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Let Me Tell You About The Blues New Orleans

Various Artists

Fantastic Voyage

Fantastic Voyage is proving to be a major player in the quality stakes when it comes to compiling not only rockabilly but also blues music. In this instance, ‘Let Me Tell You About The Blues New Orleans’ gets the quality control treatment in terms of blues music emanating from New Orleans. As with a lot of the Fantastic Voyage packages, it is not only the well-known artists represented but often more obscure oddities that really wet the listener’s appetite. With everyone from Ray Charles, Lloyd Price, Fats Domino, Big Joe Turner to the lesser known Falcon Trip, Boo Breeding and Snooks Eaglin, ‘Let Me Tell You About The Blues New Orleans’ clearly has something for all fans of blues music.


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Red

Taylor Swift

Mercury

The rise of Taylor Swift’s mercurial star continues to ascend and rightly so with this truly compelling release. ‘Red’ is the kind of album which throws out its pop (yes, pop) hooks from the off and instantaneously grabs the listener by the ears in a quite seductive spell. Despite some remnants of a country sound (‘All Too Well’ ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’), Taylor Swift has gambled with a (near complete) change in musical direction and it’s paying dividends as the opening indie-sounding ‘State Of Grace’ and radio-friendly ‘22’ testify. The supremely addictive ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ solidifies further  this new found direction as does the intriguing choice of duet with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody on ‘The Last Time’. Without wishing Taylor Swift to completely ditch her country roots, one cannot help but feel genuinely moved by this change in direction, whilst not entirely original, as ‘Red’ is proving many doubters wrong.


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The Adults

The Adults

Warner Music

Taking a sabbatical from his day job with New Zealand’s Shihad, Jon Toogood has come up with a side project of sorts in the form of The Adults. Containing a more subtle sound than the previously mentioned Shihad, The Adults is an album to be filed under ‘grower’, as songs take their time working their way into the listeners’ senses. Patience is duly rewarded with the dual vocals of ‘A New Beginning’ as it steadily burns, and followed by the ever-so-slightly energetic ‘Reunite’. There is a glowing light surrounding ‘Sleep Me Tight’; a song of real innocent beauty and reflecting the tender side of Toogood. But it is perhaps the compositions ‘Most Important’ and ‘Anniversary Day’ that offer a more commercial appeal in order to appease those wanting a more instant fix.


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The World Explained

Big Boy Bloater & The Limits

Azan

Being on the road for any band can have its drawbacks, especially if you’re Big Boy Bloater. Clearly attesting to such difficulties is the feverish cocktail ‘Leonard Cohen’, as it conjures up a set of memories best forgotten of a tour from the depths of hell itself with only a ‘cheerful’ reminder of Mr Melancholy swinging into focus every now and then. Shimmering next into view is the precarious emotions of ‘Lifetime Money Back Guarantee’ followed by the superb yet longing ‘I Can’t Forget About You’. Clearing out the cupboards further is ‘Stop Dragging Me Back’ casting reflection on a musical past with a firm desire to leave it there. The instrumental ‘Black Sambuca’ showcases Bloater’s guitar wizardry, whereas ‘Insanely Happy’ is a double-edged sword of admission yet brings a twisted smile to the face nonetheless.

At times tearstained, and on other occasions irritated by certain constraints, ‘The World Explained’ is an honest and darkly humorous take on life’s predicaments.


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Funeral Beach

Blood Command

Fysisk Format

It’s reminiscent of a pneumatic drill hammering away before this album storms the barricades in a three pronged attack consisting of ‘Pissed Off And Slightly Offended!’, ‘March Of The Swan Elite’ and ‘Cult Of The New Beat’ as wave after wave of guitars and a white noise of vocal histrionics are simply relentless. There is no time to come up for air as Blood Command has found their conduit as a means of venting their anger at the social constraints of society and all those willing to conform. Cocking a sideways snipe at the aristocracy but also the cult of celebrity, the above mentioned ‘March Of The Swan Elite’ sets a clear intention of where this five-piece from Bergen wish to find themselves in the wider scheme of things: ‘Don’t ever let us in, cause we must keep you out’. With great insight, intelligence and showing glimpses of possible future musical direction with the more melodic ‘High Five For Life’ and sublime double-header of ‘Here Next To Murderous’ and ‘True North, Blood Command is shaping up to be a band with special promise, just as long as they can keep out the social sycophants for long enough.


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Misfits

The Slingshots

Raucous Records

There is an authentic rockin’ rockabilly sound and it’s coming like a steamin’ freight train straight outta Sheffield in the shape of ‘Misfits’, the second long player from The Slingshots. Leading the line, but failing to conform, is nearly title track ‘Misfit’ with lyrics Morrissey would certainly identify with, and been proud of, had he pursued the rockabilly route. As it stands, leading man Steve Russell is doing an admiral job of rustling up an astute lyric or two with the acerbic in yer face abruptness of, ‘I Quit’ with its all chugging bass and guitars steering the song to its inevitable conclusion. Elsewhere the band offer tearjerker ‘Couldn’t Get Along’ and blues-influenced ‘If You Left Me’ reflecting the paranoid state of the central protagonist to great effect with a backdrop of howling harmonica and slightly distorted vocal.

As the album draws to a close with a sweeping back the years ‘Butterball Boogie’, full of country strings and foot tapping beat, and a double Western inspired outing via ‘Lonesome Trail’ and ‘Green-Eyed Monster’, The Slingshots have made a comeback of staggering proportions. Long live these Sheffield misfits.


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Don’t Touch My Greasy Hair!

The Wise Guyz

El Toro

A bit late this one but FLW feels that this rockin’ stomper from Ukrainian boppers The Wise Guyz has been unfairly overlooked. From the opening drumroll of ‘Don’t Touch My Greasy Hair’ kicking off proceedings, to the frenzied sounds of ‘I’m a Fool’ and nearly blasting into orbit ‘Really Rocket’,  it is clear that the Wise Guyz know a thing or two about creating an authentic rockabilly and rock’n’roll sound.

With a steady side order of humour added to this authentic recipe, these cool cats simply can’t fail as ‘Don’t Touch My Greasy Hair’ also holds a slight variation in sound with the Hawaiian sway of ‘I’ve Kissed You, Baby’, and the late-night smooch of ‘Let’s Fly To The Stars’ displaying that it’s not all foot-to-the-floor stompers. But it remains that the echoes of the Johnny Burnette sounding, ‘Hey, Hey Little Chick’ and pacey ‘Jukebox Jumpin’, together with the aforementioned title track, that really ignites this album.


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Family Tree

Eve Selis

Hippy Chick Twang

Eve Selis has really pulled out the trump card with ‘Family Tree’ as it is an album full of intimacy and rich in consistency. The gritty power of opener, ‘Power and Glue’ really states its intentions, and nicely succeeded with ‘Any Day’, which would grace any radio station’s playlist as it has ‘Hit’ single written all over it. The straight up country jaunt of, ‘When Is Everything Enough’ is a topical reminder of the current financial predicament told through the eyes of a love song. But it is the title track itself which really stirs emotionally, as it is a lump in the throat realisation of separation when the empty nest syndrome becomes a reality. It would seem that Eve Selis is at the peak of her powers as ‘Family Tree’ deserves to be a lasting success.



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