A Time for Change: Nobody Excluded

A Time for Change:


Nobody Excluded.

AS I get closer to another birthday (and an opportunity to feel bad…

about aging)- I have had time to reflect (and think ahead).  With The Single Voice (my charity idea) still pending- I am patiently waiting for Google to pen a reply; I will keep on them until they do- I have been looking around- seeing dislocation and heartache.  With an election coming up- I will be glad when it’s over so it isn’t mentioned every few seconds- there is a time to affect change: elect a government that can make a difference.   In as much as that is the ‘aim’, I know the likely result: David Cameron will still be in No. 10 (when the results are announced).  I am glad (I live in a country) where I am not homeless: I have a lifestyle that is (whilst not comfortable) is certainly not desperate- I have a roof under my head.  It is great we have a national health service- a free health system for our citizens.  I wonder- with regards that last point- how long?

My main passion- when it comes to election promises/things this country needs- is our N.H.S.  If it were to be privatised, it would mean disaster: so many people would be excluded; many more would not be able to afford (to visit hospital; they would be selective about when they attend).  We have women’s rights- to a small extend- and something needs to be done: in 2015, we face (an almost Stone Age) system- where there a pay disparity; the rights of men supersede (that of women).  Mental health- and the stigma surrounding it- gets short shrift: no major party is pledging time/money into any real change (with regards this issue).  These are not just issues that matter to me: these are concerns we ALL share.  I am aware a government cannot address every concern: with a limit budget- and the country become overcrowded and overpopulated at a disturbing rate- we cannot all blame our current administration.  With the ‘average family’ growing- people selfishly shoving new life (into a small nation) with little concern for the future- you have to blame the public (to an extent).  It seems that something needs to be done: a new movement; something that can make (some small changes) – gain influence in years to come.

When Sandi Toksvig (help to found) Women’s Equality Party, I was relieved: someone (a group of women in fact) doing something great- forming a party that fights for a great cause.  In this day and age- where there is discrimination, racism and inequality at a socking rate- it is great to see (the issue of women’s inequality) addressed.  The party is in its infancy; it has the potential to affect some real change: the party wants to bring men into the fold; make it a non-exclusionary body- and get everyone working together.  Whether the party will ever gain seats in the Houses of Commons if to be seen- it seems very likely they can achieve this.  I have been thinking about something (along these lines) lately: trying to put something together; a body or movement that speaks to the minorities- addresses subjects/issues (the big parties overlook).  As I said a bit earlier: it is impossible to address every issue and problem.  There is plenty of room for (someone/something to come along) and challenge the established order: shake things up for the good; fill the gaps left by the main three parties.

Whether it will be a political party- starting small and getting people talking- or something else, I have been thinking hard: I want to start an organization that looks at mental health; aims for equality; puts money where it is needed- works at improving the plight of our musicians and talent; proffers charities and charitable organization.  Not just a niche party/body, it is a chance to answer some outcry: I know many people- who are voting and going to the polls- that want (a party or voice) that addresses THEIR concerns.  Part of the (thing with) The Single Voice, was to get charities augmented: have hundreds of causes- both local and worldwide- funded and highlighted- get people working in the community; inspiring others to go out and make a difference.  Whether it comes to fruition- and all the time I can walk and type it will- it will take some time to develop: seducing a beast like Google is going to take a lot of persuading/stalking.  In the meantime/in tandem, there is an opportunity (to unite people and get them involved): form a movement that listens to people- and formulates policies THEY suggest (not just sticking to a rigid party-formed agenda).

With Twitter and Facebook- being the oligarchs of social media- the pockets (of Zuckerberg) are getting wider; the bank balance is looking healthy.  I cannot critisise Facebook (too much) as I use it- and consider it a valuable tool and forum.  The thing is this: where is all the money (being raised through advertising) being spent?  In addition- to more pool tables being fitted at Facebook H.Q. – you have to wonder: that money is not going into improving the site.  In all the years Facebook has existed- however long it is now- there have been very minor changes (it has been redesigned and tweaked; some weird features- ‘poke’ for instance- have been removed).  When it comes to meaningful changes- harnessing a huge multi-million social media platform- there have been opportunities begging: get the young involved in politics; use the site to address social issues- add something meaningful to Facebook.  I love the fact I can post anything- usually inane shit and vague moaning- onto the site- as few people will listen to that kind of rubbish in the flesh.  I love the fact I can share music; promote musicians- and charities too- and ‘make a difference’- there is a chance to do so much more.

My mind/opinion is divided 50/50: between forming a ‘new’ social media/improved site; putting together a (minor) political party- each to be based in- and run out of- London.  The U.S. dominates the social media market- the richest and most influential people originate from here- and the most ‘charitable celebrities’ (by-and-large) are American.  This struck my mind hard: let’s get the U.K. back into the limelight (it was British man who invented the Internet (and the computer), remember.  What I want to do is create a platform that keeps the best features of Twitter/Facebook- the easy communication; simplicity of promoting/sharing important information- and take that further.  In addition to the ‘social’ side of things, the site would be divided into sections: health and charity; travel; music; film, T.V. and comedy; education etc. – it would read like a party manifesto.  With an eye-catching homepage- and making it easy to join/take part- the site aims to educate and motivate: get people in touch with the world; get them involved with charity; give the less well-of a chance to see the world- without being stuck in front of a screen.  Many musicians- and new acts coming through- feel the financial pinch: their music ambitions are turning into a nightmare; they struggle to make a living.  The site would aim to raise money- through huge sites like Google- and raiser funds for musicians; promote them effectively- in addition to making it easier to share/find great new music.  I will publish a full-length blog soon, yet an opportunity is out there: a way of creating something- almost political in nature- that not only can appeal to the Social Media Generation- it has a chance to make changes; speak to the minorities.

My idea- The Single Voice- is bubbling and boiling; my (much-storied/promised) concert will take place: these ideas take money and others.  When I can acquire the necessary funds/people- those ideas will be created.  I was wondering what people thought: would you buy into this idea?  If a site- or party indeed- were created (that made social media more relevant/much-improved) would people use it?  I am not trying to encourage people to use their laptops/P.C.s MORE- simply divide their time (between Facebook/Twitter and this site).  There are lot of different sites- that concentrate on music, politics, charity and so forth- yet none that unites them all- and puts them all under one roof.  A site/concept that would respond to feedback- and address the needs of all- it would be an online party, no less (a political movement online).

If I were to whip up a ‘manifesto’ would you vote (for me)?  Whereas the charity idea is reliant on Google- them fellas better come through- this is less dependent: it can work without their input/need.  Let me know what you think; if you have any ideas for the site- I want to get this put together (to help make some real changes).  Later today I will be starting an online petition; getting something put together- I am always looking to make change.  I know many of you are, too.  This is a chance to do something (about the issues we all face).

Remember to vote (on Thursday): let your voice be heard.  Whoever is P.M. on Thursday (hopefully not Mr. C.), there will be questions unanswered; gaps left gaping- holes that need to be filed.  When it comes down to it…

WE can help to fill them.

Track Review: The Bandicoots- Mind Your Manors



The Bandicoots



Mind Your Manors





Mind Your Manors is available at:


25th March, 2015





The E.P. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things is available at:



I’M going to embrace my inner naivety; accept that …

I am just ‘well known’ among the streets of Hamilton, Ontario.  Every other day, I receive a new email: usually from an Ontarian band; proffering the same sort of music- I wonder why this is.  Not wanting to think the worse- that a huge record label is just sending (slightly edited) spam emails to me- I think it is just ‘luck’- maybe a previous review (being published by a fellow Canadian) has caught the imagination.  Regardless, this will be the last Ontario/Canadian review (for a long time): there comes a time when you have to employ some rationale- concentrate on homegrown bands; focus on diversity and difference.  Canadian music has always struck my ear- with its energy and sense of innovation- yet there has been some stagnation: the masses (that get in touch from Ontario) have started to clump and blend (into one).  Being slightly world-weary, I was surprised to come across The Bandicoots: a band that has that distinct edge; are a cut above the similar-sounding conveyor belts (of bands I have been receiving mail from).  As I train my mind back to London- and help some of my favourite U.K. acts get some recognition- I can at least (bid Canada farewell) with a lighter heart- relieved there is a positive (end) note.  Hamilton is a gorgeous city: an area with ethnic diversity (a lot of English live in this locality); wonderful cityscapes; stunning views- a wonderfully thriving economy.  It seems the citizens are not police-orientated- the amount of police-levelled hate crimes is pretty high- but you cannot fault the place: it is one of the most evocative and stunning areas of Canada (check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamilton,_Ontario).  The likes of Caribou (and Nicole Appleton) call Hamilton home:  the port city is a safe haven for many musicians.  In terms of new music, there is activity a-plenty: many of Canada’s finest new acts are plying their trade in Hamilton.  The Bandicoots are one of the best (the city) has to offer: a hungry act who are aiming big.  With their latest E.P. – This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things- being dropped; it seems they are on the rise: early reviews have been glowing and positive.  Before I come back to the band (and Hamilton indeed) it seems pertinent to raise one issue: the plight of new musicians in this country (the U.K.).  I know a lot of great musicians- across twitter and Facebook- who are in real trouble: their finances are dwindling; their fate is waning.  I feel real sympathy and heartache: so many great acts are struggling; it is one of the saddest parts of music.  This country is producing a heap of new musicians: by the week, we are seeing clans of new bands/acts/artists- they are cramming into a small isle.  For the ‘established’ acts, what are they to do?  Many musicians (that I know) are finding life difficult: trying to get their voices heard is a real struggle- it is a sad sign of the times.  I hope something can be done: finding a way of gifting every musician an equal voice.  Maybe it is overly-optimistic; it seems fair the best should get (their fair) shout: have their music proffered and promoted (and witnessed by as many people as possible).  I’m not too sure with regards Canada: whether musicians there have that same struggle; have the same issues?  Canada has a population of (fewer than) 36 million- some 27 million fewer than the U.K.  The country (Canada) has a 50/50 split- of men and women- with their nation, wide and wonderful- a lot of open space and room.  It seems things are more ‘cramped’ here: the big cities and towns are compacted and suffocated.  Aside from moving to Canada- a drastic ‘Plan B’ potential- what are we to do?  It seems Canadian music is ripe and receptive: the new acts coming out are less stressed and angst-ridden; have a slightly ‘easier’ time of things.  That said; the possibilities (and opportunities) for Canadian acts are limited- compared with here in the U.K.  U.S. acts have the routes and contacts- and the major music cities- yet Canada seems self-sufficient: the musicians have a harder task than their U.S. counterparts.  Aside from the ‘tasks’ that face Canadian musicians, they seem- and Hamilton residents at least- to be less overwhelmed: their music is freer and more effortless.  The Bandicoots are showcasing this sense of alacrity: their debut E.P. is swimming in energy and youthfulness; acres of passion and swagger- that is sure to see them well-received here.

When it comes to (The Bandicoots’ current disc) it is worth looking back: to see how far they have come; how they have developed.  Their last release- appearing in December of last year- was No Turn on Red: one of (the quartet) of tracks from the E.P.  Swooning and shimmering in the introduction, the song is focused and fuzzy- the vocal is passionate and tempered.  One of the most direct tracks (from the E.P.), the boys are in-step: the performance is tight and electric.  Graceful and kicking; biting and honest, the song looks at leaving town: getting away and trying to find a way out.  A romantic suicide (almost), the song is a farewell: the hero is bidding goodbye; trying to get away from things.  Being the first foray- for the band and their music- the E.P. is purest (testament of what they are capable of).  Just After Dark– with its bounce and youthful vigour- is a gut-punch.  You cannot help but think of Arctic Monkeys: the band’s E.P. has the sound of early-career ‘Monkeys.  Just After Dark shares skin with Balaclava and D is for Dangerous: that same stop-start energy; the spy-theme-cum-shout-out sound- the swing and swagger arrives by the bucket load.  The vocal passion- the band’s committed and enflamed parabond- and delivery cannot be faulted- signs of Favourite Worst Nightmare’s (best moments) come to the fore. That is not to say anything negative: the band is not replicons of the Sheffield legends.  The E.P. is chocked full of personality and uniqueness: the Canadians have taken their own lives- the street scenes and romantic woes- and funneled it into distinct and personal songs.  Employing a pinch- of Turner-esque saltiness and Yorkshire pepperiness- and you get The Bandicoots: an act with their very own sound.  It is great to hear Arctic Monkeys come through in any form: for a while, most new U.K. bands were indebted to them.  As of late, that ‘trend’ has subsided: there is a tendency to think wider (and err away from their doors).  Being (that this is) a first effort- from the Canadian newbies- This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things is a stunning statement.  Four tracks of tight, focused- and variably emotional- numbers; it’s an E.P. sure to sell well over here- the sound is just what we favour over here.  The question is- when their sophomore effort arrives- how do they top/alter at all?  Do they stick with the same sound; widen their scope- or bring in different influences?  The boys are pretty unequivocal; their flair and passion is unwavering: their songs are packed with determination and nuance- qualities that will stand them in good stead.

Starting with a sensual slink; a call-and-response hard punch: Mind Your Manors begins its life with plenty of aim and potential.  Sparing no time (for wasted notes and loose ambitions), the tight (and springing) introduction is gripping- enough to get the mind working.  When the vocals come in, some intriguing words are brought in.  With a fascinating opening verse- “Those daydreaming eyes could likely see you to the moon/sending you packing for the stars on a hot air balloon/For days/Stuck in a haze/You ever see a place like this?”- you start to conspire and imagine.  With its poetic-ness and imagery, the band does not go for the base and asinine- they ensure their earliest words are striking and memorable. Allowing his voice to dream and drift, out hero has a lot on his mind: the heroine of his focus has a ‘shady’ day-time life.  “Replace your midnight pining for a bill in her thong” leaves little to the imagination- you can almost smell the sweat and stains of the strip club scene.  That sense of release and escape- the subject yearns for a hide-away beyond the reach “of the (tip) jar”- is a trademark for The Bandicoots- the E.P. has plenty of escape-and-run ambitions; that need to get to a better life- run from that which holds you back (and punishes the soul).  With his comrades providing ample support, Mind Your Manors hits for the grit- the hero does not (want to stay here) “any more than you.”  With those stories in your mind- the pole-straddling muse tearing up and dying inside- you get caught up in the drama and tableau.  The track has a merry streak- whether ironic or genuine- that gives it energy and panache: a combination of ‘60s Pop and Arctic Monkeys cheek lodges the melody in your mind.  Distracting by the composition- that is both subtle and powerful- you drag your attention to the forefront: the tale continues; the players progress.  Building off the strip-club-and-its-desperately-naïve-clientele parable, you can see the images all too clearly- the way (the patrons) think they have a shot; the dancers have anything for them (bar dreams of their wallets and credit cards).  With ‘Miss. Mary’ (the dancer) and ‘Maya’ (having “taken a stab”) the protagonists are making their mark: the boys have to hit up the cash machine; the bouncers are getting rough- it seems things have gotten out of hand.  You cannot (but admire) the wordplay- the pen is as mighty as the Arctic sword- which tumbles and spirals.  Both literary- with wit and pathos- it is detailed and scenic- in few words, the band manages to project vivid scenes and wonderful byplay.  The song’s ‘customers’- whether the band themselves (based on real events?) or fictional wannabes- have drama ahead: they have scared up money (to pay the tab); are preparing to tighten their laces (in order to outrun the muscle).  With its heart rooted towards Arctic-esque avenues, the lads never try to ape or copycat: their words and themes were never explored by Turner’s crew- they take a common situation and give it a fresh spin.  Concocting spiraling notes- mood changes and subtle key changes- the band never loses momentum; the song constantly pines and prods- taking your mind somewhere else.  Imbued with some terrific moments- the 2:30 mark gives way to a beautiful harmony; the most fervent and ecstatic point- the composition is glistening and delirious- a cornucopia of styles, swagger; beauty and stomp.  When the final moments come into view- the outro. has a cheeky glint and wink in its smile- you cannot help but reflect: shoot a smile and hit ‘repeat.’

The entire band puts in a hard shift: the performance and commitment is fantastic and impressive.  The vocals throughout are superb: that mixture of northern drawl (and Canadian accent) gives the lyrics real intent and meaning- few other singers would add such weight and conviction.  The words are (perhaps the most) impressive thing on display: a song sheet with plenty of quotable lines; ounces of memorability and vivacity- poetry and drama.  You cannot fault anything in display: Mind Your Manors is a song that is no fluke- the band produce three like-minded gems (into their E.P. repertoire).  Having listened to their new single- a few times now- I am deeply impressed: the song reveals new tricks/magic with every spin.  It is that kind of nuance/strength that will see the band inspire- hopefully they can bring their music to Britain (a nation awaits, sirs).

