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Brilliant Light

Danny & The Champions of the World

Loose Music

Enjoying what can be described as an Indian summer when it comes to their recent recorded works ‘Stay True’ (2013), What Kind Of Love (2015) and not forgetting the double live album ‘Live Champs!’ sandwiched in the middle (2014), Danny & The Champions Of The World return with a brand new album by the name of ‘Brilliant Light’. This latest addition to The Champs’ catalogue really ups their creativity levels, due to all band members receiving instructions from the ship’s captain, Danny George Wilson, to explore, experiment and collaborate in order to maximise the creative potential of all concerned. The end result is a double album (triple when taking into account the bonus disc of instrumentals) that will require repeat visits due to the sheer breadth of material on offer here. But it is also the understated feel of the majority of the contents of ‘Brilliant Light’ that will require further listening in order to really get under the skin of this epic long player. Having said that, opening song ‘Waiting For The Right Time’ offers some immediacy via its pared back Rolling Stones’ blues with added spice of Neil Young, and then followed by a sense of urgency in the rhythm of ‘Bring Me To My Knees’ that also reveals a soreness in the lead vocals, with lap steel soothing things ever so slightly. The mild soul of ‘It Hit Me’ with its jabs and swirls of Hammond organ distract from the intensity of the lyrics as such snippets reveal, “Sorry, I’d wished you’d never known me,” and “We’re out of luck and lonely.” There is a sense of the ‘personal’ infiltrating the contents of ‘Brilliant Light’, where sentiments drift off into the night air like the final trails of smoke from a campfire slowly fading (‘You’ll Remember Me’), and then followed by ‘Swift Street’ that is reflective and full of memories with Danny Wilson commenting: “Swift Street is the house where my mother grew up.” Give ‘Brilliant Light’ time and the majority of these songs will definitely find a way to win over your heart because it’s what’s known in the industry as a real grower.


Released 16 June


Orlando Bloom (Single)

the Harvey Steel show

Safe & Sound Recordings

Having entered our consciousness a couple of years ago after taking up (permanent?) residency on planet Earth, the Harvey Steel show return with their ultra-weird yet thoroughly compelling brew of blues, psychedelia and arthouse visuals via brand new offering ‘Orlando Bloom’. One can be forgiven for thinking the obvious regarding the title of said new single with the facial exterior and matching persona of “the guy next door”, yet somehow gold dust all the way from tinsel town rains down on this here parade. Open up the contents, however, of ‘Orlando Bloom’ the single and the innards are the kind you will find in any assorted box of chocolates where variety really is the key word to understanding the world these cosmic cats, the Harvey Steel show, reside in. By beginning with a sense of urgency that is relayed via a trippy jazz sound with a real sense of foreboding developing, ‘Orlando Bloom’ soon takes a multitude of avenues where pop mingles with soul, for example, to create a little boogie, and given extra buoyancy to this journey by means of brass instrumentation. The predominant lightness of tone musically provides a temporary mask to the lyrical contents, jointly penned via band leader Thomas Bergsten and fellow comrade Kristine Marie Aasvang, where there’s suggestion that ‘Orlando Bloom’ is really concerned with the flaws affecting planet Earth. It’s a fascinating ride and one that deserves to be given a fair hearing if there’s any justice left in this world.

Released Out now


Narrow Road Of Memories

Stiffy Jones

Sound Pollution

Adopting a more American outlook in more ways than one, Swedish export Stiffy Jones issue new album ‘Narrow Road Of Memories’ via Sound Pollution Records. With a heavy dose of Springsteen’s blue collar observations, and similar in sound to the more recent Gaslight Anthem, not to mention any number of punk rock bands that heavily littered the music scene during the 90s where punk and rock music had a habit of melding tightly together, Stiffy Jones may not be reinventing the wheel but what they produce during latest album ‘Narrow Road Of Memories’ is to be highly commended. Look no further than the rolling tumbling rhythm of ‘Disconnect Me’, to the boisterous chorus of ‘Once This Car Starts Moving…’, and supplemented by the contemplative and rather excellent ‘Echoes’ to grasp a good understanding of what this band is all about. Full of honest emotions and laced with driving rhythms, ‘Narrow Road Of Memories’ is a welcome release in 2017.


