The Bakesys
Complete Bakesys

All Shapes and Sizes of British Ska From One of Our Favourite Bands

My heart generally sinks when someone says “I love Ska Music too.”
Well; 99.99% of the time it means they once saw Bad Manners or the Specials at Uni and own Madness’s Greatest Hits, possibly a Two Tone Compilation plus every Christmas go to see a Lookey-Likey Ska Band on the annual ‘lads night bash’.
On the other hand there are literally hundreds of bands across the globe still keeping the flame that was first lit in the Alpha Boys School many many years ago, not just lit, but sparking off in a hundred new directions; and lovingly heralded by the Do The Dog Skazine.
One of my favourite bands over the last 20 + years has been the Bakeseys; and I’d forgot how much they’d evolved in that time until now; when you can hear everything in one sitting (warts n all).
Nothing for the Vinyl Fetishists here; as Kevin Flowerdew knows his demographic probably all listen to music on their phones now; so this is a Bandcamp Exclusive and therefore download only …… which I appreciate.
The party starts with their (nearly) hit Sunnyside Up; and is very much the song that non-believers will instantly recognise as Two Tone Ska; with its fabulously bouncy and danceable melody and razor sharp lyrics.
Bizarrely this is followed by a live track, Looking For Love from 1994, which opens with “This is our last song!”
I appear to have missed this early incantation as it certainly sounds highly influenced by The Buzzcocks of all bands; but the instant excitement from this and the other live tracks on the release prove that from Day #1 The Bakesys were a fantastic night out.
All in all there are 82 tracks here; and I sure ain’t going through them one by one!
Even with that bonkers amount of songs on offer; there are a lot more hits and misses.
We won’t deal with the latter category; but in the former; footstompers like Pickle My Brain, Life So Tuff, Yesterday’s Man and Old certainly beligh the theory that this is just Pop Music; probably by the third or fourth time of listening you will be too tired to dance; so actually listen to the words; they every inch as potent a Social Commentary as Madness and The Specials my friend.
If you really know your Ska it won’t come as a surprise to find a couple of demos and Dub Versions here; a bit of a ‘guilty pleasure’ back in the day; but generally hard work today; but then again I did find myself turning the volume up in the car for Rainy Day Dub.
Speaking of ‘turning the volume up’ that has become an involuntary action for the Live Tracks here; they just demand to be played L.O.U.D ……. try Don’t Worry, Be Happy and the ubiquitous Liquidator; your car will rock so hard it will scare the Bejasus out of that kid in the Corsa playing Hippity Hop at the traffic lights!
For my Favourite Song Animated Violence and Rich Boy Rude Boy have been a bit of a pleasant surprise here; and the title should probably go to Sex Freaks as it’s been in my Top 100 Ska Songs for a lot of years; but no …… I say no …… as The Bakesys have come back kicking and screaming in the last few years; regaining the piss and vinegar of their youth ……. getting all political again; which is a good, good thing.
Do The Austerity Skank, while an instrumental is rather haunting and bordering on the existential; but I’m plonking for a bit of bonkers Ska, which somehow seems a bit apt for 2020 as the pandemic gets worse and worse; so When The Zombies Come gets our seal of Ska approval.
Because it’s a download only; this obviously isn’t aimed at the Christmas Market; but it is the ideal ‘What the Hell’ present to yourself and will give pleasure for years to come as you dip and delve into one of Britain’s unsung heroes back catalogues.

The Bakesys 1990 – 2020

Kevin Flowerdew – keys
Stu Flynn – vocals
Stef White – bass, vocals
Anthony Baker – guitar
Robbie Howe – drums, vocals
Nasser Bouzida – drums, percussion, vocals
Toby Courage – drums
Clive Cornwall – drums
Colin Milne – road crew
Harry Hayward – road crew
Mark Whittaker – drums, guitar
Nick Nicholls – drums
Keith Langley – steps, vocals
Grant Stone – vocals
Darren Trent – vocals
Antony Finn – vocals
Gwyn Edwards – guitar
Phillip King – saxophone
Will Kevans – trumpet

Released November 15th 2020


JOHN WALLACE WHEATLEY Spent the Morning Watching TV and Looking Through My Phone.

