Let’s Talk Music – August 2020 Edition

Before I kick off with August releases may I divert you to a post I wrote about my love/hate relationship with the music industry. It is a purely personal piece which includes issues I believe womxn face in the industry. It would mean a lot if you would check it out: “My Love/Hate Relationship With The Music Industry“.

Focussing back on August which was another month full of new releases. Quite honestly I was sent a massive amount of material to review and have had to be selective with my time but all the artists in this post are definitely worth checking out.

“Midnight Mansion” (Single) by CRYMSON

The Birmingham-based quartet are back with their first release of 2020; “Midnight Mansion”.

I had the pleasure of seeing the indie rock band live last year and I remember seriously enjoying their set so it is good to see them releasing more material. The sound of this particular single is definitely darker than some of the musical avenues they’ve explored previously. It is a mature sound.

An instantly likeable track I think thanks to the cool bass line and the eerie but also intriguing vocals from the frontman. The haunting riffs and interesting drums during the bridge really are the biggest pulls for me. A great song by the upcoming band.

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“Knockin‘” (Single) by Bryony Williams

Singer-songwriter Bryony Williams has released her second single off her upcoming EP “State I’m In” and it is in the form of “Knockin'”. This track once again showcases Bryony’s songwriting abilities and pristine vocals.

A fusion of genres melded together from blues to indie rock to a sprinkling of electro; it is immediately likeable and very snappy. A strong beat and confident guitar paves the way to an already brilliant tune but then her voice takes over transporting it to new heights.

This song really shows a strength of character as Bryony champions above the struggles of depression as she repeats “that’s enough” essentially telling it to do one. A message I am sure many will take away from listening to it.

I like this sound and direction she seems to be heading and it makes me excited for her EP even more.

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“Wonderland” (Single) by The VCR

Birmingham rock outfit The VCR are back with their first single since releasing their self-titled album at the beginning of the year and it is “Wonderland”.

This track is a proper rock anthem and it doesn’t sneak up you, it hits full throttle from the off and I loved it from the first listen. I do not know how The VCR have escaped my notice before now. The single is powerful, punchy, in your face and is pure modern rock.

Every element has been mixed perfectly so that you really get the best out of each layer. The balance of the vocals impresses me in particular, although they are big vocals you do not feel that they mask any of the instrumental lines. This release makes me want to go back and listen to the rest of their discography – this band are worth the listen.

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“She” (Single) by Chloe Castro

In 2016 R&B/Soul artist Chloe Castro got through to the quarter finals of BBC’s The Voice UK before having to drop out due to health reasons. I watched that season and as soon as I heard Chloe sing for the first time I thought she had great chances of winning the show, after each performance that feeling became stronger and I was gutted she could not continue.

This year has been her comeback as she has worked hard and crowdfunded to release her debut EP which is expected towards the end of this year; “She” is the first single from that EP and it is stunning.

A track about a tricky love triangle and infidelity the listener is immediately captivated by this story being told by her beautiful, eloquent vocals. There is just something about her voice where you feel you must listen and that if you don’t you are missing out. Her songwriting skills are fantastic and she has managed to combine different genres to create a modern look to classic R&B vibes.

I am very much looking froward to her upcoming EP, “AMID”, and receiving my copy in the post.

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“Parma Violets” (Single) by Cage Park

It has been a tough year for Birmingham indie rock band Cage Park and I’m not just talking about the pandemic. The year started good for Flares (which is what they were previously known as) with a very successful tour in February and they were due to release this single, “Parma Violets” on the 15th of that month. In a statement the day before they said:

“We are extremely sorry to announce that Parma Violets will not be out tomorrow. Due to issues concerning our name which are completely out of our hands, all of our online music has, or will be wiped and deleted off all platforms. We are all incredibly angry, upset and shocked that one individual could act like they have over something which could have been discussed and sorted privately & politely, and stumble us just when we thought we were approaching something massive.”

They proceeded with their tour anyway and quite rightly so, but six months later they finally manage to release the brilliant “Parma Violets” under cool new name Cage Park. I have such big respect for this young band who I think have a massive future and I for one was gutted when their previously releases (most of which I have reviewed on this blog) had to be wiped from Spotify. “Tunnel Vision” was a favourite song of mine and I miss being able to listen to it.

Anyway, focussing on “Parma Violets” now and wow! What an absolute tune. Catchy, funky and very clever – a song with perfectly performed vocals and serious punk vibes. The syncopated bass line matches brilliantly with the drum rhythm. I just think they are all so talented and at such a young age!

The band members are now 16/17 but I first saw them perform two years ago and have been a big fan ever since. It blows my mind that they were just 14/15 then. You have to check out this single and when gigs can happen again I recommend checking out one of their shows. Cage Park are ones to watch.

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“Hot Music Live Presents Volume Four” (Collection) by Various Artists

Coventry & Warwickshire music magazine Hot Music Live have released another collection of tracks from various talents in the area. This volume is a massive twenty-four tracks and is an eclectic mix of genres so there really is a song for everyone in there. I have enjoyed exploring the compilation from start to finish over the past few days and it has introduced me to artists that I certainly want to explore further.

Due to how big a project this is, I am unable to go into lots of details of the tracks so I’ve picked some that stand out to me.

A rock band with a hint of blues, Fourth In Line‘s “On The Run” is full of groove and an instant hit with me. Each instrument and vocal line blends well plus a strong bass line making a brilliantly mixed song you can vibe to.

I was blown away on the first listen by extraordinary vocals and complex songwriting in song “Pretty Little Lies” by Niamh Toni and Travis Waddell. They are both young too, in fact the youngest artists to ever appear on a “Hot Music Live Presents” compilation, which not only makes it even more impressive but also means they are only going to get better.

My last mention has to be “Land Of The Upsiders” by The Upsiders featuring Callum Mckissock, Ellie Gowers and Carlton Kelly…just because it is so fun! They sound like they’re having a laugh and that their shows would feel like being at a party.

This collection was compiled by Andy Holdcroft and is dedicated to the memory of Paul Brook who was a drummer, programmer, producer, writer, composer & multi instrumentalist. He can be heard in tracks “Shadow Box” by PZAZZ, “Train Song” by Manalyshi, “For You” by Bob Cooper and “Dawn Approach” by Jon Paul SETI Project. His own track “Sophia’s Choice” is eleventh on the listing.

Here is the full list of artists involved in this project (alphabetically):

Alchemista, Bob Cooper, Callum Mckissock, Carlton Kelly, Catholic Dance Academy, David Page, Ellie Gowers, Fallow Man, Fourth In Line, Greengrass, Henery, Ian Bourne, Jack Blackman, Jon Paul SETI Project, Lemon Boy, Manalyshi, Niamh Toni, Pandora, Paul Brook, PZAZZ, Ross Darby, The Mia Cars, The Rising, The Session, The Upsiders, Travis Waddell, Wendy Won’t Like It and Wilde.

Check it out over on Bandcamp by clicking the link here.

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That’s it for August! A massive twenty-nine tracks for you to check out and I really hope you do.

Stay safe 🙂

Get in touch:

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