TRUST-THE-DOC: MUSICAL MUSINGS

by Neil March (Edition 20, 14th February 2019)

Welcome to Edition 20 of Trust The Doc. A packed issue this time!

✦ DANDY WARHOLS/SWERVEDRIVER/JUNIORE Live at O2 Academy

✦ VANISHING POINT: Rothko’s cracking finale with ESF & Handaoline

✦ SKRONKTRONIC: Environmental Sound Foundation & other stories

✦ SH FOX: Ambient Soundscapes from enigmatic composer & artist

✦ THE COMET IS COMING: Shabaka’s experimental combo summoning fire

✦ LESTER BOWIE BRASS FANTASY: Not new but worth hearing all the same

✦ SONAR: Collaborative Swiss Jazz Futurism showcased by new album

✦ KOKOKO: Congolese Kinshasa rhythms set against inventive electronics

✦ LAU: Stunning live session on Tom Robinson Show by amazing band

✦ J FLAMES: Privileged to have a copy to review of his excellent new album

✦ MOAK TP: A powerful voice for the reality of being young black and male

✦ SOLAREYE: An exciting and relevant voice for Scottish Hip Hop & Grime

✦ M w S: Stylish Italian duo deliver their most urban sounding Soul track yet

✦ JJ: Soulful R’n’B infused Pop soaked in the most exquisite harmonies

✦ YXUNGTARZAAN: Underwater Pop and laid back R’n’B grooves

✦ CAIINE: Soulful singer-songwriter stretches out and stuns with versatility

✦ DEAD SLOW HOOT: Melancholy but energetic Alt Rock from Sheffield

✦ TVAM: Manchester producer Joe Oxley with electro-alt-rock project

✦ SISTER JOHN: An album filled with classic influences in a contemporary way

✦ HEAVY HEART: Big songs & plenty of power from hard-working Londoners

✦ HONEY LUNG: Melodic Indie Psych Rock from London Quartet

✦ THE RUMBLE SKULLS: A British band taking inspiration from Americana

✦ GERAINT RHYS: Talented Welsh Indie Rock songwriter with new single

✦ MARMALADE: No it isn’t a 60s Pop revival but coolly unsettling Psych Rock

✦ BLACK DOG COLLECTIVE: More Indie jangle than you can shake a stick at

✦ EMILY BREEZE: “Long-time cult heroine of Bristol underground music”

✦ TARUN PURI: Dreamy Pop & Drum’n’Bass from Windsor-based artist

DANDY WARHOLS: PORTLAND’S PUNK-POP PROTAGONISTS ON FIRE!!

It was a great privilege to be a guest at the Dandy Warhols gig at Brixton Academy on 1st February; for which I owe a big thank you to Jon Read from Project Blackbird  and Exile FM who is playing trumpet with them on their UK tour. The band, from Portland in Oregon, showed no sign of age-related deterioration and played an impressive, energetic and long set combining plenty of past classics (Bohemian like you, Godless, If you were the last junkie … etc.) with material from the newly released Why you so crazy album including new single Motor City Steel which has been getting airplay on BBC 6 Music. It was great to hang out with Ming Nagel (also of Project Blackbird and Exile FM) and Jon. It was also great to check out up and coming French Alt Pop trio Juniore and to finally see Dream Pop/Alt Rock legends Swervedriver live. All in all a fantastic night. You can read my full review of the full gig at Fresh on the Net (big thank you Tom & Steve) via this link: http://freshonthenet.co.uk/2019/02/thedandywarhols/

VANISHING POINT: ROTHKO’S LAST GIG IS A NIGHT TO REMEMBER!!

The amazing Rothko (https://soundcloud.com/user-646013394) announced recently that their headlining performance at my Vanishing Point @ The Ivy House on 7th February would be their last ever live show. So it was a great privilege that Mark chose my gig for that momentous occasion and they went out on a real high after a superb set for which he had assembled a stellar line-up of musicians. But rather than writing my own review (especially as I was one of the artists as well as the promoter and curator), I recommend instead you read the fantastic review of Rothko, Environmental Sound Foundation and Handaöline in the excellent Joyzine penned by none other than the multi-talented Paul F Cook (who also took the photos, another of his artistic skills). You can find it at https://demerararecords.com (2nd article on the page).

