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BIRD is back and flying with her latest single, Hurricane.

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She has been branded an ‘Electro-Pop’ artist but is more Trans-Genre. Hurricane boasts epic string passages and pumping drums: a confident lead performance and whoosing pads. It is the latest release from the album, Inside Out, and documents the storm one can experience in a relationship – where the parties who live in an unhappy relationship and want something more. I ask her about the song – which has been remixed by Ash Howes, Tin Tin Out and Philip Larsen (in different versions) – and what more we can expect from Inside Out. Previous albums have revolved around the voice (Girl and a Cello) and computers (Figments of Our Imagination) – I am fascinated by the evolution and diversity of a promising and fantastic young songwriter.

Bird discusses whether we will see more remixes from Inside Out; how she fuses genres together and what kind of music upbringing she had. I ask about her favourite musical memory to date and whether there will be any tour dates coming – and the three albums that mean the most to her.


Hi, Bird. How are you? How has your week been?


I’m in the middle of working on a chill-out remix of my own single – with remixer LA Son.

For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?


I’m Bird. I’m a singer-songwriter making alternative Electro/Pop music (although I prefer to be described as ‘Trans-Genre’).

I’m a multi-instrumentalist. I also write and produce for other artists.

Did you catch Glastonbury? What was your opinion? Any performances stand out to you? 

Sadly not yet – been too busy in the studio.

The new single, Hurricane, is out on 11th August. What can you tell us about its themes and background?

It’s about a fictional affair – two people looking for more but know, that in getting what they want, they may create a terrible storm.

I don’t like to write directly about anyone in particular so I make songs out of all the little stories and things I hear or experience.

It is the second single from the album, Inside Out. What more can you reveal about the album and the sort of songs we can expect?

I am trying to co-write as much as possible.

The last album I did pretty much alone – including playing everything – so I wanted to be more sociable this time round!

I was also inspired by an album I worked on last year – that was entirely created by a series of collaborations – and thought I’d like to try doing something similar.

In terms of composition and producing, you are one of those people who take care of everything and does not need many other bodies. Is it quite hard tackling it all or do you prefer that approach?

It’s not been a conscious choice really – it’s just the way it’s happened.

I like working alone, but equally, when I am not being ‘Bird’, I write and work with other artists – so I love the collaborative process too.

Apparently, genres as far-flung as Trip-Hop and Soul will make their way into the album. Is it quite hard recording one song in a particular headspace and stepping somewhere different for another track?


It’s actually a lot easier in some ways – you have more freedom to create whatever you fancy.

In the past, you have given your music to D.J.s and producers to remix. Will this happen with Inside Out, do you think?

Almost definitely

How early did music hit you? I know you picked up the cello at a young age. Were you always driven to be a musician?


I was six when I started playing the cello. I never thought about it as a ‘job’ because it is not work; it’s part of me – so I never grew up thinking one day I’ll be a professional musician.

I grew up knowing I’d always make music…

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Can you remember the artists you grew up to that sparked that ambition and passion?

Playing sparked that ambition: listening to other people just confirmed it.

What have been your favourite memories in music so far? Is there a live date or achievement that you would single out?

I co-wrote and sung a song last year – that was the title track on an album that went to number one in Belgium last year.

That was my first number one and that was cool.

Playing Glastonbury was great but the coolest gigs are the little intimate ones.

Can we expect any tour dates in the coming months?


Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Perfect Plush are doing a really interesting project – they’re from Copenhagen.

If you had to select three albums that have meant the most to you; which would they be and why?

Michael JacksonOff the Wall

I got given it by the man who owned the bar I was dancing in. I was about seven, on holiday in Holland, I think.

Apparently, I did a great spin to Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.

The PoliceZenyatta Mondatta

I’d just started playing the drums – and hearing the drumming on this album blew my mind.

Elliot Smith – Figure 8

Simply beautiful songwriting – inspires me endlessly.

What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?

Make music because you can’t imagine not doing it. Play because you can’t stop – and only listen to people if they have something constructive to tell you.

NEVER let anyone tell you you’re too old, too young – too whatever.

Music has no boundaries – only societies have those.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that). Let’s get your audience spinning too…

Michael JacksonDon’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough


Follow Bird

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TRACK REVIEW: Saints Patience – Taste of You



Saints Patience



Taste of You





Taste of You - Saints Patience 

Taste of You is available at:


Classic-Rock; Funk


London, U.K.

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The album, Weather the Storm, is available at:


19th May, 2017


I have broken one of my reviewing rules…

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and am returning to an act I have featured before – I am only taking new artists for the next few months. I had to make an exception because of the sheer quality of Saints Patience. I shall come to them in a bit but, before I do, wanted to look at a few different areas. The first relates to a Classic-Rock sound and mixing it with Funk; the next is the weight and relevance of London and its bands. Following that, I want to talk about how hard it is getting an album together (and sacrifices needed); addictive and effective songwriting and  the importance of seeing bands live. To start with – and something I covered last time I reviewed the band – a look at mixing Classic-Rock sounds with sounds contemporary. By ‘Classic-Rock’, I don’t mean it is a mix of Chicago, Lynyrd Skynyrd  and Boston. Not that there is anything wrong with those bands: my featured act takes whispers of those kind of bands but instills the essence of the genre into their music. We all get distinct views when certain genres are mentioned. To me, we need more acts that have contemporary flair but look back at the best Rock acts of the past. In the case of Saints Patience; the band are original and fresh but have the epic stadium-sized potential of the Rock greats. Classic-Rock is a genre that really interests me. A lot of modern Rock tries it best to evoke the brilliance of past sounds but falls a bit short. There are some great artists around but, when it comes to Rock, I feel there aren’t many bands that linger in the memory. Many are questioning whether Rock is dead and that is an interesting thing to raise. There are a few wonderful acts that have stunning tracks and a unique sound but, for the most part, we get a rather predictable and uninspiring fare. Even established artists like Royal Blood – in spite of the epic noise and stage presence – have very little to offer – when compared to their debut album.

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What I love about Classic-Rock is how rare it is today. Maybe a few acts are trying it but, for the most part, Rock artists are putting Indie and Alternative sounds together. It is very modern and urgent but there is something missing. Saints Patience are unique in the sense they represent the spirit and flair of 1970s Rock (some 1980s in there) but have a funky edge. It is hard to keep the hips dormant when listening to one of their tracks. A rare blend that finds accessible and sing-along choruses – perfect for stadiums and those who like their music addictive – with sassy swivel and some spicy Funk workouts. The bass is taut and slithering whilst the drums power with potency and authority. The vocals are commanding and sensual whilst the guitars sting and explode with colour and fire. In a time where many artists are being accused of lacking longevity and anything new – bands like Saints Patience act as guidance. The band know people want something fresh and relatable. Many people do not want to investigate older music and are attached to everything current and new. Saints Patience play music that could feature on BBC Radio 1 – and youth-targeting stations – but they appeal to a range of tastes/generations. There is a touch of those legendary Rock acts – together with some cool-edged Funk. I know the band are fans of acts like Led Zeppelin (and Jimi Hendrix) so there is a bit of the ‘60s in there, too. Such a rich and varied blend from a band who has a passion for various types of music and the need to create something unexpected and long-lasting. You listen to an album like Weather the Storm and hear the best Classic-Rock sounds together with brilliant Funk and modern Alternative. Whilst we struggle to find great Rock bands that provide something original and exciting; a band like Saints Patient are a solid and dependable option.

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I always talk about London and how strong its music scene is. That is not going to change because, with artists like Saints Patience around, the capital is showing its diversity and strength. I know the band live in different parts of the country but they come together and gig in London. Right now, there is a lot of focus on London – following Grenfell and other events – and there is a sense of expectation on musicians. Not that music has to fill a gap or offer hope: many want to embrace great sounds and find solace and comfort in music. London is at the centre of things and is the beating heart of this country’s music industry. There are so many different bands playing around London – all with their own style and agenda. Why I want to focus on London is because of the sheer quality I am hearing. This applies to other parts of the U.K. but, to my ears, there is nowhere stronger than London right now. It is not only bands impressing but duos, solo artists and trios. I am exciting seeing how the rest of this year plays out but, already, I am discovering new artists who have the potential to last for a long time. Saints Patience are among them and take inspiration from the capital. Having seen the guys play – more on that later – I can attest what a reception they get from people in London and how at-home they seem here. That is another reason London is such an attractive proposition: so many various-sized venues for artists to play in. I think there is a school of thought that considers London a rough and stressful place to make a career in. In terms of ‘regular’ jobs, that might be the case but, when speaking of music, I feel life is a bit easier. Of course, there are a lot of artists in London but there are more than enough spaces to accommodate. From charming pubs to arenas, one has a bounty on their doorstep. Saints Patience have played some of London’s best venues but I feel they deserve a lot more attention.

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Weather the Storm was put together and played by Spencer and Mudibu. The band have a bassist and drummer – for live commitments – so they are capable of producing big band performances or something a bit more ‘intimate’. I know, from speaking with Spencer a while back, it can be challenging getting gigs but, in a way, I feel this is down to a lack of management. The band have to take care of every dimension of their work. They have a record label behind them but need that extra pair of hands when it comes to scouting for gigs. The band have the potential to carve up a large percentage of London’s venues so it is merely a case of finding the right person to further their career. As a duo and four-piece; there is a connection and solidity that goes right into the music. I hope the remainder of 2017 finds the band grab some great gigs in London because the city is thriving right now. I have argued the case for places like Manchester and Glasgow but I feel London is leading the pack right now. It brings me to a point about live gigs and the importance of seeing an act in the flesh. I have not been to many gigs – time and financial constraints – and it is always a regret. Not all bands/artists are great live but most are. It is where they have to earn their living so, as such, are motivated and determined. The last time I saw Saints Patience was last year and was amazed by their stage presence. The confidence and connection between the players was amazing. Mudibu up-front, swaggering and dancing about the stage; the cut and fire of the guitar; Amanda’s powerful and intense drumming – epic bass lines and liquid grooves. It all gelled so well and led to an unforgettable and much-talked-about gig.

