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Misquoting Nightwreckage’s press release, I am addicted to music, for me the ultimate drug, so when Andy proffered a fix, loosing me on the monthly singles and EP review, this junkie Chumki could not refuse. Honoured, at first I was elated and then terrified. Having read Andy’s erudite words I reached for mine, and found them wanting, so it is with trepidation I stammer tentatively into what has been an ear opening revelation.

Having previously rambled on to only a select few, about favourite local bands from my adopted Liverpool home, I found myself uncharacteristically lost for words, frozen by fear but then the music took over and many too many words came tumbling out, in admiration and awe at the breadth and quality of some of the music selected by Andy. Being advised that in the world of Fanzines, less is more and conciseness a virtue I have attempted to curtail my outpourings but am aware that in some cases enthusiasm has run off with my tongue and as usual I have let my heart rule me head in such matters. I suppose, as music is beyond words, expressing what language cannot fully capture, the micro semitones of emotion between staccato verbal notes, colouring the gaps between, I could have said nothing and just played you the music but in this busy world small flashes of beauty sometimes get drowned by white noise and I hope my poor words will tune your ears in to some amazing music which shines out and deserves to be heard. I haven’t really commented on the videos, though there are a few interesting ones. Where they are not homemade or literal, this month’s theme appears to be carousing through dappled sunlight, clowns, mime artists and black and white art film, though of course the estimable Noel Gallagher has stretched to a mini epic. So, with a bang and a boom, here goes. Let us hope I don’t drown as I take the plunge…..

Van Susans - We Could Be Scenery

Beyond filial ties which bind three of the band, musically this six piece merge seamlessly as they paint a backdrop to everyday life, illuminating the scenery we all walk through with clear eyed clarity, torn by tenderness and angst of wide eyed youth. Like a watercolour, the touch is light yet precise in capturing the essence of a feeling without arrogance and cynicism sometimes accumulated by those of less tender years, a wondering innocence pervades these songs, refreshing as clear spring water, trickled through fingers on a sultry day.

Though six in number there is a beautiful sparseness in the arrangements, each musician given space but not taking too much, respectful of each other’s musical phrases which like the lyrics are precise and apposite, nothing extraneous, perfectly chosen to express the thought, poetic rap, concise never trite which flows effortlessly from Olly’s mouth and captivates like nursery rhyme ditties, “… I’m the bang… she’s the boom…together we will blow up the moon…seems crazy …like dancing with a gun…can’t find the safety… won’t someone save me from this girl” (“Cha Cha Bang”), “…sometimes it takes a long hard fall… to find you are not invincible after all… you realise you are just broken bone…” (“Bones”), almost every song has a catch to it, some turn of lyrical or musical phrase with sticks in the mind.

There is no denying the melodic skill of these songs which flow easily and beautifully, not all is new, Bach through to Elton John have exploited the power of certain musical clichés which in the wrong hands can be cheesy but in this case are judicious interspersions which do not get carried away by their own importance, serving as twinkling highlights in the fabric woven by this talented band, weaving old with new making it their own, definitely destined to be a classic and a band to follow , they have a fresh sparkle which made me smile. Described in their press release as PopCore, Van Susans music is certainly catchy but these songs are more than popcorn, in contemplation of life and love, such thoughtful erudition also the inspiration for their name, in honour of a friend plucked before his time from this earthly coil. Somewhere in the ether, Dan Susans and his van, emblazoned with the name of a previous incarnation “Man versus Blender” is riding the stars, humming along.  

