Royal Blood announce first batch of UK tour dates

Brighton’s finest, Royal Blood have revealed details of a four-date string of UK shows, kicking off next month; with support from Black Honey.

Setting off in Cambridge, they’ll then go on to play Newcastle, Southampton and Leicester; alongside some huge shows at R1 Big Weekend, Glastonbury and Eden Sessions.

The announcement came after the release of their brand new single, and the news of their second studio album; out on June 16th.

Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday 28th April.

Keep an eye out on their Twitter for updates and see the announcement below:

NEW MUSIC: Mac Benson to release brand new single

On April 20th indie-solo artist Mac Benson is set to release a brand new, two part single; he chatted with us in a small Q & A ahead of the release to tell us more… we talked desert islands, dream collabs and doggos…

Hiya Mac! Firstly, can you tell us a bit about you?

Sure. I’m 17 and from the North of the U.K and I’ve been writing songs from around aged 14.

Is your music all produced/performed by you?

Yes, all the music I make is written and recorded in my bedroom. I usually am 100% self produced.

How would you describe your sound?

As of recently my ‘sound’ has changed quite a lot. My first EP was heavily inspired by Lo-Fi and Indie music but in the time between making my first EP and making new music I’ve become quite influenced by Indie Folk stuff and film scores too. I would describe my sound now as calm, quiet and minimal.

So you’ve got a single coming out on Thursday, can you tell us about it?

The single is 2 tracks the first is called ‘The Cosmos’ and the second is called ‘Yellow Light’ which is kind of a little b-side. They’re both quite similar in terms of sound, to me they sound like spring, the sun and childhood days at the seaside. They’re perfect for anybody who listens to music as a means of temporary escape or to feel calm.

What was the inspiration behind the track?

The first track, ‘The Cosmos’ is inspired by friendship and love, as many of my songs usually are. Lyrically, the song is very visual, I wanted to write something that was descriptively detailed and beautiful. The second track, ‘Yellow Light’ was written in the very early hours of a morning, i was laying on my bed looking at the light from my lamp glaring across the wall, everything was silent, I thought it was beautiful and would make a nice concept for a song. As I continued working on it into the next day, writing the different verses, the song moved away from that concept and started to become a song about how its very easy (especially at the age or stage of life I am at) to feel very isolated and wanting to break away from that feeling and experience freedom.

Can we expect any more material from you in 2017?

I am currently working on something which these 2 tracks will be a part of, whether it will be another EP or a full length I’m not sure, I’ll just have to see how much material I make that I’m happy to put out.

Can you tell us some artists you’re particularly enjoying listening to right now?

Right now I’m listening to a lot of Folk and Indie Folk artists like Father John Misty, Florist, Angel Olsen and Big Thief which are having quite an influence on the kind of music I’m making myself. For a while now I’ve been into music with an electronic feel such as SOPHIE, Porches, Maggie Roggers, Soft Hair and Blood Orange.

If you could collaborate with any artist, who would you pick and why?

I’d love to collaborate with Emily Sprague of Florist, her music is so beautiful and perfect, I think she’d be the perfect person to have produce the kind of music I want to make. I’d also love to collaborate with Clem Creevy of Cherry Glazerr and Tyler, The Creator, they’re both incredibly talented musicians who I respect massively.

You can pick 3 CDs to take to a desert island with you, which ones would you take?

That’s a hard one, I would probably take ‘Apocalipstick’ by Cherry Glazerr, ‘Girl Talk’ by Kate Nash and ‘Half Way Home’ by Angel Olsen.

Are you more of a cat or a dog person?

Definitely dog. Dogs are so pure and beautiful.

What are your hopes as an artist for the next few years?

I’d really like to start playing gigs, it’s something I’ve always been very anxious about but now that I’m starting to grow in my ability to write songs and am happy with what I’m making, I want to start to share that in a live environment. Possibly not in the next few years, but in the long run I just want to make creating music my full time job and continue to make music that people connect with.

Finally, we’ve spoken a bit about bigger artists but can you recommend any newer, up and coming acts for us to check out?

