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Don’t Foget Who You Are

Miles Kane

Columbia

Miles Kane’s debut ‘Colour of The Trap’ bypassed FLW which was to our detriment. Latest album, ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ thankfully readdresses this unfortunate oversight as second chances do not always reveal themselves. Resembling a younger Paul Weller, and possessing the same ability to write numerous hook-laden songs, Miles Kane revels in a 60s sound that is given a modern day indie sheen perfectly highlighted by the delightful handclaps and rousing chorus of ‘Better Than That’. Title track, ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ manages to skew in elements of fellow scousers The Coral before riding a gloriously uplifting wave of a chorus the sort The Verve used to conjure up with relative ease. ‘Out of Control’ even recalls Richard Ashcroft, and is a clear indicator of perhaps where he should be, while ‘You’re Gonna Get It’ is a relentless ball of energy and nicely complimented by the more Stones-esque darkly induced rock of ‘Give Up’. ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ is not breaking any new boundaries but is definitely welcome when others are failing to live up to former glories.


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Lost Ships Sinking With The Sunset

Gillian Carter

Dog Knights Productions

Palm Bay’s Gillian Carter is really on the brink of subsiding into a state of nothingness with the clues being hidden in such lonely vessels as ‘Waking Up (Lost Ships)’ and appropriately titled ‘I’ve Been Forgotten And So Have You’. There is time for reflection, despite facing the inevitable, when the brakes are applied during ‘Recently’ whereas ‘Time (All That Is Left Is Fading)’ suggests a sense of humour with the band enjoying their last supper together before the diminishing light finally fades. It is left, however, to the penultimate, and almost title track, ‘Sinking With The Ships’ to really tower over the preceding content as it’s an absolute colossus of a song ending in a wafer thin line of feedback and fading pulse of accompanying drumbeat. Bleak yet utterly compelling, ‘Lost Ships Sinking With The Sunset’ signals out Gillian Carter as one of the serious contenders in their field.


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Supersonic Pulse

Ralph Myerz

Sony

Formerly of The Jack Herren Band, Ralph Myerz has set his course on a solo mission in terms of latest album ‘Supersonic Pulse’. Despite this being a Ralph Myerz album, the number of willing volunteers lending their services gives the impression of a band at work as everyone from Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, Da Youngfellaz to Diana Ross and The Supremes weigh in with invaluable experience. Despite the high level of collaborations, the consistency and flow of ‘Supersonic Pulse’ remains unaffected but can be attributed to its four year gestation period allowing room for experimentation and no doubt numerous retakes. Highlights include ‘Do The Damn Thang’ with Snoop Dogg, ‘Something New’ featuring Diana Ross and The Supremes peeling back the years with some beautiful vocals and the central narrative of the entire album ‘A Dream U Can Feel’ seeing Myerz in reflective mood and brought to life by Da Youngfellaz and K-Quick. However, the abrasive surface and gruff tones of David Banner’s ‘So Romantic’ and dark tinges of ‘Take A Look At The World’, with its appropriate sounding sense of detachment, bring home the prizes overall when it comes to ‘Supersonic Pulse’.


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Somewhere In Time

Ilias

Untitled

Despite its misleading imagery that will no doubt have the rockabilly fraternity salivating in droves, Sydney based producer and songwriter Ilias has constructed an album’s worth of material best suited to the genre of indie. The end result is ‘Somewhere In Time’ which lives up to its moniker as the whole album gives the impression of fleeting memories rather than detailing the intricate parts of a succession of broken relationships. Such emotions are given credence due to the dreamscape atmosphere wafting through nearly each and every song from the opening hazy shimmer of ‘Never Utter The Word Never’ to the delicate strumming and texture running through ‘One Of A Kind’. ‘This Life’ provides a bit more meat on the bones in terms of the central protagonist only to head straight into the same cryptic tunnel once more with  ‘Lonely’ despite a more robust tempo. Clearly one to not give too much away, Ilias has conjured up an album that is beautiful in its execution, recalling elements of Radiohead, Travis and even more encouragingly the sparseness of a latter-day Talk Talk, and remains equally beguiling in terms of its scant narratives.


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Running Late

The Magnificatz

Castor Wax Recordings

Hailing from the West Midlands, The Magnificatz ‘Running Late’, a thirteen track album of original neo-rockabilly material, was apparently recorded in ‘complete takes’ which definitely has a grain of truth about it during ‘Baby’s Gone’ as one can almost hear lead vocalist Tim Jackson nearly lose composure as laughter almost gets the better of him. In fact, this album possesses bags of charm whether it’s songs about finding love at a party for the dearly departed ‘Dead Man’s Ball’, the lyrically soured yet utterly addictive and departing down the tracks of ‘There You Go’ or Tim Jackson’s unconventional vocal best heard on the lurking in the shadows paranoia of ‘Cat Come Scratching’. Willing to cast bets on The Cramps being a source of inspiration for the songs comprising ‘Running Late’, it remains, however, this fascination with all things lingering on the darker, greasier side of life coupled with the intentional simplistic sounding nature of the band’s songs that sets The Magnificatz apart.


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Raise The Alarm (single)

Rayne

Untitled

One of the definite highlights from an otherwise patchy debut album, ‘Raise The Alarm’ opens in what sounds like a mass of sprawling guitars before settling down into something of a melodic and melancholic indie-rock number à la Muse. Nothing wrong with that of course as Rayne seem to have a knack of being able to conjure up wonderful anthemic delights that pull at the senses long after the player has grinded to a halt. New single ‘Raise The Alarm’ will definitely do their cause for indie-rock stardom no harm, especially with such lovelorn lyrics as, ‘And days roll into one, since the day you had gone, I’ve missed you forever’. Likely to be among the contenders next year.

 


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Wrote A Song For Everyone

John Fogerty

Columbia

Having a longstanding relationship in the music world, John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival fame has teamed up with a number of interesting collaborators ranging from the Foo Fighters Dave Grohl and (modern) country legends Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson, to the more indie obscure My Morning Jacket as the man himself has taken to handpicking a number of songs from his own back catalogue in an attempt to breathe new life into them. The results more than work as the raucous ‘Fortunate Son’ was built for the Foo Fighters with Dave Grohl’s trademark holler almost claiming the song for one of their own. Elsewhere ‘Wrote A Song For Everyone’ sees Miranda Lambert giving it the country touch with Tom Morrello adding the midway guitar break, leading nicely into a slightly more jaunty version of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ with Zac Brown. The highlights remain, however, with the Fogerty solo outings ‘Mystic Highway’- listen out for the gospel interlude – to the gritty country blues of ‘Train Of Fools’ making ‘Wrote A Song For Everyone’ a resounding success.


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An Autobiography

Old Gray

Dog Knights Productions

Far from being a laugh a minute as songs muse over fears of dying and the curiosities associated with this very subject matter, Old Gray release ‘An Autobiography’, their debut album on Dog Knights Productions. The gradual encroachment of ‘Wolves’ with its delicate strumming and choir-esque vocals literally sensing the doom-laden content encircling before a Who-esque guitar jangle reminiscent of ‘Pinball Wizard’ provides a temporary lull before collapsing into a heap of gut wrenching emotions, marks the start of this full-length album in compelling style. The foreboding ‘Coventry’ (not about that one, although…) is full of self-loathing and hanging by the barest of threads only to be surpassed in the emotion stakes with the desperate escapism of ‘The Graduate’. Where ‘An Autobiography’ differs from several of its contemporaries’ efforts, however, is the scope and vision given to songs ‘Show Me How You Self-Destruct’, which allows for a differing tempo and instrumentation as does the enthralling structure of ‘I Still Think About Who I Was Last Summer’ giving the impression that Old Gray will be confronted without difficulties when it comes to developing their sound for album number two.


