Hayley Ross MOVING ALL AROUND (EP)

Hayley Ross
Moving All Around (EP)
Barracuda Recordings

A Bright Young Artiste Not Locked Into Her Last Release.

Reviewing an EP of a mere three tracks isn’t really a fair way to give a considered opinion of an artist that I had not listened to previously; so before I heard the EP I made a point of listening to her last offering ‘The Weight Of Hope,’ which was certainly an album of ‘differing seasons,’ as she moved fairly effortlessly from Folk to Soul and some Rock too, with two or three really decent tracks and last but not least, a track of 50/50 French and English.
Versatile or what?
Although Hayley lives in Brighton and recorded her album in London she, like many other vocalists, has dipped into the styles of several female singers and I was interested to see what changes she has made since that album.
The title track is immediately on a totally different level to the album – a true Americana track, moody with big harmonic choruses and very catchy too – in my mind an absolute must for an opening track on a short EP. Definitely a step forward in terms of direction and possibly an indication of where Hayley sees her music going in the future.
Apparently, she has developed a real interest in photography from the American West; so that might be a clue (he says donning his Sherlock Holmes outfit).
‘All These Things’ is a much smoother and softer track and a bit dark and mysterious as she ponders ‘what is to become of us’.
The vagaries of a loving relationship and how emotions affect both parties to a differing degree abound.
The final track ‘Hope That I Am Wrong’ is practically an acoustic track, demonstrating the singer’s versatility as she reflects on life and ‘where she came from’.
A very pleasant ending to an all too short release.
In the current lockdown scenario the chances of seeing any live music gets smaller with each day and they would be even smaller with the distance between Brighton and the North East; but as and when (or if) she ever makes it to the far North I would certainly pay to see her.
Hayley Ross’s music has already been featured in ‘Orange Is The New Black’ and is a regular on BBC Radio 6, so having already released an album and EP in 202O, she is going the right way to ensure she doesn’t get forgotten.
Give this a whirl – I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

Review by ‘the original Rocking Magpie’ Mr Bill Redhead.

Released 9th November 2020
https://www.hayleyross.uk/

BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://hayleyross.tmstor.es/


Plants and Animals THE JUNGLE

Plants & Animals
The Jungle
Secret City

Another Montreal Band Comes to the Fore.

I’ve never been to Montreal, but if the city is as good as the bands that have broken through to the ‘Big Tim’e it must be a canny place to visit and certainly a special one for music lovers.
With that in mind, once the world is back closer to normality I may venture over, especially as my Dad did spend a few years in WW2 in Alberta on an RAF assignment, but that’s as close as any of the Redhead family has got to Montreal.
Our loss clearly.
Leonard Cohen, Arcade Fire, Stars, The Dears , Wolf Parade, The Stills – the list just goes on and on. An array of talent in an array of genres certainly gets the music lover drooling over their work.
Plants and Animals were formed back in 2008 and have produced several highly praiseworthy albums in the period since; and that has seen them get critical acclaim from several areas of the Music Press – a situation fully deserved by the trio of Warren Spicer, Nic Basque and Matthew Woody Woodley whose early releases even made it onto a couple of Awards lists.
THE JUNGLE, is an album of only 8 tracks; although that initially filled me with dread, as I expect to have tracks of over 5 or 6 minutes used as ‘fillers’ to pad out the set, but it’s certainly not the case with this bunch, mainly due to the excellent arrangements and production that have brought out the best from the trio.
Having felt that their last album ‘Waltzed In From The Rumbling’ had been their best; my opinion has now changed.
‘The Jungle’ May well be shorter in length and track numbers but it is a totally different concept and a fine addition to an excellent musical back catalogue.
First impressions of the opener The Jungle’ is very much along the lines of an Arcade Fire track, as the almost hypnotic instrumental leads into a softly sung track that is ideal as an album or a live gig entree, before moving on to the main course. The beat is infectious and sets their stall out for the following tracks.
‘Love That Boy’ deals with family life and love and especially the way that childhood memories still remain in the brain all those years later. Accompanied by an intriguing video this is a song that just floats along behind a superb vocal.
Almost trance like?
On ‘ House on Fire’ I can almost hear this being featured at an Arcade Fire gig; with the intricate mix of vocals and accompanying guitar/drums producing another smashing track. It’s amazing what a mere trio can produce on this album.
As you would expect from a Montreal band they include a very delightful (although on occasions deliberately out of tune?) song that is delivered partially in French, but my very vague recall of school from Grammar School couldn’t give you a true translation, but I do know it is about Queens and hearts being broken in a relationship.
Favourite track probably goes to ‘Sacrifice’, a vocal that could have been from Brandon Flowers with the drumming of Woody taking this through to a crescendo as it bemoans that ‘ I gave you the best years of my life’ but clearly to no avail.
I did toy with placing ‘Get My Mind’ into the favourite position but it only just loses out, despite being yet another very good and very listenable track.
The whole mood drops a few notches with ‘In Your Eyes’, probably the softest track here, but one that perfectly conveys the mood in an almost samba manner – ‘don’t give up and don’t stop now’ a plea to continue or re-kindle a possibly fractured relationship.
The eighth track ‘Bold,’ is appropriately titled as it completes what is a bold and successful transition from the previous albums and one which is a total success.
We need for you to be more bold’ – fair heart never won fair lady; as they say.
Was I surprised by this album? Absolutely.
Did I like the change from their last album? Absolutely
To me, the best they have produced and it deserves to succeed after they have tried such a challenging and different route to get here; from their past endeavours.
Another Montreal band moves up the Canadian ladder – but how many are there waiting to get on the bottom rung?