'Cha Cha Bang' spins you round in the arms and mind of sharp suited, winkle picked, cockney sparrow mod/soul boy, beating , leaping heart of bass and drum, punctuated with impatient, joyful hand clap, collides high energy guitar wall brimming with desire. Melodic, eloquent, hormonal lines flow easily from the lips of this youthful lothario, Weller merged with Suggs tinged with Sharkey, enticed, entranced by whirling A-Line skirt, burgeoning twinset and pink lipstick pout, twirling her negligent pearls, eyes sparkling, aware of her power, loaded gun primed with temptation, electric violin stoking overwhelming passion, ready to blow until tortured and spent he hangs his head and nonchalantly, shyly sashays away, on plucked violin tip toe, sharp creases stirred but unruffled, pride just about in place, ready to fight another day. A song which captures perfectly the adrenalin of desire, “… like dancing with a gun...”.'Bones' (re-mixed) reflectively ponders on mortal limitation and spirit, classically beautiful piano chords echoed by sweetly bowed violin take first faltering steps, distorting into grunge to leap head first into Turin Break style break, flying free, held aloft by head spinning melodies, truncated arpeggios weave round and round seeking to break earthly bonds, drip, drip of short, repeated, spiked musical phrases prick and niggle, riding the rise and fall of currents, high energy guitar and driving drums goading and fuelling a flight to the sun, before spiralling down to hit the ground as broken bones and sudden realisation that “…sometimes it takes a long hard fall… to find you are not invincible after all…”before reluctant acquiescence in the arms of cradling bass and tender piano, consoling , healing and bringing understanding in its gently repeated, sweet, melodic succour, mending bones and courage, driven by bass and drums, swept up by guitar, to once more fly on the wings of soaring piano and vocal, in the knowledge that unlike stone which shatters when falls “ … bones heal back stronger…that can take a long time…even still…you should go everything for you can…’cause in enough you will wake up an old man…”This song highlights the remarkably clean and flexible range of Olly’s vocals especially when he takes us by surprise and soars off into the indefatigable echelons of the human spirit. 'Get Up, Get Out', words which plague from youth to old age, rousing us from  somnambulism , needling at the eternal dichotomy, live life to the full or shrug it carelessly aside with a mumbled “whatever”, until that moment of realisation, there is never enough time. This song pulls insouciance from under the duvet and thrusts it headlong into life.Sweetly picked guitar joined by solo voice nonchalantly ponder, taking time to “readjust the fabrics of your mind…”, guitar niggled to strum, throws off covers and picks up its dancing feet, sliding down liquid bass, needle pricked by plucked violin, worrying at malaise, emboldened side drum and bass walk out into that brave night, beating the heart of fear that time and youth slip away, wasted away by wasting time, race to outpace it, hanging onto time’s coattails as it flees ahead, impossible to catch, erasing lives no sooner drawn. “…Friday night we should be up at play… why would you much rather stay in bed… a waste of time to sleep….”.'Plans', short and to the point, tender love outgrown, violin and voice weave plans and dreams blown away by sands of time, billowing in the wake of driving drums careering on, carving a path towards the next mirage. “…I will wait for you and you will wait for me…one day we’ll get married on a hilltop…guess it wasn’t meant to be…”'Glow', tortured vocal takes a flame to love “glowing like starlight” burnt out, imploded, supernova to black hole, the light of tender love reflected in heart rending circular piano interludes and arpeggios, spun round and round, sucked ever inwards unable to escape the gravity of guitar anguish, drowned in heavy hearted thump of drum while white star twinkles and dances in the flames, shimmering away into the ether “…I’ll take a flame to it all…all she can do is watch me burn…” Let us hope this great band do not burn itself out and implode because I would love to bathe in its shine for a long time yet. /

Night Wreckage - Solarcoaster

I must admit to a soft spot for electro/synth pop and a fascination for the seedier side of life which misspent my youth teetering the streets of Soho accoutred as Siouxsie Sioux, stuck with pins and encumbered by chains. So, on the paper of press release, Nitewreckage would appear to be my ideal brown paper package, fusing revived electro pioneers of the past with modern day, streetwise vaudeville “harlot” electrifying a new creature, stalking the night streets of back street London, flashing her garter belt. As the band say, in comparing modern London to the past “We’ve still got inner city poverty, we’ve still got the harlots and we’ve still got the Mother’s Ruin – only instead of gin it’s crack and crystal meth.”. However, the press release picture, admittedly tongue in cheek, put me on guard. Like an inverted version of the  fruits of my Soho exploits, actually in search of rare vinyl and handmade sausages rather than more extreme pleasures, this lot give a good impression of old pork stuffed in new plastic casings, “Allo “Allo kerb crawls in limousines.

