It's not a place, It's a state of mind

Johnson's New Sound Is Soulful And Slick

Soulful and slick, Helena Johnson has created and mastered a unique and powerful sound that's showcased perfectly in her new single 'Take Me Home Tonight' .

Originally from North Yorkshire and now based in Liverpool, Helena has impressed audiences and critics alike with her stunning live shows backed by a 10-piece band, complete with the comedically-named horn section 'The Horn Supremacy'. Her ability to captivate her audience from the first note, mesmerising even the most unruly of crowds, was evident when she recently performed at mammoth events such as Fiesta Bombarda and The Neighbourhood BBQ at Liverpool’s acclaimed venue, Camp and Furnace. 

Since joining The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in 2011 to study, Helena has grown from talented musician to a potential international singing success, with recent interest from a major label. 2015 promises to be a year to remember for the rising star and she is definitely one to watch.

Elstow Releases "Evil Dreams"

In July 2012 Jared Shaw and Chel Browne sent a couple of low-fi demos to Peats Ridge Festival on a whim. Having played only one live show together, their obsession with music was very much a private affair up until then, and neither expected the illustrious Sydney music festival to respond at all. But respond they did, and just a few months later the duo stood together on stage in the eastern-psychedelic-themed ‘Chai Tent’ and warmed an unsuspecting audience with hazy sixties-inspired songs about love, loss and death, blending delicate vocal harmonies with somber misty tones.

Borrowing the name of the building they lived in, and guided by a deep appreciation for the folk and psychedelic pop of the sixties and seventies, the duo quickly expanded to five members as they explored their wider musical tastes. Drawing on the psychedelic sounds of bands like Jefferson Airplane, Jimmie Spheeris, and early Pink Floyd, coupled with an infatuation with nineties alt-psych idols Brian Jonestown Massacre and Mazzy Star, Elstow started work on their debut EP in 2013. Released the following year, AS  THE SUN FALLS was five tracks of dreamy psychedelic landscapes fused with a moody folk sensibility. Both personal and surreal, bloggers described it as “music to lose yourself to,” and “a psychedelic romance.”

Harnessing an atmospheric and increasingly dynamic live set, the band spent 2014 playing all over their hometown of Sydney, winning over unsuspecting hearts one mind-bending show at a time. Their sound, which has been described as ‘neo-psychedelic-dream-folk,’ has been evolving slowly and surely, refusing to remain static.

In the late months of 2014, Elstow went back into the studio to record their new single, ‘Evil Dreams.’ Despite the sinister sounding name, and promises of a “very weird” video to accompany it, the new song is described by Shaw as “a little more upbeat than the EP,” and combines Elstow’s dreamlike psychedelic overtones with a breezy sunshine-laden chorus. ‘Evil Dreams’ swings between verses of doubtful self-reflection and a chorus of daydream surrender. Carefully woven vocal harmonies float amidst an abundance of tremolo guitars, delay, and crisp tambourines; ‘Evil Dreams’ is as ambitious as it is timeless.

Milo's Planes Introduces Some Aural Sounds

Formed in Bristol in 2013, melodic hardcore/punk band Milo's Planes began as a duo of Joe Sherrin (guitar, vocals and bass) and Harry Sherrin (drums and backing vocals).  After recording their first album they were joined by Charlie Horne (bass and backing vocals) who was a natural fit, sharing a love of Wire, Fugazi, Leatherface, Lync, Rites of Spring, early Modest Mouse and Pavement.  

Priding themselves on their DIY approach to their music, the trio record and produce all their tracks themselves on a sixteen track in Harry's bedroom.
Joe's guitar playing is influenced heavily by the nineties emo/post hardcore band Lync; he uses a off-beat  tunings as a means to create interesting chords.  

The band have earned support slots for Eagulls, Skaters, Traams, Electric Eel Shock and their hero Mike Watt, who made a cameo appearance in their music video for 'Two Feet In a Crowd'.

'Aural Palate Cleaning Exercises' has been a labour of love with Joe spending months re-ordering track listings, carefully editing exact track lengths, dropping songs and adding piano interludes/snippets of radio samples to make it flow as one complete piece.

