FIE! FIE! FIE! – Double Single Review: “Edge of Space/Everything I Told You”

Edge of Space Art work

Fie! Fie! Fie! is an indie alternative rock band from West Yorkshire, England, and they have a glorious name you’ll never forget. Formed in April 2013 by seasoned musicians Daniel Varley and Pete Long – both of whom play some pretty amazing guitar – the band also includes bassist Avon Blyth and multi-instrumentalist Matt Burnside. Varley sings lead vocals, and the other band members provide backing vocals.

Fie Fie Fie

The band released their first collection of tracks, Live Solo Sessions, in late 2013 when it consisted only of Varley and Long. In 2014, Blyth was added to the lineup, giving the band a much stronger and fuller sound. They released the single “The Alternative” in 2015, followed by the album Can You Hear This?  In 2016, Burnside joined Fie! Fie! Fie!, and they subsequently released a live album Live at St. Mary’s later that year, as well as a fantastic single “Hit the Spanish Main.” The band has now released a new double A side single “Edge of Space/Everything I Told You,” which dropped in early August, and I think it’s one of their best works yet.

I was blown away by “Edge of Space” at first listen, as it has one of the most arresting guitar-driven melodies I’ve heard in a while. The song immediately hooks us in with what sounds like lush synths but in reality is an effect that Pete put down on one of his guitar tracks, along with an achingly beautiful guitar riff that burns itself into your mind. It stayed with me long afterward, leaving me humming the melody and wanting to hear the song again and again. Besides the stunning guitars and synths, the percussion and bass are perfection. Using metaphors of space exploration, Varley passionately sings about finding enough forgiveness to salvage a damaged relationship, or possibly a damaged world:

Could you find a way, a way to see past this
Past the mess that we both left, could you see through it
Gliding through the stratosphere, could fall off, float away
There’s bigger fears alone up here as we try to find our way
If you could see through my eyes 75 miles high

The tracks ends with snippets of what sound like old recordings of astronauts speaking from their spaceships, and a final dramatic flourish of distorted guitar.

“Everything I Told You” is a mellower track, with a pleasing folk rhythm delivered by silky layered acoustic guitars hovering over a smooth bass line and gentle percussion. The guitar work on this track is sublime, and Varley’s earnest vocals are backed by a lovely, almost dreamlike harmonizing chorus. All the ingredients you need for a truly great song.

If you’re in the UK, you can catch Fie! Fie! Fie! at one of these upcoming shows:

4 Oct 2017    The White Bear, Barnsley
7 Oct 2017     The Spread Eagle, York
14 Oct 2017    Oxjam, Huddersfield
18 Oct 2017    SoFar Sounds, Bradford
20 Oct 2017    The Highfield Bradford, Idle
28 Oct 2017    Oxjam, The Town Hall, Hebden Bridge
24 Nov 2017    Hot Banana Music, Holmfirth
26 Nov 2017    The Beck, Brighouse
02 Dec 2017    The Tan Hill Inn, Richmond

Connect with Fie! Fie! Fie!:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud / Reverbnation

Purchase:  Bandcamp / iTunes / Amazon

DEAD ON ARRIVAL – EP Review: “Chasing Tides”

It’s back to the UK to shine my spotlight on metal rock band Dead On Arrival. The Derbyshire four-piece was formed in 2011, and consists of Jack Dughan (Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar), Ben Calver (Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals), Connor Woodward (Bass) and George Lathbury (Drums). Drawing on influences from some of their favorite bands such as Metallica, Machine Head, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Asking Alexandria and Bring Me The Horizon, the guys make aggressive rock that’s melodic, raw and in-your-face. As they state on their Facebook bio, “Our passion is to write, produce and release our own music and then play it live and LOUD.

Dead on Arrival
Photo by Pete Key

Dead On Arrival released a full length debut album From the Ashes in 2016, and now return with a terrific EP Chasing Tides, which dropped on August 18. The EP delivers four scorching tracks that clearly demonstrate the band’s growth, both in songwriting and musicianship. Their song lyrics address themes of dysfunction and betrayal within ourselves, our relationships and our government leaders, and their ferocious instrumentals perfectly convey the strong feelings expressed in the lyrics.

