Track Review: The Super Fuzz- Hooked



The Super Fuzz






Hooked is available at:


The album Super Famous is available at:

Released: 19st May, 2015

Power-Pop, Rock.




WHEREAS a lot of my time is spent (in particular musical areas)…

including Canada; Indie music; some predictable stuff (when it comes to Rock music), today at least, there is something new- and genuinely curious.  There is scant fun- when it comes to new music- as everything seems to be serious.  I am not suggesting there should be a party-party (or PART-AY) atmosphere: what is wrong with lifting the mood; brining in some bonhomie- and creating smiles?  Puvlic expectation enforces sounds/moods: they look for something gripping and nuanced- a lot of times, this involves serious subjects; a more downward sound.  New bands- particular Rock/Pop acts- focus on traditional issues- love and heartache; personal introspection- which can be quite somber (or at best, not particular uplifting).  Bands that do things differently- and have a sense of adventure and cheer- go a bit further: inject some colour and swagger; uplift the listener.  I am not ‘down’ on most music: a great deal of bands/acts (I have reviewed) are very upbeat and cheery- and infuse plenty of humour (into their songs).  From the U.K. (to Canada), I have heard a lot: I have experienced nothing like The Super Fuzz.  Their name alone elicits smirks of insinuation: your mind theorises images and scenes- few are anything less than X-rated.  Yesterday- and today to be far- I am in a bad mood: remembering the legacy of Jeff Buckley (who died on 29th May, 1997) I have been rather upset- remembering his music has made me reflect.  My all-time music idol, I have been listening to his music: wondering just how he can be gone.  In need of redemeption- and some essential energy- The Super Fuzz are up the challenge- one of the most immediate acts I have encountered.  Based out of Miami, the guys- mature gentleman if they’ll excuse the tip-toe side-step are as follows:

Chris Alvy : Guitar, Lead Vox
Darrell Killingsworth : Bass, Vox
Todd Taulbee : Drums, Vox
Eric Sanchez : Guitar : Vox

Described by one morning TV show host as “Scooby-Doo meets The Blues Brothers”, The Super Fuzz makes no apologies about wearing their classic rock sensibilities on their sleeve while infusing 70’s-style production reminiscent of the post-punk movement. With influences from Jellyfish and Redd Kross to The Beatles and The Beach Boys, the group’s debut CD, Art Noise, is a 12-song reflection of the their unabashed love of guitar rock and indie pop.  These Miami natives have relentlessly toured their home state of Florida since their inception last year. They have performed at the Sunfest Music Festival, International Pop Overthrow, and supported touring nationals like Soul Asylum, The Smithereens, Sister Hazel, Green Jello, and a bunch of others…

The comparison to The Blues Brothers is quite apt: the band (in photos) have that ‘look’- cool and ‘80s-inspired; Jazz-cum-Soul brothers- in search of a good time.  With cigarettes hanging (from mouths); facial hair sitting proud; hats perched atop heads- they are a traditional act; good ol’-fashioned boys- guys who know how to make (good music).  New names to my mind, I have been keen to check them out: see exactly why they are so good; how their pasts have progressed.  In terms of Florida-based music, I am in the dark: with the exception of ‘N Sync (who was based in Orlando), who else is there?  If you are American, you are more familiar: we in the U.K. get drip-fed U.S. music; great acts tend to pass us by- a lot of great music is being hidden away.  Building a great reputation, the lads have a fun and crowd-uniting sound: that is not to say they are not serious contenders.  Influenced by everyone from The Black Keys to The Beatles- you can hear a little (of both acts) in their songs.  Few people can resist their charm and potency: The Super Fuzz is a band on a mission; crafting songs that marry vintage with brand-new; contemporary with older- thus ensuring they attract a wide array of followers.  Knowing of/having reviewed Fernando Perdomo- another south Florida musical hero- I am not shocked (The Super Fuzz) are so good- this area is spawning some awesome musicians (that we all should be aware of).

Mixing Beach Boys and The Beatles- that fun, ‘60s vibe- The Super Fuzz look back at the past: make sure their music has beach-set bliss; plenty of Power-Pop grace- mixes in a modern-day centrifuge.  Inspired by the early-days (The) Beatles; the Florida band put your mind (somewhere bygone and wonderful).  In terms of (more modern) influences, the likes of (Ohio’s) Black Keys come through: essences of their El Camino period (shows itself across Super Famous).  Sparring Blues-Rock guitars with uplifting harmonies; tying them around memorable lyrics- the Super Fuzz boys are every bit as equal (when it comes to potential and potency).  Inspired by- perhaps half-jokingly; stylistically in a sense- by The Blues Brothers, there are influences of ‘50s/’60s Blues: that swing, swagger (and dance-ability) comes out in their music. Essentially, The Super Fuzz is their own band: they are one of the most distinct I have come across.  They take (little shards) from the local scene- fellow musicians Fernando Perdomo count as influences (Perdomo used to be in the group- before embarking on his solo career)

When looking at their current album, it is worth looking back: to see how far the boys have come.  Art Noise (their debut L.P.) was a terrific start: the 12-track collection is filled with contours, shades and emotions- packed with different themes and dreams.  The title track is a perfect kick-off: heavier guitars sit with determined vocals; the song is focused and direct.  This Summer’s Day is more alacritous: it has melody and relaxation- together with Rock sounds- that tempts this listener in.  Songs like Something’s Missing and Born have sensitivity and introspection; Inside Job is perhaps (the album’s) finest moment.  Having released A Super Fuzzy X-Mas, the band arrives with Super Famous: their second L.P.  Their new material retains their core personality: all the same themes and sounds; influences and styles- yet expands upon the theme.  Having developed and augmented- since their debut- the band bring in new subjects (the writing and production values are improved and at their peak); the performances are tighter too.  Having upped their game- the lyrics are more addictive and memorable- the boys have fresh confidence: each track radiates and shines; there is greater depth and diversity.  Whilst retaining their core- and not compromising their ethics and unique sound- the band sound stronger and more electrifying- which is guaranteed to recruit new supporters and fans.  Too many bands do not make big leaps- or really make improvements from release to release- yet The Super Fuzz have grown and solidified- their music gets stronger with each passing record.  If you are a fan of the aforementioned- the likes of The Beatles and Beach Boys- you will find much to love.  Plenty of modernity lies in their music: from U.S. Blues-Rock to current-day Pop (the band has a kaleidoscope of sounds).  Essentially, the boys mix fun and romance; drama and Rock- plenty of sunshine is in there too.  Super Famous is a perfect representation of the band: an album intended to be loved by all (which it will be).

Beginning with a fuzz of guitars- a brief and blissed-out coda- the (album’s lead song) gets underway.  With Alvy at the microphone, the morning routine is afoot: “I wake up in the morning/and I check that my computer’s on…”  Letting his words tumble and spiral, there is a great sense of pace and urgency: in the initial stages, the band do not let the listener reflect- consequently (the album as a whole) makes an instant impression.  Having a youthful vibe (to the vocals) – reminding me of Fountains of Wayne-via-Blink-182- our hero is “feeling fine.”  A subject- and routine- that is close to us all; it is a song we can all relate to: how long from the time we wake, to checking emails/social media?  That idea of being ‘hooked’- stuck on social media; powerless to resists its inane charm- is explored: all of us (in our own way) rely too heavily (on Facebook and social media).  Not often explored (by other acts), there is that sense of Stockholm Syndrome: being hooked, but feeling at ease and unbothered.  The infectious delivery is bested (only by) the vocal: Alvy delivers his words with spirit and upbeat chirp.  Backed by the band- who supply a tight and delirious swirl- the song becomes seriously addictive.  As it progresses, the subjects is (expanded upon): sharing his photos online, our hero is doing what he does- a life with little human contact.  Having a slight edge of The Offspring- that Dexter Holland-esque sound- the band mix together ‘80s-‘90s U.S. sounds; infuse 1960s Beach Boys- top it off with modern vibes and superb production.  A terrific blend of humour and pathos, the song is designed to be remembered- its simplicity and directness burrows into the brain.  Our hero- after sharing his photos online- seems destined to (repeat the process) – there is that sense of necessity and dependency.  Fusing together Sunshine-Pop and Punk; a little bit of Rock and you have a hypnotic smoothie- a multifarious blend of flavours and sensations.  Insatiably upbeat, Hooked does what it sets out to do: have the listener hooked in; make sure you repeat (the song) over and over.  Wanting to walk away and surrender- the chorus is that which is not only memorable; it is a calling-out for help- our hero is powerless: the likes (of Facebook) has him drugged.  Dispensing its message in an economical manner- the song is 2:11; the link (for the track) includes the song Surprised Your Boyfriend’s Still Around– it is impressively impactful.  Both fun-filled and meaningful, it is not a disposable and throw-away track: here is a song that is hugely impressive and purposeful.  A personal confession- and warning sign to social media addicts- you will find yourself hitting ‘repeat’- going back and listening to the track.  Pairing a catchy chorus with a nuanced composition, Hooked is apt (in every sense).

Praise must be given (to the entire band).  Alvy’s vocals are light and breezy; soulful and distinct: you are hard-pushed to compare him with another.  Containing shades of Power-Pop/U.S. Rock singers- without being too heavy-handed- and you have a unique sound- that does a great service to the track.  The delivery is consistently impressive: filled with urgency and spirit, it adds conviction to every line.  His guitar work is impressive throughout: never overpowering or encroaching, it adds great weight to proceedings- at times light and summer-like; at others heavy and squalling.  Todd Taulbee’s percussion drives the song; leads from the back and keeps the spine steady: always focused and sharp, it is the heartbeat of Hooked (he also contributes backing vocals).  Daniel Killingsworth lets his bass snake and strike; groove and dance: it is both authoritative and unifying.  Showing himself to be an incredible player, the bass player features heavily in Hooked– and the album as a whole- making memorable impressions.

Having spoken with the band’s manager (Roman); listened to their music- and sought out their biography and influences- I am a dedicated fan.  With their Power-Pop mandates- reminding me of The Beatles and The Beach Boys- together with some Blues-Rock swing (The Black Keys at their peak), you can’t go wrong- investigate the boys now.  I have been busy in the U.K./Canada- and reviewing musicians here- it is nice to be back in the U.S.  One of my favourite (countries for music); and exploring a new region (I hope more Florida acts step forth- not TOO many, mind).  Being overly-familiar with music’s (more introverted) sounds: it is wonderful to experience sunshine and wit- something very much here-and-now.  Mixing their vintage influences; together with some modern vibes- The Super Fuzz boys are on a mission.  Celebrated (in their native U.S.), the band has a unique artistry: one that more should follow.  I will leave with a brief thought: that which concerns new music in general.  Too many bands- especially in this country- are too concerned with force (and heaviness) – there is little regard given to sunshine, humour- and something altogether lighter.  Few acts manage to lighten the mood; get the people dancing- without resorting to same-same subjects; love and heartbreak etc.  Employing original subject matters; going that extra mile- the Florida sun is much-welcomed here.  Disintermediating their influences- by only nodding to their idols- the band whip up a summer-time feel.  With (predominantly) U.K.-based acts- that play Rock and Pop- tending to play it safe (bar a special few), we need a shake-up: look towards U.S. shores; take some of their potential- and use it here.    It would be good- if The Super Fuzz played here- as London would welcome them in: they are guaranteed to blow away homogenised scenes; bring their magic to the capital.  Super Famous is accessible and nuanced: filled with fascinating tales; sensational scintillation- maker sure you investigate its wonders.  With few weak moments; plenty of fun and glory: this is an album (we should all here).  Perhaps ironically-titled, the boys are keen to keep going: play like they always have; enjoy their relative anonymity- that will not last long.  When the L.P. travels abroad- and reaches us here- the band will find new faces (and great support).  In a weekend that provides intermediate sunshine- and uncertain weather- I am clinging to The Super Fuzz- capable of banishing the British blues.  When you consider that it is…

A very refreshing change of pace.