As the Ontario band embark on tour dates- taking their debut E.P. on the road- you have to tip your hat: the lads have produced music designed to unify the masses; get the festival crowds moving.  Whether a cynical ploy, or a natural development, and it leaves them with this conundrum: do they stay in Canada or move to the U.S. /U.K.?  With a sound British-influenced (in small parts) they have a definite future here: many crowds and towns would welcome them in.  This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things has cynicism and sarcasm; passion and openness- colour and black-and-white shades.  The band is committed and tight throughout: each song is defined by a clear and concise performance.  Allowing ragged and raucous edges (to come in), the band impress throughout.  Aided by fantastic production values- that allows vocal clarity and a raw sound to reign- and you have a triumphant effort.  Too few bands (especially in this country) have their minds set to the future: I am hearing too much anxiety and fear come out (in the sounds of the new-born musicians).  Whether it is a Canadian thing- and there is a more open and less tense market there- I am not sure.  It is a sign of the times I guess- that every candidate has a hard task ahead- that stress and nerves will take a hold: if you can think positively; have ambitious plans in your locker- this reflects in the music.  The Bandicoots are a group with no signs of quitting; no quarter is being levelled towards demure and fear- the band is looking forward and dead ahead.  Make sure you check out their E.P. – and new single- and take time to investigate a band that means business: a group we may be seeing in the U.K. in the near-future.  I will finish with (my earlier point coming back around): wonder why Hamilton, Ontario is a big player; comes to my attention (on a tri-weekly basis).  God knows why I am popular there- and whether any other areas of Canada will contact me- but it is ‘interesting’ at the very least.  If the music is varied and high quality then fair play: I am finding too much sameness come out here.  From such a beautiful (and varied) city, you would expect a bit more variegation and diversity: I hope bands here start to widen their aim and ambitions.  The Bandicoots have plenty of potential about them:  Mind Your Manors– with its clever wordplay- is a fine example (of what the group is about).  With music’s issues- compartmentalisation and wide mass of musicians- it is hard (for new acts) to make their mark- harder still to resonate and remain.  I hope The Bandicoots keep strong; bring in some new sounds (for their next release) – as much as anything, come play their music in Europe.  With so many (of this nation’s) finest starting to feel the pinch: it is essential we are given some fresh impetus.   I guess it is flattering- that so many Canadian acts are coming to my attention- and it is encouraging to see such energy here- as I step away from the country for a number of weeks.  When it comes down to it (and having many Hamilton residents coming to you), you could say this:

THERE are worse things in life.



Follow The Bandicoots:




















Track Review: Gelato- Room Service






Room Service




Room Service is available at:


9th March, 2015

Alternative, Heavy Metal



Gelato’s self-titled E.P. is available via:


Released: 10 March 2015

Drew – vocals & guitar

Phil – bass

Ben – drums

Recorded & mixed by: Tobin Jones at The Park Studios, London UK

Mastered by: Phil Joannides



IT has come to my attention the music industry is quite a…

cruel (and unflinching thing).  Actually, I sort of guessed that: over the last few weeks, I have noticed some great acts ‘call it time’- and close up shop forever.  A couple of my favourite (London) acts have disbanded; gone their separate ways- irked by the strains of music and its demands.   It is sad to see such a thing: a tremendous act have to quit; overcome by the pressures they face.  With so many acts coming through, you are going in (with no idea of where you will end up) – quite how things will work out.  I guess this is true of any industry/job: with music, there seems to be an edge of cruelty- an unpredictability that is unfair and harsh.  I have seen some fantastic acts dissolve; others who stress over their art- unsure whether they are doing the right thing.  A lot of the problem stems from money: not having enough to fund an entire career.  The cost of recording (even a single song) can be huge; parlaying that into an E.P. (more still) – it is asking huge demands of the musician.  Of course, creative difference can get in the way: it seems finance is the major bugaboo- and something that needs to be addressed.  Whether something can be done (and financing arranged for an act) is to be see; someone needs to take action- too much good music is dying needlessly.  The work is the main thing: being proud of what you are doing.  Whether there is a common solution (to avoid acts having to split/strain) is to be seen; for those playing (and starting up) such issues have to be put aside- and concentrate on the act of music-making.  When confidence is high (right from the start) that comes out: the public can embrace music (that is stunning).  Gelato have that confidence for sure: an act with a clear eye on the future.  Few bands possess quite the same sound, direction and urgency: their mix of quality and nuance is sure to see them be around (for years to come).  Before I continue, let me introduce you (to the band):

The head-hitting, high-energy pace of GELATO brings a solid rock sound with pop undertones, reminiscent of the Foo’s, Queens, and more.  After months of throat-shredding, string-snapping & stick-shedding, here is their debut EP, recorded with Tobin Jones (Bo Ningen, Twilight Sad, Cold Specks) and spearheaded by first single Room Service.  Join the party!

There is nothing fake or false when it comes to Gelato: here is an act that is genuine; unconcerned with following anyone else.  Being familiar with groups like Los & The Deadlines and Allusondrugs, I know how good this country is (at producing hard-hitting bands with a real kick).  Throw in the likes of Bi:Lingual and there is a solid core coming through: acts that fuse genres into a boiling pot of noise, melody, wit, anger (and other varied, contrasting colours).  The boys have just arrived, yet the signs are all good: their debut E.P. is a trio of stunning slices; songs that bounce around the brain- a collection of rock-solid, soul-shaking tracks.  A lot of new acts coming out tend to play softer (that is to say less vivacious) sounds; concentrate on introspection and self-examination: if you come into a packed marketplace (with so many like-minded competitors) it is hard to distinguish and stand apart.  When things are shaked up; the volume is turned up- that is when something terrific occurs.  Gelato are already setting tongues wagging: their music is connecting with people; new audiences are switching onto their potential.  It is still early; it would be remiss to charge ahead: from what has come out, the guys have a lot of options- and chances to play some rather high-profile venues/dates.

If you have (not as yet) discovered the band, then there are two starting points: Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age.  Both Dave Grohl—featured acts (Grohl was present during Queens’ Songs for the Deaf and Like Clockwise… albums) have made their mark- the lads have an essence of each.  To my mind, there is more Queens’ than Foo’- the vocals have that air of Josh Homme at his best (his braggadocio-cum-cool swing).  When Queens of the Stone Age launched Like Clockwise… I was astonished: I did not think the band would produce (something as wonderful) given what came before (Era Vulgaris).  When Like Clockwise… came out, my faith was renewed: the Californian boys were back at their best: an album solid with anthems and classics; a mixture of their glorious past (and renewed present).  Gelato have the force and prowess of Foo Fighters’ debut (their self-titled effort) – Punk elements came through; passionate performances abound; lunging urgency grip the imagination.  Don’t get caught up with other acts (when trying to assess Gelato): the band are their own beats; they simply borrow the odd bit (here and there).

Grumbling and moody vibes stir up Room Service: something dark is bubbling; the burbling bass notes kick the dust about- something dangerous is looking on.  Keeping the mood intense and unknowing the intro. begins to heighten and expand: the boys kick up the gears and expand their intentions- spiraling guitar fuses with hissing percussion; leading to a dizzying combination of sounds.  Keeping things focused and intense, Gelato tie in some wordlessness: a low-down hum reverberates; the chorus of sighs melts into the fray- the building blocks have been laid.  Just as you feel some explosion (is going to erupt) the vocal comes in: at first it is quite controlled and moody.  Emphasis is placed more on sound and feel- than clarity and decipherability- the grumble and sneer of the vocal means some of the lyrics are hard to pick up on.  This is no criticism or slight: the passion and intention of the song overcomes any slight minor.  Our front-man is missing out; his mind is casting out: his thoughts are spinning; his tongue lacerates and conspires- you start to build up your own interpretations.  Using the hotel/room service motif, one imagines something half-lit and flickering: a girl (or sweetheart) is on his mind- who he wants to keep by the phone- as the night draws in.  At its core- the song itself- has another interpretive possibility: a lonesome (or band-helmed) hero waiting for room service- impatiently treading the floor.  Whatever the listener imagines- and there is an open-ended quality to the lyrics- images do come flooding- ideas percolate thick and fast.  In the early stages, Room Service broods and prods: the low notes and insistent vocal has quite an overwhelming quality.  In spite of there being plenty of melodic nuance- the cooed backing vocals add relief and elliptical promise- there is a foreboding and harsh grip- something that adds to the track (and gets the listener on their toes).  Taking a little of Nevermind (Nirvana) with Foo Fighters’ early moments; pulsing in some Queens’ magic (especially their Songs for the Deaf-era work) and you get something quite special.  Room Service has plenty of punch and explosion: in the initial foray, these threats are kept mooted and demurred.  The boys have a wicked gleam in their eye; a seamless knack of mixing their talents together- incorporating elements of familiar sounds.  It is clear (listening to the lead do his thing) there is frustration and “missing out”- his mind is not calmed or settled; anxiety and anger are showing their skins.  Past the two-thirds mark, we get that sense of anger (come out to play) – the song expands and fizzes into life- those early introversions are dissipated; replaced with something vitriolic.  Never savage or reckless, the boys keep everything in order: ensure the song does not get lost in a swap of random notes- endless screaming and aimless pondering.  Catchy and addictive, you cannot help get lost in things: the chorus itself is an insatiable little thing (that begs for some sing-along chorusing).  Whether looking at a nervy hotel-based scene- or something disconnected and concerned with broken love- the band gets inside your head: each line seems to resonate and reverberate.  By the closing stages, the hypnotic swirl (grumbling vocals in the back; lighter vocals at the front- insatiable vibes around them) takes its toll- the group crank things to the max.  Just as you want a bit more, the song comes to its close: everything that has come before (still echoes in the head); the boys leave things with an evil glint.

