Top Tracks: Steve Perry – No Erasin’

As a kid, Journey was the first band I ever loved. I had all their albums and while I may not listen to them as much anymore, their music such a big part in my life. So, while I can certainly sympathise, it’s always been profoundly disheartening that the golden voice of former frontman Steve Perry has been silent for so long. Having not released any new music since Journey’s 1996 album Trial By Fire, and having rarely made public appearances in my lifetime, Steve has at long last returned to the spotlight. Bearing in mind his age and his over 20 year hiatus from making music, ‘No Erasin’, the lead single from his comeback album Traces out 5th October, is nothing short of remarkable.

Live Review: Joe Russell-Brown, Cafe INDIEpendent Scunthorpe, 10th Aug 2018

DSC_0050-01This site is all about supporting new music, but contrary to what my inbox tells me, great music doesn’t just come from London and LA. Wherever there are creatively minded people with a message to share there is great music to be found, and if we all did more to support our local scenes maybe so many of them wouldn’t need to move to those big cities to stand a chance of following their passion. Breakthrough is a scheme that understands that all great bands and artists have to start somewhere. This new artist development program, working with Yorkshire and the Humber’s finest up-and-coming talents, decided to put on a series of three showcase gigs, in the hopes of sharing that message and getting people involved with their local scene. I dropped by Cafe Indie to bask in what this first batch of the area’s best and brightest rising stars had to offer.  Continue reading

Interview: Big Kettle Drum

big kettle drumWith their latest EP I Thought You’d Be Bigger, Florida based duo Big Kettle Drum dabble in the kind of music that you don’t listen to, so much as feel every note from somewhere deep within. Brant Christopher Menswar and JT Keel have explored their soulful side with this latest release, but while still maintaining their hard-wearing signature sound steeped in old-school blues and Americana that won them their fiercely loyal fanbase. I fired a few quick questions their way to find out more about this latest release.   Continue reading

Top Tracks: The Pineapple Thief – Try As I Might

Taken from The Pineapple Thief’s forthcoming album Dissolution, ‘Try As I Might’ is an exciting taster of what’s to come. Exploring darker territory than 2016’s Your Wilderness, this new single offers a glimpse into the album’s concept surrounding our hyper-connected modern world, the lack of privacy and anonymity it brings, and the consequences that follow. The Black Mirror-esque video sees frontman Bruce Soord caught in a dystopian world of in-eye cameras, struggling to deal with the implications of this brave new world. Gavin Harrison once again brings his transcendent drum work to the fray for this new record, but it’s the expressive bass tones that really shine on this track, particularly in the latter half. I’ve often looked on The Pineapple Thief as prog’s dark horse, but if the rest of the new album lives up to the standard I’ve heard thus far then they may be the clear frontrunner for the best progressive record of 2018.

Top Tracks: ABQ – Takes So Long

Sometimes a song manages to do the impossible. Some tracks can draw from opposite ends of the spectrum and combine styles that seem otherwise incompatible. Some pieces of music can be both gentle and heavy, happy yet sad, in a way that is difficult to put into words. ‘Takes So Long’, the debut single from Belfast quartet ABQ, manages to be both a raw and honest rock powerhouse as well as a sing-along pop anthem. The distinctive vocals carry such passion, equally suited to both the soaring optimism of the verses and the gritty realism in the closing calls of “it takes so long”. The slick, cinematic video shows the band create inviting festival-ready melodies, albeit with a deeper tension bubbling away beneath. The song serves as a great mission statement of what ABQ are capable of. It’s an assured start that keeps you on your toes as to what to expect next from this promising 4-piece.

Live Review: Iron Maiden, Genting Arena Birmingham, 7th Aug 2018

eddie-01All music fans have a “list”, a selection of bucket list bands that you have yet to see live. Though I’ve been through some wildly different music phases over the years, Iron Maiden have always been near the top of my list ever since first hearing ‘Fear of the Dark’ as a teenager. Few bands can match the scale and spectacle of the mighty Maiden in their live shows. Gutted to have missed out on their last tour, I eagerly snapped up tickets for their Legacy of the Beast world tour and made my way down to Genting Arena… on what turned out to be Bruce Dickinson’s 60th birthday of all days! Continue reading

Live Review: Humber Street Sesh 2018

DSCN0713-01When Hull was named the UK’s city of culture for 2017, I’m sure there were more than a few raised eyebrows, but even as someone on the outside looking in the city’s rejuvenation was staggering. Whether Hull pulled off a miraculous reinvention in the space of a year, or whether it was always a cultural hub somewhere beneath the surface and is just now sharing it with the world remains to be seen. I sadly missed last year’s Humber Street Sesh, which I’m told was one of the highlights of the summer, so I was interested to see how that passion for art and culture carried on into 2018… and of course see some great bands and artists too!  Continue reading

Top Tracks: Tiny Castle – World

I keep an ongoing list of standout songs of 2018 as the year ticks by, but in the end the best song on the list boils down to whichever track most makes my heart sing when I hear it. ‘World’ is one of the first major contenders for that title. Aussie outfit Tiny Castle are on par with some of the best Australian bands going right now, and given the high standards I’ve seen in recent years that’s no mean feat. ‘World’ combines the retro 80s synths and airy atmosphere of The Paper Kites with the soaring indie riffs of Holy Holy, and with some truly electrifying drums thrown in for good measure. A song all about not wasting your energy on negativity, that surplus spark is channelled into making this track an intoxicating thrill ride, like some high-speed chase along shimmering neon-lit highways. It’s the kind of song that makes you feel invincible; bursting with technicolour life and an inescapable aura of joy.

Top Tracks: SHY Martin – Lose You Too

Some of the greatest artists have started out by writing songs for other people, though the trick is to save the best songs for yourself. After penning big pop singles for the likes of The Chainsmokers and Ellie Goulding, the stage was set for Swedish songwriter SHY Martin to strike out on her own, and ‘Lose You Too’ comes as a thank you to all those who’ve supported her on the journey thus far. This stripped back ballad shows an exciting new side to her music, swapping commercial pop for plaintive folk. Her delicate vocals speak of coming to accept that sometimes we drift apart from the people who mean the most to us, like sand slipping through your fingers despite your best efforts to hold on. This spellbinding ballad is surely one of the most beautiful tracks of 2018, and I’m glad SHY Martin shared it under her own name, as I’m not sure anyone else could have captured quite the same magical feeling found here.