John Wallace Wheatley
Spent the Morning Watching TV and Looking Through My Phone

Intelligent Classic and Soulful Pop Music of the Grown-Up Kind.

Suburban Dirts frontman John Wheatley takes a step aside from the acoustic Americana of the SD’s epic album, “I Want Blood” and launches full on into a self-effacing, philosophical, witty white Soul nee Classic Pop collection, on this very aptly titled (for the times in which we’re living) solo release.
Opener “Cemetery Smokes II” is one of two versions of the song on the album – the first version – which is number #2 – is very Style Councilesque musically and more tongue in cheek than version one (which is midway through the album ….. kids today, eh?) and is darker and a bit more like Sensational Alex Harvey in its storytelling tone.
Both versions were inspired by JWW finding a big grave slab with his name on – and the two versions reflect the different ways that one could take that…
“Heartstrings” fits well after the opener in musical style and Andy Fairclough’s Mellotron punctuates a soulful backbeat tale of phonies – and being a phony one’s self.
“Last Man Standing” – it seems to be a song title in fashion these days
My friends are all busy – or under the thumb” sums up the mid-paced cathartic ballad.
Again, the Philly-soul sound is prominent, yet mixed in with a bit of Mott the Hoople too – sounds a bit strange – but it genuinely works well.
The tempo lifts with “Neurotic Dancer” – but there’s a clear dissonance between the catchy melody and the fact that “you make me feel like a neurotic dancer”….
“In the End” (which comes halfway through) is a late-period Beatles/Beach Boys sounding slice of reassurance
it’s going to be alright in the end”…although JWW doesn’t sound totally sure in the melancholy musical way that those sentiments are delivered – the eternal pessimist can’t shake the fear but there’s more than enough positivity.
Following the aforementioned second/first take on “Cemetery Smokes;” “I’ve Only Just Realised” is reminiscent of the band Jellyfish with its 60’s harmonies and stop-start rhythms and classic pop sensibilities – lyrically, again there’s a glorious incongruity between the confident music and edgy, questioning lyrics.
“World War III” continues in a similar musical and lyrical vein with
She’s been told too many times she’s emotionally dead,” not being the sort of lyric that will find its way onto chirpy commercial radio, but will hopefully find its way into the ears and hearts of those who will appreciate its depth and appeal.
“The Singularity” starts as a piano ballad and then becomes an epic stomper quite rightly calls for us to get “the fuck out of here” in a rant against commercialism and “leaders who don’t want to lead”
and many others of society and culture’s ills.
Listen to this and you’ll be double-nodding – at the sentiments and the melody too.
Closer “The Morning Never Came” is a musically trippy rumination on the meaning of life, about regrets and the ultimate realisation that
none of this was meaningless
and it runs the gamut of feeling and musical styles before ending in randomness – quite deliberately.
This is quite a gem of an album – fans of 90’s band Jellyfish and their like will adore this and there are shades of classic stylings all over the place, yet used in both original and cohesive ways to create an album that will withstand a serious amount of re-listens.
In a just world, John Wallace Wheatley’s music would be listened to in a million bedrooms, on millions of sets of headphones and streamed in supermarkets.
People – make it so.

Review by Nick Barber
Released November 27th 2020


Chairmen of The Boards SURFIN’ APOCALYPSE

Chairmen of The Boards
Surfin’ Apocalypse
Weewerk Records

Wayfarers On, Wax The Board We’re Going Surfin’ Canadian Style!