Review by Billy Redhead.

Released October 23rd 2020
https://plantsandanimals.ca/

BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://www.secretcityrecords.com/shop/the-jungle/

Slow Readers Club 91 DAYS IN ISOLATION

Slow Readers Club
91 DAYS IN ISOLATION
SRC Records

In Isolation But Hopefully Not For Too Long More.

I always find it curious that some bands become extremely popular within a certain area or region, while very few have even heard of them a few miles along the motorway, in the next big town/city.
Weirdly,The Slow Readers Club seem to fall neatly into that category to a degree.
I am reliably informed that ‘Sold out’ notices have appeared for ages, whenever they play in the Manchester area; but despite some absolutely brilliant promo videos they have not matched that adulation elsewhere; or even certain sections of the national music press, even though they have released a succession of top notch albums/ videos; leaving me in a suitably perplexed corner.
After hearing them a couple of years ago I watched carefully for their inevitable (or so I thought) headline tour, only to be disappointed when they were not scheduled to do the  NE only for it to be a double whammy – their plans were further blown apart by COVID-19!
Having grabbed the Sage 2 tickets on the day of the initial release these will now have had their first birthday by the time they set foot on the stage at a venue that will be the perfect fit for them with the excellent acoustics at the venue. Seeing an act live is to me the best way to fully judge a band/artist. Many have failed that test at the first hurdle but I am sure SRC will not suffer that ignominy.
Their latest release on SRC Records is a definite ‘original’ in that they have produced an album written by the various band members via Zoom meetings etc. during the pandemic – surely the only band to do so as far as I am aware – and not only is that an achievement in itself, but it is very close to the standard of those already released by the band.
In the same was as Brandon Flowers grabs your attention at Killers gigs, Aaron Starkie does exactly the same thing for SRC with a voice absolutely made to be the lead singer of this type of Indie band. He can drift from a perfect falsetto to a low level on both the fast and slow tracks of all their albums. 
‘91 Days In Isolation’ is an 8 track album that delivers what I refer to as typical SRC tracks with vocals, lyrics and production dovetailing to give the listener a really enjoyable experience from the dynamic opener ‘Barricades’ with Starkie in best Dave Gahan style I.E ‘another headline, another sorry scene.’
‘Everything I Own’ sees Aaron at ease in his best falsetto style, similar to the style of EE that is so popular and in vogue, but in an effortless style to provide smashing catchy numbers. This is a band that have come even more close knit despite being more apart over the months.
What I did enjoy was the fact that the slower numbers are handled equally like the more upbeat tracks with ‘Lost Summer’, the perfect example before the guitar opening to ‘The Greatest Escape’ brings in the Favourite Track of the set as the haunting guitar is matched by the vocals, driving on to a finale where I can see Aaron out front getting audience participation at its finest.
The band have established a formula over the last 5 or 6 years with which they are so comfortable that this is a very tight knit outfit knowing exactly what suits their progressive style and their fans.
Every track is worthy of inclusion on this album and that’s a credit to their individual writing abilities, the excellent backing to match the front man and their ambition to succeed and bring some happiness at a very unusual time.
The final track ‘Like I Wanted To’ eases in with a gentle piano solo and is possibly the most comfortable that I have heard them on such a slow entree, only for them to blow that apart as they reach a crescendo involving even more soothing strings.
Earlier albums ‘Cavalcade’ and ‘Build A Tower’ have set a standard that is certainly not lowered by this album and that is to be applauded as it can’t have been easy to do what they have done in these days of isolation and lockdown.
Roll on March 2021 when they may actually appear in front of me at The Sage – fingers crossed etc. but nought would surprise me anymore after the last few months.
Live music will be back……ASAP ….. hopefully.

