Author Archives: Adam Cleverly

UK Artist of the Week: The Imagineers

Eclectic Scottish indie rockers The Imagineers formed back in 2011 and released their first EP “See As I Say.” They have since gained exposure through an array of publications as well as making a guest appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. With the release of their debut full length Utopian Dreams imminent and the title-track released as their first single, The Imagineers are well and truly back, sounding bigger and better than ever.

Utopian Dreams is an album full of sonic ups and downs. Their tastes differ from track to track, and quite rightly so, allowing each member of the band to incorporate different styles to create a unique sound. Elements of surf rock, baroque pop, and folk inform the album with a natural cinematic edge.

With the music industry continually in flux, The Imagineers’ diverse sense of songcraft bodes well for a flourishing career. You’ve heard it here—and them—first.

Utopian Dreams by The Imagineers is out on 24th February 2017 via Hit The Light Records.

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Needle Drop: Lowla, “Walls” EP

’90s loving pop duo Lowla are back with the release of their brand new EP “Walls,” bringing their own unique pop flavour with a fierce, no-nonsense attitude that has become their signature.

Title track “Walls” is politically themed, expressing the girls’ anger toward the greed of corporations and the lack of freedom citizens of the world have in contemporary society. Melodically, there are elements of Florence Welch during the chorus as they chant “we’ll start a revolution.” Spine tingling pop. The second track, “Those Days Are Gone” is the EP’s signature ballad with elegantly poised vocals coasting through a whirlwind of emotions—a beautiful and inspiring song.

“Money Doesn’t Matter” is the highlight of the EP—explosive choruses, vibrant synths, and pop melodies—a brilliant concoction. “Electrified” concludes the EP, returning to the shimmering alt pop sound Lowla are so expert at creating—its composition and structure perhaps offering a glimpse of where Lowla is headed next.

Lowla is pop with a conscience…and perhaps we all need a little bit of that right now.

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Needle Drop: Moonlight Zoo, “Melting”

As guitar trills, popping bass lines, and hard hitting drums introduce Moonlight Zoo’s new single “Melting,” listeners are transported back to the era of ’90s indie pop—with a splash of modern production from four fresh young talents.

The follow up to Moonlight Zoo’s debut single “Breaking or Broken,” “Melting” is an upbeat floor filler whose accompanying video sees the band’s fans singing and dancing along to the track in silly costumes in strange locations. Despite the fun, there’s a sincere concern for an contemporary issue—global warming—and thus the track’s title.

“Melting” has received support from the likes of Radio X and Jim Gellatly, and tips Moonlight Zoo for one long career, indeed.

Moonlight Zoo’s “Melting” is in stores now via Spinnup.

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UK Artist of the Week: Animal House

Fads come and go but great songs stay with you and stand the test of time. Australian garage-rock outfit Animal House, have already received critical acclaim for their most popular single, “English Girls” and are now set to release their EP “Sorry” mid November.

Flaunting a Lower East Side/Strokes vibe, Animal House has already released one energetic single entitled “Domino” from “Sorry” and explain that the EP is an “apology to our parents, friends, past employers who put their faith in us to lead a sweet and comfortable life in Aus and instead we’ve blown all that on a shot at making music.” In fact, the band aren’t “Sorry” and why should they be?

Animal House have already supported Surfer Blood and Drenge, have been spun on BBC Radio 1 and 6 and have been featured in NME, DIY, and Clash—so what more could they ask for? Oh yeah, for you to come and see them at one of their shows.

“Sorry” is in stores on 18th November 2016.

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Needle Drop: Addeboy vs. Cliff, “Phoenix”

Swedish electro pop producers Andreas Broberger and Hannes Lindgren, aka Addeboy vs. Cliff, return with an anthemic new single “Phoenix” that takes you on a futuristic and imaginative stroll—packed with delicious delayed hooks, twinkling synths, and a melancholic undertone that keeps the overall vibe as chilled as can be. It’s that perfect post-summer blues tune.

Even without the visuals of the video the duo manage to capture the summer vibe, creating an image in my mind of the sun beaming down, drinks in hand. The strong beat is also a dancefloor filler, and while the duo tend to keep the vocals low-fi, the synths lift the beat allowing “Phoenix” to breathe within crucial parts of the track.

The anatomy of the song sinks deep into the subconscious after only one listen. Addeboy vs. Cliff definitely have a natural knack for electro pop composition.

Addeboy vs. Cliff’s single “Phoenix” is out now via Harbour Lights.

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UK Artist of the Week: Tokyo Taboo

Artistic fusion among musical genres is making it increasingly difficult for consumers to determine where a band’s influences are derived, and often just what style of music is being created. In my eyes though, this is in no way a negative thing as it brings together differing worlds through the mutual love of music, style, and fashion—and cultivates something unique among the sub-genres. 

