The Emerald Isle of Ireland has always been home to sensational rock musicians, and in my humble (not so humble) opinion, James Crichton’s guitar skills in his latest project Rock JLC puts him up there with the Best of them. Compared to likes of Thin Lizzy, Skid Row, Therapy? And of course, The Undertones, James Crichton has all that they exude and more. There’s something uniquely succinct about Crichton’s latest single Another Way. The contrast between the vocals and the relentless soaring guitar riffs that just never let up is astounding. His vocal range bore a sweet reminiscence to more pensive vocalists such as Thom Yorke (Radiohead) and Sigur Ros. When those sweet high notes hit over a blend of classical rock guitar it’s utter aural alchemy that any Rock fan will appreciate.
You can check out the official music video to Another Way via the Facebook link below, I’d make sure you have the lights on though. I’m certainly going to be having nightmares after watching that delightfully macabre feature.
It is easy to wonder if the spirit of rock and roll hasn’t got a bit lost as modern bands try to out technical each other, out volume each other, to be tougher, harder, more dangerous than each other. It seems the more they try the further away from rock and roll they get. Chuck Berry isn’t an icon because he was loud or unnecessarily detailed in his approach, he is an icon because he was the coolest cat on the block. That says more about rock and roll than any wall of Marshall amps or 20 minute drum solo.
Stolen Thunder understand this all too well. Picture the scene. The club is full, the band is in full flight and the night is young and full of potential. There’s a guy down the front making mental notes of the guitar chops and chord progressions, there’s always one but he’s okay, and whilst he is dreaming of getting up on that stage one day, all of the cool kids are concentrating on something else…the groove. They are boogieing the night away, getting lit, getting loaded, getting hot and sweaty, bumping hips and looking to get off with each other. That’s the spirit of rock and roll right there. Low slung guitars, re-appropriated blues licks, the poise and the pose in equal measure, the spirit of Chuck Berry and Jack Daniels working in unison. The band on the stage in this scenario, well, that could easily be Stolen Thunder.
They groove and grind, they growl and prowl, they understand the balance of melody and infectiousness with musical muscle and a gritty edge, that rock can have pop sensibility, that no nonsense four to the floor rock and roll is still alive. It just needs a touch of sparkle and a quick polish now and again but essentially it is still more than fit for purpose.
This Rock hit has all the elements that you’d expect from an angsty Hard Rock anthem and more. This is War is the sensational new track from SwingLove, it’s not just audio bliss; the political message behind his music is much more important. Artists who use their platforms to positively influence the world will always get massive respect from me.
This is War was written to express the artists disdain for the dystopian nightmare that America has happened to find themselves in the midst of after Donald Trump was elected as president last year. It feels criminal to ignore the amazing music behind the track, but the passion behind his resistance is so powerful it’s pretty hard to ignore. The Lyrics to This is War are as hard hitting as they come. “This ain’t the way we wanted things to be, we tried to reason, but you’re a disease. This ain’t the paradise that we had in mind. Sometimes I wonder how we could be so blind.”
SwingLove mixes his admirable sentimentality around his Hard Rock sound which is infused by elements of New Wave to create a dark, synthy masterpiece which serves as a perfect sign of the times.
You can check out SwingLove’s track This is War on SoundCloud:
It comes as no shock at all to find out that Karen Mansfield comes from Asbury Park, after all that small boardwalk town on the Jersey Shore has a track record of being a stepping stone for artists from Springsteen and Bon Jovi to The Gaslight Anthem and Patti Smith on their way to bigger things. And even with that heady mix of music passing through its scene, Karen Mansfield sounds like none of them.
Hers is a wonderful mix of muscular pop, chilled punk swagger and rootsy vibes, in fact I recall her being summed up as a Hippy-beach-punk-folkie and to be honest as sound bites go, I can’t really improve on that. And if There Was A Girl is one of those songs that is difficult to tie down generically, it also seems not to follow trend or fashion and so can’t be placed easily on a time line. It feels at home in a 60’s Greenwich Village coffee shop, a late 70’s Lower East Side punk club, as a 90’s indie single and as the modern slice of gorgeousness that it actually is. I guess that is what they call timeless?
Daniel Heffington’s latest track Shipwrecked Souls is an ethereal piece of music, it’s zealous energy barely fits within the confines of Indie Pop Rock. The track progresses from an intimate tentatively paced introduction that lures you into the snares that are riddled throughout this track before it leads you to an anthemic hit. The Virginia based singer songwriter humbly boasts the unique gift of being able to create a perfectly resonant universal sound that makes you fall in love with his energy before you even get to the chorus. It sounds like ridiculously high praise, yet it’s the plaintive truth.
There’s a slight reminiscence to acts such as Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, Coldplay and Kings of Leon but if truth be told, I haven’t heard such momentous rhythm alongside such succinct soaring harmonies in a long time. And that’s all before you get to the sensational vocals and poignant lyrics.