Follow The Super Fuzz:










Feature: Making Your Voice Heard



Making Your Voice Heard


With a need for change- and do something meaningful with life- I have had a hard think; what matters most to me: music, charity and helping others.  I look at a new idea- a charity concept- and the musicians (I hope can be involved)


ONE of the most common themes (when it comes to others)…

is the issue of self-fulfillment: getting everything they can from life.  I am in that same boat: a month from losing my current job; I (find myself) looking around: having to take a long look at things.  Hating the town/area I live in- I could rant for hours about how awful (a hell of a lot of) the people are- there is definite stress: that need to go somewhere good; do a job with meaning- stop living in a rut.  I think it is a common theme: not wanting to waste life; starting achieving things- and make a real difference.  The simple question is this: how easy is it to really make a difference?  Whether you are a writer, musician or scientist: is it simple to change the world?  Many of us have lofty ambitions; desire to fulfil huge ambitions: the stress (of that not happening instantly) can lead to a lot of woe and depression.  I am publishing this blog for two reasons: to introduce a new charity idea/scheme; to highlight some great musicians (I hope can promote the cause).

The Charity: The Single Voice.


The inspiration:

Having thrown a few ideas around (using The Single Voice name), it seems the most logical choice: turning it into a charity.  The ‘social media/charity’ idea- is still very much a-go- and will be used (to promote the charity).  Having mailed a friend of mine; she clarified things- simplifying is best; doing a charity-based idea is more feasible/obtainable.  In addition to being ‘disappointed’ by people- their lack of humanity/charity; pure selfishness and over-entitlement- it seems apt: get up and do something about it.  You cannot really rely on other people (for a lot of things); so being proactive is the solution- The Single Voice has a different wrinkle…

The idea:

Whereas most charities focus on one cause (illness or social aspect) The Single Voice raises money for multiple causes- unites all charities (under one umbrella).  In addition to promoting/publishing great causes (and their associative charities), there are some unique/personalized objects: promotion/awareness of mental health issues (and tackling those affected); highlighting ‘under-exposed’ causes- equal rights; gender equality; animal welfare; tackling racism etc.- that will come into the light.


The initiative will have a homepage: which will be where each person goes to register.  The campaign will be shared and spread to social media, but at the first point of contact, each person would start here.  Like Facebook and Twitter, registration is painless and quick: and a great way to connect with other users and like-minded people.  The homepage will be well-designed and eye-catching.  The top half will have various links: A-Z of Charities; Contact Details; Discussion Board; Events/Fundraisers; Latest Members; Links; Generated Profit (so far).  The bottom half will be fun and interactive.  It will depict a variety of locations: a comedy club; recording studio; film set; bar etc.  The sign will be the only constant- saying The Single Voice.  Whether attached to a studio (or comedy club) the figures (that interact will be from that world).  Musicians- past and present- will interact; comedy and film icons (too) – it will be constantly changing and moving.  Each figure will be animated- giving the homepage a great two-tone look/feel.

As part of the website, there will be a social media aspect: similar to Facebook/Twitter, but focusing on charity (rather than the usual things/posts).  The homepage will connect/promote other charities: there will be news feeds/updates that highlight worthy causes (both local and international); covering a range of issues.  The homepage will encourage others (to start their own charities); be a one-stop portal- that allows people to become more charity-minded; learn about important issues- do good in their community.


The main office (for the charity) would be (hopefully) based out of London- around the Shoreditch/Hackney area.  A lot of charities- such as Mind- are based in East London; it is a thriving area; there is a greater sense of community- it is up-and-coming.  In terms of rent/office space, it makes sense (locating out of the very centre of London); situating in a reputable area- somewhere that is close enough to the centre.  I mention this, because there will be a lot of promotional events- to launch the charity- that will take place around (the centre of London).

How it Differs:

The charity is very hands-on: employees/representative will get out into the community; spearhead initiatives- make a difference.  In addition to promoting causes (and raising funds) the emphasis is on involvement: getting into the towns/cities; seeing people first-hand- offering help.   As I mention, there is a leaning towards mental health (primarily raising funds/support to help the mentally ill), yet with (The Single Voice’s) ideals- uniting all causes/charities- recruiting as many people as possible.  The charity will have employees- representatives and patrons- but will look to the public: enroll the community; get them out (into the communities)- spreading the good word.  Some weeks there may be an emphasis on homelessness- raising funds; setting up events; visiting the homeless; one week a local hospice- getting fundraisers organised etc.

Going forward:

As I type, it is very much in the infancy: putting the initial stages together; gathering interest/feedback.  I will be registering the charity this year: next year, I will look to getting it going- organising an office/employees; setting up promotion/publicity.   A lot of charity work/social motivation seems compartmentalised- not everyone is aware of REALLY important causes; it gets buried in social media/the Internet.  The idea is to make everything more visible: get people involved directly.  Rather than have them solely donating/promoting, they would be physically part- helping with events; getting out into the world.

How (the charity) raises funds:

I have to mention music/entertainment I guess.  When I published my last ‘big’ blog- about The Single Voice- I mentioned Google: getting them on board to help raise funds.  Expanding on this idea- and using Google to help with funds- the way funds are raised is two-fold.  The ‘traditional’ method is still there: promoting charities and causes; organizing events; donating to Justgiving etc.  In addition, promotional ideas will be introduced.  Aside from the this- there will be local events; novelty ideas: ways for big organisations/Google to help give.  Musicians- actors and creative people- are going to play a big part: one of the main parts of the idea.  The charity looks to raise funds/awareness through the arts: utilsling the creative arts; giving musicians an extra voice- actors, models and directors too.  Below, I have included some great musicians (I hope can be involved in promotional events/concerts/launch campaigns) yet there is another aspect: using music as a curative tool.  Music- performance and acting- can act as therapeutic aid; help people in times of woe- this is what I want to emphasise.  The homepage (for the charity) will promote new musicians; introduce older music- we may have forgotten about- and tie it all together.  The charity will help (to raise funds and awareness) for new musicians: help them to continue their craft/careers.  In turn, there is a reciprocity clause: creative folks helping to raise funds; splitting profits- and putting it into the charity.  It all sounds very ambitious- and some tangled knots- but it will all become clearer (future blogs and posts will clarify a lot).

What Now?

The charity works like a political party- it takes on a whole wealth of issues and considerations.  Putting money (people and support) in as many areas as possible, here is a way to unite music (and the arts) together with the people: get multitudes of issues/illnesses eradicated- try to make society better (and more conscientious).

How People Can Help:

From models to musicians (actors and business owners) I know a lot of (quite different people): a lot who are charity-minded and good-hearted.  Possessing ambition and impetus, it is key to have them involved: help with promotional videos; get their feedback- gauge their opinions.  We all want different things- when it comes to charity and making society better- and the idea is to include ALL of this.  The Single Voice is not a single-minded idea (focusing on one cause or subject): we are looking at helping as many possible- raising as much money (as is possible).  By getting Google involved; organising multiple fundraising events- looking to some wonderful people…

The Musicians: The Multiple Voices.


Through various promotional events/ideas: musicians will play a large part- existing ones; new ones I am discovering.  Supporting new music is essential; I adore all the bands (and acts) I have reviewed- they are all fantastic.  When The Single Voice gets ‘moving’ I want to call on (the below) to lend their voices: help the charity raise funds, and in turn, get their music promoted/highlighted.

Adi Ulmansky:

The Israel-born star has a talent hard to fault: a fresh and vibrant sound- not often heard in the current climate.  Currently on tour, her music is made for the people; it taps into heartache and life- reflects what we all feel.  An artist to cherish.

Why is she great?

A tremendous writer and vocalist; someone with an intoxicating and incredible personality- hope to see her in London, soon.


Scarlet Street:

Vintage ‘40s/’50s sounds; Doo-Wop and Swing: genres and time periods not often explored (many acts ignore the potential to be found).  A newly-formed act, the girls bring sunshine wherever they go- incredible singers that (breathe new life) to every song they touch.  Check out their Barbershop E.P.

Why are they great?

Insatiably optimistic; beaming smiles; adoring of their fans: a group who are impossible to dislike.  Their vocal harmonies- and good-time swing- is enough to melt everyone’s hearts.



In their infancy (still) the Goldbirds crew have (just released) their debut single: the incredible Silver & Gold.  Packed with incredible riffs; cutting lyrics; terrific vocals: an act that is destined for festival glory.  Keep your eyes trained to their shore.

Why are they great?

The chemistry is instantaneous and unflinching: the guys are brand-new yet have a wonderful future.  From the evidence of one song, there is already a huge (buzz surrounding them).



The creation of Ryan Wilcox, here is a daring and original artist- with a prodigious output.  Mixing genres and emotions, his (mainly instrumental) compositions are glorious to behold- his past work is packed with inspiration, genius and innovation.

Why is he great?

One of the most distinct artists around; his music begs for collaborators: his epic (and spine-tingling) music is rife with melody, wonder and potential.


Toni-Amanda Coe:

Having performed mostly cover versions, Surrey-based Toni-Amanda Coe has an impeccable voice: able to sooth with smoky allure; seduce with breathless beauty- an artist capable of owning any song.  I hope 2016 sees her record (an original/cover-based mix) E.P.; join together with a band- an artist with enormous potential.

Why is she great?

Working at a music venue- and a great supporter of musicians- she knows the industry (and what makes a great act).  With influences ranging from Hardcore to Rock, her (potential future) songwriting could be incredible- the early signs are incredibly promising.


Rosie and the Goldbug:

Having known Rosie Vanier (as part of Lightknife) the stunning singer (brings her talents to) Rosie and the Goldbug: a band with no signs of slowing; backed by incredible music- these guys will be a big act to watch.  Seek out their debut album- and latest single Running in the Dark– to see what all the fuss is about.

Why are they great?

An incredible (and incredibly beautiful) singer; a terrific Synth.-led band; the chemistry is electrifying (and gripping): their forthcoming material deserves a gigantic audience.


The Glass Child:

A sensational writer, poet; singer, musician- and all-round wonderful human.  Charlotte Eriksson- and her stunning alter ego- is adored the world round.  With her inspiring lyrics and heart-winning songs, the young artist is influencing a legion (of new songwriters)- the years will see her getting stronger and better.

Why is she great?

Always inspiring; constantly working: few other musicians contain as much passion and purpose.  You can tell (music is everything) to her; her fans means the world- in turn, they adore her.


The Updraft Imperative:

One of Australia’s finest (new bands) the Christian-Rock collective are on a rise: their album Chair is taking them all around the world.  Music for the devout (and non-devout alike) their music is addictive and spellbinding- ignore them at your peril.

Why are they great?

Uplifting and rousing; universal and soul-enriching, the guys tap into your soul’s (deepest recess) – bring something special out of you.  Gaining notoriety in the U.K., the boys are conquering the world- one nation at a time.



Fusing Rap and Hip-Hop; Metal and Rock, the lads know how to captivate: their music is among the most enlivening and instant (in the music world).  Original- and quotable- lyrics are backed by phenomenal vocals: the band is among the most tight and urgent around- their live performances are the thing of legends.

Why are they great?

Few bands tackle (and put together) Rap and Metal: none do it better than Bi:Lingual.  They tackle subjects originally; speak for the general public- a rebellious mouthpiece of the people.  The music world needs acts with attitude and leadership: line up behind these boys…


Braver than Fiction:

Having had a turbulent year- with their vocalist Mel Lampro being diagnosed with cancer- the band are coming back: their determination and focus is faultless.  Having reviewed their King of Crows (E.P.) I am anxious to see (what comes next): the band are among the most stellar around; the songwriting incredible- their kinship is unbreakable.