You are hard-pressed to find detractions; have any criticisms at all- perhaps decipherability is an issue.  Some of the words are hard to understand- perhaps a lyrics sheet would be helpful- and get passed by: not a big issue when it comes to Room Service.  The vocals shine throughout: never overwrought and pretentious, there is genuine passion and personality- plenty of focus and force; light and optimism.  Drew’s vocal made have elements of Homme (and Grohl) without sounding sound-alike and forced- plenty of individuality and freshness come out.  When his guitar work comes into the light, you get the sense of a unique player- someone who has a real authority and understanding (and better than most of his contemporaries).  As a front-man he leads the music superbly: never stealing all focus, instead you get a real command and leadership- something that adds weight and wonder to the music on offer.  Phil’s bass almost steals the show: at the start it is viper-like and growling; as the song progresses, it expands and guides.  Never too lonesome and detached, it not only leads Room Service– making sure each word is giving plenty of stature and weight.  Ben’s percussion leads from the back; it is always statuesque and meaningful: marking himself out as a solid time-keeper, his sticks work keeps the song strong and intense- there is plenty of control and calm.  The entire band is tight and focused: they have a clear understanding and affection; each member knows their role- and plays it extremely well.  A band with a rich and varied sound, Room Service is just the start of things- their E.P. contains plenty of range and diversions whilst keeping their core sound loyal.

The E.P. Gelato is as varied (as the ice cream the band derives their name from): a packed and chocked arsenal of tastes, sensations and satisfaction- guaranteed to leave you wanting more.  Lead-off track (Get My Way) comes out of the gates snarling: a cutting and driving intro. leads the assault.  The sound of Queens of the Stone Age comes out: the glory days of Songs for the Deaf; that tremendous confidence and tremendous sound.  Hypnotic and swirling strings put me in mind of Homme (and his crew); the backing vocals (that coo with intimacy) have shades of Queens’ greatest moments- touching on their Lullabies to Paralyze work.  I adore both albums; the boys do not steal or mimic: instead incorporate (those albums’) best moments and finest assets- the result is wonderful.  With its U.S. vibes; the passion and urgency comes through in the delivery- swagger, energy and lust filters into every note.  I know Gelato are inspired by Foo Fighters- an act I have never liked at all- and they supersede the American masters- especially their latest L.P.  Being a huge fan of Dave Grohl (the drummer rather than a lead) I hear that coming out- the drumming is intense and tight; never overplayed or uncontrolled.  Ruffians closes the E.P.: a song that is brief and memorable; filled with the band’s core strengths.  A wonderful bookend- to Get My Way– here is a claustrophobic and suffocating number: one that comes with ragged edges; some lip-licking looseness- a vocal that is ice-cold and cigarette-smoking cool.

Gelato have shown (with their E.P.) they have the talent to remain: they are not one-trick wonders; they show a range of sounds (through the trio of songs).  The band remains tight and in-step throughout; each number seems well-rehearsed and authoritative- there is enough fun and frivolity to win over (the most stone-hearted listener).  The band manage to tease and tantilise: it would be great to hear some more tracks; expand on the three numbers- Gelato leaves you wanting (a lot) more.  With acts like Foo Fighters being past their best- they have been since their early days- and Queens’ slowing (although still immense), we need new kings: an act that have that Desert-Rock-cum-Californian cool to it; bits of mystique and dark magic- a concoction to please the senses.  What does the future hold?  Well, the band is going to playing and gigging: getting their music out there to the fans; getting people excited.  Whether the boys have album plans in their minds (or are thinking of touring the E.P.) I am not sure- their music would have some support across the U.S. (with its Queens of the Stone Age edges).  Returning to my opening point- that looks at why bands fault; the stresses that face musicians- I am pleased for Gelato: the band are concentrating on their work; the work is the main thing- hopefully financial issues are not going to come into play.  The band have a focused and tight sound; a clear affection- for each other and their songs- that is infectious and gripping: they will be capable of uniting fans of all genres- they are not out to exclude anyone.  With melody afoot; hard-rocking vibes being spat out- ample cool being wracked to 11- Gelato have a bright future.  Darlings like Royal Blood are getting (a lot of current) kudos: riding the crest of a wave; taking the bull by the horns.  I do not think this is a zeitgeist thing: the public have always embraced sounds that err on the side of heavy.  In conclusion, the band should be very proud: few acts have the ability to mix by-gone (and legendary) bands with their original and distinct personality- mixes them together to provide something both fresh and familiar.  With summer looming, we all need something upbeat and crowd-pleasing: sounds that unite crowds; get feet moving- and get the voices chanting loud.  Take the time to discover something special; an act that have ammunition to go far- and take the market by storm.  Whether you are fan of Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age (or not) then do not despair: their music is designed to unite- and not divide.  Gelato is just the start of things- and the band will not get ahead of themselves- but the signs are all good…

THE boys are here to stay.



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Track Review: Los & The Deadlines- Feel At Ease



Los & The Deadlines



Feel At Ease





Feel At Ease is available at:



17th April, 2015

Rock, Alternative, Desert-Rock



Lyrics by: Alex Losardo
Music by: Los and the Deadlines

Recorded and Mixed by: Tobin Jones at The Park Studios 
Produced by: Tobin Jones and Los and the Deadlines
Mastered by: Phil Joannides

IT is good to be back on familiar turf…

and focus on a band (I have reviewed a few times now).  In 2013 (and last year) I was lucky enough to hear some new Los’ material- get a glimpse into their current mindset.  Every time I came away (from reviewing the lads) I was left with the same sensation: how different they are.  In terms of composition, the band is truly diverse- its members are sourced from various parts of the globe.  In a music scene that promotes homogenisation- how many bands have men AND women; different nationalities and races together?- it is great to have Los & The Deadlines add some diversity- this multicultural approach feeds into their (glistening) music.  I have a good point to raise (well, a POINT) at least, but for the moment, let me give you a short introduction (on the band):

Alex LoSardo – lead vocals, guitar
Niels Bakx – guitar and backing vocals
Rotem Haguel – bass and backing vocals
Alberto Voglino – drums and backing vocals

“The seedy underbelly of any major city spawns some of the most depraved and morally reprehensible bastards that even the dregs of civilization look down upon. These cretins walk amongst us, they ask you for money, they serve you drinks, they file your taxes, and in this case; they formed a band. In the their new EP, “Perfect Holiday”, the Deadlines have not only made the depiction of absurdities in modern-day’s western society their craft; they made it their mission. With their tongue-in-cheek lyrics, thrashing riffs and thumping rhythms, Los and the Deadlines are a prophet’s voice in a decaying civilisation. Much like the city that they hail from, the Deadlines are the establishment of anti-establishment. They make sound. They make noise.”