I doubt I’ve heard or certainly actually ‘listened to’ Surf Music since I received that fabled box of Olde Records, that included two Surfaris EP’s back in 1970!
Yet, only a few weeks a weeks ago I reviewed the Neptunas and now; it’s The fabulously monikered Chairmen of The Boards from Toronto Town in Canada.
Surfing in Canada?
Lake Ontario it appears; who knew?
Let’s not let the esoterics get in the way of a damn fine record; let’s just open a cold ‘un and slip on the Clubmasters; Surf’s undoubtedly Up; Dude.
With instrumentals it must be difficult choosing something to open an album with; something to capture the imagination right from the off; and COTB do that perfectly with the intense Stormy Monday Payoff; which sounds like it was culled together after a 24 Hour session watching Tarantino movies.
This is followed by Run-A-Wave; which while not up there with Apache, certainly sounds as if Rob Hiemstra had spent a long Zen like Summer studying at the feet of Hank B Marvin; and that makes for some truly simpering guitar licks.
A Classic Guitar, bass and drums trio at heart the Chairmen aren’t afraid to add and subtract when necessary, with the judicious use of pedal-steel on the smoocherific Moonlight Beach, to give it a Hawaiian feel and several times across the rest of the disc a horn section and tinkling Hammond organ gives us an authentic 60’s vibe too.
Another problem bands must have with instrumentals; is naming them …… but here Dirty Grind, Booty Wiggle and Beach Bang are just as salacious as the titles suggest; but only in an innocently naughty manner.
I can’t help thinking that this is a mysterious Soundtrack to Quentin’s unreleased film; Point Break II (Waikiki on Fire) or the likes; so choosing a Favourite Track has been very difficult; as while very few tracks stand out from the crowd, with the whole concept neatly blending from one track to another; but the version of Dick Dale’s Taco Wagon sounds great when cranked up to 10 in the car; as does Danger in The Way which would surely be the police chase in my imaginary movie!
But then again the title track Surfin’ The Apocalypse; which just may be the Soundtrack to 2020, has me shaking my shoulders and shuffling my feet every time I play it; so let’s go their for the RMHQ Favourite Track.
It’s not really clear why Chairmen of the Boards eventually went down this quirky musical route; all the Release says is that they kept adding self-penned Surf tracks to their set-list many moons ago during a residency at Grossman’s Tavern in Toronto; but on these dark, cold and lonely days at the tail end of 2020 I’m bloody glad they did!

Released November 27th 2020


Grainne Duffy VOODOO BLUES

Voodoo Blues


A Fully Paid Up Member of the ‘Lady Plays The Blues’ Clan.

Over time Ireland; both North and South has produced some of the world’s finest musicians, finest singers and finest song-writers that fit comfortably into most accepted genres of popular music.
So, if you didn’t know already, Blues Singer and guitarist extraordinaire, Grainne Loucia Duffy easily hits the criteria to stand up proud, side by side with all those who came before her.

Voodoo Blues is the 5th. album from the native of Co. Monaghan and surely consolidates her place in the Blues, Soul and Americana fields; not just in Europe but throughout the entire World.
A talented vocalist, a genuine guitar player and a substantial, eloquent song-writer she makes an indelible impression with this powerful new release.
Long time band member Paul Sherry not only adds some sparkling guitar but co-wrote all the songs with Grainne, whilst the album itself has been well produced by the multi-talented Troy Miller who adds his drumming skills to all ten cuts, as well as providing swirling Hammond Organ too.

The title track “Voodoo Blues” undoubtedly sets the tone with an up-tempo, stomping blues tune that also has a memorable chorus.
Slightly slower is “Mercy” with Miiller’s Hammond aiding the atmospheric backing behind the superb, wide-ranging, expressive vocals.
Another strong beat pumps “Blue Skies” with catchy guitar riffs, subtle organ fills and further evidence that the lyrics and chorus are instantly familiar.

You can clearly see just where Grainne and Paul Sherry have their strong US influences, no more so than the John Fogerty inspired “Roll It” which has a genuine foot-tapping Swampy beat that you don’t ever want to end. “No Matter What I Do” and “Don’t You Cry for Me” are the slower cuts that are no-where near token gestures, both could quite easily have been recorded in Muscle Shoals with full backing by the legendary Swampers themselves.
So, full credit to Grainne, Paul and Troy plus their very solid Bassist, Dale Davis.

