Monday, 21 March 2011

Stuart Anthony's Long Lost Band - Play the Part

Whack, i've woken up in 1970.

Which is strange cos I actually did awaken in 1970, this tune, could have been on the radio when I was born, WAIT don't stop reading, this ain't no throwback band, this isn't a song lost in time, this is a tune that's modern, "Fleet Foxes" stylee, if "The Shins" can do it so can Stuart Anthony's Long Lost Band.

This song goes forth with wild psychedelic structures, it drags you in and plonks you down right in your middle of your favourite dream. I can fully imagine feeling a million miles from anywhere with this song blasting from the stage at a live show.

This song is 7 minutes and 41 seconds long, but it's 461 seconds of joy.  The genre is acoustic, but the vibe is electric, the bass drives it along like a summers day, i'm visualising fields of daisies and vw camper vans with the words spinning around in my chilled out head.

You get all the Neil Young, Tim Buckley influences, I don't know where all these amazing bands are popping up from, but this one is top of my list.

It leaves me buzzing, leaves me wanting more, I can't wait for this album to get released if this is anything to go by, i'm hooked already.

You can catch Stuart Anthony's Long Lost Band  @

Daystar - Slip and Dive.

There is one thing you need to know before I start, I like Black and White videos, I don't know why, I just do, which is lucky for Daystar as this video is indeed in black and white.

The Manchester music scene is garnering pace at the moment again, from the lull of the last decade, we see shades of brilliance, and the great venues keep popping up.

Daystar are a 5 piece with a modern take on the 90s Manchester scene, but they are definitely not lost in 2011.  They bring back the sound with freshness, with "Slip and Dive", they attain a level of professionalism in the song and video that some well known signed bands struggle to get.  The song was produced by mansun engineer Ronnie Stone and that shows how serious this band are to break the big time.

They've played live on ESPN's talk of the terrace, which for a band that has only been gigging for a year is quite remarkable.

Daystar are gaining recognition to levels they probably could only have dreamed of a year ago, but with talent like this they shouldn't be wondering why, they have definitely not reached their true potential yet, and I look forward to hearing them more and more in the future.

This song is sleek, the video is straight forward and tells you everything you need to know about this band, they have a great vibe, and you feel it throughout the song.

You should check them out as their live performance on ESPN shows they are as sleek live as they are on video.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Some people were asking when their review is being done, well, I don't do every request thats sent to me, I only do the songs I like, the gigs I enjoy or the videos that captivate me.

If you have sent me a request to do a review, and it hasn't been done, don't get down hearted, it just means that i'm just not that into you.

In saying that i've about 4 reviews pending that I will get too when time allows, so be patient and chill.

Remember, the REAL music business isn't a race to number 1, it's a time line labour of love, and just because I don't like you now doesn't mean I won't like your next release.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Danny Mahon - Odd Socks - Video review.

Its a fact, that Danny Mahon is a northern poet of exceptional talent, he's been on my radar for some time now, as Danny is quite well known around the North West of England. His lyrics are right up there in the tops of Manchester folklore

He is sometimes classed as a folk artist, a protest singer, a northern Billy Bragg, but he could easily stand on a stage of death metal and fit in, his songs are THAT evocative and people react to his lyrics.  His style is almost punk like, but generally there is just him and his acoustic guitar, and that speaks volumes about the talent of this man.

Manchester is a city full of life and full of things to sing about, Danny's ability to knit this into music creates a modern Madchester scene all of its own, if you go to a Danny Mahon gig, it's not a sit down jobby, it's an all encompassing involvement for the whole time he is on stage, he interacts with the audience, and the audience sing along, its almost like EVERYONE knows his songs and everyone relates to them.


The only man in the world I know of that can do a song in a school that has the words "twat" & "shit" in it.
"Odd Socks" to me, is an anti-bullting song, but it's also, and I'm sure Danny would hate me for this, it's almost a love song.

It's cute, but at the same time portrays very important messages.  When you listen to the song, it could be set in any age frame and not necassarily in youth. I guess that's by the by really, the song is fast paced like young life I suppose, and the visual side is married to the words well.   Tied up with visualising the lyrics without being over the top and televising every single line.

The acting is perfect for the song, the youngsters in the video play their parts really well, very relaxed, and the rainy Salford day adds to the fact that life isn't always full of roses. Everyone can relate to this video, everyone gets pulled in by the video, it's even a bit of a tear jerker, good versus evil, the rebels versus the empire, Labour versus Conservative, it's all in there.

