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Catfight – I’m Out!

Various Artists


By rubberstamping “25 Sure Shot Dancefloor Champions” across its cover is something to live up to. Thankfully the description adorning this latest addition to the Catfight compilation series continues its trend of fine music with another series of rockin’ tracks. With an eye on the quality here by maintaining a sense of ‘something for all music lovers’ ‘I’m Out!’ offers more in the vein of rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll with small smatterings of rhythm and blues, yet makes for one of the finest in this collection. Starting off in fine style is the superb ‘Don’t Shoot Me Baby’ with Bill Bowen’s vocals giving a compelling performance that is both gritty and nasally and set to a primitive beat. From such a fine opener, Little Jimmy Dempsey maintains the quality by packing a rockin’ punch and complete with an irresistible beat with ‘Bop Hop’. Elsewhere, Eddie Chamblee provides variation with the rhythm and blues inspired ‘Come On In’, and repeated via Bobby Marchan’s ‘Hush Your Mouth’ before taking numerous journeys down some superb rockin’ tracks from the likes of Jimmy Dee, Johnnie Strickland, Franklin Stewart and the Stewart Brothers, not to mention the wonderful lo-fi qualities of Bill Allen’s  ‘Please Give Me Something’. A definite must have to the ‘Catfight’ series as ‘I’m Out!’ is one heck of a compelling ride!

Released Out now


It’s A Man Down There Vol. 6

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Filling out the dancing shoes is the newest in the series with ‘It’s A Man Down There’. Set to a predominately shifting rhythm and blues tempo and where big band influences and sounds can be heard, not to mention rock ‘n’ roll. ‘It’s A Man Down There’ is certainly from the “Land of the Ravy-Gravy” as given by its press intro and voice Little Victor. There’s so much to be found between the grooves here that will fill the dancefloors whether it’s the rockin’ belter and Little Richard doppelganger in sound ‘Look Out’ supplied by Rockin’ Bradley, to major clue given by its title as to the source of its actual sound of Leon & The Hi Tones ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll In the Groove’. The back-to-back pairing of ‘I’m Gonna Pay You Back Baby’ and ‘No More’ from Bob Rayford and Johnny Fuller respectively ooze with class and speak of revenge, which is equally matched by the big band approach of ‘Bye Bye Bye’ from Doc Palmer. The halfway point of this particular volume in the series tips back and forth between more straight blues (Harvey Hill JR. ‘She Fool Me’) and mid-tempo rockers (‘Baby Shame’, ‘Satisfied With My Lovin’). The standout point and knockout blow of this entire set arrives via Jimmy Anthony and ‘Fore Day In The Morning’ with a vocal that could power the entirety of this album alone. With songs that suggest and certainly depict relationships turning sour, the dancefloor fillers making up this album will lift the gloom in no time and see ‘It’s A Man Down There’ not too down for too much longer.

Released Out now


Work With It Vol. 11

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Another edition in the blues and rhythm and blues series that finds numerous artists upping the tempo and adding more layers to the primitive foundations of the aforementioned genres. Such musical developments are noticeable from the very beginning of this latest volume as ‘Work With It’ communicates this progression via several tracks where the guitar is often frantic in sound and expression. In fact, the guitar appears central to this latest addition in this series where songs fly out of the traps at great speed via Cal Green’s excellent ‘Huffin’ & Puffin’ and Chuck Mann’s ‘Little Miss Muffet’. The freight train rhythm and hollering vocal that introduces ‘I’m Tired Of Beggin’ is an impressive coupling that forces the listener to down tools before changing track and opting for a more sophisticated sounding ‘Mary Jo’ created at the hands of Red Miller & Quartett. That’s not to suggest that everything blaring from the speakers of ‘Work With It’ is a slick and well-oiled set of songs because the raw and primitive (guitar) sounds can be heard whether sounding almost ramshackle one moment during the aforementioned ‘Little Miss Muffet’, to similar examples later on from Slim Green’s ‘Shake ‘Em Up and beaten and bruised emotions from aptly named Guitar Crusher and equally compelling ‘I’ve Got To Know’. It may be the guitar that is the focal point in the latest series ‘Work With It’, but it remains the entire package of characters and tales to the varied assortment of blues and rhythm and blues expression that really reigns supreme here.