Sure, my friend Matt Autieri (who’s from Philadelphia)  has been putting his own stuff up on Soundcloud for about a year now, he’s amazing at everything he does. In terms of people more local to me this guy Nathan Mcpartlan is putting out some new stuff soon I think, he seems pretty cool, he makes really nice electronic music, my friend Ewan Devenay has started writing songs which I hope he’ll put out soon, they’re great, and Daniel Brown (Empty Rooms) is a great guy and he’s working on stuff at the moment too.

Thanks Mac, and best of luck with the release!

You can check out Macs debut Hot Water Bottle EP on his Bandcamp, and the new tracks will be available as of Thursday.

Twitter: @macbenson_

MUSIC VIDEO: SPS – Wax Colour

Essex lads Wax Colour have released a fresh new music video for one of the tracks from their DIY EP; SPS. The track takes a slightly different approach to others on the lineup, giving off a blues kinda feel and highlighting the versatility of their sound.

SPS brought me visions of walking down the street while the sun is shining, fitting to the opening line “People walking in the street”. It’s an incredibly infectious tune and I found the lazy guitar sounds running through my head after just my third or fourth listen. The imaginative, slightly jazzy riffs are accompanied by faint percussion and Charlton Paine’s distinguishing vocals; which can be recognised in any one of the bands tunes.

The video fits with the DIY name of the EP, set in the lads hometown Witham, it takes you on a journey through the town and shows a day in the life of the band. It uses impressive ideas, with lyrics discussing the ‘overrated talent’ in the music industry nowadays, scrolling through the official charts’ website as these play.

Watch the video here:

Download the bands debut EP for free, or order a Limited Edition physical copy here.

New music- Leeds band Muffin release new track ‘Dinosaur’

Having already played multiple shows around Leeds and got some sweet stuff recorded, lad band Muffin are in the middle of working their way higher up the Leeds music scene. Their fresh track, ‘Dinosaur’, is the perfect listen if you want a taste of what Muffin have to offer.

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As soon as you hit the play button, an infectious guitar shred penetrates your ears that is soon followed by the explosive voice of frontman, Matt Bond. Already in the first 30 seconds of the track, it is clear that this is a song of rebellion and protest with the lyrics ‘he’ll sell you lies, he’ll plagiarize// and rip your soul away’ foregrounding its anarchy feel. As their track progresses, the band really come together with some addictive guitar riffs, rebellious bass strings and the driving drum rhythms that lend to the power of the song and it’s lyrics. This isn’t one of them song that’s too ‘in your face’, yet Muffin still manage to create the perfect mix to get across their F**k you attitude.

 Matt told us the meaning behind the song saying: “The song was written in the final stages of the US Presidential Election Campaigns, and its focal point is effectively a ‘highlighting’ of all the ways Donald Trump is tyrannical lunatic. So for the purpose of the song, he’s the Dinosaur, attempting to exert power over and dominate those weaker than him, but as a collective, there is a great deal of protest to his ideologies and that regardless of the result, he’d never be looked up to as leader (“King of What? F**k All!”)”

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Calling themselves a ‘grungegaze’ band- a mixture of shoe gaze and grunge- Muffin are certainly bring breath of fresh air to the music scene with their tunes having a mixture of grungy/ punk sounds. The band are ones to catch while you can; get over to Santiago Bar on the 9th of May to check out their single launch of Dinosaur, or alternatively you can catch them play The Leading Room on the 30th of May. Oh, and did I forget to mention that they bring free muffins to their gigs? Whats not to love?

 

Words by Sarah Oglesby

 

GIG REVIEW: Kasabian // Venue Cymru, Llandudno

Despite the Leicester lads being well and truly established as stadium rock gods, there still is nothing like seeing them in a small venue (as is the case with all bands I reckon). Kasabian’s pre-album intimate tour opened Wednesday night in Llandudno – a strange place for an opener for many reasons, which I will come on to. Having seen them well over 10 times now, I feel like I can review this gig (which was weird, again, for a number of reasons) more objectively.