London-based Tokyo Taboo sound like they are heavily influenced by American pop-punk, but this isn’t the only thing that makes them our weekly Ones to Watch. Singer Dolly Daggerz and guitarist Mike recorded their album 6th Street Psychosis in downtown LA, and among the city’s inherent influences, the band incorporate Japanese culture, drag, and an ’80s fashion sensibility into their eclectic mix.

They’ve recently played shows stateside and have returned to the UK in time for the album’s release, delivering single “N.A.R.C.I.S.M” which explodes with honestly and exuberance with airplay on Radio X and BBC Radio 1.

You can catch the duo live at the following dates:
25th Nov – Album Launch Show – The Borderline – London
14th Dec – The Black Heart – Camden 

6th Street Psychosis is out November 25th 2016 via TT Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Gallery 47

Singer-songwriters are inspired individuals who’ve honed their craft meticulously. Nottingham’s Gallery 47, aka Jack Peachey, is a prime example of a songwriter who creates every musical element among his recordings whilst embracing heartfelt, melancholic melodies revealing his personality and songcraft.

Peachey is set to release his third studio album, Clean, along with singles “Free Range,” “It’s Been A Long Day,” and “Some of You Don’t Get It.” Clean is a departure from hiss previous release All Will Be Well, as Jack was experiencing relationship and health issues at the time, yet managed to set off on tour with the Paul Weller across Europe and signed a publishing deal with BMG Berlin shortly afterward. (All did become well in the end as Jack and his ex reunited—and got married.)

Clean finds Jack with a new found peace—tracks “Dream Real” and “Never Alone” expressing his love for where he is in life and how he got there. Jack’s ability to reflect on personal experience draws upon Bob Dylan in tandem with Iron and Wine’s soft, bittersweet sound.

Clean from Gallery 47 is in stores 11th November 2016 via AWAL / Bad Production Records.

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Needle Drop: Rebel Westerns, “Atomic Blonde”

Scottish indie-pop band Rebel Westerns have released their exhilarating new single “Atomic Blonde”—and it’s a track that grabs your attention immediately.

“Atomic Blonde” keeps giving from the very start. The synth filled intro lets the song breathe and throughout the pop-like structure, there isn’t a dull moment. “You know that I’m no goodbye / but I can’t shake this feeling,” sings Dominic Thomson, his thought process exuding both infatuation and disloyalty.

There are certain melodies within the track that scream The 1975, but the band bring their own individuality to the music, retaining “indie pop” leanings that are far from generic. And while the band may not be on critics’ radar just yet, their potential is exploding having garnered support from Dermot O’Leary on BBC Radio 2, Amazing Radio, and Jim Gellatly. It will be interesting to see what Rebel Westerns have in store for us over the upcoming months.

Rebel Westerns’ “Atomic Blonde” is out now via Depot Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Gallery Circus

Our UK Artist of the Week are alternative rock twins Daniel and Graeme Ross, aka Gallery Circus. They’re set to release their latest riff-infused single “Club House Killer,” and there are many promising prospects on the horizon for the duo.

It’s hard to pin Gallery Circus down to a specific category. Their songs have elements of blues, alternative rock, pop punk, and indie—but this eclectic duo do not stick to the “norm.” Their raw energy akin to Royal Blood and Cold War Kids oozes from bar to bar, with Daniel’s undeniably infectious pop-rock vocals before the distortion-heavy guitar comes into play and turns everything up side down.

Daniel explains, “‘Club House Killer’ is a brutal story that depicts some of the characters we met when hanging out with a punk gang in Logan Square, Chicago. These guys swore by the punk rock motto: ‘Live fast, die young’—It was a crazy situation, so we grabbed a few bottles of whiskey and joined in for a little taste!”

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Needle Drop: John Alcabean, “Real Time Fiction” EP

Post-punk rockers John Alcabean have released their excellent debut EP, “Real Time Fiction,” which is laced with stunning melodies and electrifying guitars that carry a certain melancholic twist creating depth within the wall of noise.

John Alcabean are still a relatively new band (in the vein of Drenge, Wolf Alice, and Royal Blood) with brand new songs, an unfinished line up, and have yet to break out of Europe to play shows. This being said, their potential is through the roof. While the band is still relatively unknown, they’ve recently had their second single “Fire” premiered by Clash, who stated that track is a “taut, energised piece of noise rock bluster…”

The song that introduces the “Real Time Fiction” EP is also the band’s first single “Need Comfort,” its initial riff swelling in anticipation of the drums and bass taking complete control. “I’ll close my eyes when you’re fine,” is the line that resonates, producing much-needed depth within the wall of guitars. “Fire” is introduced with “Slow” and is an stellar choice for a single that showcases a mix of ’90s guitar drenched effects with melodies that linger.

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UK Artist of the Week: Federal Unicorn

Denmark has seen its underground alternative music scene thrive over the past few years, with bands such as Captain Casanova and John Alcabean emerging and making statements with their even mix of post punk and ’90s influenced grunge, thrashing guitars, and melancholic vocals. Federal Unicorn is another band to make Denmark’s alternative scene proud—and this one is a beauty.

Early this year Federal Unicorn released their EP “Substances” via Tapetown Records and are well renowned for touring all over Europe, the UK, and Canada. The three-piece—Robert Jancewicz (guitar, vocals), Kuba Sypniewski (bass), and Kristian Nielsen (drums, backing vocals)—have been making music together since 2010. Their 2014 album Come Again, featured a broader sound which they’ve now honed into the edgier, modern grunge heard on “Substances.”

The EP is about “facing your demons, telling good from bad, finding beauty in ugly, and trusting your own mind and flesh,” say the band. “A lot of it is a product of taking really long walks in search of unidentified treasures. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t, sometimes you end up with poison on your tongue and your mind in an abyss and all the while you observe and contemplate.”

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UK Artist of the Week: Tanners Pool

“Alternative rock” music is an incredibly broad description for hundreds of musical sub-genres. Tanners Pool are set to broaden the horizons of this tag however with the release of their debut EP, “Out of Line,” by adding certain dimensions to their sound that others may shy away from.

In keeping with the EP’s title, the record explores themes of pushing against the grain rather than following mainstream trends we are force-fed. Opening track “Bad Advice” kicks off with Jess Ashdale’s thrashing, distorted guitar which mirrors the Arctic Monkeys’ punchy, electric sound. While on “I’m Long Gone,” the band click into a funk rock groove akin to the Red Hot Chili Peppers with an expertly delivered wah-wah laden guitar solo.

The band revert back to their rock ’n’ roll roots in “Nothing and Nobody” and “Plastic Wings,” both songs filled with fuzzy guitar riffs and pounding drums. Each track on “Out of Line” offers something different as you work through the EP as Tanners Pool impressively traverse the lines between indie rock, funk, and classic rock.

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Needle Drop: yllwshrk, “yllwshrk” EP

Classically trained, multi-instrumentalists yllwshrk have just released their self-titled, debut EP—a beautifully crafted fairytale of ups and downs. Fronted by composer Ian Anderson who recently worked on Radiohead’s new album along with bassist Dave Brown, the EP is a perfect representation of the potential of this newly minted combo.

There are similarities to Radiohead’s latest within the complex rhythms and harmonies scattered throughout the EP in conjunction with the majestic vocals of Sam West which are quite reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. All three of the tracks on the EP showcase West’s vocals with the band giving a clear nod to the singer on the ode, “Pull Me Under (In Memory of Jeff Buckley).”

“Northern Soul” showcases beautiful and intricate guitar work blended with technically impressive drums, and “Into Her Sleep With Envy” highlights yet another incredible vocal performance from West, reminiscent of Brooklyn’s finest, Grizzly Bear.

yllwshrk’s self-titled debut EP is out now via Oramic Records.

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Needle Drop: Bugeye, “Never Let You Go” EP

London-based electro-trash riot grrrls Bugeye have just released their wonderfully crafted EP “Never Let You Go”—and boy does it pack a pensive punch.

The band have reappeared after a decade out of action with an EP full of offbeat and quirky tracks that whisk you away with an honest, almost melancholic feel via their dark undertones and vocalist Angela Martin’s lyrics. The video for the single which was directed by Emma Nathan (who directed “Suddenly” for Anna Calvi) explores themes of domestic abuse. “Disco Dancer” and “Helga” also carry the same dreary undertones whilst somehow keeping the music upbeat.

The “Never Let You Go” EP not only hints at what could have been a decade ago but clears the path for the talented three-piece to fulfil their potential. Bugeye have created a beautifully unapologetic record that is both notable for its contemporary sound as much as it is for its vintage aesthetics.

Bugeye’s “Never Let You Go” EP is in stores now via Repeat Records/ Badger Recording Co.

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Needle Drop: GANGS, “Thieves”

Scottish four piece GANGS are here to inject some rock ‘n’ roll back into the veins of the music industry with their new single “Thieves.” GANGS’ ballsy attitude, both in the studio and on stage, recall American garage rock bands of yesteryear.

Their single “Thieves” is a rugged, fast paced punk rock record, with an anthemic chorus combining elements of American garage rock—reminiscent of The Stooges—with the modern swagger of bands such as Slaves and Royal Blood. GANGS obviously has attitude to burn.

GANGS was formed in 2016 when Steven Young (vocals, guitar), Stevie McLaren (guitar), Marc MacCallum (bass, vocals), and Stephen Forbes (drums) came together through their mutual love of all things rock ‘n’ roll. Refreshingly, the band are forthright that they are content writing songs they believe in, and if “Thieves” is anything to go by, GANGS is certainly enjoying the music they make.

GANGS’ new single “Thieves” is out now via Smooth Action Records.

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