SKRONKTRONIC: ESF & OTHER ARTISTS IN ELECTRONIC MUSIC FEAST

It was a privilege to play our Environmental Sound Foundation live set at the amazing Skronktronic @ New River Studio for the awesome Rick Jensen on 13th February to an appreciative audience. Rick himself played a great solo electronic set in his guise as The Oneirologist and while I was unable to stay to the end due to the long journey home my musical partner-in-crime and ESF vocalist Dilara did stay for a superb night of diverse perspectives on electronically based music.

CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL, EXPERIMENTAL & LEFTFIELD

SH Fox (https://soundcloud.com/shfox) makes patiently developing ambient music that is quite dreamy and hazy, long chords bathed in understated surrounding harmony and subtle found sounds. Niflheim is a good example of this process and, although it takes time for events to change, the overall sense is of calm and tranquility. The track is taken from the 2018 album Realms. Unfortunately there is no information about SH Fox on the Soundcloud page and no links to other pages. Hopefully there will be soon as this shows a great deal of promise.

Now here is a genuine question to which I would welcome answers (to drneilmarch@gmail.com or post on my new [belated] Trust The Doc  Facebook page https://facebook.com/TrustTheDoc. Namely what genre heading would you review The Comet is Coming (http://www.thecometiscoming.co.uk) under? One might say jazz but is that only because they are led by the prolific genius and saxophone King Shabaka Hutchings (https://www.shabakahutchings.com)?

Having delivered one of my highlights of 2017 with the stunning Death to the Planet EP (and with Shabaka having concentrated on his other main project Sons of Kemet for most of 2018), The Comet is Coming are back with a new single Summon The Fire from their forthcoming new album. And well it’s not jazz. Nor is it classical or electronic. But it is a pulsating, post-industrial and intense ride through a combination of live and electronic sound, futuristic sax and a dark aura that matches the slightly unsettling title. Slight comparisons with LCD Sound System, Ben Vince and 23 Skidoo all flicker through my mind as I listen but it isn’t any of those in essence. It is almost rockier and certainly keeps the pedal down and drives forward with real intent. Did I mention that it’s spine-tinglingly awesome too?! If I achieve one goal this year it is that I must make sure I get to see them, probably on 6th March at Village Underground.

JAZZ JOURNEYS

Lester Bowie Brass Fantasy (https://soundcloud.com/lester-bowies-brass-fantasy)  came to my attention when Stuart Maconie played the track The Emperor on Freak Zone (BBC Radio 6 Music) and its combination of deep single-pitch glissandi, syncopated rhythms, contrasts of tempo and texture and moments of free atonality were impossible to ignore. When you add to that, some genuinely lovely instrumental play and improv, it completes the highly substantial sound picture. So it isn’t really contemporary classical and it isn’t really jazz though it has elements of both. But it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that it is something I heartily recommend that you take the time to check out. It isn’t new sadly. In fact it came out 19 years ago but it sounds as fresh as anything coming out of the jazz or related scenes now.

Sonar (https://sonar-band.bandcamp.com/track/lookface) are a Swiss contemporary act however and are another who are hard to conveniently place in one or other category. Their track Lookface is a wonderfully trippy and inventive hybrid of jazz, prog and electronica with shifting rhythmic patterns, open and unresolved chords and futuristic sounds.

It comes from the album Vortex which sees Sonar collaborate with David Torn. Torn also produced the album. It is available on CD and is released by Rare Noise Records.

WORLD IN UNION

Kokoko (https://kokokomusic.bandcamp.com/album/liboso) play Congolese Kinshasa music using upcycled string instruments and electronics as demonstrated by their fine new album Liboso. Theirs is an intriguing sound that somehow balances the semi-tribal atmosphere of the weaving rhythms and appealing staccato note and chord play and vocals that switch between spoken and harmonised against the use of live electronics with plenty of repeated figures and classic bleeps.