This snapshot into the band makes me smile.  It may sound overblown and tongue-in-cheek- when phrases like “prophet’s voice in a decaying civilization” are expounded- yet there is some truth here: the band is a departure from their peers; they are an original and unique force- a group that makes sounds unlike any other.  With fellow acts- that I have reviewed- such as Bi:Lingual and Allusondrugs rocking the (new music) scene, there is a scarcity of genuine bands- those that make REAL sounds.  Yesterday, I reviewed Goldbirds- a new band who promise much- and was left relieved: another great band to get my teeth into.  London is a city coming back to the fore: a capital that has not always been over-stocked with terrific music.  Historically- when it comes to my reviews- the north has always provided (the finest acts) – the most diversity and most stunning flavours.  Perhaps (still) less homogenised than London, there is a revival occurring: the capital’s finest are starting to make their voices heard.  The mainstream has few impressive new bands- the likes of Drenge and Royal Blood (that name again) are few and far between.  I love softer sounds: Pop-infused electronics; soulful power; stunning hybrid music- there is not enough to lodge in the imagination.  New music provides the best chance (for future prosperity) and bands like Los & The Deadlines are in with a shout: a group with a festival-ready sound; a work ethic that feeds into every note and line (they perform).  A lot of acts get scared by the music scene: feel the need to rush material out; release anything fearing they will be ignored (if they are not overly-prolific).  Los & The Deadlines are less concerned: they have a style that is going to capture ears; they put time (and effort into their music) to ensure it is as good as possible- a trait that will set them up well for the future.  Knowing the band- and Niels Bakxs in particular- the lads are excited about (the coming year): just what is in store for their crew.  After their E.P. release- Part One: Bank was unveiled last year- they are preparing another (E.P.): something I am looking forward to.  After launching their new website (link is at the bottom of this review) they are priming themselves for new gigs: getting their music to fresh faces; making sure they recruit new followers- and thrilling London as much as they can.


Los & The Deadlines’ new track has elements of their past work: they have kept their core intact; their subject matter has changed.  Part One’ was released last year (in January) and looked at a range of subjects: banking; caffeine addiction; vanities and social media posturing among them.  Representing the voice of the office drone; the man stuck in the queue- or as the band explained: “…the shriveled homunculus of every Tom, Dick, and Harry standing in the musty queue under those ugly fluorescent lights that fry your nerve endings.”  The group tapped into modern malaise: channeled the frustrations of the everyday man; the nerve-shredding misery of life.  Not all bluster and force, the band produced melody and range: Reggae strands mingled with Grunge; hypnotic jams and rampant percussion was on display- a quintet of tracks designed to resonate.  Impressively cohesive and focused, the band displayed their close bond and tight-knit playing: each member is perfectly in-step and on board; the songs sound well-rehearsed (and a little loose) – a concoction that leaves you coming back for more.  London is a beautiful city, yet repressible humans reside: the faceless banker; the vain poseur; the ugly-minded businessman- their debut E.P. lacerated each of them; tore through the disreputable kin- sprinkled around magical sounds and myriad ideas.  Always strong songwriters, Feel At Ease is not a huge step forward: they have improved; they have always been hot and hard (out of the gate).  Forming the first taste (of their forthcoming E.P.) one presumes we have a Part Two’ approaching- the second part (of a trilogy?), which will explore new themes- faded dreams and creative frustration are at the forefront of Feel At Ease.  It will be great to see (what the new E.P. provides) but I suspect there will be new inspiration: the sound will be (as we expect from Los’) with some new stories on offer- fresh faces and new subjects being dissected.

For those looking for ‘sound-alike’ bands- for a start you’ll be struggling- then there are some jumping-off points- the likes of The Mars Volta and Queens of the Stone Age among them.  Like The Mars Volta, Los & The Deadlines inject psychedelic progressions and head-spinning noodling; gripping vocals and unpredictable compositions- that keep the listener guessing and on edge.  The Mars Volta- in most of their songs- are quite oblique and byzantine- their lyrics are open to interpretation.  Los & The Deadlines are more direct and decipherable- they like to get their message heard and understood from the off.  Queens of the Stone Age (one of my all-time favourite bands) give Desert-Rock grit and exceptional force- a band that is impossible to ignore.  Like Homme’s crew, Los’ have a terrific ear (for classic Rock sounds) – channeling the Californians (with flavours of Led Zeppelin).  The London-based band employ hints of others, whilst maintaining a distinct sound (very much of their own devising) – one of the most original groups on the current scene.

Feel At Ease springs straight into life- many of Los’ hallmarks come to the fore.  Building off a twisted and contorted few seconds, the mood starts to temporise.  Putting me in mind of early-career Nirvana, a bouncing (and springing) bass line replaces (the scrambled fury) – taking the listener in another direction.  Hypnotic and pulsating, you get sucked into the song- the band does not throw heavy vocals straight in; the Spoken Word-style opening is a terrific decision.  Dripping with sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek (although perhaps the song’s hero is being genuine) the idea of dream-seeking is explored.  The opening lines make me smile and reflect: “I’ve got an idea to make some money on the side. It shouldn’t be too much work/Just an hour or 2 here and there. It’ll give me plenty of down time.”  There is that tangible sense of debt and hardship: the song’s focal point is looking for some extra cash; a way to get out of debt- a friend of a friend (of a wheeler dealer-type figure).  The vocal delivery is wonderfully evocative: filled with character and urgency, you really root (for the hero) – the band back him with some chugging and marching sonics.  Like the intro. – and its shifting skin and style- the band notch up another gear: the vocal changes; the heaviness comes in- that sense of drama and unpredictability (is what makes the band so special).  In the early stages, there is a sense of mystery and mystique: what is this “dream” that is being touted?  Our hero is trying to live his dream; make a break and get to safety- is he referring to a music dream; the chance to be in the black (or something more sinister?).  At its roots, the song (and the band themselves) are looking out at society: the need to get a quick fix; reap finance and success- with the slightest of efforts.  In my mind, I think of the work shy and talent show contestants: people who want hand-outs and instant fame (without doing any work).  Feel At Ease’s (anti-) hero wants to dig himself out (of the hole he is in) – clear his debt.  The band have a devilish way of keeping the momentum going: the song builds and slows; it goes through stages- there is a real episodic and developing storyline.  Like a mini film (or drama) playing out, the track never loses its smile.  Backed by an incredible tight performance- the percussion sniggers and hisses; the bass twangs and contorts; the guitars steamroll and stutter- our man is back on the microphone.  Letting his distinct voice- which made me think of a 1940s film icon like James Stewart- the woe is not over.  In addition (to needing some money) life is getting more stressful- things are taking a turn for the worse.  His contact is strangely out of reach- “Does he have a new number?”- and the tension is rising: the subject is getting more frantic and bereft.  Whether speaking of a business plan- or a music-based pitch- the desperation comes out.  Determined to reach (the mystery figure) all sort of ideas are expounded- including getting a part-time job (to be near the man); do anything it takes.  Accepting reality, it seems a Plan-B is needed: a shot of sanity no less.  I love the duel layers on display: the vocal is quirky and charming; gripping and distinct- you always root for this underdog.  The band propel the lyrics with some wonderfully-realised performances: keeping tight and underplayed, the boys make sure there is always tension bubbling.  By the 1:35 mark, a crescendo is unleashed: the chorus swings back in; it seems more electrifying and wonderful the second time around.  When out lead takes a step back, it not only gives the music a chance to shine- it provides a chance to breathe too.  Swaggering guitars fuse with guiding bass; the percussion crackles and robes- it is a wonderful parable.  Throwing in some fuzzy (and scintillating) solos, the boys are clearly in their element: the confidence that comes through is hard to dismiss.  Perhaps their most assured song, there is a great sense of fun and purpose: the boys clearly had a ball recording the track.  Some Jack White-esque histrionics melt alongside some wordless vocals: the chorusing becomes augmented and domineering- before that chant-able chorus swings in.  As the final moments are elicited, the boys unite in voice: the song’s title becomes a desperation cry; that need to feel less stressed and anxious- the chance to return to a normal life.

Kudos goes to the entire band- it is very much a group performance.  The lyrics are filled with drama, wit and real-life reflection: we all know of someone who (is similar to the song’s hero).  Like all Los & The Deadlines songs, there is honesty and modern life snapshots in focus: songs that the listener can connect with in a very real way.  Presenting another twisting and stunning composition, Feel At Ease gains merit on many fronts.  LaSardo is a terrific singer- and someone who always impresses me- who shows his range here.  When the lyrics are spoken (or half-paced) he pronounces and projects with a real feel for the subject- the words are not lazily slung; they are perfectly acted and annunciated.  When things get hot and heavy, his voice is sharp and feral- you get a real sense of pain and anxiety (exactly what the band want to happen).  As a guitarist, he bonds supremely with his bandmate (Niels Bakx).  The duo share vocals- Bakx is on backing vocals- and guitar duties: they have a real understanding of each other; their byplay and linking is superb.  Not overthrowing the other, their twin fret work is exhilarating and tight.  Bakx has always impressed me (with his guitar work) and here he comes into his own- at times (when he steps into the spotlight) you can hear his progression.  In addition to working with other artists- including The Glass Child- he has had chance to increase his scope; grow in confidence and ability.  One thing I forget to mention was (that the band) has a new recruit- Rotem Haguel is on board.  When Soundgarden changed their rotation (around the time of Badmotorfinger) their new ally (bassist Ben Shepard) instantly gelled.  Not only joining with songwriting duties, he slotted effortlessly with the band.  Haguel sounds like an old mate and player: someone who was with the band from the embryonic moments.  This is a good thing, as it makes Feel At Ease that much stronger- a weaker musician may have slowed and dismissed the track.  Providfing some stunning bass work- that has elements of Krist Novoselic, Chris Wolstenholme and Flea- that provides oodles of melody, rhythm, sexuality, tension (and hypnotisation).  Voglino almost steals the show with his drumming: at once snake-like and viper-like; the next it becomes raptured and flailing.  Never unfocused or wandering, he guides and supports the band- keeping the song on the tracks and looking forward.  Powerful and skillful, the percussionist shows what a force he is; one of the key weapons in the band’s arsenal.  Overall, the band throws their all into their track- the result is another triumphant song.  This bodes VERY well (with regards their new E.P.).