The song itself is a little cracker taken from his upcoming debut album, this is typical Danny Mahon, the territory is absolutely his, this song should catapult him forward into mainstream, and he deserves it absolutely.

ODD SOCKS IS THE SECRET RECIPE is to be released on the Plainsounds label, the single will be available to buy on April 16th (UK Record Store Day).

The video was created by Manchester based Tunafish Media, and marks the directorial debut of James McDonald.


A Danny Mahon gig is one of the best nights out you can have, I strongly suggest you follow my advice and go see him play, you can catch him on myspace at

Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Artist And The Copyright Infringement Loophole : Jeff Price article - great read.

am not the first person to write about this topic, but with the recent ruling by a federal judge reducing LimeWire’s possible copyright infringement damages from 1 trillion (no, I am not kidding), to a possible 1.5 billion dollars, I thought it important to bring up again...........

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Mount Fabric - Secretly an Astronaut

Anthemic, is the main word that comes to mind when you listen to Mount Fabric, The big sound and the high pitched vocal are of a very high standard.  Both musicianship and singing ability is excellent, they remind me of a mix between "God is an Astronaut" and "Muse" with a bit of "Radiohead" & "Smashing Pumkins" thrown in.
Coping with Relief

This song does feel like i'm on a bit of a journey with them, starting gracefully, building up to a cresecendo, but not overpowing , most bands would have cranked up the distortion in the big bits, but this band know restraint, they know how to drive the music without relying on heavy effects pedals, even when they are on the very edge the song still has a real vibrant feel to it.

Big Plans
The best track on the release in my view, this is a cracking song all the way, and I could hear this played on many radio stations across the world without issue, fabulous vocals throughout the chorus, the long vocals lines are right up my street.  They have no issue with adding in differing pre and main chorus sections, and most importantly it all knits together brilliantly.

This song on it's own really makes my ears pick up and listen, and I can listen to it over and over again, the effects included are done sweetly, not overpowering at all, it's a great piece of work thats for sure.

Epiphany doesn't disappoint at all. despite my love for the previous song, this is a nice little come down, well executed and still upbeat keeping up the pleasure of the other 2 tracks.

Altogether a band to look out for over the coming months you can find them on

The Big I Am - Collecting Skies - Album review.

The name "The Big I Am", according to Colin Heaney on a recent radio interview is from an old Liverpool saying, mothers used to chastise their kids when they where being a bit lippy "Don't come the Big I Am with me son", and I remember this myself. The one thing these boys are NOT however, is lippy,  they are a very friendly bunch who play music for the right reasons, the sheer love of it.

Normal isn't normal for The Big I Am, most bands use guitars of the 6 string variety to create their sound, the thing that hits me as soon as I started listening to this album is the fact that the stringed instruments are a Cuatro and a Ukulele.

On "Collecting Skies" you sail from song to song with ease, the feeling is relaxing, Colin Heaney and Peter McPartland share the workload on the vocals and stringed instruments with ease, they swap with each other, but, most people wouldn't notice, that's how good these guys are.

With Steve O'Toole on Piano and Orchestrations by Wim Oudijk you are catapulted into a dreamland, a place you want to stay, away from everyday life.

Quite simply the sound from these guys is LUSH. 

These songs are so good you could be forgiven for thinking this was a "Greatest Hits", but it isn't, it's an album full of top class songs, not a single one takes a step back from the great feeling you get when you first hit the play button.

When you get to the Title Track "Collecting Skies" you've been through 9 songs of The Big I Am, you just think it can't get better but this track take's them to another level, the orchestrations are to a very high standard. the music is powerful but not overwhelming, the lyrics drive evocative imagery at you but are not depressing, and you dream of clouds and sunny days. The message though it is very pertinant at the moment, "I could live a million years and never understand whats here".

The final track though, is my favourite song on this album, "Board Games" is a wonderful idea for a song, the music sounds almost Russian in feel, I guess that's a design due to the song title.

I can't compare this bands music to anything else, it's outstanding from start to finish, a superb addition to your collection, and whats more, NO DRUMS!!!! :)

Everything you ever wanted to know about The Big I Am is here

Collecting Skies is out now, go and buy it and they are playing gigs through the UK in 2011.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Stuart Newman - Feel the Temperature Rising - Song Review

I love this song.

Stuart Newman has a style whereby you actually feel the effort he's putting in, the effort he puts into his voice, the effort he puts into his guitar work, his style is something that is definitely, definitely different.