But first, a quick word about the support: Cabbage. This was the first time I’ve seen them live and, although I didn’t know many of their songs, I spent the entire journey back home from Wales streaming their album Young, Dumb and Full Of…. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Cabbage, you can think of them as a political Drenge who took their inspiration from the 1970s punks (heavy Clash, heavy New York Dolls, heavy Stranglers). And if you haven’t heard of Drenge, I recommend that you head over to Spotify pronto (but after you’ve finished reading this).

Now, let me give the lads the kudos they well and truly deserve. For me, they are the best live band I’ve ever seen, as well as the most consistent. With heavy classics such as LSF and Vlad The Impaler receiving the same buzz as newer tracks like eez-eh and bumbleee, it’s no secret that these guys have perfected the art of creating massive crowd-pleasing tunes. But, as well this gift for mosh pit fodder, mellow epic treat still holds the crowd captive – everyone is always putty in the talented hands of Serge Pizzorno. Even as the band suffered through some technical issues with the bass, being the class musicians they are, Tom and Serge were able to create an impromptu acoustic singalong to the hook of the previous song on two occasions. Not only this, but Serge showed his worth again and again, blending eez-eh with Daft Punk’s Around The World and proving that he’s not too proud to be the Bez of the band as well as the Noel Gallagher, switching from guitar to synth to maracas.

So why is it that a band with such a catalogue of massive tunes chose to omit so many of them from the setlist? And why did they end the encore with the mellow and still relatively unknown Put Your Life On It? It’s one thing moving LSF from the encore to the end of the main set; it’s another to finish the encore on a flat note. Where was Switchblade Smiles, Days Are Forgotten or Reason Is Treason?

Having said that, from where I was standing the crowd were just not that into it. It wasn’t until I moved to the very front that I found people jumping around like they should, and I was pretty close to the front to begin with. Never in my life have I seen a Kasabian crowd this tame – surprising as the crowd seemed to be overwhelmingly comprised of Northerners and Midlanders, like myself, who, I guess, failed to get tickets for their local venue, like myself. Which leads me to another question – why pay £50 per ticket just to stand still throughout the entirety of Underdog?

Maybe it was the mega-long queuing time and high security at the venue that dampened people’s spirits, or the fact that Leicester had lost 1-0 that night. As the opening night of a pre-album tour, held in a small seaside town in North Wales, perhaps it’s expected that it’s not bound to be one for the history books. I think (and hope) that we were the guinea pigs, because I can’t let a band that I love that much continue with a setlist that bizarre.

Were you there at Llandudno as well? What was your take on the gig – and have you seen Kasabian before?

NEW MUSIC: Dreamboat Picture – The Empire Police

Indie-rock four-piece The Empire Police have laid out yet another belter of a tune, Dreamboat Picture, which came out earlier this month.

The Lancashire lads released their self-titled debut EP back in January, combining a mix of raw and melodic indie-rock sounds, with influences such as The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines. The EP release got them large recognition, seeing them play a hometown gig supporting INHEAVEN and start gigging further afield.

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Setting off with a single drum roll Dreamboat Picture quickly erupts into a dynamic mix of raw bass, harsh percussion and melodic riffs.  The track combines powerful vocal hooks, filthy guitars and punchy rhythms giving off an alternative vibe which only makes it all the more infectious.

Frontman Jordao Bassa told us the meaning behind the track, saying:  “It’s about a relationship or friendship that’s sort of going downhill fast, you can see it happening and you know it’s inevitable,  but you try to see the bright side and get on with it regardless.”

Bassa’s smooth, slightly raspy vocals are the perfect tone as he belts out  lyrics like:  “Guess it was chaos intertwined with love, I’ve got my hand in glove”. and “She still beats me dry, my dreamboat picture very nearly has capsized”.

 Dreamboat Picture not only combines elements of many indie tunes we know and love, but also brings a refreshing, distinctive voice to the scene.

Listen to the track below:

The Empire Police play the final of Last Band Standing at Preston venue The Ferret this Saturday (April 15th).