The future is going to be bright (for Los & The Deadlines).  On April 29th, the band plays Lock 17 Camden: a change to premiere their new single.  After that, there will be the E.P.: what it (will sound like) is anyone’s guess.  What I can be sure of is the boys’ plight: the next year will see them grow in stature; accrue more fans; become bigger and better.  Filled with confidence, assuredness and direction, the band is on fire: they have a new website; new visuals and promotional shots; fresh gigs on the horizon.  With their brother Crystal Seagulls- another band I have reviewed a few times- they are taking London by the testicles: showing how good music can be.  Feel At Ease is a tongue-teasing statement from a group in fine form: a group of lads who have a wide array of concerns; never content to stick with the samey subjects of their peers (my-heart-is-broken-poor me; vague and generic love songs).  I cannot wait for the new E.P.: it will be a chance to see what Los & The Deadlines have on their mind; what is enforcing their (current sounds) – the new single is a tempting and stunning slice.  The band impress in a number of different ways.  As ‘people’ (personalities) they embrace their fans: they are everymen who represent the voices of the majority- and have a fun-loving and cheeky joie de vire.  As much as anything, the guys know how to distinguish themselves: their music is not formulaic and processed; they have a sense of innovation you cannot fault.  It is good to be back (reviewing Los & The Deadlines) as they always deliver- offer something exciting and memorable.  As I said, the future will be a bright one: it can only be a matter of time until they are promoted to the big-time leagues- and win a headliner slot at a big festival.  After the finger nail-shredding tension (of yesterday’s F.A. Cup semi-final), I was in need of something calmer and secure: whilst the boys do not do calm, they certainly do secure.  Not in a boring and timid way: rather, they produce songs that alienate nobody; give you a glimpse into modern Britain- and reflect the voices of the many (and not just the few).  Couple this with some terrific sounds and captivating vocals, and you know what they are about: a group that shine in every department.  Feel At Ease– and its ironic title- is a teaser for what is ahead: another (I would presume) stunning E.P.; another step forward for Los’- make sure you check the band out.  As I venture into the Sunday sun (when the sodding thing comes out) I feel strangely ill at ease: the band has a great way of uncovering (a person’s deep-hidden insecurities).  That is the mark of a great act: when you force the listener to change their ways; thinking about their own lives…

THAT is always a good thing.



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An Apology: On Behalf of My Gender

An Apology: On Behalf of My Gender.



THIS one will be short and to the point…

Something has been annoying me recently: the potent toxicity of social media (and the Internet).  After hearing Sue Perkins- who has left Twitter as a result- experiencing such a tirade of abuse (when it was speculated she would take the reins of Jeremy Clarkson’s now-vacated seat on Top Gear).  The whole incident left me feeling shocked and sickened (read about it: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/apr/14/sue-perkins-twitter-top-gear-jeremy-clarkson)

One thing I hate about social media/the Internet- there aren’t too many of them- is the amount of hatred and bile (being spewed in all sorts of directions).  It all makes me ashamed of my gender: this issue is a male-dominated ill; something ‘us men’ are culpable of- and should be ashamed of.  It is true, women (and especially teenage girls) can be vindictive and hateful- just hear stories of online bullying to get a sense of how bad it can get.  When it comes to the majority of Internet-based hatred: it is the male race that is causing a black shadow.  I look at YouTube- various songs and comedy clips- and my jaw drops: the sort of homophobic/racist/offensive comments left- and exchanged between male users- beggars belief.  What has happened to people?  It seems to be an issue with my generation: what compels a person to drag their knuckles (so low); how could a so-called ‘human’ descend to animal-like behavior?  I feel sorry for Sue Perkins: not only (was the news of her presenting Top Gear) fabricated: she has not risen to the bait (dangled by my knuckle-dragging gender-mates).  If she had murdered whores of people; vomited racist abuse- you could understand the reaction.  She is not Nick Griffin; she is not a murderer; she is not a brainless monster: she is a charming (and talented) woman who does not deserve an iota of criticism.  The fact she has dealt with the issue with such dignity- and not gone on the offensive- shows ounces of class and respect: she is a Cambridge-educated woman and is far too smart to associate herself (with the jizz stains excuses for humans who perpetrated such poison).

Away from (the Sue Perkins incident) there is plenty to feel bad about: the amount of abuse, sexism and offensiveness (created my men) has left me feeling cold.  I understand there are some rather unpleasant women in the world- and when it comes to mealy-mouthed savagery, they are not blameless- yet there are in the minority.  I am an advocate and supporter of equal rights (when it comes to women and pay; their role in society) and I feel sorry for them: with (I must say, the minority) of men showing themselves to be cowardly scum, what hope do they have?  I am getting fed up with things: so many men creating such hatred and offense; abuse levelled at good and honest people.

Take social media out of the equation, and thing about other issues: animal cruelty and torture; religious prejudice and segregation- murder and hate crimes.  There is an undeniable sense of (ill-begotten) superiority: many men feel they are above the law; more still have little conscience and moral standing. Even small things highlight the plight: charity and goodwill seems to be waning (the most caring and charitable people I know are women).  I am not sure what can be done- with regards curing this issue.  With regards social media: we need to ban (offenders) and make genuine arrests (when hatred is created and threats are made).

There are plenty of good, decent men out there: I am concerned about the state of my generation.   We are supposed to be human beings, yet there seems to be a severe lack of humanity: what do the likes of Sue Perkins feel (when seeing threats and abuse on their twitter feed?).  Something needs to be done; the law needs to get tougher- above all, my gender needs to get its act together.  Those who feel justified- in trolling throughout the Internet; creating racial and sexiest abuse- deserve no place (in the modern world) – and should be swiftly punished.  It is a sad state we live in: with such inequality- when it comes to gender and race- I wonder about the state of things.  The minority (of the population) are leaving some black marks: the majority (of the offenders) are men.

Cases of trolling just make me angry and red-faced: I feel such sympathy towards those (that are on the receiving end).  Guess this is something I needed to get off of my chest: I am not sure if there is a (quick) answer at all.  I am speaking to a very small number (of men) when I write this; and to them I would offer this: get your act together and get yourself out of society.  There is no place (in the modern world) for the racist, sexiest, homophobic, offensive and degraded humans- lock yourself in a dark room and do not associate with others.  To the animal abuses- who are mostly male- the killers and kidnappers; those who belittle and abuse women: go castrate yourself and wait for death.  There is too much hate and awfulness in the world: the male-led disgrace is making this world a more retched and disgraceful place.  I can (on behalf of those who are incapable of doing so) apologise: I am sure the likes of Sue Perkins are not going to be one-offs.  With that in mind, it makes me think the same thing…

WHY is it women who should be fighting for equality (when we set such a disgraceful example)?