Then, there is the effort in orchestrating a song like 'Feel the Temperature Rising', to anyone who isn't a musician, I can tell you right now, you don't just magic songs like this out of hats, they don't just all suddenly appear as if you've just ordered them off Amazon.  They take time, the song takes time to write, and then lyrics take time, then you add mid sections, pre-chorus, end sections and then you finally record it, and that takes heaps more time, adding drums, backing vocals, other instruments. And then, when you've really just about had enough, you do a video and that takes endless amounts of time.

After the days of your life you lose doing all this you finally have a 5min song that people can listen to and watch.

So it's Saturday night, and I'm a bit tired, I've been recording all day and decided to slot in a quick review, because this song is excellent, the sound of the guitars is very well put together, the stereo tracking is really sweet to my ears, the haunting vocals sliding around over the top make a really well executed feel.

I love the way the song builds and changes towards the end, the power of the vocal lines inter-twined make a really professional aspect to the work on show here.

Feel the Temperature Rising is a song you can listen to over and over again and not get bored with at all, Stuart clearly puts a lot of work into his music, his videos, his website, the whole setup eeks of hard bloody work and toil and the results are excellent.

Keep up the good work Stuart  I think its all coming together well.

To quote a person on the video wall for this song : "Good to hear someone who doesn't sound like everyone else." I can't beat that, it makes a lot of sense to me.

You can find Stuart @


Stuart Newman - Feel the Temperature Rising video @

The Levellers - Levelling the Land 02 Academy Liverpool - 04 Mar 2011

Hot from receiving their "Roots" award at the BBC folk music awards last month, The Levellers, I admit, have always been a personal favourite of mine, and with over 90mins of music played, its tough to know where to start.

What I can say is that from the moment they arrived to the moment they left the audience where hooked, the songs blasted out, kept people jumping, singing and the venue lends itself well to this kind of band.

For anyone who has followed live music for a long time these guys are staple to most bands that came out of the 90s, their influence is heard in many more recent international and local bands, from their traveller roots, they use heartfelt folk lyrics styled in a rock outfit. 

In 1990 when this band where seen playing traveller's fields near Glastonbury, amidst the chaos of pitched battles between traveller's and security firms with goats and chickens flying everywhere, they where finding their feet within the general music industry, leaving the community from which they grew up, and releasing Levelling the Land  in 1991.

For most bands this would have seen them move away and just play mainstream music, Mark Chadwick and the boys however, just didn't do this, all through the years the band have stayed true to their roots, and the BBC Folk award is testement to how the industry and the music buying public views them.

It's kept them just on the radar of the public but under the radar of the usual music channels and radio stations. With their own Beautiful Days festival they stick to their ethos, its unsponsored, unpromoted, but it still sells out.

Sadly, the same can't be said for the people who follow the band, back in the 1990s most people who followed them, where long haired, bedraggled people, struggling generally to eek out an existence, it's clear from the state of the people in Liverpool tonight that these people have either turned into IT consultants and Marketing Senior 40 somethings én masse or their following has changed somewhat.

Either way, the band ROCKED, the audience where dancing and singing from the very off, the place was buzzing and songs you knew but didn't know you knew kept flowing throughout the set, with the massive "One Way" to the amazing "What a Beautiful Day" & "Devil went down to Georgia"

interspaced with gems from across not just this album but many other albums too.  Late in their set came the one song that is top 10 of my list from life, "Hope Street".  I've fond memories of busking this song myself on the streets of North West England.

Chadwick even had time to ask a punter to stamp out some Ganja, oh how times have changed.

The Levellers are the soundtrack to most people's lives, whether they know it or not, and they are still up there with the best of them, and long may that continue. Thankfully the Academy turned off the Gorillaz videos for this band.

"Levelling the land" is re-issued on March 14th 2011 and the Levelling the Land Tour is selling out fast with more dates to be added.

The Wonderstuff - 02 Academy Liverpool 04 Mar 2011 (Quick Review)

"Do you wanna hear a song about a cow!", this is not the kind of line i've ever heard at a gig before, not even a 'folk' gig, but thats what I was hearing at the Academy.

The Wonderstuff are back and it feels just like they never left, well they didn't really, they reformed in 2000, after a few years away and have been coming and going ever since.

When I entered the venue after queing up for 20 mins, a tall, leggy violinist was centre stage, and it was difficult to focus on anything else.  Erica Nockalls is the violinist for the Wonder Stuff these days, she towers over the other boys, is classically trained and makes a big impact.

Having worked out the gig was well underway at 8:30pm I thought well, it's fashionable to be late anyway and carried on watching, the academy was sold out weeks ago for the this gig, The Wonderstuff supporting The Levellers is a top draw so it's not surprising there is a crowd congestion getting in.

