The Alt-Country boom in the mid-90’s was quite a thing – country as a genre had long been derided as rhinestones and fake smiles, but even before the commercial rebirth of Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, bands had openly embraced the genre and added their own sympathetically subtle embellishments. Acts such as Giant Sand, Wilco and The Handsome Family brought the dust-swept art of story-telling into ultra-cool indie territory, despite (or maybe even because of) their heartfelt love of the simplicity of the music and the lyrics.
Though alt-country (or, if you prefer, Americana) has settled into its niche quietly now, the ethics and sound are appearing in the most unusual places. Perhaps the gold-standard of these is Slim Loris, a band based in Gothenburg, Sweden, who are producing some of the most life-affirming music you can imagine, whilst keeping a firm grip on reality. The first track to be aired from their forthcoming EP, “Wild & Untamed”, is “Burning Elephant”, one of the rockier tracks but still brilliantly melodic and wholly satisfying…
Which brings us to booze. What to pair? Presenting the combining of American and Swedish culture:
Launching their first campaign outside of their native Turkey, Oceans of Noise are the kind of rock band it’s easy to get along with. Despite having an outrageous amount of success in their home country, Eurovision Song Contest victories and a loyal fan-base, rock fans should have no concerns about language barriers or unusual stylings – this is epic, landscape, quadruple-gatefold scale symphonic rock, with arresting imagery, oodles of musical skill and synths and guitars working in tandem to scramble your brains before you’ve even got to the bar.
Talking of the bar, Oceans of Noise are holding a launch party for their self-titled EP at London’s ultra-fashionable, Omeara Bar under London Bridge. Should you be lucky enough to get an invite, do the right thing and ask the barkeep for a couple of shots of Turkey’s national drink, raki to toast the band and yourself for having such good taste. Tempting as it may be, we wouldn’t recommend oceans, seas or even lakes of the stuff, though we’re fairly certain you’ll find the music intoxicating enough.
Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/oceans-of-noise/1296282833
If there’s one thing the Brits are good at it’s complaining and making loud music, and who better to prove this point than heavy rock outfit, Anarchy Reigns. Led by the already iconic Hitch, the band have already got an army of fans before they even released a note of music – their social media campaign which throws down the gauntlet for followers to takes photos of minor examples of anarchy (walking near “don’t walk on the grass” signs and the like) has garnered thousands of followers and zillions of shares. Now embarking on stage two of their bid to conquer the world, they release the video to Liars, Liars, a no-nonsense (or possibly all-nonsense) diatribe against politicians. Not specific politicians but the whole lot of em. In for a penny!
Though with an element of humour which has long enjoyed a tradition in British rock music, the musicianship is top drawer with proper, honest to God riffs and drum pummeling. With a call to arms which is already selling merchandise to their army of fans (hand grenade stress-relievers, anyone?), another single and an album are just around the corner. Join up or look daft.
So, what brew to select to go along with your Anarchy Reigns listening experience? Well, we were sorely tempted to go for copious pints of Trooper, in honour of the mighty Maiden, but it would surely be wrong not to swig back some JD whilst flicking the horns?
Revolutionising variety shows, the fantastic Forbidden Nights team are taking things to a whole new dimension, especially after announcing their new 90 day UK tour in 2017!
Not intrigued? Well imagine Cirque Du Soleil and Magic Mike, the Hollywood Blockbuster combined… Also if you’re a fan of Channing Tatum as well then you’ll definitely love the show as every member gives him a run for his money! Since its launch the concept of the show has far exceeded expectations more than tenfold.
Forbidden Nights are quite literally ON FIRE with their new concept. They have totally proved themselves as shocking and innovative on Britain’s Got Talent 2015 which has proudly reached a title as the 11th most viewed audition in BGT history and climbing.
The video has over 47 million hits on YouTube and the brand now has 80,000 followers on Facebook with the 2016 UK tour only half way through.
For this tasty treat I have to recommend you enjoy this steamy hot show with a couple of sambuca shots to get the party started!
2016 UK TOUR DATES:
Portsmouth, Hants – The Kings Theatre – Wednesday 5th October
Plymouth, Devon – Plymouth Pavillions – Friday 2nd December
Derry Londonderry – Millennium Theatre – Thursday 3rd November
Coleraine Londonderry – University of Ulster – Friday 4th November
St Helens, Merseyside – Theatre Royal – Friday 7th October
Hastings, East Sussex – White Rock Theatre – Friday 14thOctober
Eastbourne, East Sussex – The Royal Hippodrome Theatre – Friday 9th September
Swindon, Wilts – Wyvern Theatre – Thursday 15th September
Subtle, elliptical and ambiguous, ‘Suppose’ is the debut full-length from London based duo Blue House. Released on August 27thvia Arp Cleveland (Archie Bronson Outfit) and Kristian Robinson’s (Capitol K) Whipped Cream Records (Loose Meat, Super Best Friends Club, Bas Jan,) the album presents us with a world of haunted pop — songs about people just departed, places just left, and events just witnessed. It is a world in which an under-the-surface quotidian terror might make strange all sorts of objects: PlayStation games, postcards, grasshoppers and euphoniums all find their way on to the record.
