The Music Mag: Unsigned UK Music News, Reviews & Promotion
The Dealine Shakes music video for the song Sweeten the Deal, check it out:
Skunk Anansie are back! Their new album Black Traffic is due to be released very soon (check back for a full review) and we were lucky enough to be able to chat to Skin about what she’s been up to the new album!
Q: It’s been a long time coming, but you’re back. Are you excited for the launch of Black Traffic?
Skin: very excited, new tracks are going down really well with everyone and being on our own label has made it extra juicy!
Q: Since the band split in 2001, what have you been upto?
Skin: We all stayed busy doing music, i did a couple of solo albums, loads of DJ-ing which i still do and a bit of modeling, as well as a few collaborations that got me nominated for an Italian oscar.
Q: You supported some big names on your solo gigs… Who is your favourite musician you’ve ever toured with? And any funny tour stories?
Skin: I really liked touring with full on german band Rammstein, they put on a massive show that never gets old and are such lovely guys to hang out with.
Q: We’re very excited for Skunk Anansie to be back together. What’s changed musically since 2001?
Skin: I think our sound is our sound, it’s the root of what we do and is very strong but within that we can do whatever we want, there are limits and boundries that we push and play with esp on this album which is the most varied we’ve ever produced. The way we make music now is completely different, we all write together batting ideas around the room and in the studio the music is experimented with and constructed rather than played live.
Q: Can we expect to see you and the band at any major festivals next year?
Skin: Yes, we’re looking forward to a full festival season.
Big thanks to Skin for taking time our of her busy schedule to talk with us here at The Music Mag. We can’t wait for Black Traffic’s release in September.
Gumshen are recorded under the supervision of Rich Hinklin, who was part of the “Seattle Sound”, working under Jack Endino (helped w/ Nirvana, Soundgarden, Gits recordings) and now has been teaching audio engineering at Seattle Arts Institute for many years.
“well produced mix of modern indie music that wouldn’t be out of place in a trendy bar in Shoreditch.”
Gumshen began as Menthol James, a hard-rocking Seattle quartet who played several successful shows at the historic Rainbow club, and a well-received live performance on KBTC 91.3 FM. One year and a few demos later, the band became a trio and recorded the Menthol James EP, mixed by Glenn Lorbecki and mastered at Glenn Sound. This mid-2007 release was followed by positive reviews.
Watch Hammer and Nails:
And on to their new stuff: Hammer and Nails kicks off the album with a happy, uplifting vibe and that continues throughout ‘Everything what we recorded’. The simple foot tapping hip swinging riffs work alongside the singing masterfully. Think indie, mixed with a bit of blur style prog rock.
Their album is a well put together collaboration of happy indie party tunes, ranging from the uplifting ‘Hammer and Nails’ to the finale of ‘Say What You Want’. Everything what we recorded is a well produced mix of modern indie music that wouldn’t be out of place in a trendy bar in Shoreditch.
1. Hammer & Nails
2. Too Much Good Times
3. Jag It Up?
4. Gooch Machine
6. Every Drop of Rain
7. Say What You Want
Follow them on facebook here.
The Ill Funk Ensemble are a modern pop/soul/hip hop band from Albany, New York. They have just released their new album called ‘The Duality’.
“If you’re a fan of hip-hop, The Music Mag strongly recommends The Ill Funk Ensemble.”
Going strong since 2006 they have previously been described as “a kind of 21st century mash up of Kool & The Gang and The Isley Brothers.
Their music is smooth and refreshing. The way they mix samples in to tracks is very interesting such as a well known theme tune fits in to ‘Bringing the Heat’ perfectly.
The lyrics and the tone used in the vocals are not derogatory or powerful, but instead emotional and at times – pretty nice – this helps them fit in to an image really well and can see them doing well because of this. They really have created a good sound, which is modern and should prove to be pretty popular.
The Ill Funk Ensemble use a good mix of catchy lyrics (without overdoing the cheese), changes of pace in rapping, intelligent rhyming, and as said before some great samples mixed in along the way. ‘Different Day’ which features Michael Gaydusek is a very catchy number and will surely be one to help them gain more fans
Title track ‘The Duality’ is a little more aggressive and helps finish off the album in style. Not too many albums nowadays finish off with their title track, but it works well in this case. With a little more refining The Ill Funk Ensemble could be on your radios next month, they are up their with similar top artists in their genre and if they continue to make contacts and create a few more tracks featuring slightly well known singers they will explode on to the scene.
If you’re a fan of hip-hop, The Music Mag strongly recommends The Ill Funk Ensemble.
Follow them on facebook here.
Minor Sounds are a dark folk collectives from Brighton, UK featuring singer-songwriter Marina Stanich and producer Martin Zietek.
“(They) build up and deliver an enticing culmination of sounds, leaving the listener extremely satisfied.”
The album was recorded in living rooms in Brighton and a home studio in a small village near Warsaw. They sent music between themselves, recording and editing between 2009 and 2012 – showing what a truly amazing age we live in for producing music from home.
The title track of the album “The Humming” has received airplay on BBC Introducing, BBC 6 Music and been featured on Fat Cat Records Demo Compilation 2012. The track begins with a beautiful melodic guitar riff, followed by soft, gentle and soul piercing vocals.
Watch Minor Sounds on BBC Introducing:
The strength of Minor Sounds is definitely in their ability to create a chilled atmosphere in their music. The guitar riffs mixed with ambient noise create an extremely soothing vibe: this mixed with the soothing and emotional singing creates a really relaxing sound.
Don’t be fooled though, Minor Sounds aren’t just pure chill out, they also mix it up and go up tempo for tracks like ‘Everything You Need’ – which is a fairly simple, but catchy tune and really helps to keep the album fresh.
One thing that Minor Sounds boast is their ability to build up and deliver an enticing culmination of sounds, leaving the listener extremely satisfied.
Follow them on Facebook here.
Based out of Vancouver, Pigeon Park, fuse rock with blues, raggae, and funk.
Their sound mixes beats and funk with soulful rock singing, with inspiration comeing from a wide range of influences – creating their unique sound. During the past couple of years their career’s really taken off and they’ve played festivals in B.C as well as across Canada.
“A very impressive band, with a powerful lead singer. They have a big future.”
Pigeon Park’s self titled debut album is due for realse on August 31st, with their single ‘Lovelight’ having been released in April earlier this year. The self titled album contains songs ‘Lovelight’, ‘Figures’, ‘Only Us Fools’, ‘Hopeless’, ‘Statues of Feathers’, and ‘It’s Not That Likely’.
Lovelight really sets the tone for the album. Some funky catchy riffs, mixed with heavy rock inspired bass lines and drumming. The breakdown is funky and builds up beautifully and explodes in to the chorus with catchy lyrics like “lovelight illuminate the night, turn my darkness in to everlasting light”. The quality of ‘Lovelight’ really is very high and definitely up there with other bands in similar genres.
‘Figures’, the second track on the album, instantly shows another side to Pigeon Park. It’s interesting how they can go from heavy rock in one track to a slower, more melodic song, but yet they fuse together so beautifully. Influence of big rock names – Guns n Roses, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith – whilst not initially evident, are definitely there in the slick solos, the beautifully melodic singing and the way in which a single song tells a story.
The musical style varies from track to track ‘It’s Not That Likely’ is more of a raggae funk rock number, whilst ‘Statues of Feathers’ is a more poppy slow number. If there was ever an album to buy for a wide range of different musical styles blending together beautifully, this would be it.
Can’t recommend these guys enough: a very impressive band, with a powerful lead singer. They have a big future. Follow them on Facebook here.
Entertaining, energetic and eclectic: The Wandering Bards perform a unique blend of music called “Americana-Gypsy Funk”: a mix of blues, country and rock n’ roll. They’re set up to make you laugh, sing along and do a little jig at the same time; definite party tunes.
“I dare you to listen to The Wandering Bards and try not to dance – it’s just not possible”
From New York City down to the Jersey Shore, The Wandering Bards have graced many-a venue stage (Crossroads, The Saint, Banjo Jim’s) and including festivals such as The Black Potatoe and Union County Music Fest. They have also performed at private parties, cocktail hours and even libraries! They have been featured on the Internet radio channel HomeGrownRadioNJ.com. They won 1st Place in the Acoustic Category on OurStage.com and thus appeared in Relix magazine.
Whether or not they actually have Irish roots, they definitely take heavily from the Irish live music scene – fiddles, chello, tamberines, harmonica, and lots and lots of foot tapping and jigging – The Wandering Bards create an atmosphere at their live shows that every band should aspire to.
‘Party Hat’ is an album you can either put on in the background for some light entertainment, or one you can crank up and have one hell of a dance to.
Watch the’Party Hat’ promo:
With smooth melodies, this 4 song E.P/album contains the tracks ‘Party Hat’, ‘Wild Rovin’ Rose’, ‘I Believe in Elvis’, and ‘A Hazy Place’. The melodies are contagiously catchy, the singing smooth, and the music moving. I dare you to listen to The Wandering Bards and try not to dance – it’s just not possible.
The songs are only 99 cents each, a real bargain, we definitely suggest a listen and a purchase perchance. Check them out on Facebook here.
Cancer Research UK are running a competition where the winner can win a spot to play on the main stage at next year’s Nova Festival.
All you need to do is upload a video of you singing/playing in a shady area to http://www.madeintheshadeuk.com/enter/ before 10th September. Then a selection of judges will pick the winner.
It’s simple, ran by an amazing charity, and gives you the opportunity to win a festival slot. Win win!
Care to listen to something original and interesting? Allow me to introduce you to Vajra.
Formed by Annamaria Pinna, the lead singer is a child of a former monk – encouraged to learn about the world around her and question her assumptions. This lead her to believe there is divinity in creativity and through a condition called synesthesia she attaches colour and shapes to sound.
“Pleroma is a spiritual awakening in rock”
“Pleroma” was released on the Summer Solstice in June 2012 and includes appearances by Blake Fleming (ex-The Mars Volta) on drums, Doug Wright (The Dirty Pearls) on bass, and Will Dahl (ex-Harley’s War) on guitar.
The first note on the album creates a sense of dread, followed by near angelic vocals to ease the mood, so instantly you have no idea what to expect. Throughout the first song I pictured myself in bar reminiscent to the one in From Dusk Till Dawn’ – vampires, nudity, alcohol, fighting – you get the picture.
So the tone is set with the first track, but the album has a lot of complex layers to it. By the time ‘Inside The Flame’ comes around a real theme has been set.
Listen to ‘Inside The Flame’:
This track is reminiscent of Lacuna Coil in the feisty female vocals, mixed with heavy drumming and riffs. But there’s something different about Vajra – perhaps a spirituality coming through in her music, creating an ambient vibe alongside the rocky tone
Some of the synthetic drones can be a tiny bit similar, but once the singing and instruments are involved the tracks really come in to their own.
Vajra really have something unique. ‘Pleroma’ is a spiritual awakening in rock, providing sensual and soothing lyrics, deep and moody atmospheres, and some fine music. Expect to hear them on soundtracks in the very near future.
If you want to find out more about Vajra, visit their Facebook Page
Solo artist of the year at the Annual Los Angeles Music Awards, Willie Ames is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and banjo player from the sunny San Diego, California. The acoustic folk rock music he plays fits the San Diego setting perfectly.
Teaching oneself by ear is no easy feet, but it’s one Willie Ames mastered – as shown on Night Owl. Some tracks include vocals, whilst others are soothful or more rocking finger picking numbers.
It’s always said to put your best foot foward in many things, but especially in songwriting; this is no exception for Willie Ames with ‘Human Race’ being the case on Night Owl. The melodic, rhythmic picking and plucking of guitar strings create an ambient atmosphere, accompanied by some well produced vocals creates a catchy number to set the album off.
‘Night Owl’ features outstanding guitar work…each song delivers something unique.
Willie has won a number of awards so far in his solo career and I’m not surprised at all. A couple of his accalaids include: Best Male Performer in the eWorld Music Awards 2011, and National Solo Artist of the Year and performer in the Phoenix Music Awards 2011. If he continues in such strong fashion as Night Owl, more will be coming his way soon.
Watch Desert Run:
‘Night Owl’ features outstanding guitar work, easily followed melodies mixed with complex patterns, and each song delivers something unique; which can be extremely difficult. Some tracks, such as the featured ‘Night Owl’, contains singing and creates a haunting melody. The atmospheric singing can be seen as anything from slightly moody to light and melodic – it totally depends on what your preference is to his style.
Overall the album ‘Night Owl’ is a well produced album, portraying Willie Ames’ best attributes – his skills at finger picking, and contains a couple of stand out songs including ‘Desert Run’ and ‘Human Race’.
Find out more about Willie via his facebook page.