Suggestion: 94 Gunships

Suggestion: 94 Gunships

Nottingham based band 94 Gunships have been sailing the seas of UK music since 2015, crushing the waves like bugs under boots along their way. Simple lyrical hooks and themes truly ingrain themselves into the listener’s memory, with catchy guitar lines and riffs ensuring the responsibility is not all on frontman Rob Davidson to earwig their way into brains up and down the country.

Their music, elemental in blues and gypsy sounds, become a swinging soiree of chants and knees-up madness as audiences can’t help but become marionettes strung along by the irresistible rhythms and rhymes this band so effortlessly delivers.

Check out their latest music video ‘Tooth Rattle’ below:

 

You can see them live in Leicester supporting us on the EP launch event for Caravan O’Funk on 7th September at The Shed! 8pm Doors, £4 OTD

 

H.S.

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Suggestion: Brandon Neal

Suggestion: Brandon Neal

Hairy, charismatic, and tall are three descriptors for Brandon Neal. Live, he is a wonderful character that uses the stage as nothing more than a mic-stand holder, as he looms around the venue peering closely into the eyes of audience members, reciting his words with bellowing passion. The dynamic, intimate performances of Brandon Neal reign you into his world of 8-bit gaming nostalgia, the dichotomy of modern life, and finding the beauty, love and contention within it all.

 

Listen to his debut single Birdsong above or on his Bandcamp, and be sure to catch him opening the evening of 7th September at The Vault, Leicester for the Caravan O’Funk album launch!

 

H.S.

Suggestion: Not My Good Arm

I remember seeing Not My Good Arm the first time all those years ago; they had an edge to them that couldn’t be blunted, charisma that wouldn’t be compressed and a sound that wouldn’t let you simply ‘stand there’. The shoe-tickling music demands flailing feet and sunset grins, taking elements from ska and soul, while simultaneously delivering their influences of grunge and alternative music in a heavy blast of bass, brass, drums, guitar and occasional dog noises.

Their debut EP ‘Dog Therapy‘ has received praise from reviewers, and understandably so! The twitches and twangs of genre-defying sonic waves hijack your interest and dances through the length of the 6-track release. Their live shows are no less enthralling, with leaps and jumps and heads banging and toes trilling.

 

Listen to Dog Therapy above on their Bandcamp, and be sure to catch them live at The Vault (downstairs of The Shed) in Leicester on 7th September for Homeless Shakespeare & The Pigeon Theatre’s album launch!

 

H.S.

Suggestion: Fivehead

Suggestion: Fivehead

I’ve seen these guys twice so far; once at The Soundhouse supporting The Common Cold, that influenced this piece of writing, and another time at Glastonbudget. They always deliver.

Check out this extract from my live review at The Soundhouse in May.

Fivehead, like a drunk performance artist, place themselves in a juxtaposition between serene, blissful sound and chaotic industrialism…

… Haunting synthetic sounds contrast light, nursery rhyme percussion. The obscurity of sound I met with equal efforts by the visuals, as they swell and move in unison as though the ensemble as a whole is one musician with one instrument; an imaginative child caught in the rhythm of a dystopian Scalextric set. Besides the regular rock-band musicians, they have two extra members in balaclavas, jittering about on random synth and percussion instruments, or simply fanning around the stage like a dancing flame. Melody and key, though elemental, are shattered like glass under this band’s framing, as they place noise and sound manipulation at the forefront of their musical identity.

Their last song was a lot heavier than their previous pieces (which says a lot about the song), using a darker melodic drone and key than previous endeavours. Almost flamenco in its sound, just, flamenco on a meth comedown, closing with an breakdown heavier than some metal bands I’ve seen, and a marching-band snare roll to close the curtain on their apocalyptic theatre.”

Listen to their first EP, How To Bombproof Your Horse, below

Though their next release, what with all their innovative sounds, is taking a while to produce, you can check out their immersive live show at 2Funky Music Cafe in Leicester on 10th August.

H.S.

Timmas EP – Review

Leicester has seen a rise in great rock bands, particularly of the grungey texture, in the past few years. With Siobhan Mazzei having found a band to boost her sound, Rhett Barrow soaring forward with the Dedbeats, who you should expect to hear a release from any time now!

Amongst this rise in rock, is innovative duo Timmas.

They released their debut EP in June, and have since jumped on a ferry and travelled the great plains of Europe busking and gigging around, being their merry selves.

