Category Archives: Blues

The Small Change Diaries ‘Lullabies for Cynics’ Album

After forming back in 2014 and since releasing both a debut album and EP, The Small Change Diaries are all set to release their second album ‘Lullabies for Cynics’, which will be available from 3rd November. The release will be celebrated with a launch gig set to take place at Sunny Bank Mills on its release date. Their debut album ‘Adam Blames Eve’ received critical acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing and thus far, the tracks ‘Huggie Crying Thing’ and ‘I Know What You’re Saying’ from the new album have been played on BBC Introducing Leeds, giving them a promising start. With a rich variation of instruments, The Small Change Diaries create poetic, acoustic songs with thought provoking lyrics and a heartfelt delivery. Similar to their previous EP ‘Protest Songs’, their latest album ‘Lullabies for Cynics’ was inspired by world events in the past 18 months. Described by the collective themselves as ‘music for the head and heart’, various tracks touch on specific affairs such as the Paris attack and changes in US politics, leaving the listener with a lot to think about. The album also features some stellar international musicians, including Laurent Zeller from France, and Phil Doleman, both who have decades of musical experience. It was recorded over a 12 month period and has been a labour of love for the 4-piece.

At first glance ‘Lullabies for Cynics’ has a warm fuzzy glow that maybe we all need sometimes. From the title track ‘Hold On’ this four piece sweep us with a deluge of lush rich instrumentation emitting bright radiant vibes and warm tones. Opulent sweet melodies teamed with beautiful harmonies and bouncy light rhythms create a boppy sound that wraps you up in a cosy blanket shielding you from the harshness of the world. I don’t think you can get a more glowing peppy track than ‘Huggy Cryin’ Thing’. It’s light, catchy, warm and soothing. Oozing oodles of cheery vibes. I’m usually the cynical person and for sure not a morning person but I think if I was a morning person i’d wake up singing this song while the sun shone on me and the birds tweeted. It sets the scene for cheery perfect idealism. It has a sweet quality to cheer anyone up. ‘I Know What Your’re Saying’ with its foot tapping tone and  ‘Kicking Down Doors’ with its guitar twangs, jagged tempo and waltz injections take a slower melancholic tone. They are a little more sombre and honest. With tracks like the sparkling  ‘Not One Of Us’ and the darker swing of ‘Voodood Doll (feat.Phil Doleman)’ it’s like this four piece create their own little world which has a soft positive first impression but dig a little deeper and it’s a little more dark. Gently shaking percussion and snug strings create a cosy atmosphere though the lyrics are a lot more striking and harsh than the dreamy instrumental illusion. The four piece take their hand to blues with ‘Slow News Day’. Drenched in lazy hazy vibes with sublime bluesy drizzled horns and stroke tap beat it has a classy curvy easy going tempo with a murky story behind it. ‘Lullaby’ closes the album on a soothing note. Basically they sing us a lullaby before adding a bright refreshing little wake up burst about 1 minute and 30 seconds in. It sparkles and glows with pacifying gentleness and hopefulness.

‘Lullabies for Cynics’ is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. The Small Change Diaries create a peppy fantasy world with folk, blues, gospel-style arrangements all while conveying the candied truth through their politically challenging lyrics. At a first listen it’s just camp fire sway ready lollipops and rainbows tunes but at the root there is depth there. Perhaps candy coating the harshness for us a little.

After performing at both UK and overseas festivals over the duration of the summer, The Small Change Diaries are now ready to settle back in the UK to promote their album, starting with their album launch gig on 3rd November 2017 at Sunny Bank Mills. Information about further upcoming live dates can be found on their social media pages here

Watch the video for the track  ‘Birdman’ below


Miles Horn ‘Slow Motion’

