Pickering White Single Review ‘Bye Bye Baby’ 27/02/14

The super swinging rock’n’roll rhythm that is Pickering White’s new single ‘Bye Bye Baby’ is without doubt for me their best work to date – put it this way I don’t think my foot will ever recover from the incessant tapping it experienced whilst listening to this song.

‘Bye Bye Baby’ boasts country influenced guitar riffs contended by chilling vocal harmonies that exploit the full beauty and superiority in Jennifer Pickering’s voice. The track is a testament to Pickering White’s versatility as musicians, flaunting the fact they certainly don’t fear to tread into the realms of the unknown when experimenting with various components from other genres.



Bison and Wolf Single Review – While We Wait 26/02/14

Weirder more varied crisp melody. Bison and Wolf are not disappointing. Their single; While We Wait, shimmers lines of attention throughout. You’re continually captivated with the buoyant guitar hooks and sweet harmonies. Bison and Wolf write lyrics you feel in your comfort zone listening to, not lyrics you cringe at; the story of While We Wait has a repetitive rhythm which ends as a pin through a balloon, sharp and with a bang.


The Beatrix Players @ The Glebe

The Glebe was teeming with music lovers in high anticipation of London ladies Beatrix Players, but whetting the appetite for the eagerly awaited headliners was acoustic ace Nixon Tate, and upon the strike of the first chord a prominent swarm scurried keenly towards the stage. Soft, soothing, serene – I suspect there’s a plethora of adjectives beginning with S to describe Nixon Tate’s signature approach to the folk genre however I’m going with a T for Tranquil. With mellow guitars matched by tender vocals; Nixon Tate’s distinctive flair is indisputable and clearly evident in the catalogue of songs played on the night, but Widows Peak has to be the hands down favourite. Seconds in and the gentle melody engulfs you in its peace like a musical sedative, as the sound of the track progressively becomes increasingly atmospheric.

It was unanimously known amongst onlookers that the climactic pinnacle of the night had arrived when the all-female trio gracefully inhabited the stage to play a final gig in Stoke-on-Trent after appearing on various radio stations in the area; before returning South. Admittedly, beforehand I held some uncertainties surrounding the Cello, but my queries soon diminished when the empowered orchestral sound of Beatrix Players was in full flow. And when performing songs such as Unpolished Pearl we see that no percussion is no problem, the lack of any drums only strengthened the impact of their unique blend of classical elements that layer flawlessly to complement the elegant vocals. With a sound that I can only describe as enchantingly dark, I urge you not to miss them again whenever they return to Stoke!


Autumn Lungs – The Long Way Round EP Review 21/02/14


Here I am dipping into the folk scene just like ploughing a Dorito chip into another salsa that isn’t a Doritos make. I never know what to expect, it’s either really good or not good at all. I love finding acoustic related acts around Stoke on Trent, sitting in a pub and watching those bands with a pint in hand


GJ Worthington has a lot of influences according to the lovely social networking site Facebook giving me a look at his page. So with these musical interests giving me the perspective that he has versatility in his music, I’m going give The Long Way Round a listen and spew my thoughts out in this written piece.


Guilty as Charged is quite cheesy for a track name, but it gives the EP an alive feeling straight away. The song sounds like Mumford & Sons, but GJ can sing without it sounding like gravel is stuck in his throat. His voice is calm, the lyrics are sweet and the music is blissful, it’s like diving into a pool full of marshmallows.


Save Us pops up with an electric guitar feel, bringing his other influences that aren’t just folk. There’s that little pinch of grunge in this song, especially when GJ’s voice gets more near the end of the verses and the start of the chorus, but unlike grunge it’s gentle. It’s a lively track yet it’s calm in most parts, like a puppy getting bored of a squeaky toy after 5 minutes.


The mid-point of this EP comes with I Wish. Keeping the soft feeling, the music is more dramatic, it sounds sad and the lyrics are pretty much made up of emotion. The main folk element is brilliant done; it’s really catchy which is keeping me glued to this disc. The singing and instrumental chemistry is beautiful so far through this, the choruses in the songs have this power behind them that takes you away from the mellow mood.


Us Proof, sounds like a mash up of the three previous songs into one, which I find is pretty cool. With the calm soothing sound from I Wish, horn section from Guilty As Charged and the powerful vocals from Save Us assemble like The Avengers and dish out a solid track.


Little C seems dedicated to someone, as the Bandcamp and EP cover says the art work was made by this person. It’s a beautiful end track, the guitars acoustic and electric work together like jam and toast and is delicious to taste.


This whole EP as a whole has a wonderful chemistry which is crafted very nicely. The songs are very catchy and instrumentally solid when it comes to folk writing, the playing and horn section are a wonderful touch to a good feel.


However the lyrics have a deeper meaning, dramatic if I must say, it’s focused on emotional commitment that is mainly about love. With these two combined it’s a great way to tell a story in each song and people can not only nod their heads to this, but can relate in most aspects to the lyrics.