Azo Toke is a particularly good example, building in intensity as it progresses with fantastic polyrhythms and fluid textures. Affaire a Mbongo has a more constant and funky groove and is quite mesmerising. This is again music that is difficult to place in one or other genre group. They are well worth your time though.

FOLK FINDINGS
Well not exactly a Folk ‘Finding’ as they don’t need me to find them but multiple BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards winning band Lau (http://www.lau-music.co.uk/) played a live session for Tom Robinson’s Saturday Night Show on BBC Radio 6 Music and it was a truly enchanting set. I was aware of Lau but I don’t know why I hadn’t grasped just how special their unique brand of Folk music is. Infused with a range of influences and blessed with the talent to write heart-stopping melodies atop beautiful organically realised music, they had me transfixed throughout.

She put on her headphones and Dark Secret were particularly stunning but all four tracks were beautifully played and sung with clever, touching lyrics. The chat with Tom between tracks also revealed thoughtful and good-humoured musicians. They are a band I now must make the time to listen to in suitable depth.

POP SCENE

Urban Vibes

This month I am delighted to have been handed the privilege of reviewing the new album by my friend, fellow Fresh on the Net moderator and highly regarded artist, writer and producer J Flames (https://soundcloud.com/j-flames). I was also pleased that Fresh on the Net published my review so once again a big thank you to Tom Robinson and to the amazing Steve Harris. You can read the review via this link. http://freshonthenet.co.uk/2019/02/gaia/

Moak TP (https://soundcloud.com/iammoak) is a young artist offering a refreshingly honest perspective on being a young black male and the unity and safety of the barbershop. The track Barbershop should be played to every young person regardless of race because it is about making people think. It is spoken word rather than rap and set against a soulful ambient backdrop, placing him in similar but not the same territory as Kojey Radical. The Barbershop is a place where anything and everything gets debated and knives and razors are instruments of creativity, not weapons. My teenage son, who is mixed race and long ago gave up on barbers that didn’t understand black hair, would concur. It certainly reflects his own experience of the unique black Barbershop culture; one I envy him (in a good way) getting to enjoy.

Similar things can be said about BLM which makes the point in the opening lines that ‘Black Lives Matter’ doesn’t mean they matter more than other lives, just that they matter as much. What follows is further honest observation about the issues facing black people in the context of media stereotypes, police attitudes and the impact of criminalising young people. He pulls no punches and puts it out there. This is us is reflective too and raises more issues about why society is in the mess it’s in.

Moak TP will make the politically correct chattering class liberals squirm in their seats but his lyrics will chime with black people and with anyone else who sees what is taking place day after day on our streets, in our schools etc. His voice needs and deserves to be heard.

A very different but nonetheless exciting voice in British Urban music is Solareye  (https://soundcloud.com/solareye) whose very Scottish brand of Hip Hop and Grime comes complete with energy-driven beats, sharp rhythmic configurations and hard-edged rapping with well-articulated, politically-infused lyrics. His track Deconstruction (Where the sun sets) lives up to all these elements.

Solareye is Dave Hook and at times he collaborates with Stanley Odd. His lyrics pull no punches even on the clean edit of Shutter Island Pt. 1 & 2 and he wears his Scottish accent on his sleeve which is one of his key strengths. It also puts him in similar territory, philosophically at least, to the likes of Chiedu Oraka (Hull) and Elmz XIX (Nottingham). So if you want to hear refreshing Scottish Hip Hop and Grime that tells it how it is, you should definitely give this a listen.

I have shown some interest previously in the music of JJ (https://soundcloud.com/jinjie88) though I am sure she was just J before. Anyway the features that struck me so strongly before when I heard her track Melt were her appealing dexterous voice and her lush harmonies. So I am pleased to hear both in abundance on Golden Child which has the guitar-toting teenager sticking to her minimal organic format so that all the focus is on her voice and multi-layered harmonising. Accordingly she is succeeding in creating a niche for her soulful and slightly jazz-infused songwriting that really suits her.