Jacaranda – Liverpool, 28th April

They’ve also got some huge summer dates planned in Preston, Bolton, Manchester and Sheffield. They’re keeping quiet about these for now so make sure to watch out across their social media for any updates:

Twitter

Facebook

Soundcloud

JEWELS: ‘TOO CLOSE’ EP

Jewels, a band I introduced to you all a while back, are releasing a new EP with six incredible songs on the 14th of April. I had the pleasure of previewing the EP, and thought it was only right that I did a small review on the tracks and the albums overall feel before its release, as it is such an amazing record.

The first song, ‘Sally’ has previously been released as a single, and is one of the reasons I fell in love with the band. It’s such an ambient song, with the alternative guitar riff, stunning vocals, and heavy drums. ‘Sally’ also promises some brilliant lyrics, based on a ‘real-life’ situation they seem familiar and expressive, almost like you’ve lived Sally’s story or you’re watching it unfold. The sounds on the track work so well together, I can’t stop listening to it!

‘Glow’ is the next track on the EP, one which I think really highlights the vocal talent of Jewels. A lot of things about this song remind me of another great alternative band, ‘Sunset Sons’, as the strong vocals join with the melodic guitar and create something you really want to jump around to. These two songs really set the overall vibe of the EP, the rocky, alternative guitar and drums with amazing vocal lines and indie sounding lyrics.

The third track, ‘Someone Else’ is much more upbeat and fast than the first two; its a proper dancing track (perhaps even one for mosh pits when they perform it live!!) I love the instrumental sections where you can really hear the heavy guitar and drums, this one really goes back to alternative music’s roots and style. This one has the potential to be a favourite of mine, purely because of the surprising last minute of it where the vocals are extremely raw and emotional.

When I first listened to the fourth song on the EP, ‘Can I be a Better Man’, I honestly got chills. It is so perfectly produced with the smooth guitar, heavy drums and the lyrics and vocals that are softer than that on previous tracks making it poignant and reflective. It reminds me slightly of new ‘Sundara Karma’ or indie band ‘Peace’ but has its own creative difference; its not completely like anything I’ve heard before.

The fifth track, ‘London Town’, I knew I would love straight away. It’s so full of passion and emotion, which is something Jewels are so good at conveying. It starts with an amazing acoustic verse and then adds layers of sound, making it so full and rich in sound. The lyrics are so powerful; its a real anthem and one I advise EVERYONE to listen to as soon as the EP is released.

The sixth and final addition to the EP is entitled ‘Leave me alone’, and is a fitting finale to such an amazing record. It goes back to the heavier side of Jewels, the chorus especially, reflecting the pure talent the band have when it comes to each of their instruments. I love the honesty and emotion in this track, its very hard-hitting and again one I can imagine mosh pits involved when its played live!

This EP is honestly one of the most creative and dynamic releases I’ve heard for a long time, and I am grateful to have had the pleasure to preview it. I implore you to listen to ‘Too Close’ as soon as it is released on Friday; its the sort of music you really don’t want to be missing out on. Make sure you follow the boys on their instagram – @jewelsband and keep your eyes peeled for them playing live in your area. With the possibility of them playing Colchester Arts Centre in the future, it looks like this is going to be a good year for Jewels.

-Kaia-

Twitter: @kaia1975

Instagram: Kaia.nicholl

NEW MUSIC: Lost (and Found) – The Seamonsters

The Seamonsters are a six-piece indie group hailing from Sheffield in Yorkshire. The indie glitter girl-gang formed in 2013 and are now set to release their debut single Lost (and Found) on April 14th.

The group combine catchy guitar riffs, melodic tunes and distinctive keyboard sounds. So far their material has brought them comparison to the likes of The Wombats, Wolf Alice and Black Honey. They’ve already played a number of headline and support gigs as well as playing festivals such as Outlines and Tramlines.

After hearing news of the debut single release I was super excited to catch a listen and share my thoughts on the tune with you all.

