Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Joy Surrender - Escape


Joy Surrender is the solo project of Winchester based musician Tristan Irvine, who amongst other things has composed music for various media. Although you could probably guess that from his debut single, which has something of a cinematic feel to it.

Tristan describes the sound that he was trying to achieve on "Escape" as 'orchestronica', in that it features layers and layers of keyboard and electronic sounds arranged in an almost symphonic fashion. It may be a slightly grandiose descriptor, but there's no denying that it isn't incredibly effective. It's a rousing, expansive sounding track which feels as if it is going to completely envelop you in pure, blissful noise.

If TV music supervisors ever get bored of using "Hoppipolla" as the soundtrack of their life-affirming montages of wildlife and the natural world in documentaries, they'll have a rather suitable replacement in "Escape". Joy Surrender may be on to a good thing with this 'orchestronica' thingy.

"Escape" is available to download for free.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Sykes - Gold Dust E.P


London trio Sykes came to my attention a few months ago after the people at Fresh on The Net made one of their tracks a weekly fresh favourite. I'd meant to give them a bit of blog loving at the time, but never got around to it. But never to fear, for the band have just released a new E.P, "Gold Dust", which gives us the perfect opportunity to introduce you to this wonderful band.

To start with, the title track is something special indeed. It's a fantastic alternative pop track with a real heart that fans of Chvrches will completely lap up. I'd said back in July that if Ellie Goulding released this track as her new single, it would spend weeks on end at #1, and three months later I still stand by that assessment. 

The rest of the E.P doesn't match up to the title track, although there are some songs worth listening to. "Anybody Out There" sounds like a more chilled out La Roux, and the guitar work at the end of "Away She Goes" is rather impressive. 

"Gold Dust" offers a decent introduction to the music of Sykes, and if they can deliver more pop gems like the title track, then they are going to be a very interesting prospect going forward.

The "Gold Dust" E.P is out now.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Kassassin Street - Centre Straight Atom


We first became aware of Portsmouth based 5-piece Kassassin Street back in June through their mystical, psychedelic single "The Royal Handkerchief Ballet". Having spent the summer honing their craft whilst playing at Isle of Wight Festival, Bestival, and other non-island related gigs, the band have announced the release of a brand new single, and it's a real corker indeed.

"Centre Straight Atom" tones down the more overt psychedelic sounds of their last single, and replaces it with a more electronic and, dare I say it, radio-friendly, core. It mixes electronic verses with powerful, heavy yet poppy rock guitars on its chorus to create something rather delicious indeed. Plus, it reminds us a little of local electro-rockers Not Squares, which is definitely no bad thing. Kassassin Street set the bar quite high with "The Royal Handkerchief Ballet", so it's great that the band have managed to well and truly smash that benchmark.

And on a final note, in our review of their last single, we had suggested that the band had named themselves after a village in Egypt. Many thanks to Robin at Breaking More Waves (who has also written about the band) for pointing out that Kassassin Street is the name of a road in the Eastney district of Portsmouth. We guess that makes a bit more sense.

"Centre Straight Atom" will be released as a single on November 10th.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Southern - Cool Kid


If there's one band from Northern Ireland who have had a magical 2014, it is the Belfast sibling duo Southern. They've signed a record deal, solidified their sound through the release of a fantastic E.P and single, and have been touring like crazy, building up a solid fanbase (including playing a homecoming gig this week in support of Jake Bugg in the Odyssey Arena).

We'll be getting a long-awaiting album from them in early 2015, but before that they've announced the release of a brand new single, "Cool Kid". It's a bit more pared back compared to their other lead tracks released this year, although that doesn't mean it's any less engaging. It's probably the best demonstration to date of how well they work together vocally - both Lucy & Thom's vocals blend into each other so effortlessly that it's as if a new voice entirely is coming through.

There's probably going to be a more radio-friendly single or two released before the album drops this year, but in terms of drawing a line under what they've achieved so far in 2014, whilst signalling what to expect from the band in 2015, "Cool Kid" does just the job. If they're not selling out decent sized venues UK-wide by this time next year, we will be very surprised indeed.

"Cool Kid" will be released on 24th November

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Northern Ireland Tunes - Round-Up #31

We hope you've been having a great October so far. If not, we've got the perfect remedy to your condition - a round-up of some great new music coming out of Northern Ireland at the moment - 
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White Male Actors - Mysteries And Histories

It's nice to see that how healthy the music scene in Strabane is at the moment. We've already brought you music from Freak's and Those Ghosts over the past year or so, and now we've got a new name to add to the mix - White Male Actors. The band apparently received the seal of approval from former R.E.M member Bill Berry on one of their demos, and are about to release their debut E.P, "Ghosts", on October 20th. The lead track from the E.P is "Mysteries & Histories", and listening to it it's clear to see why they went down so well - it's a well produced, highly polished alternative-rock tune, which should go down well with fans of U2 and the aforementioned R.E.M.


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The Elliott Duo - Nashville Dreamer

Not one, but TWO Strabane based bands for you this month? You lucky, lucky people. The Elliott Duo are brother and sister Gary & Kim. Their song "Nashville Dreamer" combines Southern rock with a bit of country into something incredibly radio-friendly and Tennessee-pleasing, and not too dissimilar to another NI brother/sister duo doing well at the moment, Southern. I wonder if this would be up the metaphorical street of fellow country-loving Strabanite Hugo Duncan? Perhaps a bit too cool for him, methinks.


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Treehome - Keep Our Loving Discrete

Belfast trio Treehome describe themselves as mixing 'elements of Soul, Funk, Jazz and Rock backed up by catchy melodies, tasty riffs and pop sensibilities'. We'll take their word for it. Have a listen to their debut single "Keep Our Loving Discrete", which is definitely a more novel take on indie-rock for the young band.


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¿Que-Pasa- The Logic of Matthew Dixon

And finishing us off this week is the schoolboy septet from Lugan, Dromore & Banbridge, who go by the name ¿Que-Pasa? & claim to have invented the genre of "swez". Their debue E.P "Mellon" has just been released, and taken from it is "The Logic of Matthew Dixon", a pretty upbeat track that mixes rock, brassy funk, pop, and a little bit of rap into a song that reminds us of both The Cat Empire and the song "Centerfold". It's nice to hear a band making such delightful with their tongues held firmly in cheek.