Also check out the agreeable laid back vibe of Rich and the impressive harmonising in Transcend which has shades of Emily Hall’s Mantra. I wonder whether JJ is aware of that particular ground-breaking work. Well anyway, there are still times when JJ’s music can be a little undermined by moments of slight chaos but they are worth overlooking for the rich harmony, soulful voice and exquisite melodies. This girl has a serious talent. With a bit of direction and the right management, she can be a real force in contemporary music. A definite one-to-watch.

On a very different urban tip comes the new single from London-based Italian Soul duo M w S (https://soundcloud.com/mwsduo). Regular readers will know I have blogged about them before but it is interesting and exciting that new track Complicated sees them move notably away from a more traditional Soul-Pop style and towards a more consciously contemporary R’n’B vibe. But it retains their trademarks of soulful female voice and sensitive guitar playing, just accompanied by a more stonkingly urban beat and overall more bassy urban aura. The song is lovely too and it would be great to see it lead to some wider recognition. Fingers crossed.

Yxungtarzaan (https://soundcloud.com/yxungtarzaan) is a fascinating new artist whose dreamlike R U Still There? With heavily doctored vocal sound and reverberant keyboard chops might be described as underwater pop! That’s my spin, not his of course. But there are two mixes of it on his Soundcloud page.

That page reveals a definite leaning towards R’n’B with bass heavy drum programmes, more choppy keyboard and use of vocal effects. He manages, on the slow and soulful What’s Up to create a striking but calm atmosphere. The intriguingly titled どうしたの turns out to be another mix of R U Still There? There is some other material on the page that appears to be collaborative but there is precious little information about Yxungtarzaan and there are no links to other social media or web pages. So for now he remains an enigma but an interesting talent too. Hopefully we will hear and know more soon.

Singer-Songwriters

Another interesting artist with a foot in R’n’B territory is Northwich-based singer-writer Caiine (https://soundcloud.com/caiine) whose soulful alto range voice is well suited to the laid back groove of her new track The Game, supported by jazz-tinged keyboard chords and steady drum programme. The chorus is strong and has a mellow but rueful atmosphere.

Electric in the Blue kicks off with string chords before a brittle pizzicato accompanies the opening verse. As the keys take over and the beat kicks in, the vocal delivery and style remind me a little of Joan Armatrading. This is a contrast to The Game and underlines her versatility as a writer and artist.

Fools Weep is a slow ballad with piano accompaniment sung in a butterflies-inducing soulful but crystal clear voice that houses just enough grit to be really beautiful. The song is lovely too. Drifted Away begins with a lovely piano into which punctuates and introduces the main theme in another great track placing Caiine’s stunning voice against light jazz-inflected piano chords that could almost be Sade.

There are more tracks on her Soundcloud page too which you should check out if you love soulful vocals, beautiful organic songs and smart ‘less is more’ arrangements. What a talent Caiine has. We need to hear more of her in 2019.

Alt Rock & Indie

An exciting new [to me] name this month is Sheffield band Dead Slow Hoot (https://soundcloud.com/dead-slow-hoot) whose track An Island keen to float brings slow melancholy and melodic Alt Pop together with sudden bursts of loud guitar and a lyric that offers an intelligent observation on our perilously divided nation. The singer’s deeper register voice is instantly appealing and the great contrasts of light and shade, soft and loud, translucent and opaque are helped along by the slightly funk-gilted drums and bass that underpin their style. Top marks all round then.

Each Day Disaster kicks off with dry acoustic guitar but soon becomes engulfed by a big sound and some interesting timbres. It suffers a bit from ‘long intro syndrome’ but when the vocals arrive things improve quickly and the instrumental mayhem in between the verses is an interesting component. Chromoluminarist wins this month’s hardest-to-say title across all categories and is purely an ambient instrumental with [sampled?] spoken word. No Reunions gets straight down to business, an energetic triplet-time guitar figure accompanying more low register melancholy vocals. It would be better in my view if things picked up a bit earlier but it has some lovely descending chords and a strong Morrissey-ish melody.

