Having received airplay from Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1, as well as plenty of acclaim from both Steve Lamacq and Marc Riley at BBC 6 Music, Amsterdam-based artist Pip Blom first caught our attention last year with her EP “Are We There Yet?” Now, along with her band—Tender Blom (guitar and backing vocals), Berend Kok (bass), and Bowie Thörig (drums)—she is busy touring the UK with Surfer Blood, off the back of releasing her latest single.
“I Think I’m In Love” is filled with infectious, racing hooks and Blom’s distinctive youthful vocals reflecting on the complications of love and relationships. An uplifting, energy-fuelled offering reminiscent of Aussie rocker Courtney Barnett, “I Think I’m In Love” has all the twinkling melodies and rich harmonies you could ever dream of, complete with an addictive, sing-along chorus.
With her quirky charisma, raw vocal power, and ability to create such incredibly catchy offerings, it seems a sure thing that Pip Blom will be winning over the ears of many this year with her own distinct brand of charming, fuzzy indie-rock.
“I Think I’m In Love” is in stores now via Toaster Records.
The first time I saw Devin Townsend perform live was when he was hand selected by Steve Vai as the vocalist for Vai’s landmark album Sex and Religion and the tour that would follow.
That was back in 1993 at Mississippi Nights in St. Louis. I remember the show being epic as one would expect from a Vai show, but the bigger question was who in the hell was this insane singer that looked like a superhero and sang like a prog-rock version of Mike Patton? This guy’s voice went from gorgeous soaring highs to razor-sharp screams in a split second. It was the perfect complement to Vai’s eclectic, mind-bending soundscapes, but that wouldn’t last long.
A year or so later I got a copy of Townsend’s new band Strapping Young Lad in the mail at the record store I worked at. I think it was part of the Concrete Corner program. I put this thing on inside the store and scared the shit out of every person who was shopping at the time. This was by far the heaviest thing I had ever heard in my life, and it had a huge wall of sound layered harmonies. It was as if Queen had been crossed with Pantera but then stuck to the front of a Mack truck and driven through a brick wall at an insanely high speed. In other words, it was awesome.
Tokyo Taboo are kicking and screaming their way into the year with their debut album 6th Street Psychosis. The London duo, Dolly Daggerz and Mike, may present themselves as yet another post pop punk band “with attitude,” but never judge a band by their hair dye.
Front woman Dolly Daggerz snarls through each song, with an opening to remember on track “Make It Out Alive”—“Will I make it out of my life alive, I’ve got twenty-three hours when I wanna die.” The album is full of the energy of youth, the wonder and confusion of being a twenty-something, and is a little näive at times but, despite this, each track on the album is a rollocking ride through Dolly Daggerz brain.
Ending with “Pussy Power,” Dolly concludes the release on a powerful, feminist note—unashamed to wear her feminist heart on her bloodied sleeve. Politics is explored a little on the album in between the Dolly’s impassioned musings on life and hopefully “Pussy Power” denotes the tone of what’s to come.
6th Street Psychosis is a little young in places and doesn’t quite hit the mark all the way through, but when you cut through the clashing colours and high-energy pop punk, there’s a lot more to Tokyo Taboo than meets the eye. Dolly has survived her mid twenties blues but she’s done analysing herself, instead she’s beginning to look at the world around her and she’s incensed at what she sees, and it’s through music that the band will make their statement. And all power to them.
The indie sounds of the noughties have been making a comeback recently and Scottish four-piece The Phantoms are the latest band to bring back our favourite anthemic rumbles and driving beats of the decade.
Their latest single “Shadows” kicks off in full force, reminiscent of stadium rockers Kasabian and U2 to name but a few. Lead singer Colin Simpson’s reverb-heavy vocal drives the band whilst Euan Crowe’s infectious guitar hooks intertwine effortlessly underneath. Having already supported the likes of Catfish And The Bottlemen and We Were Promised Jetpacks, these guys put on one hell of a live show to say the least.
Formed in 2012, Colin, Euan, Blair Cullen (drums), and Zach Tarimo Goodhur (bass) having been making noise up in Scotland for quite some time now. With the release of “Shadows,” the boys hope to introduce the UK and the rest of the world to their cathartic blend of good old-fashioned indie rock.
Electro pop songstress Emily Atkinson, or EMILIE as she’s more commonly known, is certainly one to watch. With a critically acclaimed single already under her belt, EMILIE’s latest release “Never Enough” is set to get tongues wagging yet again—which is why she’s our Artist of the Week.
Emily has been regularly playing the Scottish live circuit for a number of years now making a name for herself locally as well as across the UK. She’s already supported SG Lewis and Be Charlotte to name but a few, and she’s also successfully sold out her debut EP launch last year for “I See You In The Darkness.”
EMILIE’s latest single “Never Enough” is a stunning electro pop track from start to finish that compliments Emily’s soft, ethereal vocals perfectly. Fans of Låpsley and BANKS will immediately draw comparisons and quite rightly so. This latest cut sits EMILIE in good stead to compete with these equally talented ladies.
