Brave Warrior EP. Keeley
The Brave Warrior EP is the debut album of the Irish singer-songwriter and band Keeley. Anyone listening to the music will recognise the 90s undertones, a good word considering the label releasing Brave Warrior was co-founded by The Undertones' Damian O'Neill, in the songs. Fans of bands like Hurricane #1 e.g. can be quite content.
Keeley got her inspiration for the record from a top heavy subject: the murder of a German tourist in Northern Ireland in 1988. She got obsessed with the, unsolved, murder and is writing about it for years now, both in a blog and through her songs. She has one single goal: solving the murder. How commendable her work may be, this post is about her music.
That music mixes the more serious side of Britpop,
Suede, Ride, Hurricane #1 with more electronic sounds, bringing the
music over the decades into the 20s. The more electronic the songs
become, the second two, the less they impress me. So I'd like to point
you to the first two, the more poppy 'The Glitter And The Glue and 'Last
Words'. The up tempo songs have a lot of bravado, all working through
the guitar up front mixed exuberance. It is here that the Bernard Butler
albums of Suede come to mind. The voice of Keeley comes as a surprise.
My first impression was to hear a man singing and listening to 'Last
Words' especially, I can't even shake the thought. This ambiguity does
not change my take on the song. It works alright. So overall, I have
some doubts left, but certainly liked to get acquainted with this debut
Jack Francis from Southampton releases his third single from an about to be released album on the Rotterdam based label Gentlemen Records. The song is a hybrid between folk and soul. It has a distinct southern U.S. feel that belies his Southern English origins. Wild Eyes reminds me of my introduction to my favourite song of Jon Allen, from Winchester, not that far from Southampton, 'Take Me To Heart'. Both have the same rough edge on their vocal chords, while mixing that roughness with touches of tenderness and warmth in their respective songs. A reference to reverence stands central in Wild Eyes. Jack Francis shares his feelings for someone and the surge of happiness in his mind coming with it. Feelings of love and flying high with his head in the clouds. "Feeling soft, like midnight summer breeze", those kind of feelings. So, it should not be a surprise that a warm Hammond organ waltzes through this song like a knife through butter. Wild Eyes is a bittersweet song about being in love and happy. Nothing more but certainly no less.
Alright, time to throw in something louder. The name of this band from Gent already promises some noise. Ramkot delivers although not in the sense that one might expect. The band is not ramming it in. One influence I can pick out easily is fellow Gent dwellers Soulwax. Like that band Ramkot plays with the boundaries of a traditional rocksong. Rock Am I Alright Now does, but not in a straightforward way. The pace is interrupted just as easily as it is expanded by going full out. A vocal part, a part where all play 100% uninterrupted, changes to the rhythm, synthparts under the singing before the band returns. It all can be found in just a few minutes without changing my perception of Am I Alright Now in any way. This is one hell of an alternative rocksong.
From there we dive into even heavier music. King Woman is a band from the Bay Area around singer and songwriter Kristina Esfandiari. She is active in a host of other bands. All with names unknown to me, just like King Woman was until today. She started King Woman as a solo project in 2009. It grew into a band when Joey Raygoza and drummer Peter Arensdorf joined her. This single from the upcoming album 'Celestial Blues' (30 July), is as dark as it is alive. Esfandiari sings in a low register, lending her voice a touch of mysteriousness. It is not even that different from Ellie Rawling's voice, with the difference that King Woman's music is metal with soft spots in between that make Morning Star breathe in a pleasant way. The moment the band is released it makes a direct impact. Kristina Esfandiari keeps singing in her soft, almost whispering way. Mixed right over the solid background. The mix makes the song intriguing and interesting.
Jeroen Woe en Niels van der Linden zijn langzamerhand een begrip in Nederland. Samen nemen zij in het TV programma 'Even Tot Hier' het nieuws op de hak op uiterst komische wijze, maar niet zonder een villein randje wanneer zij hun eigen boodschap er in mixen. Muziek speelt een enorm grote rol in hun kleinkunst die 100% inspeelt op de actualiteit. De samenzang is fabuleus, net als hun muzikaliteit. Hoe groot de rol van toetsenist Miquel Wiels daarin is, kan ik van buiten niet goed inschatten. In ieder geval is uitbundigheid vrijwel altijd een belangrijk onderdeel van hun muziek.