Below has a lovely intro with melodic bass, bendy guitar and driving beat. Again it gets on with proceedings. There is an almost film noir atmosphere with the minor chords leading to a dominant seven and the repeating reverb guitar figure. And lots of melancholy. Great track.

It strikes me that they seem to be uploading tracks at a rate of knots and while it is good to have plenty of material on Soundcloud for others to trawl through, there is also a danger that quality becomes compromised. Maybe they should slow down a little and focus on getting their best material to sound as good as possible. But hey, they are an exciting, distinct sounding band with a lead vocalist whose voice stands out from the crowd. They have the songwriting skills and bags of musicianship. So it’s all good and no doubt they are going to get better and better.

TVAM (https://soundcloud.com/tvam) is a project founded by producer Joe Oxley from Manchester and I was taken with the track Bitplain which I heard on Lauren Laverne’s Breakfast Show on BBC 6 Music. Enigmatic ethereal vocals, resonant guitar jangle and power-driven bass and drums make this a bundle of psychedelic Dream Pop energy.

Psychic Data is more heavily electronic and kicks off with a repeating phased riff before big echoing guitars and sustained string synths take it into cinematic territory. There are no vocals and the atmosphere is semi-futuristic and ambient. Much of the album of the same name seems to be in this vain although it has gentler ambient soundscapes too.  But only Bitplain has vocals. It’s good stuff but more vocals would, on the strength of that track, be welcome on future tracks.

Sister John (https://soundcloud.com/sisterjohn) have been on my radar for a little while now. The Glasgow quartet are part of the fantastic Last Night From Glasgow (http://www.lastnightfromglasgow.com/) label and they make engaging Alternative Rock infused with influences drawn from a large chunk of the Rock and Roll canon including Americana, Country, Folk, Blues, Psychedelia and Post-Punk but placed in a fresh contemporary sound.

Now they have a new album out (released late January) which is available on vinyl (http://shop.lastnightfromglasgow.com/product/sister-john-sister-john-vinyl-pre-order). It is eponymously named but is actually their second album in just over two years. The band cite the likes of Patti Smith, Velvet Underground and Marianne Faithful as influences all of which make sense. I hear a lot of other flavours including possible elements from Crosby Stills & Nash, Joni Mitchell, Jeff Buckley, White Stripes and others, some Dylan too surely. It is their ability to respect and utilise all these strands that makes their sound so robust.

It is packed with gems like the energetic Eight Years which has many of the aforementioned elements. Airport is more country-infused while Waiting for the sun is the Beatles jamming with John Cale. The other side of love is in three time and has a folkier feel. I’m the one is in 12 bar form but has a distinct Americana vibe. The track narrowly missed out on the Fresh Faves recently. Silver Whistle is a slow burning climatic album closer. All in all, a highly accomplished work well worth adding to your collection.

I have also been impressed by Londoners Heavy Heart (https://soundcloud.com/heavyheartmusic) whose Bed Bug made it to the Fresh on the Net Listening Post in January. The band, whose live itinerary suggests a strong work ethic, play melodic Alt Rock with powerful bassey drums, big chords and strong alto female voice. The bridge is lovely, the voice rising up the register and some tasty chord changes kicking in. The bass heavy sound and bar chords set against vocal harmonies definitely reminds me of 90s American bands like Throwing Muses and The Pixies but they also have common ground with contemporary bands like Sunflower Bean and Dream Wife.

There is a short video clip of them playing live on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/heavyheartmusic/) but as it’s the very end of a song it tells us little other than that they are a quartet with two guitars, bass and drums. They have been played on Radio x by John Kennedy and are working hard on the live scene. Now I look forward to hearing more tracks.

Honey Lung (https://soundcloud.com/honey-lung) caught my ear when their track Complete landed in the Fresh on the Net uploader. It is one of those tracks where a loud melodic Indie Rock song with Psychedelic leanings roars forth amid wall-of-sound production and is lifted considerably by some really clever and agreeable guitar lines and altered chords. The link that accompanied the track was for their label Killingmoon (presumably inspired by a certain Bunnymen classic) and there is a lot of other material by different bands on their page which is why I sought out the band’s own page. But the label’s Soundcloud link is https://soundcloud.com/killingmoon if you want to check their wider catalogue and also listen to Complete.

