Hello, yes, I’m still here – I will mention my absence at the end of the post.
July is almost at the end! Where is the year going? We will have pumpkins on our doorsteps and trees in our living rooms before we know it. Although I have been absent on this blog I haven’t turned away from music. In fact, there is so much music to talk about so I will get to it!
Remember, as always, please check out every artist in this post. They are all fantastic and deserve your support. Here we go.
“Medicine For My Brain” (Single) by Sam Johnson
It was definitely time for singer-songwriter Sam Johnson to release a new single and he hasn’t disappointed with the catchy “Medicine For My Brain”. Last year, I saw Sam perform on three occasions and each time was captivated by his incredible voice.
This single was my favourite track of his on all of those occasions so I was thrilled that he decided to release it. Live, it is just him and his guitar which is charming and displays how talented he really is however it is nice to hear this single as a multi-layered track with backing vocals, a beat that will get your foot tapping and some synths. It sounds amazing.
I must now eagerly await for him to release more material with what sounds to be a much anticipated EP on the horizon. I cannot wait. Have a listen of his latest single.
“Strike” (Single) by NOVACUB
It is always a good month when NOVACUB release new material. “Strike” they’ve said is their favourite release so far and it really is another banger. With a funky bass line, thumping drums and next level riffs I challenge you not to have a dance to this track. They just keep stepping up their game.
The band is made up of Bloc Party‘s Russell Lissack and Louise Bartle along with the talented Iona Thomas and awesome drummer Tony Alda – it really is a match made in heaven. They have an undeniable chemistry which can be seen if you follow them on their socials or if you watch their latest music video. It makes watching them that little bit more enjoyable; other bands should take note.
They are due to release their debut EP “Future Shadows” in September but in the mean you should definitely have a listen to “Strike”.
“Moonshine” (Single) by Lindsey Farrow
Lindsey Farrow is a passionate singer on a mission to make it in the music industry. She has been given a massive opportunity by someone who leads a record label: make five hundred sales across three singles and she will get offered a recording contract.
Her latest single “Moonshine” really displays her vocal prowess as she hits the big notes and holds them effortlessly. With a charming and upbeat backing it really is a stunning song and one that she can be proud of.
Have a listen to a teaser of “Moonshine” and please support her so she can achieve her dream.
“Lightning” (Single) by FLARES
Young, exciting band FLARES I think are one of the best up and coming bands on the scene right now. They’ve had a busy month with numerous gigs including a Y Not Festival set but they’ve also released their latest single “Lightning”.
Following their regular sound of grungy indie rock with some punk elements this band have put out another absolute belter. A classic indie melody carries you through the track with help of the harmonic vocals and catchy chorus. I dig the combination of smashing drums with clever riffs, that and a male and female vocalist, wow – this band definitely have an edge.
They’re playing shows in Birmingham and Coventry in the autumn where you should definitely check out their energetic sets but in the mean time sit back and listen to their latest single.
“Dead In The Water” (Demo) by Vermillion and The Moon
Vermillion and The Moon are a new alt-rock band from Birmingham comprised of lead singer Taiwo Oshodi, lead guitarist Zaraq Khan, rhythm guitarist Maxane Keogh, drummer Cameron Chandler, and bassist Alfie Ratcliffe. The five met at university and share influences of Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes and Muse (among others) which really comes across is their first demo, “Dead In The Water”.
The song, mainly written by Taiwo and Zaraq, opens with some classic rock bars and a cool drum beat before the smooth vocals set in. In my opinion it is an instantly likeable tune – it is catchy and has everything that a successful rock track has.
It really is a strong start to hopefully a band which will stick around for a while. Have a listen to the demo for yourself.
“My Blood” (Single) by Skinny Living
Indie-folk band Skinny Living have blown me away on stage twice this year already and one song which I absolutely loved in both of those sets was their latest release, “My Blood”. I was over the moon when they released this single a few weeks ago and immediately was spinning it on repeat.
I think I’m right in thinking that it is their most upbeat song in their set and it is one that is easy to dance to. The main vocals from Belfast born Ryan Johnston are flawless like in all of their material and he himself is a real talent. Backed up by stunning harmonising vocals and original sounds from band members Will Booth, Danny Hepworth and Rhys Anderton a special band has emerged from Wakefield.
The song itself is about the importance of family and how blood is thicker than water essentially. The lyrics express that if you want to see the anger then “come for my family” but it would not be an easy task because anything would be done for family. It is an import message and an awesome song. Give it a listen for yourself.
“Taking My Shadow” (EP) by Dead Nature
Spring King‘s Tarek Musa is back making music under new alias Dead Nature. His debut EP “Taking My Shadow” really is a work of art with definite vibes which reflect the sound of his old band. It also sounds great on vinyl.
Opening track “Fire In Your Soul” kicks things off strongly with thudding drums and strong riffs giving it much, well, fire. There are a flurry of sounds knitted tightly together giving it a real punch and it doesn’t stop. The track is probably the best on the EP.