I have never before dared to disagree with a paper as estimable as the Guardian but their “A gigantic Glitter meets Bow Wow Wow electronic stomp” assessment further raised my hackles, comparison to Bow Wow Wow being an unforgivable misdemeanour in my blotted copy book. Though manufactured, Bow Wow Wow was a wonderful fantastical creature of its time, stitched by McLaren’s fair hands, from original materials of the era, to which, in my humble opinion this band bears little comparison, except for fleeting homage in 'Dirty Fingernails' and Celine’s half squealed cockney vocal, reminiscent of Annabella, with “Balinese” chant interlude on 'Take Your Money and Run', which incidentally features a louche undercurrent , narrated by a voice uncannily reminiscent of McLaren. So I met Nitewreckage head on, teeth bared, to discover not the feared car crash of a Frankenstein but microsurgery  fusing Soft Cell, Ultravox, Human League, Ladytron, Poly Styrene, a hint of chained, restrained and moderately sedated Siouxsie, sprinkled with ABC, into a more seamless creature with surprisingly pleasing visage, a sense of delicious irreverence and swanky gait, popping its monocle ,looking up burlesque skirts whilst displaying a deep understanding of humanity and its depravities .

Taken as satirical pastiche, with more than a touch of raw reality, this band is huge, high energy fun and I simply love, love, love the souped- up, retro electronic/ analogue synthesiser sounds and drum machine and Celine’s narrative talent which conjures vivid tales of London nightlife. Along with slickly, lusciously, fabulously decadent and totally over the top production and streetwise Eliza Doolittle patter, Nitewreckage looks set to accumulate a colourful cult following and become my guilty pleasure as I lace myself in, prop myself up and descend those back street steps to gyrate in soft cells of the padded velvet variety whilst downing “Mother’s Ruin”. Much as Professor Higgins found, you can take the girl off the street but not the street out of the girl.

Nitewreckage may be a tad too slick to emulate the rawer and more risqué originals they nod to and not original enough to be something entirely new but hugely pleasurable all the same. Hardly “crack and crystal meth” but none the less, Nitewreckage is extremely addictive. The new single 'Solarcoaster' taken from their debut album 'Take Your Money and Run' time travels, “…Solarcoaster…moving at the speed of light…” back to the 1980’s, drum machine marks unyielding time under spaceship bleeps, piercing Sci-fi xylophone and analogue synthesiser grunge, Starship Trooper sweeps bursts of electronic fire across the bows as Doctor Who gatecrashes Blake’s 7’s Star Wars party, where slinky Servelan in guise of Celine is in firm aural control ,futuristic temptress riding cosmic waves, “…as we kiss under the stars… wrapped in a black velvet sky…. The album includes nine more tracks, a mixture of tongue in cheek , evocative ,well observed social commentary and disturbing, brutally honest tales of life’s shady side including  the band’s debut single 'Popabawa' and aforementioned 'Dirty Fingernails' and 'Take Your Money and Run', the latter bounces in 'State of Independence' style and features a wonderfully poetic, sleazy narrative of night life accompanied by lush synthesiser plumbing the depths of desire teased by street girl calls, “…I’m a lady, don’t you know…a lady of Soho…”.

'You Want Some More' a fairground ride of seedy indulgence spun round in Doctor Who’s warp field. 'Kerb Crawler' emits a palpable sense of menace, heart in mouth drums braving darkened streets, stalked by sordid, squalid synth kerb crawler “…stop staring at me weirdo…” vividly evokes a nightly city challenge. Unifying all songs is the half spoken, half shrieked indefatigable, cockney street rap poetry of Celine wrapped in a delirium of electronica, an orgy of delicious sounds and effects as she rampages the streets, words her tools which she wields with engaging and disarming skill much as this album has me.

Jodie Marie - Blank Canvas

A beautifully simple, perfectly formed love song poured like honey from the soul, Jodie Marie’s crystalline vocals dripping emotion, heart strings pulled by slide guitar to pit of stomach, fluttered by quietly strummed guitar, serenaded by distant violins. Blank canvas washed with the light of love, one of those tunes painted with such a light natural touch it feels like it has always existed and always been on your mind, just like love. Though intensely sentimental, you would have to be very hard hearted not to be moved by this heart catching song, shyly stammering its message of love.

 “…I, I  wanted to say… all of these things… while you’re away… but I….just don’t know how….the words won’t come out…. lost for words… like a single blank canvass …all that I  wanted to say… you and I are an always… only I… touch you like I love you…”

The Beautiful Word - Emily

Reminiscent of a favourite Liverpool ex band “Peter and the Wolf”, this Brighton based quintet lacks their kooky edge but this pretty song is none the less refreshing in its simple clarity, twin voices of Emily and Megan perfect foils for each other, melding into harmonious whole accompanied by delicate, quirky percussion and guitar touched with sparkle of glockenspiel keyboard. Like chirp of birdsong and game of Hide and Seek carousing through sunlit wood and meadows, which introduces this song and features in the video, “Emily” careers and skips light footed, innocently flitting through life, breaking hearts, evading responsibility,  “…this is just a game and if it’s not to be… there’s no shame…I’m not to blame…”.A game of two halves, shadow dapples sunlight in the middle section, slightly more contemplative duet, “… don’t lie about the reason you came…I’m not happy…” before returning to twinkle again “…I am all you see in front of you… I’m sorry if it’s nothing new…” perhaps nothing new but fresh, appealing and honest musicality, quietly spoken, modesty a rare quality.