Even the band’s page has some reposted tracks by other artists including one I have recently reviewed in Trust The Doc by Hussey. But it also has the track Sophomore which finds them delivering more of their loud melodic Indie-Psych music with further clever instrumental interplay and driving rhythms. Also the full-on sound is contrasted by drops down to lighter figures. They are a band who clearly think a lot about how songs are arranged. On the basis of these two tracks, I really hope I get to see them live soon.

The Rumble Skulls (https://soundcloud.com/rumbleskulls) kindly sent me their track Gentle which has a laid back classic Country Rock-tinged Americana atmosphere replete with fine musicianship and a dynamic vocal perfomance, slightly drawling and Tom Petty-like in the verses but rising up into a powerful upper register which is gritty and soulful. There’s some particularly agreeable lead guitar play on it too.

Lady Pilot also has quite a retro American influence at its heart but this time with an air of melancholy and single piano chords driving it along offset by a shuffle beat. Again there is some tasty and nicely understated guitar work, this time electric and sustained where in Gentle it was acoustic and scale-based. Clearly an interesting band looking to past eras for clues to something new.

It is not long since I first enthused in these pages about Geraint Rhys (https://soundcloud.com/geraintrhys) whose Welsh Language Alt Rock track Dilyn really grabbed me. So I am honoured that Geraint came direct to me this time to review his new single, sung in English this time, Old Age Don’t Come Alone and it’s a loud celebration of a song with big fuzz chords and lovely slide guitar figure plus powerful drums and bass and Geraint’s voice which is rangey, dynamic and great to listen to. The chorus is eminently singable and the track bubbles with energy.

As well as the aforementioned Dilyn you will find the slightly Ska’d up Visca La Terra  which is not Geraint singing in a third language but is actually in English and has a simple message of solidarity in the battle for a better society. However it is not only the title that sounds Spanish. There is a distinctly mediterranean vibe about the guitar melodies that weave in and out between the voices. Give it up also gets into the socio-political, this time against a janglier slice of Indie Rock, again with a strong melody. It’s all good stuff and hopefully 2019 will be a big year for Geraint.

Marmalade (https://soundcloud.com/marmaladebandliverpool) are not to be confused with the veteran 60s Scottish Pop act of the same name (and still going apparently). This Marmalade are a Liverpudlian band who appear to be making things happen. Their coolly unsettling Psychedelic Rock that veers into jazz, shoegaze and other flavours is one of the most immediately exciting new sounds I have heard in recent times. Spin on is a fascinating piece, laid back and jazzy one moment, full on psych rock the next and a distinct voice, lots of cool effects and little themes emerging from the mist. It’s almost prog at times but they have created an intense, fluid and exciting style that is impossible to ignore. ‘I want to learn to dehumanise’ goes the refrain (of sorts). It’s all quite ethereal, maybe even a tad dystopian but it’s music I want to spend time getting to know.

Down the rabbit hole starts off with an electronic sounding bass before a straight beat begins to accelerate slowly as an Eastern-inflected guitar figure repeats. Spoken word intro appears to tell the beginnings of Alice in Wonderland. Then suddenly we are greeted by a heavy metal riff Iron Maiden would be proud of though the song is another matter, more Psychedelic than Metal. The final section is the highlight as it moves away from heavy rock and instead intensifies around a  more unified figure.

Marmalade have already supported Takotsubo Men and Zappatika and cite a rich tapestry of influences from Frank Zappa to Snarky Puppy and from Radiohead to Tame Impala. To be making such strong, original music in 2019 is to their great credit and they deserve a large audience.                                                                                          

Black Dog Collective (https://soundcloud.com/user-211041871) are a quartet clearly influenced by eighties and early nineties Indie Jangle and Alt Pop. Vocally No Eye Dear offers shades of The Sundays mashed up with Sunflower Bean while the guitar blends Post-Punk jangle with lead guitar work that reminds me simultaneously of early Kings of Leon, The Rain Parade and Ronnie Wood. Yeah I know that probably makes little sense but I’m just telling you what I hear. What I also hear is a driving energy and loud production which definitely lifts my spirits as does the excellent melody writing and unexpected change going into the chorus.