Most of my time is spent reviewing things via music-sharing sites. It is the easiest way to do things but I spend a lot of time on a laptop. A lot of my exposure to music is digital so it is always refreshing getting out there and seeing an artist play. Not only are gigs a great way to discover new music but can provide new light and revelation. I had only heard Saints Patience through music-streaming sites so had certain knowledge of their sound. It was only when meeting them – and seeing them take to the stage – new nuances and qualities were revealed. It has, after the fact, made me more curious about live acts and the band themselves. Weather the Storm is an album that has a live sound and could have been taken from the stage. Having seen the band play live; I was excited to sit down with the album – and Taste of You especially – and see whether there was any difference between their live sound and recorded material. It only takes a few bars of the song to feel the raw energy and realness of their gigs. There is very little polish: one gets a direct hit of Saints Patience at their most uncomplicated and direct. Were I to encounter Saints Patience on the album and not see them live, I feel I’d be missing out on a great experience. Seeing artists in the flesh means you get a chance to connect with them and see how their music differs – compared to how it sounds on the record. It gives a full appreciation of music and provides a lot more to the passionate listener. In terms of Saints Patience, I have encountered a wonderful band on the stage and got to sit down and review their new music. I can see how their live experience and gigging has gone into the record. I reviewed Break of Dawn a while back and can see new elements and qualities come into their music. There is extra confidence and sounds; the album brims with invention and standout moments.

Taste of You - Saints Patience

There are few enduring bands/artists who pen long-lasting songs that you carry around with you. I hear a lot of acts and like a song upon first listen – only to have it slip from the brain a few hours/days after the fact. It is not their fault – perhaps my attention span is short – because there are so many artists around. I feel it is becoming harder and harder to create something truly original. What we can learn from that is, perhaps, there needs to be some sort of limitation I guess? It might sound extraordinary limiting music and stopping people from recording. I suppose that is some form of communism but all I mean is encouraging our new artists to push themselves. There are so many generic and unspectacular artists around it makes it harder discovering genuinely brilliant ones. Maybe, a better alternative perhaps, we have to rely on our own tastes and expend more time discovering music. Many still rely on radio and sites like Spotify for their tunes. If we all take the effort to dig deeper; we will come across some new treasures and artists we hadn’t encountered before. I always maintain there should be a website where we can discover sounds bespoke to us – new recommendations based on our tastes. I know there are sites like Deezer – and others that employ algorithms that customise playlists – but we can do better. I would like to see something that pulls together the best radio stations out there and filters their finest tunes into a playlist. The same way YouTube remembers the songs I like – and recommends others on that basis – collating the best of the best, as it were. That way, the listener would get quality and consistency – they would have recommendations and guidance when it comes to new acts. At the moment, we are flooded by the Internet, social media and radio. It is challenging sifting through it all and picking out the gold. I feel music would be stronger and more rewarding if we had a way of organise the best acts into one source – allowing our brain to switch off from the remainder.

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Some would say it is impossible or foolhardy – all artists deserve a shot; quality is a subjective term – but I feel artists like Saints Patience deserve a lot more fans than they have. They have few equals when it comes to their showmanship, live performances and memorable songwriting. One need only listen to Taste of You to get an impression of what they are about. I have looked at the hip-moving Break of Dawn and know Weather the Storm is rammed with quality tunes. The guys have a knack for taking the funkiest jams and lacing them around rock-solid jams. In terms of music, the compositions are rich, invigorating and nuanced. The vocals, from Mudibu, are always electric and striking; the guitar work from Spencer consistently strong and exhilarating. Throw those songs into the live arena, and the fall band are capable of whipping up a frenzy. When I hosted the guys at The Finsbury; so many people were struck, not only by the great performance, but the way the songs get straight into the brain. One is awed and in love straight away. There are not many artists you can say that about, I guess. It seems music should be a meritocracy but that is not what’s happening. There is still that imbalance that means the best out there have to work harder than those who get a commercial/label hand. Saints Patience have Lost in the Manor helping them and pushing their music but one feels they deserve a rite-of-passage to the biggest gigs and venues around. I hope that will happen soon enough but there needs to be an easier way for our finest musicians to get the credit they deserve. Weather the Storm is an album that will go a long way to creating a dialogue – one of the strongest I have heard in a long time, for sure.

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Before I come to look at the song in question; I want to talk about Saints Patience and how their album came together. I spoke with Spencer a while ago and got an insight into how a record comes together. He explained how the band – or him and Mudibu – were piecing together songs gradually and it was a case of finding time and money to put the songs together. They had songs formulated and ready but it was a case of waiting until they could afford to get into the studio. Well, in fact, the songs were home-recorded and put together in a very modest space. Many of us assume bands/acts go into a glitzy studio and, if a song sounds polished and professional, it must have been put together by high-paid producers in a luxury space. That might be the case with a lot of professionals and mainstream artists but it is a different reality for new artists. They do not have the cash to go into those spaces so, quite often, have to find more pragmatic alternatives. Live dates are the main source of revenue for most artists so, depending on how many gigs they play, often determines the sort of toys they have to play with for an album. A band like Saints Patience relies on solid songwriting and effusive performances but, like every act, they need to get the quality up there. That does not only rely on time but technology and equipment. In the case of Saints Patience, they had recording equipment but it was not money that was the main consideration but energy and time. I know Spencer was tirelessly working through mixes and spending all hours putting songs together. I can only imagine the work effort needed to get things together but it would have been a case of working on each song and seeing it through to the end. There were no shortcuts and raft of producers getting it all sounds perfect. The guys would have shouldered that and had to take care of every component.

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Even if you are in love with the material being produced, the sacrifices associated with putting it all together can be brutal. I am not saying every album experience is like that but, in this modern age, it can be tough. There are long hours – often going deep into the night – and a lot of compromises. An artist might need to take a second job – in addition to finding time between jobs to record music – and push the limits of their homes/limited record equipment. So long as the passion and focus is strong, it can override these logistical challenges but I understand how draining it can be for artists. Saints Patience’s Spencer and Mudibu hunkered down and laboured hard. A few of the songs had already been performed live – Break of Dawn released a single – so it was a case of getting those existing songs down on tape and making sure the new material sounded great. Taste of You is a terrific example of what Saints Patience are about and how good their music is. I am glad the album is together but realise how difficult and time-consuming it was. That should not put off new artists but act as a reminder of the hurdles associated. The rewards, for most, outweigh the negatives: music is something that demands a lot of commitment and a realistic sense of turnaround. Of course, Saints Patience are not fresh out the blocks and expect it to be a few years until they start making it big. The thing is, they have music so fresh and impressive it deserves that sort of exposure right now. Weather the Storm is their mandate and business plan – let’s hope it finds willing investors and a hungry audience.

Taste of You - Saints Patience

Taste of You wastes no time in getting involved and building up the momentum. There are finger-clicks and synths. working together to create something late-night and curious. Like someone on the prowl for excitement and activity; the song searches and explores the land. The beats are tense and tight: contrasting the swaying and swaggering nature of the electronics. Before long, the mood and noise heightens into an audio burst. Mudibu’s voice, oddly, has flecks of Paul Weller when coming to the microphone. One hears embers of The Modfather in places which is quite pleasing. Of course, his natural accent and tones come through but there is that underlying Punk/Rock sounds. Taste of You is funky and head-nodding throughout and, in a way, has Disco flavours to it. The hero likes the taste of the heroine and, from the off, has the chest pumping and heart on the sleeve. It is a confident and compelling opening that ensures the listener is excited and curious. We are “innocent”, as the hero explains. There is no one else around and being together is the way to be. One or two of the words are lost in the mix – the percussion and electronics do get intrusive at times – so you cannot piece things together as quickly as hoped. Not that this is ever an issue. What one gains from the initial seconds is a complete and busy song that vibrates, dances and races into the mind. The intentions are clear and earnest: our man wants his girl close to him. Maybe there have been obstacles that meant they could not be together. Finally, that moment has arrived and it is important not a second is wasted.

That need to seize the day and get surrender to the moment comes through in a determined and stunning vocal. There are wordless vocals that add a choral effect and the beats – machine-fed and compacted – are perfect for the song. Something more agile and natural might not give the song the urgency and singularity it needs. Taste of You is about getting with the girl and having that opportunity. As such, the beats need to reflect a tense heartbeat, sense of sweat and physicality. We get that coming through. The composition projects so many different emotions, possibilities and visions. It is exciting and surging but has complexity and colour. The girl is the ecstasy and inspiration. Our hero wants her close to him forever. I am not sure the background of the song – whether Mudibu sources from his own experiences – but one can hear how meaningful this song is. Every word explodes off the page in a storm of passion, sweat and desire. There is that yearning to not let the girl go. He wants the woman and needs everything from her – not only sex and commitment but her thoughts, feeling and emotions. Our man is committed and in this for the long-run. There is history, I feel, and some bad days. Now, things cannot go the same way and this bond cannot be broken. By the time the verse comes down, and we are in the midst of that catchy and compelling wordlessness, there is a wave of Funk and excitement. Your head and toes are united and the song takes over. Few songs have the potential to make that big an impact the first time you hear it. The heroine is lying next to her man – he likes the shape of her – and there is that impression of afterglow and pride. Mudibu is backed by an arsenal of sonic wingmanship and evocativeness. There are howling, echoed electronics and those teasing beats. It is a perfect backdrop for his words of affection and dedicated. A lot of lovers are not loyal and that honest, but here, one hears a man in the throes of love.