Of the subject matter, Joe says largely focuses on his experiences within soul destroying, bureaucratic admin jobs and the seemingly endless supply of bizarrely ordinary characters that can only be found within these roles. He explains "A large part of the fun I have writing lyrics is studying the mundane to the point where tiny details can be unearthed, exposed as real concerns and then exaggerated upon maniacally as a way for me to express the true feelings of frantic despair I feel sitting at a desk for 8 hours of my day.  Being pretentious I would say a running theme of the album is using language as a means to disguise tiny, nit-picky & personal matters as universally angry subjects worth shouting about."

In between 'A Letter In Confidence' and 'Interlude 2' is a hidden track; a shortened acoustic version of an earlier track - this was a concious effort to end the album in what Joe describes as a "dissonance of feedback which quickly resolves into something pretty & melancholy, with the album's final words ("I have good intentions, but I never know why") a statement intended to summarize the whole album."

Teenage Wildlife Is Lost At Sea

Teenage Wildlife compliments A side single 'Come On and Shoot' with the launch of AA side 'Lost at Sea'.

'Come On and Shoot', an intricately layered track boasting smouldering vocals and an infusion of electronica, is the latest offering from London based musician John Wright.  AA Side 'Lost at Sea' is a more structured song boasting stunning vocals and etheral harmonies.

Based in Shoreditch, multi-instrumentalist John Wrihgt has been making music for his own enjoyment "forever", but through his successful career as a respected filmmaker and photographer, regularly working with Sony Music and some of the world's most iconic musicians, John Wright received the encouragement he needed to release his music as 'Teenage Wildlife'.

Priding himself on an entirely self-sufficient approach to his music, John writes, plays and records drums, bass, guitar and keys in his attic studio, creating stunning sonic backdrops, seamlessly blending hip hop and dance with melodic dub to produce unique genre-crossing soundscapes. His compositions have appeared on fashion films for Fendi and Dior and he recently directed 'Savile Row is Rock N Roll' a short film for GQ's featuring some of Britain's most iconic musicians, collaborating on its soundtrack with Paul Weller, Johnny Marr and Duran Duran's John Taylor.

A pair of singles released earlier this year, 'Last Great Love Affair' and 'Most Beautiful Thing', received worldwide airplay and had the likes of Netsky and One Direction's Harry Styles taking to social media to praise them.  Despite this success, John's background remains his primary motivating force. “I had a pretty rough upbringing” he explains. “I think the term is ‘underprivileged’.  I designed Teenage Wildlife as a vehicle to express myself musically and I use the funds I raise to support charities that help underprivileged young people.”

The impressively crafted and perfectly produced 'Come On and Shoot' and 'Lost At Sea' will certainly take Teenage Wildlife to an even wider audience, creating huge anticipation for debut album 'The Degenerate Art Exhibition' slated for release in spring 2015.

Of the latest track 'Lost At Sea', John Wright says "I really wanted to just write and release 'A SONG'! Just a song! Without getting too lost in production and arrangement and clever glitches. I just wanted to take my acoustic, my bass guitar and a drum loop, a little keys and just put a simple song together. I added the vocoder and the samples just to keep it feeling like a Teenage Wildlife track.

I reworked this track so many times. Just trying to make it more and more simple. I'm not sure how fans of tracks like Come On And Shoot and Most Beautiful Thing will take to it but we'll see.

All the instruments on this track are recorded traditionally through mics (except the drum loop obviously!). Even the keyboards are through a Fender Princeton into a condenser mic. I haven't done a mic'd recording like this for so long. It's important to remember these old school techniques. It's too easy to work 'in the box' just using factory sounds. There's a real sonic quality in mic'd amps in a room"

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"Can't Take Me Under" Is Lead Track For Cable Street

Lead Track - 'Can't Take Me Under'

Formed in 2012 at the same London open mic night that produced Denai Moore, Cable Street Collective combine catchy tunes with dance-inspired beats to create music that mixes African influences (two of the group grew up in Swaziland and Malawi) with UK funky house and a whole host of other sounds from in and around their home bases in East London and Brixton.

Tom Robinson of BBC 6Music and BBC Introducing says their music “grooves like a bastard.”  XFM’s new music guru John Kennedy says: “Their music is guaranteed to bring the sunshine, whatever the weather.”

The band have enjoyed airtime on XFM and played at a series of high profile festivals including Bestival, the Isle of Wight Festival, Secret Garden Party, Boomtown Fair and the Lake of Stars Festival in Malawi.

