants to (Emily’s Heart being the main example), which is a great difference to songs off his first album, Panic Prevention, such as Back in the Game and Pacemaker.

His new single entitled Don’t You Find starts off with some very grimey bass, in the back of the track, and the introduction of the main hook where Jamie softly sings the lines “Don’t you find, some of the time, there is always some one on your mind”.

Now, there are rumours that he has been living in New York whilst being ridiculously quiet and if that is the matter you can almost hear the American influence with an almost Imagine Dragons – Radioactive sound in the middle 8, and an American influence in the production of the whole track.

But what is really most enjoyable about this track, is the amount of layered vocals there are. You can hear him going right out of his own range on the backing track.

Clearly Jamie T, has once again given his fans something to make the almost endless wait worthwhile, this track is atmospheric, creepy, in some parts bizarre but it’s all done simply and ridiculously well.

He’s back and I personally welcome his new album with open arms if this single is anything to go by.

boxboxbox – Dive EP

My education in techno is very little to say the least. Though I am partial to the odd beat of the pretentiously named “Deep House” and can probably name four songs by Calvin Harris, Techno is still yet to be a subject of which I have picked up on extensively.

One thing I do know, is good music, I’d like to think I have a good taste don’t we all? So when one of the very kind people from Manchester Techno Trio boxboxbox sent me their EP entitled Dive, I felt my theory was if anything proved right.

The opening bars of Signals, with the looped piano and very softly sun vocals being sung over the top do set the tone for the EP. But the slow emergence of the beat at the end shows the two sides to boxboxbox, one of the great clichés of this genre of music is knowing when to “drop the bass” but it’s actually hard to do successfully and instantly within one track it’s clear that boxboxbox are more than aware of how to do it.

Second track, Chelonics, takes you right to the balcony of a hotel in Ibiza in the 1990’s, the song has a great sound and a wonderful beat. It’s one of the only tracks on the album that does not focus heavily on the vocals but the song is eclectic enough as it is and less is more after all.

The two tracks I GET WET and In Waves cool you down with some very mellow beats, but much like the other tracks they still keep you interested. I GET WET is almost like the ballad of the EP, the singer getting most of the attention and deservedly so as she appears to have a good set of pipes. In Waves teases you with the anticipation of a big beat at the end yet can only offer you a fade out.

Final track moonisgreaterthansun brings the EP to a very downbeat close, with the vocals for only the second time being the main part of the song, and it is overall a great performance.

The brilliance of boxboxbox, is that their songs aren’t your usual beefy techno songs, rather than that they have so much high tone in them that they almost seem fragile, like the song could break.

Get it for free here:
http://whoaskedboxboxbox.bandcamp.com/album/dive

Healing Powers-7”

First things first: the new Healing Powers record is fantastic. It is fantastic in every single way.

Second things second: it’s a screamo record. It’s harsh, it’s miserable, and it’s not going to be for everyone.

I’ve found it difficult to find a starting point for this review because there are just so many things right with this record. In recent years I’ve read article after article questioning the relevance or the staying power of modern “guitar music” written by countless music journalists and jaded ‘rockstars’ whose arguments always seems to revolve around the fact that stadium rock bands are not selling as many CDs as they would like. However it’s obvious that these experts have been looking in all the wrong places.

Emerging from a small yet hugely passionate and talented UK scene Healing Powers, and the bands around them (e.g. Bluebird, Renounced, Charlotte Light and Dark and countless others), are proving that if you want to find music that is emotional, beautiful and raw then you have to dig deeper and move away from major label releases.

The UK DIY punk scene, built up of ordinary people pumping their own hard work/time/money into music they love, is flourishing and the popularity of this record among ordinary weirdo punks like myself is testament to this.

While the EP is short –clocking in at just over 9 minutes- it’s packed with emotion and by the end of each listen you’ll feel a little numb from the experience. There’s juxtaposition between the simple yet soothing moments made possible by a gorgeous guitar tone, and the frantic sections laced with tortured raw vocal delivery. This clash is a huge part of what makes Healing Powers so unique, vocals that portray such anguish should not fit so well with beautiful soundscapes but somehow they do.

The songs on this record are carefully considered well put together and perfectly executed, and even though they can seem simple on the surface each listen uncovers subtle things that you may have missed when lost in the trance that Healing Powers put you in as each song flows perfectly into the next. Each listen leaves you longing for more.

On a side note, this morning I received my physical copy of the EP from Wolf Town DIY and it is just as carefully crafted as the music itself. The minimalistic cover art fits the record perfectly, and the lyric sheet has an eerie feel about it and Wolf Town DIY have admitted they made sure the lyrics were difficult to read on purpose which adds to the mystique around this band.