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In a sense, Weather the Storm has a conceptual arc running through it. Break of Dawn opens and it is a track that demands dancing and consistent boogying. Awaken and Control arrives shortly after and projects something more introspective and investigative. Tongue Tied and What Makes You Free leads to You Came Along; Taste of You seems like the result of that filtration, build-up and expectation. In that context, one is relieved the lovers are together and the hero has that sense of satisfaction. He is not someone who is going to dispense with the girl once he’s had his fun. No. What we have is a man who is tired of the chase and wants to settle into something more solid. That chorus gets into the head and those vital messages reinforced. The hero does not want to waste a moment and is not letting anything fall to chance. In a way, I could imagine Michael Jackson tackling a song like this during his Bad/Dangerous days. The former album was a softer affair but had some tough moments. Dangerous was a harder and more physical album. Taste of You could have sat on either album – one can only imagine what the King of Pop would have done with the song. I am not sure whether Saints Patience are inspired by Jacko but Mudibu has that same sort of command and intrigue when he’s on the mic. Regardless of the history – another cheeky Jacko reference! – there is no debating how meaningful this moment is. One can picture (although, not too vividly) the lovers entwined and surrendering to their shared lust. Weather the Storm has so much variation and genre-mix. Here, we get an all-out Funk gem that demonstrates what a talent Spencer and Mudibu are. Spencer’s production, compositional input and guidance cannot be understated. He creates a mix that has choral, wordless vocals; sizzling electronics and some of the tightest beats south of the River. Tie that to one of Mudibu’s strongest and most assured vocals and it is a song that shows how good Saints Patience is.

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The guys have played The Pack and Carriage very recently and seen Weather the Storm pick up some great reviews. It is encouraging the band has gigs lined up and a chance to get that material out to the crowds. I hope that continues through the summer. They are the type of group that can get the crowds moving and leave smiles on faces. As I said, my experience seeing them live remains with me still. I know many others have Saints Patience in their heart. The more the band perform and the greater number of gigs they get; it will compel and propel them to continue making music and taking their songs around that world. I can imagine them succeeding on a European tour and finding fans across America. Australia loves Funk and Rock so I would not rule that out. Great and eager artists deserve a lot of attention and opportunity. Maybe money and demand might limit their horizons – whether the audience is quite big enough to justify a jaunt over the waters – but that will change very soon. Before I close this, I will look ahead to Saints Patience’s future and some points I raised earlier. Spencer and Mudibu have laid the album down but Amanda and Ed join them on the stage. It is when they are all together; I think, they are at their strongest. Of course, they began as a duo so are used to that recording process but that is the great thing about Saints Patience – that duel-configuration means they are adaptable and not constrained in any way. Being such a powerhouse band, I would expect them to get gigs in London and play some new venues. It is a competitive and busy market but one that rewards the very best. I know there will be some trials along the way but the band can handle anything that comes their way. The music is so strong and captivating it is going to see them succeed and grow. What form that takes – international gigs or mainstream recognition – I am excited by the prospect of more music. Weather the Storm is a fantastic album; Taste of You a terrific example of what it is all about. Make sure you check the album out (on Spotify) and hear what all the hard work and graft has resulted in.

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Maybe I should return to that last point and highlight how much effort was expended by Spencer and Mudibu when creating the album. They did not have deep pockets to facilitate their ambitions – only a determination to get the music sounding right. Long nights and endless days; that desire to hear their music played on radio stations and heard by the masses – that is what kept them going and alive. It may sound a bit Draconian and cruel but there was a lot of uplift and pleasure along the way. I would have liked the guys to have had that option to go into the studio and some of the burden lifted. Get the four-piece in a room and capture the same sort of sound I heard back at The Finsbury. Weather the Storm sounds sensational as it is but, I know, the guys would have liked the option to get their cohorts together. That is the reality of music today: it is so difficult putting stuff together inexpensively; you have to make hard choices and accept it will not be easy. Again, a bit grim but it is, as I said, the passion and love of music that gets artists through. London is a heaving and bubbling cauldron that is producing some of the world’s best music. Many will contend places like L.A. and Glasgow are better but I feel that is untrue. The capital has the greatest solo artists and finest bands: exciting and brilliant music that is more than a match for any other area. We have the best venues a really strong and together community. The spirit and buzz coming out of London is inspiring so many artists to move and settle themselves here. I know it is a crowded city but, for musicians, there is enough for everyone.

Not only does one have a cavalcade of venues at their feet but so many other acts around them. To me, London is the Mecca of the music industry. There are so many options for artists and the beating heart of the media resides here. If one wants to get under the microscope, there is no finer place to do so. I have a lot of love for cities like New York and Los Angeles but know there is nowhere quite like London. Saints Patience have that affection for London and getting gigs at some wonderful spots. Although they are among hundreds of other acts in the capital (thousands, possibly), they have a genuine gift for live performance. I mentioned how crucial it is to see bands/acts live – giving one a full understanding of what they are about and how their music translates – and can recommend a good night would be seeing Saints Patience play. I get invited to see artists play all the time and always have to turn people down. It is a shame but, being based just outside the city, it is tough finding the time and money to commute. In addition to making a full move to London – thus, affording myself the closeness and convenience – I want to detach more from the laptop and get myself out the in ether. That sociability and humanness one forsakes when being a journalist (well, me, at least) is hard to take. There are demands on one and it is not often practical to sack off an evening and see a band play. If you are in demand, you are expected to put the work effort in. I feel, however, it is always prudent to switch off one side of your brain now and then and give yourself a chance to recharge. Gigs are a wonderful way of meeting people and seeing a great act perform. Saints Patience are an incredible live act that has a loyal fan base but so much potential. The more gigs they get – and the more they can get out there – will determine how quickly they ascend to the mainstream. Performing is where their strengths lie and I know, first-hand, how affecting and memorable they are.

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One of the reasons they are being heralded by reviewers and fans is the mix of sounds employed. On the one hand, they go back in time and source from the Classic-Rock annals. No specific band comes to mind: one gets a fusion of U.S. giants and the best of British. It is an intoxicating blast that is not nostalgic but current and relevant. They take that established and full genre and add their own spin to it. Classic-Rock is anthemic and suited for those who like their music epic and rousing. Seeing Mudibu sing and one gets touches of the great showmen of Rock. He has that flamboyance and physicality the likes of Freddie Mercury were synonymous with. That goes into the music and one hears a singer with flair and personality. On the other hand, Saints Patience takes touches of Funk and sprinkles that into the pot. Again, there is a balance of British and American. A lot of their music is designed to project optimism and hope. Break of Dawn urges people to dance until the sun comes up. Taste of You has some personal revelations but leaves a very pleasing aftertaste. It is a song that has the energy and spritz of their previous material but something romantic and subtle lingering. The band/duo are masterful when it comes to penning familiar and accessible songs that get the heart thumping, feet tapping and the voice singing. Not many can claim that so, because of that alone, they deserve huge kudos. I shall leave things now but it has been enjoyable discovering the latest (and best) work from Saints Patience. Even though I have broken one of my reviewing rules – assessing acts I have previously featured – I shall forgive myself this time. Taste of You is a song I HAD to look into: the finest cut (I feel) from Weather the Storm. Get involved with the album from a music force that will not remain a secret…

Taste of You - Saints Patience

FOR much longer.


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FEATURE: The New Summer of Love





The New Summer of Love


FIFTY years ago this summer…

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over one-hundred-thousand people converged to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood to celebrate something wonderful. There was no social media or any sort of cynical build-up. Whether opposed to the Vietnam War or the consumerist values of the time – it was a movement that brought Hippies together to promulgate love and togetherness. Liverpool is hosting its 50 Summers of Love and getting into the spirit of things. I have seen articles published that state how different life was in England during 1967. The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band stirred a movement of sorts but there was not the same commune, mass and excitement as there was in San Francisco. Here, we had Hippie movements and counter-culture rebellion – nothing quite as pronounced and notable as in the U.S. Here, people were busy working and there was a  sense of countries being divided. Bands like The Beatles went some way to representing the spirit and psychedelia unfolding in the U.S. but how different were the experiences? Whatever the splits and reality gaps between the nations; that Summer of Love has gone down in history as a time when everyone came together – forget war and hate and all join in arms, flowers and peace. Yes, there were a lot of drugs flying about – that was part of the culture – but it is not the defining take-away from summer of 1967. It was the way, against the tyranny and fear at the time, the masses assembled and linked arms. A lot of the music at the time promoted a sense of freedom and hope. The experimentation the likes of The Beatles showcased extended to the U.S. (and other bands around the world). It was never gimmicky or intended to placate the government. It was a passive and wonderful way of spreading something warm and wonderful.

The corner of Masonic and Haight streets in 1967. Photo: © Jim Marshall Photography LLC

PHOTO CREDIT:  Jim Marshall Photography LLC

Cynics can claim it is a 1960s hangover that was merely peace-signs, drop and colourful clothing – not a lot of substance and concrete ideology. It was never intended as a real political movement or alternate governance. What it was, in essence, was a way to forget the barbarism of war and the corruption that was happening in the U.S. Sure, the movement bled into Britain but it was never as full-on and vociferous as in San Francisco. That out-right rejection of scrupulous leadership and poor decisions, in this day and age, would be violent and vocal. In 1967, there was plenty of protest but the need to counterbalance bloodshed with familial understanding and communal unification. The reason I wanted to mark this time – and why its anniversary is so important – is because society has really not grown since 1967. We know more and have more technology at our fingertips. There are more people and we have seen some horrible events unfold (the last fifty years). Governments have come and gone and we have all survived some bleak days. One would think, given our shared history and lessons from the past, we would learn and avoid the same issues and ignorance of the 1960s. I guess society and government are always going to be infused with a degree of malevolence, selfishness and double-crossing. I would have thought they’d be less terrorism and fewer incidences that provoke such negative reactions and shared anger. Now, we live in a time where the government are hanging by a thread and terrorist incidents are happening more regularly than past decades. We are all wary and scared right now: something that counteracts that and channels it into warmth and love is much-needed. My suggestion would be setting up a series of events/concerts that bring all kind of musicians together.

