The Music Mag: Unsigned UK Music News, Reviews & Promotion
Everything about CoCo and the Butterfields should make you get up, tap your foot and sing along with well crafted, deep, yet insanely fun lyrics. Sung beautifully by the pitch perfect violinist Dulcima Showan and silvery sweet tones of Tomas Twyman, the band is completed by “Handsome” Rob Wicks on banjo, Jamie Smith on beatbox and Micah Hyson on the double bass.
Guitar, violin, double bass, banjo and beatboxing mixed together in one kick ass band by the name of Coco and The Butterfields
When something clicks, it clicks. No matter how strange it might seem to have violin, banjo, guitar, double bass and beat boxing simultaneously in a song, it works and it’s unique. The sound is so unique the band have set claim to a new style by the title of fip fok – which is essentially a well crafted combination of folk, hip hop and R&B.
Their most popular song to date goes by the title of ‘Warriors’, which comes alongside a creatively constructed video. It is the vocals, beatboxing, bass, violin and general crazily unique sound that unless you are made of steel, should get that toe-a-tapping:
“For we are warriors and warriors are not afraid to die!”
Coco and the Butterfields formed back in 2011. The Canterbury based musicians have spent many days performing cover songs on the streets of Kent, as well as throwing in a few original tracks that have developed in to something special.
Having won Live & Unsigned in 2012, the fearsome fivesome went on from strength to strength, having headlined some cracking festivals along the way – including a leading unsigned festival in Rome and lots of local festivals including Lounge on the Farm in the UK.
Make sure to follow CoCo and the Butterfields (Facebook & Twitter). The amount they’ve accomplished in the short time they’ve been together shows their potential and when they hit the big time the whole nation won’t know what’s hit them.
Gumshen began back in the mid 2000s out of a garage in North Seatle under the name Menthol James. Since then they recorded an E.P in 2007, changed their name and gone from strength to strength and have recently released ‘Progtronica‘.
Guitarist Jan Ciganik escaped from Communist Czechoslovakia in the 80′s, found success in the 90′s Seattle grunge scene playing with the acclaimed band Ventilator produced by John Cale. Eventually he met up with drummer Dennis McCoy and others to form Menthol James. After a few line-up changes they were joined on bass by actor/musician Ron Hippe (broadway theatrical credits, Northern Exposure, Caspar Babypants with Chris Ballew).
Listen to “Not everyone of us” below:
Sharing similar styles to the likes of Franz Ferdinand and Phoenix, along with influences of the legendary Pink Floyd, Gumshen offer a polished sound. The title of their new album ‘Progtronica’ actually sums up the sounds pretty well: imagine a progressive electronic rock and you have Progtronica!
A 2Tone ska sound might seem like a strange choice in the summer of 1995 when Umbrella Bed first assembled. After all the 2Tone ska sound was shortlived around 15 years prior and the ‘third wave’ genre of ska creates a much edgier ska sound.
Thirdwave ska is seen as a ska wih a more punk/grunge influence and has moved the sound away from the original 2Tone pop roots. But the short led lifespan of the genre has left a lot of room to explore – enter Umbrella Bed.
Five full length releases, hundreds of shows and two European tours later, the band who formed almost 20 years ago have sold out shows in France, supported the likes of The Skatalities, The Specials, English Beat and many others.
Umbrella Bed established a solid reputation both nationally and internationally and released their first full length album in 1996 called ‘King Size’. They followed it up with ‘Monkey’s and Rivets’, ‘Last Band Standing’, ‘On Small Skank’ and ‘Go’ – the last of which coming in 2008.
Kadia’s original style is a take on acoustic and contemporary folk. The band was created by Chris Bailey, and along with Lee Cuff and David Hoyland, Kadia have been going strong since January 2013. The Bournemouth based folk trio also like to involve other musicians in their music such as Hannah Claridge, Amy Tedwin-Roberts, Glen Shepherd and Steve Beck.