Why are they great?

Led by an incredible singer-songwriter (one of the finest this country has to offer), the band are Yorkshire gold- the coming year will see them (go on to great things).


The Moth Lantern:

This Lincolnshire act has everything at their disposal: Beatle-esque songwriting; stunning musicianship- heart-warming vocals.  Having had a terrific 2014- where they released their debut L.P.- the band are planning Light Waves’ follow-up.

Why are they great?

Their bond (and natural friendship) comes through in the music: every track sounds effortless and affirmative.  Seducing (their native Lincolnshire) the group are preparing new music- that will see win new fans.


Little Sparrow:

Katie Ware’s bird-like charm is bested by her insatiable beauty: a voice that can drop jaws.  Her Folk-orientated music contains wonderful characters, stories and insights- personal revelations and lovelorn tales.  Always bringing her music to the people, Ware has enthralled (towns and venues throughout the U.K.).

Why is she great?

A lovely lady; an unbelievable voice, Little Sparrow is taking flight: in a scene (filled with) solo artists; she ranks among the very finest.  Catch her live (if you can): it is here where (the biggest shivers) will be elicited.


Chenai Zinyuku:

With jaw-dropping looks; a rich (and soulful voice), Zinyuku is preparing her debut E.P.: a chance for the world to hear (her current ambitions and ideas).  A masterful interpreter, the London heroine should be on everyone’s mind.

Why is she great?

Living (her upcoming E.P.) is gathering excited whispers: she is a terrific songwriter; a humanitarian- a peace-loving soul.  This grace and beauty come out in her music: make sure you grab a copy (when the E.P. lands).



One of the fastest-rising bands of the moment; this Yorkshire-born troupe are wonderful: their touring schedule (this year) is pretty hectic.  With a front-man- with a stunning resemblance to Kurt Cobain- the boys have Nirvana’s Grunge spirit: they bring plenty of youth, personality (and cheek) to their music.

Why are they great?

Their social media ranks are rising: the boys earn nothing but (effusive) praise.  Epic tunes; memorable live performances- just the tip of (the Allusondrugs) iceberg.  Few bands (are as) made for the big-time.


Ivy & Gold:

With London Grammar being a little ‘dormant’- they have a new album out next year- Ivy & Gold fill a void: Electro.-Pop/Synth.-led majesty; alluring, sensuous vocals- detailed, kaleidoscopic compositions.  The London duo have a clear bond and affection: they are one of the most underrated acts around.

Why are they great?

Aside from their close kinship, Davies and Wilkinson are staggering talents: they have just played (the) Great Escape Festival- world domination is not far away?


Boom Tales:

Together with Eloise Lovell Anderson- their stunning Siren/honorary band member- this group have a truly original sound: Boho chic; dreamy vocals; stunning (and vivid) songs- few acts can ever compare.  Having had a (busy last year), the group are assessing their options- planning their next move.

Why are they great?

Their music must be heard: it has beauty and tranquility; operatic and harmonies- every emotion/colour you could imagine.  Calming and soothing; rousing and emotional- the group can soothe (the weariest of souls).



After (last year’s) Circus Life, I was blown away by this duo: their music/talent is hard to believe.  Tremendous writers and performers, Luke Oldfield and Victoria Frances are soulmates; a tremendous proposition- able to mix Rap-fast lyrics with Fleetwood Mac-esque Folk.

Why are they great?

Few acts (or duos) have as much potential (as Gypsyfingers): their last album was met with a sea of praise (including yours truly).


Emily Kay:

With THAT distinct voice- with its charm and gravel; soul and potency- Kay is a startling proposition.  Her music is divine.  The Birmingham-based stunner is one of this country’s most arresting solo artists.

Why is she great?

Stunning to behold; a voice of pure wonder: there are not many (who would be) immune to her charms.  A constant performer/live act, Kay has admiration for her fans- a valuable asset (to the music world).


Los & The Deadlines:

I have reviewed this act a lot: at every turn, they compel and amaze.  Hard-hitting and hard-rocking; the guys are the complete package.  With their distinct looks- and acres of facial hair- the boys have an incredible sound- make sure you investigate these lads.

Why are they great?

They have a very original sound; that said, no two songs sound alike: they are keen to stay mobile and unpredictable- shifting themes and styles.  Each member displays clear passion and dedication; their tracks are tight and focused- the end results are scintillating.



One of my favourite acts, Abi and Marc never stop working.  Between new songs, cover versions; planning a big music video- the guys never seem to rest.  Brimming with charm, smile and passion, the duo are masterful songwriters- everything from wit (and comical by-play) and Pop mingles with Soul and Swing.

Why are they great?

Issimo is a hugely original and special act: a great sound and sensation; Marc and Abi have a special friendship- their (individual) talents blend wonderfully.  Another act with an incredible future ahead.


Jen Armstrong:

An unbelievable young lady- currently planning a move to Nashville- here is an amazing talent.  Covering covers; owning originals- Armstrong is one of the finest singers in the world.  A terrific songwriter- who can do quirky and witty; passionate and emotional- few can match her talents.  Endlessly hard working, the music world needs her (and more like her).

Why is she great?

The music world is a tough bitch: Armstrong never seems to falter; her determination is unflinching.  With her natural talent, few should ignore her: I wish nothing but happiness for her.  There are too many untalented/vague artists kicking about: Armstrong is a breath of fresh air (we all need)


Marisa Rodriguez:

Rodriguez is an eye-watering beauty; a cheeky (and loveable personality): one of the brightest songwriters on the block.  Tackling covers (and her own songs) everything she touches glistens- backed by that wonderful voice.  One of this country’s most ambitious talents, Rodriguez promises great things- possible band collaboration; new material- the future is very much hers.

Why is she great?

Someone who never stops working: always promoting other acts, she has a clear affection (for her fellow musicians).  Her songs are packed with confessions and emotions; defiance and guts- intellect and beauty.  With a voice that could melt the sun, she is an immense talent.


Ellene Masri:

A wonderful human, French-born (with Lebanese roots) Masri combines beauty and sensuality; Jazz and Soul- her voice is captivating and arresting.  A startling songwriter- who seems endless in her inspiration- her sense of feel is topped (only by) her wonderful voice- that can range from a romantic coo; climbs to a fevered explosion.

Why is she great?

One of the most passionate musicians around, the (music word) means everything to her.  Few other people have such dedication and focus- the coming year is going to be hers alone.


Julia Jensen (Moons of Jupiter):

An untapped talent, Jensen is a future star: a composer/musician with bags of talent.  With Danish (and Irish heritage), he songs/soundscapes whip up a myriad of visions: they are evocative and scenic; dreamy and gripping- dark and dangerous.  Like Nightwolf, Moons of Jupiter is that rarest of things: an act that can do anything; attract any singer; fit any mood- and win EVERY ear.

Why is she great?

Jensen is busy with studies- and music is in the background- yet I can see it coming (to the forefront): her inspiration seems endless; her (small collection) of songs are amazing and nuanced- an original and daring talent.


Elena Ramona:

A bright and exceptional talent: Elena Ramona is a young artist with a lot to say.  Having reviewed her work- and interviewed her- she is a star-in-the-making.  Able to pen upbeat/catchy tunes; introspective personal reflection- she can pretty much do anything.

Why is she great?

A talent who never stops working, Elena is not a one-note artist: her songs range in themes and styles; her voice is nimble and expansive- she is capable of owning anything (she writes).  Few other artists have her confidence: fewer have her talent.


Winter Knight:

When Darren Pereira formed Shiftin’ Shade- his Electro.-Swing alter-ego- I was blown away by the sounds: Pereira’s innovation and compositional genius.  Deftly able (to evoke the past), together with Adam Hume (his vocal collaborator) he was an exceptional force.  Bringing this momentum to his latest creation, Winter Knight possesses the same sense of adventure and wonder- only the rush and jive is replaced with something more tranquil.  Winter Knight (is Pereira’s) launch for going solo- a big time ahead!

Why is he great?

Not a solo artist (per se), Winter Knight has massive potential: whether instrumental-only (or an act that draws in vocalists), who knows what is to come?  With Pereira’s songwriting talent, one thing is fir sure; you definitely need to investigate (this act).


Sarah Collins:

A wonderful artist- and lovely human being- Collins is an endless talent: her work-rate is beyond belief.  Always singing and performing; touring extensively, she never seems to exhaust- having just recruited a band; her music is getting a wide audience.  Cutting her teeth with cover versions, Collins is a masterful singer- able to conquer any song (that comes into her path).

Why is she great?

A masterful talent, Collins’ voice is a peerless thing: stacked with power and panache; her beauty and soulfulness is captivating.  Having endured a tough road-to-glory, she is on the climb: her future is going to be incredibly bright.


Universal Thee:

The Scottish band has been on the scene a while: they are making plans for a new L.P.  With shades of Pavement and Pixies- drawing in flavours of Weezer too- the husband-and-wife-led act have a unique talent- they are an exceptional live act.  Incredible songwriting, wonderful melodies; stunning songbooks: if you seek these (in your music) then look no further.

Why are they great?

I have heard their new material (that could feature on their new album): it is truly amazing- they will be on the scene for years to come.


Bianca Bazin:

A vibrant and exceptional talent- with the most intoxicating smile on earth- Bazin is putting together her debut cuts- having toured locally, she is ready to showcase her music.  Stunning of voice, Bazin has spades of charm and potential- her songwriting is truly awesome.  Performing (under the name Bee), few can ignore her charms- you are powerless to resist.

Why is she great?

An artist with plenty of experience, Bazin is no ingénue artist: she is a huge talent with a confident voice.  A lot of solo acts tend to falter early- balked by the pressures of music.  Bazin has no such qualms: her natural talent will see her rise to prominence.



Fran Galea has been on my radar (for a few years now).  Having reviewed her music- on a number of occasions- there is no stopping her: one of the biggest talents in this country.  She knows London holds big opportunities: I can see her moving there; being a permanent fixture (in some of the capital’s finest venues).  A phenomenal songwriter, she is influenced by the likes of Michael Jackson, Prince and Christina Agurilera- she brings each artist (in some form) into her music.

Why is she great?

Each E.P. offers something new: with every release she gets stronger (and more confident).  Still young and hungry, Chess is a stunning talent- an artist to be truly proud of.


Nina Schofield:

Another artist (with spades of talent) the divine Schofield is a heartbreaker: a stunning artist with a tremendous artistry.  Her voice is impassioned and vivacious; her songs are filled with wonderful promise- her music is incredible.

Why is she great?

With her E.P. Colours, Schofield displayed her full range: songs bristling with invention and energy; passion and pride- all wrapped around that sensational voice.


Little Violet:

Another Cherie Gears outfit- she is part of Scarlet Street- Little Violet is a Swing wonder: full of vitality and swagger; smile and sass.  Her songs put you in mind (of classic-era Swing); her Electro.-Pop updates give life and breath- every song (of hers) burrows into the brain.  A tremendous talent- who can do no wrong- this year will see more L.V. activity.

Why is she great?

A prodigious singer/songwriter, Gears is a restless artist: someone deeply in love with music.  Choosing an under-trod path- tackling Swing and Doo-Wop- she is striking gold (from an under-tapped source) and reaping rewards- how long before she is a household name?


Lydia Baylis:

A tremendous solo artist, Baylis has a rare talent: it is hard to compare her with anyone else.  Hugely original, she is a tantilising artist; someone with endless potential, keep your eyes peeled Baylis’ way.

Why is she great?

Few songwriters have such an ear for melody; a talent for songwriting- Baylis has exceptional insight and intelligence.  Designing songs for the masses, here is a wondrous talent- and someone we all need (in our lives).