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It need not be a replication of the Summer of Love – we are a little more stringent with regards drugs and fashions today – but a modern-day equivalent would be welcomed. Being more conservative and rule-conscious; it would be a tempered and muted comparison. We can retain the colours, fashions and general ethos – the togetherness and love – but replace the narcotics and free sexual expression with alternate methods of fun. In fact, it is starting to sound like one of those gluten/sugar/fat-free dishes with tremendous calorific promise – little taste and flavour to tantalise the senses. That isn’t the case here: we must be pragmatic and sensible in 2017. There are hordes of musicians and artists who, down to the compartmentalised nature of music, often perform at different festivals and events. That is only natural given the sheer scale and depth of music. What I am suggesting, aligning itself to commemorations like 50 Summers of Love, is a mix of a gathering and music day. Maybe in London or Manchester (or both) there would be a day where people could express love, unity and peace. We are seeing a lot of disgust after the Grenfell Tower fire. Rightful tensions have been created but we are seeing a campaign of community cooperation and support – the victims being helped; funds being raised to help get them back on their feet. In essence, the common man is doing more (with limited funds and times) than the government is. I know it is challenging for any government to predict something like Grenfell – or stop terrorist attacks – but there are definite holes that need plugging. There is instability and uncertainty about the Conservative government so, rather than shout them out with violent force, create a sweet-vibed chorus of people who offers a more peaceful and loving environment. Many might feel there is no point: it will not affect any changes and seems quite insubstantial. It is not designed to be a political tactic (kill them with kindness?!) but a chance to get everyone together and stand arm-in-arm.

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The musical component is the thing I am most interested in. I know there will be events up and down the country that nod to 1967 and try and recapture some of that spirit. There will be remembrance, nostalgia and celebration but we must not use this anniversary as a chance to reflect without taking action. Of course, Grenfell is fresh in the minds – there are lots of events and gigs to raise money and awareness – but so much going on that requires the spirit and mass of love we have been seeing lately. It would be the culmination of community we saw following the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, too. There could be a day of music that coincides with the Summer of Love anniversary – our own version, as it were! It would be wonderful to see a mini-festival/one-day event that puts women as headliners (or most) and mixes genres, ages and nations. A multinational, cross-genre music-jam that would foster support towards one another a general feel-good sensation. If that all sounds retro-Hippie then forgive me but it seems like there is a tide of opinion that requires such a movement – however brief it happens to burn. Whether it took the form of a gig or congregation; it would be good to involve the music community and have their talents lead the way. Music is the thing that bonds us and creates that universal positivity. If it were to be harnessed, if only for one day, it would much-needed and a wonderful way for the country to come together. The U.S. could join and it could be a duel-national rebellion. I am not sure what is being planned – and something similar is shaping right now – but it seems like an opportune moment to go for it. There would be little of the clothing, ideologies and drug motifs of the original Summer of Love but, moving with the times, we can create our own version. Maybe not a summer, as such, but a number of days. Bring great music, art and culture together; create films, pieces and fight heartache, anger and insincerity with something much more inspirational and creative. The sun is warming us and thoughts are turning to summer. Let’s hope this one…

Thanks for Diggers New Years Eve Wail 1967. Photo: © Jim Marshall Photography LLC

PHOTO CREDIT:  Jim Marshall Photography LLC

IS an extra-special one.



INTERVIEW: Auction for the Promise Club



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Auction for the Promise Club


EMERGING fresh to my willing earbuds…

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is the Cornish trio, Auction for the Promise Club. I HAD to ask where that name comes from – they, as it seems, will take that proprietary knowledge the icy depths of the grave! Not so inscrutable and secretive in other areas; I get the skinny on their new album, Silence, and a bit more on the songs included. Zoe White Chambers, her brother Toby and Perran Tremewan have a dynamic sound – I ask how the White Chambers met Tremewan and whether there was an instant connection.

The guys talk about recording at Airfield Studios with Paul Reeve (Muse; Beta Band) and what it is like being signed to Easy Action Records. I ask whether they caught Glastonbury – and if they had any highlights – what their favourite albums are and where they might be headed in the next few months.


Hi, guys. How are you? How have your weeks been? 


Very good, thank you; busy as usual (like yourself, I’m sure)!

For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?


We are Auction for the Promise Club: a female-fronted three-piece Indie/Rock band from Cornwall.

Did you guys watch Glastonbury? What did you make of it? Any highlights? 


Big Radiohead fan. They are always magical.

It looked like a good line up; very eclectic.

Zoe and Toby, you are siblings. How did you come to hook-up with Perran Tremewan? Was it quite an instant relationship?

A friend called Kenver introduced Zoe and Perran.

They started playing acoustically first…then it got louder!

‘Auction for the Promise Club’ is an intriguing name. What is the derivation of the moniker?

Oh geez, I can’t tell you; no one can.

It’s secret, like the Coca-Cola recipe – we even have to fly on separate aeroplanes in case we all die in a plane crash and the secret is lost forever….

The video for new track, You Don’t Love Me, is out.  Whose concept was it and was it quite cool watching it for the first time? 

A very talented animator friend called Adam Taylor made it.  He came up with the concept and made the video in an amazingly short space of time!  Very clever stuff.

Your debut album, Silence is out now. I believe the record has been getting a lot of love. How encouraging is it to receive that kind of backing?

It’s so cool to have the collection of songs released as a package; a physical product to hold.

We have worked really hard, met some absolutely amazing people and had some awesome adventures.  The support has been fantastic, fingers crossed we can keep building on it!

You recorded it at Cornwall’s Airfield Studios with producer Paul Reeve. What was it like working in that space with such an acclaimed producer?

Paul is a lovely guy; very knowledgeable and good fun!

It’s a special space. I can’t really describe it but it has the same feel as Abbey Road – the whole studio and the history – the previous people who have recorded there to the new projects going on.

Do you guys have a favourite song from the album or particular track that means the most?

Time to Breathe.

I know you have recently signed to Easy Action Records. How supportive have the label been and what changes have you noticed from being a label-band to your unsigned, previous state?

They have been really supportive. Such a great label to be associated with, nurturing us!

There hasn’t really been much change other than release plans and being a little more organised… a little.

Who are the bands and artists that you grew up to? Any artists inspire the sound one hears through Silence?

Massive bands like Radiohead, Placebo – and musicians like Björk and Nick Cave.

What plans do you have for the rest of this year? Any touring approaching?

We have plans to get back to Germany as soon as we can – we had a blast over there.

Fingers crossed for autumn.

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Not sure if they are new but Poliça; Fever Ray etc.

But, local artists like The Rezner, Waxx and Tall Ships (if they are still going?!)

If you each had to select one album each that has meant the most to you; which would they be and why?

Zoe: Radiohead OK Computer

Magic; iconic.

Toby: Bon Iver Bon Iver

Blend of Pop inflexions and epic Alternative routes.

Perran: Nick Cave and the Bad SeedsYour Funeral…My Trial

Dark; cheeky; powerful.

What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?

Keep writing: it’s all about the songs.

Save up and work with people you know will do a top job recording the music.

Build a buzz and keep that momentum going.

Finally, and for being good sports, you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that). 

WAXX My Friends

Wolf NoteMove It On

The ReznorCruel & Kind


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PHOTO CREDIT: @oneclickwonders




ONE hears the music of Haneri and is instantly blown away.

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I talk to the young songwriter about changing names (from Daphne Khoo) and what ‘Haneri’ signifies. She gives me an insight into the new single, Burning Up, and whether it was challenging filming the video – one of the most emotion-draining and raw I have seen this year. Haneri talks about the fact her music has been picked up in so many countries – accruing popularity around the globe right now. Looking ahead; she talks about touring and where we can catch her play.

Although born in Singapore; Haneri is based in L.A. – I ask how the music scenes differ and whether her heart belongs to Singapore or the U.S. I learn more about the artists that compel her and am told what advice she offers to songwriters emerging onto the scene.


Hi, Haneri. How are you? How has your week been?


It’s been pretty good so far. I’m on tour in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and it’s always nice to be here.

I’m always well-fed and the audiences are always amazing.

For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?


I’m Haneri, formerly Daphne Khoo (hopefully, I won’t have to be doing that too much). Born in Perth, Australia; grew up in Singapore – and I currently reside in Los Angeles.

I’ve been making music and writing since I was twelve and probably singing since I was able to talk. I started my singing career in Singapore after some time on Singapore Idol –  but it’s been a long time since then and I like to think I’ve left that little sixteen-year-old behind – and have gone through many phases in my music since then.

What compelled the name change to ‘Haneri’? Does it have special significance and symbolism?

I wanted a brand-new start.

I had jumped all over the place with my releases in terms of genre and, since I started top-lining and featuring on a bunch of E.D.M. releases, I wanted to really brand myself and give myself a chance to be a little more honest under an alias – almost giving myself permission to sing and write about things that I never would have had the guts to release or write as ‘Daphne’.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @oneclickwonders

Burning Up is out now. What can you tell us about the song and its origination?

Well, very honestly, I have to give Zack Djurich a lot of the credit.

He’s a friend I met in school in Boston and we had never really written together till he told me he had this track that he had been sitting on – and we finished the song in one session (which doesn’t always happen) and were pretty pumped about it.

A bunch of tweaks later, Burning Up was born!

The inspiration behind it was my own run-in with abusive/toxic relationships and how I had heard so many of my friends going through the same things – and not having anyone to pull them out of it at the time.

I guess, in that moment, I was feeling the burn from the past and needed to find a way to sing about it. Not just for myself, but to let people who listened to the song know that they weren’t alone – that these kinds of relationships happen so often and that if you’re in one; you need to get out…now.

The song is part of New Music Friday in nine countries – including Singapore and Norway. How does that make you feel?

Honestly, I don’t know how to feel.

I’m overjoyed and I definitely have Charlotte (Project Light Agency) and the Spotify teams to thank for allowing me to be on this amazing playlist in all these countries!

The video looks like it was quite emotional and tough. What was it like filming it?

I’ve never considered myself an actress but Ryan Tan (Director) was so patient and incredible at getting me into a mode.

He was (just) very honest while some of the shots were being filmed; I slid into the frame of mind necessary pretty easily with his help.

Does this mean we are going to see an album or E.P. later in the year?

I definitely have a bunch of new music in the works.

Can’t tell you exactly what, but follow my socials for updates!

Since appearing on Singapore Idol, you have played prominent stages including Singapore Day in Melbourne; a solo ticketed concert at the Esplanade Recital Studio; and Mosaic Music Festival. What has been your most-prized memory and how do you think you’ve grown as an artist?

I think performing at the opening ceremony at the 2015 SEA Games has probably been the highlight of my career thus far – that, and having had Amber and Luna from f(x) and R3verb release something I co-wrote.

I think I’ve grown as an artist as I’ve grown as a human being. My experiences and how I’ve experienced music are intertwined and one definitely affects the other.

I’ve learned to allow myself time to adventure; to open my mind and be open to anything – and it’s given me a multitude of stories that I’ve yet to tell through my music.

Be it in the lyrics or the sounds. It’s really exciting to be working with producers like Zack that bring those experiences to life!

Burning Up has some 1980s nods and modern Electronic sounds. Who were the artists you grew up listening to – that inspired your music now?

Sooooo mannyyy!

I listened to Whitney Huston, Mariah Carey; Celine Dion, Shania Twain; Trisha Yearwood, Britney Spears; The Moffats, Christina Aguilera; Coldplay, All American Rejects; Jimmy Eat World…. The list goes onnnnnn.

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You split your time between L.A. and Singapore. How does the music scene of both places differ? Which do you feel most ‘at home’ in?

Well, I just started in L.A. and my family is all in Singapore – so I definitely feel more at home in Singapore.

But, if we’re talking about the stage, I mostly feel at home on any stage.

Can we expect to see you tour at any point this year? Where about might you be headed?

I’m on tour right now!

Over the next year, I’ll probably only do shows within the U.S. and Singapore.

But who knows? Like I said: I’m keeping an open mind!

Is there any plan to visit the U.K.? What do you think of the music and people here?

I would LOVE to visit and play in the U.K.

It’s always been a dream and when I was thinking of being based somewhere else, the U.K was high up there on the list!

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Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?


I just found out about MILCK who is INCREDIBLE – so definitely check her out (she’s not new I’m just slow but, seriously, you won’t be disappointed).

The Night Game (inspired a lot of Haneri’s style) also slow on this but I only found out about Vulfpeck in the last six months.

I’m obsessed – and lastly – after a colleague of mine introduced ALOHAHA to me – who is also not new but again, great listen and worth listening to.

If you had to select three albums that have meant the most to you; which would they be and why?

Man, that’s so hard: it’s like asking me to pick my favourite family member – which, of course, I can’t do.

But, really, if I had to they’d be:

Death Cab for a CutiePlans

Betty WhoThe Valley

John MayerRoom for Squares

These aren’t necessarily my favourite albums… there are just too many but these albums mean a LOT to me.

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What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?

It’s gonna be a long road: don’t let anyone tell you it will be easy.

But, reach for genuine smiles from people and from yourself. Wake up grateful you can do what you love; then get on with it.

Those songs won’t write themselves!

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

Haha, YAY! A treat!

I’m currently obsessed with Lorde’s Supercut

Thanks so, so much!


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Ben Talmi


THE exceptional Ben Talmi has released My Art of Almost to the world.

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With its sweet and comforting arrangements; those visceral and direct moments – strings hold it together and give it some grace. The album is a nod to his younger self: ideals of Classical music and Basset Hounds. The Art Decade frontman stands solo and is keen to project something new and unexpected. There are many stunning tracks on the album – I was keen to hear more and uncover the secrets behind My Art of Almost. Talmi talks about making the switch from his band days to his solo venture – and how the creative process differs.

I ask what it was like recording at Virtue and Vice (studio) in New York and whether there was an album track that stood out in the mind. Talmi talks about the New York music scene and whether there are plans to tour beyond the U.S. – maybe playing a few gigs in Britain. He discusses his future plans and a few of the artists who have been instrumental in regards his own music.


Hi, Ben. How are you? How has your week been?


I went to Solid Sound Music Festival over the weekend. That festival has a unique maturity to it.

For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m Benjamin Zachary Michael Talmi.

I’ve been on this musical journey for as long as I can remember – but I feel like I’m just getting started. I made a bunch of albums with a band called Art Decade until 2014.

I’ve scored T.V. shows and movies; done lots of orchestral arranging for other bands. I melt at the sight of a Basset Hound and thoroughly enjoy fresh baguettes.

My Art of Almost is the new album. What inspired its creation and what kind of themes are addressed throughout?

Abandonment of the constructs and vision of my previous band. Dealing with trying and failing over and over again – and a self-analysis of the creative exercise of making art.

I listened to tons of Rostam, Simon and Garfunkel; Brian Eno, Jon Brion; Sufjan Stevens, Radiohead – and always (always, always) tons of Classical music.

What is it like knowing it is out there? Is it quite a relief knowing the album is complete?

I’m deep in the process of working on my follow-up album so I have a really difficult time relating to My Art of Almost.

I love it but the record really documents a time when I recognized that everything I had worked for up to that point had totally failed – thus, the title.

Is there a song from the record that means the most of is particularly special?

I Know It’s True.

I was in love with someone from a very young age and never had the guts to do anything about it.

One night, it all came to fruition and it turned out the other person felt the same way the whole time. But, after it had all happened, it was painfully obvious I had put this person on such a pedestal – that no experience could ever live up to the idea I had of this person.

Life is short: follow your gut.

What was it like recording it at Virtue and Vice in Brooklyn?

A dream come true.

I have my own studio there called Greylock Records that I recorded the whole thing out of.

Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamed of having my own creative space like that. Now it’s a reality and I’m so excited for what’s next.

ProTools played a big part in the creation and recording. Did it make it easier pushing boundaries and adding a lot more to your music?

D.A.W.s such as ProTools are great indicators of one’s taste because they provide a bottomless bit of indecision.

You never have to commit to anything and that can translate to some pretty inconsistent and soulless recordings.

That being said; it was my main songwriting tool for the whole record – recording organic sounds, manipulating them within ProTools and creating melodies out of these twisted digital concoctions.

These days, I’m taking the complete opposite approach: everything is written A-Z before I record a note.

I am interested in the music scene in New York. Is it pretty active where you are and are there plenty of opportunities to perform?

It’s extremely active, extremely competitive – but very healthy.

There are endless places to play but you have to be strategic about it.

Every show has to be an event because people have a million other options (of things to do).

You have a date in Brooklyn coming up but will there be any more dates? Plans to come to the U.K., perhaps?

It’s my dream to tour the world but, for now, I’m really focusing on making my next album.

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Formerly the frontman of Art Decade; how does solo work differ? Is it strange getting into a different headspace?

I grew up completely convinced I was going to grow old in a band with my best friends from early-childhood – and it pains me to look back on those times as a solo artist now.

I love the deep, inward dive of solo songwriting, though. It’s a rare wave to catch but, when you are up there – on that metaphoric surfboard – there is no better catharsis.

Who were the artists you grew up listening to and were inspired by?

Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens; Elliot Smith and The Beatles.

I listened to BBCs stream of Radiohead headlining Glastonbury this year and I literally listened with my jaw on the floor. I cannot believe how much fire they still have.

Most bands their age are completely embarrassing but they are just getting better.

Can you give us the names of any new artists you recommend we check out?

pronoun, Sulene and YOKE LORE.

If you had to select the three albums that have meant the most to you; which would they be and why?

RadioheadKid A

Because it was a very brave and risky move to follow up OK Computer with something so left-of-center.

Sufjan Stevens Illinois

Opened my mind up to the world of contemporary Classical and Pop working in tandem.

Nick DrakePink Moon

One man, one guitar: one perfect album.

What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?

Don’t do it unless you absolutely mean it.

Don’t do it unless you have an untamable burning fire underneath you to create art…and learn how to play an instrument, dammit.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

Tokyo by The Books


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PHOTO CREDIT: Shervin Lainez








INTERVIEW: Dick Butcher



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Dick Butcher


I have been catching up with D.J. Dick Butcher

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who talks to be about his association with Superdry. AudiØ1 is the ‘sounds of Superdry’ and songs he has curated for the album. Butcher works closely with the brand and D.J.s at in-store parties. It is with pride and passion he talks about the album and why music and retail are interlinked. I ask about the process of collating the songs and working with Julian Dunkerton (Superdry’s founder).

Butcher talks about taking AudiØ1 on the road and how the club-scene differs between nations. He talks about the artists included on the Superdry album and what he has planned for the future; the acts he is inspired by and whether he thinks other retail brands should learn from Superdry’s musical ethos.

You can find/purchase the album here.


Hi, Dick. How are you? How has your week been? For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?


My name is Dick Butcher and I’m a D.J. – and have been pretty much all my working life. I play out and, also, look after the music profiling for brands like Superdry.

If you’ve ever been into a Superdry store, then you would have heard my work – as I’ve been providing the soundtrack for them for a few yews.

I love D.J.-ing. Don’t tell anyone, but I would it for free and I never happier than when I’m making bazar noises in the studio.