Chasing Tides

Vulture in the Waves,” released as a single in late 2016, kicks things off with an onslaught of shredded guitars, powerful throbbing bass and pounding drums – all hallmarks of the band’s hard-hitting sound. Dughan wails the lyrics that speak of someone wracked with guilt and tormented by his actions:

Oh I’m the vulture in the waves
Chasing tides to escape my mistakes
Because I couldn’t live on
Knowing what I’ve done
And I hide in the shadows
It’s the only way to survive

Hammering drums and blazing riffs continue unabated on the hard-driving “Inside” and “Corrupted World.” Calver’s shredded and distorted guitars are mind-blowing, and the bass so heavy I felt it in my core. On the latter track, Dughan implores, “This is a final call. We will stand tall and fight against this corruption.”

As if the first three tracks aren’t aggressive enough, the guys unleash their full sonic arsenal on the bombastic “Sickening Thing.” The frantic guitar riffs rain down like thunderbolts, and Lathbury attacks his drums like a wild beast, nearly blowing out the speakers – and my ear drums! Woodward lays down a face-melting bass line, and Dughans’ fiery vocals match the brutal music note for note. It’s my favorite of the four tracks, and really shows what these guys are capable of.

Connect with Dead on Arrival:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music on  Spotify and purchase on iTunes

SERPERUS – EP Review: “Infernal Seasons”

I can’t seem to pull myself away from the UK, as here I am featuring yet another band from that island nation. There’s such a tremendous amount of musical talent based there, I could devote my blog entirely to UK artists. This time I shine my spotlight on Serperus, a Liverpool five-piece that plays aggressive and melodic heavy metal. Formed in 2014, the band consists of Joey Farrell (Vocals), Mark Coogan (Lead Guitar), Jono Walters (Rhythm Guitar), Mikey Smith (Bass) and Aaron May (Drums).

Serperus performing

They released their debut EP …with Pestilence in December 2016 to wide acclaim, and followed up with their sophomore EP Infernal Seasons this past May. Offering up six tracks of brutal, unrelenting thrash metal that address themes of authoritarian oppression, Infernal Seasons serves to further cement the solid reputation Serperus has established for themselves, and demonstrates the progression of their songwriting skills and technical experimentation.

Infernal Seasons

The title track “Infernal Seasons” sets the tone with an onslaught of wailing guitars and Smith’s buzz-saw bass lines, propelled by thunderous percussion, courtesy of May’s relentless attack on his drum kit. Coogan delivers blistering riffs while Farrell snarls the searing and topically relevant lyrics that speak of the destruction and cruelty perpetrated upon society by ruthless leaders: “A charade, a means to construct the plague. The infernal seasons, the results of tyranny. Mother nature, down to her last legs. Deliverance, for us as the non-believers. Twisting tongues of the prophet, forcing catastrophic opinions.”

Serperus dials up the speed setting on the frenetic “Divulge,” the first single released from the EP.  As the band explained to online magazine Pure Grain Audio, “‘Divulge’ is one of the fastest and most intricate songs, featuring lots of twists and turns throughout. It is our personal favourite to play live and it is perfect to showcase what [we’re] all about.” And they’re not exaggerating about the song being fast and intricate – this beast kicks ass! The scorching, rapid-fire riffs blast through the speakers from start to finish with no letup, calling to mind the epic Metallica song “Hardwired.”

Into Ruin” opens with a mysterious intro of violin, xylophone, and piano before an assault of shredded guitars, hammering drums and crushing bass rain down like thunderbolts. This track’s a real head-banger, and once again our ears are treated to killer guitar solos, which continue unabated with “Deliverance Has Come.”  The song’s lyrics assert that mankind’s suffering will only be relieved by death. “Our fate is sealed. So choke on your last breath, as you sit and wait for the sweet release of death. Light begins to fade, humanity has failed, blinded by deceit, history repeats.