Released Out now


Catfight – You Can’t Stop Her!

Various Artists


Boasting twenty-five dancefloor champions, the contents of this latest comp’ from Atomicat certainly lives up to its billing. With the always reliable Werly Fairburn opening proceedings with the country, yet moving into rockabilly category of ‘Speak To Me Baby’ you immediately get the impression you’re in safe hands when it comes to the rest of the album. That’s exactly what transpires as Paul Louise picks up the tempo, albeit lightly, with ‘Don’t Move A Muscle’ and then followed by two charismatic numbers via Buck Griffin and Thumper Jones with ‘Bawlin’ and Squallin’ and ‘How Come It’ respectively. Bobby Marchan brings the rock ‘n’ roll during the excellent ‘You Can’t Stop Her’, only for The Five Keys to reduce the heat somewhat by introducing some doo-wop to the party with their ‘Serve Another Round’. Fear not as the temperature soon rises once again via a succession of rockin’ tracks from the likes of Jim McDonald (‘Let’s Have A Ball), Benny Joy (‘Crash The Party’), Vern Pullens (‘Bop Crazy Baby’) and Gene Summers (‘Straight Skirt’). With something for everyone here, ‘Catfight You Can’t Stop Her!’ will keep any party boppin’ to the very early hours of the morning.

Released Out now


Wine Is Fine

Miss Lily Moe

Rhythm Bomb

Hailing from Switzerland Miss Lily Moe has steadily built a name for herself with a strong and passionate vocal set to a rhythm and blues backdrop that has seen her perform at numerous music festivals in the US and Europe. With this being a rhythm and blues sound from the 40s and 50s, the sense of nostalgia is clear to the listener throughout the singer’s sophomore album ‘Wine Is Fine’. It’s the sense of times gone by, coupled with a genuine feeling of the majority of these songs happening in the here and now, which is largely down to the themes remaining the same i.e. the joys and woes associated with relationships that fill the narratives of these songs. Breathing life into these songs is Miss Lily Moe with a fine set of vocal deliveries that see her stamp her authority during opening song ‘Daddy You Can’t Come Back’ and then showing much resilience after one rejection too many via the lively rhythm of ‘Baby’s Gonna Rock ‘n’ Roll’, which is then repeated in similar style with ‘Mama’s Out To Have A Ball’. ‘Broken Heart’ ushers in a ballad and is delivered compellingly via Miss Lilly Moe’s vocal, one that is equally supplemented by the male backing vocals and making this a definite album highlight. Elsewhere, the focus is either to blow away the blues (‘Roll On’) or enjoy the genuine sense of occasion of a night out on the tiles (‘Rockin’ On Saturday Night’). Despite any downturns when it comes to finding the perfect recipe for love, ‘Wine Is Fine’ is an album strong in character where indecision never plays a part as the outcome of each and every song knows exactly what it wants. Such feelings are to be applauded, as are the fine musicians along with Miss Lily Moe who’ve created a heartfelt and authentic gem of an album. There’s no second album syndrome blues evident here.

Released Out now


Turn Up The Fire (Single)

Nova Miller

BMG Records / 21:12 Entertainment

Classy pop music by way of Nova Miller and her latest single ‘Turn Up The Fire’. With her roots firmly set in Sweden, there is a definite Scandinavian feel to the fresh pop sound on offer here. ‘Turn Up The Fire’ possesses a crisp production and is filled with bright electronic beats that really get behind the song’s chorus, and lend weight to the sentiments of love expressed during this current single. With an equally classy video that accompanies the single release; filmed on location in Iceland with breath-taking backdrops and Nova Miller at the centre of this (naturally), there is a definite resilience to this Swedish songstress echoed by the song’s lyrics, in addition to having to brave the cold climate or, more to the point, embracing it! No matter as the passionate tones burning a trail through ‘Turn Up the Fire’ are enough to warm up the coldest of hearts and make one believe that love really can prevail.