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Random Access Memories

Daft Punk

Columbia

Daft Punk returns after a lengthy absence of some eight years with ‘Random Access Memories’, the band’s fourth studio album, which has been causing much discussion within various media circles. The reason for such hot debate is due to the French duo’s innovative thinking that has redefined pop and electronic music, as well as leaving a lasting impression with their unique videos captured best with the unforgettable ‘down on his luck’ of ‘Da Funk’. ‘Random Access Memories’ will continue these discussions as it certainly lives up to its pre-billing with the catchy disco of single ‘Get Lucky’, to the slowed tempo of ‘The Game of Love’ replete with its electronic vocal and closing refrain ‘I just wanted you to stay’ recalling the album’s thematic. It is the breadth of musicality present throughout ‘Random Access Memories’ that truly impresses, running a scale from funk/disco, indie-esque electro-pop (‘Instant Crush’) to completely outrageous theatre dramatics (‘Touch’) and therefore providing a wonderful kaleidoscopic of sounds literally plucked from the memory banks of Daft Punk. ‘Random Access Memories’ is the sound of a band once more leading the way.


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Bright Sunny South

Sam Amidon

Nonesuch Records

There is an honest confession parting from the lips of Sam Amidon and that being his debut ‘Bright Sunny South’ on Nonesuch Records is “a lonesome record”. Nothing could be further from the truth as ‘Bright Sunny South’ gives the impression of Amidon sitting alone in a deserted, ramshackle barn somewhere deep in the countryside as he strings together these beautifully complex folk songs of sparse arrangements. True, songs detail issues concerning fears of dying and the unfortunate spectacle of war, but elsewhere unrequited love and a burning sense of longing permeate throughout. Despite such sensitive subject matter, ‘Bright Sunny South’ is a beautiful album that slowly comes to its senses with the delicate opening breeze of keys and acoustic guitar of the title track as the revelations of war come into full focus. The light touches of jazz instrumentation continue the journey during ‘I Wish I Wish’, whereas ‘Short Life’ has a putrid scent of unfortunate times gone by. The mood is lifted, musically, somewhat from its knees with ‘My Old Friend’, possessing a lovely set of intertwining melodies, only to resume to the singular once more, despite its riled finale of distorted guitars, with the beyond bleak confessions ‘He’s Taken My Feet’. Sam Amidon has produced a profoundly beautiful and accomplished body of work that deserves to be heard by more than just the minority because ‘Bright Sunny South’ is a magnificent introduction to hopefully a long-lasting career.


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Thorn In My Heart

Kim Richey

Lojinx

There is a great openness about Kim Richey not only in her music but also in the quest for new inspiration, something of which is reflected in her latest album ‘Thorn In My Heart’. A recurring sense of longing for change in the surroundings appears to be the dominant force at work here, with the seats permanently nailed down in songs such as the lovely mid-tempo and ‘Til Tuesday-esque ‘Come On’, attempting to rid the devil from the protagonist’s back, to the restrained banjo strum of ‘Something More’ that literally daydreams itself away. Loneliness is personified in ‘London Town’, and compounded to great effect with the drifting smoke of an intermittent horn, only to be supplanted by the melancholic beauty ‘Love Is’. Such phrases as a ‘return to form’ are utterly redundant when it comes to Kim Richey as ‘Thorn In My Heart’ is merely an extension of a great canon of work. Welcome back!


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Mama’s Back

Ruby Ann

Rhythm Bomb

It is not difficult to comprehend why Ruby Ann is one of German-based record label Rhythm Bomb’s top earners when hearing the wondrous vocals and authentic musicianship stemming from ‘Mama’s Back’. The belting R&B influenced ‘Call His Name’ sets the tone admirably but more notably for revealing the ace in the pack with Ruby Ann’s nothing short of compelling vocal delivery. In fact, it’s hard to differentiate between time periods throughout the entirety of the album as one literally feels transported back to a fifties era when things were perhaps a little simpler (‘I’ll Never Get Rich’) due to the authenticity of ‘Mama’s Back’. With leading contenders for such assertions being the chugging rockabilly ‘Do Right Mama’, ‘Baby I Don’t Care’ and defiant ‘No I Won’t Cry’, one can at least rest in the comfort that artists such as Ruby Ann is one of the forerunners for replicating a retro sound but within a modern framework of original material. With a new album set for release on the not-too-distant horizon, Ruby Ann will no doubt be securing more deserved success when that time is upon us. In the meantime, bask in the retro glory of ‘Mama’s Back’.



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