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Miles Horn is a talented and multifaceted composer and singer from London. His musical expression covers a wide spectrum of styles from stripped back acoustic ballads to full on anthemic belters. Horn has released his debut EP ‘Slow Motion’ this month on which he has played lead guitar, piano and vocals on all of his recordings. The EP was predominantly self-recorded in various front rooms and bedrooms across London with the finishing touches and mixing carried out at Resident Studios. The final mastering was done at Abbey Road Studios by Frank Arkwright who has worked with Blur and The Smiths. ‘Slow Motion’ shows us Horn’s blend of soul-rock and blues, the five tracks venture through themes of lost love and the frustration of youth, all coloured by haunting vocal harmonies and heartfelt guitar riffs.
The opening track ‘Walking in The Park’ stirs us with the bluntness of lyrics like “I just want to be loved, is that such a crime?”, all wrapped in the warmth of Miles’ Grandfather’s Hammond Organ. Though the lyrics are melancholy and full of wistfulness the bright guitar glows and adds vibrancy to the track that gives it a chirpy feel. This contrast teamed with Horns smooth deep vocals adds a rich warm texture and acts as a comforting blanket soothing you from the emotional sombre lyrics. The title track ‘Slow Motion’ gives us a sway – like tender sound sprinkled with some sensual bluesy seasoning. With velvety vocals and the haunting ethereal echoes of the backing vocals to start, portraying a delicate moment. The track builds to a restrained yet unleashed sultry guitar solo. This track showcases Horns steamy bluesy style and fantastic guitar skills. ‘All Gone Quiet On The Western Front’ explores the vacuous pain of a lost love, this theme is portrayed perfectly and tenderly with vibrato on cello and sweet lull on backing vocals. The hard hitting instrumental with sharp shredding guitar and punchy steady drums adds dramatic emotion. The guitar seems to pine the loss as it wails and almost evokes the pain of the heartache. This track is Horn wearing his heart on his sleeve and presenting us with raw emotion. The fourth track, ‘Something Beautiful’, opens with Horn’s vocals accompanied by a beautiful Ben Howard-esque finger picking, very gentle and delicate with faint subtle and dainty backing vocals. We are lead into a catchy singalong chorus that exudes class and panache and radiates sunshine and a heavenly glow. Finally, the EP closes with ‘Lately’ a beautifully arranged piano led ballad gently brushed by the tasteful tone of bluesy licks. Horns vocals are emotion filled and passionate. The luscious melody is blissful and beautiful with tear jerking sombre tones. Its a simple track with warm tones and sweet piano that eases you to the end of the “Slow Motion’ journey.
Miles Horn will be performing at various London venues this Autumn. His next showcase will be at the iconic venue The Bedford in Balham (which has nurtured the likes of Paolo Nutini and Ed Sheeran) on Monday 7th November 2016.
Stream ‘Slow Motion’ below

BaDow ‘Hot Headed Machine’

BaDow are a Blues/Rock band from the South Coast of England. Fronted by Jodie Amos (Drums & Vocals) with Sam Morris on Guitar & Vocals and Bradley McGinty on Bass & Vocals. BaDow bring us the release of their second EP ‘Hot Headed Machine’. Title track ‘Hot Headed Machine’ kicks the EP off with a sizzling slick bluesy swagger. The fuzzed scuzzy bass and blazing guitar add a sensual elastic quality to the track while Amos’ vocal are clear cut with attitude and sass. This track is smooth and saucy with grit and brawn brought in by the punchy drums and vigorous guitars. ‘Poor Young Man ‘ gives us a heavier rock mosh worthy sound to start. It becomes more sensual and groovy for the elastic verse with a hip swaying dirty bass. The track becomes more energetic for the explosive chorus. The melody is infectious as the repetitive bridge holds tension until the dynamic crescendo. This track exudes steamy swagger and strut quality. ‘Wasted On Me’ pounds a steady beat to start, with a light guitar feature and lush backing vocals. Amos’ vocals for this track take a gentle emotional approach. The chorus once again builds up BaDow’s rock sound as they give us a burst of robust instrumentation which subsides for the verses. This track features a fantastic shredding guitar solo and really gives the guitar time to shine as it smashes it in an insane lengthy display of polished slick lustrous licks. The sleek ‘Freedom Of The Night’ finishes the EP with smooth sensual bluesy rock. The zesty guitar riff and flexible sultry bass teamed with powerful drums and a catchy melody makes this track a strong ending for the EP.
BaDow ‘Hot Headed Machine’ gives us their rendition of smooth, steamy, gritty classic blues rock and sizzling melodies.
Stream ‘Hot Headed Machine’ below

Val Cale ‘Two People In The Dark’

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Val Cale are a Garage Blues band from Leeds. The band consists of members Tom Lister (Lead Vocals / Lead Guitar), Henry Smith (Rhythm Guitar / Backing Vocals), Shafiq Dufrene (Bass Guitar / Keys / Backing Vocals) and Sam Hamer (Drums / Backing Vocals). The band has quickly made progress through the Leeds city gig scene, and is gaining a reputation for enthralling, atmospheric and groovy live performances. They claim their music is “capable of reducing the listeners mind to the creamy texture of a head of stout” and they are absolutely right.
‘Two People In The Dark’ gives us a taste of what we can expect from their upcoming debut EP ‘Blackstuff’ which is set for release this September. Its a deep dark swirling concoction of gritty blues and rock with a dash of psychedelia. ‘Two People In The Dark’ introduces itself with a massive attention grabbing dirty blues riff. The track becomes more sensual and luring with an elastic bass that adds an enticing lustful quality and burning desire feel to the track. While Lister’s vocals are raspy and emotion filled adding to the longing tone. The drums keep a flexible tempting beat that teases the listener as we wait for the massive crescendo. The shredding guitar solo adds that touch of psychedelia as it screeches with powerful distortion and is performed with slick proficient and nimble skill.
‘Two People In The Dark’ shows Val Cale’s skillful musicianship, looking forward to their EP.
These guys are ones to watch.
Stream ‘Two People In The Dark’ below