The EP captures the ocean of sound that floods your being at the live shows brilliantly, as represented in the opening track Wilau. Building up to the bite of second track ‘Vampire‘, which wanders up with a cheerful demeanor and rough coat. You can’t help but bob fidget along to the hard rock groove, before they drop a burst of tempo rise making you flail like an injured bat.
Ground keeps the tensions high with upbeat augmented riffage. Tom Carnell (drums) takes on the main vocal role of this track, while Tim Baker (guitar) uses his voice in a more instrumental manner. The middle-8 section is brilliant; though complex to the conventional ear, they maintain control and remain ‘grounded’, using dynamics and key movements to their full advantage.
The finishing feedback of Ground links to Hydra, the EP’s main track. The bi-polar charisma of the track is reminiscent of Vampire, though rather than tempo rises, the verses drop into a lumbering behemoth, with spurts of the main riff. The chorus section is a moment of clarity with the power of voice and harmony, brightening the mood with the constrast of worrying lyrics. Now, I will always remember this track, after seeing them perform it live, the middle-8 is a masterpiece! Tom gets a moment in the lime light with his drum solo, and Tim’s use of kill switch and wrong notes is the perfect combination of madness and knowledge.
The final track, Bored, opens with a different approach to the rest of the tracks – using sounds of birds, rain and thunder, and a subtle voice, they illustrate a beautiful depression, further supported by the opening line “I’m missing you sweet summer“, further emphasising their Britishness with the follow up line “when grey clouds come through, I’m home“. The constant rain sound creates an atmosphere you can’t avoid, with long pauses between the chunky guitar. The mood switches with the witty line “rain makes us shine”, into a more manic depressive than simply depressive whim. The track keeps you clutched betwixt its emotions.

Vocals of broken men. Guitar thicker than sinking sand. Drums harder hitting than 130mph winds. Capricious lyrics. These are elements of Timmas, but to truly experience them, you must listen to them yourselves, but I implore you to see them live! It’s truly an experience.

They’ve been vlogging their experience on the roads of Europe, which you can find on their Facebook page feed, as well as their coming gig dates. They’ll be back in Leicester in a month or so, so like the page and keep your eyes out!

 

H.S.

Humble He – A Room Without A View

Humble He once humbly humbled me with an early listen of his new EP ‘A Room Without A View‘, and it’s marvellous.

The EP opens with dreamy melodies caressed from a guitar on Everything is Even Odds, which hosts some technically clever rhythm work, particularly dominant in the melodic bridge section, before slithering back into a final chorus with acapella harmonies.

Title track A Room Without a View continues the easy ride sound of track 1, but this time with a much more sombre delivery. Although still a moderately slow track, the energy projected by harmonies and rhythmic hooks have you cradling yourself in content anxiety.

My Own Two Hands certainly brings the electricity down to a melancholia of acoustic guitar and crisp vocals. A bag of mixed emotions this track, but mainly you feel a flourish of optimism. As the track carries you on, the subtleties of the string arrangements and drums clamber up to your attention. It’s quite the epic ‘chill’ song. Goosebumps were had.

Rolling tom drums heave the last track To Raise an Anchor into another rhythmic jigsaw. Slightly more up pace compared to the rest of the EP, but no less tearful. Trilling vocal and violin melodies briefly intensify the track, waving like an acid comedown. It slowly progresses and climaxes, with crunchy bass and snapping snare signifying it’s growth. The track is as uplifting as it is depressing, a beautiful result of the concocted timbre, melodic movements and of course Joe’s clean, raspy vocals and comparatively abstract lyrics.

Overall the EP has the emotive language of a journal written by a very self-controlled bi-polar owl. Wisdom in words, spoken as the head twists and turns stuck on it’s feelings as it writes the thoughts, pure and corrupt, into the journal in Morse Code. A clever EP, not far from the sounds of a chilled out Radiohead, or a brighter version of The Hoosiers’ dark side.

The EP was released on 28th January at The Cookie (Leicester) for Independent Venue Week, with a stonking support line up consisting of Superego and Webbo & The Soft Boys. As I remember, it was a particularly encapsulating show. My first experience of seeing all these artists live and every one was on the mark!

You can find A Room Without A View on iTunes, Spotify or download your copy from Humble He’s Bandcamp.

 

H.S.