Perhaps the most melodically complex track on the EP is “No Vindication,” a six and a half minute-long tour-de-force. The song starts off slowly, with strummed electric guitar and heavy bass, then a hypnotic drum beat enters the scene, accompanied by Farrell’s calm, echoed vocals. The intensity ramps up with aggressive, shredded guitars and pounding drums,  Farrell’s vocals rising in ferocity to match the brutal instrumentals. We’re then thrust headlong into the hard-hitting closing track “Spirit in Black.” Unrelenting riffs of distorted & shredded guitars are driven by jack-hammer percussion, making this track an adrenaline rush on steroids. When the guitars fade out with a final crash of the cymbal, all you can do is catch your breath.

Even though it contains only six tracks, Infernal Seasons runs over 30 minutes, as they’re all fairly long. That fact, combined with the high level of intensity throughout its entirety, make it feel more like an album than an EP. A minor criticism I have is that some of the tracks sound quite similar to one another, however, the quality of the instrumentals and compelling lyrics more than make up for it. Overall, it’s a great EP that delivers the thrash metal goods.

Connect with Serperus:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music on Spotify and download for free on Bandcamp 

NEWFOUND STRANGERS – Single Review: “Take Me As I Am”

Take Me As I Am

Newfound Strangers are the second rock band from Derby, UK that I’ve featured on this blog in little more than a week (the previous being These Wicked Rivers). Formed in 2016 by guitarists Chris Payne and Dave Kent, the band also includes bassist and vocalist Dan Shaw, and drummer Nathan Rose.  Drawing on influences from Country, Classic Rock, Indie and Alternative, and artists as varied as Springsteen to Snow Patrol, Queen to Queens of the Stone and Foreigner to Foo Fighters, they’ve struggled to place themselves into a box in terms of genre, so have settled on ‘Melodic Rock.’  Collectively, the guys have over 50 years of combined experience both in the studio and onstage.

Newfound Strangers performing

They released their debut EP Take Me As I Am in May of this year, and now follow up with a single “Take Me As I Am,” which just dropped on August 11. Interestingly, the single was not included on the EP.  The band explains: “We originally toyed with putting it on the EP and making it a title track, however we decided it warranted its own release. The message behind the naming is the song talks about staying true to who you are and sticking to your roots, which really epitomises who we are as a band, so we stuck with the title for the EP.”

“Take Me As I Am” is a gentle rock ballad with a country sensibility. A perfectly balanced mix of electric and acoustic guitars are nicely complemented by humming bass and crisp percussion, creating a track that’s incredibly pleasing and expertly crafted. With heartfelt emotion, Dan sings the lyrics addressing someone who accepts him for who he is, enabling him to feel comfortable in his own skin, and not having to pretend or act in a way that’s dishonest to gain their love or acceptance.

“I’ve tried so hard to tell you, but the words don’t come out right.
I’m just a man. I’m nothing more and nothing less.
I’m not your shining knight.
Its taken oh so long, just to feel like you could be mine.
I’ll keep on waiting til the moment’s gone. Now I’m waiting in line.
You’re the only one who’s seen deep inside me.
You’re only one who’s looked in my soul.
You’re the only one who sets my spirit free.
You’re the only one who takes me as I am.”

“Take Me As I Am” is a great song, and you can check out their other music on  Spotify / Soundcloud / YouTube

Connect with Newfound Strangers:  Website / Facebook / TwitterInstagram

Purchase their music on  iTunes  or  Bandcamp

CANDID – Single Review: “Lay Me Down”

UK rock band Candid is quickly establishing themselves as one of the most exciting bands on the indie music scene. The Coventry, England foursome released their debut single “Moving On” in the fall of 2016, then followed up with the fantastic single “Rumours” in May, which I reviewed. They’re now back with a new single “Lay Me Down,” which dropped on 6 August, and it’s superb.

Candid is comprised of brothers Rob (rhythm guitar and vocals) and Dan Latimer (lead guitar), Sam Baines (bass) and Ben Williams (drums). Their dynamic sound delivers catchy melodies, outstanding guitars, wicked percussion and Rob Latimer’s commanding vocals. As I noted in my previous review, Candid’s sound has been compared to Catfish and the Bottlemen. That’s fine by me, as I love Catfish and the Bottlemen and now love Candid as well.

Candid

“Lay Me Down” is an exhilarating track with scorching riffs and thunderous percussion.  The instrumentals build to a crescendo at the bridge, and continue through to the end – guitars wailing, cymbals crashing and Rob’s soaring chorus raising the hair on the back of my neck.

