I know. It is kind of crazy posting this almost half way through December. University deadline season almost finished me off but there are too many great November releases that I have to talk about them.
“Doomsayer” (Single) by Ace Ambrose
I am going to kick things off with genre defying singer-songwriter Ace Ambrose. This single is something very different combing an eclectic mix of sounds and almost tells a story. The concept behind this track and upcoming album, “Doomsday Was Yesterday” is very interesting and something I would love to discuss with Ace further.
The concept album is “set in an Orwellian dystopia in a parallel 2020, not so different from our own, a virus has devastated the world and the UK has fallen under totalitarian regime surveilled and controlled by the government watchdog Division8.” The single is heavily influenced by Guy Fawkes and George Orwell’s “1984” which is evident by some of the lyrics.
Both at the beginning and end of the song there is a sort howling alarm sound which is similar to that of an air raid siren which gives a sense of paranoia and dread. The repeated lyrics of “I gotta get out” shows isolation accompanied with deep percussive notes could be associated with a growing doom. These two feelings together, isolating doom, I think describes this chaotic year perfectly.
Impressively, “Doomsayer” as well as the entire album has been produced in her bedroom. Using just GarageBand, guitar and synth keyboard to create a brilliantly thought-provoking tune which I immediately love. Ace has embodied some of the philosophies of Guy Fawkes and therefore has become Gal Fawkes. It is a single which is definitely worth checking out and you can also keep up to date with the story of Gal Fawkes’ battle with Division8 over on Instagram.
“Another Time” (Single) by Tin Pigeons
Back with their final release of 2020, East Midlands duo Tin Pigeons bring us another Indie-Pop anthem in the form of “Another Time”.
An uplifting single is the perfect way to close off such a difficult year for most of us and these guys have done just that. A surprisingly summery song for a winter release but it will give people some light in a time of darkness.
Like other releases by the indie outfit, “Another Time” is full of cool, syncopated beats and funky bass which makes it instantly likeable. This along with the musing guitar line and charming vocals have helped craft an infectiously good tune.
Since seeing Tin Pigeons live a few years ago they have been on my radar ever since. They are hardworking and it is paying off as every single is better than the last. They are definitely worth giving a listen; especially if you fancy a bit of a dance.
“Nineteen” (Single) by Sam Johnson
I have to give a mention to a track which has been an ear worm of mine since it has been released and that is “Nineteen” by Sam Johnson.
Sam is one of my favourite artists out there right now with his amazing vocals and talented songwriting skills. This latest single, “Nineteen”, is off his forthcoming EP “Are We There Yet?” which is out next month. It is an immediately likeable track with catchy beats and strong vocal hooks.
A different style to his previous releases, he focusses less on an acoustic guitar sound switching to cool synths and a strong bassline. After the first listen I quickly loved this song and it may even be one of my favourite releases of the year.
“Torrent” (Single) by BÖHMEN
Shropshire alt-rock band BÖHMEN bring us their debut track “Torrent” and as debuts go, they are starting off strong.
Whilst listening to the single I am getting both Catfish and the Bottlemen and Circa Waves vibes – so if you are a fan of those guys you should definitely check this one out. A prominent, exciting guitar riff is played throughout, building in the chorus accompanied by brawny drum bars.
The vocals are good and the bridge is particularly impressive. Sounds like it is made for a live setting. A solid anthem and a great debut. Looking forward to listening to more of their releases in the future.
“Parma Violets” (EP) by Cage Park
One of my favourite bands of recent years Cage Park bring us their debut EP, “Parma Violets”. The EP was meant to released earlier on in the year so I am so glad that we finally get to listen and enjoy it.
Opening with “Parma Violets”, it is a single which is one of my highlights of 2020. As I said in my August edition, it is catchy, funky and very clever – a song with perfectly performed vocals and serious punk vibes.
“Close But Not Enough” is an instant hit with me. It carries an air of chaos with rampant drums but then, juxtaposing to that, there is the calm lead up to the chorus which is incredibly clever. “Kitchen Floor” is something worth dancing to thanks to the captivating harmonies and cool bassline.
Closing off strong with “OK” and I am immediately hooked by the memorable BVs. It is made for a live setting and I am looking forward to catching these guys gigging again hopefully soon. There is just something about them which makes them so perfect for today’s music landscape. They have talent beyond their years and I truly believe they are destined for great things.
“Universal Critic” (EP) by M A R C
M A R C is a project fronted by Marc Bradley. The last release was debut EP “Unapologetically Rock n Roll” which was one of my favourite EPs of 2019 so I am very pleased to have more tunes to wrap my ears around.
“Universal Critic” is a six-track masterpiece recorded in Marc‘s bedroom during a time of chaos. It is more personal than the previous release and it is evident when listening to it that there has been an exploration of sounds and genres.
Very quickly the difference is evident with the opening of “Fixated”. Piano being the forefront, a song recorded in a slow tempo with heartfelt vocals and delicate strings in the background. It made me speechless. It is almost unbelievable the guy who wrote songs like “Much Too Much” and “She’s a 10” had this hidden inside.
“I Want You” is a very different sounding track. Catchy, good for a dance, with rock and swing vibes. He tried to capture a similar T.rex sound which he grew up loving and I can hear it. “Shock Fantasy, Pt. 2” is a follow up to his opening track on the last EP giving a sense of nostalgia. I particularly dig the guitar riffs in this one.
Fourth track “You” goes back to a softer sound with piano and emotive lyrics. It is definitely a soul-stirrer which also shows his vocal abilities. He has some great pipes on him.
“Go Get Away” is a serious juxtaposition to the previous track. You just cannot disregard it. A head banger with strong rock bars and thumping drums. Closing well with “Firework”, a track with dream-like acoustic guitar and vocals which could draw any and everyone in.
It is quite something to create something this good without being competent at mixing and music production. Marc should be proud at what he has achieved. Check it out.
Thank you for reading. Make sure you check out all the artists included in this post and hopefully December’s edition will not be so tardy. Looking forward to posting it in the next few weeks as well as a post with my Top 10 releases of 2020…
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