Allsorts – Nudy Bronque
There is always a worry that as soon as you label anything as ‘kooky’ that it conjures up visions of mad aunts and those people who always insist on sitting next to you on a bus, even if the entire thing is empty. In this case however it is a compliment, Nudy Bronque are so effortlessly off-beat it is impossible not to fall for their charms.
With Movement and Sitting Pretty from their last EP easily in my Top Tunes of 2012 list, the prospect of new material, and the chance to hear it first, was certainly a good start to 2013.
Allsorts is the first track to be released from the three piece line up and has all the hall marks of a classic Nudy track. Built around a slower, almost lounge lizard groove, it is the lyrical imagery they conjure up that lifts Nudy Bronque so far above many of their peers.
Bringing to mind the likes of His ‘n’ Hers / Different Class era-Pulp or even The Divine Comedy, they find the romance in the day to day and make it all seem just a little seedy too. Lead singer Aidan is part crooner; part indie troubadour, narrating the woes of others and sounding more than a little like Jake Shillingford.
Refreshingly free of the usual Oasis/The Libertines rip offs that most ‘indie’ bands seem to rely on these days, Allsorts is the sort of song that reminds you that indie can be clever and interesting, not just generic and dull. My favourite tip for big things in 2013… Maybe, definitely.
Allsorts is out in February, to find out more visit the Nudy Bronque website HERE.
Driving The Nails In – Nya
South Coast metallers NYA are back with their 2nd EP ‘Driving The Nails In’. You soon know what you’re getting with this band – lots of tight riffs, lots of soaring choruses, and an anthemic feel for the audience to go wild to. There’s just one problem… it isn’t a very good EP.
It’s well produced, but for me this EP lacks anything special. Everything on here has been done a LOT over the years, and NYA really need to look for their own signature sound to add to the mix. There’s nothing wrong with going for a tried and tested sound, but NYA need to at least try to make the sound their own. Each song seems to just blend into mediocrity and I’m afraid that vocalist Anezka Piska’s voice isn’t up to the standard of other female metal vocalists out there at the moment.
This is going to be a short review. There are no stand out moments, and while their first EP got them a good slot at Download 2011 I can’t see this EP doing them such favours. Sorry!
To find out more about NYA visit their site HERE.
Tiny Teardrops – Lizzie Nightingale
Opener Alone is sparse yet somehow far from bare, with a simple ‘music box’ backing Lizzie’s vocals and lyrics are enough to hold your attention and by the time the violins come in you are already hooked.
Tiny Teardrop is strangely hypnotic, beautiful and heavy-hearted all at once. There is something dark about it too, like The Cure without the backcombing, again the words are simple but there is a rawness to the pleading ’ tiny teardrop rolling down my face, you better go I think you’re in the wrong place’ refrain.
There are shades of the Eurythmics in Sparkle and like Annie Lennox, Lizzie clearly has a stunning voice but doesn’t feel the need to prove it every five seconds with redundant showboating. Lizzie is a song-writer and a singer, so often you get one or the other, it is refreshing to get someone who gives an equal hand to both.
Whilst there are some inevitable comparisons to Florence + The Machine, Lizzie is more understated and therefore a lot more palatable as far as I am concerned. Epic tunes but on a smaller scale, this makes sense when you listen to the EP, trust me. Intimate lyrics and some stark backing create a whole that is far more affecting than it sounds on paper, try it, you just might like it.
You can download the whole EP for FREE for a limited time HERE.
Saviour – Canterbury
There is a lesson to be learnt here kids, hard work can pay off. Canterbury have spent years touring, gave away their first album for free and have honed their songs to within an inch of their lives. So with the impending release of album number two, Heavy In The Day, one can only assume superstardom beckons because Canterbury are surely destined for it.
What makes me so sure of this? Well, take a listen to new single Saviour and it is hard to imagine a world in which they are anything less than massive. As the feedback soaked intro gives way to reveal the throbbing bass line, Saviour erupts with the kind of immediate sugar rush few songs manage these days.
Coming on like a poppier version of The Jesus And Mary Chain, Canterbury bury indie melodies under some alt. rock fuzz to create something exciting and instantly memorable. Ready Yet? came out earlier in the year to introduce the new material, Saviour has now set that excitement level to fever pitch.
For more info on Canterbury click HERE.
Flashfires EP – Flashfires
My decision to quit actually making music, or rather the day I conceded I was, how can I put it, piss poor, seems to be more and more justified. When I receive CDs from irritatingly young but rather good bands like FlashFires it puts into perspective how far off the mark I would have been.
More commonly associated with the number of roundabouts they have as opposed to any kind of musical heritage, FlashFires call Basingstoke home but have not let this hold them back.
As with many young bands they wear their influences proudly on their sleeves, most notably Arctic Monkeys, both lyrically and musically Turner and Co. can be felt throughout the EP. However FlashFires have far more to offer than just a homage to the Sheffield quartet and the five tracks on offer are an intriguing mix of indie edginess with some rock guitar.