AudiØ1 is out now. What was the reason behind Superdry releasing an album and how did you get involved?

Both Superdry and I have always believed in the importance of music in creating an atmosphere whether shopping or in a club.

I was asked to get involved about three years ago to help create a soundtrack with great tunes, full of energy.

It seemed to be a natural progression to offer this to our customers.

Julian Dunkerton is Superdry’s founder. How did he come to contact you and did you both work on the music together?

It was Jules who first contacted me regarding the store’s music – as he like what he heard when he saw me D.J.-ing and, again, he was very much involved in choosing the tracklist on the album.

What is your previous experience with Superdry and how did you come to select the music that goes onto the album? 

As well as working with the in-store playlists; I also D.J. at most of the Superdry parties.

When choosing the tracks on the AudiØ1 album; Jules and I really wanted it to reflect, not only the brand but, also, the personality and story behind the brand.

How important is music to the retail/buying experience – and Superdry especially?

It’s only recently become widely acknowledged that music can change perceptions. Renowned academics like Professor Charles Spence (of Oxford University) are studying the effects of this.

However, D.J.’s, bar owners and shopkeepers have known this for many years.

From the very start of Superdry; music has and will remain at the forefront of its customers’ experience.

You have been a D.J. for many years and worked all over the world. Does the music and club scene different vastly between nations or is there a common thread that you recognise from your travels? 

There used to be a big difference.

The U.K. ruled the airwaves – but not so much anymore.

The Internet has opened the door to more of a global music community. You can now check out what the world is listening to just by logging into Spotify – which, I think, is a really cool thing.

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I believe there is a tour for the new album. What will that involve?

Indeed there is and it’s already underway.

We’re off around the U.K. and a couple of European cities booked so far – with more dates still being added.

As well as most of the cities that are already on the tour, we’re going to play in the local Superdry store in the afternoon – and then move on to the club in the evening; playing tracks from AudiØ1 and some other tunes we love.

The D.J.s on the tour include Lisa Unique and myself – plus some very special guests (to be announced later).

Is there a piece of music from the album that stands out and you knew HAD to be included?

Yep, loads, but if I had to single one out, without any doubt, it would have to be Stay Here by Fred V & Grafix.

Love those guys.

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Can you talk about the kind of artists featured and how you came to work with them?

When choosing the tracks, the process constantly evolves. Just when I think I’ve nailed it I’m sent another batch of tracks and I have to change my mind again.

The mission was simple: to look for tracks that completely summed up the in-store experience. We love energy, we love tracks with gravitas; we chose tracks that come from the school of Dance music – or the influences of it.

Our inclusion of Toots and the Maytals is an obvious provenance to the Drum ‘n’ Bass tracks on the album. The House tracks in their different guises all have that feeling of energy – complex and good times; whether they are new or old.

It has been a complete honour to be involved in this process: I have loved every moment; even when I have been pulling my hair out.

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Do you think AudiØ1 will inspire other brands to try the same thing? What is it you want to achieve from this album in terms of legacy?

I hope they do, of course: it’s always nice to be the first.

Who were the artists you grew up listening to and were inspired by?

At the age of fifteen, I started D.J.-ing for the sole reason of my love for music.

Like most fifteen-year-olds, I was obsessed, but not only one particular genre – from ’60s to Psychedelia to African Jazz – spending all the little cash I had on vinyl.

My inspirational artists are a bit of a cliché I’m afraid to say: David Bowie, Prince; Sly and Robbie, Marvin Gaye; Kraftwerk and Talking Heads.

It just goes on and on…

Can you give us the names of any new artists you recommend we check out?

Alkalino is not that new but completely under-exposed.

He is oh so funky and, talking of funky… mr jukes.

I’ve fallen in love with their latest album.

Fouk is cool, too.

If you had to select the three albums that have meant the most to you; which would they be and why?

Leftfield Leftism

Just a fuck*ng great album which I played endlessly when it was first out.

PrincePurple Rain       

I love this album.

So cool, so sexy – and the songwriting is the work of a genius.

I was heartbroken when he died

Late Night Tales Bonobo

Bonobo is the King of Chill – and I love to chill.

What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?

I think the best advice I could give to anybody starting out would be to just keep going: believe in what you do and don’t give up.

Do what you love and the rest will follow.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

Stay Here by Fred V & Grafix


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INTERVIEW: Party Fears



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 Party Fears


FEW bands are more international and exotic than Party Fears.

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They formed in Seoul but are based in Berlin. Not only that: they source members from Northern Ireland and Australia. It is a varied and multinational blend that goes into their musical palette. I talk to the band – mostly Eilis and Maggie – about how they got together and whether their music, which promotes feminism and whether there is an imbalance in the music industry. They talk about their eponymous debut album and memories making that. I ask about tour dates and what they have booked in the diary.

Party Fears give some new acts we should all be aware of and discuss their upcoming performance at Loud WOMEN FEST; whether they tuned into this year’s Glastonbury and advice for artists starting out.


Hi, guys. How are you? How have your weeks been?

Maggie: Good!

I got a washing machine – my first ever. It’s pretty exciting.

Eilis: Good. The weather’s nice and all.

For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?

Maggie: I’m the singer and guitarist. I’m from Northern Ireland.

Party Fears is kind of (a) Frankenstein’s Monster of Indie-Rock and nostalgia – for all the Rock music I never learned to play in my teens? Maybe?

Sometimes people say we’re ’90s; sometimes ’80s: we’re neighties (sic.).

Eilis: I’m the drummer and am from Adelaide, Australia.

I met Maggie playing in a previous band in South Korea.

Did you guys watch Glastonbury? Is that a festival you hope to play one day?

Maggie: Yeah!

I watched Radiohead’s set in the bath!

Eilis: Maggie gave me running-commentary. It’s almost like I was there.

Can you tell me how Party Fears got together and whether there is an event/moment that compelled that band name?

Maggie: ‘Party Fears’ comes from an incredible song by The Associates called Party Fears Two; but it’s also a little personal, I suppose? I can be a bit of a head-melt!

As Eilis says: “She brings the party, I bring the fears”.

Eilis: Maggie and I first met is 2013 in Seoul, South Korea.

One morning, on her rooftop, we agreed to move to the other side of the world and make music together. Some promises are never broken.

I left Seoul first and went travelling for a few months whilst Maggie worked super-hard and made the first Party Fears album – with the help of our mates in Korea. Then we arrived a year ago in Berlin.

You have members from Australia, Germany and Northern Ireland. It is advantages having international blood in the ranks? Are your songs fuller and more varied because of it?

Maggie: It’s a blessing and a curse.

It’s hard to get coverage with an international lineup as you’re not really from anywhere. Same goes for funding or bookings…

Eilis: Yeah, Australia doesn’t want to know about me!

But, it’s a blessing because we’re dealing with the same set-up/language/cultural challenges: ‘A load shared is a load halved’ couldn’t be more relevant.

Maggie and I have pretty different musical knowledge/taste – that adds a lot to the Party Fears sound; especially when we’re writing.

Party Fears’ eponymous album was released earlier this year. What was it like putting the record together? Was it quite a smooth process?

Maggie: Cliché answer here…but it was a massive learning experience.

I worked with some of my best friends and favourite musicians, so I was very, very lucky – I kind of still can’t believe they wanted to work with a dummy like me!

It was also lonely and hard. I’m used to being in bands… so doing a ‘solo’ record was really challenging; I lived in my head a lot. Didn’t sleep. Ordered McDonald’s breakfast delivery more times than I’m proud of.

I would call Alberto, the keyboard player, and just burst into tears saying I couldn’t do it. But I did it, with my buddies’ help – just like in the movies!

Spoiled Fruit, to me, is the standout. Can you remember the day that was written? Did you set time to write songs in blocks or did they form themselves over the course of a few weeks/months?

Maggie: Ah– thanks!

Spoiled Fruit started life as a song I wrote about a horrible manager at work (maybe round 2007?). I totally forgot it existed. When I remembered it, I exhumed it and gave it a reworking. It helped that I was crippled by a silly crush. Lots of material!

Songs will usually come to me when I’m falling asleep, waking up; in the shower, waiting for a bus… then I develop them over a longer period of time. That process is more studious and staged than the initial song idea.

Are there any plans to release singles/videos from the album?

There are a couple out there already on our YouTube.

The one for Spoiled Fruit is directed by our buddy and hero, Mark (from Nice Legs/Henry Demos).

I think we’re ready to move on from the album now.

Eilis: We recorded a single in April and are recording another three tunes this summer.

We’ll, no doubt, make some B-grade videos to go with them.

Check out our Facebook for release dates.

What does the rest of the year hold in terms of more music and touring dates?

We’re going on a two-week Ireland/U.K. tour in August with the final date being Loud Women Fest in London. We went to Ireland in May and we had a little too much fun.

Hopefully, more touring is on the Party Fears cards. We’ve also got a bunch of shows in Berlin, which are really fun – Berlin crowds know how to show up!

Maggie: We didn’t plan on adding Ireland to August’s tour but Belfast and Dublin ensnared us with their craic and chips.

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I know you are playing Loud WOMEN FEST. Are you excited about playing that date?

Eilis: Stupidly excited.

Maggie: So excited!

We played a women’s festival in Belfast recently and it meant so much!

So many other great bands we’re dying to see!

You play, as you say, Punk and Rock. It has a feminist edge. Do you think, given the sexism that exists in music, it is important bands like Party Fears are heard?


We have an exhausting litany of instances where our lady-bits led to us being treated differently from male counterparts.

It’s really frustrating and distracting.

I love that there are more female-strong, P.o.C. and genderqueer artists garnering attention in media– shout out to The Spook School – who we saw recently in Berlin and blew us away. Pillow Queens from Dublin, too!

