Saturday 25 March 2017


Released on DECCA on 7th April

At last Imelda has become Madame May and I am not talking about her new hairdo, making her look like a young and sexy Chrissie Hynde. I am not speculating either about the mum of one reinventing her image after a heartfelt break up... And if that’s what you want to read about you can pass your way folks.

We are here to talk about 'Life. Love. Flesh. Blood', Imelda May’s new and latest album which will be released on Decca (!!!!). I will be honest with you, I have never been too much of a fan of her previous era (but I respect it) but it has changed now because... gosh, this album is ahead of anything produced recently in Ireland. The mix of jazz, blues, gospel, ballads is classic but so refreshingly crafted that I cannot fault any title. Well obviously, everybody will talk to you about Black Tears which is obviously good, but not only because Jeff Beck is on it. For me the opening title Call Me is one of the best, insofar as it is setting the tone of the album. It is clear: the punkie butterfly has clearly morphed into an accomplished artist with a capital A. The rockabilly tunes of the past look very pale when compared to Human or even the Calexico-ish Sixth Sense.

An average title though in my own opinion is Bad Habit, but we can settle our disagreement by agreeing this is maybe a good-bye song to her rockabilly past. The quality of the following tracks which are Levitate or the superb When It’s My Time may leave you breathless so much. There is such a soft intensity in those songs. I quite like Leave Me Lonely too. Not that the song is innovative in any shape or form, but it is catchy and insidiously infectious in its own way.

Despite being recorded in only seven days, the overall production is top notch. But should we be surprised when all the musicians on board have come with a huge studio experience, acquired with top artists such as Costello, Plant or even Elton John, so no wonder why all the tunes are so meticulously delivered. Now, and this maybe a paradox, but I am really smitten by the vocals. Imelda’s voice is in control at all time and is clearly relegating the other musical instruments to a figurative role.

Finally, I could not help smiling at the title closing the album: The Girl I Used to Be. So, paraphrasing Imelda’s lyrics I would say that once upon a time there was a Dublin girl whose hairdo and music was very popular and then one day it became stellar.

Overall: When a surprise is surprise.
If I was to pick 3 only: Call Me, Sixth Sense, Human
Live Test: I hope I will be able to tell you soon

Review by Pascal Derrien

Thursday 23 March 2017

Astroid Boys Announce Spring UK Dates

2017 got off to a flying start for Astroid Boys, releasing new track Foreigners which is currently sitting at over 150,000 views on YouTube and things are looking to get even better as today Astroid Boys announce a string of UK live dates starting in April!

After gaining a big following on the underground scene since forming in 2012, rising rock/grime collective Astroid Boys, who hail from Cardiff’s CF10 area code, have partnered with Music for Nations (Sony) as the label’s first signing since being recently re-launched.

Comprising Traxx (MC), Benji (MC), DJ Comfort (DJ), Dellux (producer) and Big H (drums), Astroid Boys have created something new and exciting, which was the intention when co-frontman Traxx started the band in 2012, wanting to merge his past as a punk kid with his transition into grime in his late teens.

With the band sitting comfortably between grime and punk/hardcore, their sound fuses together multiple sub-cultures and perspectives—a growth that defines them less as a band and more as a voice for the youth. Not many artists can say they’ve supported Trash Talk and Deez Nuts, as well as Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash, Skepta and Stormzy, but Astroid Boys have taken their live show to the urban and metal scenes across the UK. Along with an impressive list of tour supports under their belt, they’ve played at Reading & Leeds Festival, Download Festival and T in the Park, as well as festivals in mainland Europe, including Block Party Festival and With Full Force Festival in Germany.

LIVE DATES: 28th April – Hit The North Festival, Newcastle 2nd May – Music Hall, Ramsgate 3rd May – The Horn, St Albans 4th May – Empire, Coventry 5th May – Vintage Bar, Doncaster 6th May – Parish, Huddersfield 8th May – KU Bar, Stockton 9th May – Tunnels, Aberdeen 10th May – Alma Inn, Bolton 11th May – Focus Wales, Central Station, Wrexham 9th June – Download Festival, Donington 13th August – Boomtown Fair, Winchester

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics - DEBUT ALBUM "The Man With Stars On His Knees" out May 26th

On May 26th Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics release their swaggering debut album The Man With Stars On His Knees. full of wit and rage. The band will showcase the dynamic debut at festivals through out the UK this summer including: Download Festival, Camden Rocks, Wildfire Festival and Ramblin’ Man Fair.

The Man With Stars On His Knees is informed by the sharp musical intelligence of Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics. “A lot of thought went into making an album that made sense. For a few years, I was so confused, tense and lost that I had more ammunition than I had ever had before to write lyrics and melodies that took me through the realms of anger, upset, uprising and all manner of feelings that probably manifested under a blanket of pressure and time.”

After leaving Heaven’s Basement, Buchanan formed The Cult Classics with sibling Laurie Buchanan on guitar, Tom McCarthy (guitar), Chris Guyatt (bass), and Kev Hickman (drums), as he “wanted to be true to the art in [his] mind, and the sound”, “I'm proud to fly the flag for something a little different.”

