Spotlight!: Chapel Row

Chapel RowHailing from Merthyr, South Wales, Chapel Row exhibit a kind of raw energy and pent-up frustration that defies expectations. Their gritty, no-nonsense rock is a sharp wake-up call from the mundanity of modern life, delivering the kind of passion that is all too often missing from the scene at the moment. Combining relatable teenage angst with musical talents beyond their years, these lads are on to a winner. ‘Lockdown’ is a hard-hitting rock masterclass that is sure to get your blood pumping. ‘She Knows’ with it’s big hooks reminds me of fellow Welsh band Catfish and the Bottlemen, while the intricate rhythm and anthemic chorus of ‘Cold’ makes for the perfect festival crowd-pleaser. Every so often you hear a band that ignites a fire in your heart and pumps pure electricity through your veins, and this is just such a band. Thoroughly intoxicating, and just the right level of rough around the edges, Chapel Row are one of the most thrilling bands in the UK right now, and with a bit of luck will have a big break on the cards in the near future.

Fans of Spring King, Yak, Catfish and the Bottlemen and The Amazons should check out their debut EP Lockdown.

Top Tracks: The Last Dinosaur – Grow

It’s sometimes easy to forget that while listening to music can provide great comfort and reassurance when times get tough, the same can also be said of creating it in the first place. Having lost his best friend in a tragic car crash in his youth, Jamie Cameron’s latest record is a powerful cathartic release after many years of pent-up pain and frustration. Taken from his upcoming album The Nothing out 7th July, the second record under his The Last Dinosaur moniker, ‘Grow’ is a bittersweet reflection on the fragile beauty of life. Combining gorgeous folk guitar melodies, an uplifting swell of strings, and a voice so breathy and delicate you fear it might get carried away on the breeze, it’s a song of unquestionable charm and beauty.

Top Tracks: Matt Koelsch – Perfectly Aligned

Ditching the confines of his office job in finance, singer/songwriter Matt Koelsch risked it all to follow his passion for music in LA. Judging by his latest single ‘Perfectly Aligned’ I’d say he made the right choice. Taken from his upcoming EP Thinking of You, the track is an ideal feel-good summer anthem. Fusing indie folk with striking splashes of brass, the song speaks of not conforming to expectations and refusing to measure yourself against others. Anyone with the guts to follow their heart gets a tick in my book, even more so those lucky few like Matt who have overcome every obstacle to achieve something to be proud of. We have here an uplifting hit from an inspiring up-and-coming musician; what’s not to love?

Top Tracks: Christina Martin – Lungs Are Burning

Canadian singer/songwriter Christina Martin is back with the first single from her forthcoming album. ‘Lungs Are Burning’ is inspired by a rising drug crisis in her native Canada, and lyrically the track deals with living with addiction; the search for the next high and the inevitable crash that follows. Christina’s vocals are reminiscent in places of Stevie Nicks and the lush instrumentation does a fantastic job of contrasting the dark subject matter, but without making light of it. The attention grabbing bass tones and glimmers of The War On Drugs inspired soundscapes really add to its appeal (although the irony isn’t lost on me).  It’s a superb track that tells an important story, and is surely a good omen of more great songs to come.

Live Review: Arcade Fire, The Baths Hall Scunthorpe, 7th June 2017

AF2When I first heard the rumour that Arcade Fire would be playing The Baths Hall, a charming little local venue that sadly sees few bands making an appearance, I remember saying that I thought there was more chance of me backflipping over the venue than one of the biggest bands of the 21st century playing there. After swiftly eating my words and queueing up in the rain from 4:30am to be certain of being a part of the intimate audience, I felt euphoric to the point that I might actually have been able to make that flip (after all, it seems miracles do happen). So gather round one and all, as I regale you with the legendary tale of one of the most unique and noteworthy gigs in the calendar, and the best thing to happen to Scunny since… well, ever!  Continue reading

Spotlight!: 99 Trees

99treesThis Paris based indie pop pair have given a whole new dimension to pop music with their eclectic and intelligent songwriting. With the duo’s debut EP, Multi-instrumentalist Axel Concato and Danish born singer Pia Blixen find the perfect balance between innovation and accessibility. ’21st Century’ has all the flair and positive energy of 60s surf rock, while ‘Broken‘ combines psychedelic sounds and funky bass tones with big radio-friendly hooks. ‘It’s Only Love’ brings together bright and cheerful pop with quirky hints of Yoshimi era Flaming Lips, and ‘Solid Friend’ has Bowie influences just written all over it. 99 Trees really are the best of both worlds; big addictive hooks with diverse and interesting intstrumentation. This is what pop music should sound like! Somewhere along the way we lost track of the idea that pop can be both fun and intricate, but this delightful duo have shown the ideal path. There is great potential here for them to provide just the kind of big hits that we all want and need.

Fans of MGMT, Lorde, Halsey and new Tame Impala should check out their debut EP 21st Century out 23rd June.

Interview: Ailbhe Reddy

ailbhe reddy interviewThere is a lot of new music to be excited about this year, but one of my favourite new discoveries of 2017 has been Dublin based singer/songwriter Ailbhe Reddy. Her latest release Attach To Memory has been one of the best EPs of the year thus far, shifting seamlessly between indie, folk and electropop, all interconnected by her unique and memorable vocal style. I was lucky enough to chat to her about her new EP:  Continue reading

Top Tracks: Paul Thomas Saunders – Holding On For Love

Singer/songwriter Paul Thomas Saunders is back with the his first new music in three years. Following on from his acclaimed 2014 album Beautiful Desolation, his new track ‘Holding On For Love’ is a beautiful piano-driven ballad that captures the style of such great artists as Carole King and Billy Joel. Its mellow and uplifting melody is like some skyward waltz towards the heavens, carried by a gentle summer breeze. Eminently likeable, Saunders’ new track is the kind of gorgeous balladry that many songwriters can only dream of writing. If this track is anything to go by, he may well have another critically acclaimed album to his name in the near future.

Top Tracks: Louder Still – Speed Machine

Reading rockers Louder Still have made one hell of a first impression with their debut single ‘Speed Machine’. Recalling the likes of AC/DC and Deep Purple, the track is a textbook example of the classic hard rock sound. Raw and untamed, it’s a no-holds-barred adrenaline fueled thrill ride. The song is matched perfectly by its drag race music video, which is equally as intense and action packed. Perfect for fans of Airbourne and The Answer, this fired up four piece are eager to prove themselves to be Britain’s new hard rock heroes. Only time will tell if Louder Still will win over the classic rock crowd, but rest assured that one could never accuse them of giving it any less than their all.