In conclusion, this record is fucking awesome. While it’s definitely not for people who enjoy music that’s easy to digest with super-accessible, catchy choruses, those who are interested in musicians that make weird whacky and wonderful music that your average person might turn his or her nose should definitely give it a listen. It’s a triumph for Healing Powers, it’s a triumph for screamo, and it’s a triumph for every band in the UK DIY punk scene slaving over the music they love.

9.5/10
James Stelzer (@JamesxStelzer)

http://healingpowers.bandcamp.com
http://facebook.com/healingpowerstheband
http://wolftowndiy.limitedrun.com/products/530426-healing-powers-7

The Non-Existent Divide.

Since coming home from university a question I have been asked very frequently is, what’s the better music scene Liverpool or Brighton? Admittedly this is a hard answer to give, however, I find that they are both different but wonderful.

 

Having spent a year down South, enjoying all sorts of music from different places and going to gigs in small and large venues. I find that Brighton appears to be more DIY.

 

Now this is not to say that Liverpool is not DIY, as it is there are many bands that book their own venues and headline their own shows quite often.

 

But, there is an argument that a lot of the music scene relies on promoters/ venues like The Lomax to put their own shows on and fill their own bill.

 

Again, this is not a hindrance because any musicians in the scene in Liverpool who are worth their salt know that this is something that works well. Most bands seem happy, as do promoters.

 

I read an article lately from The Guardian claiming that Arctic Monkeys and Bastille were the North/ South divide in music because of record sales in certain cities?

 

To me that was just lazy journalism. I have came across 100s of bands of similar sounds to Bastille doing fantastic in the North and 100s of bands like Arctic Monkeys doing well in the South.

 

There is no North/ South divide in music there are just different cultures.

 

But that’s beyond the point, I enjoy liaising with bands from both music scenes as they all respect and enjoy where they have came from.

 

One difference that I have noticed in Liverpool though, is that the scene is starting to grow more independent and whether that is because of there being loads of new independent bars or whether the relationship between artist and promoter has finally reached boiling point, who knows.

 

But one thing I can assure you is that, both Brighton and Liverpool are on par with one another in terms of diversity.

 

Some scenes favour certain types of music for example, Reading has a large Pop-Punk scene and is mostly dominated by them where as, Liverpool and Brighton could have gigs where a metal band is supporting a reggae band with a Post-Punk revival band middle of the bill.

 

When it comes down to it, I feel as though both Brighton and Liverpool are still producing the best music and will continue to do so for many years to come just like they have done in the past.

 

And as very wise man (Craig Charles) once said “Be proud Liverpool”.

Sweet Bump It – First Slice

A surprising proposition to be put forward to me was that of a band from LA known as Sweet Bump It and their not so adventurously named debut effort ‘First Slice’.

 

Though their naming capabilities may not push the proverbial boat out to say the least, their music has a right good go at a back to basics winning formula of soul music, gruff lead female vocals and simple guitar riffs.

 

Opening track Dauphine, takes you back to the likes of The Black Keys earlier stuff, kind of a 5 chord-bashing rodeo where the bull is yet to see red. The under complex guitar solo provided with a laid back tremolo driven guitar tone throughout really appreciates lead singer, Paco de Leon’s vocals. The thin on the ground approach to a lyrical master class gives the song a more classic sound, with the same verse being repeated twice, the band clearly prefer to give nothing more than a good groove.

 

The two mid EP tracks Revolution and Animal seem to fall into the blues revival category of mediocre, there isn’t much about them, leading on from the opening track, for six or seven minutes they seem to become a different band. They turn lethargic, uninteresting and a bit plain. The two songs are sandwiched between two brilliant, up beat and ferocious songs; Savvy Kid and Dauphine. If those two songs were in fact sandwich filler they would be something bland like Corn Beef Hash or Spam.

 

Last song of the EP Savvy Kid erupts onto your speaker like an unwanted pop up ad. Loud, abrasive but awesome. After the two songs prior to it this will have you out of your bar stool and on the dance floor in a matter seconds. The kind of punk approach to the actual writing of the song makes it quite refreshing compared to the others as another angle on the band’s sound has been offered. But, the repetitiveness of the actual guitar riff becomes a bit grating and after a while boring.

 

It’s a good effort from the seven piece of Los Angeles, but it is noteworthy, that for me personally, the blues revival card can sometimes find itself in the same hand as that of mediocrity.

Liverpool club night, Liquidation, finds a new humble abode.

As far as my favourite club nights go, the list is very short, mostly because Liquidation really made my expectations of what makes a good club night immeasurable.

 

But, now that Liquidation’s home, Le Bateau, has seen its last days to become student accommodation Liquidation has found itself a new home and where else better than HeebieJeebies Basement, Seel St.

 

To those who aren’t aware of what Liquidation is, Liquidation is by far one of the greatest alternative club nights in Liverpool. Playing music that is spanning from The Cure to Kate Bush, David Bowie to Foals and not to forget OMD.

 

Liquidation is also quite a popular haunt for some of the cities successful musician as both Dave McCabe (The Zutons) and Matthew Murphy (The Wombats) have been known to enjoy a good shindig in there. But that doesn’t matter, because as time has wore on Liquidation locals have became a community and fame is nothing more than an ideal once you step through them doors.

 

If you fancy dancing to music that isn’t shit and in the top 40 as well as making friends with some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, get down to Liquidation in HeebieJeebies basement on the 19th July. For what it’s worth I will definitely be there. 

The Bulletproof Bomb

The Bulletproof Bomb

I was in The Boileroom in Guildford waiting for another astounding set to be played by Catfish and The Bottlemen but a band that really caught my attention was the five-piece support act known as The Bulletproof Bomb.

 

The polarising nature of having the optimism of The Maccabees but the cynicism of Jamie T give the band an upbeat, emotion filled angsty sound that really grabs you buy the collar and asks for your lunch money.

 

Songs such as Shoes and Suitcase had the crowd bouncing as though they were seeing The Sex Pistols for their third time.

 

Where as the very modest sounding Spacemen offers up a different angle, more emphasise on the beat means there is an instant sway in the song, nice harmonies too.

 

If you want a concoction of social realism with an upbeat sound to dance to, The Bulletproof Bomb is probably your type of band.

 

Fickle Friends

Fickle Friends

Have you ever just let Soundcloud play your recommended tracks? If not, don’t worry it’s understandable it can become a bit irritating.

 

But, on the odd occasion when you do, don’t you just find yourself a little treat?

 

The band Fickle Friends came up after I was listening to a recently blogged about band and I was more than pleasantly surprised by their, shape throwing yet soothing sound.

 

The Single S W I M was what was brought to my intention and immediately I found myself thinking about The 1975 and AlunaGeorge.

 

Their love of the 80s is evident in the chalky tones of their guitars and the erratic synth line in the back of the track.

 

The kind of singing of one line without pausing for a breath is similar to that of The 1975 – Girls.

 

The vocalist sounds an awful lot like Aluna of AlunaGeorge with the East-London sass and lyrical matter.

 

If you’re looking for a more guitar driven version of AlunaGeorge (I often am), I think you may have found them in Brighton 5 piece Fickle Friends.

 

 

Enjoy their new wave grooves here:

Lives, a musical entity.

Lives, a musical entity.

The Californian waves of over ridden drum cymbals are a keen thing to the ear of every indie-pop fan.

 

Liverpool based band, Lives, are certainly proving to be a treat in that respect.

 

Having released only two songs on Soundcloud and a very secretive Twitter account, Lives aren’t giving us much to go on.

 

But, the songs released do tell us something; this band is energetic, loud and catchy as fuck.

 

White Lies, sounding like it has been written by a more musically intelligent version of The Vaccines (if they knew anything more than just four chords, a clean tone and a distorted tone).

 

The singer’s croaky vocals makes the song all the more human, it’s different to the usual clean preference of the modern indie band.

 

Short Memory, starting very abrasively with an all out beginning, does give your eardrums a kick.

 

The Cali wave in the ride of the cymbals adds to the bounce of the verse. The classic pre-chorus break down as a bridge almost gives this song the feeling that you have heard it a million times before.

 

The also devastatingly catchy lyrics in the chorus (You say all the right things/ but always at the wrong times/ have you only come here just to ruin my night) will drive you mad, but in all of the good ways of course.

 

Another small piece of information that is clear is that they are supporting More Than Conquerors on the 29th May in Korova, Liverpool as their debut gig (or so I think).

 

Give them a listen and help figure out who they are!

 

Treehouse – Newsham Park clean up.

Treehouse – Newsham Park clean up.

As a young boy growing up in Liverpool it was never any secret the struggles that an inner city community such as Tuebrook face daily due to the stereotypes and connotations.

 

Sometimes taken with a pinch of salt, Tuebrook is built around a large area of grassland known as Newsham Park.

 

The place has seemed a bit derelict in recent years, but with the new buzz about the city, the more liberal personality and bohemian aspect, It’s hard to ignore the on going rejuvenation projects such as the Newsham Park clean-up by the group known as Treehouse.

 

On the 10th May, Treehouse will undertake a large litter-picking project in Newsham Park to give a culturally diverse part of the city, such as Tuebrook, somewhere to go and enjoy one of the very few nature heavy aspects of the city.

 

A press release given by the group stated that;

 

“Helpers from other places in Liverpool, such as Croxteth, and further afield in Wales and London have been inspired to help out.  Some are coming on the day giving testimony to Tuebrook’s charisma and capacity.”

 

Rejuvenation projects such as this highlight the cities coming togetherness and the general personality that Liverpool, unbeknownst to the outside world, has.

 

If you are around get down to the event and help the people out you never know you might meet the love of your life whilst picking a Mars bar wrapper up…

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/714328021952371/