Recorded at Plus11 Studio with long-term friend and producer James Curtis-Thomas, the resulting dynamic and fulfilling The Man With Stars On His Knees comes from “doing what musicians do best. Creating.“

The record kicks off with Show Me What You’re Made Of as thunderous as prime Soundgarden and as kooky as MUSE and sets the tone for the whole album. The singles follow; first the lyrically purposeful and autobiographical All The Things You've Said And Done is is an angry kick to the teeth and the first song Buchanan wrote for the album. It bristles with conviction, while the Iggy Pop inspired Dancin’ Down Below with its riotous hooks follows.

This album is about struggle “bought on by surrounding yourself with the wrong people at the wrong time. What comes of that is negative energy. It’s the reason the album has such unique titles on it.” The Devil That Needs You talks of un-helpable addiction, A God Is No Friend speaks of not knowing what to turn to next be it a higher force or your next hit on whatever next passes by in the shop window of life, Mind Of A Mute speaks of how judged I felt over the years, there’s so much meat to this record. I don’t believe I could have written something like this without having been beat to an absolute pulp.”

You never find yourself in the presence of music that sounds self-consciously clever, everything flows before the incredibly elegant Morals, a showpiece song, stacked harmonies closes the album in the best possible way. Every one of these 10 songs is a master class in how to write melodies that pull the heartstrings while refusing to rein in the balls-out instincts. Combined with the combination of fearsomely virtuosic metallic riffing, solid pile driving rhythm section and Aaron’s versatile and soulful voice ensures that The Man With Stars On His Knees is a colossal and essential debut.

It was important to the band to keep the album-circle tight. They didn’t want outsiders getting in on it and the album was like “a speakeasy, nobody knew anything about it unless they were on the inside and it stayed like that for months. Ryan Woods (bass/guitars on album) had a friend, Sam Mayle who had followed Buchanan from the previous band – it just so happened he was an insane artist. Ryan showed Aaron some of his work, amongst them a portrait of a singer from a great band of the mid-noughties and Aaron loved it so much because of the colour and detail that he asked him to do a version of it for the album in question, through this, the striking cover image was born.

Aaron Buchanan believes and understands rock music can be both an unalloyed pleasure and a conduit for ideas, a means of provoking thought, a world in which you can reinvent yourself at the same time. And this has been achieved with the astonishing The Man With Stars On His Knees. “It’s inspired by many records, writers and voices from Eddie Vedder and Scott Weiland through to Queen and Manson – but it stands alone in it’s own cabinet of approval. The Man With Stars On His Knees was built for curious ears.”

The Man With Stars On His Knees retools every aspect of Buchanan’s story so far into something bigger, bolder and more emotionally potent. This brilliant and provocative artist has produced a hugely appealing and a simultaneously intricate and infectious debut album that deserves your attention The Man With Stars On His Knees is an enabling vision and unequivocal triumph.

The Man With Stars On His Knees track listing: 01 Show Me What Your’e Made Of. 02 All The Things You’ve Said And Done. 03 Dancin’ Down Below. 04 The Devil That Needs You. 05 Journey Out Of Here. 06 The Man With Stars On His Knees. 07 A God Is No Friend. 08 Left Me For Dead. 09 Mind Of A Mute . 10 Morals.

To pre-order the CD go to:

Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics UK dates June: 3rd Camden Rocks Festival. 11th Download Festival. 25th Wildfire Festival. July 29th Ramblin' Man Fair.

Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics are: Vocals: Aaron Buchanan Guitar: Laurie Buchanan Guitar: Tom McCarthy Bass: Chris Guyatt Drums: Kev Hickman

Monday 20 March 2017

Alison Krauss - "Windy City", Released February 17th, 2017 via Capitol Records - ALBUM REVIEW

Alison Krauss - "Windy City"
Released February 17th, 2017 via Capitol Records

Blue Grass or mainstream country ain’t really a style I have bought in when it comes to music but when Dani K, our chief editor, mentioned to me it was an album of covers I almost choked. Now... never say never and rise to the challenge I told myself.

A few things were going to make this easy I told myself. Alison Krauss is well known vocalist and has a great voice check, musicians and production crew are always associated with high quality check, I can pass the more country sound like tunes check 😊.

Now surprise surprise! It turns out, thanks to Alison, that I now like Willie Nelson, who would have bet on that one!!! Beautiful piano intro, soft and aerial guitar and a bit of accordion... and I am now ready to wear cow boy boots when I listen to I Never cared For You.

River in the Rain from Roger Miller, which admittedly I never heard of (I know I know :-) ), is my second best preferred title on this record and I have found myself going back to this ballad on a regular basis. I seriously think I am going to buy a cow boy hat over the next few days.

Gentle on My Mind Pop intro originally sang by Glen Campbell, a retired country star, is the prelude to a soft and nice musical road trip to Arkansas and I am now contemplating purchasing a wild horse for the urban cowboy that I am slowly becoming.

I am told that Brenda Lee was the first artist singing All Alone Am I. I don’t know if it was one of her signature tunes, but it is a poignant song about loss that Alison has clearly made hers and this in the most superb fashion that an artist can do I must say.

You Don’t Know Me from Eddy Arnold concludes this 10-track cover album Called "Windy City", not an album that I thought I would end up appreciating but you know what, cowboys have a soft and tender heart too. 😊

Overall: All right, all right, all right.
If I was to pick three only: I Never Cared For You, Gentle On My Mind, All Alone Am I
Live test: If my horse brings me there...

Album review by Pascal Derrien