Delta Maid - Spend A Little Time

As they say, music is an universal language, crossing all barriers and Katie Foulkes, a.k.a. Delta Maid, is a perfect example. Hearing her sing you could imagine she hails from the deepest American South, hearing her talk, Liverpool roots shine bright but then the port of Liverpool has always welcomed waifs and strays washed up on its shores from distant lands, boats carrying more than cargo, loaded with exciting new influences such as the country and western music which inspired so many local groups, even supposedly The Beatles and the moniker “Nashville of the North”. Of course Delta Maid is too young to be directly influenced by Liverpool’s trading past but the life blood of her passion, country blues, injected in her through her parents’ musical taste and record collection, connect her and her art to a distant era, music connecting disparate populations, times and places, through invisible arteries. Like a brave heart Katie took courage and guitar in her hands to follow her dream, abandoning, coincidently, a potential career in more visible arteries and the like, as vascular scientist and for that she gains my utmost admiration, besides which, she is supporting Bryan Ferry and that estimable gentleman has the most impeccable taste, so who am I to argue. Following in the acoustic songwriter tradition Delta Maid is an observer and narrator of life and its universal themes delivered in that optimistic, childlike yet infinitely wise tone so beloved of singers such as Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton.

'Spend a Little Time' follows the same tradition, wise words from a young mouth, the value of time above wealth and fame. “….I’m not looking for a millionaire… not after no VIP… all I want is a man… who will care to spend a little time with me… he knows like it’s written in the stars… to spend a little time with me… I can ride around all day in his big Mercedes… but if I am all alone… won’t do me no favours… if he don’t spend time with me…” a true disseminator of tales this song trips off Delta Maid’s tongue easily and fluently, tickled by her acoustic guitar, cheekily accompanied by slide and blues style guitar and bouncing, clapping percussion, skipping along sunnily, grounded in the wisdom of ages. As “Spend a Little Time” demonstrates, Delta Maid has stayed true to herself, though support to stellar acts she hasn’t been blinded by stars, taking time to play at St Pancras station to passers-by. As they say, have guitar, will travel. Let us hope Delta Maid has many a train to ride to many a gig, maybe even returning a bit of Liverpool to America, reconnecting the severed artery.

Films Of Colour - Capital - Persinette

Films of Colour sound like they have been around forever, a slick tour de force, effortlessly musical, great musicians in synchronicity .Comparisons in press releases to the likes of the Muse are probably correct from what I have heard, though a darker, surreal edge which emerges in “Capital” and “Persinette” would seem to separate them, beneficially in my ears, from other comparisons, to Foals and Arcade Fire. Some press releases mention Films of Colour in the same breath as Radiohead, which is perhaps a little disingenuous though there are more than a few tenuous touches in production and arrangements, together with nods to Rush and Led Zeppelin and a soupcon in Andy’s voice, clear and flexible but lacking the uniquely raw beauty of Thom Yorke’s and extraordinary elastic emotion of Robert Plant’s. Though Films of Colour’s music is emotive and atmospheric it doesn’t reach the sublime, anguished passion evoked by Radiohead’s extraordinary collision of light and dark, exploiting the fine line between beauty and ugliness, sorrow and joy, that slight nudge which knocks, rocks disharmony into harmony and back. Though I do like and admire this band for their musicality, passion, angst, energy and mesmerising soundscapes, definitely a band of our times, for our times, to me they feel slightly tethered, their edge ironically dulled by the polish which makes them so commercial, restrained from quite taking the leap over that precipice which sets iconic, inimitable, heroic bands like Radiohead apart from the crowd. However, I think this is a band to keep an eye on, unleashed who knows what might emerge.

'Capital', speeded up synth trumpet voluntary, gloriously scribbled electronic jumble, driving drums and guitar herald in vocal angst, “...wasting my chances… is all I do … …chain in the production line…” pushed along defiantly by throbbing bass, impatient guitar and drums “…speed things up … watching time… if London is the meeting place… pack my bags… join the race... you can’t impress with your tongue… I’ll defeat you….” into full on tearing rebellion, softening to quieter but equally stubborn determination.  There is more than a touch of Radiohead in the production and arrangements, wall of angry sound ridden by anguished, maudlin yet defiant vocal beauty and gliding guitar, washed by electronic shimmer, bass  darkly pushing, wandering impatiently, heart tearing touches of semitone key slides and chord changes, switching moods, major to minor and back.

Mysterious, grungy, lute like guitar introduces the story of 'Persinette', or Rapunzel as she became known in fairy tales of brothers Grimm, tumbling down golden electronic fairy shimmer into the arms of darkly stalking bass and synthesiser, guarded by pacing drum, frustrated prince recounts a maudlin tale of despair, his drenched voice a mixture of Thom Yorke and Bono with echoed Plant. “she has high hopes… looking down from her window… built her castle… for all the things that only she knows…” aggravated guitar scratches the walls “turning a blind eye…you’re taking… not giving…” fading into spacey reverie “…you weren’t born that way… you still fail to see….” ,under the spell of  Battle of Evermore misty sound effects, shaken awake by insistent, vibrating bass, driving drums and soaring synthesiser fire, a last battle cry wrung from despairing lips rousing chaos and confusion, fading to whispered  entreaty “…last chance to feel…”

David J Roch - Dew First [first single from the Skin And Bone album]

I am a sucker for electronica, effects and bass lines which endeared me to this simple yet effective, emotive love song, drawing me in despite or indeed because at first, it sounded like a home production, the palette of sounds, familiar friends from computer software, dismissed by some but finding adoration in this disciple. Tambourine shakes awake stark drum machine metronome, David Gray with a Jimmy Somerville heart catch, intones, ponders self pitying longing, backed by monk-like plainsong drone, celestial choir and organ’s heavy tread, treading water, “…took a breath so deep…try to help me speak…not yet released… maybe I should drown…”  before plunging into vacuum of dramatically stripped down break, solo voice despairs in desire, teeters to the edge, tambourine shakes off dew drops, flanged drum a diving board bounce , takes deep breath to plunge head first into electronic immersion, drowned in throbbing, bobbing,  thrilling, watery bass, diving deep, “… let sweet dreams lie, like honeydew…”,  tracked by submarine beeps and boops,  submerged in green murky waters, swimming with dolphins, soaring off into Communards melded with Moby territory, taking my heart with it, beautiful melody, captivating, intriguing sounds and effects, sparingly and effectively utilised. I would buy “Dew” for the second half bass line alone.

Four further tracks on the 'Skin and Bone' album sampler demonstrate the breadth of Roch’s musicality, more naked, they reveal a love of folksong and ballads and on tracks such as 'Lonely Unfinished' release an extraordinarily flexible voice which soars off into the falsetto of medieval court singers, Antony and the Johnsons style, grounded in the tradition of travelling and courtly musicians. Though tinged with electronic effects, heightened emulations of traditional instruments with which they happily mingle, the other songs on this sampler have a more singer/songwriter style, intensely melodic and heart rending, borrowing from folk, choral, religious and courtly music, lushly embellished with modern day technology.'The Lost Child', hymn like choir boy falsetto accompanied by guitar floats up into the vaults of god , on wings of ethereal choir , shimmering, spiralling down into desperately strummed guitar and anguished voice “…have no hope and no fear… all I’ve got is love…” , oscillator rainbow ripple breaking into ramshackle, triumphant trumpet voluntary collapsing into fuzz. 'Skin and Bone', tender ballad borrowing from traditional folksong which David duets with sweetly sympathetic, female vocal, accompanied by guitar and side drum, “…hold on though you are alone…I am there with you… don’t lose your soul… you must fight for each breath…don’t cry out for God…just breath in and out…we are lambs to the slaughter…I am skin and bones”, breaking into trumpet wail and wall of weeping vocals, before meandering into the distance, disconsolate.'Hour of Need', hollow echoed drum beats a heavy heart under this simply beautiful , tragic heartbreak of a guitar based, singer/songwriter ballad, around which weaves and duets an ethereal Sarah McLachlan style female vocal, trumpet’s muted anguished voice and atmospheric sound effects “…I’m so ashamed of what I have done… yet so afraid of what’s to come… I’d have done anything… to be there…” This is a classic song for sure.'Lonely Unfinished', could be transported back through the ages with no eyebrows raised and sung at the court of King Arthur, wandering minstrel accompanied by lute and wooden pipe organ, echoed falsetto and grieving bass wallows in the pain of love, traditional instruments sprinkled with modern magic “…  “…love is splendid… agony….lonely, unfinished lonely for you…”. Despite disparate influences, somehow these songs work together though, at the moment “Dew” is a bit of a loner in its bravely electronic stance. However, I am holding my breath, suspending further thought until anticipated aural pleasure from the full album, is released on these eagerly awaiting ears.