Fighting Caravans ‘Blue Heart Motel’

 

Fighting Caravans are an alternative rock band from Leeds. Band members Daniel Clark (Lead Vocals), Roff James (Guitar), Cinnamon Lees (Bass), Ali Fletcher (Guitar) and Joshua Hagzenberg (Drums) released their debut EP ‘Beasts Of England’ in 2015, which was promoted alongside a UK and EU tour, earning strong local and international acclaim. The quintet have already played at Live At Leeds, Liverpool Sound City and Tramlines and they will start work on their second EP in the autumn, alongside additional tours of the UK and Europe in association with Sofar Sounds.
Fighting Caravans released a new single ‘Blue Heart Motel’ earlier this year. Its is a dark mysterious track to start with deep eerie vocals and ghostly backing vocals. The drums are steady and give a “marching of the dead” feel. The track becomes more funky with elastic bluesy bass and smooth sensual guitars. The song builds into a psychedelic trip with screeching guitars and dynamic haunting vocals that create an aching longing atmosphere. The spiralling narcotic effect builds for the crescendo creating an intoxicated confused atmosphere with a shredding guitar solo. The intense vocals teamed with the ghostly backing vocals that echo and wail will give you goosebumps. ‘Blue Heart Motel’ is an eerie haunting psychedelic trip hybridised with gritty rock and embroidered with funky bluesy elements.
You can catch Fighting Caravans live at:
Aug 26 Leeds Festival Leeds, United Kingdom
Aug 28 Reading Festival,Reading, United Kingdom
Sep 06 Bar Bloc, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Sep 07 Secret Show, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Sep 09 Rising Sun Arts Centre, Reading, United Kingdom
Sep 10 Brudenell Social Club (Games Room),Headingley, United Kingdom
Sep 11 Blues Bar, Harrogate, United Kingdom
Sep 23 The Magnet, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Sep 24 The Underground, Bradford, United Kingdom
Sep 28 Dog & Parrot, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Sep 30 FAC251 Manchester, United Kingdom
Oct 01 The Rocking Chair, Sheffield, Uk
Oct 14 Cafe De Speeltuin,Breda, Netherlands
Oct 15 Huize Spoorloos, Emmen, Netherlands
Oct 16 Secret Show, Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
Oct 17 The Waterhole Amsterdam, Netherlands
Oct 18 Dorett Bar,Mainz, Germany
Oct 20 Secret Show, Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
Oct 21 Subway to Peter, Chemnitz, Germany
Oct 24 Roxy, Prague, Czech Republic
Stream ‘Blue Heart Motel’ below

Live Music Review Of New Valley Wolves supported by Ghost Robots

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As a music venue Cork’s Crane Lane has a lot to offer, its fantastic decor and laid back atmosphere has everything you need to enjoy a night out with live music. We made our way through the crowds to the room set towards the back of the lane where New Valley Wolves were due to perform with Ghost Robots as support. One look at the bustling cheery crowd tells you that they are rockers which puts me at ease as I find rock crowds are the best to get along with, they are there for the music and to enjoy themselves.

Ghost Robots begin with their utterly absorbing set full of catchy riffs, flexible rhythms and smooth vocals. The alternative rock band from Waterford lead you gently through their psych trip setlist starting with ‘Richer Than kings’ they pull you in to a mysterious20160730_215234_001 swirl, driven by punchy drums and dynamic guitars while Doyle’s vocals keep things fresh and edgy. Ghost Robots keep the tracks flowing fluently as they belt out tune after tune oiling up the rusty hips of the crowd as they sway and mosh to each track. Drummer Dael O’Brien is especially enthusiastic and stands out with his energetic mesmerising drumming. They ease us into their insanely catchy ‘Under Fire’ which recently featured as one of our Worth A Listen tracks. This luring song goes down well with the entranced crowd as they move to the beat while the tracks effortless cool tone has a dazed effect while still packing a punch. Ghost Robots finish on ‘Bad Habbit‘ leaving the stunned crowd wanting more.