Their debut EP 'The Best of Times' is available on iTunes, Spotify and as a physical release. 'Can't Take Me Under' is the lead track and will be released as a single on February 16th 2015.

Facebook // cablestreetcollective
Soundcloud // cablestreetcollective
Twitter // @cscollective
Instagram // @cablestreetcollective

Cable Street Collective are: Dave, Rowan, Tristan, Ash, Fiona and Alex.

Liverpool's The Little Secrets Expand Talents

Liverpool’s The Little Secrets are Kevin Dixon and Stacy Jo.  Formed in 2010 after meeting at Liverpool's world famous Cavern Club, Stacy was singing with another band when Kevin spotted her.  Blown away by her talent, Kevin decided on the spot to ‘steal’ Stacy for his new project, and after two years of writing together and experimenting with different line-ups and sounds, the pair found their sound in  infectious pop, echoing the likes of Camera Obscura and BMX Bandits with a nod to Phil Spector's production style.  

“We asked ourselves what kind of songs would we like to hear and set about writing them” Kevin explains. “The songs are written as a true partnership, both musically and lyrically. The initial idea can start from either one of us and is then crafted further towards the sound we are trying to create, infusing as many of our influences as possible.”

Debut single ‘All I Need’, released on Edge Hill University’s The Label Recordings, has already received airplay on BBC Radio 2 from Janice Long who selected it as one of her ‘Janice Loves’ tracks.  Producer Carl Hunter of The Farm describes 'All I Need' as "having sunshine poured into your ears!"

The melody and lyrics for The New Southern Electrikk's debut single 'Brown Eyes' were written by former Paris Angel Rikki Turner fourteen years ago. Explaining where he drew his inspiration from, Rikki says " The song was written during a particularly dark period of my life when things weren't going well. Brown Eyes was a woman who left me. As she walked away, The Shirelles' 'Baby It's You' was playing and the song came to me there and then. The pain I felt that day can be heard in Monica's breathtaking vocals and the band's performance on the record is stunning.  To think something so beautiful can emerge from that level of pain is extraordinary... but that pain had to be experienced for the song to exist."

Brown Eyes channels the sound of sixties girl groups with a pared down production style that draws inspiration from the work of celebrated producer Martin Hannett. The New Southern Electrikk however, cannot be easily categorised as b-side 'The Theme to The New Southern Electrikk' proves with its echoes of early New Order and The Charlatans defly woven together with samples of Charles Bukowski.

Drawing inspiration from Psychedelia, Krautrock and Post-Punk, The New Southern Electrikk craft dark, mesmerisingly beautiful melodies driven by grinding, sexy undertones. Monica Ward's vocals can be as ethereal as they are deep and soulful; capturing her audience in the palm of her hand, with her mesmerising performances.

Zach Davies's flowing guitar shimmers over Steven Tajti's gritty, throbbing basslines with Rikki Turner's keys and backing vocals providing a darker edge. Jim Correy's drumming is brooding and purposeful giving The New Southern Electrikk a solid base on which to build soundscapes that are visceral yet sultry.

Having already found fans in Suede's Bernard Butler and The Lemonhead's Evan Dando to punk icon John Robb and producer/Creation Records co-founder Joe Foster, The New Southern Electrikk are one of 2015's most exciting prospects.

"Sorryville" Released

Milton Star are Alan Wyllie and Graeme Currie who write and record their unique blend of indie and dark country in a converted church 'Milton' located in darkest Fife, the building not only inspired the band name but, as Alan explains, is pivotal in the writing process.  "The thing that feeds the ideas and make the sound are the environment and acoustics here in the church and setting of the surrounding countryside. To have that on tap every day is just wonderful, we’ve been writing together for maybe 30 years and nothing before has come close. We tend to work independently on ideas initially, bouncing ideas back and forth and then come together to flesh things out, but there’s no set pattern, sometimes it’s the words, sometimes the music, sometimes a story or a visual, it’s a pretty fluid process once we get going though."