The vision for the band is to create original folk inspired acoustic-guitar-based music with a contemporary twist, to share around the country at gigs and festivals, with a view to support local bands and nationally recognised acts.
The E.P opener ‘Beacon Fires’ is available to listen to above. It features a nice mix of Irish folk and modern acoustic, not to mention very catchy and well-thought out lyrics.
The band came together from different musical backgrounds and have meshed their ideas to form a really strong folk sound. The differences in background seems to spur Kadia on, especially in their songwriting – making sure that the individual eclecticism shines through.
Chris has drawn his influence from the sounds of the acoustic guitarists signed to the CandyRat label and has a latin/jazz background. Lee is a classically trained musician, also self-taught, who specialises in a number of stringed instruments, including cello and lute and favours the baroque era. David, is the percussion genius, is the most recent addition to the group and lends his experience on a variety of percussion instruments; Drums, cajon, tabla, bongo, djembe and other percussion.
Amelia Scalies is a charting Indie Singer Songwriter from Pennsylvania, USA. Her lyrics focus mainly on humanistic and universal themes and her passionate writing and performances have moved audiences much older than her. At only 14 years of age she has just released her debut album ‘I Should’ve Known’, which features 11 original tracks and a cover of My Chemical Romance’s ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’.
The album ranges from a country and contemporary vibe to an alternative rock and pop-punk feel. Sounding like a cross between a young Sheryl Crow, Amelia Lily and Avril Lavigne, the 14 year old has definitely found her voice. Amelia Scalies has already performed live in New York, Philadelpdia, Washington, Wilmighton and Baltimore.
Many of the tracks on the album showcase the songwriting ability that Amelia can offer. The track ‘Don’t Let Them Win’ deals with the issue of bullying and aims to be an anthem for children impacted by it. The song helps to encourage children to speak up, whilst instilling an uplifting message.
If you’re looking for a new and up-coming female artist with a bit of bite then look no further than Amelia Scales. What’s next for this young shining artist? We’re not sure, but we can’t wait to find out.
Country songwriter Heidi Howe has toured nationally, placed first in the WAMZ battle of the bands, played huge concert halls and pitched songs in Nashville, but now she’s about to release her new album ‘Be Good’, which is due in February 2014.
The list of names that Howe has opened for reads like a who’s who of alternative country music. She’s opened for the likes of Todd Snider, Jason Ringenberg, Paul Thorn, Stacey Earle, The Be Good Tanyas, Rosie Flores, Jerry Douglas, Billy Joe Shaver, Holly Williams, Kim Richey, Tim Krekel, The Wood Brothers, and Tommy Womack, to name a few.
The lead single from ‘Be Good’ is called ‘Kind of Crazy’. It’s a slow, melodic country number which can be listened to below:
Heidi Howe’s alternative country sound began by singing songs with her dad and perhaps a little surprisingly by taking part in her mum’s church choir. Having burst on to the music scene back in 1998 with her live performance of Bob Dylan’s ‘Buckets of Rain’, she immediately began gaining attention for having such a big voice wrapped up in an awfully small package.
Follow Heidi on her website, Twitter and Facebook pages.
After releasing her debut album ‘Nature of My Wrongs’ in 1999 Howe has toured nationally and released music up until 2007. Returning after a 6 year hiatus Howe will not disappoint fans of country with her powerful and melodic sound.
Formed in 2011 out of relationships built through years of involvement in the blossoming New Orelans music scene, The Plum Magnetic have emerged. Trent and Oliver met while playing in a local group called Eve’s Lucky Planet and over years of jams they developed a unique African, Reggae style that forms as a backbone of The Plum Magnetic’s style. Finally the band needed a bassist and Jon Solomon was a natural fit – with his musical sensitivity he helped to round the sound.
The aim of The Plum Magnetic is to blend elements of music from all over the world into a synergistic whole and through this genre-melding approach to both represent and promote a harmonious unity-through-diversity. The depth of emotion, melody, and structure of Indian Classical music; the ecstatic pulse and rich, repetitious, patterns of Africa; the manifold great American forms, including Jazz, Blues, Rock, Folk/Bluegrass, Fusion, and beyond; all of these are deftly interwoven to produce a sound that is broad in scope, rich with intent, and full of surprises.
Quick ska like instrumentals mixed with smooth silky vocals form The Plum Magnetic. With quite a modern East-London sound, which is very popular right now, they’ve definitely tapped in to a market that can be exploited.
The Delicious is a really nice instrumental track, but their best track from the EP is arguably ‘Sweet Confusion’. Ska, soul, reggae mixed with rock and pop, the track has a bit of a Talking Heads feel about it. Whether they’re your cup of tea or not, one thing’s for sure, the band offer a very diverse sound and are definitely one to watch in the up-coming New Orleans scene.
Introducing the soulful and blues-inspired New York artist Kevin Jenkins.
Having opened for the likes of Michael Jackson, The Police and BB King, Kevin has decided to trade his bass in for a microphone. ‘Step Inside’ is his first solo release; dipping his toes in to the beautifully muddy waters.
Overseen by the well-known New York soul artist Tomas Doncker and his label’True Groove’, jenkins, who’s career spans a mammoth 38 years must be delighted to be fronting ‘Step Inside’.
You can listen to the full album below::
Whether Kevin will be playing his music for tens of thousands of screaming fans as he has experienced before, or in a small jazz venue, one thing is for sure – everybody who listens will go home happy. His beautiful harmonys are something to behold and how it has took him this long to release a solo album is beyond me.
Stoney, born and raised in Sheffield, decided to relocate to Texas following a performance at the SXSW festival – stating a need for “sunshine and change”. He set up home and studio with a small community of quirky poet and painter friends in a creaky old house in Austin to work on new material.
Cut to the present day and Stoney is ready to release “More Than Animals”, a full-length album every bit as fearlessly eclectic as his previous work, albeit more sophisticated and with an altogether darker tone.
For those with knowledge of the UK underground music scene, The name Mark Stoney may already be a familiar one, for the distinctive songwriting talent of the critically acclaimed and somewhat enigmatic multi-instrumentalist has been held in high regard among many in the know on both sides of the Atlantic for some time now, and his long awaited return with new album “More Than Animals” demonstrates Stoney’s natural British pop sensibilities refined with profoundly intimate lyrics and soaring melodic arrangements that burst with passion, personality, and depth.
The lead music video for single ‘We Belonged’ is available to watch below. It is directed by Jeremy Ward and James Parker, who did an amazing job reflecting the music in a visually breathtaking piece:
Stoney won’t be small for very long. His move to the states is a brave one he will be breaking through any day. So tell your friends that you heard this magnificent musician first on The Music Mag.
Like what you hear? You can listen to even more of Check out Stoney’s work on Soundcloud.
Vonairs bring to you their unique spin on the house genre. Not only do Vonairs give you house, they install certain elements of other sub genres and implement them for your auditory amusement. A bit of dirty grime here, mixed with a bit of progressive electro there.
Vonairs are Petter Andersson (DJ PSON) and Elias Dahlgren (Dahlgren). They’re a newly formed Swedish duo include two men in their twenties.
Vonairs first met at music school EMP in Solna, north of Stockholm. Straight away they began producing music together when several people around them, as well as other musicians, noticed that they complimented each other perfectly.
Based in a studio in central Stockholm they now produce lots of innovative house music (most of which is within the genres big room, and progressive house). They’r still new and one to watch out for as they continue to mesh their styles in search of innovation. You can listen to more of Vonairs impressive take on house on their soundcloud and Reverbnation pages.
Be sure to follow the Swedish duo, who at this moment in time have some really catchy hooks and have created some great progressive house.