Review: Bill Redhead
Released October 23rd 2020

https://www.theslowreadersclub.co.uk/

BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://www.theslowreadersclub.co.uk/store



Tom Joshua UNDERGROWTH (E.P)

Tom Joshua
Undergrowth (EP)
A Modern Way

Steel River Delivers Another Set of Gems.

I recently heard a very interesting discussion about the effects of lockdown on artists that had just made it onto the ‘middle rungs of the ladder’ prior to March.
Interesting, it certainly was; but my thoughts and my heart too, went out to those artists who need someone to buy them a ladder from B&Q, just so they can try to get their foot on the bottom rung!
Surely all musicians are in the same boat; although to differing degrees.
The absence of live music gigs means that those trying to make a mark must be finding it really tough; and this must apply to acts like Tom Joshua more than most, with the almost inevitable loss of his Hit The North Festival appearance – a real shame because this EP is an absolute little gem to my ears.
I knew little about him apart from the release of a single that was very well received in terms of ‘hits,’ but after hearing this beauty he would definitely be on my ‘one to watch’ list.
The ‘Undergrowth’ video certainly comes into the odd category but so do most music videos these days to my old eyes. It seems as though the more unusual the better BUT this backed by a great vocal and sadly, that is not always the case.
He has a voice very much along the lines of Everything Everything offerings, a sort of falsetto that is ideally suited to his words.
Apparently, it is based on a rather (odd) dream Tom had and it is his Teesside friends that play the equally odd roles in the nocturnal setting.
The middle verse is the one that will get fans up and bouncing – 100% guaranteed.
‘Cinema’ is a very smooth opening track dealing with the singer describing himself to be
born to imagine things greater than himself
with his love of the cinema and the ‘score that took his heart’.
This would not be out of place on a album by a lot of the current fashionable singer/songwriters.
An altogether cracking little number.
‘Knock On A Hollow’ is about a row of deserted shops in Tom’s home town of Eaglescliffe, above which he was living and is probably the toe tapper of the EP.
It moves along at an upbeat level and for me, it would be the last track on a live set or the encore (if these still take place).
 ‘This Is Still Life’, brings this set to a great finale after opening with a piano that could be taken straight from Bruce Hornsby (before he became a bit more way out and wacky).
His voice and the production by Cam Blackwood (BSP and George Ezra) dovetail beautifully.
The EP was produced at the Voltaire Studio in London and it is certainly easy to see the influences of Big Thief etc. but overall, this is a Tom Joshua offering and he provides a great performance throughout.
Let me know when you hit Newcastle Tom – I will be in that queue.