Hard Rain” is the album closer maintaining the very high standard throughout a really excellent album, with more catchy chorus chants for you to pick up on, even on first play.
Tick Tok” and “Wrek It” are both up-front Blues, power chords with boogie guitar type songs that don’t let the side down.

However, my favourite song is the anthemic “Shine;” with another very positive sing-a-long chorus that will have you grinning from ear to ear. Fact is, close your eyes you could be transported to an outdoor festival in warmer climes with this Southern Rock crowd pleaser.

For those people who still think “Blues Music” is depressing and doom laden, then here is the album to reverse your previous judgement and perception.
Voodoo Blues just might be the album that finally opens your ears and eyes to the talented Grainne Duffy; as she delivers a splendid set of songs that not just lifts the listeners spirits, but confirms that the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Shaun Murphy, Teresa James et-al now have a new member of the ‘Lady Plays The Blues’ clan, and one who can clearly justify her place at the top table.

Released in UK on 15th. October 2020

Review : Jack Kidd – “Messin’ with the Kidd” on


Little Richard
Southern Child
Omnivore Recordings

The King of Rock & Roll Was the Forefather Of Alt. Country Too!

Those fine folks at Omnivore recordings sure have the ability to unearth some forgotten gems; often hidden away in Record Company vaults covered in dust and spiders.
As a for instance, who knew the self-proclaimed King of Rock and Roll recorded so many albums in the 1970’s and that one; this one ……. was what we have come to know as Alternative Country?
Apart from appearing on a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ compilation in 2005, SOUTHERN CHILD has been hidden from public view ever since it was recorded in 1972 as a follow up to King of Rock & Roll; but rEPRISE label executives didn’t know what to make of it; and I’m damn sure his legions of fans wouldn’t have either!
If you had accepted a lift from Marty McFly in his DeLorean that year and landed in 2020 (God forbid!!) you’d have discovered that what Little Richard was doing then; is actually now commonplace; in fact if I was to do a ‘blind tasting’ I swear 9 out of 10 music cats would think this was from Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed or St. Paul and the Broken Bones or their like; but ….. Hell’s Teeth music lovers; this is … and only can be Little Richard.
When he bellows “I was born in the Country and raised in the County!” at the start of California (I’m Comin’) there’s that instant thrill that you’re in the presence of someone really special.
This song in particular just oozes the smells of the swamps and roadhouses that line them; Little Richard just bleeds sleaze and sass in every line and stanza.
Track #2 will stagger his old school fans; as it’s a lot slower and based around an acoustic guitar; although the rather amorphous title, If You Pick Her Too Hard (She’ll Go Out of Tune) and the way he sings it, could easily be a double entendre.
I’ve listened to this as a ‘brand new album’ and you should too; otherwise you end up in a rabbit hole comparing and contrasting with things that don’t actually exist.
This was obviously a very brave change of direction from the Master; and one that backfired …….. but when I first heard the title track Southern Child and I Git a Little Lonely I genuinely and absent mindedly thought “I would love to see this guy live belting these out at SummerTyne Festival.”

But the whole album sounds so fresh; and often exciting too …. with the soul searching Ain’t No Telling and an early contender for Favourite Track status; Last Year’s Race Horse (Can’t Win This Year’s Race) which metaphorically touched places most other songs can’t for a man my age.
In fairness I could live without ever hearing Puppy Dog Song again (and that’s true of the 3 In The Name outtakes too; but that’s more than recompensed with by the addition of the Country Rock fantastique instrumental Sneak the Freak tagged on at the end.
For my actual Favourite track her I’ve been torn between In The Name (take #3) which sees Penneman pouring his heart out alongside some sublime slide guitar and a wailing harmonica; and becomes as harrowing and Soul searching as Country Music gets. Yet at the other end of the Love Song spectrum; Burning Up With Love is a right ybelter; and I’m going for the latter as it sounds as fresh and truly exciting as anything the young ‘uns in this category will release in the next 2 or 3 years; which is amazing when you consider that it’s nigh on half a century old and initially; wasn’t deemed good enough for release.
Once you get past the album cover; which is ‘of its time’ and very, very Little Richard; you are in for a right royal treat from the one time King of Rock and Roll who; apparantly was the forefather of Alt. Country too.