New Valley Wolves take the stage and spark pandemonium and chaos with their opening track ‘Shake Your Bones’ as they blast us with track after track of brawl-like powerful drums and gritty kick ass riffs. With instrumental tracks like ‘Acid Ocean’ showcasing their20160730_223558 monstrous frenzy-causing sound that will rock you to your core and persuade even the most timid person to rebel and headbang. New Valley Wolves as promised give us an energetic and memorable show as they dominate Crane Lane with the forceful and staggering ‘This Bad City’ and ‘Shark’. They exude swagger and fiery attitude in ‘Athens’ as they give us a smooth sensual almost funky track that builds into a moshing riot. The rock duo confirm they are a force to be reckoned with, when they pull out the masterstroke that is new soon to be released single ‘Silver Tongue’ knocking us back and demanding the attention that these guys deserve. Lucey coaxes the crowd forward and they begin a frenzy of moshing to the powerful bluesy ‘Eyes On Me’. Members of the crowd shout out the fast passed rap-like swagger-filled lyrics accompanied by the slick fiery riffs teamed with pounding soul shaking drums. They finish strong with ‘Fire In The Blood’ followed by new single ‘Trouble’ two hefty, mean tracks bursting with attitude. While ‘Fire In The Blood’ had a rapid tempo that raced through the crowd causing a chaotic mix of moshing and  hopping,  ‘Trouble’ took on a destructive persona keeping the crowd headbanging and going crazy in its high energy body pounding sound leaving the crowd thirsty for more.

New Valley Wolves are getting bigger and better, a force of nature coming into their prime.

Watch Our Interview With New Valley Wolves below

 

King Harvest & The Weight release debut album Maps in-store and online today

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King Harvest & The Weight are Ben Adey ( Bassist and main songsmith), Justin Edley (drums) and Olly Smith(guitar/vocals). They have released their debut album ‘Maps’ today which is a collection of upbeat catchy rock tracks bursting with great vibes and embroidered with dynamic bass, mighty drums and spirited guitar. The album flows fluidly with each track bursting with infectious luscious melodies and fantastic musicianship that will attract repeated listens.
If you are in Dublin on the Sunday August 21st head down to Howth and check out King Harvest & The Weight’s next performance for the birthday celebrations of late Thin Lizzy legend Phil Lynott, at the personal request of his mother, Philomena. A third single release and video for When it Stops will accompany the album launch. Trust me your going to want to see these guys live.

Check out the Press release below

Maps, the debut long-player from West Yorkshire three-piece King Harvest & The Weight gets its eagerly anticipated in-store release today, also becoming available to download from all major online music outlets. Greeted with universal praise from publications and peers throughout the industry, the album’s 14-tracks have been hailed for their infectious blend of pop sensibility, garage-rock intent and AOR sophistication –bolstered by a recent whistle-stop tour of the UK and Ireland
Described as “the greatest lost mixtape –a dashboard discovery for a hot summer’s day”, Maps comes hot on the heels of frenetic lead single Unstuck, and the introspective follow-up Bloodsport, which –alongside a video from up-and-coming filmmaker Jordan Greenwood –explores the effects of depression on relationships.
Opening with Howl –a spoken-word intro from Stooges/Minutemen bassist Mike Watt –Maps features contributions from a diverse host of musical luminaries, including Peter Gabriel vocalist Rosie Doonan, and Ren Harvieu keys-man Andy Bruce. Frontman, bassist and main songsmith Ben Adey is joined by Justin Edley (drums) and Olly Smith(guitar/vocals) to complete the band’s core lineup.
Watch ‘Unstuck’ below

Hannah Grace ‘Mustang’

Welsh soul , blues singer/songwriter Hannah Grace released her new single ‘Mustang’ a few days ago. ‘Mustang’ is a sassy bluesy track full of attitude. With its sway like beat this track has a strut effect with slick gritty guitars that give an edgy rock element. Graces’ vocals are soulful and powerful without being over powering. She exudes swagger and confidence while maintaining a tempting seductive tone, teamed with an “i don’t give a damn ” attitude. With catchy chorus and easy to sing along “whoo whoo” bridge this track is an infectious anthem. Graces’ vocals are impressively captivating and draw you in while you listen intently to her amazing vocal capability as she gives us a powerful strong performance that will have you singing along and clapping to this fantastic track.
Stream ‘ Mustang’ below

Our Worth A Listen

Our Worth A Listen track this week is Stellify’s ‘Shun’

Stellify are an Alternative Rock / Fuzzy Blues band from London. Band members James Howlett (Lead Vocals & Guitar), Richard Costello (Vocals & Lead Guitar), Carlos Dittborn (Bass) and Daniel Perez (Drums) have been steadily and constantly gaining momentum since their formation in 2011.
Their new single ‘Shun’ is a blues filled, fiery rock track, with deep smouldering vocals and seductive, alluring, elastic bass. When teamed with the rapid persuasive drums in the verse they  compel your body to move. The chorus comes alive with a heavier mosh sound and more dynamic vocals which really shakes things up before the song returns again to the intense smooth tease of the verse. The psychedelic trance feel on guitar adds to the bewitching effect of this luring track.
Stellify are playing a number of shows and festivals throughout 2016 where they will be delivering blues filled fuzzy rock and roll.
You can see them at
JUN 23, The Beer Kat, London
JUL 16, Eailing Blues Festival,Walpole Park, Ealing
SEP 13, Time Out Rising Stars, 229 The Venue, London
Stream ‘Shun’ below