Comprised of James Howard and Ursula Russell, formerly of groups Fiction and Drop Out Venus, Blue House is a more refined affair than either of the duo’s past projects. The band in earnest probably began with a drunken duet of Patsy Cline’s ‘Walking In The Moonlight’, sang on top of a rickety table at a house party in 2015. Something of that country sensibility remains in songs like ‘Ear To The Door’, that finds Ursula and James harmonising a song about domesticity and wandering, a theme that resurfaces throughout the record (‘John the Unready / had a little baby girl last night / now he’s halfway across the countryside / saying something’s calling me.’)
’Suppose’ is rarely an obvious beast, the fragile balance of atmospherics and presence lending the record an understated and entrancing numinous-ness throughout. Leaving no stone unturned, the duo wilfully explores the intricacies of pop, with an emphasis on deft poetics and quality song writing. Whilst debut single ‘Hot Air Balloons’ brims with jangling 90’s chords, its follow up ’Simple Song’ is a delicate affair — a 70’s folk-revival lullaby, radiating with simplistic charm. The newly founded Whipped Cream’s philosophy of unifying an emerging generation of English musicians with the means to remain independently-minded makes their label a fitting home for ‘Suppose’.
The artwork continues the band’s collaboration with London based artist Phillip Reeves.
Blue House play the following dates:
Blissfields Festival, Winchester – 1st July
Dalston Victoria, London –13th July
Servant Jazz Quarters, London – 21st July
End of the Road Festival, Wiltshire – 4th September
Healthy Junkies are an antidote to a generation that’s numbed by televised talent shows by reviving the punk ethos of a time when Johnny Rotten walked down Kings Road with safety pins in his ear.
Their attitude and musical purity have earned them respect from some of their heroes such as Knox of The Vibrators, Charlie Harper of the UK Subs or Strokes producer Gordon Raphael with whom they have collaborated in the past. Describing the upcoming album ‘Box Of Chaos’, out on 20th February 2016, in their own words as a “journey which starts with a party that quickly turns to anger and dysfunction”, it is a punk statement that celebrates the values of liberty and standing up for yourself, especially in the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris and the often imprisoning nature of a modern capitalist society. Their single ‘Watch Out’, out on 15th December 2015, paints a picture of our time in which public surveillance and dependence on technology have taken over our lives.
Formed in 2010 by UK born guitarist and singer Phil Honey-Jones and French singer Nina Courson, Healthy Junkies have established themselves in the punk scene after playing with bands such as The Damned, The Boomtown Rats, UK Subs, Walter Lure (former Heartbreakers), The Vibrators or TV Smith of The Adverts, to name a few. Over the last four years they were regular acts at Rebellion punk festival in Blackpool and have been played on various radio stations, such as TBFM which voted one of the songs on the album, ‘Danny Trash’, to number one a few weeks ago. Songwriters Nina and Phil are taking inspiration for their lyrics from everyday life, including the struggles that arise when a crazy rock’n’roll lifestyle gets to the point of mental instability and destructive behaviour. Channelling such impulses through creativity and making music is what the band uses as therapy.
Healthy Junkies’ music thrives from a mixture of often distressing life experiences and musical proficiency. Lyricist Nina has been forced to live under harsh conditions from an early age after she left home at the age of 14 and ended up living with a Muslim transvestite in Paris’ red light district Montmartre, eventually falling into the abyss of drug consumption in the realm of shady characters. Meeting Phil in 2008 has turned her life around and she started focussing her energy on creating music. As a band they have also started promoting their own regular club night called Punk’n’Roll Rendevouz at a venue in Camden which has been going for over three years now. It has been a meeting place for the UK’s underground scene ever since.
Phil started to play cello at the age of six before he moved onto guitar and discovered punk rock. His previous band Nurotica has been acknowledged by influential DJs ranging from John Peel to Rodney Bingenheimer. Personal experiences play an important part of the Healthy Junkies’ songs. The new album is especially a diary of the last two years on the road – some of the tracks were literally made up on stage. It is a document of emotional stories as well as an observation of the times we live in wrapped up in a dynamic rock’n’roll sound that touches upon influences from bands such as Nirvana, The Sex Pistols, Blondie or Elastica.
The single ‘Watch Out’ is out on 15th December 2015, the album ‘Box Of Chaos’ is out on 20th February 2016.