Apart from sounding like it should be a bloody brilliant movie on the SyFy channel, Manshark is an instantly catchy indie number with a hint of ska, big chorus and nifty guitar solo and sets the tone perfectly for the EP.
Caught Up In Youth is an apt title for track three as this feels the weakest link for me, the chorus suffers from the clichéd 60s psychedelic tinge but finds its feet slightly by the end with a delicate guitar outro.
Hitting their stride once more with Cezanne this has some stellar work from drummer Toby and chorus that reminds me of Dolly Parton’s Jolene. It offers an intriguing blend of influences and makes pigeon holing the band tricky. Final track You Say Nothing owes a debt to another legendary Sheffield export, Pulp, opening as it does with a guitar line reminiscent of Babies before sharply heading back to more Arctic Monkeys infused territory.
I have been sent a few ‘rough’ demos lately so it was a joy to receive FlashFires CD, a band who clearly have a definite idea of their sound and what they want to be. The indie/rock cross over genre appears to be gathering momentum and a number of young bands seem to be embracing the indie chic with a rockier guitar sound. I am certainly all for it and look forward to hearing what comes next from FlashFires, I have high hopes for them.
To find out more about FlashFires click HERE.
Bring ‘Em Down – Lostprophets
I think I’ll always have a slight affection for Lostprophets, not just because Shinobi Vs Dragon Ninja is an awesome tune but because of their love of Duran Duran. Sharing their name with a Duran bootleg album and having covered A View To A Kill on their The Fake Sound Of Progress single, the DD love is strong.
Returning with their new single Bring ‘em Down, taken from the forthcoming 5th album ‘Weapons’, Lostprophets are back to remind the current crop of alt.rock/post hardcore bands who their Daddy is. As a forerunner to the album, Bring ‘em Down does the job in grabbing your attention, opening with Ian Watkins declaring ‘One chance with life is all you get, so pick your side and place your bets’ before the track explodes and hurtles towards a hook laden chorus.
Big and loud, this is exactly what you are looking for from them there ‘Prophets boyos, bring on the album.
To find out more about Lostprophets, click HERE.
Not Supposed To Sing The Blues – Europe
I admit it, the majority of my Europe knowledge does extend to THAT song. But having had a very loooong conversation with a friend the other day about Europe (yes, you know who you are) I have to say their enthusiasm rubbed off and when the new single landed in my inbox, I was quite excited to have a listen.
Not Supposed To Sing The Blues is the lead track from their upcoming new album ‘Bag Of Bones’ and it is a belting classic rock track. Big, throbbing riff, slight middle-eastern tinge to the pre-chorus, some shredding…. Seriously, what more do you want?
There is a Led Zeppelin swagger to it and a nod in the lyric ‘still a kid when the levee breaks, man oh man that’s all it takes’ wryly acknowledges this. The last album ‘Last Look At Eden’ was hugely well received and so expectation for ‘Bag Of Bones’ is high, Not Supposed To Sing The Blues would seem to be a very good sign that even better is to come.
Just don’t tell Jon I like this or I’ll never hear the end of it.
To find out more, check out the Europe website HERE.
Sunday (Psychic Conversation) – Crocodiles
Sunday (Psychic Conversation) is the first single to be taken from Crocodiles’ forthcoming Endless Flowers album. Although hailing from sunny California, their sound is distinctly British and has the hazy feel of the shoegaze about it. There are hints of early Charlatans and of course JAMC but mixed with a splash of Ash’s pop nuances. Whilst the sound has one foot in the past, it is clearly no exercise in nostalgia and Crocodiles add their own Stateside slant to the proceedings.
Walls of fuzzy guitars, crashing cymbals and Tim Burgess-esque vocals combine to add a hint of Californian sunshine to the baggy fraternity. Splendid stuff.
To find out more about Crocodiles, click HERE.
Looking Through – Nada Surf
Taken from Nada Surf’s sixth album proper The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy, Looking Through is a subtle blend of a more earnest Fountains Of Wayne mixed with some Sugar (the band and the edible crystalline carbohydrate) the type of soaring indie pop melody
that has fallen out of favour over the last few years.
The lightness of touch and ear for a catchy tune mean this is a very pleasant way to spend four minutes and whilst it is not breaking any
new ground, it floats by with a breezy 60s vibe and instantly hummable chorus. Does it offer enough to make itself heard in these increasingly fickle times? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a chance.
Find out more about Nada Surf HERE.
Wolf Hand – Pulled Apart By Horses
As those familiar with Pulled Apart By Horses will already know, they are noisy little blighters. Taken from the album Tough Love, the new single Wolf Hand will do nothing to quell their reputation for the raucous and for that we should be grateful. Wolf Hand opens with Tom Hudson howling ‘When I was a kid I was a dick, but nothing changes’ over the grunge infused wall of guitars. It is almost impossible to sit still whilst listening to this, the urgency is infectious and not for the first time I am rueing the fact I am yet to see the band live. Who said the humble 45 was a dead art; this is the kind of track the single was invented for. The spirit of Seattle lives on, just now with a LS post code.
For all your Pulled Apart By Horses needs, visit their website HERE.