Released 23 February


Factory Blues (Single)

Country Heroes

Safe & Sound Recordings

A genuine country sound straight outta Norway! Brushing down their country attire for a fresh outing are Norwegians, Country Heroes, and their brand new single ‘Factory Blues’. With the band having formed in 2014, and one full album (‘Southern Insecurity’) behind them, Country Heroes issue first single, ‘Factory Blues’, from their upcoming sophomore album ‘Honky Tonk Tears’. By focusing on the blue collar sector of workers, the factory theme reminds of a 70s era when such labour was in high demand and probably at its peak, especially in terms of output. In addition, country music pretty much dominated the (UK) airwaves during said period, and this is where the ‘Factory Blues’ of the Country Heroes is most reminiscent of, despite hailing from the southern plains of Norway. With a miniscule rock edge to the country guitars, ‘Factory Blues’ is a fairly detailed overview of a typical working week where banter can fly between workers, cigarettes and coffee are consumed and, of course, hard work being the main, and toughest part of all. But it remains the anticipation of the end of the working week where one is working to live rather than living to work as it’s all about hitting the (honky tonks) bars and going out dancing. All of these details are expertly handled by Country Heroes, who maintain a steady rhythm throughout, with wonderful narration from vocalist Jørund Vålandsmyr who is never overpowering yet manages to capture your attention with considerable ease. Lap up these ‘Factory Blues’ from 9 to 5 because there is much promise to come from this country band.

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Colours Change Their Tone EP

The Crowleys


Following on from previous singles – the glorious shimmering guitar sounds of ‘L.A. Sunset’, and the equally engaging and upbeat tempo of ‘Midnight Blue’ – Canadian indie psychedelic outfit The Crowleys return with a brand new release ‘Colours Change Their Tone’. The quartet see their creative efforts extend to a full EP, containing a total of six tracks. The first taste of the band’s new record arrives in the form of ‘Pink Rainbows’ that radiates genuine warmth, and where one can visualise a golden sunset via its mellow rhythm generated by acoustic and electric guitars and synths. It’s a beautiful entrance and one that possesses similarities with its neighbouring cousin ‘L.A. Sunset’ where influences can be heard from Cocteau Twins, Delays and MGMT, but with one notable difference where folk pop concludes ‘Pink Rainbows’ journey. Any further pop references can be heard during the ensuing ‘Midnight Blue’, which saunters along at a far breezier pace and offers another dimension via its vocals by means of a vocoder to help give voice to the robotic figure central to the band’s music video that accompanied its earlier release. ‘Stargazer’ has a whiff of more recent composition about it as The Crowleys twist and turn their psychedelic melodies into something possessing a darker tone, and certainly more robust around its edges, largely due to the buzzing and jarring synths propelling the song along. The closing ‘Pansy Party Extravaganza’ sees the band flex their musical muscles as they collectively, and rather skilfully, navigate their way through an instrumental that is almost bleeding in feedback by its conclusion. It looks like The Crowleys has genuinely given meaning to the expression of the title of their latest EP, because there is enough colour and creativity expressed by their beautiful and blissed-out soundscapes, which can investigate darker emotions as well, but there is always a sense of light at the end of their musical ventures and therefore optimism.

Released Out now


Muscle Memory (Single)


Falling under such descriptive banners as ‘alternative pop’, ‘art pop’, ‘chamber pop’ or quite simply ‘indie’ is the latest single from Toronto artist Kira May. Having composed the song herself, as well as serving as producer with additional help by way of Sandro Perri at 6 Nassau studios, Kira May very much assumes a hands-on approach when it comes to new single ‘Muscle Memory’. Once it becomes clear that ‘Muscle Memory’ centres on issues associated with anxiety and depression, the reasons for such a personal attachment to this latest musical creation from Kira May becomes even more apparent because they are issues that have personally affected her. With references to the “damaging effects of negative interpersonal relationships”, but with a firm desire to move forward and leave such feelings in the past, ‘Muscle Memory’ gives the impression of wrestling with such emotions as its packed full of ideas where it sounds as if its rhythm is floating in one instance, only to stutter the next before heading towards a more heavenly conclusion of vocals, brass and electronic strings. ‘Muscle Memory’ is the sound of  Björk  and Florence + the Machine joining forces, but more specifically it’s the sound of Kira May and a very personal one at that.