Quoted by webzine Prog Sphere as an album that “is comprised of everything an album must include, and that is energy, powerful performance, melody, [and] well-thought songwriting” Mechanical Man’s eight track release moves between the spheres of traditional heavy metal aggression and melodic experimentalism as epitomised by the eponymous opening track ‘Mechanical Man’:
Since their formation in 2012 the band consisting of Alex Zefiridis (vocals), Serj Danilov (guitars), Alexander Lee (bass), Vitaly Ostrov (drums) and Eugeny Komarov (keyboards) have made a name for themselves among some well known musicians in the metal scene. The professionalism of their music has been acknowledged by some of their main influences such as Elias Viljanen of Sonata Arctica, a band who they supported, as well as Peter Hallaraker of Leprous who they played alongside with at Metropolis Fest in Minsk, Belarus, earlier this year. The single ‘Madhouse’ which was released in June 2014 was produced by none other than producer Hiili Hiilesmaa who is known to have worked with bands like HIM, Lordi, Apocalyptica, Moonspell or Amorphis in the past. Click here to have a listen:
The music is underpinned by Alex’ emotionally strong and at the same time heavily muscular vocals. Adding the warmer sounds of Eugeny’s keyboard riffs to the overall energetic masculinity of their sound has earned the band compliments across a range of reviews. One of the leading underground rock websites, The Moshville Times, has praised the record as one of the most exciting upcoming albums which is marked by a maturity that suggests that the band has been around for a lot longer than only three years.
Mechanical Man has started out as a project brought to life by guitarist Serj who has moved across the country from the Eastern outskirts of Russia to Moscow writing both the lyrics and musical arrangements for each instrument. Taking inspiration from artists such as Muse, Rush or Dream Theater is making a clear statement in the industry by showing that a Russian metal band can easily be up there with heavy, earthy rock music that’s coming out of Scandinavia and other countries.
The album ‘Mechanical Man’ will be out on 30th January 2016.
Lively is a rapper who has entered the hip hop arena in the most proficient way being able to collaborate with some big names in the industry at this point of his career.
Taking his father’s second cancer diagnosis in 2012 as a wake-up call the rapper has decided to truly devote himself to his music which has paid off only very shortly afterwards. A trip to the US last year gave him the opportunity to record with one of the most influential hip hop producers of the past 20 years, Scott Storch who is widely known for having produced hit records for Beyonce, 50 Cent, Eminem, Busta Rhymes , Rick Ross, Chris Brown and Tyga amongst others. Next to Storch the rapper has worked with UK rapper Smiler TPM as well as MAC and G-Man of So Solid Crew and also Bizarre from the Detroit based rap group D-12. His first single release ‘Bad Influence’, is a solid proof for his quickly acquired professionalism.
The song is a testament to his way of life, affirming that he’s “moving in the fast lane, no slow ride.” No matter if people believe he’s a “bad influence on them”, Lively is bursting with determination and energy and there’s no going back.
Having built a foundation consisting of musical talent, dedication and hard work Lively has managed to get his first EP release in April 2015 into the best selling rap/ hip hop pre-orders on itunes without the help of any labels or major promotion.
His musical influences vary across the hip hop sphere as well as any other genres he comes across. Lively isn’t interested in copying other artists, he takes his inspiration mainly from everyday life experiences and his own imagination. The rapper, who has both Scottish and Indian roots, has shown perseverance in the ambition to mature his sound and an eagerness to learn from past mistakes. He took part in a rap battle at Jumpoff TV where he, in his own words, “failed epically” and got beaten by another contestant, who got into the season’s finals. But Lively decided to use his defeat in a positive way, cleaned up his act and is now back stronger than before: “The loss made me go back to the drawing board quite literally – new style, new sound, better punch lines.” With an attitude like this there’s no doubt Lively will be here to stay for some time to come.
The single ‘Bad Influence’ is out on 13th February 2016.
With a gritty, dirty groove pushed by chugging drums, distorted power chords and a spoken vocal that suits the style perfectly, it’s the latest addition to what is growing to be a very strong back catalogue.
Already marked out as the hottest new rock proposition from Italy, Noel and the Pandas continue to go from strength to strength. Produced by guitarist Nicola Rosti and with lyrics from band founder Noel, the debut album is a true labour of love from a songwriter whose outlook on life has changed dramatically in recent years
An indie rock band with an unusually varied style, Noel and Pandas are an Italian group who revel in adding varied ideas and influences to a strong foundation of indie rock. With new album ‘In the Art of Doom’ already getting the band plenty of plaudits, the time has now come for the latest single release, the provocatively titled ‘Whip Me’.
His is a story of riches to rags. After a promising career as a banker was ended overnight, he has picked himself back up using nothing but his music and the experiences he has to write about. The power of music to move and transform those who make and hear it is often underestimated, but Noel is living proof that – with enough talent and determination – it’s possible to come back from the brink.