Each of their tracks is drenched in atmosphere -  think Velvet Underground meets vintage Glen Campbell via Rick Rubin collaborating on the next David Lynch movie or soundtracking the latest HBO crime drama…

Alan and Graeme's collaborations date back through many incarnations of live bands to the early days of post punk and a band called Thursdays who were signed to Fast Records.  After some years spent out of the music scene, they came back together in 2010, reinvigorated by a mutual dissatisfaction for what they describe as a "mostly insipid modern music scene", picking up the gauntlet to produce sweet structured melodies carried by an expansive tremolo wall of sound and a dark soul.

With such rich musical experience the duo's influences are wide and varied, as Graeme says. “Being the age we are we go back to punk and beyond, that rich seam of creativity with Marc Bolan, Roxy Music, Bowie and Velvet Underground. For me I was always drawn to Beefheart and a lot of left field guitarists. That whole American CBGBs thing with Television, Talking Heads, Patti Smith – Marquee Moon is still my favourite album. If you go back further though to some of the pioneers, Scotty Moore, what an innovator, Link Wray – that sheer power, you listen to Rumble, blows you away every time…”

Alan adds "It was such a focus for me, the music, the visuals, I remember being fourteen and my older brother coming in to my room, throwing the 69 Velvets live album at me and saying, “learn that, you’re joining the band…” Every week having new music to buy and bands to see, we were spoiled and that sticks with you. But equally I love a lot of old country – its easy to dismiss Hank Williams, the Everlys, Cash - Roy Orbison especially, what a voice and the musical tension he generates is unique on something like In Dreams, where it just changes all the way through, no verse chorus standard structure… The great songwriters too – Jimmy Webb “And I need you more than want you and I want you for all time.” Beautiful – but you take that beauty, you scratch the surface and you mix in a big chunk of darkness, pain and sorrow…”

With shades of Soulsavers and Mark Lanegan evident, Milton Star's debut AA side single tracks 'Salvation' and 'Sorryville' are the perfect marriage between brooding vocals and shimmering guitars underpinned by a driving beat. Wonderfully atmospheric guitarscapes paint vivid images of love, loss and regret lived out in one no-hope town to the next, in the bars, in shady motels and the highways and byways inbetween.

Kiev Remixes
Emerald & Doreen Recordings

RIYL: Stereolab, Curve, Cocteau Twins, Broadcast, Everything But The Girl, Dubstar

In this release, two-time Alternative Eurovision winner Ummagma rise above the decay and mayhem encountered in that country to embrace diversity and beauty, while taking their music in new directions. ‘Kiev’ is not only the epicenter of massive civil unrest – it is the name of this release, and is ultimately a message of hope. The outcome shows that what is the end for one person may be the start for another. Even more importantly, it shows that beauty can blossom even in the midst of ugliness.

Formed in Moscow in 2003, Canadian Shauna McLarnon and Ukrainian Alexx Kretov have been consistently writing and recording music whilst living between Ukraine and Canada. Shauna’s delicate airy gossamer-like vocals hold glimmers of Cocteau Twins, Stereolab, The Sundays, Curve, Lush, and Slowdive.  Alexx's guitar, vocals, synths, beats and programming create cinematic soundscapes with elements of Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Bill Nelson and Brian Eno, enabling the listener to soar above the music. 

Despite heavy turmoil in Ukraine, Ummagma look forward to a brighter future for Eastern Europe. In ‘Kiev’, this Canadian-Ukrainian team celebrates their freedoms, exploring the root of today’s problems to create beauty in the face of hostility. The duo has received support fromRobin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins)and Malcolm Holmes (OMD), who have remixed tracks for forthcoming release.

This release is an impressive package featuring the original track ‘Kiev’ plus 9 remixes from 9 fantastic artists from as many countries, celebrating the splendour of the original composition in their own unique styles. One of these artists is Japanese producer Haioka Shintaro, who is one of just three Red Bull Academy artists from Japan, renowned for mixing traditional Japanese instrumentation with electronic chill sounds.  In the words of the Academy, which is currently underway in Tokyo, “Haioka offers a distinctively Japanese take on modern electronic music, and one that rationalises the past with the future, and his nation with the world.”

Haioka’s remix takes ‘Kiev’ to the next level with sounds reminiscent of an angelic playground.  Haioka was an avid music fan as a teenager but a terrible musician.  “I’m completely tone-deaf,” he explains. “I don’t have any sense of rhythm and I’m a terrible dancer. I’m too embarrassed to go to karaoke even.”  However his discovery of sequencers and quantized rhythms meant Haioka was able to embark on his present career, enjoying mainstream success with Bremen, a dance-rock trio who rose to prominence during the 2000s and appeared at the Summer Sonic music festival in 2006. 