The singing is charming, especially the harmonies, and soft vocals with power behind them in typically timed aspects in songs give it a weird grunge feel, in a good way.

The Long Way Round is a great piece of music, any folk lovers should purchase this, kick back, have some crisps or eat healthy eating curry and chill out to what I think is a great mixture of soothing and catchy music.



Beyond the Sun @ Underground 15/02/14

What a gig.

Amber Joanna’s first big gig as a solo artist lit the flames. For such a young girl the power of her vocals had so much dominance that she silences the venue. Performing covers from Kodaline and Bon Jovi, shows Amber’s wide range of musical taste and her originality to change these much loved bands into her own sound. As soon as Amber has her own songs written and produced, her popularity in the local scene and beyond will be rocketing.

The flames lit by Amber we were next transported back in time; to a time of big hair, polyester clothing and a burst through of folk, rock psychedelic music. Electroshock Therapy are back, and back strong as ever.  Looking and sounding polished, they kept it simple and let the music do all the talking. Electroshock Therapy has a hidden song writing intellect, which puts them standing tall on the box of wonders. These have hidden sub genres which seep through each and every member; acid rock, psychedelic, RnB, country and folk. Electroshock have that intensely clever talent of creating a sound completely new, a sound influenced from the past but brought to the modern day as something new.

In a previous life, Neon Rouge, in present life Malthouse, they return into the local music scene with a mature sounding podium. A new track Lay Me Down is their aggressive blues number; Kieran’s vocal seem to have more emotion this time around, a deep emotion which is conveyed through the poetically written lyrics. It was exciting to hear tracks from Neon Rouge brought forward. Break Jaw Blues had a lot more of a heavier take with a stop start soulful intro also what seems like an ancient tune Fisty Cuff; this has a floor shaking revolution with a touch up of early 60’s soul/RnB. Introducing Emily Law from Nuclear Safari is always a good move; Emily was joined for Ain’t No Cab and a new one No Getting Young (which at the moment is a personal favourite) There’s something different, something likeable and something about each of the lads talent that is incredible.

From Wales was psych band The Revolutionary Spirit. Jaws dropped, gazing began and the heat got higher. The sound was experimental as well as the stage presence and live entertainment. These are a band to enjoy through imagery rather than just sound. The Revolutionary Spirit lyrics are a visceral mediation on love pain and loss, their single Last Memories saw pop choruses which no doubt has made them a solid fan base in Stoke on Trent.

This was a gig Psyence have been planning for months; all the hard work for an unsigned band has paid off tremendously. ‘Let’s have a party’ was the phrases that kicked the set off. Being the heaviest of all bands, there was not one human in the Underground stationary. Zebra and Medusa always cause havoc. Psyence showed off their new tunes; the tunes with experimental sound effects, a drumming thunder, guitars with a warm chime and viscous amp bite, delayed vocal with snatched sentences of speech burble; this is a blend that really hits the highest peak of talent. This is the modern sound of yesterday’s music.



Valentines Acoustic Showcase @ Sugarmill 14/02/14

Perfect for Valentine’s Day; an acoustic showcase at Stoke’s best loved venue; The Sugarmill. Whether madly in love or living life single it was a night for everyone. The emotion set by every act thickened the lovey dovey atmosphere. With the stage decorated with 50 so balloons, red roses and Champagne; love was in the air.

First act; Autumn Lungs has only just entered my knowledge book of local music. I was informed he was formally in a heavy rock band called Greater Ghost; well Autumn Lungs is a transformation but still has the inherited aggressive rock feel. From rocker to an intense acoustic act; Autumn Lungs has a similar pathway as Frank Turner. There’s a debut EP out, The Long Way Round, I was luckily enough to grab one; https://autumnlungs.bandcamp.com/

Walking down the stairs from the roof I hear that song everyone now knows from the charts; Royals by Lorde. It was a cover no-one else could have topped, Maddy Gregory was joined by Ben Owen on backing vocals. Maddy has this unique twist to her personality and vocal which stands out from the rest; something quirky that people like. As it was Valentines Maddy played some covers such as Hey Ho, Lumineers, and a mash up of I’m Yours, Jason Mraz, Hey Soul Sister, Train and Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Elton John; which I must say played smoothly, there was a clever interchange between songs which got people wondering if the song actually changed. Maddy wrote a new song especially for this Valentines gig; it had a similar notation for R U Mine, Arctic Monkeys. On stage Maddy asked whether it was worth completing… well yeah it is.