I love Band of Horses as much as the next person but the more of us there are taking up space and being seen, the more the tide of dude-bro-neck-beard-Rock will turn!

Eilis: Until people aren’t shocked that I’m the (female) drummer, we’ve got our work cut out for us. There are more and more women making music, and together, we can shake the gender stereotypes in the music industry.

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Are there any particular bands/acts that have inspired your sound?

Bombay Bicycle Club are mentioned almost every practice. Hahahaa.

Maggie: Oho… It’s really hard to know what inspires your sound and what you just like to dance around your room to…

Kate Bush, (David) Bowie; Kirsty MacColl, Gang of Four; PJ Harvey, Radiohead; The Associates, Lene Lovich; The B52s, CHIC; Cyndi Lauper, Bombay Bicycle Club (for sure)….

North Atlantic Oscillation, Midlake; Joan Armatrading, West Side Story; Lau, the Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) O.S.T… It’s a bit all over the place…

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Eilis: Australia: Olympia; Berlin: SchnickSchnack, Last Days of Elvis; South Korea: Nice Legs.

Maggie: I’m going to copy Eilis’ format…

Ireland: Beauty Sleep and Bad Fit; Berlin: Mondo Fumatore, Strand Child (and what Eilis said). South Korea: Table People, always and forever.

If you each had to select one album each that has meant the most to you; which would they be and why?

Eilis: Gloss Drop by Battles.

It’s like nothing else I listen to and every time I listen I’m always surprised by something new. The drummer is so tight and so groovy: life goals. Lately

I’ve also been listening to bands with thick Australian accents (think Courtney Barnett, Camp Cope; The Bamboos, Ball Park Music; Sex on Toast) – maybe it’s because I’m far from home – nothing quite like an Aussie twang.

Maggie: Table People’s Ride with Me!

Radiohead’s The Bends was probably my most formative album but Ride with Me is absolutely everything I love about Indie music.

It proves that with the right people and enough hard work; even a D.I.Y. Indie band of ragtag buddies can make a close to perfect record.

In fact, it is perfect. It’s just perfect. Go and listen to it, please.

What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?

Practice every day to avoid future you hating past you for not practicing.

Boring: develop a good technique or you’ll get weird cartilage build-ups in your wrist – which you’ll complain about every day until you DIE.

Eilis: Play with as many people as possible and don’t let your skill level hold you back from joining a band/playing gigs…then practice often.

There are constant ups and downs – especially when starting out. Stick at it: it’s 110% worth it.

Finally, and for being good sports, you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

Eilis: Two by Nice Legs

Maggie: This is difficult!

Mondo Fumatore are playing with us in Glasgow and we love them…so let’s go with this!


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Roman Road


THIS might be the first time I have featured a boy band…

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on my site. I have reviewed/interviewed girl groups but, when it comes to the chaps, it is a rarity. Roman Road differs from one’s perceptions of a boy band. They have rich harmonies and a lyrical/compositional aesthetic that runs deeper and wider than your standard fare. David, Adam; Cliff and Aaron talk about their forthcoming single – primed and ready for summer – and gaining acclaim from Capital F.M. I ask them about playing London Live and whether there are any dates in the calendar; how they all came together and what kind of acts/music they have been inspired by.

The band talks about future recordings, how their music comes together and the records that mean the most to them. On top of that, I get an insight into a close and tight group of young men who want to make a big impact in music – they are going about it the right way…


Hi, guys. How are you? How have your weeks been?

David: Yeah, we are all good.

Very busy time of the year as we are prepping for gigs – and our single is out this summer so can’t wait!

For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?

Adam: We’re Roman Road: a Pop group from England…

Cliff: …four lads who like a good cup of tea

Did you guys watch Glastonbury? What did you make of it? Any highlights?

David: All the headliners were insanely good!

Radiohead, Foo Fighters and, to top it, off Ed Sheeran. They all absolutely nailed it!

Cliff: Ed is the man.

I loved the part where he was rapping and he told everyone he forgot his verse. Haha.

Man is a legend!

Adam: Glastonbury is one them festivals where you just wish you were there.

I’m sure it’s every musician’s dream.

Aaron: Maybe see us there next year…

Cliff: …yeah, in the crowd. Haha.

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Can you tell me how Roman Road came together? Were you all mates before setting up the band?

Aaron: Me and Cliff were friends at school and we met the other two through the same circle of friends.

David: Adam was living in Spain when he finally came back to join us.

Cliff: We were all very musical from a young age and the boy band route was always one we wanted to take – thanks, Backstreet Boys!

You have said you differ from most boy bands. In what way, would you say, you distinguish yourselves from others?

Adam: We aren’t your stereotypical boy band…

We all have unique vocal tones and varied musical influences – but it all blends together and makes a decent sound (we like to think. Haha!).

David: Visually, we are quite different.

We don’t follow that typical formula and like to keep our individual styles.

Cliff: Same when we do cover songs, we always like to try something that not everyone is doing.

We want to be original and fresh…

Aaron: …saying that; we still have a strong essence of boy band.

I’m the funny one; Cliff is the cheeky ladies’ man; Adam is the mysterious one and David is just weird.

I believe you have a single out in the summer. What can you tell us about its themes and inspiration?

Aaron: The song is called Summer All Time – and it’s literally about summer and having fun.

David: It’s always a good idea to bring a fun summery-type song in summer.

Adam: Obviously, David. Haha.

But, yeah, it’s gonna be one of those feel-good summer-type Pop songs.

Cliff: We’re actually running a competition with our fans to design the artwork for the single – and some of the designs so far are AWESOME!

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Roman Road have been announced, by Capital F.M., as Vodafone future-breakers for 2017. How did you guys feel when you heard that?

David: Hearing our name on the biggest radio station in U.K. was insane!

Cliff: We were all together when it was announced and just staring at each other – not in a creepy way, by the way. Haha.

Adam: Marvin Humes announced it and we were pretty stoked by that – as he was (obviously) in a boyband before and he’s someone we respect and aspire to be like.

Aaron: We also got a cheeky mention and feature on Christmas Day – which was a nice present from Father Christmas.

I know, back in summer last year, you played to thousands as part of London Live. Was that a pretty daunting and nervous way of announcing yourself to the world?

Aaron: Absolutely.

The London live gig was nerve-wracking but as group we took it in our stride: it was amazing, for the first time, seeing an audience that big enjoy what we do.

David: Knowing people at home were watching, and the thousands in the crowd, was a great feeling.

It hypes you up before you go on stage.

Adam: You need the nerves before you go on, too – they soon turn into adrenaline and, before you know it, you are flying around the stage.

How do the songs come together for the band? Do you have designated songwriters or do you all pitch in with various lyrics/parts?

Cliff: Me and Adam do the majority of the songwriting – but everyone gives input on lyrics or melody lines.

Aaron: It will be 3 A.M. and Cliff will send us a ‘voice note’ on WhatsApp with a new song idea or arrangement. Haha.

David: The plus-side is everyone in the band can play guitar and Cliff (also) plays the piano; so it definitely helps when it comes to writing a new track.

Who are the bands and artists who have been most influential to Roman Road and your sound?

All: Backstreet Boys!

Aaron: The boy bands from the ’90s/early-’00s really had something special.

We love Backstreet Boys because of their amazing vocal abilities and harmonies.

Cliff: I use to sing and dance in my bedroom to Backstreet Boys, NSYNC; Blue and all them influential bands who really could sing well together.

It was definitely an influence, not only on the band, but as individuals.

Adam: We are also big fans of Little Mix and Ed Sheeran.

They are repping the music scene at the moment.

What kind of gigs do you have coming up? Anywhere we can catch you?

David: We have a few gigs up and down the country lined up.

The next big one is in Burton in July alongside Matt Terry and Union J.

We will be performing the main stage there. No pressure!

Aaron: We also start our first set of school tours this September around the U.K. – so we are super-excited for that.

After the single, will there be an E.P. or album? How far ahead are you looking right now?

Cliff: We are always writing in our spare time, along with our schedule – so there will be more singles coming out

Adam: We’ve spoken about releasing an E.P.

We will probably go to Paris to record that with our producer.

David: Right now, we are planned up to around October.

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Cliff: I was at a Busted concert a few weeks back and their support act was awesome: the Natives…go check them out!

David: Another cool band to check out are The Tailormade – who we met at Pride last year.

They have a quirky sound and we’ve become really good friends with them – so I’m sure they will love us even more for this mention. Haha.

If you each had to select one album each that has meant the most to you; which would they be and why?

Adam: John MayerContinuum.

The man is a genius. I love his work: he’s one of the reasons I learnt the guitar.

Cliff: One of the albums I played on loop growing up was Michael Jackson’s Bad.

He was an inspiration to everyone. Dirty Diana is (also) one of my favourite songs ever…

Aaron: …probably the reason why you can hit those high notes, Cliff. Haha.

I’m a Motown fan, so anything by Stevie (Wonder) is gold to me.

David: I really love You Me at Six’s new album, Night People.

I love Josh Franceshi’s voice.

What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?

Aaron: Our advice to a new artist is to stay focused: every ‘no’ is one step closer to a ‘yes’.

Cliff: Most importantly, enjoy what you do.

Try to find a sound that works for you and get yourself out there as much as possible.

David: Make sure you use all the social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook etc. – and try to build a following.

Adam: Check out websites and bloggers who can help with getting your name out there.

Be patient, stay committed and good things will come your way.

Finally, and for being good sports, you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

Aaron: Little MixPower

Adam:  Justin BieberDespacito

David: Ed SheeranSupermarket Flowers

(Have your tissues ready)

Cliff: Artists for GrenfellBridge Over Troubled Water


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FEATURE: The Best Tracks of the Year (So Far)



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IN THIS PHOTO: Songhoy Blues


The Best Tracks of the Year (So Far)


WHILST I am in the process of moving my blog over…

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IN THIS PHOTO: Kendrick Lamar

to its new website; I thought I’d do a couple more pieces here to keep myself busy. As it is almost July; I have been reflecting on the music we have experienced so far – deciding which albums and tracks have made the biggest impression.