Track Review: Goldbirds- Silver & Gold




Silver & Gold





Silver & Gold is available at:



4th May

Rock and Roll, Blues-Rock




IT has been a while since I have been genuinely…

excited (about a weekend’s reviewing activity).  The past few months have promised much (from the mainstream): the likes of Blur are back strong (their album The Magic Whip is gaining huge praise); bands such as Drenge (having produced a terrific L.P.) are earning kudos- it is a great spring of music.  In the new music field, there is quality to be found-   In addition to Electro.-Pop dreaminess, I have been lucky enough to review to varied (and stunning sounds)- that have left their impressions.  At the back of my mind has been this thought: where has all the (inventive Rock music) gone?  Sure, there are so interesting Rock bands out there- to my mind, few are genuinely innovative and distinct.  My featured act has restored some balance and optimism: here is an act that has stamped-out a glistening debut single.  I shall come to that in time, yet it brings up an interesting point: how to be unique when it comes to modern music.  With so much competition coming through (the new musician) has a task ahead of them: how to resonate in the mind.  Cementing your sound- and keeping the momentum going- is always a tough chore: many acts capitulated; deflated by the weight of expectation/pressure.  Goldbirds are an act (born from the ashes of another).  Having reviewed El Born (previously), I am familiar with Hils Granger and Si Connelly.  Their previous incarnation was a great act; having produced some terrific songs the band was disassembled- the couple (feeling they) should regroup (and re-launch).  After following El Born- and their wonderful sounds- I was curious what was coming next- how Goldbirds would differ; whether any (of El Bon’s) sound would be in there.  Having recruited Mike Brazier (on percussion; programming) and Earl Phillips (bass and vocals), we have a new creation- a “straight up Rock & Roll band.”  What we get (with their debut single) is something elementary and pure: a direct hit of Rock; something instant and long-lasting (whilst not compromising originality and personality).  Their social media pages are a little bare at the moment- they give little about their influences and thoughts/ambitions- but that only adds to the excitement and mystique- the group wants their songs to do the talking (shouting).  Before I get down to things (and review the song/band), it is worth thinking about this: the state of U.K. (new) music.  Most of my recent reviews have (focused upon) Canadian acts- and all they have to offer.  When it comes to homegrown sounds, I am seeing some patchiness: there are fantastic acts coming through; many more fail to linger (in the imagination).  What British musicians have always done so well is to make direct music: sounds free from tinsel; those which get straight down to things.  Goldbirds are an act that do not need effects and layers; they have a style that is urgent and classic- mixing together classic ‘60s-‘70s Rock sounds with modern-day Rock passion.  With the likes of Royal Blood making waves, it is a great time (for acts like Goldbirds).  The band mix melodic vocals with swirling sounds: catchiness and addictive codas nestle within stomping percussion (flaming guitar and solid bass work).  The may be in their sapling stages; it seems the act has plenty to offer- who knows what the coming few months will give?

Beginning with a stomping kick- that has some Country-Rock-cum-Blues swagger- Silver & Gold swings into view.  With its hell-yeah attitude, you are instantly gripped.  With that (indelible and kick-ass intro.) gaining momentum- the types modern paramours Royal Blood would snatch up- a clarion call (“Yeah yeah!”) is injected- a titanium call to the masses.  Lascivious slink- tied with some come-get-some high heel stomp- beckons in some sweaty (and blood).  With the hero at the microphone, there is talk of lipstick and sensuality: some direct intentions and the need (for the heroine) to “shake it.”  There is a real scenic nature to the lyrics: you can picture (the heroine) and story as it goes down.  With a raw and blood-lusting vocal, the track gets straight into your brain.  Backed by guiding bass and rollicking drums, Silver & Gold shoots to kill.  In spite of the fact- the song has aspects of ‘70s Blues-Rock and U.S. Garage-Rock acts- there’s a huge sense of individuality- it is hard to bring any other acts/songs to mind.  With Connelly about to explode (with lust and anticipation), you can feel the shiver and sweat- it drips from the speakers.  His girl is an intoxicating prospect; she is dressed to impress; capable of turning heads- you can sense an imminent coming-together.  Granger plays the role of a femme fatale: someone who has taken the wind from the sails.  Having fallen in love (with her) it seems disappointment (and heartache) has played their hand- you almost forget about the sense of fracture (when our two leads unite in a chorus of “ah, ah, ah, ahs.”  From an itinerant love story-with-heartbreak-imminent, the band throws in some catchy vocals- a simple coda that is chant-worthy and redemptive (a terrific injection of fever-pitched fuzzed-out swing).  Putting me in mind of the Blues-Rock glory boys- The White Stripes for one- the band are effortlessly captivating.  Knowing (each of their roles) the players are in-step and intuitive: there are no loose notes and unsure beats; everything hits the mark with stunning clarity and purpose.  When (Granger and Connelly) trade-off of one another, you get a new layer- the drama and passion is not over yet.  With the heroine’s “blood thicker than your…”, the hero is haunted (by her words)- the back-and-forth thrust-and-parry is superbly executed (in no small part due to some excellent production and wonderful performances).  It seems (both have a secret to tell) that they want to “whisper in your ear”- that tangible tension and lust is palpable.  In addition to some wonderful (and urgent) vocals, the instrumentation adds to the mood.  The percussion demure somewhat: creating a heartbeat (that judders and contracts); the bass and guitars slither and syphon- the ensuing concoction matches some sturdy keys, designed to enthrall and grip.  You can imagine (each vocalist) in the studio- on opposite sides at different microphones- looking into each other’s eyes- coquettish grins and twinkling eyes being exchanged.  The song rises and builds, the vocals get steamier and more claustrophobic- as the duo (calls the other to) “come a little closer.”  Just as you lean in- and wonder if an actual in-studio explosion will occur- the song kicks up a gear: the chorus comes into play, as the band whip up a flurry.  Having been captured (the first time the chorus came in) it is now even more insistent- you find yourself singing along with abandon.  The final stages do not go down with a whisper: the kaleidoscopic (and boiling cauldron) keys blaze and burnish.  Chugging up a head of steam, the band do not slow or desist- Connelly still seems wracked and tormented (deeply affected and overcome by the heroine’s spell).  The overall impression- Silver & Gold leaves in the imagination- one gets is of an assured and urgent track: the band have crafted something fast-paced, addictive and sing-along slice; something that mixes classic Rock and Roll with their distinct sound- a concoction sure to enliven and impress hungry fans.  It may be the (earliest of) days, yet the band should have no fear: Silver & Gold is a lead-off step that will yield future success: if they pen more tracks like this, they will be a sure-fire festival band (and an act capable of long-term potential).

The first steps are always the most difficult (and unpredictable).  Coming in fresh, (the new act) is left wondering how they will be received- and have to take a few chances.  It is important going in strong and hard- making sure the public want to hear more.  Goldbirds are not playing anything safe: they have unveiled a storming lead single- that sets the stage for some exciting times.  I hope an E.P. is in their mind: it would be great to hear some counterparts to Silver & Gold.  Not only is the track pure gold itself; it is a unique insight into the four-piece: what upcoming sounds may hold.  Not to get too ahead of things; the quarter have plenty of ammunition- they are capable of winning over legions of sounds.  Their debut single shows how hungry they are: exceptional songwriting mixes the simple and complex; impassioned and raw- the band sound tight and focused.  Not merely a side project or second chance, Goldbirds is a bona fide projectile: a British invasion that promises to spare no prisoners.  Dedicated to bringing fun, passion and heritage (back to Rock music); the band will have a good future.   On May 6th, the band plays The Borderline: it will be their first live gig; a chance to wow the crowds of London.  The fearsome foursome is sure to go down a storm: it will be the start of something awesome.  Silver & Gold is a track ready-made for the spring: capable of lighting up the sun; getting feet and fists pumping.  El Bon may be gone; Goldbirds have risen: an act that demands your attention and respect.  Solid songwriting and terrific beats (are only the start of things) – there is plenty more to come.  It is exciting (seeing a band fresh-faced and newly-bred): what exactly will Goldbirds produce next?  Knowing Granger and Connelly- and already being a huge fan of their Goldbirds cohorts- there is sure to be quality and surprise: the duo are terrific songwriters; a natural bond- they are a real-life couple- and real flair for the nuanced music.  Stepping away from Canada- for a few weeks at least- I am pleased to promote some great homegrown magic: an act that has a lot to say; are sure to be headliners in years to come.  Full of hope and eagerness, I know how much (Granger particularly) wants the band to succeed- with tracks like Silver & Gold, success will be a foregone conclusion.  For now- and before the band start to expand and captivate- listen to where they are now: their embryonic offering is a terrific slice of Rock and Roll: sprinkled with Blues magic, it is hard to shake off (the addictive nature of the track).  Congratulations to the band, which have bonded incredibly quickly- it is this bond through in every note.  Aside from (their live debut performance), there is sure to be new material- some more gigs and performances perhaps.  For now, sit back and relax: listen to a glistening track; one filled with jewels and diamonds (of sound); silver nuggets of song, because…

ALL that glistens is Goldbirds.



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Interview: Ellene Masri


Ellene Masri




Having had a busy (2015) so far- including a successful Kickstarter campaign- Ellene Masri is preparing for busy times: there is a lot of love (and support) for her music.  Having followed her career- and being familiar with her work- I was keen to catch up; see how this year has treated her (and what she has in store)


OVER the past months (and years) I have been deeply impressed- by the new music talent coming through.  This is especially true of Ellene Masri: one of the most striking and passionate (artists in the music world). 