Review by Bill Redhead

Released October 9th 2020
http://www.tomjoshua.com/

The Ska Librarian’s 2 TONE TIME MACHINE

The Ska Librarian’s
2 TONE TIME MACHINE
Do The Dog

A Pocket History of Ska & 2 Tone in the Hellzapopin’ 1980’s

Our friend Kevin at DO THE DOG Skazine has done it again; looking back into his ‘back pages’ from the 1980’s when he ran RUDE Skazine.
Sooner or later one of us will win the lottery and these A5 magazines will be published as an actual book; but until then we we go with what we have, four magazines split covering two years each.
It’s fun looking back to see bands that became Household Names getting their first ever mentions in print.
Starting in 1979 it’s an absolute hoot as we start with the news that 2 Tone Records have already had 6 Top 20 singles and a Top 20 album …….. remember those exciting days; waiting for then watching Top Of The Pops hoping that one of our favourite bands would appear?
Madness’s debut album is described as ‘literally jaw dropping in its excellence’ …….. which history proves the writer correct, of course.
Then there is ‘a London trio injecting their fab songs with reggae and 2 Tone rhythms’ ….. who could that possibly be?
The Police; back in the days when they were cool.
For me it wasn’t easy reading in order; as band names are all in bold type which meant I kept jumping from page to page, reading about the new Bodysnatchers single (which I bought and cherished) then two paragraphs about Prince Buster, nearly missing the news that Birmingham band Dexy’s Midnight Runners were on the verge of signing for 2 Tone!
Baring in mind this was 40 years ago, I’d forgot how exciting this all was, especially remembering acts like Arthur Kay and Mark Foggo’s Secret Meeting (again) for the very first time.
Oh; if you were surprised at seeing The Police included; I couldn’t help but giggle when I read about an Australian band and their ‘self-penned Ska Tunes which have been a mainstay of their live act.’
Who could that be?
INXS of course – really!

1981-83 saw the first cracks appear in our nascent Ska and 2 Tone ‘movement’; as Madness are still top of the charts and the Dance Craze film comes out; but after The Specials start the year well they then split and beget Fun Boy Three and eventually The Special AKA.
Thankfully Bad Manners, The Selector, The Police and new boys The Beat are still ‘flying the flag’ but RUDE Skazine was now concentrating on Ska bands in the urban towns around the country and Europe; with nods to The Riffs, Belle Stars, Dixo Wankers (Holland), Geier Sturzflug (Germany), Duck Soup (Denmark) and American outfits Blue Riddim Band, The Targets and Fishbone!
By 1984/85 British Ska and 2 Tone was on the wain to some degree, although Liverpool’s The Farm and following the Beat splitting up three members founded a band called Fine Young Cannibals come out of nowhere; but ‘our music certainly appeared to be on the rise everywhere else.
Again; I got a helluva buzz re-reading about a Bim Skala Bim and ‘cool new band from California’ called Camper Van Beethoven …… whatever happened to them?
As 2 Tone and Ska was no longer dominating the UK Charts; by 1987/88 The magazine had now evolved into what we now know as Do The Dog Skazine; concentrating the the shadows of the industry; which is why it is now essential reading.
Where else where/are you going to read about La Ppisch, Korroskada, El Bosso & Die Ping Pongs, Los Intocables, The Donkey Show alongside Madness, Ranking Roger, The Toasters and the ubiquitous Bad Manners?
It’s been a hoot and a blast re-living my musical youth; and there’s been surprises on every page ………. none more so than on page #4 of the 1981 issue.
Tucked away between things about Chicago’s Heavy Manners new 7″ and an emerging band from Sydney called The Allniters is a note about young Kevin’s “Favourite new Ska song called Love On The Run, an insanely catchy earworm of a sing along 2 Tone Ska/Pop track from an up and coming NYC pop vocalist called ………. Madonna!
Yep ……… ‘that’ Madonna!
OK I doubt they will ever unearth another Madonna; but looking back to the days of RUDE Skazine will hopefully make you appreciate Do The Dog even more.

OUT NOW!
https://www.facebook.com/dothedogmusic/



Bradford LIKE WATER (Single)

Bradford
Like Water
Republic of Music

Morrisey’s Prediction Finally Comes to Fruition …… 30 Years Later!