Released (yellow vinyl) November 27th 2020
Released (CD & Stream) December 5th 2020


Brad Cox
My Mind’s Projection

A Potpourri of Radio-Friendly Rootsy Familiarity.

On this, his second release Australian Brad Cox has expressed a desire to take his music “to the next level locally and internationally.”
With “My Mind’s Projection” he’s developed an accessible yet gritty sound which could help him do just that.
Opener “Hold Me Back” is a dobro and banjo Chris Stapletonesque prison ballad stomper, that’s not afraid to throw in the odd naughty swear word, and it places Cox firmly in the soulful loud-guitar-driven side of the Country spectrum.
“Drinking Season” a lively rocky tune with some impressive slide and lead breaks, treads well-worn lyrical territory and is aimed squarely at mainstream radio; but ultimately doesn’t really offer much new to Nu-Country’s normal tales of beer, summer, trucks and girls, girls, girls.
Track three “Short Lived Love” is one of a few tracks on the album that are very reminiscent of other tunes – in this case, the feel and tone which starts things off is very much in the mode of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”, before shifting into epic anthemic Nu-Country mode and back again.

Fellow countryman Adam Eckersley joins Brad on vocals on “Remedy”, with a largely spare arrangement that shows off both voices well in a swelling ballad that draws in instruments one at a time as the song builds into a Prince-flavoured grandiose love ballad.
Title track “My Mind’s Projection” develops from a mid-paced handclap opening, into a Memphis horn soul stomper and shares musical territory with the likes of Nathaniel Rateliff – a few of the tracks on the album also use horns and do it rather well.
As mentioned earlier, there are a few tracks that are quite reminiscent in part to other songs – “Wasted Time” has an acoustic guitar chord sequence running through it that is very Paul Kelly/Oasis (and several others) , it’s one of the less bombastic tunes on the album and is definitely one of the catchiest and a personal favourite for those reasons.
I dare anyone to listen to “Thought I Knew Love” and not see its clear musical kinship to Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” – from the rimshot snare to the organ swells, they’re clearly kissing cousins.
Lyrically, Cox isn’t in the Springsteen league though and generic tales of rambling, bars and loud guitars unfortunately eventually sound rather bland.
“Give Me Tonight” is more inoffensive, but largely unremarkable stadium singalong AOR.
“I Keep Driving” is a stock road and rambling life of a musician song – nicely performed and delivered as a chug-and-singalong stop-starter, but again it’s a path (pardon the parallel metaphor) that’s been well-travelled. The more intriguingly titled “Caught In a Noose by a Stranger” musically is a skulking, sinister swampy vocal and guitar tour-de-force, that although suffering from some cliched lyrical rhyming couplets, shows some glimpses of a darker poetic side that is most welcome.
“I Still Want More” is a brave title to end the album on, and in its mixture of Southern Soul horns and vocal restraint from hitting the big chorus until it’s really needed – it ties things up in a way that does Brad Cox a lot of favours. In mining the quieter, Southern Country-Soul vein his musical voice rings out more truly.
Finding the balance between popular appeal and maintaining a streak of rootsy uniqueness is a tricky one. On this album, there’s a lyrical naivete that doesn’t quite live up to the same level as the superb playing and vocals. Brad’s only a young man – on the basis of this release, with a few more years of heartbreak and developing his lyrical craft, he’s going to be one to watch out for.