The lyrics speak to someone who’s let him down one too many times, causing him to finally quit a relationship that’s beyond repair:  “I won’t believe it, until I know its true, cause I can’t get to you, no matter how hard I tried to oversee it. It’s always someone who tries to get to you, put the thought in your mind. /And no matter how hard I tried to turn the other cheek. No matter how hard I’ve tried to look the other way. So lay me down. Cause nothing can stop me now.

Follow Candid:  Facebook  /  Twitter /  Instagram

Stream their music:  Spotify /  Soundcloud /  YouTube

Purchase:   iTunes

THESE WICKED RIVERS – Album Review: “II”

Followers of my blog know I’m a big fan of hard-driving, guitar-heavy rock, so it will come as no surprise that I love the music of UK band These Wicked Rivers. This four-piece plays down and dirty blues-infused rock’n’roll that sounds like they’re from Alabama or Mississippi, rather than Derby, England (no disparagement intended against Derby, of course).  Their melodic, riff-heavy music is incredibly exhilarating and dynamic, kicking you squarely in the ass! Making all this awesome noise are John Hartwell (lead vocals, guitar), Arran Day (guitar), Jon Hallam (bass) and Dan Southall (drums).

These Wicked Rivers band

In 2015 they released an excellent debut EP The Enemy, and follow up with their fantastic album II, which dropped at the end of April (and I’m finally getting around to reviewing at long last). With seven tracks, it’s longer than a typical EP and shorter than the usual album. But whatever category it’s placed in, this much is clear: the six major tracks are all heavyweights in terms of both quality (amazing) and quantity (all run four to six minutes in length), so I’d say it qualifies as an album.

These Wicked Rivers establish right off the bat what they’re all about with the aptly-titled intro track “Wicked River Blues,” then launch into “Stones Painted Gold.” Guitars blazing, they add a bit of funky bass to the bluesy mix as John snarls the searing lyrics that speak to a woman who’s done him wrong: “You turn it around, you know it’s never your fault. God, your such a martyr. Now you burn to the ground anyone in your way.” Arran’s distorted guitar solo in the bridge is fearsome! Without skipping a beat, “That Girl” arrives with a barrage of shredded, squealing guitars, throbbing bass, and muscular drums hammering out a hard-driving beat that had me banging my head and gyrating in my chair. These guys know how to rock!

They slow things down with the magnificent rock ballad “When the War is Won.” All the elements of this six minute long track come together to create an epic song that’s absolute perfection, and it’s my favorite on the EP. The complex, layered guitar work is positively mind-blowing, with gorgeous riffs and wailing solos that raise goosebumps with every listen. John passionately sings of finding his way back from a dark place in his mind: “I look around and know I’m free. I hear my voice, I say I wouldn’t do it any other way. I can save my life. Say the truth in their lies. I can walk with my head held high, now the war, now the war is won.”

The terrific, bluesy “Testify” has a Pearl Jam vibe, and John’s vocals even sound a bit like Eddie Vedder. Once again, the guys show off their exceptional musicianship, with killer riffs, Jon’s speaker-blowing bass and Dan’s aggressive percussion. I love the lyric “She tastes like sugar, and goes down like honey.” “Put Me on Trial (For Who I Am)” delivers more face-melting rock’n’roll goodness, courtesy of scorching hot riffs, crushing heavy bass and thunderous drums.

Last but certainly not least is the anthemic “Don’t Pray For Me,” another monumental track with jaw-dropping instrumentals. The song opens with a gospel-like organ solo, then the band’s signature intricate guitars, heavy bass and power drums take over. The lyrics address the complexities and contradictions inherent in many of us – we have both good and bad elements in our character: “I’ve been a loser, I’ve been a cruiser, I’ve been lost and I’ve been found. I’ve been a user, I’ve been a bruiser. I’ve been up and I’ve been down. And I’ve been a taker, I’ve been a faker. I’ve been a liar and a cheat./ I’ve been every man in between./ Don’t you pray now.  Don’t you pray for me. Don’t judge a man by only what you see.