Having completed a successful Kickstarter campaign- the funding for her Lonely Girl: A Live Video Performance (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ellenemasri/lonelygirl)- Masri has a busy (rest of 2015) ahead: one filled with excitement, possibility and music.  Based in the U.S., the French-born artist is one of the most humble musicians I have known: she loves her fans and this enforces her tremendous music.  In addition (to her jaw-dropping beauty) comes an endless work rate- a huge passion for music (and reaching new fans).  Not contented to sit still, Masri always bowls me over: the way she talks about music has inspired me; propelled my creative mind (it would be great to collaborate with her soon).  Having communicated via Facebook- about mainly personal/Kickstarter-related issues- I was keen to go deeper: find out what drives her music; who has influenced her- and whether the music industry is male-driven (and unequal)

Hi Ellene. How are you today? It is very windy in the U.K.: how is it where you are?

Hi Sam I’m doing great thank you. It’s always a pleasure chatting with you. It is windy too here out West, but sunny!

Congratulations (on the successful funding) of your Kickstarter campaign- www.kickstarter.com/projects/ellenemasri/lonelygirl: have you been surprised (by the amount of people who got involved)?

Thank you! Of course and to tell you the truth, I had no idea of how much help I would receive. I’ve been extremely surprised by their generosity. It was amazing to get such great support from people all over the world. I knew it would come mainly from Europe and the U.S. but I discovered people were also enjoying my music in Latin America, Japan, Australia, Indonesia…

Now that you have (achieved your target on Kickstarter) what will are you doing over the next few weeks/months?

Not only did we reach the initial target but we also met the Stretch Goal which allowed us to book a second day in the studio, add two staff members and to arrange to shoot a Documentary that will be released a little bit later. We will be shooting the video on April 26. So right now I am organizing the video. I am working on putting the rewards together and will be shipping them very soon. I will release a Stevie Wonder cover recorded with Sir. Gant especially for the backers. So it’s going to be a busy month. Once the video is ready, it will be sent to my agents.

With regards (your recent ‘Live Video’/Kickstarter success): how important is social media to you (and other musicians)?

Social media is very important. A lot of professionals use it as a tool to discover new artists. But it is also crucial to build a real relationship with your fans that I consider as friends a lot of times. They support me and I’m really thankful for that. They give a meaning to my music. I see it as a chain. The artist, the journalists, the D.J.s and the fans. We are all essential to each other.

You are currently in the U.S. and originate from France.  Will you be coming to London/ Europe (over the next few months)?

Yes. I plan to come to London this summer. I will also go to France to visit my parents that I haven’t seen in almost a year now.

You have been working with Sir Gant (www.sirgant.com) a lot (on some wonderful collaboration pieces). How important (has he been) with regards your development/success?

We’ve just started, really. We haven’t released any original material yet. We did a few covers for the fun and now we’re working on this important project which is the video, a video that will be shared with the fans and spread all over the internet as an introductory taste of our collaboration. I think this will be more representative of our work than anything you’ve seen/heard us doing until now.

Having reviewed your music last year- Music (the album) and Rain (song) was some of finest music I heard last year- are there plans for (some new music) in 2015?

I have to tell you again how deeply touched I felt by your fantastic review. You were first to review it and I remember saying to myself: anytime you doubt, go back to this review, someone out there is moved by your music. I like to think that the people who you’re speaking to through your music will recognize themselves. I believe that you attract a certain category of souls depending on what music you make. And I’m not just talking about a music style here, I’m talking about the kind of emotions that you let flow. It could be love, anger, ego; it could be a lot of things. I want my music to be loving. I’m not bitter so I don’t want it to be. It’s OK for it to be nostalgic but I think there’s no need for it to be sad. We get enough of this every day.

Your music is very unique in a culture with homogenised and predictable music.  Who has influenced your music? Has your itinerant background (and traveling to many countries) enforced your rich (and distinct) sound?

Thank you Sam. My influences are so many and diverse that it is hard to tell. But I have my favorites. Bob Marley, Third World and Steel Pulse, The Cure, Stevie Wonder, India Arie, Rachelle Ferrell, Jonathan Butler, Anita Baker, Richard Bona, Ella Fitzgerald… And of course I’m very influenced by my roots. My mother would listen to Nat King Cole and my father loved Classical music (European and Egyptian Classical music)… In fact when I was a kid he would set a timer on the boom box and I would wake up to the music. I also love to travel and then incorporate different sounds in my music: I think Hossam Ramzy’s Tabla (Egyptian Tabla master) on Secret Lover is giving the song its unique groove, halfway between Latin Jazz and Middle Eastern grooves. It’s also a way for me to pay tribute to my Egyptian roots!

On that note: I am very inspired by Jazz-Rock legends Steely Dan; great artists like Jeff Buckley and Radiohead. If you had to select (your most influential/favourite artists) who would you select?

I like Steely Dan too. But I would say Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder.

With London growing (as a music city): can you see yourself moving to/performing more (over here)?

Oh YES! I love London so much! I’ve always been attracted by and sensitive to the British Culture. It’s something about the energy of London city and its musical scene. I feel a deep connection. But I’ll go wherever the music takes me.

Does the U.S. provide greater opportunities/chances for musicians like you (with a very special style)?

It’s a little early for me to say as I haven’t started touring yet. I know how it is in the U.S., the U.K. and France, but there’s so much to discover. However, I think you create opportunities!

In addition to your original material you have recorded a wide range of covers. If you had to choose your top five songs/albums from music (that have meant the most to you) what would they be?

I am glad you let me choose between songs and albums. A lot of times I only listen to a couple of songs in an album. So, off the top of my head I would say…

> My One & Only Love (George Benson, Tribute to Nat King Cole)

> Heal Our Land (Jonathan Butler)

> Rocket Love (Stevie Wonder)

> Another Day (Buckshot LeFonque feat. Frank McComb)

 > Sweet Love (Anita Baker)

A lot of new musicians have to work tirelessly (to get their music heard/reviewed/ funded) and can often face disappointment/ despondency. What would you say to anyone (in that situation): what are the best ways to market/find success?

Success is when preparation meets opportunity”. I like that saying. Opportunities will come up when you will reach a great level with your music. When you’re ripe and ready! You will find agents; you will find people who will want to get on the boat because they believe in you. You have to do your part first. (Four more questions left sorry to ramble, slightly).

It seems in music- like a lot of sectors- there are more men/male-led bands (taking a lot of media focus). With fantastic acts (such as yourself) coming through: do you think things need to change (in the industry).  Is it something that makes you angry/sad?

“This is a man’s world!” There’s no doubt about it. Yes it needs to change and yes it makes me terribly sad. What needs to change in the industry? More women in the key positions, maybe. If women were to make choices, I think it would be different. I’m not just blaming everything on men. A lot of women also have prejudices about women. And the more they work together, the more they will learn to listen to each other and respect each other’s opinion. Now in the media, I think our Western model h as hyper-sexualized women and not necessarily liberated them. I want to see my sisters as entrepreneurs, artists, proud mothers, not just as girls pimped by their producers. The new generation is hearing Rihanna sing “Pour it up; pour it up, that’s how we ball out.” Is this what we want to teach them? That a woman’s success depends on the amount of dollar bills filling her bra?

Having known you quite a few months and followed your progress what have been your highlights (of your music career thus far): any particular highs that stick out?

My album’s release.  A new Video coming up. It’s just the start, really. I’m eager to get on tour and create more “highs”

Odd question (had to throw one in). Looking at your ‘fan map’- location of people who have followed your music/donated to Kickstarter- Australia (and N.Z.) seems a little bare: are these areas you wish to conquer and play- it seems your music would go down there very well.

Of course! I want to go everywhere… The world is so full of amazing places! They’re already playing my music down there in Australia. I also have direct uncles, aunts and cousins that were born there and live in Sydney. So yes, I’m really eager to go there!

Thanks for your time, Ellene. You have worked tirelessly and will be doing so a lot and best of luck going forward. It seems like exciting times are ahead…

Thank you Sam. You are also working hard supporting independent artists and other causes and I am really grateful for that. You’re doing a great job reviewing emerging artists using your writing skills, great ear and sensibility. I look forward to meeting you very soon in London…

THAT will be something to look forward to for sure.



Follow Ellene Masri:












Ellene’s album (Music) is available at:



Ellene’s latest track (Lonely Girl) can be heard here: