Thursday, 30 June 2016

Review: Pete Astor - 'Spilt Milk', Released 12 February 2016 via Slumberland Records

Pete Astor - 'Spilt Milk'
Released 12 February 2016 via Slumberland Records

If you don’t like simple Pop guitars with subtle harmonies pass your way. Pete Astor has been in the music business for a while now and does really personify Mr. Music. And by the way that’s one of the song titles too of his new solo album. The LP is a 'Go Between' delicious nostalgia and nutritious food for the soul. I am told that the Velvet as always is not very far, now I don’t know the Velvet really well but based what I have heard it sounds fair enough.

It would do a big disservice to this album to take short cuts and reduce it to a nostalgic travel in time. The album is not stuck in a time warp and The Getting There for example does not suffer the stamp of time. I see you may tell me this is very Cohenesque? Maybe, and so what is it not Confucius, who said nothing new in the world happens... it is just that the same things happen to new people. Take your time with this album. 'You live - you learn' seems to be perfect in order to approach this 10 track album, apprenticeship in a world where immediate results are paramount seem at odd with modern parameters however I can only guess Pete would agree with the principles. He is the one probably guiding his students thru a similar journey when he teaches music at the University of Westminster.

But back to the album. This is a nicely written collection of tunes that will stand the test of time unlike some 2016 music. Spilt Milk - that’s the name of the album - is a kool and intimate album but the topics in the songs are universal from grown up men not opening up to emotions to what it is to have a best friend.

This is a Pop album in a traditional sense. Back up vocals, tambourine, pedal steel and viola including the drums are soft enough to let the bespoke guitar make sure that the calm and gentle voice is positioned at its best.

This album will probably not make the top of any chart but is inadequately current. If you like good songs you will like it. Spilt Milk is like one of those friends you come back to regularly, not overly demonstrative but highly reliable.

Review by Pascal Derrien

Overall: A hidden gem
If you pick 3 only: The Getting There, Mr Music and Very Good Lock
Live Test: Pleasant

'Spilled Milk' track listing:

1. Really Something
2. Mr. Music
3. My Right Hand
4. Perfect Life
5. The Getting There
6. Very Good Lock
7. Good Enough
8. There It Goes
9. Sleeping Tiger
10. Oh You

Wednesday, 29 June 2016


Steve ‘n’ Seagulls are back with new studio album, ‘Brothers In Farms’, set for a September 9th release on Spinefarm Records!

The follow-up to 2015’s ‘Farm Machine’, also issued via Spinefarm, this latest outing sees these Finnish sons of the soil delving into the world of original material for the first time, although the majority of the tracks continue to be covers of rock & metal classics… indeed, the lead single / video has now been confirmed as a ‘hillbillified’ version of Iron Maiden's ‘Aces High’; this is slated for digital release on July 21st, with the video following on August 3rd.

Not only are these skilled musicians a genuine YouTube sensation, notching up tens of millions of views, they have also taken their ‘badass bluegrass’ all over the world, showing that their signature re-workings can be extremely effective, both live and on record. Last year, there was an official ‘Steve ‘n’ Seagulls Day’ in Colorado, USA, and the band will be returning Stateside for a comprehensive run of headline dates this autumn.

In terms of the UK, the following headline shows have been lined up in support of ‘Brothers In Farms’:

14-Nov Brighton, Haunt 15-Nov London, Bush Hall 16-Nov Cardiff, Globe 17-Nov Glasgow, Cathouse 18-Nov Manchester, Deaf Institute

Never Mind The Bullocks. Let the bluegrass metal mayhem continue!

UK act The Hunna announce debut album 100 due August 26 via 300 Entertainment

Come take shade under the leaves of the Hunna Tree. With roots that bury themselves deep in the urgency of rock and a sound that’s dappled with a carefree indie aesthetic, The Hunna want you to take a leaf out of their book, let go of your inhibitions and be young, be free, and be whoever the hell you want to be.

Garnering praise from buzzy US tastemakers like Consequence of Sound, NYLON, Billboard and more, the boys from The Hunna have been making a name for themselves in the States. Capturing audience's hearts with their enigmatic live show on a tour that saw them play a sold out show in New York City and taking them to major regions like Chicago, Los Angeles and more, the band are excited today to announce their debut album, 100, due for release August 26, 2016 via 300 Entertainment.

Making their debut in October of 2015 with their first single, “Bonfire,” the UK four-piece have already carved out handful of songs with a sonic bombast that has garnered millions of Spotify streams, 5+ million video views and praise by the likes of Zane Lowe, Annie Mac and Huw Stephens. The band sold out 3 nights at London’s Boston Music Rooms and by the time their second single, ‘We Could Be’ was unleashed, The Hunna’s music was making waves in the iTunes and Spotify charts on a global scale.

The Hunna are set to be the first band on your playlist, the one you listen to when you’re driving around with the top down. Bleeding of a wistful nostalgia and teamed with an unremitting lust for life that is as infectious as it is relentless, The Hunna’s unabashed sound has seen them play in front of sold out rooms across Europe on a headlining tour.

The Hunna began to take shape when Ryan (Vocals/Guitar), Dan (Lead Guitar) and Jermaine (Bass) met in college. After a couple of line-up changes, Jack arrived on drums and everything fell into place. A sucker for a good chorus, the boys like to work from the outside in when it comes to writing. “There are so many different processes to what we do, but often we’ll start with a chorus, and then we’ll funnel in from there,” the band have noted about their writing and recording process.

Working with esteemed producers Tim Larcombe (Halsey, Lana Del Rey) and Duncan Mills, the band recently arrived with their new single, “You and Me (Hunna Tree),” an anthemic call to arms for The H-Squad and a middle finger to those who just don’t want to enlist. “It’s about us as a band - taking the negative things that people have said and sort of turning it around, “ muses Ryan. “It’s about the fans as well, it’s for the Hunna family- the people who have been there from the very beginning,” he adds. From the get go and in true Hunna fashion, the track starts at 100%. Kicking off with a tenacious riff and accompanied by a soaring melody - you better turn “You and Me (HunnaTree)” all the way up to 11, otherwise you’re gonna get left behind.

The band followed with "Still Got Blood," a lighters-in-the-air ballad that premiered on Billboard.


UK country duo The Shires will be making the soundtrack to your summer Country this year, performing at a series of high profile music festivals and events including the just announced, Falmouth Week Festival in Cornwall as well as Cornbury, Platform, Lakes, Bracknell, Lytham, Castle Roc, Cottingham and supporting Sir Tom Jones at Bedford Park.

This weekend the band made their headline debut at Glastonbury Festival - performing on the Acoustic stage to an audience of thousands, performing new songs from their soon to be announced second album, alongside tracks from their gold-selling debut album ‘Brave’. The set however was thrown into doubt when Ben Earle thought he may have to cancel the performance, or risk missing the birth of his son.

The live dates will follow an intense period of song writing for the Shires, who have been working on their new album in Music City: Nashville, with top country music producers and recording their album at Sound Stage Studios, one of the most prestigious recording studios in Nashville, which has cut records for other country superstars such as Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum.

The Shires stated: “We are very excited to be getting back on the road again. We toured so much of last year it felt like we needed a break by Christmas but since we've been in the studio, our thoughts have returned to the road. We can't wait to get back on that tour bus and play some of the new music we've been working on. The album is in full production now and we hope to have news on that soon - but we can definitely say it's on the way."

The first UK country act ever to have a top 10 album in their home country, The Shires have been at the forefront of the British Country music movement which has seen a sea change in the opinion of the British public, who have embraced the genre and UK bands making music inspired by US country artists. The Shires’ success has been unparalleled, with the band becoming one of the biggest breakthrough acts of 2015 (alongside the likes of James Bay and Years & Years), performing at Glastonbury Festival, the Grand Ole Opry and last year even saw their debut go Gold - a huge achievement for any British artist. Embraced by national radio in the UK, where they’ve had 7 play listed singles from one album, The Shires also made numerous TV appearances in promotion of their debut record, including performing at the BBC Music Awards and gracing the sofa on Graham Norton’s show alongside Ann Hathaway and Robert De Niro.

The band will be performing at the following festivals this summer:

Cornbury Music Festival - Sunday 10th July, 2016 @ 12:00 pm. City: Chipping Norton. Venue: Great Tew Park
Platform Festival – Saturday 16th July, 2016 @ 1:00 pm. City: York, Venue: The Old Station, Pocklington
Lakes Festival - Saturday 16th July, 2016 @ 6:00 pm. City: Skegness. Venue: Sycamore Lakes Park
Bracknell Festival – Saturday 30th July, 2016 @ 12:00 pm. City: Bracknell. Venue: South Hill Park Grounds
Lytham Festival – Tuesday 2nd August, 2016 @ 6:00 pm. City: Lytham. Venue: Lytham Green
Supporting Tom Jones - Sunday 7th August, 2016 @ 5:00 pm. City: Bedford. Venue: Bedford Park
Falmouth Week – Wednesday 10th August, 2016 @ 7:30 pm. City: Falmouth. Venue: Falmouth Events Square – JUST ADDED
Castle Roc Music Festival – Saturday 20th August, 2016 @ 12:00 pm. City: Chepstow. Venue: Chepstow Castle
Cottingham Music Festival - Sunday 28th August, 2016 @ 7:30 pm. City: Cottingham. Venue: Civic Hall


Hype Park performance follows Gregory Porter's stunning Glastonbury Pyramid Stage appearance, which included surprise side of stage marriage proposal

This generation’s most successful jazz and soul singer-songwriter, the man in the hat, Gregory Porter, who recently made chart history with his newly-released album 'Take Me To The Alley' becoming the first jazz record to break into the Top 5 for over ten years, announces a second chance for UK fans to see him live this summer. The BBC’s ‘A Festival In A Day' will take over London’s glorious Hyde Park with Gregory performing to a crowd of thousands and joining a line-up that includes Elton John and Leann Rimes with more acts to be announced shortly.

Gregory took to the world famous Pyramid stage this weekend at Glastonbury Festival following a triumphant performance on the West Holts stage last year. The set went down a storm, with Gregory performing hits from his current album 'Take Me To The Alley'. The set included a wonderful moment when Gregory let friend Tom Bowles, “borrow” his song Real Good Hands for a surprise marriage proposal, with Tom proposing to Gregory’s production assistant Zoe Taylor whilst Gregory performed the track. The packed crowd watched as Tom got down on one knee asking Zoe, “Will you marry me”, before he produced a ring.

Talking to the Press Association, Gregory stated: “I wrote the song for myself when I was in that place that Tom was in. And so when he came to me and said, ‘Gregory, it’s time to do this thing,’ I was like: ‘Okay! Well we know what we need to do. I’ll let you borrow my songs and my lyrics and say what it is that you want to say’… It’s a lot of fun, and it comes out of my personal experience. We’re all the same – the story of you is the story of me…. I knew Zoe before she met Tom, so it’s just been great to see her go into the relationship and now go further.”*

The critically-acclaimed 'Take Me To The Alley', was met by 4 and 5 star album reviews across the board in the national press, and becomes Porter's highest chart position yet. It is the first time a jazz album has been in the Top 5 of the UK charts since Jamie Cullum’s 'Catching Tales' in 2005. His latest track ‘Consequence of Love’ has just been added straight on to the B-List at Radio 2 and looks set to grace the airwaves throughout the summer as the parent album spends yet another week inside the Official UK Top 40.

This level of public affection has seen Porter become an adopted national treasure in this country, having performed for the Queen multiple times, and graced the stages of the UK's best venues and summer festivals. The singer recently featured as the only musical performance on BBC1's 'Attenborough at 90' and joined the country's best performers on BBC2's 'Shakespeare Live!'. He also led a chorus of music stars, including Mumford and Sons, in a moving version of Prince's 'Purple Rain' on BBC2's 'Later with Jools'.‎

Earlier this year, Porter completed an extensive sold-out UK Headline Tour, opening and closing at prestigious London venues The Royal Albert Hall and Hammersmith Apollo. Now fans have another opportunity to see Gregory in Hyde Park later this summer at BBC Radio 2’s Festival In A Day, with tickets on sale now.

JOANovARC unveil brand new video "White Trash"

JOANovARC release the epic and empowering White Trash single through Red Vixen Records and unveil a brand new video:

JOANovARC a four piece force of nature explain “White Trash is about “believing in yourself and not letting anyone treat you like you are worthless. Past personal experiences inspired us to write this song.”

“We are role models, we want to inspire young females and empower them”. The lyrics for White Trash express how JOANovARC have overcome many hurdles, always carried on striving to achieve their dreams and never given up.

Describing themselves as ‘Puss In Boots’ JoanOvArc recorded White Trash at the legendary Rockfield Studios, with producer Gil Norton (The Pixies, Foo Fighters). He “brings out the best in each of us” encapsulating and distilling perfectly JOANovARC’s live energy.

The video a "rag to riches’ tale and tell’s the story of a woman fulfilling her dream and making a choice to change her life. JOANovARC’s Shelley came up with the story about a dancer who is negatively objectified and then realises she no longer wants to live that life. Indulge now in the ‘rag to riches’ White Trash video

JOANovARC are set to appear in a new independent film by award winning director Joe Scott. Both White Trash and the previous single Live Rock’n’Roll will also feature in the film and are to be included on JOANOVARC’s forthcoming debut album , set to be released later this year.

JOANovARC is Laura Ozholl – Rhythm Guitar/Bass/Vocals
Sam Walker – Lead Vocals/Bass/Rhythm guitar
Deborah Wildish – Drums/percussion
Shelley Walker – Lead guitar /Backing Vocals

These four puss in boots don’t wanna be White Trash.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

YELLOWCARD Announce Last Album and Final World Tour

Photo Credit: Joe Brady

“When saying farewell, it is hard to know where to start, especially when there are so many reasons not to say it, but the time has come to share this news,” said YELLOWCARD in a unified statement. “After countless discussions and months of thought, we have decided that it is time for Yellowcard to come to an end. This will be our last album and our final world tour.”

With this statement, YELLOWCARD have announced that the band will be releasing their final self-titled album on September 30, 2016 on Hopeless Records and embark on “The Final World Tour”, kicking off on October 6 in San Antonio, TX. “We wanted to have the chance to share our farewell with as many fans around the world as we could, and now is the right time to do just that.”

YELLOWCARD was a very personal journey for the band that was self-produced by Ryan Key and guitarist Ryan Mendez with long-time ally and close friend Neal Avron close by as Executive Producer. “The motivation behind this was to make sure these songs came from a place that was deeply rooted in us,” they explain about taking the reins and crafting it from top to bottom. “We wanted to push ourselves to create a lasting finale for this incredible story on our own. It is also why we chose to self-title the album. We were lucky to still have our friend and mentor, Neal Avron, on board as Executive Producer. We’ve made one of the strongest records of our career and a fitting final creative piece.”

Pre-orders for YELLOWCARD begin today at which includes an instant download of the opening track “Rest in Peace”. Pre-sale VIP packages for the tour are also available now. Public on sale will begin June 28th.

As the band spends their summer on the Vans Warped Tour before launching into their final stretch, they are especially appreciative to the fans that have been there every step of the way. “We will be forever grateful to Yellowcard fans all over the world for the opportunities you have given us. We have played shows for nearly two decades on six continents and had the chance to keep recording the music we love year after year. While it is with sadness that we say goodbye, it is with gratitude and amazement that we look back on a career we can be proud of, and were so very lucky to have had.”

YELLOWCARD will be released on September 30, 2016 via Hopeless Records. Yellowcard is Ryan Key (vocals, guitars), Sean Mackin (violins), Ryan Mendez (guitar), and Josh Portman (bass).

US Final World Tour Dates

Oct. 6 San Antonio, TX The Aztec Theater Oct. 7 Austin, TX Scoot Inn Oct. 8 Dallas, TX Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill Oct. 9 Houston, TX House of Blues Oct. 11 Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theater Oct. 12 Tempe, AZ The Marquee Theatre Oct. 14 Las Vegas, NV Brooklyn Bowl Oct. 15 Santa Ana, CA The Observatory Oct. 16 San Diego, CA House of Blues Oct. 18 Los Angeles, CA The NOVO Oct. 19 Ventura, CA Majestic Ventura Theater Oct. 21 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst Oct. 22 San Francisco, CA The Regency Ballroom Oct. 23 Sacramento, CA Ace of Spades Oct. 25 Portland, OR Roseland Theater Oct. 26 Seattle, WA The Showbox Oct. 28 Salt Lake City, UT The Comple Oct. 29 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall Oct. 31 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights Nov. 2 Milwaukee, WI The Rave Nov. 3 Chicago, IL House of Blues Nov. 4 Chicago, IL House of Blues Nov. 5 Detroit, MI The Fillmore Detroit Nov. 7 Boston, MA House of Blues Nov. 9 New York, NY PlayStation Theater Nov. 11 Huntington, NY The Paramount Nov. 12 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory Nov. 13 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom Nov. 15 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Soundstage Nov. 17 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore Charlotte Nov. 18 Jacksonville, FL Mavericks at The Landing Nov. 19 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade – Heaven Stage Nov. 20 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution Live Nov. 22 Lake Buena Vista, FL House of Blues

Review: AMERICAN HI-FI - 'American Hi-Fi Acoustic', Released 29 April 2016 via Rude Records

AMERICAN HI-FI - 'American Hi-Fi Acoustic'
Released 29 April 2016 via Rude Records

Yes, this is an acoustic album. The genre may seem passé to some of us but it has not always been like that. I am from a generation that remembers the first MTV Acoustic LP. It was different, it was fresh and it was interesting if not fully innovative. Many bands since from Rock to Indie or Pop and Metal (especially Metal) have succumbed to the exercise and fair to say that sometimes some should have abstained to expose their lack of musicianship. :)

Now today we are talking about American Hi-Fi acoustic album. I think because I don’t really know them well that they have a couple of albums under their belt. Clearly I enjoyed the album from the opening but I have a neat preference for 'Bigger Mood'. I quite like the rhythm on 'Flavour of the Weak'. Many Emo, Alt Pop or Punk bands have gone the acoustic way. I like 'Every Avenue' and 'Yellow Card', to name a few. I must say I like American Hifi’s performance probably because the singer and the musicians just seem to enjoy the challenge. Actually it is not a challenge, it is fireside gig just for the sake of playing music with no other pretention than having a good time.

'Another Perfect Day' with a female voice intervention is extremely pleasant and so is 'Blue Day'. An honest album with minimal overdubs concluded by 'Safer On the Outside' which does sum up what American Hi-Fi is all about. I read that originally they were not too keen on the idea of an acoustic album. I am happy they changed their mind.

Review by Pascal Derrien

Overall: A good and pleasant album
If You Pick 3 only: Safer On the Outside, Flavour of the Weak, Blue Day
Live Test: Thumbs Up

'American Hi-Fi Acoustic' track listing:

1. Surround
2. Flavor of The Weak
3. A Bigger Mood
4. Safer on the Outside
5. I'm a Fool
6. Hi-Fi Killer
7. Blue Day
8. My Only Enemy
9. Don't Wait for the Sun
10. Another Perfect Day
11. Scar
12. What About Today
13. Wall of Sound

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Review: Morganway - 'No Tomorrows EP', Released July 29th 2016 - Independent

Morganway - 'No Tomorrows EP'
Release: July 29th 2016 | Label: Independent

Morganway is British, and if all the bands in the UK are of this calibre then you can be sure the export balance sheet will be soaring in positive territory now that we all have to adjust to a Brexit world.

A generous EP with 5 excellent titles, special but I was thinking spatial so much their music is euphoric, reflective and the emotions carried thru the songs are almost palpable. By certain aspects their music is reminiscent of the Jayhawks there is an Americana flavour but by any means they sound like…. Morganway, this is pretty impressive for a 1-year-old band!!!!

The quintet is excellent and forging obsessive melodies that Yves’s voice supports with gentle keyboards waves. Personally the opening track 'Ain’t It Just' is one of my favourite song of the EP but you cannot really stack rank the titles, there is no pecking order. This is not about that. This is music in its purest intent. Their songs are different and complementary. They reflect feelings, human soul interrogations and perpetual questioning - we are talking TRUE artistry here.

The biography mentioned Norfolk rural outback, Fleetwood Mac, BBC airplay a combination of various events and influences which seem fully digested. Imagine that the group starting point is miles beyond what some other average bands chase for decades - this does promise us an exciting journey!!!

Pack your bag it is time to get on our Morganway!!!

Review by Pascal Derrien

Overall: A must BUY, a MUST NOT MISS!!!
If you pick one only: Hearts of Fire
Live Test: They have a solid reputation already!!!

'No Tomorrows EP' track listing:

1. Ain't It Just
2. Hearts Of Fire
3. No Tomorrows
4. Baby, Let’s Run
5. Give Me Strength

JULIET SIMMS Rises Again with the Release of FROM THE GRAVE EP on July 15th

“The concept of this EP is essentially personal growth and strength. Like everyone, I have been through tough times and have always been resilient and rose back up,” says alt-rocker JULIET SIMMS about her new EP FROM THE GRAVE which will be independently released on July 15, 2016. “In many ways, it's a snap shot of finding myself and never giving in.”

“Resilient” is a great word to describe Juliet who has seen the ups and downs of the music industry from up close with her label teams suffering the massive layoffs of the 2000s, another label suffering from the Japanese tsunami of 2010, as well the worldwide exposure of her second place finish on NBC’s hit music competition show The Voice. But she’s managed to keep her head far above the water and bounced back each and every time. With the release of From the Grave, Juliet mined the depths of her songwriting closet and uncovered a collection of mostly previously unreleased tracks that needed to see the light of day. “I wrote these songs in the last couple years,” she explains. “During and after the recording of [2015’s] All or Nothing, a few of the songs I intended for that EP but the crowd funding campaign I ran was for a 6 song EP only. These songs are indicative of life on the other side when having some darkness in your past.”

Kicking off with the scorcher “Get Ready” (which was co-written with her friends in Boys Like Girls), From the Grave is a rollercoaster of guitar-led rock, tempered by Juliet’s distinctive, gravelly purr and growl. The southern rock flair of “Say Hello” benefits from a massive blast of adrenaline and a swagger that’s equal parts of whiskey and swank. “'Say Hello' is a very cocky song,” she laughs. “It’s a part of my personality about unapologetically being yourself. Over the past few years I’ve noticed, and much like a lot of people or public figures, social media has two sides to it - the lovers and the haters. This song is for both. It’s an anthem for the good guys and a big ol’ bird for the bad guys.”

The midtempo pop of “Tidal Wave” shows off Juliet’s command of infectious songwriting and big, booming choruses. “I wrote with [producer] Aaron Sprinkle in Nashville,” she explains. “One of my biggest influences is Sheryl Crow and, at the time, I was immersed in some of her older material. I think that's why this song has a bit of a 90s feel to it. It’s about waiting for something to wake you up and knock you back into shape. It’s a sad happy song.”

The remainder of the eight-track EP travels such roads as the heavy rock of “Trouble Finds You” (“Chaos begets chaos in the song... with order chasing not far behind”), a tender rumination on Kurt and Courtney’s daughter Frances Bean in “Frances” (“Being a huge fan of both since I was a little girl, I naturally was effected by the films Montage of Heck and Soaked in Bleach and the new things learned that it inspired me to write some poetry much like both did”), and the acoustic ballad “Phoenix” (“The metaphor of being a phoenix waiting for your demise, just so you can return again stronger, more beautiful and ready to ‘fly’ again”).

Gearing up for “more touring and perhaps a new LP”, Juliet is once again bouncing back… and the great thing about her is that each time she’s presented with an obstacle, it only makes her determination and her songwriting so much stronger. If this EP is any indication, the lyrics in the song “Phoenix” perfectly captures her trajectory: “Like a phoenix, I’m just waiting to fly.”

From The Grave will be released on July 15, 2016.