Dat maakt de solo single van
Jeroen Woe eigenlijk heel erg verrassend. Het nummer is totaal
ingetogen. Meer een echt kleinkunstnummer, dat eigenlijk gaat over de
weemoed van vroeger uitgaan in de stad. Over een tijd die, lang, voorbij
is. Nu is het er niet leuk meer. Alle vrienden van vroeger liggen al op
bed, als Jeroen arriveert. Er zijn zat mensen in de stad, maar niet
diegenen die Jeroen had willen zien na een avond werken. Het leven van
een artiest en "gewone" mensen loopt uit elkaar, onvermijdelijk. Niemand
Meer Tegen is net zo bescheiden qua muziek, als dat het fijn is om naar
After a hiatus
Clinic is back for certain. Already a new single sees the light of day
after releasing 'Wheeltappers and Shunters' in 2019. The sound is
familiar. Of course, I should add. Clinic has such a typical sound that
not having it equals not being Clinic. The typical, high synth sound is
there, as is the typical voice and talk-singing of Adrian Blackburn. If
there is any comparison to make, it is the synthesizer sound of Ultravox'
'Vienna'. All is electronics on Fine Dining, in a way that is
reminiscent of the despondent 80s when the sky was about to fall on our
heads. "Fall into the void", Blackburn sings, a variation of the sky
falling. Where I could not stand most of the 80s acts most of the time at the time, I have
a soft spot for Clinic ever since somewhere in the early 00s. That soft
spot was easy to press on with Fine Dining.
Wasn't the title Heart Of Gold already given to another song and not the least of songs a that? Molly Burch decided not to care and released her own song under that title. It is an undercooled sort of love song that sings about love and her own heart of gold, but there's nothing showing for the passion she feels. That has to do with the uncertainties that come with love: "Will I be the winner or the loser?" Questions that do not allow for living in the moment, see Jack Francis just reviewed above. Too much thinking about love usually is not a good thing when falling into it.
music is downplayed. The song is bare. Tight drumming is at the bottom,
the rest are all accents and two to three notes contributions. Molly Burch does not release her passion until the end of Heart Of Gold in the aah, aah, aahhs she
sings. All together Heart Of Gold is pleasant to listen to. A song that
is able to get into your head and that is what music is intended to do
in order to be successful.
the world waiting for yet another The Beatles cover? A good question,
but listening to For No One in the version of Susanna and her cousin
David Wallumrød, I'd say yes it does. Susanna and David played together
in their youth and both went their own way in music, pursuing their own
careers. In 2017 they were invited to perform together and this was so
much fun they decided to do so more often. Of course in 2020 and a lot of
2021 shows were cancelled. Susanna released her solo album with poems
of Baudelaire put to music by her. Next she went through the recordings
made of the performances she had already played with her cousin. The
result is an album called 'Live'. For No One is the first single and it
is played in a subdued version. There's even more melancholy present than in the original.
In a way as if there's nothing left to save nor win. The song is
immediately recognisable for all already knowing it, while adding more than enough of
themselves to justify the release of the song. Beautifully done.
This story starts with mentioning a record label that was started for one reason only: to release a record by Chicago blues legend Hound Dog Taylor. That was the start of legendary blues label Alligator Records. Come 2021 and blues trio GA-20, named after that Gibson amp, decides to honour Hound Dog Taylor with a tribute album filled with his songs recorded in the here and now. Only recently The Black Keys have done the same for northern Mississippi hills blues. GA-20 does not have the name Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have but listening to the dirty groove GA-20 lays down in She's Gone, the world has to prick up its ears for another blues record. She's Gone is far dirtier than e.g. 'Crawling King Snake' that opened the singles post of week 20. The rough and rowdiness of the electric Chicago boogie is passed on to a new generation this way. Blues is blues and should attract new fans as well. The ugly slide sound cuts through my ears. George Thorogood reincarnated as well, but for all I know he may still be playing around the U.S. once again as soon as it's allowed. She's Gone is a thorough introduction to the album, aptly called 'Try It ... You Might Like It'.
Wout de Natris
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