Next up is single “In My Heart” which is ever-so-slightly softer than the first track but like the whole EP, drums play a real part in highlighting certain bars and added effect to the vocals. You can tell he was the drummer in his old band. “Pride (Wake Them Up)” is much more electric and kind of tech heavy – however the use of guitar means it doesn’t get taken away from the rock category.
Finally, closing the EP is “Rookwood”. A much calmer, low-key track with a different energy to the rest of his material. It is relaxed and sits back slightly but that doesn’t take away from the intelligent musicality. This EP is definitely worth a listen.
“Abyssal Orbit” (EP) by Exhailers
Birmingham trio Exhailers are making their presence known with bang by releasing their debut EP “Abyssal Orbit” The listener is guided in gently with some static, gentle lulling of guitar and a narration during the opening track which shares the name of the EP. It really is quite original.
The tunes really begin on track two, “Planetary Spin to the Stomach” which they released as a single last month. The track is chaotic but in a good way with grungy riffs and dream-like vocals from the talented Liv Barlow being linked together with enticing melodies and cosmic sounds which is the theme throughout the EP.
Next up is “New Boy (Behind Eyelids)” which they released as a demo last year. It is great to hear the fully mixed version and it really is a fantastic track – a highlight being the interesting drum grooves from drummer Fred Ensor.
It is more of the same extraterrestrial madness in “Flesh Soup” and “Evergreen?” helped by Brandon Robinson’s riffs which are something of another world. A very brilliant indie trio who I can’t wait to hear more of. Make sure you have a listen of their debut EP.
“Duck” (LP) by Kaiser Chiefs
I wasn’t sure whether I was going to include this one purely because I try and focus this blog on smaller artists however I love them so got to give their new record a mention.
Leeds indie quintet Kaiser Chiefs have been on the scene for over fifteen years now and they’ve just released their seventh studio album, “Duck”. For me as a big fan it needed to be good especially after being disappointed by their previous record, “Stay Together”.
Before the release, I had heard five songs already (two as singles and three on stage) and I knew that it was looking good but how they were mixed would be important. All-in-all I love the album and how the majority of tracks are mixed. It’s an album of Britpop bangers with touching lyrics and full of nostalgia.
There is definitely a mix of sounds on the record with some of the tracks such as “Kurt vs Frasier” and “Don’t Just Stand There Do Something” resembling old Kaiser Chiefs days whilst others like, “Wait” and “Golden Oldies” have a newer more pop-like feel – especially with the added brass.
My favourite track (currently) on the album is “The Only Ones”. Having seen the reaction online I think this is an uncommon opinion but I think it is catchy, instantly likeable and I love the rawness of the vocals from frontman Ricky Wilson in the choruses.
Talking of vocals, this is the first Kaiser Chiefs record where all five band members have had some involvement in that department which I think is pretty special. Guitarist, Andrew White and bassist, Simon Rix perform backing vocals on the majority of tracks whilst drummer, Vijay Mistry sings backing on “Golden Oldies” and “Electric Heart”. Keyboard player, Nick Baines chimes in with the occasional “hey”s in closing track “Kurt vs Frasier”.
It might sound like a small thing but for us fans it is pretty cool. It also shows how many different angles they tried whilst making this record. The band are on track for another Top 10 album with “Duck” currently sitting at number two in the midweek charts. Give it a listen for yourself.
So that’s it for July! Please check out all of these awesome artists who have worked tirelessly to put out some fresh tunes.
I said before I started the post that I would explain my absence on this blog so this is the statement which I put out on my social media platforms:
“Hi everyone 👋
You may have noticed that the blog has been a bit…dead for the past two months. This isn’t because the love has died down but more because I’ve been struggling with anxiety.
I don’t want to go into too much detail but one of the things I’ve been struggling with is going to gigs by myself. During the past few months the rare gig I’ve been to has been a real push and a struggle but I’m working on it so I can get back to it and enjoy myself.
At the end of the month I am still going write my monthly music roundup post and I already have a list of artists I want to include but if anyone wants to send stuff over to be added then they’re very welcome.
Either DM or email firstname.lastname@example.org
My plan is to get back on the horse properly in September and I do have gigs planned from that month onwards. I’m going to be focusing more on the scene in Coventry due to a university move but that doesn’t mean I can’t make the trip to Birmingham.
I’m looking forward to focussing on it more and pushing myself. In fact, I’ve made some new contacts to make the blog grow when I feel ready.
Thanks again for all the support. I really appreciate it.
To sum up, I am battling with anxiety but I did go to a gig at the weekend without too many issues. Next month is also going to be a quiet one when it comes to gigs but I will be writing up some previews and of course my monthly music roundup post.
I have loads of awesome gigs/festivals booked in September and October so hopefully by then I will be in a better place to participate.
Thank you for the continued support!
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