I shall do an album run-down at a later date but, for now, a collection of the songs, I feel, have defined 2017.



Marika Hackman Boyfriend

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PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Gullick

Another incredible songwriter with a talent and sound like no other: Marika Hackman has produced one of this year’s finest albums in I’m Not Your Man. Relationship politics and personal empowerment are subjects addressed alongside more conventional love songs. Boyfriend is the album’s first single and, joined by her backing band, The Big Moon, it is a direct and unambiguous cut  – “I held his girl in my hands”. That tease and taunt – “She likes it ‘cause they’re softer than a man’s” – prove she is no conventional, predictable songwriter.

Subverting expectations and delivering one of the year’s finest anthems: Boyfriend is a song that switches from sweet-sung to out-right kick-to-the-scrotum! An honest and open album – Hackman is in a relationship with fellow musician Amber Bain (The Japanese House) – there are few more impressive lead-off singles than Boyfriend. Surprising, quotable and crowd-uniting: a song that is perfect for the start of festival season.

Royal Blood Lights Out


Royal Blood’s album, How Did We Get So Dark? marks one of the biggest lost opportunities – a duo who could have created a truly epic follow=up. Their eponymous debut showed they were an intriguing prospect but the sophomore effort seems too similar and inflexible – not venturing into new territory or offering many surprises. That said; lead-off single Lights Out shows what the guys are capable of: tight and meaty riffs with a memorable chorus.

The album has more of that but it is a case of diminishing returns – Lights Out is the standout and finest example of what made their debut so special. Throw in a milk-infested, trippy video and Lights Out easily marks itself as one of the best songs from the year. Whether the duo – so soon after their latest album – is planning new material, I am not sure. Their recent set at Glastonbury received rave reviews and left many happy punters reeling – they are one of the most electric live acts in the world, that is for sure!

The HempolicsBoss Clock Me Style

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Maybe I should have put this up-top but The Hempolics’ Boss Clock Me Style is, without doubt, my favourite song of the year. La Roux and Paolo Nutini have highlighted the band’s strength: Maxi Priest (Faithless) stated they are the best bands in the U.K. – except for the fact they are an unknown quantity. That will change when their as-yet-untitled album arrives later this year. Boss Clock Me Style is a summer-ready, rum-flavoured jam that kicks its heels off and runs down the beach.

Its smooth and rousing horns back a spirited and engrossing vocal performance that gets the listener singing along and engaged. I cannot get the song out of my head and I hope it does not leave anytime soon. Against the celebration and magnification of the mainstream; there is something underdog and unconcerned about The Hempolics. They create chilled and glorious songs to lift the mood and make the listener enriched and happy. With Boss Clock Me Style, they have done this with aplomb!

Songhoy Blues Bamako

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Another band who made a triumphant Glastonbury appearance: Songhoy Blues are on many people’s tongues right now. The brilliant, bustling sounds capture Mali’s capital spirit – running the streets and drinking in the mood and magic of its culture. Whether provoked by the magical nightlife or the beauty of the day: a joyous and celebratory song that captures all the sights and scents of Bamako. From fruit vendors and chattering crowds; motorcycles and people interviewing and the smiles on people’s faces – the band transport you to one of their favourite places.

Taken from their new album, Résistance; it represents what the band are about and why critics are (rightfully) raving. Bamako, once heard, is an intoxicating liquor that gets into the blood and motivates you to move and celebrate. No mean feat from a single song – let’s hope the guys continue to produce music of this calibre.

Thundercat Friend Zone

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Thundercat is one of the most compelling artists right now, and justifiably so. Friend Zone is the third single released from his third album and recalls a scenario many people will be all-too-familiar with: being kicked out of the romantic circle and relegated to the ‘friend zone’. That sense of a man seeing the hopeful side of lacking responsibility – more time to chill with video games and spend time by himself – and not having constraints; it brings smiles as readily as it provides grooves. It is bass-sassy and spaced synths.

A complex and dizzying mix of sounds that adds lightness and variegation to the pains of those friend-zoned. There are ample treasures on Drunk but this, in my view, is the hallmark of an artist at his peak.

Sylvan EssoDie Young

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Another third-single-release – this time from a second album – arrives in the form of Die Young. A wonderful vocalisation of the contrasting nature of modern love. It has cynicism and doubts but hope and yearning. Sylvan Esso – another incredible live act – is lifted by Amelia Meath’s: a sumptuous blend of angelic and fiery. Taken from the incredible album, What Now; Sylvan Esso never claim love is a black hole and meaningless thing – neither do they over-romanticise and idealise it.

There is pragmatism and level-headed approach to break-ups and relationship. Wise and mature lyrics sit with a deep and rich composition that pleases the musically-minded and highbrow. The chorus is one of the most addictive and stunning of the year and, for that reason alone, it makes Die Young a must-hear song.

Fleet FoxesThird of May/Ōdaigahara

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PHOTO CREDIT: Shawn Brackbill Photography

Many people were unsure whether Fleet Foxes would be recording any new music and what form that would take. Almost a Robin Pecknold solo venture – Fleet Foxes have always had him the dominant force; he seems ever more present and omnipresent – the traditional components of the band are there but updated for new audiences. Gorgeous harmonies and spellbinding vocals, the type running throughout Helplessness Blues, are present but there is more release, anger and emotion here. Almost a release of pent-up feelings and strains: the nine-minute-long (almost) drama showcases Pecknold’s incredible lyrical voice and ability.

If I lead you through the fury will you call to me?” might allude to former bandmates and changing relationships – the band’s former drummer was moved to tears upon hearing the song – or the way the band has transformed over the past few years. Crack-Up, the band’s third album, has been met with critical acclaim and boasts many songs that get near to the joys, epicness and swell of Third of May/Odaigahara – none that quite reach those heights!

LordeGreen Light

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Written with Jack Antonoff; this is typical Lorde: a floor-filling banger that announced her return to the stage. In fact, the New Zealander had not gone anyway: merely brewing the follow-up to her promising debut, Pure Heroine. Melodrama, in all its finery and emotional variation, upped the game and sent a warning shot to all her peers. Lorde, not only proved she is worthy of huge success: I feel she is one of the finest young songwriters out there. Green Light is a breakup anthem with a difference.

Its spirited and captivating video showed she could do style as well as substance. A stunning track that shows what a consistent and evolving songwriter Lorde is.

Kendrick Lamar HUMBLE. 

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Perhaps an ironic title: the song’s video finds Lamar string down the camera advising his ‘competition’ get out of his way. A juggernaut of confidence and a perfect metaphor for Lamar: someone who is on fire and seems completely fearless. Of course, Lamar has the lyrical chops and genius to back up such claims. DAMN. is an album that possesses ample evidence is he (if not the) one of the best songwriters on the planet.

There are few as consistent and vital as Lamar. In a turbulent and transitional time in the U.S.; he is representing the fears, concerns and anger rampant in the country. Further singles like DNA and LOYALTY – whether you capitalise the songs or not – are bold and brilliant revelations from a peerless talent.

Radiohead I Promise 

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Whilst technically not a ‘new’ release – it is a song recorded during the sessions for Radiohead’s OK Computer – it is new to the world, and so, worthy of inclusion alongside 2017’s best. It is a song that naturally sits among the best tracks from OK Computer. Whether it was seen as not fitting the tone of the album or not quite right, I am not sure – it would not have been omitted for quality reasons! Thom Yorke’s angelic voice promises he will remain and be true; not disappoint and scare easily.

It is a beautiful confessional from a man who, at the time, was tapping into to national cynicism and personal anxieties. Following Radiohead’s much-celebrated headline spot at Glastonbury; many are wondering whether the guys are planning a follow-up to last year’s A Moon Shaped Pool. If they have B-sides and lost material as wonderful as this, there is no rush to get the boys back into the studio.

Arcade Fire and Mavis Staples I Give You Power

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Here is another band, like Fleet Foxes, many did not expect to see releasing material this year. Everything Now, their upcoming album, is released on 28th July and does not include I Give You Power. For that reason, it is a rare and one-off gem that shows how strong Arcade Fire is – enough brilliant material they can afford to keep this one away from their album. The group have released two songs from their approaching album – the title track and Creature Comfort – but neither have the immediate effect and aftertaste of I Give You Power.

Maybe it is timeliness and, one assumes, Anti-Trump accusations; the potency and prowess of Mavis Staples’ voice, as she growls and roams the song with authority and bite, or a mix of the two. In any case, it is a typically assured and terrific song from the Canadian band.

Julie Byrne Sleepwalker

New York-based Julie Byrne’s album, Not Even Happiness, marks her as an astonishing singer-songwriter. There is a sense of escape and the open road: making changes and embracing a certain freedom. That is perfectly defined in Sleepwalker. Its finger-picking is scenic, motion-propelled and physical. One cannot help but get carried away by its momentum and energy. Byrne’s lyrics are not conventional and often are free from rhymes – shorter stanzas and more poetic than structured. It provides a more natural voice from a songwriter who one cannot compare to anyone else. Wonderful lines like “They often spoke as though I had been set free” gets the listener thinking and seems to talk about a young woman with mature, older shoulders.

She is a dreamer and a free-spirit but, one suspects, in need of stability and answers. Cryptic, curious and ambiguous: you pick apart the lyrics and try to get to the bottom of a curious and passionate soul. Sleepwalker is a phenomenal and assured songwriter finding her voice and making her presence known. The scary thing is: she seems a couple of albums off her true potential. Consider the class, intelligence and solidity of Not Even Happiness – that is a rather frightening and exciting proposition!