Released Out now


Zero Dawn EP


Obscure Music

A band that falls under the metal, stoner rock and sludge rock categories but crossing the border of indie due to this being a self-released effort (hence our label), Zero Dawn hail from Finland and bring three new tracks to the world labelled under the heading ‘Zero Dawn’. Having set up their stall in 2015, Obscure has gathered enough musical nous to produce a sound that reveals much expertise and undoubted quality. Such experience shines through in abundance during latest EP ‘Zero Dawn’. From the scattergun rhythm of the record’s title track and P. Veteli’s slightly gruff and passionate vocals keeping pace, the rest of the contents of ‘Zero Dawn’ follow in similar footsteps. It’s probably a fair assessment to suggest that the following ‘Low Low Down’ and ‘River’ actually surpass the EP’s opening song in terms of quality, with the former track remaining at a steady beat yet managing to really get under your senses with its steely guitar sound and ditto the vocals once more, whereas the concluding ‘River’ offers a faster tempo yet no more compelling than its preceding number such are the strengths of both tracks. Overall, ‘Zero Dawn’ provides enough evidence to suggest that Obscure has plenty of ideas in their musical locker to pave the way for a full-length album if the desire is there.

Released Out now


Evocation (Single)

Up River

Holy Roar Records

Seemingly coming out of nowhere is the brand new single from post-hardcore outfit, Up River. With a mini-tour of the UK fast approaching, Up River unleashes an absolute powerhouse of a single in the form of ‘Evocation’. The latest release from the Brighton-based band certainly lives up to their press billing that suggests their “music has grown more despondent, desperate and dragged down with emotional weight.” ‘Evocation’ gives way to such thoughts as it’s a two minute blast of thrashing guitars and vocals that are stripped bare, alluding to the aforementioned desperate feelings, as the song rallies its final few drops of energy before collapsing under the emotional weight felt. It’s compelling stuff and the sort of track that every so often has a habit of shaking up the system, for all the right reasons, to serve as a reminder that we should never just settle for mediocrity. As far as surprise packages go, this is one of the very best!

Released 2 February


Scale Of Blindness

Benjamin Finger

Eilean Records

Limited to 150 copies is the new album from Benjamin Finger ‘Scale Of Blindness’. The album marks a second outing on Eilean Records for the Norwegian composer, electronic music producer, DJ, photographer and film-maker after the critically well received ‘Pleasurably Lost’ in 2015. With eight tracks mapping out the landscape of ‘Scale Of Blindness’, Benjamin Finger wastes no time in terms of decoding the ideas entrenched inside his mind and crafting these into ambient sounds. What transpires is a gritty and grainy beginning, where lights fizz and stutter and illuminate the surroundings for the briefest of periods as life in general gives way to a feeling of rolling continuously in a dark vacuous space, which is the impression given by openers ‘Halogen Flux’ and ‘Anxiety Blues’. With mere snippets of samples and sounds used, which are then looped into greater reels of sounds, the effects utilised work tremendously during ‘If Memory Preserves’, which offers a brooding tone full of electronic keys humming and tinkling intensely as well as drifting into mere wisps of noise adding to the mystery of the monologue taking place of what sounds like an inquest of one particular tragic incident in the US. The fascination continues with ‘Vagabond Void’ as it emerges into the light, electronics blinking, before breaking and splintering and seeing its particles drift into, and along the fragmented signals emanating from ‘Fragrant Darkness’. It would appear that Benjamin Finger has worked tirelessly to create a wonderful and truly captivating experience that illustrates feelings of loneliness and isolation encompassed by latest album ‘Scale Of Blindness’ that so often throws up shining beacons of light in the bleakest of spaces (‘Vanishing Faces’, ‘Falling Asleep’), to more abrasive creations (‘Fragrant Darkness’) that sound cut adrift and completely lost in the dark void suggested. It’s a masterwork, and it’s called ‘Scale Of Blindness’.

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