Barefoot Festival 2017…

Now, personally, I haven’t camped out at  Festival all weekend for 6+ years, so this weekend was a particularly exciting one for me.
Not only was I going to be camping out alongside the rest of Siobhan Mazzei & Band, some good friends from The Brandy Thieves, TC Costello and muso’s alike of Leicester, but I was also going to be performing as part of Siobhan Mazzei Band on Friday, and as Homeless Shakespeare on Saturday. Not just double, but triple excitement!

After setting up camp at the tape-bordered Barefoot Wildbunch camping area (they called it the band camping area, but we’re more fun than that), the Friday night was in our grasp! I head over to the band tent, treated with some top blues rock from The Midnight Honey, who also treated us to a Tom Waits cover (something I was particularly happy to hear from the first band I saw all weekend)!
The Saturday had a lot on, as besides from the music, they also have a huge cabaret tent, which featured burlesque, circusry, magic from Colin Skinner, bollywood classes, and the audio-visual time capsule that is The Vixen Trio. There was a lot to see and little time to see it in, luckily enough it was a 60 second walk between the tents and everything was conveniently timed out for what I wanted to see.
Siobhan Mazzei Band were on at 7, so we collected our stuff to setup & rock the place… Which, we did! We managed to sell some CDs as well as adequately warm up the audience for The 40Hertz Band, Idle Empire and The Brandy Thieves (the initial cause of the swampy, muddy ground left behind by their panting audience, after the DJ of course).

Barefoot Festival 2017
Me, Siobhan Mazzei, and Les Hayden with our wolf tails for Mythical Creature fancy dress on Saturday

Now, I know the Friday sounds hard to follow, but the Saturday did so in true style. I awoke to beer, greenery, friends and wildlife (No I didn’t mean wildlife when I said greenery), so it was already off to a great start. I head over to the band tent early to drop off my guitar and get some food (this must have been the most affordable festival I’d been to – everything was pretty much normal prices as far as food stalls go!).
After a well needed nap, I took to the stage with a setlist I would soon ignore & freeform the setlist, which worked well! It was a lovely honour having to have the 20+ Wildbunch slowly emerge from the campsite to come watch me, so a huge thanks to them for their humble support! As I played, there was a group of kids that mid set taking full advantage of my interactivity, and soon had me playing something I was trying to avoid doing in front of a family audience – Without Me by Eminem. Following that, a lot of originals, and for once minimal puns, my set was over. A success with no swearing and post-performance praise, and with my last song my duty for the weekend had swept away, so quickly I almost felt the pre-emptive taste of hungover regret.

So, I was free and ready to take on the rest of the weekend with a full stomach of beer, disaranno and Iron Bru. The music that followed me was also fantastic, with my first experience seeing Kenneth J Nash with a full band, Jesse Wright Band, TC Costello and his impossible-to-complete drinking game, and the last band I saw on the Saturday, the incomparable Goldwater, who had people moving from the bottom to the top of the festival dancing spectrum (would’ve been short a moshpit if it wasn’t for me & Siobhan too. We’re glad others joined in, not much of a mosh pit with 2 people, more a consensual fight).

Barefoot 2017
Me, Magician Colin Skinner, and Goldwater frontman Grant Decker being all street and urban following their sterling set.

Once the band finished, the charismatic chaos continued as the DJ would mashup some of the most obscure combinations of songs I’ve ever heard in my life, people wold flail and spin relentlessly, Colin Skinner (by this point, draped with golden wings) blowing people’s minds with mere decks of cards, and the personal highlight of the evening – The Brandy Races. The tournament of 3 rounds of racers in children’s pedal cars, and one race for the ultimate winner (it was me. I won in a digger. Sadly the other winners didn’t want to take part so I won by default, which is only half winning, but I still won). Taking place upon the slippery, soaked mud pit outside the band tent, the races were as intense as they were messy as I’m sure Joe Tapely of the Brandy Thieves, decorated in a luxurious fur coat, would have laughed over as the overseer of the races. I believe I raced a naked woman too.

What a weekend. I enjoyed every last second of it, I didn’t mean a single nasty person, I properly felt a part of what was going on and it was marvellous! So, in hoping they find and read this, the biggest, most sincere thanks has to go to the staff and organisers behind Barefoot festival, from the litter pickers and stewards to the sound engineers and food vendors, a huge thanks to all of you!

Anyone who’s looking for a family friendly festival, with the perfect balance of responsible play and unconditional partying, a different fancy dress theme each day, for paint fights, for great music and entertainment, great food and opportunities to discover something new, for great people and community vibes, and for some great views, be sure to keep your eye on the Barefoot Festival website to get your tickets for next year!