Song reviews

  Time by Anna Searight

Time cover art

Brighton based singer songwriter

Liked these two tracks (“Time” and “Left of Us”). Anna Searight’s voice echoes the traditions of English folk music and both songs show a notable delicacy that steps out from the usual woe-is-me singer songwriter material with “Time” impressing most despite its simplicity. Sometimes simple is enough when you have the talent to carry it off. Ms Searight has that talent.

  Somebody Do Something by James Gasson

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Brighton backroom boy lays it on the line

James Gasson hails from Brighton and has apparently spent his time behind the drums or a mixing desk. He steps out front with these three songs all of which were self composed and self performed.  Apparently he lives on tea as well. The songs all run up the mainstream but are surprisingly convincing given the solo nature of their construction with “Somebody Do Something” sounding like a quirky take on the Foo Fighters and “It Must Have Been A Dream” going all moody and twisted on us.  All in all, it’s pretty clear that he takes his music seriously even if he did send this demo in an envelope decorated with cat fur.

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  Cobbles and Robbers by Casino City

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5 piece Scottish indie rock band turns tricks

Central Scotland is littered with sh*te indie rock bands. So much so that the government ought to fund a cull. Reckon on Casino City getting spared as they’re not sh*te.  Hiding behind Green Day influences, Stephen Henry belts it out on the bombastic cock rock that is “Sound of Demons” like he has big hair and an ego the size of a small planet. “Cobbles and Robbers” unfortunately stumbles a bit with awkward synths strolling aimlessly through the song while “Losing Streak” is probably this band’s anthem.  Smell the testosterone, baby!

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  Hard Times by Soul Circus

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Glasgow rock band with a work ethic

Two songs here - “Wreckin’ Machine” and “Hard Times” – that prove to be straight down the line rock music that would prove popular interspersed with covers in any pub in this green and pleasant land on a Saturday night. The singer adds a touch of whiskey to otherwise sober and earnest performances.

  6.4578 by Hello Bear

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A trio that play quirky indie pop

Three songs that run together and make the band sound like an existential version of Weezer with vague touches of Edwyn Collins about the vocals.  “6.4578” and “An Exquisite Year For Charm” have that angular indie pop sound but “Indulgence” stands out as you can imagine it scaling up to fill a stadium.  The guitars riffs are over familiar throughout but the drummer seems to want to be the hardest working man in show business so maybe it is time for the band to throw away those cardigans and buy some leather jackets instead.

  Echo by the Night by Gary Dillon and Liam Tennant

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This duo head off in another direction

I used to worry that my past would eventually catch up with me and it would seem that Gary Dillon and Liam Tennant have let time catch up with them (although I suspect that they weren’t even born in the time that caught up with them). Both “Echo By The Night” and “Poison Vines” show the influences of twinky plinky analogue electro pop topped with moody, somewhat nasal quasi-American vocals giving the impression of an earnest pub singer trying to make an escape to the big time. Not awful but equally it’s not obvious where these two gentlemen are trying to get to.

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  Scenester by The Statler Project

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Glasgow band that cranks out indie rock

The first two tracks – “Scenester” and “Been In Your Street” – are a bit rough round the edges but show off the band’s brand of intelligently danceable and somewhat frenetic indie rock quite nicely even if the songs themselves are a touch generic. There’s plenty of character in the lead vocals though and I’m sure a better mix would improve things. Oddly enough, a track from an old EP was also supplied. “Plenty” proved to be rather more eclectic and adventurous than the first two songs in a sub Prodigy kind of way.  A case of following too many trends, perhaps?

  9 Rue Git de Couer by Dead Sea Navigators

9 Rue Git de Couer cover art

Piano led indie/lounge band based in London

Pleasingly laconic couple of songs from the Dead Sea Navigators that echo a clean living visit to a late night basement club. Admittedly there’s a fair amount of similarity between “9 Rue Git De Coeur” and “Dr Crellin” and not quite enough gin and cigars to evoke the decadence that the band were probably aiming for but the piano playing hits the mark and is nicely counterpointed by the quirky and dramatic synths.  Not quite Amanda Palmer/Dresden Dolls then, but likeable nonetheless.

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  Dark Danceroom Floor by Denham Reed and Rosenthal

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Three piece pop group from Cardiff

Bloody hell! Actual songs with melodies!  And from Wales too! “Dark Danceroom Floor” turned out to be classic jaunty pop in the style of John Sebastian meets Glenn Tilbrook and, furthering the pop  music history lesson,  “I’ll make It Right” is English Britpop meets Chinn and Chapman.  All this trio need is a decent song about a girl (well you’ve got to, haven’t you?) and they would be complete. They have and its called “Eliza”. Dr Who is made in Wales these days so that might explain the time travelling influences but, hey, it works!

  Music Revolution by No Direction Home

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Blues rock band from Illinois

Not so much blues rock as southern rock meets stadium rock. While “Music Revolution” does drag on a bit, I’m still impressed with the confident lead vocals. “This Train” looks backwards in time but is more disciplined and there are welcome hints of Greg Allman in “Meaningless War”. Admittedly, the lead guitarist doesn’t pull out any surprises whatsoever – I reckon that I can guess his influences without breaking sweat – which is a bit of a problem for a rock band, but equally there is no doubting that they have a proper front man in their singer.

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  A Song by Breaking Of Dawn

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Rock band from Baltimore, Maryland

A bit mean and moody this one even that sounds like it should be a part of the soundtrack to an Argento film from the seventies.  It’s got that kind of European prog rock feel like Goblin would have had back then and, as if to further prove its retro credentials, it’s even got tape hiss.  Assuming the retro feel is deliberate, this sounds more of a homage than a copy and the male lead vocals do a pretty decent of selling the song. I’ve certainly heard a lot worse than this.

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  Somebody Up There Likes Me by We Are Jawbone

Somebody Up There Likes Me cover art

Intelligent and dramatic Glasgow rock band

There are plenty of shite rock bands in Glasgow but We Are Jawbone certainly aren’t one of them.  No dumb rehashes of the past here as “Somebody Up There Likes Me” reeks of an intelligent fusion of punk and hard rock infused with that back to the eighties retro feel.  More  reflective and indeed theatrical is “I’m Falling”. Their bio mentions comparisons with the SAHB and for once I’m happy that is a fair one. Think I want to see what they can do live now.  Two thumbs up!

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