“Never Enough” is in stores now via Depot Records.
Starting out creating music alone in his bedroom, Danish artist Lucas Berner has now re-coined himself The Chairman and creates deep, reflective, electro-fused offerings. With his new single “Animate,” Berner’s set to grab plenty of attention from listeners worldwide.
Filled with throbbing beats alongside the rich darkness of Berner’s vocals, “Animate” exudes shades of melancholy electro akin to Lampchop. Written as a cathartic release from his personal battle with depression, the track flows with sweeping melodies and reflective lyrical storytelling, creating a truly captivating and thought-provoking soundscape.
If The Chairman continues to produce such emotion-strewn and musically rich tracks, he’s certain to be a one to watch for 2017.
“Animate” is out 10th March via Danish Music Entertainment.
There’s a certain mystique surrounding Band of Horses when one listens to their records. It’s a sort of atmospheric elegance led by Ben Bridwell’s dreamy vocals which are in contradiction to his dark, withdrawn lyrics. That all gets blown to hell though when you see the band live. In an instant, it goes from quiet and reserved to a full-blown rock ‘n’ roll explosion. It’s night and day compared to the record, but isn’t that what a live show is really supposed to be anyway?
Falling somewhere between the Avett Brothers and Sunny Day Real Estate, Seattle’s Band of Horses are touring in support of their fifth studio album Why Are You Ok. The critics will say it’s a return to form for Bridwell, but then again those are the same people who criticised the brilliant Mirage Rock. Now, before we start debating this, I will tell you that in my not so humble opinion Cease to Begin is the band’s masterpiece and I would simply call it an extension, or an evolution of that record.
I know what you’re going to say next—Infinite Arms was the band’s breakthrough. And I would say to that, great record, but a major label and a Grammy nod don’t make the record “a breakthrough.” The songwriting on Cease is arguably some of the best from the first decade of the 2000s. But enough about debating what’s best, let’s get onto the show.
Mt. Doubt, or as he’s commonly known, Leo Bargery, is no stranger to the Scottish live circuit. Beginning as a solo artist in 2015, Leo quickly realised he needed a few helping hands, and as a result Mt. Doubt was born. With his latest single “Tourists” in stores later this month, here’s why he’s our Artist of the Week this week.
“Tourists” is an instantly catchy indie-rock track from the Scottish native relating Bargery’s fear of flying and how getting bitten by the travel bug just isn’t for everyone. This theme caught our eye in particular as it’s not the usual drivel you hear from an “indie” band, but actually a rather honest account of Bargery’s trepidations. Fans of The National and The Twilight Sad will immediately hear similarities of course, but Leo still seems to be able to make this number his own with his incredibly impressive warm baritone vocal taking centre stage.
“Tourists” is one half of a AA-side Mt. Doubt will be releasing alongside fellow rockers Foreignfox who met after playing a show together in Inverness last year, and the rest as they say, is history. With this release both bands hope to expand their fan base, and we wish them both the very best of luck.
“Tourists” is arrives in stores on 31st March 2017 via Scottish Fiction.
Already known for their engaging live shows, Brighton band Army Of Bones have received praise from the likes of The Revue and BBC Introducing and sold-out headline gigs across the UK. Now, with their debut album out next month, they are undoubtedly looking like Ones To Watch in 2017.
An album filled with songs of hope tinged with doubt, Army Of Bones’ eponymous debut is a creation inspired by the power of music to heal divisions. Filled with frontman Martin Smith’s soaring melancholic vocals and sweeping cinematic melodies, it’s a contemplative collection of powerful, emotion-strewn offerings.
From tracks such as the impassioned, anthemic “End Of Time,” to the more upbeat, driving electro-pop sound of “Batteries,” and the heart-wrenching emotion of “Ecclesiastes,” each track exudes a truly captivating, dramatic power. Filled with profound lyrical reflections that flow seamlessly alongside a rich musicality, this debut is sure to cement Army Of Bones firmly in our ears, and our hearts, for the long-term.
Army Of Bones, the eponymous debut album, is out 6 March via Bones Music Group.
PHOTO: KEIRA ANEE | London four-piece The Nyx are a band full of bite and raucous energy. Their debut self-titled EP is out on 21st April 2017 and they’ve already teased us with two undeniably powerful cuts to get you in the mood for their ferocious female rock.
Both “Home” and “Hideaway” feature front woman Simone Picknett’s authentic lead vocals which carry the song effortlessly. However, she is not the only band member graced with an undeniable ability to command a mic—The Nyx are blessed with not one but two front women, and Becky Wixon’s equally fierce vocals take centre stage in the second half of the EP with “Fire Breathing Lady” and “Myself.” These two vocalists merge brilliantly while also having their own completely different personalities.
Completing the quartet are Ruby Rose Lee (bass) and Collette Williams (drums) and we can’t help but notice that these ladies put on one hell of a live show. Fans of Hole and The Julie Ruin will be relieved to hear that riot grrrl rock is back—and thriving.
“The Nyx” is out on 21st April 2017 via Rumours Music.