Sam Pickett - Night Drive - Spellbound - [promo]

Sam Pickett’s vocal style and timbre reminds me of a favourite Liverpool singer/songwriter Jeff Jepson, as does the emotive nature of these two songs, dripping in thoughtful emotion. Though both Sam and Jeff possess similar lyrically expressive, smoothly elastic voices and share a penchant for classical accompaniment, Sam’s arrangements are more overtly theatrical, where Jeff chooses single violoncello, Sam takes a whole string section, his singer/songwriter style merging with operatic musical, both have a way with words poetically capturing emotion and atmosphere, conjuring pictures in the mind’s eye. So, I come to Sam already enamoured to listen and be transported.

'Night Drive', lonely voice and acoustic guitar wander the mysterious twilight “… like a moth drawn to the bright flame…will never be the same…twisted with yearning… will he fly again…”, illuminated by moonlight, thunder clouds of rumbling timpani roll across the sky casting dark shadows, “ … who are you… what are you… where are you now….” strings, violin and “cello weave a protective glow of hope around yearning, enquiring thoughts which shiver round the narrator’s mind “… I don’t know who you are … but you got me this far”, echoed by ghostly guardian angels floating in ethereal light, sweetly picked guitar, twinkling fireflies to light their path through an operatic fairytale recounted by Sam’s soaring, melting vocals.'Spellbound' a song I approached with a hint of trepidation, stealing its title from a favourite Siouxsie and the Banshees track feels like an irreverent and unearned liberty, however putting that to one side, Sam’s version of another  “Spellbound” plunges us straight into musical theatre of “Phantom of the Opera”  kind. Hymn like caressing operatic falsetto accompanied by brightly plucked harp worships with ghostly choir, lushly bowed strings and heart throbbing bass, at loves yearning door , bewitched “…spellbound… you know that I love you…I think you already knew….oh spellbound….”, “Spellbound” does take liberties but not from Siouxsie, it shamelessly plunders that familiar catalogue of major turning to minor chords ,arpeggios and minor sevenths resolving in relief, falling into, tumbling over each other, wallowing in marshmallow cloud, shrouded in sentimental mist, musical clichés guaranteed to bring emotion rushing to the surface, a surfeit of beauty but that is why music moves, it speaks directly to the soul, there is no hiding place, it will make you cry. Maybe a bit saccharin, a touch of acid would not go amiss but nonetheless everyone enjoys a little indulgence now and again and this certainly is a big cream bun.

Louise Distras - Heartstrings On A Hand Grenade

Riding her guitar like a crusading troubadour this gutsy lady sallies forth to face life head on, voice and lustily strummed strings her acerbic weapons which she wields with skill and passion of utmost belief. The three tracks on this aptly titled EP are fired relentlessly from a racing mouth and mind, galloping at full speed, barely drawing breath, breaching all comers while hanging on by the nails to her trusty acoustic steed.

'Bullets' defiantly throws apathy and bitterness in the air and shoots them down, “… go nowhere…do nothing…” screams into insistent entreaty to “… go somewhere... do something…” while self pity is summarily tossed aside with steely determination “…my mother tried to take my life away…smash it to pieces…for all the tears she made us cry….all the times we died inside… you’ll never keep us down….”.'This Is Your Life' is more reflective but just as determined to shine a light on life’s darkness, trying to take it somewhere positive “…it seems I’m dependent on these street… atrocities I walk past every day…”fuels poignant longing “…would love to find you….with lack of sunlight and all the darkness in my life ….does it make you happy… does it make you sad… “but ultimately seizes life by the throat “…makes me proud to be alive and part of who I am…”.'Blue on Black' faces fear and reality of life full on and has the bravery to posit no solution, just state a fact, that of no escape from a wasted life,”…wary of the past…scared of being used…having no food…roof…hole in my shoes…my body’s getting older…colder…this town will never change…will beat me black and blue…”

Louise’s words which she vocalises so vociferously say it all, they take no prisoners .eyes painfully observant, force wantonly blind eyes wide open, to face the light of truth. A street poet, recorder of life, her forceful delivery grabs attention but like existence itself, requires a certain bravery to face full on, this lady will certainly never be imprisoned by life, not while she has a voice to shout about it.