Released Out now


Dagan I Fingertuppan (Single)

Sigrun Loe Sparboe


It’s been a while since we last heard of Sigrun Loe Sparboe after sophomore album release ‘Vindfang’ back in 2015 that really cemented her place in the Norwegian folk scene and proved that debut album ‘Uten at du vet det’ was no one trick pony. So back with a new single and sounding fresh and ready for the next instalment in her recording career, ‘Dagan I Fingertuppan’ echoes such sentiments via its jaunty rhythm and the sweetest of vocals adding further support to the ‘carpe diem moment’ expressed at the centre of this song. If recent living has been a tad unpredictable for this Norwegian folk songstress, then ‘Dagan I Fingertuppan’ is the prefect elixir to reignite the senses and suggest that moments of true wonder are still available for those willing to believe in such things.


Released Out now


Damage and Joy

The Jesus and Mary Chain

Artificial Plastic Records

Returning after a nineteen year absence, the Reid brothers, Jim and William, re-emerge with new album ‘Damage and Joy’. With a lot of their old tricks still present in this current set (i.e. fuzzy guitars rubbing shoulders with slower acoustic numbers), ‘Damage and Joy’ gives the impression that the Reid brothers absence has been a mere few months and not the aforementioned lengthy period after 98’s ‘Munki’ album. Therefore, with the wheel failing to be reinvented with The Jesus and Mary Chain’s latest release, ‘Damage and Joy’ is almost an overview of their entire career but one that is told through two wiser (?) and definitely world-weary heads where fuzzy pop numbers replace the wails of feedback of previous JAMC albums. Early indications of where your money should be placed in terms of definite highlights include the reworked ‘All Things Must Pass’, and followed by two glorious duets ‘Song For A Secret’ (featuring Isobel Campbell) and ‘The Two Of Us’. Lighter in noise yet still likely to ruffle a few feathers with various barbs contained in its lyrics, ‘Damage and Joy’ will be familiar to longtime followers of JAMC as well as being an enticing prospect for those less familiar because it’s a solid body of work that offers a lifeline to the JAMC to fully resurrect their career.

Released Out now



Depeche Mode


Still on the treadmill, Depeche Mode follow-up 2013’s Delta Machine with their fourteenth studio album under the title ‘Spirit’. With James Ford (Artic Monkeys, Foals) producing, the boys from Basildon continue where they left off with more dark electronic rhythms and a series of lyrics that show they still care. First single ‘Where’s The Revolution?’ provided one such example that is a reaction to the troubled waters we find ourselves swimming in with no apparent opposition on the horizon; something of which is identified by Depeche Mode when singing, “Come on people you’re letting me down.” A deluxe version of the album ‘Spirit’ is also issued alongside the standard format with the difference being a twenty-eight page booklet containing exclusive artwork and photos, in addition to five remixes of tracks worked on by Depeche Mode, Matrixxman and Kurt Uenala. Still producing the goods, Depeche Mode show their relevance in 2017 with the highly recommended ‘Spirit’.


Released Out now


Trixieland (the musical)

Trixie Marmalade


There is a personal message at the heart of this album via its creator and (mad) musical wizard Thomas Bergsten (aka Mr Harvey Steel or otherwise known as Gunerius Quack) that is told through the eyes of Trixie Marmalade. The plight in question focuses on the transformation of humanity into one big loveable hug because at present there is far too much focus on the individual self that can lead to bad habits such as temptation, selfishness and hatred. In order to get there, Trixie Marmalade, whose identity is a tad sketchy – definitely female; quite possibly green with bulbous eyes yet for this trip to Earth the unfortunate truth is that Trixie found herself stuck inside a cardboard figure! Therefore, with help required, Gunerius Quack comes to the rescue in order to transmit Trixie’s message so that humankind can begin to love itself again rather than spread further hatred as experienced from the parallel universe from where Trixie came. Phew! With that aside the music being peddled from this long player is far from easy listening, with a large spread of influences being applied over a canvass containing elements of ambient, jazz, psychedelia, blues for example, and with the narrative communicated in a mechanistic styling that is part Stephen Hawking and part Radiohead ‘OK Computer’ with Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits for company. The rest really is up to the listener in terms of what to make of ‘Trixieland (the musical)’ because it is a highly inventive body of work that weighs heavily on surrealism as well as reality (see above). There is one thing for certain, however, and that is the equal measure of confusion, delight and irritation ‘Trixieland (the musical)’ will create where creative peaks such as the quasi-hillbilly pickin’ ‘His Name Is Hatred’ are greeted by more difficult companions (‘Hello I Love You’). Whoever said art should be an easy ride?