You can check out Shipwrecked Souls on Soundcloud using the link below:
With Post Punk being my favourite genre of music, it’s safe to say that Versus Machine had a lot to live up to with their debut release of Sweet Machine which dropped on New Years Eve, 2017.
They stood up against Joy Division, Killing Joke, Interpol and The Editors with their sound, and still knocked it out of the park. The reverb on the guitars was on point. The dread infused bassline carries blissfully throughout the track around the sporadic whispered vocals that draw you further into this instrumentally enthralling track until you’re fully submersed in that iconic nostalgic sound. Although Versus Machine did more than recreate the same old tired sounds from the genre, they threw in the additional apathy of a more Shoegaze symphony that created an effortlessly enticing track, that almost demands to be listened to on repeat
I seriously can’t recommend this track enough, you can check out Sweet Machine for yourselves via YouTube using the link below:
Joon Wolfsberg, as well as having possibly the coolest name on the planet, seems to have one foot in the past and one in the future. Save Him comes on like a long lost Janis Joplin song, only without all the unnecessary shouting, it seems woven from effortlessly cool musical strands harvested from a much more honest, direct and less commercially driven time. It blends rootsy rock with a soulful country vibe and whilst they are more often found tearing the place up, Save Him shows just how tastefully formed their music is, how only what is need to get the job done is put into the song, no excess baggage, no gimmickry or sonic frippery.
And whilst the band clearly tip their hat to earlier times and a more old school vibe, the song is still the product of a modern band, one holding a torch to the past rather than merely replicate it, but one with an eye on the future too. They say that those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, Joon and her musical gang prove that it is by learning from the past that they get a hand in writing music’s next chapter and it is a chapter that fans of songs built on integrity and honest are going to revel in.
The pragmatic Pop Punk Metal collective Winchester have just dropped their latest beast of a track Diamond, if you like your metal heavily undulated you’re in for a treat.
The track was released on January 21st 2018 and has already gone viral. Metal aficionados can’t get enough of the not so dulcet sounds that come curtesy of the guttural screamo vocals, wailing guitars and cold as ice bassline. In short, it’s an instrumental masterpiece that you just can’t help getting caught up in, until your heart beat is matching the furious tempo of this raging track. Any fans of Gallows, Bring Me The Horizon and Suicidal Tendencies will love Winchesters 00’s infamous metal sound.
Winchester are just about to drop their much anticipated album ‘Life Begins At These Dead Ends’ (cheery, right?), until then, you can head on over to YouTube to catch the official music video that accompanies the raucous mix Diamond.
The drummer yelling “1, 2, 3” to lead into a big guitar riff, fuzz driven bass, and a steady drumbeat is the epitome of what rock n roll sounds like. Big bass and open-chord goodness fills “Burnout Syndrome” to offer a classic vibe from a bygone era. Mick Jagger style lead vocal delivery, beautiful vocal harmonies during the chorus’, a tastefully placed harmonica solo, and a beautifully raw guitar solo is the definition of what classic rock n roll music is! Okay, maybe that isn’t the definition, but it makes for an incredible song nonetheless!
This song is high energy from the initial count-in throughout it’s 4 minute duration. Unrelenting, unchanging, and full throttle, this track has you hooked from the beginning when the band kicks off as one powerhouse. An excellently crafted tune that combines the undeniable raw charm of garage rock production with classic Rolling Stone inspired instrumentation and arrangement. I use the term “Rolling Stone inspired” pretty strictly, as the vocalist delivers in a spoken style similar to Mick Jagger, and the the lead guitar sounds very much like Keith Richards tone.
A contemporary classic may best the best term to summarize “Burnout Syndrome” by Dilute To Taste. Don’t take my word for it, go listen for yourself!
Oddnote are an Alternative Rock collective from Nashville, who may have to go down as the sexiest band of 2018 with their Punk Rock take on music. Frontman Arman Asadsangabi’s vocals will quite literally send shivers down your spine whilst he raucously spits out pure, undulated poetry through his lyrics. Oddnote create waves of rhythmic discord through their bone-rattling riffs and swampy Soul approach to music, their latest debut hit Money Comes, Money Goes, is such a refreshing change from artists singing about lavish grandiosity, they chose to create a mind-numbing ethereal sound that transcends the talent of even the most sensual of Alt Rock bands for fans to resonate with. Money Comes, Money goes was first released on January 10th, 2018 by Oddnote who have only been around since the start of 2017, after Asadsangabi joined together with instrumentalists; Joseph Downing, Rocko Beall, Nick Huff & Matthew Millstein. Their collective sound is a representation of passion and veracity that sets Oddnote as far as they could possibly be away from the other independent artists on the scene.
Crank it up to 11 and check out Money Comes, Money goes by Oddnote via SoundCloud: