Top Tracks: CC Smugglers – Dirty Money

Slick and soulful aren’t often terms used to describe folk music, but they are a damn good fit for the latest track from this Bedfordshire band. ‘Dirty Money’ brings together a classic Americana sound complete with twanging banjos and hints of wild west piano, but imbues it with a real sense of swing and swagger that is hard to put your finger on, but adds a fresh contemporary feel. Singing about the age-old adage that money doesn’t bring you happiness, CC Smugglers have nailed it with this foot-stomping feel good hit. Perfect for fans of Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers and Blackberry Smoke, ‘Dirty Money’ is one of the most fun and infectious songs I’ve heard all year. The kind of track you can listen to all day, keep singing all night, and still not get tired of it. Folking brilliant!

Top Tracks: Tamino – Habibi

The new track from this half Egyptian, half Belgian songwriter just makes time stand still, and demands your full, undivided attention. Tamino’s vocals are like the bewitching tune of a snake-charmer, leaving you hanging on his every word. The somber ‘Habibi’, lying somewhere between a tango and a funeral march, shows that the greatest beauty can be found in sorrow. Reminiscent of the late great Jeff Buckley, particularly in the angelic falsetto in the track’s final fading moments, Tamino has shown himself to be the finest new vocalist I’ve heard this year. With the captivating melancholy of this cut from his debut EP, his breathtaking talent shines through the gloom and reveals him to be a real one to watch over the next few years.

Spotlight!: White Noise Radio

white noise radio band

Photo by Rob Marsden

In a world where we have unadventurous and one-dimensional music forced on us everywhere we turn, it sometimes seeps into your system. It can leave you too quick to dismiss, and all too often you can end up underestimating bands. If, like me, you dive into White Noise Radio expecting a run of the mill alternative rock band, you will find yourself confronted with something far more complex and compelling than you anticipated. Just from the intricate opening drums of ‘Siren’, immediately reminiscent of Tool, it’s clear this Bristol band have a lot to offer. The fierce riffs of ‘Gone Inside’ hint at the band’s darker, more aggressive side, channeling Mastodon in its heaviest moments. ‘Dawning’ alternates between feral alt rock energy and soulful atmospheric sections, while the trippy ‘Wires’ has clear hints of Porcupine Tree as it shifts from shimmering psychedelica into full-blown metal territory. Equally adept at sounding both raw and melodic, and with the right level of technical wizardry to appeal to both prog and alt rock fans, White Noise Radio are perfectly poised to conquer the underground scene.

Fans of Tool, Karnivool, Alter Bridge and Mastodon should check out their new EP Cosmos out 1st July.

Interview: Common Tongues

common tongues interview2017 is turning out to be a spectacular year for music, and it’s getting to the point where it’s hard to pick out favourites. I have no doubt in my mind however that Brighton band Common Tongues have released one of the strongest debuts of the year. Their eclectic album Divisions shifts with the greatest of ease between genres, providing a whistle-stop tour of everything from folk to electronica, indie to prog. Naturally I just had to chat to them about their fantastic new record:  Continue reading

Top Tracks: Tree – Hold My Hand

It’s easy to write a song that’s memorable, or bold, or exciting, but it’s rare to find a song that shows a sense of understanding. To take your own personal experiences and commit them to song in such a way that it forms a deep connection for people from all walks of life is no mean feat, but it’s something Tree have nailed with their new single. ‘Hold My Hand’, taken from their album The Bridge and The Mountain, tells a tale of overcoming adversity to find peace of mind and new opportunities, adorned with a backdrop of refined strings and wall-of-sound indie rock. With Tree listing Rush amongst their influences, it reminds me of ‘The Pass’ as it manages to somehow both sum up the feeling of being lost and alone, and find exactly the right words to provide comfort and reassurance.