When I saw the band’s name, Bradford on the review request I tried to recall if I had seen them way back when; but as I tended to turn up only to see the headliners back then, they may well have been on the bill without me even realising.
It was 30 years ago that Morrissey came out with his ‘the band to blaze a trail in English indie music’ prediction – said band being Bradford, a Blackburn skinhead outfit. Released in 1990 and backed up with support slots for Joe Strummer and Sugarcubes surely stardom loomed.
The best laid plans etc….
Bradford found themselves swamped by ‘Madchester’ and lost their label in 1991.
History lesson over – now the good part.
After the re-release of their album, Bradford hit the studio again and an album is planned (all being well) for early 2021 with this track ‘Like Water’ a ‘starter for ten’ to get fans on board again.
It’s a catchy little track delivered by a band that seem to have slotted back into their previous regime very easily. The track mirroring their own experience ‘as you pour water into the ground it just disappears quickly’ in the same way that the hopes and dreams of Bradford disappeared.
A guitar based funky song that is certainly evidence that their song writing ability hasn’t disappeared like water – a very catchy number a la The Coral dealing with the locals ‘shouting about their medication’ in a comment equally applicable to 2020 or 1990.
Enough to make their 2021 album something to look forward to but with ‘better luck next time’.

Review courtesy The Original ‘Rocking Magpie’ Bill Redhead.
https://www.facebook.com/BradfordTheBand/photos

The Neptunas MERMAID A GO GO

The Neptunas
Mermaid A Go Go
Altered State of Reverb

A ‘Happy Pill’ And a Glorious Musical Antidote for 2020.

I’m pretty sure I know the RMHQ demographic; and firmly believe them to be of an age when music was meant to fun; and not necessarily ‘worthy’ or ‘cerebral’; which obviously has a big place in my personal collection; but come on kids ……. and, if nothing else ….. we all need a ‘Happy Pill’ as an antidote for this Musical Annus Horribilus, don’t we?

Well; we have just that here in the third album from The Neptunas.
Imagine, if you will a day when you were nonchalantly flicking through the racks of your local Record Store (as such things are for life and not just RSD!) and you stumbled on the Archies inspired artwork on the cover.
You’d pick it up.
Right?
When you see that the first track is called Billy The Squid Water Pistol, who among couldn’t resist asking the shop assistant to play a couple of tracks?
Well; Billy The Squid is a surf inspired Ventures meets The Shadows instrumental of Uber-Cool proportions my friend!
If you still needed convincing to part with your pocket money; then the second track Secret of the Sea, continues with that 60’s kitsch theme only now we get to hear Leslita Neptuna sexy vocals on Secret of The Sea; and I know a sexy voice when I hear it! If these two tracks alone don’t make you want to hear the whole album and become an honorary Mermaid; I’m wasting my time here.
While I don’t want to do the Neptunas or their producer, Los Straightjackets’ Danny Amis’ production a disservice; there’s a distinct ‘one take’ lo-fi feel to each track; but that’s a good thing ……… it captures the ‘magic’ and excitement in every groove on Shark Tooth Necklace and the dancetastic title track Mermaid A Go Go and by the time you get to the two ‘Bonus Tracks’ Neptuna Car Wash and Hey Jimmy Freak you will be Shimmying and doing The Mash as if you are dancing with The Fonz in Al’s Diner.
By the way; it takes years of hard toil on the road to make the recording process ‘sound’ as simple and easy as this.
My only criticism is that this should have been released way back in May or June so the likes of Undersea Grand Prix, The Abyss and Nancy Drew’s Wetsuit could have been the soundtrack to our Summer ……. God knows we needed some smiles.
There are two left of centre covers here; The Kinks’ ‘Til The End of the Day which takes it back to it’s grungy beginnings and; a personal favourite of mine from my childhood; The Lonely Bull, which actually shows what clever musicians the three Neptunas are.
Selecting a single song from all of these potential 45’s is never going to be easy; but re-living my teenage years on School’s a Drag has to be a contender; as does Lord Jim and Sorority Stomp, which somehow both have an X-Ray Spex meets CBGB’s era Blondie feel about them; and I guess when played live are both revved up another 50mph.
Which all brings me to Laura Bethita’s sexy vocals again; if you have as vivid imagination as me you’d hope she could talk in French to you ……. well she goes one better; she actually sings in French! Yep; Poupee de Cire Poupee de Son sounds just like a French Kiss set to music. I have no idea what she’s singing about, and don’t even care …… What’s not to like; it’s now my Favourite Song of Lockdown.