Gold Phoenix:

A new incarnation, this band mean business: they are both instant and fresh; alive and alert- making music to get crowds dancing (and chanting).  With golden riffs- and some wonderfully inventive sounds- the band are here to stay: a stunning act.

Why are they great?

Their debut (self-tiled) E.P. is packed with power and riffs; plenty of Blues and scuzz- the boys are a wild whirlwind.  Electric and bracing, urgent and memorable- natural world-beating sounds.


Dana McKeon:

The Maltese-born artist can Beatbox like no other; a tremendous voice- someone with talent abound.  A stunning beauty, a natural influencer- someone who is unlike anyone else.  With each song comes new surprises: a variegated songwriter with immense talent.

Why is she great?

Plain originality and talent.  There is nothing fake and manufactured: she is just an unbelievable artist.  An original songwriter, her stories are inspiring and motivating; her voice (seemingly) endless- someone with a long future ahead.



Another genius talent, RKZ mixes Rap and Hip-Hop; his artistry has few boundaries: his arsenal of work displays wonder and wit; romance and sensitivity.  Effortless as a collaborator- or on his own- RKZ is hugely influential- someone who will inspire a new generation.

Why is he great?

Being a champion (when it comes to fighting mental illness) this passion comes through in the music: RKZ is a man who feels compassion and empathy.  His music is just one side of him: a human who strives to make things better; always looking out for others- a U.K. treasure.


Gorilla Punch Radio:

A tremendous and unique band; a stunning outfit- their music is of the highest order.  With new music forthcoming, this is very much their time- mixing Foo Fighters and Coldplay they are a stunning troupe.

Why are they great?

In spite of having influcnes, the band are very much their own thing: the songs burnish with energy and uplift; the codas are addictive and intoxicating- this is music that warms the heart; and uplifts the soul.



A band that keeps getting better: Jingo are celebrating new success.  With new material on the market, the band is gathering huge plaudits: with each song they seem stronger and more assured.  A new album is in the pipeline; the group are preparing themselves- Jingo are one of the finest bands in this country.  With limitless potential- tremendous vocals and performances; varied and brilliant songs- they are a sensational proposition.

Why are they great?

In addition to their talent, each song reveals something new- they cover issues other bands do not.  Stunningly original, the band have a flair for environment and atmosphere- their particular blend is a fascinating thing.


Alison Levi:

Another artist (who has had a busy year), Levi is hardworking and tenacious: the next year will see her (come more into the fore).  With a stunning voice- and a cheeky personality- Levi is a sensational artist.  Mainly covers-based, I can see great things ahead: she has endless determination; boundless ambitious- a desire to seduce (and plenty at her disposal to achieve this).

Why are they great?

She is sassy and funny; beautiful and bright: a personality the music world needs.  I am sure 2016 will be a busy year for her, with plenty of options: maybe an album or E.P.; a lot more tour dates- something else?  Whatever happens, keep your thought primed her way.


Little Dove:

This U.S.-based act has elements of Queens of the Stone Age; plenty of awe and wonder: a duo with power and potential.  With Vanja James up front- her vocal-and-guitar assault is phenomenal- and you have a stunning act.  With intriguing songs- and lyrics that demand closer investigation- you have to hear these guys.  There are plans afoot (for new music): follow them and keep abreast.

Why are they great?

We do not herald a lot (of new U.S. acts) over here: this Californian act are in-demand here.  Propulsive and crowd-uniting; catchy and hypnotic- they are one of my favourite acts.



Currently conjugating his second album- and looking to crowd-funding to get it happening- this Yorkshire legend is keeping busy: in addition he is working/recording with Crybabycry and Knuckle.  The tireless frontman is a U.K.-based Jack White: he can bring his talents to other bands (yet is strongest when going solo).  His previous L.P. was packed with Blues-Rock gems; headaches and heartache- absolute staggering moments.  With greater confidence (and gaining fresh inspiration) his second album could be a world-beater

Why is he great?

One of the best songwriters in the U.K., Jonny is an incredible guitarist (and singer).  Yorkshire is packed with musical genius: he ranks among the very finest.  An incredibly unique talent; a cheeky everyman- an ego-free master (of any music he touches)


Hannah Dorman:

Dorman mixes Pop/Country strands around electrifying Blues: her mixture of force and passion (together with something more settled) is a wonderful concoction.  Her songwriting is sharp and studied; her stories well-observed and inspirational- the effect, spellbinding.

Why is she great?

My final act: and one of the very best.  In the studio (at the moment), Dorman is preparing her future: she is a blissful star; someone with immense ability- one of the finest young singer-songwriters around.


It is still early days: just getting things onto paper is a big thing- crystalising ambitions is essential.  Things that are necessary for me (and others in a similar people) get away from a place/people that are not worth the trouble (no offence to the minority of people where I live who are genuinely nice); find a job/role that is purposeful/important; if you have goals/ambitions in life- go for them.  Essentially, taking action is vital: leaving things to other people will usually go wrong.  I have loved the support of (my musician) contacts: in turn, I have loved all their music; their ambition has definitely fuelled me.  When it all comes together, I hope they still have high hopes- I have seen a couple of great band split this year.  I shall leave you be- this has been quite a LONG one- with a final thought.  Music can help to change things- or at the least make them better- and put things into focus.  That desire to help others/general betterment should never fade: the world always needs good people.  No matter what people say (the imbeciles who plague the planet) and how you feel: never give up on that.  I have had enough of every aspect of annoyance- the constantly ill people I spend (my workday) with; my un-peaceful home-life; the selfish/hostile people where I live; those that don’t give a crap (too many out there)- there is better out there.  To the musicians and (anyone else) fed up with things: just go for it; to hell with what others think/say.  When it all comes down to it…

BABY steps  can leave huge impressions.

Track Review: Triaxis- Victorious











Victorious is available at:

25th March, 2015




The album Zero Hour is available from:

Release date: 18th May 2015

Label: Rocksector Records

Drums recorded at Grindhouse Studios, engineering and produced by Scott Atkins.
Guitars, Bass and Vocals engineered and produced by Glyn Wiliams.
Produced by Glyn Williams, Scott Atkins, James Stephenson and Triaxis.

Mixed and Mastered by James Stephenson at Stymphalian Productions .

All tracks written by Triaxis. Except ‘Death Machine’ and ‘End of Time’ written by Triaxis and Owen Crawford.

Published by Scarlet Songs.

Cover Art and photography by Colin Marks: Rain Song Design.

Band Photography by Luke Padfield.

Artworking by Gavin Kirby and CJ Wilson.

Ossein ‘Oz’ created by Tom at Razorstorm.

AFTER assessing a Birmingham-based Alternative/Grunge act, thinks are getting heavier…

and more… Welsh.  In addition to (this being my first Welsh act) it is my first Metal review: surprising it has taken me this long (over three years essentially).  The genre is one that can be quite divisive: people either (passionately) love it or (violently) hate it.  Strangely, I am sort of in-between: I am a huge fan of Judas Priest and Metallica; a little virginal when it comes to other acts- I need to investigate the genre more closely.  A lot of Metal acts- particularly ‘90s-originated ones- were fairly hit-and-miss: a lot of knuckle-dragging noise was being produced.  Metal is at its finest (when the act making the music) is intelligent and nuanced- not just people who turn up; make a hell of a noise- with no regard for quality and inspiration.  Unless you listen to Daniel P. Carter (Radio One D.J.) or his ilk, Metal is not often heard (in the mainstream): it is a genre that is primarily exists in the underground.  The public still has a very narrow/cliché perception: many associate (the genre) with screaming and thrashing- and not a lot else.  It is a shame (this is the assumption) as Metal musicians are among the smartest out there: capable of producing some truly incredible music.  Sure, there is a lot of noise; a tonne or force and riffage (sic.)- a firestorm of fury and passion.  These are qualities associated with (a lot of genres) yet Metal gods (and goddesses) turn it up to 11: take that passion and crank up the volume.  Triaxis hail from Wales: a country synonymous (with great) Metal bands.  Bullet for My Valentine, Funeral for a Friend and Skindred (are among the country’s best).  Expunging the likes of Lostprophets (and their depraved lead singer) and you have quite a roster-Triaxis can rank among (Wales’) very finest.  Having been recommended by a friend (Haris); I am glad I have discovered them- the band are among the most impressive new acts coming through.  Before I go into more detail, let me (via their own words) introduce them:

Vocals – Krissie. 
Drums – Giles.
Rhythm guitar – CJ. 
Lead Guitar – Glyn. 
Bass Guitar – Becky.

Triaxis are a heavy metal band from South Wales. Formed in 2006, Triaxis self-released their debut full-length album ‘Key To The Kingdom’ in 2009 to critical acclaim, including plaudits from Metal Hammer, Terrorizer, Zero Tolerance as well as coverage and praise from many leading music websites. They have also made numerous radio appearances, including airplay on Bruce Dickinson’s BBC Rock Show.
After headline grabbing sets at Hammerfest (2011 & 2013) and Bloodstock Open Air (2009 & 2012), the band signed to Rocksector Records in 2012 to release their second album, ‘Rage and Retribution’ (recorded at Foel Studios and engineered by James Stephenson of Stymphalian Productions) once again to critical acclaim. Triaxis have continued to perform extensively across the UK and Europe.
Their first promotional video, for the single ‘Black Trinity’ (Dir: Adam Stevenson, ASAV), was released in 2013 and has since been nominated for a Pure Rawk Award, alongside a growing number of award nominations for the band members themselves.
2015 sees Triaxis release their third studio album ‘Zero Hour’ (produced by Glyn Williams, James Stephenson of Stympahlian Productions and Scott Atkins of Grindhouse Studios), funded through a PledgeMusic campaign, which achieved 100% of its target in nine hours via unprecedented support from Triaxis fans. With the first single ‘Victorious’ available for free download, Triaxis continue to expand their fan base and cement their place in the metal genre

Unlike a lot of Metal acts- especially ‘mainstream’ examples- Traixis have a boy-girl line-up: most Metal acts tend to be all-male.  This ‘diversity’ has made a big difference; added to their music- the bond between the musicians is clearly evident.  Arriving with their third album (Zero Hour) the band have no plans of slowing: through a (hugely successful) Pledgemusic campaign they were able to fund the L.P.- the support from their fans has been overwhelming.  The five-piece have big ambitions; plans for the future- a prestigious spot at Bloodlines awaits them.  It is not hard to see (why the band is so favoured) as their music draws in their influences- including Iron Maiden and Judas Priest- and adds their distinct personalities: Traixis sound very much like themselves (when it is all said and done).  I hope the band manage to conquer the U.K.: their latest album is taking large steps towards this goal.  Playing all across the country, they are recruiting acolytes (at a rate of knots): it cannot be long before the U.S. comes a-calling- their music has the potential to transcend barriers and nations.