Almost from the get-go Lost (and Found) had me hooked. Opening with a single riff, followed briefly by a heavier mix of instruments that steadies out just in time for the introduction of the verse.

Naomi’s pleasantly ethereal vocals portray a dreamy-pop vibe; highlighted particularly by Naomi and Lauren’s backing vocals throughout the chorus. It’s a euphoric combination of drums, guitars and keys; combining beautifully with the vibrant variety of voices.

As a track that evokes memories of late summer nights at festivals this is one to add to your Summer playlists.

Talking about the track and the release, The Seamonsters told us:

“We’re so happy and very proud. The production and recording quality is a huge step up from the demos we put up … We’re honestly thrilled with how it sounds.”

They are hoping to play some gigs across the UK off the back of the single. Keep an eye on their social media which can be found below!

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube 

Track Review: QTY ‘Ornament’

New York’s QTY yesterday released their latest single ‘Ornament’, an exhibition of songwriting quality that strikes shades of early Julian Casablancas.

The intro immediately casts my mind to Blur’s ‘Tender’, until the complimenting sound of vocalist Alex Niemetz and the deeper tone of Dan Lardner. Alex sounds like she belongs in a fiery Wolf Alice and their signing with Dirty Hit previous to their first live performance, which came about much later in the process than many other bands. They’ve recorded two of their songs in London.

‘Ornament’ is given its kick with a shuddering drum backbeat, built upon with a lead guitar that I’ll say again, wouldn’t be out of place on ‘Is This It’.

Alas, they’ll provide much needed lyrical distraction for those over the pond, should they appear in the UK any time soon, fans of Noah and The Whale might also be interested, should you fancy Lisa liking brandy and the way it hits her lips, except Lisa is in leather and the brandy is a quad.

Listen on YouTube.

That Charming Man // Johnny Marr, Wulfrun October 2013

I gotta cast my mind back to my early teens in order to remember probably the most formative gig of my life: Johnny Marr in Wolverhampton on his tour for The Messenger. No, The Messenger isn’t my favourite ever album, or even an album I listen to regularly, but this was Johnny Marr. The same Johnny Marr who brought the world the massive guitar riffs of This Charming Man and How Soon Is Now? The same Johnny Marr I had been looking up to my entire childhood, following the example of reverence my parents had set for me.

My dad always teased me that he got to see The Smiths for free before they had even released their first single, courtesy of a girl who went to the same chippy as them. Whilst this couldn’t measure up (I had paid and, obviously, this was not Marr’s first time at the rodeo) this was the best chance I had to hear my favourite songs played live to me. And although the crowd were happy to get down to tracks like Upstarts and Generate! Generate!, we were all there for the old hits – and Johnny Marr knew it.

I’ll never forget when he finally played There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. That’s what we were really waiting for. The gig as a whole had been a complete success: I had bruises on my legs, I had been elbowed out of the way (and elbowed back in) and my hair stunk of beer that had rained down on me during Bigmouth Strikes Again. But as soon as I heard that familiar opening twang, I knew this would be the very end of the encore and I never wanted it to stop.

Never in my young life did I believe I would be witness to Johnny Marr in the flesh, let alone did I think that I would be standing right there in front of him, in this small venue in my hometown, mere feet away. My teenage enthusiasm had built him into an idol, a God, to be worshipped – this song my prayer. And so I noticed that the rest of the congregation had too hushed in devotion, allowing the lessons of the master to rain down upon us like holy drops. I was crying, my parents were crying, my friend was crying, the incredibly tall man on the front row was sobbing and shouting the lyrics in a zealous trance

The song went on and on, the guitar solo lasted an eternity – but the shortest eternity anyone had ever known. Even now as I am writing this, listening to the song, all I can see is the figure of Johnny Marr, triumphantly standing before us as a man in complete command. Even without Morrissey’s haunting vocals, this song live is the most precious concert memory I possess. Decades after The Smiths’ heyday, their teenage fans now parents, their songs are still bringing them to tears. They’re bringing us to tears.

*Photo property of Native Monster