Review by Nick Barber
Released November 6th 2020



Fred Hostetler
Fred’s Blue Chair Blues
Mukthiland Records

21st Century Deja-Blues.

I had something completely different and far more up-tempo in mind to review today; but woke up to a cold and grey November morning which just put me in the mind for some gloriously maudlin Back-Porch acoustic Blues …… now; where would I find such an album that could possibly fit such a mood?
Fred Hostetler’s Fred’s Blue Chair Blues is the right answer.
This has been sitting around for a couple of weeks now; but my easy going and jolly mood (eh????) has never got me past three tracks at a time ….. but today?
Before I discuss the songs here; I urge you to check out Fred’s bio ….. what a guy! He’s been around the music industry for eons; even adding backing vocals to one of my favourite Johnny Winter songs; plus he spent 15 years working on an ashram in Tamil Nadu, India!
Not the most prolific of recording artists under his own name; this is honest to goodness, red raw Country Blues recorded a Facebook ‘stream’ of his back catalogue during Lockdown #1 in his living room; and is only being released after a hearing a voice in a dream telling him to do so.
Wisely he opens with a startling interpretation of Bright Lights, Big City; sung as it was written, with all of the trapping we now associate it with stripped away; and all that is left is a man with a dream … and a guitar.
Everything else comes from his own imagination and pen.
Track #2 Hey You, Corporate Vandals sounds as authentic as anything you would hear on a Post War compilation featuring all those names we drop when we play Top Trumps with our favourite Olde Blues singers; but listen to Fred’s insightful and angry words and this song is as contemporary as anything Joe Bonamassa will release this year!
While not a contender for Favourite Track status; I just love the whole 8 minutes of Taming The Wolf; mostly because of Hostetler’s wheezy and wise spoken introduction, alongside a song that sounds like it has come from the Field Recordings; and man oh man ….. what about that primal guitar picking?
Just like his forefathers in Country Blues, the primitive recording process Hostetler uses is better than perfect for the earthiness in I’m a New Man and the ever so sad; Deep, Deep Well which features some of the coolest, yet scariest National Steel playing I’ve heard since I first discovered Stefan Grossman back in 1071.
For a Favourite Song it’s a toss up between the Ragtime shuffle of Salty Tears and the powerful What’s Ahead and What’s Behind which again; sounds like something from Alan Lomax’s Field Recordings that must have been found in a suitcase under a bed in a motel in Clarksdale. That is until you hear the story in the song; which although absolutely timeless; is none the less 2020 in a bloody and tarnished nutshell.
I’ve got a decent sized Blues collection covering nearly all of the bases; but for the life of me I can’t think of anyone in there who Fred Hostetler actually sounds like.
There are plenty he sits alongside; but I’m astounded that he has managed to hide his light under a bushel for so long …….. this has been such an exciting find and will be for you too.

Released November 13th 2020


Terra Spencer
Chasing Rabbits

Canadian Folk Songs that Flow With Grace and a Delicate Intimacy.

This is another album that nearly fell by the wayside; primarily because I had mis-filed it on my I-Phone; only for it to ‘pop up’ quite by accident one morning last week, on my constitutional stroll around the ‘hood.’
While I was actually expecting some loudish Country Rock; the starkly beautiful Melt took me by surprise that I actually stopped in my tracks. At first it was to find the album I wanted, but by the time I’d took my gloves off and was fiddling with the buttons; I was already smitten.
What a beautiful and pearlescent voice this young lady has; and the chill in this tale of lost love actually made me glow faster than a bowl of Ready Brek.
Coincidentally Terra uses the metaphor of a melting snowflake for the ‘warmth her lover’ showed her; which shows what an articulate writer Ms Spencer is.
Although my walk was meant to at quite a fast pace; this collection of delicate and languid stories was the perfect accompaniment; possibly because of the bright Autumnal sunshine and cold wind; or possibly because I was just in an old-romantic mood.
Normally with Folk Singers; and that’s undoubtedly what Terra Spencer is; I try to imagine what the songs will sound like stripped back to just an acoustic guitar when played live; but not this time.
As most readers know, I try not to read Press Releases too early; as I like to make my own mind up about the music; and I’d already decided Terra must be Canadian when I got home and read her bio; and she is; from Nova Scotia actually.
I don’t know why but Canadian singer-songwriters have a ‘certain something’ that other English speaking nations don’t ….. go figure.
While the bio says the songs are all written with a ‘Canadian Winter as a backdrop’; I can’t disagree; but to me there’s a sense of loneliness and longing that weaves their way through too; most noticeably on the intense and theatrical In The City; which is just waiting to be included in a sad Rom-Com; just before the couple ‘accidentally meet and get back together again’ IMHO.
At first the title track Chasing Rabbits sounds like charm personified; as Terra compares herself to her slightly faulty puppy dog; but listen two, three or more times and her words unravel like a stray thread on your favourite sweater and if you don’t then have tears in your eyes; you’re listening to the wrong LP!
It’s a brave songwriter who can pull off a song like Coyotes. I’m not going to spoil it for you; but the first time I heard it I couldn’t believe my ears as it actually sounds like a short ‘Thriller Story’ bordering on the Gothic; but I’ve come back to it several times in the last few days.
To some intents and purposes CHASING RABBITS is for playing on a long dark and preferably cold evening, snuggled up on the sofa with the lights turned down low and a flickering fire across the room; only then; like a good robust red wine; will you get the best out of Lunenburg Moon, Manitoba Maple and most importantly Training to Fly (which is another weepy).
No two songs are the same here; be that in setting or actual musical construction; but there’s a definite golden thread that holds them all together; which is best shown by the two songs that close the record and actually tie for the accolade of Favourite Song.
While I can only presume there’s at least a little bit of Terra’s own life in every song here; the words and story in Feels Like Home surely must be autobiographical?
Another song that I really and truly don’t want to spoil for you; but Terra Spencer really captures the loneliness someone can feel moving away from home to ‘live the dream’ in a way I’ve not heard for many years.
This is followed by Saigon; which could easily be the same young woman several years later; deeply in love … but is the magic and romance still there?
Who’s to say?
You’re left to make your own mind up.
Terra Spencer’s songs flow and grow with a grace that comes from her luscious and intricate arrangements; be that the occasional flourish of electric piano, a swooping cello or violin and when that trumpet makes an appearance the hair on the back of my neck stood on end.
These songs aren’t for small Folk Clubs, they are destined for Concert Halls with audiences sitting in awe of the talent on stage.

#I haven’t even mentioned that in her parallel life; Tera Spencer is an actual Funeral Director!

Released November 6th 2020



The Dark and the Water
Fresh Yo! Record Label

A Power-Pop Trio That Fully Rocks and Engages Too
GUMO is a band of Tuscany musicians: Alberto Serafni, Manuel Schicchi and Juri De Luca, who split their time between Italy and Texas,, and were the award winning backing band for Americana artist Vanessa Peters on three of her albums from 2006 through 2009 (credited to their former band name Ice Cream On Mondays.)