Zero Hour (is the Welsh band’s) third album- and fourth release in total.  Having gone through a line-up change (Becky joined the band in 2014; the band’s newest sister), the group sound more gilded and galvanised- they have never sounded more assured.  Keys to the Kingdom– championed by the fine minds of Metal Hammer Magazine- was a masterful debut (they released an E.P. before; this was their debut album).  Confident and instant; ranged and stunning: here is an album with nary a weary song.  Bolstered (and ably led) by Krissie’s Heart-of-gold-cum-Judas’ vocals- that displays huge confident, intelligence, soul and fight- and you have an exceptional lead-in.  The band are together and in-step- right from the very first- track; the pace never relents (over 11 numbers); the themes explore mythology and strange characters- lords, geishas and phoenixes are all covered.  Still (relatively obscure)- the band still do not command the attention they deserve- Rage and Retribution was an exceptional sophomore effort- an album that expanded upon their early promise.  Following some passion-led write-ups- from Metal magazines and blogs- the band took that confidence; crafted an exceptional follow-up.  Gathering masses of critical acclaim- publications were filled with effusive dedication and love- the album stands (as an exceptional creation).  Inspired by the likes of Judas Priest and Metallica, there was no second-rate work here: the album stands among the finest (either of the aforementioned bands) created.  Rage’ was delivered in 2012: since then, there has been an eager wait- critics and fans have been salivating and speculating.  With a new member- and new influence abound- the band delivers their finest album yet: hard to believe given the quality on their last record.  Defined by exceptional songwriting- the lyrics and compositions are among the most detailed and inspiring to date- and tight performances, the band are on fire: Zero Hour is their masterpiece.  Packed with crowd-pleasing epics; instantly memorable songs (Stand Your Ground ranks among their finest songs so far) and you have a phenomenal record.  Among the jewels of Zero Hour lies Victorious: a song that (more than) lives up to its name.

The sound of “bloodshot eyes” opens the track: propelled by a frantic riff, the song spares no time (in drilling into the listener’s mind).  Frantic and frenetic, the band explodes to life: there is no time for a soft build-up; the song is an instant ball-kick.  With the heroine prepared to march “through the gates of Hell” there are declarations afoot: never has Krissie sounded so confident and strong-willed.  Riding the riptide- her band whip up a firestorm of sound and dark magic- and you are gripped.  Not just dedicated to the mosh pits and sweat-filled arenas, the song has enough melody (and restraint) to appeal to all listeners- including newcomers to the (Metal) genre.  If images of a “single victor” tearing (a poor unfortunate/situation) “limb from limb” (put you in mind of Game of Thrones), then you’d be right: the track is an epic warlord; a calling card to the masses- a rally-cry to the armies (and legions of Traixis fans).  Epic and statuesque; commanding and sword-wielding, our heroine stands proud: delivering her messages with heart and determination.  The band do not overcrowd ad flood the vocals- unlike a lot of Metal acts- which allows the lyrics to shine and pervade.  Pummeling percussion blends with guiding bass; stuttering (and fist-aloft) guitars build up the tension- the band project a myriad of images within the first stages of the song.  Never screamed or demented, the track mixes melody with potency: it is a track that wants to unite people- in an army of chorusing and chanting.  Hollow victories and final breaths are unfurled; electrifying guitars do reign- the song gets faster (and more furious) with each second.  As the band unify in voice- ensuring the messages and codas hit the mark- you are powerless to resist- it is a track that lodges into your brain; it never loses its power.  Before the 1:20 mark, the bass line comes to the fore: empowering and forceful, it is an extremely impressive performance.  Leading in the vocal, the song refrains slightly- our heroine leads the gods of war; her testament will be witnessed.  Allowing the spotlight (to focus on the words) the band step back slightly: it is a pause that is brief and essential.  Teasing the listener; allowing the imagination to conspire- the band are soon back in the fray.  Whether you imagine armies of dragons (ridden by axe-wielding warriors) or a modern equivalency, it is impossible (not to) imagine: the song is so vivid and imaginative; filled with action-packed scenes and powerful statements.  Most bands- that play outside of Metal- focus on love and relationships (*yawn*)- Traixis’ voyage into mystical realms (and armies coming together) is hugely admirable.  With riffs (and primal urges) that put me in mind (of Judas Priest’s finest work) and you have a terrific song: a crowd pleaser-in-waiting king.  By the half-way mark (of Victorious) you are fully invested: the chorus comes back in; you find yourself singing along- it is inevitable there will be some air guitar (bit of air drumming too, no less).  Whilst our heroine examines “the traitor in me” she is backed by (gurgling, male-led) backing vocals- it adds some roar and fist-aloft growl into the mix.  Where evil “sows the seeds of deceit”, the band seem like the Forces of Good: the cavalcade determined to rule the day; expel the spirits of hatred.  Packing atomic bomb-sized power, the track hits the heavens: the clans are balkanised; the scene is set- the fight is truly on (who would bet against Traixis?).  At the 3:00 mark, there (is unleashed) a squalling guitar coda: a viper stings with alacrity; fire and spark crackle (the audible sensation of swords slashing).  Guitars multiply and duel; the percussion tees and slams; the bass slithers and stings (among the enraptured arpeggio) – a delicious solo (that is a perfect punctuation point).  The final moments are dedicated to rapture and musicianship: the band come together supremely; linking their instruments in a testament of warfare- it seems the bodies are slain; the fires are burning (and the victor has been crowned).  Not forgetting some (much-needed) chant- in the final seconds- the band take the song to land- the head-nodding swagger never relents; the listener is gripped until the final second.

Kudos must be given to every band member: Victorious is a song that perfectly introduces Zero Hour.  With fantastic production values- that allows the vocal to shine; it perfectly mixes the instruments together without sounding over-produced- it is a superb-sounding song.  The lyrics are direct and picturesque: filled with imagination and imagery, it is impossible not to be drawn in.  Fight scenes and evil; spirits and dark overtones- the track has everything you can possibly want.  A crowd-pleading anthem it is designed to be quoted and chanted: few bands create something as immediate and memorable.  It is the band (and their performances) that bring Victorious to life: each member is at the very top of their game.  Krissie’s vocals are consistently inspiring and engaging: passionate and melodic; direct and warrior-like, it is a stunning performance.  For a song- and band- to inspire, you need a phenomenal singer: in Krissie, Trixis have this (in spades).  Bringing the lyrics to life (and displaying plenty of range and soul) the lead turns in a wonderful display.  Glyn’s (lead) guitar is an attacking beast: a spellbinding thing; a huge force of nature.  Going from grunting and wolf-like; mutating to a cosmic, fire-breathing thing- you cannot resist its charm.  An exceptional player, Glynn gives Victorious plenty of power and potency.  With C.J. (on rhythm guitar) you have a perfect 1-2: a guitar-wielding duo who perfectly understands one another.  The two blend effortlessly; they weave in and out (of one another) – they give the song an enormous weight of conviction and fire.  Becky’s bass sits perfectly in the mix: featuring on her first Triaxis album, there are no signs of nerves or shyness.  Sounding like- she has been a member since day one- you have a terrific performer: at times, her bass almost steals the show.  Both leading and authoritative, rebellious and domineering, she is one to watch.  Giles clearly has a passion for Metal: his percussion work ranks with some of his idols (Lars Ulrich would be proud of his work).  Almost octopus-like in its breadth; Giles unleashes enormous power and pummel- leading the band and keeping everything in-check.

Zero Hour is the band’s finest work (to date): it updates their existing sound and adds extra layers of awesomeness- they have never sounded more urgent and inspired.  With exceptional songwriting- and consistently impressive performances- few peers have their confidents and bombast.  Tracks like Death Machine and Queen of the Iceni (are as vivid as their title suggests); Liberty is the perfect opener- the title track is one of the finest (of the dozen songs on the album).  Krissie’s ‘varied background’- having sung in Soul and Swing bands- adds to the music: her vocals can go from soulful and seductive to eruptive and blood-lusting.  A natural leader, the songs would have sounded weaker (with a male lead).  Glynn and Giles (Triaxis’ male duo) add huge weight to proceedings: their guitar-and-drum courtship defines (the album’s pummel and lust) – few other musicians have their talent and urgency.  With Becky’s (prodigious) bass work- which guides and directs each number- and C.J.’s (rhythm guitar) skills- that perfectly pair (with Glyn’s axe) and you have an extraordinary band- each member knows their role; each does it perfectly.  Their new L.P. is gaining fervent praise- I hope my review does them justice- and gigs are pouring forth: the group is here to stay.  The band take good care of their fans; their official website is detailed and eye-catching: few other acts take as much trouble (to ensure their online portfolio is as impressive).  Growing in stature- with each new release and album- the quintet is bigger and bolder (than a few years ago) – keep your eyes open for them.  Traixis give Metal a great name- not that the genre should ever be doubted- with their professionalism and passion.  For those (who think Metal) is a niche genre- and is merely noise and thrash- then think again: there is plenty to love (with Traixis).  The bastard love-child of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest (having had an affair with Firewind on the side) the boy-slash-girl-slash-awesomeness should not be underestimated.  In a music scene- that is synonymised by a lot of bland and uninspired acts- needs an overhaul: Triaxis deserve wider acclaim and patronage.  Throughout the spring (and summer), the band embarks on more tour dates: taking their new album across the nation.  With their exceptional musicians- who have a clear respect and understanding of one another- and top-notch tunes (that stand up to repeated listens) and you have a bona fide stars.  One of the great things about reviewing- and there are quite a few- is discovering new acts: artists you’d never usually come across.  Zero Hour is an album that shows clear passion- the fact it was funded (by their fans) so quickly shows what faith people have- and dedication: the songwriter is consistently brilliant; the range and diversity is wonderful- there is not a weak link on the disc.  Metal is that black sheep (that always divides opinion): you are either going to be impassioned (to its wonder) or balked by its front (and sheer force of nature swagger).  Being a fan of Painkiller-era Judas’; a follower of Metallica (their self-titled album contains more riffage and tuneage (both, sic.) than any other album.  Triaxis have qualities of both: the instantaneousness and anthems; heritage and authority- few of their Metal contemporaries are as stunning (as them).  If you are a Metal virgin (it is a genre that will take your virginity roughly and with little foreplay) then do not fear: Traixis are a band of the people; they want to draw you in- and keep your attention focused.  Intelligent and nuanced; variegated and epic- the five-piece are stadium-ready stunners (I could see them being a Glastonbury/Isle of Wight fixture years from now).  Victorious is a track (that lives up to its name); make sure you submit to it…

AND discover a band at the peak of their powers.



Follow Triaxis:















Track Review: MUTT- Etching









Etching is available at:



The band’s E.P. (MUTT) is available at:







9thth May, 2015

Alternative, Rock, Grunge, Dream-Pop


Birmingham, U.K.

Lottie Spencer – Vocals, Guitar (Track 3)
Ollie Bennett – Guitar
Tom Murray – Drums
Liam Nevitt/Bob – Bass (Tracks 1 & 2)
Sam Bicknell – Bass (Tracks 3 & 4)

All tracks written by Lottie Spencer and MUTT

All tracks recorded, mixed and mastered by Dave McCabe at Muthers Studio

Cover Artwork by Chris Beckett

Photography by David Buckingham


IT is nice to step away from something ‘predictable’ and…

discover music with a bit of edge- that is unusual and foreign.  The issue of change is large in my thoughts: at the moment, I am going through a lot of it (change); making new plans for life- aiming to be/do something different.  In addition to a job ending (in 6 weeks), I want to relocate (London to begin; further north as the years progress); start doing what I want to do in life- working in music and charity; not sitting at a desk all day.  Change can occur through circumstance; sometimes through luck and misfortune- a lot of time, it happens because of necessity.  It is okay to live a particular way of life: if it makes you miserable, then you need to get out.  From home-life to work: I hate every minute of every day.  That is not a life at all: it is the rock-bottom moment- a serious wake-up call to make change.  (I am doing this) as we speak; but whilst I ‘figure it all out’, music is providing a great distraction/compromise- and allowing me some escapism and inspiration.  Over the past few months, I have assessed some great music: a lot of it can be grouped into the same genres- there seems to be little shock-and-awe.  Whilst my soul belongs to ‘softer’ and tenderer music- Grace and Graceland (with their brotherly love and namesake identities are two of my all-time favourite albums) – my heart (and loins) will always lust for the primal- something that always does something wonderful.  I hope MUTT will not mind (me going off on a tangential direction) but it has struck my mind: what is it about music that makes it so special?  If I had to choose my ‘greatest ever’ albums, I would put The Bends, Grace, Graceland; Superunknown, Rubber Soul and Elephant among them.  In that list- and across my favourite songs- there is diversity and a split: half spirited and soulful; half raw and passionate.  At the moment, I am getting back to Beastie Boys: rediscovering Paul’s Boutique and all its wonders.  Sampling and experimental music is rare these days- perhaps because of the huge license costs of sampling others- and new musicians are on a tight budget.  If your money is low; if you are starting out: what does a new act do (to gain attention)?  MUTT are an act that fulfil all of my points: they experiment with genres and sounds; have a terrific lo-fi sound- whilst mingling impassioned swagger with more introverted moments.  Too many acts (I have reviewed lately) have sounded a little samey: portraying the same sound and themes; not really breaking away from that mould- it is good to hear something a little different.  Lottie Spencer, Ollie Bennett, Liam Nevitt and Tom Murray form the hound’s legs (of the dog’s bollocks).  The canine attack was formatted in 2013: since then, the group have been putting together (their self-titled) E.P. – building a reputation around their native Birmingham.  It is rare to hear bands come out of Birmingham- I have probably reviewed as many in Birmingham, Alabama as I have in the Midlands.  The Midlands have a great music scene, yet the big cities still grab the headlines: London is coming through and stealing a lot of current focus.  Away from the bright lights and capital gains, eyes should be trained further afield- discover musicians doing something great.  MUTT are in their infancy, and are still testing the water: seeing what the future holds; how fans/the press are going to take to them.