Maybe there’s a whole political subtext here that I’ve missed; but I’m taking it all at face value and Mermaid A Go Go has been a fun filled blast from start to finish, and works just as well blasting out of the tinny speakers in my kitchen as does with the windows down in the car on a sunny day ……… and don’t get me started about the potential for a soundtrack to a beer fueled BBQ full of my/our hip friends!

Released September 25th 2020
https://www.neptunas.com/
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://alteredstateofreverb.com/product/583105


Too Many Crooks HUNG, DRAWN and QUARTERED

Too Many Crooks
HUNG, DRAWN and QUARTERED
TMC Records

Grown Up Indie-Infused Ska Full of Naughty Rhythms.

Although there was no accompanying letter or Press Release I knew, immediately who Too Many Crooks were when I opened the envelope containing Brighton and Hove’s finest Ska Band’s latest album.

Man; this is a ‘blast from the metaphorical past’!

Somewhere in a sealed box is a copy of their Here Today, Gone Tomorrow album which I bought from Do The Dog fanzine in one of their 5 albums for a tenner deal, way back when (and I’m sure they featured on a couple of fabulous VA albums too).

Anyways, it’s 2020 now and have these rapscallions stood the test of time?

Of course they have!

Opener, The Great Pretender oozes punchy Specialsesque quality in every groove; especially Marlon Johnson’s vocals which sound like a dangerous mixture of Terry Hall and Phil Daniels’ on a dark tale of lost love.

It obviously shouldn’t come as a surprise that after nigh on twenty years, Too Many Crooks no longer write those bouncy danceable tunes of yore; they and we are all grown up now; so the subject matter is generally a whole lot more mature and certainly more articulate.

While I don’t know the back-story to Sentinel (dedicated to Brian Fish) and written by TMC trumpetist Tony Fish, a cursory listen to the melody and maudlin trumpet solos will tell you that this is a ‘serious song’ and it is as beautiful as it’s serious, when you listen carefully.

This is Grown Up Ska; in the way that both Madness and The Specials are releasing these days; Son Of a Gun, Jekyll & Hyde and even the rambunctious What Am I Here For wouldn’t have made sense to any of us twenty years ago …… but today, I get it.

Probably, because three different singers are involved, there’s a whole lot going on here; as you’d hope and expect from a band with their track record over the years; of course there’s plenty of naughty Ska rhythms here; but there’s a rusty Punky edge to Lion and Blow It All Away and the dancetastic Ifs & Buts & Maybes sounds like something The Toy Dolls should have written; but didn’t have the actual melody.

Because of the diversity on offer, selecting a Favourite Track hasn’t been easy; at first Dragon King, with Alan Perry crooning his soul out on a New Wave belter had my toes tapping and an asterisk next to it on my spreadsheet; then a couple of days later in the car, Dave Cook’s flat vocals on Skatastic Nowhere 2 Run grabbed my attention; but I also keep getting drawn back to Marlon Johnson (and Lynn Stenning) on the slightly spooky House on The Hill; which sounds like it should be on a Scooby Doo soundtrack; so that’s where the hammer falls ……. House On The Hill; and if you are a radio DJ, it’s the most ‘radio friendly’ song here.

Sadly most people who claim to be ‘Ska fans;’ probably only ever got to see Madness on their Bi-Annual Xmas tours, or ropy covers bands belting out the same dozen hit singles for no cover charge; and/or listen to Madness’s Greatest Hits on Spotify; and they are missing so, so much that is still alive and well in Skaville from bands like Too Many Crooks.