So onto the music, I often think, when I see acoustic guitarists fronting bands that they get a raw deal, the sound for Miles was pretty poor out front, and I thought their overall sound lacked a bit of body, in saying that, they have the tunes to back up their set.

Size of a cow was always a personal favourite of mine, and they polished it off well, I'm glad they didn't do "Dizzy" well from what I saw they didn't, they still have the ability to get the crowd going, there is no let up in exhuberance from them, but instead of beer, these days they are supping from wine bottles.

Throughtout the set the big screens either side where showing gorrillaz videos, nice touch Academy, off putting to say the least.

The gig was over by 9pm, There is no doubt this is a great band who should keep performing as they offer a lot still, and lets hope that continues for a long time to come & I think Miles has done a good job of keeping them rolling.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Ratty Little Fingers - Live & EP review

Live at The Zanzibar, Seel St, Liverpool 19th Feb 2011  & The Herald Live venue, Southport, 26th Feb 2011

What can I say? Sometimes, you wander from venue to venue and see all sorts of bands, and feel a little "uninspired".  As a music writer, promoter, musician and recording label type bloke, I get to see LOTS of bands around and about, last year over 100 bands passed through my eyes and ears, and that was just live acts.

You sometimes get a breath of fresh air though, something that really makes you want more, makes your ears prick up and take in the world from a slightly different angle.

Ratty Little Fingers provide that, I was lucky enough to see them on consecutive weekends, they are made up of Katy McGrath, Vocals & Acoustic Guitar, Christian Sandford, Upright Bass, Drums & Austin Ray on Banjo & Violin. 

They are not afraid to play irregular instruments, from the violin, banjo combination to the box for a bass drum, the chocolate tin for a snare and full size double bass.  

Katy provides a very happy feel from the moment she shyly steps up to the mantle, however, she is evocative of what a front person should be, confident in her delivery, stable in her position as the leader of the trio and above all HAPPY to be doing what she clearly loves doing WITHOUT THE ARROGANCE of so many indie bands.

The three of them together, take you on a journey from folk, to pop to country, even dabbling in a bit of rock with Katy pushing her vocals to the edge on a few songs, the acoustic sounds backed up by very credible backing vocals by Austin and Christian make for a superb sound when they are all on the edge.  There are influences from Bare Naked Ladies to Mumford and Sons in some songs, and that goes to show how they can bridge the humour gap in a few songs with the real serious traditional style songs as well.  

Ratty Little Fingers are hoping to play over 100 gigs this year, so there should be ample opportunity to get out to see them, check out their website for more information.


The first thing that grabs you when you pick up this CD is the way its put together, RLF have packaged the CD in such a way as to make you feel all warm inside.  When you read the back it says, "Thank you for purchasing this Ratty Little Pre-P, the profits of which go towards the ratty little petrol fund to get us home safely this evening."  

The packaging is home made and costs a mere £2 to purchase from the band, I love CD's like this, it really shows the band are thinking not only of the costs they incur on the road but also the fact that its about the music on the CD not the fancy covers or colourful packaging that can sometimes overstate a bands potential.

This CD delivers absolutely on the music front.....

Leftovers begins as we mean to go on, acoustic all the way with words that start to provide a story straight away, the song develops and builds along with the story into a mean crescendo towards the end with wonderfully quirky backing vocals. overall a great little song, pushing the genre well and not just run of the mill 3 chords verse chorus style songs.

This is very Dan Mangan influenced, i'm not sure whether the band have ever heard of Dan, but I think they should, they fit in right with the Canadian acoustic music scene, this song brings out the real nice feel of RLF, the wonderful violin rustling through the background creates a top class sound that would not be a miss on more eclectic radio stations around the world.

Again, using hand claps shows how this band are really without worry about how, or what they use to make music, perhaps not as strong as the first 2 songs, but it really puts a country feel across whilst not losing the folk feel along the way.

Overall: Three songs for £2 is like all your Christmas's have come at once, what a treat, get onto for more information on this great band.

A Full EP is due out later in the year.


Welcome to my blog.

I've decided to re-open my blogosphere world, and get back into real music, by real musicians.

The world is FULL of massively talented people these days and I want to really push & promote these amazing people as much as possible.

So, if you want to have me "quick" review your work for soundbites simply send me a linky to it and your website, and if I like what I hear i'll review it asap.

The only real way you can catch me is on twitter @  and DM me a song or live gig I might be able to make to review.

I'm NUJ Accredited and have my own recording studio.  I'm also sometime guitarist in sometimes international band vision thing.