When it comes to comparing the band (to other acts) you would be slightly difficult.  A lot of new acts (on the scene) tend to stick to familiar sounds- replicate other bands and lack originality.  MUTT have a great Punk/Alternative sound- you could see them fitting into the scene of 1970s New York (playing CBGB and The Ding Dong Longue (on the Upper West Side).  Saying that, MUTT have some ‘modern vibes’- and sounds of current acts- like Royal Blood and Green Day.  Their raw and sparse production puts me in mind of Pixies and early-day Nirvana- around the time of Bleach.  With Spencer up top, I am put in mind of icons like Patti Smith, Joan Jett and Alison Mosshart- with shades of Debbie Harry in there.  It would be remiss to (say the band is the sum of) their parts, yet you can hear some others: great bands and acts (of past and present) come through in their music.  Defined by tight-knit and enlivened performances, the quartet invoke the spirits of (Punk and Grunge greats); unifying U.S. and U.K. sounds- flavours of London, Birmingham and Manchester into the bargain.  If you are new the band- and most people will be to be fair- you may be a little cautious: am I really going to like them?  What I would say is, that if you are a fan of most genres- and not picky and particular- then investigate MUTT- they do not push away anyone; they make music for the masses.  With a sound made for festivals (and small, sweaty bars) the band have a ubiquitous and mobile sound- I could well see them supporting all manner of other acts.  What impresses me most is the production values: it is lo-fi and raw; live-sounding and primal- whilst having professional and assured qualities.  Sharp and rushing; instant and memorable: the band are not disposable and expendable (instead primed for some long-term regard).  Whether you are a fan of Alternative music- including ‘genre sisters’ Grunge, Hard-Rock and Dream-Pop- or something more Pop-based, you will appreciate MUTT: a group that aim to galvanise and inspire fans; rather than balkanise and divide.

Following on from Sapling’s- the E.P.’s lead-off track- comes Etching: the E.P.’s most direct and memorable offering.  The band is keen to emphasise economy and concision (every track on their E.P. is a one-worded offering).  Starting with a bold and chest-beating introduction, Ethcing gets off to the races: it is a hot and heavy combination; a swaggering mixture of U.S. Punk and Alternative sounds.  Our heroine approaches the mic. with an alluring and pin-pricking vocal: an intoxicating sound that emphasises every word.  With fingers tangled- and souls being plucked- our heroine sounds aghast and angered: there is a sense of urgency and passion to hear delivery.  “My future follows the etching on your back…” sings Spencer: enraptured in her own words, you can hear that urgency and sweat.  The boys in the band make sure (they aid their comrade ably) with a full force of noise: the performances in the early stages perfectly blend Grunge grit with melodic overtones.  Images of future tense (and soul-burning possibility) are enflamed by fuzzed-out guitars; dead-eyed bass drive- rampantly flailing percussion.  In the midst of some loose and swinging moments is plenty of focus- every note is tight and assured.  Mixing the vocal stewardship of Parallel Lines-era Blondie (Spencer has hints of Debbie Harry at her peak); MUTT change through the gears: their passion and performances are unwavering; they never lose pace and power- there is a huge emphasis on the overall sound and sensation.  With some Black Sabbath riffs; Nirvana-esque stab- bonded to Dookie/Minority Green Day- you can hear some familiar sounds- the band update these influences with their own stamp and personality.  The chorus is (perhaps the song’s) most defining stamp: a simple and memorable coda that is built for chants and chorusing- the festival crowds and mosh pit-stalking fans.  Never losing its grip and prowess- the song is a shade under 5 minutes- the band keep Etching mobile and shape-shifting: incorporating different riffs and diversions; the track never seems wayward or overlong.  Each member steps up to the plate: before the 3-minute stage, a fuzzed-out riff starts things; it mutates with bass and percussion- developing into something dangerous and savage.  Our heroine seems malevolent and witch-like: slurring and teasing, the vocals crawl and swagger like a beast (feasting for blood).  Just as you feel like the song is coming to land, the band let loose: the volume rises; the vocal intensifies- the composition hits its peak.  As Etching comes to a close, you get a sense of exhaustion: having wrung the emotions; played with such force and passion- the listener needs a chance to relax/reflect.

A sharp and potent track (from a terrific E.P.) it is great to arrive upon MUTT: a band with a great sense of confidence and authority.  Etching is a song, very much in the mould of Royal Blood: designed to rule the festival scenes; put the authenticity back into music.  With their incredible bond- and expert performances- the song benefits hugely.  The bare and raw production values allow the band to come across as live-sounding- as though you were in the studio with them- which adds to the track.  Too much polish would dent its potential; strip away its true sound- and disvalue the lyrics.  One of the things- the band may want to think about in the future- is decipherability and intelligibility (some of the words and notes get lost in the mix; some of the lyrics are a little hard to fathom).  Spencer is a terrific singer- and one of the best new voices I have heard- who has a unique sense of projection and delivery.  Making sure her words slither and spiral; tease and tense- it is great to hear such a refreshing and urgent voice.  Backing Bennett (on guitar) the duo manages to whip up a storm of strings: fusing genres and emotions, the duo is compelling throughout.  Nevitt’s bass- Sam Bicknell plays bass on Hammerheart and Silver– is direct and driving throughout: guiding the song forward, it is a compelling force.  With Murray providing pummel and (percussive anger) and you have a solid backbone: a drummer who is by no means in the background.  Some minor detractions aside, Etching is a solid track (from a terrific band) and should see them go far- I can see them coming out with future E.P.s (and albums too).

MUTT’s (self-titled debut) is an impressive start: the group has a great deal of potential and class.  Backed by assured (and original) songwriting, the band has a close and gilded bond- every song is defined by a tight and urgent performance.  Most bands- when it comes to their infant days- seem a little nervy and shaky: this is not the case with MUTT.  From the streets of Birmingham, the four-piece have eyes for bigger things: when their name is fully recognized, they have the potential to travel far and wide- across the U.K. and U.S.  With music that is both familiar and different, the group is making a great start- and showcases their full abilities and qualities.  Their E.P. – and its four tracks- covers a lot of ground: various emotions and subjects are touched-upon.  There is not a weak track there; no real need for improvement: what I would say is for the band to look at clarity- a few of the lines and verses seem a little muted/indecipherable (either overcome by the composition are too low in the mix).  It is a minor ‘quibble’ among a sea of plaudits: the group should be very proud.  It would be good to see them expand upon this E.P.: think about taking a mini-tour; working on a new music video- getting their name and image out there.  The group’s E.P. is a four-track collection perfectly arranged/programmed: each track is fairly long; they manage to drop every ounce of possibility from every song.  Saplings is a perfect opener: a vibrant and rollicking track that is kick-ass and vivacious- a brain-rattling testament of MUTT’s ideals.  Hammerheart’s foreboding basslines; its savage attack-and-feast mentality is insatiable- propelled by a vocal that is both shivering and romantic (strangely enough).  Silver sees the band teasing and tempting: a perfect closer (and one of the E.P.’s most compelling tracks).  Never overcrowded or formulaic, the group shifts their sound: tracks modulate emotions and sensations; there is never a dull moment- MUTT is a bitttccchinnn’ (sic.) proposition.  I shall conclude- as I have been rambling on a bit- by looking to their future: just what the rest of the year has in store.  I would suggest the band augment their social media output.  Although it is early days, an official website would be great: it not only gives fans a clearer glimpse into the group- it puts all their information and links into a handy source.  The group has caught the ear of reviewers and the press: it would be awesome to see more interviews and personal information- who influences the group; where they hope to go.  The music speaks volumes, yet it would be good to know (the people behind the music) – get their names out there.  What is most important (I guess) for now, is the music: whether their fledgling offering is worth seeking-out.  The short answer is: hell-yeah!  Whilst not as instantaneous and monolithic (as the likes of Royal Blood and The Ramones for instance) the band are a step above (most of their) peers- more direct and hot-bloodied than most acts out there.  Forged by their close bond- and clear intuition- the four-piece have a definite future: where they go from here is their own choice.  Their self-titled record is a confident slice of music: an E.P. that deserves wider acclaim; gain a big following.  In a time of change- for myself and other musicians- it is great to hear a band with some guts: doing things their own way.  That is something…

EVERYONE should be inspired by.



Follow MUTT:






Track Review: This Modern Hope- Home



This Modern Hope







Home is available at:

April, 2015

Indie, Alternative




BREAKING away- when it comes to releasing solo material …

can be tricky- especially when used to the comforts of a band.  When I first started speaking with Rob Payne- one of This Modern Hope’s heroes- he was part of a stunning band: the mighty (The) Bedroom Hour.  That group- fuelled by their Elbow-Meets-The-London-Streets poetry- struck the public consciousness: their music contained anthemic uplift; stunning performances- tender emotions into the mix.  Describing them in the past tense is quite tough: they were among my favourite acts (of the last few years).  With consistently tight-knit performances- leveed to songwriting that surpassed their peers- it seemed they had an enormous future- king of the festival circuit, no less.  Unfortunately- and it is the way of music- the band called it quits: decided to part company and go off (on their own).  Whether creative differences- or the pressures of financing their own music- The Bedroom Hour are no more.  Mr. Payne now steps away from the band: This Modern Hope is his latest incarnation.  With a moniker that is appropriately apt- the music already produced is capable of uniting festival crowds (and exciting critics far and wide).  A stunning group- with a clear direction and confidence- that is sure to go a long way: there is a definitely a gap for them in (this rather busy) market.  I shall circle back to the band, but for now, there is a point to raise: the life of the new band.  I have seen (too many) acts capitulate and collapse: the strains of gaining a foothold should not be underestimated.  Some terrific acts- from The Bedroom Hour to Crystal Seagulls- have departed.  It is hard to pinpoint a reason- as to why this is happening- and look at a solution.  I guess there will always be creative differences- for bands that are together for a while.  Personalities (and differing opinions) get in the way; the members have different ideals- invariably this can lead to break-up.  Finance is another issue: the cost of funding a music career can be astronomical.  It is always heartbreaking- when looking at great bands call it quits- and something that is happening quite a lot- the best bands survive (sometimes it seems) by sheer luck.  It sounds rather cynical, yet music is a lottery: sometimes the best do not survive; some need a lot of luck.  When it comes to music- and the band market in particular- the current crop is (largely) male-led: the sounds being put out can be quite similar.  If you look at the mainstream- and the bands currently working away- and you will find similarities: few established acts really stand out clearly.  There is a hell of a lot of Indie acts; some interesting Rock acts- artists with Electro.-Pop avenues.  The music’s best and brightest (bands) are well-established and veterans- having been on the scene for quite a few years- and there are few (truly unique) new (mainstream) artists.  To my mind- and not that I am an expert- the solo artists (of the mainstream) are impressing the most- and providing the most fascinating new releases.  The artists of the underground are always more tanitlising: there seems to be greater invention and diversity; better mobility and passion.  This Modern Hope have a certain something about them: they employ shades of (established acts) whilst retaining a clear personality- their music is very much inspired by their own lives/experiences.  Having crafted a number of tracks- the band are in their infancy still- there is a lot of promise: a new album is in the works; it is only a matter of time before good things shape up.  Payne is no stranger to great reviews: as part of The Bedroom Hour, critics salivated (when it came to their songs and records).  A stunning and original guitarist, his talents resonated with me: he brings his charm, intelligence and talents to This Modern Hope- a three-worded band to rival the best of them.