Released September 04 2020

https://www.facebook.com/TooManyCrooks/
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://toomanycrooks.bandcamp.com/merch/hung-drawn-and-quartered-limited-edition-cd?fbclid=IwAR2RX7X_Q7QxpICIa8buRjmIh2MAOqkVeD714PnLbVuADt2oyFYBpjvp34k


Georgie AT HOME

Georgie
At Home
Soul Kitchen Records

Out of Personal Disappointment Comes an Absolute Triumph

I have always had a penchant for female singers/songwriters going back to my youth in the 1960’s; where I can just about remember seeing the likes of Dusty Springfield, Julie Driscoll etc.; so an offer to review an album by ‘someone new’ was a bit of a challenge and, as it turned out, a bit of a delight.

It was only later that I realised I realised that I had actually caught some of Georgia’s support act on a Lighthouse Family Tour, just before lockdown hit the music industry and live gigs so disastrously. Because of that, I had actually intended to looking her up on the internet so this offer was a smashing bonus.

Although only 8 tracks long, the album does give me the chance to hear it right through a couple of times on my morning walk (my usual listening routine) and this young lady from Mansfield caught my attention almost immediately.

She wrote 7 of the tracks with the odd one out being ‘Passing Kites’ (Eg White) on an album recorded under the Soul Kitchen label (Jake Bugg’s management company btw) at her own home studio and it seems as though the lockdown and a personal upset turned out to be the catalyst for this album.

Although a great fan of the likes of Phoebe Bridges there are times where the ‘sad’ songs are so intense that the enjoyment of the album is lost in trying to decipher the lyrics and the stories behind them. At Home (to me) is more like the early Tina Dico album ‘In The Red’ with the tracks presenting a story but in a more thoughtful and less doleful manner.

Track 1 – ‘Company’ is a smashing opener with Georgie extolling the virtues of ‘days that don’t get much better so let’s enjoy them together while we are talking’.
The slow guitar ending is just the way to compliment the song.
Track 2 – ‘Simple Things’ is delivered in an Adele ‘style’ and if it had been recorded by her, I have no doubt this would be a massive hit.
I’m about simple things’ that are only pertinent or important or even understood by the couple in this relationship.
The piano offers just the right backing to an excellent track.
Track 3  ‘ Unrequited Love’ is much more up tempo and again, is a great song about feelings generally and within a relationship in particular.
Was the love unrequited and why did he only tell her ‘when the lights went up’.
She waits for the response….
Track 4 – ‘Rules We Broke’ is a real brassy number and is the album toe tapper with a guitar and drums backing to emphasise her powerful voice. Smashing.
Track 5 – ‘Chasing Kites’ is the Eg White contribution and that would not have been out of place on a sixties Dusty album.
A great mixture of being catchy and tuneful.
Track 6 – ‘Now We’re Lonely is a plea towards a relationship that is doomed to failure with ‘too many flaws’ even though she is is ready for (hopefully) a different response but as she mentioned, it was always doomed ….. leaving her lonely.
Track 7 – ‘Me and You Only’ has the feel of a C & W (or should it be Americana) tune with the theme of relationships continuing as a couple try to talk only to get the feeling this is a one-sided pairing.
Delivered like a far more seasoned performer, this would have an audience waiting quietly as the song developers.
Track 8 – ‘Blue Waters’ brings the 30 minute album to an end and has a distinct gospel feel to it; and is definitely not the sort of last track we often encounter – one just tagged in!
This is a finale fading away from a brass section to the rousing climax.

I wouldn’t normally review each track but with only 8 I hope you feel it’s acceptable and it was my way of trying to highlight what I feel is one of the best female singer albums I have heard so far on 2020.
It is so sad that Georgie is not having the chance to be playing this in intimate venues or as support to a more established act due to the closure if our music venues.
Well done – out of personal disappointment has come a triumph.

She handles the various genres well, but I must admit I would love to hear her try some more upbeat type of songs to let her voice be shown to its full range.

Released 7th August 2020
https://www.facebook.com/officialgeorgie

Review courtesy Bill Redhead.

The Supreme Art of Nothing SO THIS IS HOW IT GOES.

The Supreme Art Of Nothing
So This Is How It Goes.
Whackshack Recordings

It’s Indie Rock Jim; But Not As We Know It.

A couple of weeks ago I switched on the radio to a Sports Channel and when the name Pele was mentioned I presumed the conversation would be about the great Brazilian footballer – how wrong I was!
The strong Scouse accent had me struggling to put a name to it but when it drifted towards references to a favourite track of John Peel, ‘Does This Train Stop On Merseyside’ I realised it was Ian Prowse, founding member of Beat Group Pele way back in the late 1980’s.
The tenuous link to this review, is the violin playing of Nico (Crutwell-Jones) who appeared in that wonderful band too; and now, alongside Andi Crutwell-Jones forms The Supreme Art Of Nothing.
A band with a front-line violin player is definitely not something you would expect to see in the current plethora of guitar or hi-fi electronic wizardry bands; so I was keen to see how it compares.
Listening to an album two or three times gives you a proper feel for both the music and the artists involved, although not necessarily the ‘genre’ (a word I dread) and this is no different – see later for my eventual decision.
On the opener ‘So This Is How It Goes’ the violin hits you smack in the chops, before Andi comes in to equally dramatic effect on a track that fair buzzes along to set the stall for the the album, but immediately, its back (to my ear) to the heyday of Pele with ‘March Of The Living,’ with a more subdued feeling to ‘doing it all for love’ with ‘everybody getting high on zombie chemicals’.
A cry to be back in the 90’s – possibly?
Track #3 ‘Backpack’ could find itself classed as Americana with that violin and voice combination of the Crutwells finding the listener in a track that would not be out of place in a modern C&W festival.
This was the first track where I appreciated what the duo offered together on the album.
‘Hey Lover’, is the sort of track that has given Bruce Springsteen a very cool career, and bounces along although it possibly needed a more gruff vocal to get its full effect, but certainly a singalong offering at a gig – the feet and shoulders will all be moving with this one too.
You are then brought down to a much softer level with an excellent girl/boy track as ‘Lord you never show your face’ – with Nico carrying this track along with a superb mid track ‘fiddle’ solo.
Is it possible to have a popular album (in terms of sales) with a violin led band?
It is certainly possible to have a popular album based on tracks such as ‘How Dark Is Your Night;’ but personally, it’s nice to hear a release that isn’t purely down to guitar led riffs etc.
‘Monsters’ for me is the standout track based on the vocals and the contribution of the band – one that is far more on the mark for the current music scene both vocally and lyrically, but I admit I only came to that conclusion on the third hearing of the album.
Nico stars with her vocals on ‘Deep’, the track that I initially preferred to any other as it’s a lovely song that just glides along before the band all come in to compliment another excellent set of lyrics.
I like to find what I refer to as a tap along track and on here it’s another ‘religious’ effort on ‘My Life Crisis’ with God getting a regular mention again – maybe it genuinely is their mid life crisis!
None of the 12 tracks are ‘fillers’ that often seem to pad out many albums of more than 10 tracks. but maybe that’s just my age adding to my critical nature and if it is, I apologise to anyone offended!
Andi and Nico bounce off each other vocally (in a nice way) despite their very different musical backgrounds on a record that I am going to slot into the Indie Rock/Folk genre …… and again, I suspect this will be disputed by plenty of listeners, but life is too short to argue.
Going back to the opening paragraphs; I’m going to use a football related metaphor; so SO THIS IS HOW IT GOES wouldn’t make it into the Brazilian side that Pele graced way back when, but it certainly would get into many of the current Brazilian sides.
I am still listening to this as I finish the review and guess what – ‘March Of The Living’ may be the best track but……..In true Georgie language – all in all, this is a canny album.

Released July 3rd 2020
https://m.facebook.com/tsaonmusic/
Review courtesy the Original ‘Rocking Magpie’ Bill Redhead.