Young singer, songwriting Greg Lawson has been working hard for the last couple of month producing and recording his EP Fly; finally Valentines was the release date. He covered; The 1975 with happy guitar hooks a real change from the original synth 80s nostalgia track. Greg put a somewhat delicately cute addition to the lovey dovey atmosphere; find his new EP here; https://www.facebook.com/GregLawsonacoustic

An artist I’ve been wanting to see live for a while now and that’s Stu Whiston. Originally from indie band Youtha. Stu still carries his indie vibes whilst solo, as well as carrying the indie vibes, he’s also carrying some of the original tracks like; Runaway. Stu played his single; There was a time, his dreamy pop vocals and mellow strumming led us all through a sweet journey for valentine’s night. Stu as well as playing so beautifully, succeeds as a lyricist. He completed his set with an Artic Monkeys cover; Why’d you only called me, when your high?  It was interesting to listen to in such a striped back way. https://soundcloud.com/stuwhiston

A lad that can make acoustic music sound funky groovy and let so much emotion out through his vocals; Ben Owen headlines the Valentines special.  His last single, You + Me has a cheery personality to it, the great thing about Ben is that he puts on a show. His rocker came out during this performance whilst covering; Don’t Stop Believing and Star Man, Sugarmill’s crowd loved every minute. My new favourite of Ben’s tracks is Be My Baby, it had vintage rock and roll twang and with lyrics that created imagery as well as a personality. Watch out for Ben in summer. http://www.benowenmusic.com


Logical Drama Single Review – Shadows – 10/02/14

The title of Logical Drama’s new single ‘Shadows’ indisputably reflects the menacingly dark nature instilled within the track; sinister, reverberating vocals complemented by cold, foreboding strings create a powerful ambience adding to the dynamic way the temperament of the song evolves becoming more impassioned and melodic as the track elapses.  And as strong as it starts, ‘Shadows’ concludes with cutting drums matched with tenacious guitars; oozing true emotion through its entirety – a trait in music that Logical Drama fiercely master.



Independent Venue Music Week @ Sugarmill 29/01/14

A night where, Independent Venue Music sponsored by PRS music take over The Sugarmill; it’s a night which celebrates the spirit of independence and the culture of live music over 18 venues, 6 nights and 3 gigs a night. The line-up was the best of indie in the Stoke on Trent music scene; Delamere, Moral Panics, The Ruby Dukes, Campstag and a Brighton band, Nothing but Thieves.

Delamere dropped the bomb and alighted the night. The infectious indie, pop, club-friendly dance rhythm silence the crowd after every applause (sometimes you hear someone’s conversation but there wasn’t a sound) For an early start, The Sugarmill saw regular faces and new faces, it was a well-deserved crowd for all bands. Delamere created this massive impact throughout a drum solo; the rhythm and the excitement in their performance showed just how they managed to bag a support slot for Bastille. Being signed to Scruff of the Neck Records, these lads are on the right road of success; the up and coming single, Do You Want Me, is set to be release in Manchester, 8th March. It’s a twist to say, Vampire and Colour Me In, it’s a twist different and interesting.

For a local band to fly to Paris and record an EP, that’s got to be something to scribble on your band CV and be incredible proud of! From tinkling bouncing melodies to matured boisterous bouncing melodies, Moral Panics have stood strong in the local music scene for a long time now, their heels are firm dug in the ground as far as music goes. A massive old favourite, Move my Feet, sets a sharp tone to their set. Moral Panics have created this, ‘hard to get’ simple yet intelligently talented persona, the emotion set through lyrics is strong which results in their extremely healthy fan base. Concluding the monstrous set, Blood, from their EP Blood; the most entertaining track to witness live, the track has a sense of bipolar. From recorded to live its incredibly different. Moral Panics have that talent to keep interest as high as possible!

Stepping out of Stoke just for one band, Nothing but Thieves; they are a band that widen your eyes and shock you during the live performance. For someone who has not yet witnessed Nothing but Thieves, you’re in for a mammoth surprise. Apart from the shock of frontman’s vocal (which remind me of Justin from the Darkness) the music was very much indie rock. If you grab Florence and the Machine add rowdy drum beats, jagged riffs and spoonful of grit in the vocal and the outcome is… https://www.facebook.com/NothingButThieves

Performance quality of The Ruby Dukes develops each gig; it’s like the firework of the night. An explosion of confidence floods the Sugarmill stage. Paper Sunset still has that newly fresh breeze, it’s like the sore thumb in The Ruby Dukes set, it’s the track that stick out from the others for its distinctive creativity. They’ve been busy writing new tunes, new tunes like there up and coming single, Prowl. The Ruby Dukes remind me closely of the Arctic Monkeys, releasing themselves in 2013 with a dominate indie style and now growing up and advancing to unique and experimental sounds. Winning 6 Towns Radio’s Best Local Act this year, things are considering to be a superior year. 

I am ashamed to admit that, this was the first time I caught, top class indie headliners Campstag. They show off the classic quote, ‘Never judge a book by looking at the cover’ because without them even being on stage, there professional shines fiercely and strikes powerfully through the set. Walking with Broken Bones and Malitida Please has a build-up of brilliantly crafted firm guitar riffs and a sophisticated keyboard enhancement. Campstag have that talented and clever technique of assembling made different layers to create the complex, enjoyable rhythms. Sirens, is one of my favourites. They synth effect not only intrigues the audience but creates an atmosphere with a beautiful brush of crisp percussion. Other track like; Hide and Seek and When Lights Come Down keep up the intelligence, and add thickness to the atmosphere. A serious band to check out.