Tear Me Down– one of This Modern Hope’s new works- is orchestral and sweeping: the introduction has grandeur and passion; plenty of chilling emotion.  Lush and proud, bracing and embracing, there are shades of Elbow-meets-Oasis.  With his voice showcasing parts (of Noel Gallagher’s) northern burr, Payne has hints of (the Oasis front-man’s) voice- whilst injecting plenty of his own passion and personality.  Building from a stunning- and richly symphonic- introduction, the track never lets go: tender vocals meet with southern pride- there is a love story on the rocks.  Our hero (looks back at) mistakes and errors: he is letting his heart pour out.  Yearning for his love- a sweetheart he is pining for- it seems (that she) completes him.  It is a short and sweet song (that lingers long in the imagination).  By contrast- and a track that is only five days old- FlashBack is more intimate and soft.  Washes of Folk beauty overcome (the listener); legends like Nick Drake and Neil Young (can be detected at times) – it is a song that looks at hazy memories; a romance that is blossoming.  With spring vibes- the warmth and tenderness of the finger-picking- and winter chill- the affecting and romantic lyrics- there is plenty to admire.  The song’s lyrics look at remembrance and recollection: our hero never wants (to let go of his girl); their romance is just beginning- the sighed and haunting backing vocals add shivers to the lyrics.  Pastoral acoustic guitar- tied with direct and impassioned vocals- give the track a consistent momentum- it is a track that counterbalances the force and rush of Tear Me Down.  Having a trio of tracks in the bag- and these being the embryonic steps of This Modern Hope- it is hard to compare and examine- these are the raw and early steps; the first chance to witness the band.  In terms of quality, you cannot hint at any criticisms: the tracks are both different and stunning; each has their own idea and voice- both will demand the listener to repeat (until the full majesty and force comes to the fore).  Slow-burning- yet immediate and instant- the songs are fully-rounded and professional.  Payne knows his way around a great song- having been in the forefront of the Bedroom Hour mix- and it shows here: the singer/guitarist turns in a duo of terrific efforts.  Stepping away from his band work- whilst keeping some of The Bedroom Hour’s lovelorn-cum-hopeful strength in tact- Payne has crafted something quite special.  Home sits into the fold seamlessly: different from FlashBack and Tear Me Down– it is a track that is a natural playmate- and something distinctly wonderful.

When Home begins, so do the shivers: the introduction builds and swells (much like Tear Me Down).  Walls are closing in; our man is starting to feel a strain- he has to get away from (this place).  With his voice fully in command- both aching and controlled- the initial moments are affecting and urgent.  After that graceful introduction- which is a mini-opera in itself- there is no rush and over-insistence (Payne makes sure he lets the song breath and expand naturally).  Taking his “last-ever gasp”, our hero seems disaffected and in turmoil: looking to escape from here, he wants to start again.  It is his pride- in his own words- that carries him home.  When it comes to (these initial moments), Payne is in reflective mood: his words are those everyone can relate to.  What is terrific about the track- among other things it has to be said- is the composition.   Not your usual throw-something-vague-into-the-mix-and-hope-for-the-best, Payne takes care and consideration- the notes and beats are disseminated to eek the maximum emotional pay-off.  Not overly-earnest and forceful, there is a naturalness and intuition: a man who is used to crafting top-notch tracks; someone with experience in these matters.  There are no nerves or unsure utterances: everything on display is delivered with the utmost conviction and passion.  Those Noel Gallagher comparisons made start to come in: at times Payne sounds like Gallagher (circa. What’s The Story (Morning Glory)?).  That- mixed with a bit of Elbow’s early work- and you have something that is at once familiar (in a good way) and original.  Being influenced by the northern masters- Elbow and Oasis- and employing tales of his current (being based around the outskirts of London) there is a great coming-together- the sounds of the north with the stories of the south.  Too many bands- and solo acts, in fact- come across as boring and underwhelming.  Through a song- that is not your workaday explosion of guitars and histrionics- and you get a stunning piece.  Able to draw in their listener- by the power and pride of the words; the grip and potency of the composition- and you are hooked.  The story at work- our hero and his girl- with its romance and yearning; it is something we can all relate to- a familiar tale.  The way the words are employed- and the choice of words to begin with- is original and memorable.  You can build images and possibilities; picture the scenes as they unfold- become involved with every note and line.  Kudos must go to the composition itself: a soundscape that is never-ending in its potential.  A man (and band) that looks out for the affected- and represents their struggle- Home is a song for the every-man: a tale that is designed to unite (and inspire the listener).  Backed by exceptional production values- that allow the vocal to sit up top; whilst letting the composition chance to breathe and affect- the track is crystal-clear and unfettered- as natural and open as any I have heard.  Shimmering and anthemic, here is a song for the masses: something (maybe consciously) designed for the crowds- to my mind it would be the perfect album opener (if Payne is looking at track listing; which track fits where).  If you are looking for a new song (and a great new band), you should definitely begin here.

There are a lot of Indie/Alternative acts kicking about: a lot of my reviews tend to feature quite same-same bands.  The band market itself is synonymous with (these particular genres) and it can be hard distinguishing the very best (from the distinctly average).   For every Elbow you get a lot of arse- I can tell the difference between the two.  The former- and why that act are lauded and celebrated- comes down to three things: stunning and everyman lyrics (Guy Garvey is a master of the suburban lovelorn); tremendous consistency (the band craft stunning albums without losing their stride) and flexibility- Elbow started to write ‘happier’ songs when Garvey confessed he was “too happy” to write (woe-is-me tales of disconnectedness).  Bad/average bands do not abide by (these rules): they are placid and flaccid; immobile and generic- crafting the most beige and aimless of songs.  This Modern Hope are inspired by (in their own words) “bravado, passion and carelessness”.  It is these ingredients of grit, youthfulness and uplift that make the music what it is: sounds of the public; songs that resonate with everyone; truly memorable tales.  Knowing Payne- and his talents as a songwriter- it is clear (when a debut album drops) there will be plenty of range and colour- lots of diversions and side-streets; songbooks crammed with fascinating themes and dreams.  Home is just the start of things.  In spite of the tried-and-tested title (it is one of the most common song/album titles of all-time) there is nothing ordinary at work here: the track is at once personal and comforting; it is exhilarating and fresh- like nothing I have heard lately.  Excelsior to his music and dreams: let us hope the band take off; get the recognition truly deserved.  This Modern Hope plan on dropping an album: through crowd-funding and sourcing, there will be a chance (for the public to make it a reality).  If you do see that notification- I will be sure to share it around social media- make sure you donate- and get on the ground floor of an awesome endeavor.  Home is where the heart is; FlashBack and Tear Me Down are free to investigate- make sure you head on over (to the SoundCloud page for the band).  I will leave this review- relived, I am sure many of you are- with a brief note: concerning new acts.  The promotion/publicity circuit is brutal and exhausting: getting your name recongised/augmented can be a grueling reality- something that leads to heartache and anxiety.  Even the greatest acts struggle to get acclaim and attention- finding public ears disgracefully ill-informed.  Not to dampen This Modern Hope- and this point is meant to inspire them- but it is worth sticking with- great music deserves greater exposure and acclaim.  What with there being (a huge mass of music) on the market; it can be hard discovering the best out there- wading through oceans of sounds can be a head-spinning experience.  If you are looking for some great new acts- artists that are worth repeated patronage- then This Modern Hope should be included (in your regular rotation).  The talent and originality is all there; the ambition is clearly formed- the urgency and passion all in place.  Take some time out and jump into something new: an act with clear potential and aims for the future.  When an album does arrive- whether it is this year (or next) – it will be fascinating to behold: see what This Modern Hope is all about.  With a trio of songs on the market, the initial signs are deeply impressive- plenty to suggest long-term regard.  Sit back; listen to the tunes- let your imagination swim.  Mr. Payne (and his act) is going to be around for a while- the debut album is starting to take shape.  When it is released, I am confident bigger things will arrive: festival dates, great gigs; terrific music and good times.  When it all comes down to it…

THAT will be something to look forward to.




Follow This Modern Hope:










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.

Q. and A.: New Musicians in 2015

Q. and A.:

New Musicians in 2015.







As we head through 2015; I have been catching up (with some of my favourite music acts): keen to probe and uncover, I ask them about their influences and ambitions- and what music means to them…



The Questions…


  1. What have been the highlights of your music career? Which memories stick out to you?
  2. If you had to choose your favourite album and song what would they be (and why?)
  3. If you could choose your major influences- with regards past music and present- who would you select?
  4. You have had a lot of people supporting you- fans from around the world (willing you on). What would you say to them?
  5. What do the coming months hold for you? What plans are ahead?
  6. Finally, and in a sentence: What does music mean to you? How important is it in your life?


The Acts…



The Updraft Imperative

  1. Josh: Personally, I was in Nepal in 2011 and performed as part of an outdoor concert to about 8-10,000 local Nepali people – not knowing what to make of it all. It was pretty awesome! As part of The Updraft Imperative, the last year has been a constant buzz. Really not knowing from one day to the next what exciting news might pop up. A couple of specifics… Just after Di started do some promotion work for us, we were reviewed by a guy we didn’t know (you might know him) and he gave us a great review. Something none of us really expected. I felt like that gave me confirmation that we were on the right track with our music. The other was getting to no.1 on the Sunset Island Music world unsigned band chart. I don’t even know if that’s a big deal or not, but it certainly felt like it! Murray: One of the major highlights would be recording our 1st studio album! It was awesome to take 10 songs, pull them apart, record & layer and do everything else to them, and then listen and share the finished product with the world!! Another was when a group of friends I was in a band with toured around Australia over the course of 2 weeks! Some of the venues we played at were amazing, like an old WWII hanger in the middle of no-where, and in someone’s underground house in an outback mining town. Plenty of others but those ‘stick out’. Pete: Probably not one single moment that sticks out. Recording for the first time was a memorable experience – as is the international attention our band is getting.
  1. Josh: I think I have to say a self-titled album from ‘Downhere’. A somewhat well known Christian band. I wouldn’t say it was because of music genius. Although I think I appreciate their creativity and great voices. But more than that, I was listening to that album in a time of my life that was somewhat tumultuous, and so, it’s harbours memories of comfort. One song off that album called ‘Calmer of the Storm’ was/is a reminder to me that God is in control. Murray: MAN!!!! How hard’s this question….ummmmm ‘White Rice’ by Magdalen off the album ‘Revolutions’. It was my first foray into to the world of heavy groove/funk, and with Ken Tamplin shredding his way all over the place, it is my go-to song if I want to get amped!! Album? Well I would have to say ‘Grace’ by Jeff Buckley. An open, honest, raw yet intensely emotional album. The dynamics across the album are ridiculous, from his haunting gothic rework of an Elizabethan poem, to a no-holes-bared drop-D scream-fest!! Of course that’s to go with the hundreds of my other ‘favourites’. Pete: This is a hard one! Currently I’ll say my favourite album is Asgeir’s “In the silence” because just about every song is a winner. If I had to pick one, it would probably be “King and Cross” though.
  1. Josh: Here’s a few….Abba, Petra, Queen, Rob Thomas, Josh Groban, Jason Mraz, Downhere, Jeff Buckley. Murray: Early would be Cat Stevens, Bread, America, Michael Card, Petra, Russ Taff (appearing also with The Imperials), and Barry Manilow (if I were to be completely honest). Later would come the likes of Led Zeppelin, Bach, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Jeff Buckley, Jeff Beck, RATM. Pete: Argh! Right… RATM, Chilli Peppers, P.O.D., Daft punk, Asgeir, DC Talk… the list goes on!
  1. One massive, sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU! Thanks for your best wishes, your messages, your interactions, your support for our music and album, and belief in what we are doing as band members and artists. We spend time constructing songs so that others may hear and enjoy them, and when that happens, it’s a truly fulfilling and humbling experience. We are so fortunate to have some great people that support us and our music. We would also say don’t be backwards in coming forwards. We know we only know a small percentage of you all, so we would love you to make yourself known. Send us a message and engage with us and we will do our best to be equally engaging with you!
  1. Coming months… Murray, his wife and 4 kids, are currently relocating to a new property. It’s on a big spread of land, and it also has a great space for him to set his studio up in again. Some song writing there with Pete and Josh is on the cards , as well as support band for a tour that helps fight human trafficking, a few other gigs and recording new music. We’re all very much looking forward to mashing some tunes out in the studio again!! (and as everyone else forgot to mention, I’ll point out that their ‘hardworking, dedicated, loyal’ promo manager is travelling half way round the world to see them next year and promote a ‘new recording’! – Di x
  2. Josh: Music is a part of life and I love so many aspects of it. It’s an encouragement, a release, a way to the soul, a joy, an excuse to dance, and a way of expression. What a gift! Murray: Music, I believe, is a gift from God. As I am able (to the best of my ability) to write songs I know it’s especially important that others hear these songs and that their live’s would be the better for hearing!! Pete: Music is a form of expression – a language that communicates the messages of the heart, regardless of your native tongue.

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1. There’s been a few, mostly some of the awesome gigs and tours we’ve been able to do. Over past year we’ve had the opportunity to play at Leeds and Reading Festival and do tours with Enter Shikari, Marmozets and Lonely The Brave. It’s all very awesome.

2. Faaaaar too many to choose from. You should definitely check out All The Best Tapes’ album RIGHT NOW! I don’t want to tell you what to do, but you’re doing yourself a massive injustice if you don’t listen to some All The Best Tapes before you float away into the great abyss. Here is a great track from the album: Here is the album: Here is their Facebook page:


3. Again, far too much music to mention. We’re all Deftones fans…

4. Be nice to each other so we can carry on loving you.

5. Lot’s of gigs! This year we get to play some ace festivals like Great Escape, Download, Long Division, NASS and Y-Not. There’s going to be some new music coming out soon too, WATCH THIS SPACE!

6. Music is the glue that binds us, Confucius once said, “If one should desire to know whether a kingdom is well-governed, if its morals are good or bad, the quality of its music will furnish the answer”

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Nina Schofield


  1. So many fun things stick out! I feel lucky to say that – playing at packed festivals, releasing my last single ‘Over it Under it’ and getting such a great response on the radio and online. Having the song I wrote with Aurosonic (“Lift You Up”) played by Armin Van Buuren on his radio show…Being nominated for Best Female Vocal at The HMMA’s and Best Female Artist at the BOB Awards and so many other things. And I hope the best is yet to come..
  1. My favourite album is without a doubt A Rush of Blood to The Head by Coldplay – I’m going to make it easy on myself and choose my favourite song from that album too which is God Put A Smile Upon My Face. Every song on that album takes me somewhere – I think that’s the sign of amazing music – I don’t even have to listen to the lyrics and I can feel the energy and passion behind the music. It’s inspiring!

3. Coldplay (!) Imogen Heap Michael Jackson Ocean Lab Taylor Swift Ellie Goulding There’s so many more, but we’d be here forever!

4. Thank you, and bear with me! I’m working hard behind the scenes to get everything as perfect as it can be for my next release and I’m grateful for everyone sticking with me so far. I can’t wait to get new music to everyone! I appreciate every tweet, message, instagram like…everything I get is noticed and appreciated. I hope my fans can see me as a friend too!

5.  The coming months are full of studio sessions for my own releases as well as for some records I’m featuring on which I’m really excited about! I’m hard at work on some other artists’ projects too which is great fun. I’m in the middle of planning my next trip out to L.A. and organising everything for my next release. I’ll be playing a free show at The Bedford in London on 2nd June for anyone who fancies hearing a sneak peek of my new tunes before their release!

6. Music is my motivation, my passion and my future; it connects everything I love in a special way

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Los & The Deadlines

  1. It’s always hard to pick specific highlights, but I’d have to say going into the studio to record is always a very exciting time. Bringing in the songs you’ve worked at for so long, to hear them slowly come together track by track in the studio is an amazing feeling. Another highlight (more of a funny one) would be when we played a set at The Islington.. our song ‘Standing In The Bank’ is usually the ending of our set, a big wall of noise and sound where we all go crazy. After the song finished the sound engineer ran on the stage and frantically started checking the mics and equipment on stage, upon realising nothing was broken by our antics he turned around and said “wow.. you guys trashed the stage in the most professional way!”.
  2. At this very moment I would say Led Zeppelin IV – When The Levee Breaks (although that answer might be different tomorrow).. It’s got it all, massive drums, hypnotic larger-than-life guitar riffs, a tasty harp-solo.. from the moment Bonham starts the intro it just commands your attention.
  3. Queens of the Stone Age, Primus, Battles, The Mars Volta, De Staat, Soundgarden, Frank Zappa and many, many more..
  4. Avoiding the expected soppy thank-yous.. we obviously are grateful for every single person that has supported us in any shape or form over the years.. the main thing we’d say is: we hope to play a show near you as soon as possible!
  5. The coming months will be mainly centered around the release of the new ‘Perfect Holiday’ E.P. and promoting the hell out of it so as many people as possible get to hear it. Besides that the usual band-life continues, so more shows, much more writing and a healthy dose of band-banter.
  6. Music is the noise that connects us all.

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Universal Thee

1. (Robin):The highlight so far has been the recent recording session that we’ve done. I really feel we’ve stepped it up to a whole new level. Last year I really enjoyed playing on the main stage at the audio soup festival. It’s the loudest I’ve ever played through an amp and it was exciting to play on a huge stage.

2. My favorite album changes all the time. I am currently listening to a guided by voices album I created from all there mini albums, E.P.s (and B-Sides) during their first classic line up era. Bossanova by the Pixies. I hadn’t listened to this for ages but have recently gone back to it. I’ll always be a big Beatles and Nirvana fan as that’s what I spent my youth listening too. Really love Big Star. Favorite song ever? Probably I See A Darkness by Bonnie Prince Billy

3.Biggest influences for me: Pixies, Big Star, Weezer; My Bloody Valentine, The Nerves, The Byrds; Gram Parsons, Teenage Fanclub, Jesus Lizard; early Metallica/Megadeth, Flaming Lips, Blur, Everly Brothers- Interpol’s first album (Wire); early Dinosaur Jr,; Part Chimp, Mink Stoles.  Recently I like First Aid Kit. I liked person Pitch by Panda Bear and the first couple of Perfume Genius albums- particularly Mr. Peterson

4. I would like to say thanks to all our fans around the world. Your support is really appreciated and I hope you like the new album when it comes out.

5. We’ve recorded about half of the next album so will spend the next few months writing and recording the second half. We are playing at a few festivals this summer.

6. Music means everything to me and is mostly what I think about in my head. I love playing and writing. Highlight so far has been the recent recording session that we’ve done. I really feel we’ve stepped it up to a whole new level. Last year I really enjoyed playing on the main stage at the audio soup festival. It’s the loudest I’ve ever played through an amp. and it was exciting to play on a huge stage.

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Jen Armstrong

  1. Winning the Make It Break It Award at LIPA when I was 16. That kind of kicked it all off for me! It was a great start to my career. I also loved opening for Nerina Pallot at Shepherds Bush Empire, and for Billy Ocean and The Proclaimers at a local festival.
  1. I guess it has to be Ben Folds, Rocking The Suburbs. I could listen to it all day, every day. He’s one of my favourite, if not my favourite, artists. There are a handful of other albums and artists that mean a great deal to me too though.. picking one is too hard! Same goes with the song. I hold certain songs very close to my heart for different reasons. Love Song by Sara Bareilles, such a strong solid piano driven pop song that, again, I could listen to over and over and over. Video Killed The Radio Star- not only an amazing pop song, but so iconic and has itself lodged firmly as an important piece of pop music culture. Apres Un Reve, Faure. There are just too many. I could give you 100 of ‘my favourite songs that I couldn’t live without.’
  1. Classical music. Various composers. I grew up with it, I played it, I listened to it, it was my life from 7-18 years old. It had a tremendous impact on who I am today as a musician, performer and writer. Hanson were the band who got me and my sister inspired to write music ourselves and form our own sibling band! I played the drums! Because of Hanson! And then bands like Savage Garden, Muse, Orson, The Feeling, Ben Folds Five.. massively influential bands for me as a teenager. Now? I’ll be honest, I need to expand my musical library. But Ben Folds, Gavin Degraw, Sara Bareilles.. massive inspirations. And people like Adele, Jessie J, Ed Sheeran – English folk putting an almighty stamp on the world with their music, wow I absolutely aspire to, and am inspired by that.
  1. Thank you for believing in me. Every year that passes, I find myself faltering and questioning myself a little more. Without you, I would have given up a long time ago.
  1. I’m in the States until August. Trying to ‘make it.’ My future plans all ride on the next 3 months.
  1. I’m in a strange place right now. Music is my life. Always has been. But taking something so beautiful and forcing it in to a means of making money and creating fame, absolutely tarnishes the magic. Part of me wishes I had never embarked on this journey, and I had kept music as something special that I could run to when the world was closing in on me. It was my recess. It was my escape. It made me feel better. More and more it becomes the reason I can’t sleep at night. The reason I now question my life and my choices. I’m not blaming music, of course, music is wonderful. And it is so sad that I may have turned the music, the magic, in to a catalyst toward my self destruction.

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Ellene Masri

  1. Memories is what I hope to give people. I’m looking ahead for greater things and constantly trying to improve myself!
  1. Rapture (Anita Baker) produced by Dean Gant (A.k.A. Sir Gant). The arrangements are wonderful and the musicians are some of my all-time favorite. (The late) Ricky Lawson on drums, Freddie Washington on bass, Paulinho Da Costa on percussion and of course Sir. Gant on keys. Song:  The Secret Life of Plants (Stevie Wonder)
  1. Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Richard Bona, George Benson, the stunning India Arie… there are so many (artists I love).
  1. Thank You. I Love You!
  2. We shot a live video performance last Sunday in Los Angeles with Sir. Gant as the musical director, the Legendary Bennie Maupin on Saxophone, the coolest drummer Michael White; James Manning on Bass, David Leach on percussion (and myself on vocals and guitar). Its editing is in process. We have upcoming shows in Europe and the Middle East.
  1. Music is my way of expression. Being able to express yourself as thoroughly as possible is a necessity in life

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