II is a brilliant album that firmly establishes These Wicked Rivers as one of the finest rock’n’roll bands in the UK. These guys are phenomenal musicians, and need more exposure so that more people will discover them and their awesome music. I urge my readers to support the band by following them on their social media and downloading/purchasing their music:

WebsiteFacebookTwitter / Instagram

Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud

Purchase:  iTunes

KOSMONAUTS – EP Review: “Kosmonauts”

KOSMONAUTS is a young indie band from Manchester, UK, a city rich in music history and home of legendary rock bands Oasis, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, New Order, and Everything Everything, as well as a couple of great indie bands I’ve featured on this blog – Partisan and Puppet Theory. As far as I’m concerned, KOSMONAUTS are poised to become an equally great band, based on the quality of their debut self-titled EP that they released in April. Their infectiously upbeat and dynamic guitar-driven style of alternative rock hooked me at first listen, with terrific melodies, intricate riffs and compelling lyrics. And what makes them even more appealing is the level of maturity in their music and lyrics given their young ages (all are in their early 20s).

After a few early fits and starts, the band as it now exists was formed at the beginning of this year. As bassist Callum Hollingsworth explained to me: “We formed properly in 2016 but went through some changes at the start of 2017 where we got a new guitarist and this totally changed the band. As a group we now class this as ‘the start of the band’.” In addition to Hollingsworth, the band includes Rob Snarr (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar), Kieran Wilkinson (Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals) and Dean Chadwick (Drums). About the band name, Hollingsworth stated it came from a bar in Manchester called Kosmonauts.

Kosmonauts2

Our introduction to Kosmonauts begins with a brief but lovely instrumental track titled “Untitled.” Gentle guitars and airy synths create a delicate, intriguing soundscape that immediately draws you in, wondering what kind of music this band is going to deliver. That question is abruptly answered with the arrival of the hard-driving “Night Of Our Lives,” with rapid-fire, layered guitars, hammering drums and buzzing bass lines that never let up as the track segues into the lively “When We Were Young,” which the band released as a single. Though only two and a half minutes long, this firecracker is packed with so much energy you’re practically left breathless. The frantic riffs are awesome and I love Snarr’s charming vocals as he sings about making the most of your youth, living life to the fullest while still young.

Without skipping a beat, “Store Bought Town” rains down with a volley of jangly guitars, pounding drums and crashing cymbals, all grounded by Hollingsworth’s powerful bass. Snarr sings of struggling to escape a relationship in a town that keeps drawing him back: “I say I’m leaving, cause I’ll do better on my own. And we both know that that’s true. I’m sure you’ll survive without me too. But we both know I’ll be back one day, in the same shit place, in the same shit town…” He hopes that if he does return, things will be different: “Please, just say you’ll change.”

The melodic “Lady Lovesick” offers up more fantastic, intricate guitar work, with a beguiling little riff that permeates the track. Chadwick’s drumming is particularly good on this track, as are the guys’ soaring harmonic backing choruses. It’s a lovely rock song.

The final track “When it Suits” is the longest song on the EP, and one of my favorites (though I honestly love them all). I’m blown away by the exuberant jangly guitars, which are gorgeous, and remind me a bit of The Cure. The lyrics painfully confront a partner in a relationship that’s broken: “You always say it’ll be the last time, but we both know that you’re wrong. I always seem to believe the lies that you tell, and just forget what you’ve done. Just one drink, one drink is all it takes. One drink to forget about me. / Now don’t you stay just until you sleep. If you don’t feel the same then you need to leave.

Kosmonauts is an outstanding, well-crafted EP from start to finish, and an impressive debut for a young band with a lot of promise. I look forward to hearing more from these guys soon!

Follow KOSMONAUTS:  Facebook / TwitterInstagram

Stream their music:  SpotifySoundcloud

Purchase:  iTunes / Amazon / Bandcamp

WIDE EYED BOY Release New Video for “Loving You Is So Easy”

Wide Eyed Boy2

Wide Eyed Boy is an exceptionally talented New Wave/Indie Pop band that’s quickly becoming one my favorites.  The Liverpool, UK based four-piece is comprised of Oliver Nagy (Vocals), Jonny Ball (Guitars), Kobi “Danger” Pham (Guitars, keyboards) and Tom Taylor (Drums).  They released a gorgeous debut single “Wolves” last March, which I reviewed, and you can read here. (It’s one of my favorite songs of 2017, reaching #1 and spending 18 weeks on my Weekly Top 20.)

The guys recently dropped their follow-up single “Loving You Is So Easy,” a track slower in tempo than “Wolves,” but every bit as beautiful. I didn’t think it possible they could come up with another song as magnificent as “Wolves,” but how foolish I was to think that, because Wide Eyed Boy have pulled it off nicely. Lush sweeping synths, Ball and Pham’s swirling guitars, Taylor’s on-point drums, and Nagy’s captivating vocals are all simply breathtaking. The song lyrics are fairly straightforward – “I don’t care the way you care. I can see it in your stare. But the way that we collide, it’s getting harder every time. Loving you is so easy. Easy when I’m down, down, down” – but Nagy delivers them quite seductively, before launching into a soaring falsetto in the chorus that raises goosebumps.

The video produced for the track is stunning. The minimalist set and subdued lighting, accentuated with background fluorescents, create the perfect mood for the sensuous track. I much prefer music videos that show the artist or band performing the song, rather than an acted-out story, unless it’s directly relevant to the lyrics. Of course, it’s always a plus when the band is charismatic, and Wide Eyed Boy has it in spades. Nagy has a magnetism that calls to mind the legendary front men Jim Morrison or Michael Hutchence.

Take a look:

Connect with Wide Eyed Boy: Facebook / TwitterInstagram

Stream their music:  SpotifySoundcloud

Purchase:  iTunes / Google Play

LOST ON ME – EP Review: “Demonstration”

I’m a huge fan of Depeche Mode and New Order, so it’s natural that I would like UK post-punk band Lost On Me. Originally begun as a solo project of singer/songwriter and guitarist Martin Downing (who was previously in the bands Fractions, Lavotchkin, RoadToCairo & End Reign), the Newcastle-based act now includes his life partner and bassist Jazmine Rains (and on rare occasions, long time friend Michael McCaughy joins them on drums for live performances). Lost On Me dropped their debut EP Demonstration in April, including a limited release on cassette tape via Glasgow label Burnt Church Press. The EP was mixed and mastered by Chris McManus at Blank Studios in Newcastle.

lost-on-me-press-picture-jpeg

The EP’s bass-heavy, guitar-driven sound is darker than Martin’s previous music when he played in other bands. In an interview with online magazine NARC., he explained “I’ve been a fan of the darker sides of the music spectrum from an early age and I think I underestimated how dark the EP came off until we started receiving reactions. I guess just saying we’re fans of Depeche Mode and New Order was a bit lazy on our part. There’s a huge range of bands that have influenced us. I’m a lifelong Joy Division nerd!” That love of Joy Division is clearly evident the moment you hear the opening track “Protection.” Martin’s deep, smoldering vocals at times even sound strikingly similar to Ian Curtis.

“Protection” and the next two tracks “Landslide” and “Balance” are incredibly dynamic, with Jazmine’s powerful bass lines, accompanied by strong percussion, moving the driving beats forward. Martin’s jangly, reverb-heavy guitar work is exceptional, creating a vibrant and mesmerizing soundscape. His echoed, mysterious-sounding vocals have a compelling, otherworldly vibe that perfectly match the dark instrumentals. The tempo slows a bit on “New Beginnings,” though the thumping bass, power drums and marvelous guitar work are still in abundance. Each track flows seamlessly into the next so that, taken in its entirety, Demonstration feels and sounds like a fantastic post-punk symphony in four movements.

Lost On Me2

The clever black and white video for “Landslide” shows claymation figures of teeth and foods dancing in what appears to be the inside surface of a very large mouth. Some of the teeth are brushing and flossing each other as a dark figure that I’m guessing represents decay prances about, at first playing nice with the teeth and desirous of their adoration, but then suddenly attacking them with a clawlike object.

The video for “Balance” shows frenetic sped-up scenes of the American West, a projectile tearing through an egg, a ball bearing or marble splashing into a bowl of milk, atomic bomb blasts, Los Angeles traffic in the 50s, and an old college football game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. I may be way off-base, but my take is that the images are meant to symbolize the precarious balance (or imbalance) inherent in both natural and man-made environments.

For readers living in or visiting the UK, you can catch Lost On Me at one of these upcoming shows:

16th July 2017 @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle w/ Thread Bear + more
21t July 2017 @ Head Of Steam, Newcastle w/ Irma Vep + Wedding
11th August 2017 @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle w/ Human X + more
1st September 2017 @ The Cluny, Newcastle w/ Twist Helix + more
17th September 2017 @ Opium, Edinburgh w/ Eager Tongue, Knifed out of Existance + more
7th October 2017 @ The Black Bull, Gateshead w/ Ghost Signals, Mausoleums & more
14th October 2017 @ The Catholic Club, Horden w/ Ghost Signals, The Black Riders Club
28th November 2017 @ Little Buildings, Newcastle w/ Boy Harsher, Eager Tongue + more

Connect with Lost On Me:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music:  Soundcloud / YouTube

Purchase:  Bandcamp

KAZE – EP Review: “No Filter”

Being the EclecticMusicLover, it goes without saying that I’m fond of artists and bands whose music style is – well, eclectic. The Manchester, UK band KAZE certainly fits that description. Their sound is so varied and interesting that it’s pointless to try and categorize it into any particular genre. When listening to their debut EP No Filter, I hear elements of pop, folk, jazz, shoegaze, and even alternative rock – sometimes all in one song. They list Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, The Cardigans and Amy Winehouse as some of their main influences, but I also hear a bit of classic, old-school torch song vibe that gives their music a unique quality that makes for an incredibly pleasing and compelling listen.

KAZE

Formed by Graham McCusker and Amy Webber in February 2016, they chose the name KAZE because it means “wind” in Japanese – the interpretation of which they leave to their listeners. In addition to Amy on vocals and Graham on keyboards and backing vocals, the band line-up includes Thomas Fripp on guitar, Dan Peate on bass and Jonathan Needham on drums.

KAZE Band

They released No Filter in March 2017 with a sold out gig at The Castle in Manchester. The EP was produced by Colin Towns (Ivor Novello songwriting judge/BAFTA nominated composer), engineered by Toby Wood (Lord Of The Rings/associate EMMY Award winner) and mixed by Adriano Buffone (Kubb/Avicii/Jessie Ware).

The jazz-infused first single from the EP “Pinned On You” opens with a discordant mix of instruments, perfectly conveying the feelings expressed in the lyrics about having your life turned upside down by the realization that the person you love just doesn’t feel the same about you: “I pinned all my hopes on you, but just as I fell, you told me you’re not into me too. I pictured a life with you, but bright as you were, you just couldn’t come into me too.” Amy’s strong, impassioned vocals are backed by sharp percussion and a sturdy bass line that add power to the song’s message. The complex, nuanced instrumentals bring new surprises with each listen, and the jazzy piano riff and tasty electric guitar solo in the bridge are terrific.

Feel” sets a contrasting tone, with a lovely, contemplative piano melody and smooth instrumentals. Amy’s vocals are sublime, at one point sounding a bit like Barbra Streisand when her voice soars in the bridge. I especially love the backing chorus on this track. The band employs only an acoustic guitar on the poignant ballad “Unfamiliar Room.” With a hint of melancholy in her voice, Amy sings about the anxiety of undergoing potentially life-changing medical procedures: “Knowing looks and a brief smile. Waiting for news that won’t beguile. All shapes and sizes, some sad too soon, in this unfamiliar waiting room. Pressure digging in, jazz chords and they sing, while my body’s being screwed.” The song was inspired by Graham’s own experience with chemotherapy treatments.

Things turn upbeat on “Come Away,” a breezy song about leaving one’s problems behind and starting on a new life adventure with someone special: “Quit your job, pack your bag, are you ready for a life you’ve never had?  Grab your stuff and lock the door, we’re going somewhere you’ve never been before. Come away, come away, run away with me.”  KAZE expertly fuses pop, rock and jazz elements, all building to a fantastic crescendo at the end.

No Filter is a stellar debut effort, and I suspect we’ll be hearing more great music from KAZE in the near future.

Connect with KAZE:  Website /  Facebook /  Twitter /  Instagram

Stream their music:  Spotify /  Soundcloud

Purchase:  Bandcamp