Puzzle is interesting, shifting between half and normal time, choppy guitar chords and a vocal part that could almost be Talulah Gosh though the overall feel is tougher edged. Regrets begins with a mix of surf chugging and short chops and a female-male octave-apart vocal that comes in and out. The chorus is pleasant, helped by attractive held guitar chords in contrast to the slight shuffle feel of the verses. Ghost does have a shuffle feel offset by bendy spy movie soundtrack guitars, an inventive bassline and drums that switch between minimal and big crashes. It all complements the vocals, especially when the backing vocal ‘Ah’s join in. The middle section is sparse but builds into interesting vocal harmonies in fourths. They need to watch their intonation at times. But I applaud their musical ambition and they certainly have a great deal of real promise.

Ethereal & Cinematic

Emily Breeze (https://soundcloud.com/user-506360011) is described on her Soundcloud page as a ‘... cult heroine of Bristol’s underground music scene’ and I don’t doubt it for a moment. A glance at the track list immediately tells you she has had the same track she sent to us at Fresh on the Net remixed by none other than Barry Adamson, himself a cult hero of the Western English scene. Ego Death is a joyous track, epic pop backdrop to an outpouring of recognisable spoken word feelings facing Emily as she trudges off to face another mundane working day. And a sung chorus hook to complete the vibe. It’s funny but it also hits home too and is in similar territory to my good friends Project Blackbird (albeit their approach is upbeat whereas hers is sardonic and scathing!). The accompanying epic alt pop backdrop is the perfect foil for her stream of consciousness lyrical performance.

Raining in my heart really is the Buddy Holly standard but, trust me, you will never have heard it expressed like this before, slow and menacing with ambient sounds and winds blowing, also what sound like sirens sounding around it. Never has such an innocuous song sounded so dark! At least not since David Lynch used Roy Orbison’s music in the Blue Velvet soundtrack!

Limousines has shades of Nico and even Marianne Faithful about it although the chorus is more dynamic and the beat is very contemporary. And dare I risk allegations of sacrilege by suggesting that Emily can sing somewhat more convincingly than either! The sweet arpeggio guitar part sounds eerie within this context which, I imagine, is what Emily had in mind. That said, the harmonies at the end are beautiful, almost Gospel-like. The bottom line anyway is I am glad I have been introduced to her music and hopefully so will you be if you check it out.

Emily’s Twitter page carries a quote about her by the excellent Artrocker (edited by former Design for Living singer Tom Fawcett or at least it was anyway) that says ‘the most fun you’ve ever had while being told to go fuck yourself’!! If that isn’t reason enough to want to hear her music I don’t know what is!

Pop & EDM

Tarun Puri (https://soundcloud.com/tarunpuri) is a talented young artist from Windsor whose music switches between dreamy melodic Pop as demonstrated on the lovely Pretend which came into the FOTN in-box recently. But he also makes Drum’n’Bass tracks in collaboration with others and has recorded Alt Rock too. And why not? It shows he has the versatility to move in different musical directions while developing his sound and style

It is his poppier material that dominates though and Gentle forms part of a playlist that also includes Greatness which has a slower darker mood with a lot of swearing and a more urban feel and another slowie in the resonant Sleepless (Interlude) which, despite its insomniac title, has a dreamy feel. The Start is another slow darker track but By My Side is upbeat and slightly funky, piano chords and busy hats joined by staccato horns. Tarun Puri is a young artist who is still developing his craft. These tracks show a lot of promise and he has a very listenable voice. Hopefully 2019 will be a productive period for him.

AND FINALLY …..

Well it’s been an interesting journey through a diverse spectrum of new music in this edition. I hope you have enjoyed reading this and will want to come back for more at the end of the month. Thanks as ever. Neil xxxx