As a backing band they were spot-on, both tasteful and adventurous when needed. On their own, they’re all jangle pop with pounding drums, searing guitars, thick bass tones, and dry, under sung vocals that remind me sometimes of glam rockers T-Rex, other times of Scot’s pre-grunge band the Vaselines, and even Dinosaur Jr. all wrapped up with the wryness of the Velvet Underground.
This is fun stuff, indeed. Lead guitar melodies that’ll stick in your brain for days, along with smart poppy lyrics and sing-a-long choruses.
Their closest modern counterparts are probably that Philadelphia madman Jo Kusy and perhaps Scott McCaughey (Scott the Hoople, himself.)
GUMO isn’t as lo-fi as Kusy, or as prolific as McCaughey, but they share the same sense of whimsy and free for all rock ‘n’ roll spirit hard to come by nowadays.
Leave the heady trips for the “Americana” bands, this is fun rock to dance and shimmy fearlessly to all night long and then some—and lord knows we all need that right about now! Listen to those up and down guitar leads on their song “Alright,” a glam-rock rave-up if I ever heard one.
“Lord” is a down tempo twang-drone with marching snare and circular melody while “Stood Up Straight” slams relentlessly as it barrels past you like a New York subway train.
“Trying” kicks off with funky bass and guitar before the vocals slink in and the drums keep your feet moving. A toe-tapper of a song for sure!
All of these tunes are played hard and furious, precise and cool— if this is GUMO in the studio; they must be one helluva band live!
I’m trying to think of some criticism here but really have none. A great band is the sum of their parts, and GUMO’s parts fit together seamlessly. A power trio that fully rocks and engages its listeners, paying homage to their inspirations, while shooting for the stars.

Review courtesy The Legendary Roy Peak.

Released October 16th 2020



The Lost Notes
Lowlifes and High Times

West Coast Americana Straight Outta the English Midlands.

Five piece band, The Lost Notes hail from deepest Moseley in Birmingham, England; but judging from the harmonies and song structures on this, their second release, their hearts are torn between home and the Western and Southern states of America.
Opener “Pieces of a Star” sets the musical tone with twinkling guitar and high register harmonies that Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fans will lap up. “Holding on” then continues the West-Coast flavour with its pastoral imagery, shifting tempos and a very catchy melody, so much so you can almost smell the patchouli!
“All Born Free” with its “ba-ba-ba-da” Mary Travers-esque vocals sounds like it’s emerged from some lost 60’s vault of Laurel Canyon outtakes – glorious summery music, with some superb latin-flavoured guitar too. Things move into waltz time with “A Fool Once Told Me” which lyrically is less generic than the opening tracks and all the better for it, with some great quirky hat imagery (yes, really!) and nice melodic minor shifts too. There’s more jazzy Spanish guitar on “Done With the Waiting,” which marks the Lost Notes as musical soulmates of Californians Mapache.
“Still I Come” starts off with a brushed train beat and a gentle Country twang that wouldn’t be out of place hearing while driving in an open top down the California west-coast highway.
“I’ll Just Hold You” takes things down a gentle notch with its compassionate lyrics and three part harmonies, before a New Orleans marching beat leads into “I Got Time,” which uses different vocal parts to create effective dynamics.
“Glory Days” is almost opposite in tone to its Springsteen namesake, being a lightly melancholic nostalgic character song reflection.
Lucy Mills’ vocal is shown to good effect on the jazzier “Nobody’s Fool” which also shows off fine guitar work from the chaps in the band!
(the epk didn’t say who played what – sorry!)
There’s a serious message to end things in a joyous song “Goodbye Yesterday,” which is an eco-anthem which has its Marrakesh Express moments in feel and use of harmony for emphasis.
There are a couple of bonus tracks too – an acoustic remix of “All Born Free” and a piano remix of “I’ll Just Hold You,” both of which offer slightly mellower takes on earlier tracks – in the case of “I’ll Just Hold You”, the remix probably wouldn’t have slotted into the feel of the rest of the album, but as a standalone track is possibly the better of the two versions, especially in the way the piano adds extra poignancy to the sentiments of the song.
It’s clear to see why The Lost Notes are a popular live act on the Folk circuit – their versatility, dynamics, proficiency and energy is clear; the challenge for a good live band is to translate that sound and feel into recorded form – on “Lowlifes and High Times” the Lost Notes hit several peaks where their more ‘off the wall’ lyrics and ideas pair with their joyfully melancholic folkie Americana sound to create something that fits in amongst peers like the aforementioned Mapache, Fleet Foxes, The Nude Party and older soulmates like Fairport Convention, Beechwood Sparks and the aforementioned CSN&Y.
Forget the Laurel Canyon sound – this is the Balti Triangle sound….

Review by Nick Barber
Released 5th December 2020