Released Out now


Once I Was A Lion (Single)

Mad Machines


Falling between pop and a bluesy rock rather than the “Disco and punk” label applied to the latest addition from the Mad Machines stable, ‘Once I Was A Lion’ is an accomplished single with a creative set of lyrics oddly inspired by Disney’s The Lion King and dreamt up by vocalist and guitarist Jordan Lassalle. The aforementioned pop and blues rock influences running through ‘Once I Was A Lion’ are certainly Rolling Stones inspired, especially the harmonised backing vocals that breeze along rather nicely. A fun loving single most definitely, and one that suggests Mad Machines should be shadowed closely regarding their next creative endeavour because ‘Once I Was A Lion’ is a clever and catchy reintroduction from this five-piece band from Toronto Ontario, Canada.

Released Out now




Secret Entertainment

Rückwater make a return with latest EP ‘Bonehead’. With the band offering a predominantly raw and uncompromising stoner rock sound, coupled with occasional smoother passages that highlight the depth at the heart of this three-piece unit, Rückwater give a thorough account of themselves over the duration of six wild and wonderful tracks. From the distorted few bars of country tinged guitar that opens out into a full-blown affair of stoner rock supported by strong vocals, ‘Once More With Feeling’ is the perfect track to air the grievances felt by Rückwater. From there it’s a melange of garage, punk rock and metal via the frantic twitching of ‘No Gain’, before flipping its mood to the drifting tone and rather excellent ‘Labyrinth’. The universal theme found during ‘Super Frustration’ lives up to its title by offering a short and dramatic kick to the ribs by way of a full throttled assault of drums and guitars. The title track almost follows a similar pattern to ‘Super Frustration’ only the sound is more expansive where freedom is given to the guitars and the vocals more clarity. Rückwater display their experimentation further during final track ‘Flame Doesn’t Cast A Shadow’ that fluctuates between stoner rock and shoegaze and shows them as a band to be truly reckoned with. It’s a full star rating for Rückwater and their latest EP ‘Bonehead’ as the genre of stoner rock doesn’t come more recommended than this.


Released Out now



Gentle Savage

Concorde Music Company

Hailing from Finland, Gentle Savage kick-start their career with the official release of the appropriately titled, ‘Introduction’ EP. Fresh off the block, Gentle Savage offer a combined output of blues and rock that belies their years together considering the professionalism of their current recorded works. Beginning with the catchy blues-rock of ‘Bring Back Rock ‘n’ Roll’ that is watertight in its execution, and then followed by the altogether different ‘Far Side’ that represents a darker side to the band’s repertoire, which can be heard in the detached vocals and epic guitar solo that suggests the band has more than a few ideas in their creative tank. Ending with the classic-rock feel and very memorable ‘Hey Hey Hey Hey’, Gentle Savage’s ‘Introduction’ is a solid and considered affair that bodes well for future releases

Released 17 February


Shipwrecked / Lovers Du

The Tigerlilies

Working Brilliantly

Hot on the heels of Famous Last Words’ (FLW) interview with The Tigerlilies nearing the conclusion of 2016, the four-piece band from Cincinnati, USA, make a swift return in 2017 with a brand new 7″ single by the name of ‘Shipwrecked / Lovers Du’. Despite borrowing a few manoeuvres from the likes of The Buzzcocks, Cheap Trick and The Ramones, The Tigerlilies more than etch their own impression of a post-punk sound via this latest single. Evidence of this can be gleaned from lead track ‘Shipwrecked’ that rolls out a rockin’, thunderous beat mingling post-punk with pop and stomping blasts of glam rock that works stupendously sandwiched all together. The flipside, ‘Lovers Du’, more than matches it’s A-side with its battered edges (musically as well as emotionally) and nervy yet catchy rhythm that infiltrates one’s senses at some considerable knots. Swinging between emotional tensions and riding the waves on a raucous and seriously glorious racket, The Tigerlilies have just got their New Year off to an absolute perfect start. Welcome back guys!

Released 3 February


Paranoid (Single)


Waterfall / BMG

A new project under the guise of Cal for Norwegian singer-songwriter Frida Amundsen who adopts a strong pop stance for current single ‘Paranoid’. With this latest release having been co-written with music maestro Eddy Atlantis in London, Amundsen (aka Cal) views this experience as a chance to show her established following that there is another side to her music and personality. As mentioned, the change in direction is one that adopts more of a commercial pop focus rather than relying on Amundsen’s acoustic background, but don’t let that dissuade you as this is pop music written with intelligence as it reveals the complexities that some relationships can suffer, with Cal giving a convincing performance as the victim at the centre of the ‘paranoia’ in focus. A solid start with this first single for Cal via ‘Paranoid’ that paves the way for a soon-to-be released EP, which should provide even greater evidence of the creative vision for this latest project from Frida Amundsen.

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