Nhor - Beneath The Burial Leaves Of A Dying Earth

'Beneath The Burial Leaves of a Dying Earth', electronic ambient soundscape evokes ancient rituals, rhythms and myths, whispers creeping, spreading tendrils before bursting into rampant growth, life creaking alive, groaning, screaming its birth cry as torn from the ground, dying away in winter cold before bursting back to continue a tortured circle of rebirth, primeval and evocative, for me, of King Arthur’s dark, magical forests of the mind where ancient spirits wander still.

Having listened to some other tracks by Nhor this is mystical music of the mind, repeating musical phrases and cycles, rather like Indian Rags, layered with atmospheric sound effects and chants, evoking seasons, nature’s phenomena and moods and like moods swings between oppressive, uplifting and every shade between, improvisation fused with modern jazz, touched by electronica and mysticism which can be overwhelming  and possibly self indulgent , except there is a sincerity and musicality behind Nhor which is touching in its bravely  unashamed  worship of the wonders of this world, expressed in freely expressed , organic music.

Beneath The Burial Leaves Of A Dying Earth by Nhor

Hyde And Beast - Never Come Back

Duo made up of The Futureheads’ Dave Hyde and ex-Golden Virgins’ drummer Neil Bassett. First official single to be released in August.'Never Come Back' “…have you ever been to the cracker jack side… you never come back… if you ever go let me know…’cause got a song… will help you come home …ah oh let me go… you’re never coming home from the cracker jack side….”

Well, what can I say, a quirky, stripped and extremely laid back song ambling along with refreshing tongue in cheek gait, a magpie picking up shiny bits of influence here and there, rhythm and blues without the grooves that make you want to dance, subtle jazzy keyboard, bass and percussion, a touch of restrained big band horn section, a cappella style but with instruments “ooohs”, “aahhs” and harmonies, Jackson Five directed by Talking heads, smeared with a smidgen of psychedelia and echoed Bohemian Rhapsody chorus fizzling out way before climax, feels like a  bit of a tease , a well produced slick tickle which left me wondering but wanting, hypnotic though slightly soporific but in this day and age perhaps a bit of laid back nonsensical chill is just what we need, beats Valium. 'Never Come Back' is released ahead of Hyde and Beast’s debut album 'Slow Down' out on 15 August which I am intrigued to hear, promising a “A sprawling, gentle psychedelic meander” , though, going by “Never Come Back”, perhaps a whiff of speed is in

Noel Gallagher - The Death of You And Me [single taken from the debut album - High Flying Bird]

Whilst acknowledging their genius, I am not the greatest fan of Oasis or the squabbling brothers, so was hoping to hate this single but preparing to eat my words and love it. In fact, love and hate reconciled and in dilution, I find myself quite liking this endearing little song with its catchy, if slightly trite lyrics, “….life is getting faster….no one has the answer….let’s run away together…forever ….free… free to spend our whole life running… from people who would be the death of me….can feel the storm clouds sucking up my soul….”. Loving Spaghetti Westerns the filmic video further tipped my dial towards smile, dead end, sand blasted, dust ball Hicksville sucks out people’s souls, obligatory gas station and diner traps eponymous heroine, who strangely appears to be dressed as a Carry On nurse without the stockings, drowning in boredom, invisible to traffic whooshing by, metaphorically expressed as she falls into plastic swimming pool emerging drenched, clothes clinging,  tempted into medicine man’s creaking trailer to run away from mundanity, possibly an oasis, by travelling freak show who just happen to be wandering the sands tootling their instruments.With a shake of wash board rattle, raggle taggle band meets wall of sound meets Noel Gallagher meets “A Fistful of Dollars” and they get on rather well together, apparently a story to be continued, look forward to the next episode, the album “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds” is due to be released on 17 October.

Reviews by Miss Chumki Banerjee

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