With Bremen currently on hiatus, Haioka is involved in another electronic project ‘The Kah’ and is also concentrating on his solo career as well as remixing tracks he finds compelling.  He encodes music with the rhythms and sounds of his daily life together with “concepts that are important to Japanese people, like space and stillness.”  Haioka’s interpretation of ‘Kiev’ is both delicate and decisive, a reflection of his cultural identity and expression of hope for the future of this beautiful city.

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The Talks
Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves
All Our Own Records

The last three years have seen The Talks working relentlessly to bring us a smorgasbord of bouncy, big hitting singles with 'Can Stand The Rain' featuring Neville Staple and 'Friday Night' creating a huge buzz online, replicated by the response of the crowd when the band have performed live.  With main stage performances at globally renowned festivals such as ‘This Is Ska’ (DE), ‘Mighty Sounds’ (CZ) and the UK’s ‘Rebellion’, tweets of appraisal and support from new wave big hitters ‘Less Than Jake’, glowing reviews and cover features from Big Cheese and Vive Le Rock Magazines - not to mention appearing in programmes on various UK TV networks - the bands reputation has surged from strength to strength.

2014’s recent singles 'Don't Look Behind You' and 'Radio' have paved the way for The Talks' long highly anticipated new album 'Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves', and these cheeky Yorkshire chaps are gaining widespread attention on an international level. The album offers an insight into the versatility of the band’s sound.  ‘Light Up’ is an up tempo and anti-love song whereas ‘Ceasefire’ featuring Itch from The King Blues is a hard-edged call to arms, a fast paced and dazzling assault on the senses. 

Following another busy summer of festivals across Europe, the band will be taking their new album on the road with an extensive European tour planned for October and November.

Of the album, lead singer Pat Pretorius says "It’s really personal.  Our last album 'Live Now, Pay Later’ felt more like a catalogue of songs, but this time it feels like a real album, a journey. We agonised over this, and we'd like to think it'll bring our audience closer to us, help get the idea and vibe across more clearly."

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The Art of Amputation
Californian English / Distorted Pop Song

The Art of Amputation unveil AA side 'Californian English', a stunning, synth driven masterpiece and the perfect accompaniment to the intricately layered and uplifting melody of 'Distorted Pop Song'.  

Freddy de Lord (Keyboards, Vocals and Saxophone), Hugh Fox (Drums, Drum-Loops/Programming and Percussion), Allan Harrod (Vocals, Guitar and Keyboards), Mark Hyden (Guitars and Vocals) and newly added member Tim Harrod (Vocals and Percussion) each have an input into the band's collaborative writing songwriting sessions which stem from Allan's keen ear for melody.  Teaming with producer Steve Honest in Hackney Road Studios ensured the creative process progressed seamlessly, with sessions resulting in these two impressive and hughly polished tracks. 

The London based five-piece combine soaring melodies with experimental sounds and big fuzzy guitars to create soundscapes they claim will “hold your hand in dark times.”

Carlinhos Schneck - Lucky Man - ELP

"My Jolly Sailor Bold"   cover by  Laura Sanna (SheWolf)

Laura Sanna states, "This is a video of the song "My Jolly Sailor Bold" (from "Pirates of The Caribbean" on Stranger Tides) I made all by myself : I made the video, I put the lyric (the full complete lyric) both in English and Italian (I made the translation in Italian), and the song is performed by me.
I'm NOT a singer, so please don't be too hard !!!

She adds, "I have no vain foolish ambitions of any kind about music . I created that video,and sang that song,for the simplest reasons: I love the song and I love singing."
I just love singing, and I love everything about pirates, so trying to sing this song came natural to me,for I think the melody and lyric are beautiful. The paintings I put in the video are almost all pre-Raphaelite paintings. At the end of the video I wrote a few notes about the origin of this beautiful shanty.
I hope you'll enjoy."

You can find more information and post about/from Sanna at her G+ page:

Duet of musicians, gusli and grand piano improvising Greek music, incongruous and wondrous, a concert was held at the Museum of Musical Instruments Glinka. November 3, 2013 -  MikhaiL Liakhovskiy·